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(Not So) Blurred Lines
This song was one of my favorites this summer. I loved the beat. Sure, I had read the lyrics. I completely understood what the song was saying. A girl was saying ‘no’ to a guy’s sexual advances. However, because she was dancing with him and wanted to ‘hug’ him, the song says the girl is giving mixed signals–blurred lines. She’s a good girl, you see. Yet she’s an ‘animal’ and it’s in her ‘nature.’ Right. The lyrics proceed as this:
I know you want it. You’re a good girl. Can’t let it get past me. Gotta have it.
I even saw the video of the naked models being surrounded by predatory men, who are fully clothed, dancing. Robin Thicke, the singer, blows smoke into the model’s face and brushes her hair. You know, because, women are not really human. They are objects to be had and abused.
Okay, so I worked out to this song. It’s on my phone. I liked the beat. I laughed off the meaning because, well, I had never been in the situation. At least, I hadn’t been in that situation in a VERY long time. Anytime a man became too friendly, ‘no’ was usually enough for them to leave me alone. If not, I would call over a male friend and that would take care of the problem. This has not happened to me in such a long time, that I had lost a bit of my edge. I even listened to a song that I wouldn’t normally listen to because I had become complacent. I’m not a raging feminist (or maybe I am?) but I am not for women being treated solely as objects of a man’s sexual desires. All the women I have ever met, seen or known have been breathing, comprehending human beings.
Then I moved to the big city of Madrid and everything changed. If this can happen to me in a relatively ‘safe’ city, it can happen anywhere to anyone.I have had some very scary incidents since being here. None of them were because I was being careless or not aware of my surroundings. Nor did I do anything to provoke them yet I found myself in tense situations because of these so called ‘blurred lines’.
I will explain two that have happened to me personally. Let me also make the readers aware that these incidents happened in broad daylight with many people around; I guess you are never truly safe.
I was meeting some friends for drinks one day. It was a warm day and we all agreed it would be nice to share some sangria and tapas. So, I went to meet them. I went to the main metro station in Madrid called Sol. This is by far the busiest metro in Madrid. There were people everywhere, all scurrying to catch the next train. I walked down to Line 3 to catch the train myself. I was on the escalator down when a man on the escalators coming up waved at me and said, ‘Hello beautiful!’ in Spanish. The way he said it made me think he was familiar with me. When I glanced up, I didn’t know him. I thought he had mistaken me for a friend of his or someone he knew. So, I went on down to wait for the metro. Then I feel a tap on my shoulder. I turn around. It’s the man. I was standing against the wall and he proceeds to put a hand on either side of my head, pinning me to the wall. ‘Hello, my name is Juan. I like you a lot. You’re beautiful. Your body drives me crazy. Let’s go get a drink.’ He said this in quick succession, trying to grab my hand.
‘No, I am meeting friends and I have a boyfriend. I am not interested. Thanks,’ I replied. He shook his head.
‘You don’t understand, I like you VERY MUCH. Let’s get a drink.’
‘No, I don’t want to. Like I said, I have a boyfriend and am meeting friends.’ I had to lie about having a partner as I thought this would make him leave me alone. He grabs my arm and people are now starting to notice what is happening. My heart is beating quickly and I can feel the panic in the back of my throat. This man was around 6’3 and at least 220 pounds of muscle. I had to think quickly, so I blurted out, ‘I am going out tonight, let me take your number and I’ll call you and we will go out.’ If someone is crazy enough to pin me in broad daylight with hundreds of people walking about, I didn’t know what else he was capable of. He says, ‘Okay! Here…’ and tells me his number. I show him I am saving it. He bends down to try to kiss me. I duck. Mercifully, the train comes at that moment. I look around me and there are curious faces looking at me as if to ask, ‘What is going on?’ I jump on board quickly and mutter to myself, ‘Thanks for helping guys.’ Needless to say, I never called him and deleted the number. I was still shaky when I met up with my friends.
