The past three days have been clouded with sexual harassment and I feel like I failed to fight back until today. For some reason men have been making unwarranted passes at me and saying unnecessary comments to me and I just freeze. But today I didn’t want to take it anymore.
I’ve been repeatedly called pet names on the job, a jeweler kissed my neck and rubbed my stomach after a friendly hug, and I was hooted at while running. But in those moments I didn’t act as I wish I had now. Hindsight is always 20/20.
But this morning when I was walking to the office and a man working on the building across the street whistled at me, I stopped and turned to him. He waved. I continued walking and stopped again: I should take his photo. So I got out my phone, pointed, and he ducked away.
Then when I was leaving the gym tonight with a friend, a nasty old man with dumbells sneered at us and croaked: “Sexxxy…” Just like this morning, I stopped dead in my tracks and looked right at him. He smiled.
“Did you just say ‘sexy’?”
A little more aggressively: “Did you just say ‘sexxy’ to her?”
Embarrassed, he choked, “Er, um, no, to myself.”
“Oh. To yourself…” and we walked off shaking our heads.
I wish I had my phone.
written by Brigitte.