Then, this past week, when I was walking to pick up a Western Union transfer from my local post office (Correos), I came across two men seated on a bench. They made some typical remark ‘Hey beautiful! How are YOU doing today?’ I wasn’t feeling well because I had bronchitis and thus, I ignored them. This time, I had a fake wedding band on my hand. As I am walking, I hear footsteps and a bit of shuffling and whispering behind me. I hold my purse tighter and keep my head up. It’s broad daylight, again, with lots of people walking the streets. I glance behind me and it is the two guys from the bench. ‘Hey, gorgeous, come here. Talk with us!’ I keep walking. I think in my head ‘This cannot be happening again. I don’t even look nice and I’m sick.’ It was all I could do to get out of bed. Then as I stop to cross the street, the one named ‘Johnny’ came up to me. ‘I like you! You’re gorgeous. I love your body, honestly. You’re driving me wild. What’s your name? Where are you from?’ I say flatly, ‘I am married,’ and show my ring, ‘and I am not interested. Please leave me alone.’ He shakes his head and smiles, ‘No pasa nada, linda, I am married too! I still want to get to know you.’ I walk. His friend disappears but Johnny keeps walking along side of me, stating all the reasons I should get to know him. He’s a good guy, he works here legally, he’s a good lover, etc. I say nothing other than ‘I am not interested, leave me alone. I am meeting friends. I have a husband.’ Because I was going to pick up money, I start to become frightened again. This man will not leave me alone. I, again, have to think quickly. I see a cafe and had told him I was meeting friends. A lie, but I couldn’t tell him I was going to pick up money. I say to him, ‘Fine, Johnny, go to that cafe and get a pen and paper. I will take your number.’ He does so, leaving me with precious minutes to devise a plan. I walk up to a table of friendly people and explain my situation. They tell me not to worry, they will pretend to be my friends and they will make sure this man goes away. Johnny comes back with his piece of paper and I say, ‘These are my friends. I’m staying here.’ The people look at him without smiling. He smiles a bit and says, ‘Okay, see you later! Please call me beautiful!’
We watch him as he leaves. The one girl, Ana Rosa, tells me when has finally left and gives me a hug. She tells me I can stay with them if I want and drink a coffee. I stay and chit-chat with them, and eventually exchange numbers with the two girls. I tell them thank you so much for saving me and am on my way. I take the bus on the way back, so I don’t have to walk by those guys again.
These are two very real incidents that have happened to me. In both examples, I have clearly said ‘no.’ It wouldn’t matter if I was dressed in a dress cut down to my navel, if I said ‘no’, I mean ‘no.’ There are no blurred lines when it comes to a woman saying ‘no.’ If we do not want to your advances, pushing them will not do you any good. Anything that is not consensual is wrong. Sex without consent is rape. Pinning a scared woman against a wall is perverse and horrid. So, I disagree with blurred lines. The only way to know if she ‘wants it’ is to ask. She is not an ‘animal’ she is a human being. She is to be respected, not to be had. If she says ‘no’ then she means no. Needless to say, I no longer find the ‘Blurred Lines’ song by Robin Thicke funny or even entertaining. It is a degradation to all women who have been put in these types of situations.
This was from my personal travel blog: www.bridgetswanderlust.wordpress.com
Please check it the post and share on twitter, tumblr or on Facebook so we raise awareness and stop the harassment.
I just moved to Las Vegas about a month ago to pursue a performance career, I am a fire dancer.
I finished my shift at Paris casino (handing out voucher tickets for the Eiffel Tower experience), and was walking back to the MGM where I parked my car. For those who don’t know what the Vegas strip is like, 11am is no quiet time. Every part is brightly lit up and there are hundreds of people.
As I’m walking, this tall man comes right off my left side behind me and says, “Hey girl, how are you? What are you up to?”
I give him that “oh haha yeah you think I’m cute thanks I’m gonna keep walking bye now smile” and move away from him. I’m sure you ladies know which smile I’m talking about.
He says, “What, you afraid of guys? You afraid of me? You don’t wanna talk to me?”
And, in the same ‘aha yeah sorry I’m just on my way please excuse my rudeness’ fashion, I say, “Sorry, I just don’t talk to random guys I don’t know”. I’m doing that dismissive smiling thing because I’m conditioned to brush guys off gently, to not anger people, to make it seem like I’M the rude person for not responding.
He starts screaming at me at the top of his longs, chasing me for about a block as I try to get away from him as fast as I can.
“FUCK YOU YOU FUCKING GOD DAMN UGLY SLUT, FUCK YOU!!! FUCK YOU!! YOU FUCKING UGLY CUNT WHORE, I’M GONNA KILL YOU, YOU FUCKING UGLY GOD DAMN SLUT! FAGGOT! FAGGOT! YOU’RE GONNA GET RAPED, I HOPE SOMEONE RAPES YOUR FUCKING UGLY ASS, YOU FUCKING DISGUSTING SLUT! FUCK YOU! FUCK YOU! FAGGOT, FUCK YOU!!!!!!”
….and so forth and it just got more angry and colorful from there.
As I’m getting away as fast as I can I’m shouting “Leave me alone! Get away from me!”
I dive off into a food court and hide as soon as I feel like I have enough distance, but I don’t know how far behind me he is because he was screaming so loud I couldn’t gauge the distance very well.
Thankfully there was a police officer in the food court and he was kind enough to call in a couple of security guards to escort me to my car.
I was shaking and crying and I felt ready to puke. Of course it was terrifying. I didn’t know if this was gonna be the one guy that instead of responding with the usual, “Whatever, you’re ugly anyway” that happens when I refuse public advances, he was going to be the one that had a knife or a gun. Because YES that happens to women and YES women have died when they refuse cat call advances.
This is the outfit I was wearing.
Yes I’m flipping off the camera in the photo. I’m angry. I’m angry that this person felt he could treat me this way for simply NOT WANTING TO TALK TO HIM. I’m angry that this is not an isolated incident, that women all over the world experience this every day.
I’m tired of being scared outside. I want to feel safe and free. HOLLABACK.
I was traveling in Paris, making my way to the Eiffel Tower one bright afternoon. I was looking around, trying to make sure I was going the right way, and, as a result, I made eye contact with a man that was walking past me on the sidewalk.
A few minutes later, he had turned around and caught up to me. He followed me. I was nervous, trying to be polite yet distant while he tried to engage me in conversation. On the way back to the underground, he grabbed my hand and tried to kiss me.
I moved away from him, told him to stop, but he just laughed and kept walking beside me. We were in a part of the park that was virtually empty, so, even though I told him to leave, I didn’t want to stay where I was, with no one else around, until he did.
All the way back to the underground, he continued to try to touch me. I tried to push him away, but didn’t want to strike him. The last thing I wanted was for the situation to turn violent.
Finally, I made it back to one of the main stations, walked over to the police booth and stayed there until he left. Some people have said I should have expected it, traveling alone… Like the unacceptable behavior was mine. But what makes it okay for him to harass me, touch me, stalk me? Why does walking somewhere on my own in broad daylight mean he’s not to blame?
I was taking a long walk for exercise one night, and was returning home on the sidewalk alongside Lick Mill Road, heading for Tasman Blvd when I noticed a car had slowed down behind me. I looked over my shoulder as the car stopped right behind me, with at least three people in it from what I could see through the windows at night.
I continued walking, at my usual brisk pace when exercising, and the car pulled out again and passed me slowly, then stopped in a driveway cutout just ahead of me. I responded by simply walking across the street (Lick Mill has a planted divider with turnouts once each hundred yards or so). The car zoomed down the street and around a curve in the road, and assuming the possibility that they would make a U-turn at the next turnout, I crossed back to my original side and sure enough, they had turned around. As they zoomed to the other turnout behind me, I crossed the street again.
When they got back to the spot where they had originally begun stalking me, they saw me across the street, and again zoomed around the curve to head for the turnout to make another U-turn. This time instead of dashing across the street, I ducked behind some bushes and watched as the car slowly crawled along where they had last seen me. Then they did what I had hoped they would do, they assumed I had gone into the walled parking lot that my hiding place was in front of.
After they drove into the parking lot, I ran around the curve and didn’t stop running until I was around the corner on Tasman. It is my sincere hope that they spent the next hour of their lives scouring that parking lot for me and hopefully getting reported for prowling. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that they had bad intentions.
This happened when I was 17, I’m now 22 but I remember it like it was yesterday.
I was moving so me and my friends were having a party at my apartment. My older brother ran out of cigarettes and me and my guy friend Christian decided to go with him to the store to grab something to eat. None of us had a car so we decided to skate there. It was only about 3 blocks away. Half way there, my brother realized he forgot his wallet. Him and Christian were in the middle of a conversation I was not a part of and I was on the quickest board so I volunteered to skate back and grab it. I had no trouble getting back. I ran in and out within 30 seconds and took off back toward my brother and friend. I had my head phones blasting music and was cruising at a slower speed than normal, just enjoying the cool California night air. I lived in a less than great area but I have always lived in the more crime ridden areas so I felt comfortable in my knowledge of how to avoid the cat callers or gropers. I had long hair at the time but I always wore baggy shirts and pants so I figured in the dark, I might just look like a shorter guy with long hair.
Then I noticed the headlights from a car behind me had been shining on me for longer than normal. They did not dim as I skated away as if the car was parked and the car never passed me. So I looked back and noticed a car driving slowly, keeping pace right behind me on the opposite side of the road. I’m used to it so I just started skating a bit faster thinking they would lose interest like usual and move on if I did not respond to them. Then a van passed me and I realised the lights were still on and behind me so I looked back and the car had pulled over to let the van pass it and was now picking up speed to be even to me. I could hear someone yelling at me over my head phones but the music was so loud I could not hear exactly what they were saying.
I started skating as fast as I could. There was a small drive way that dead ended into a fence surrounding a field under construction and I figured if they tried anything, I could jump the fence and run the rest of the way to the gas station where the fence was open. It was only about another block left. As I was getting to the driveway, the car sped ahead of me, did a u-turn and parked directly in front of the sidewalk I was skating on so I was facing the passenger side of the car.
That’s when I noticed there were two men in front and one in back, I could hear them yelling to me but from past experience, I knew it was best to ignore them so I kept my headphones in. With them blocking the drive way and sidewalk the only thing I could do was get off my board and walk around them or try to skate around the nose of their car. And I was not about to get off and try to get around them on foot. The man in the passenger side had his window all the way down, his arm hanging out and motioning to me. Thank god my long board was loose because I simply carved the board off the curb, around their car and skated faster than I ever could. I heard their car peel out with them yelling and I was calling out for my brother and friend. Luckily they had been standing near the road waiting for me and had seen the car pull in front of me so they were walking toward me.
They thought it might be a friend talking to me out of their car while it followed me but when it pulled around and they saw me skate around it, they were hurrying toward me.
I was so scared I skated right past them the last couple of yards into the gas station lights. It was one of those gas stations where you cannot come in at night so I stood outside and we all three watched the car slow down because they saw me pass my brother and friend, so I ran back and hugged Christian and the car peeled out again. 30 seconds later, as we were leaving as a group, the same car drove past the station at about 20 miles per hour then take off. We saw it circle the block a couple times just on the way home, but normal speed limit.
As I’ve said, I’ve been followed, yelled at constantly and hassled but never have I been that scared. I jumped and avoided certain streets for the last weeks there every time I saw a car similar to theirs. I’ve always lived in places considered not too safe but never has someone taken to following, trying to cut me off, screaming at me and coming back over and over to see if I’m alone before. So even though I’ve been followed and harassed countless times, after that, I carry a taser.
He was standing on the stairway entrance into the Myrtle-Willoughby station and said something to me that I couldn’t make out as I passed…he followed me. I purposely moved a few feet away to look for my subway card and as I was rummaging through my purse he ran up behind me and lifted up my sweater and grabbed my butt. I yelled at him to stop and he flashed me a thumbs up sign as he left the station
My friend and I were at a sleepover (we’re 14) and we were walking to the corner store when we hear a man whistling behind us very creepily… He followed us all the way there but we couldn’t see him but we heard him whistling. Then we stayed in the store for 15 minutes so he would go away, but then after we left we heard him again behind us, he was waiting. He didn’t talk just whistled we faked a phone call like a safety class told us to do. Then we safely got home but it was the scariest moment
I was walking home from my bus stop one day when some old man approached me(around mid 30′s or early 40′s). I was 17 at the time. He was walking behind me and didn’t say a word or make any noise. He could have been following me since i got off the bus, but i didn’t see or hear him. As soon as he saw that i knew he was behind me he started to talk. I was so startled that i can’t remember what he said. I mean this man was just too close for comfort. So i decided to move to the side and let him pass. Well he continued to walk, but as he did so he would stop and look back. Just to see if i was still walking. If he didn’t see me he began to look for me. So at this point my heart is racing and i have no clue what to do than to walk slower. As he kept stopping and looking back he gave me the weirdest and creepiest look i have ever seen in my life. I mean his stare made feel so vulnerable, helpless and as if he was stripping me with his eyes. Then, what scared me the most. As i went in my apartments entrance i saw him. He was in his balcony WAITING to see me enter and kept staring at me until he had no visual.
A few weeks ago I was traveling through the Amtrak station in Sacramento, late at night and found myself in a scary situation.
The station and platforms are connected by covered walkways and tunnels which are very creepy after dark. When I got off the train the conductor made a point of recommending that I head immediately to the station rather than waiting on the platforms. She knew that there would be men loitering on the platforms and that it would be dangerous or uncomfortable to wait there.
It takes a few minutes to get to the station and once I was in the tunnels I ended up alone with one group of passengers almost out of sight ahead and another group lagging behind—and this is when the guys who were hanging around started following me. One man followed me on the bike and then circled around me, making comments, telling me to smile and come with him. “Where are you going?” “Talk to me.” “Smile for me.” As I walked quickly towards the station and tried to brush him off he kept riding circles around me while four of his friends walked behind us and laughed. I felt trapped by the five of them and didn’t see anyone around who could have helped me if I confronted them.
I was able to shake them off when more passengers from the train caught up with us and was relieved to get to the station. There, a second conductor was advising women traveling alone or with young kids to walk to the platform in a large group or ride with him to avoid trouble.
It amazes me to think that this is a well known problem that has not been dealt with!! I wrote to Amtrak asking for information on this TWO WEEKS AGO but have had no response
— so what do I do next?
A few nights ago I was coming from the French Quarter where I was picking up my medicine. I got on the bus home, but then thought I got on the wrong bus and got off too early (I moved here 3 weeks ago). Immediately an older man (I am 20) said “You look like you’re lost, baby.” He then followed me for 15 minutes until I called my mom telling her what cross streets I was at each time I reached cross streets.
I was terrified, and couldn’t help but wonder what would have happened if my mom was at work?