No Vacation from Harassment

I recently returned from a trip to Turkey, where the people were, most of the time, charming and pleasant. Except for one, however.

I was at a mosque in Istanbul with my parents, and we were walking around the grounds. The mosque is on a hill, and I was standing on a ledge to get a better look of the city below. As I turned around to step off the ledge, I saw a young man with his camera cellphone out, taking a picture of me. I just walked away and joined my parents, thinking that there would be safety in numbers.

We were walking down a flight of stairs when the same young man slipped past me on my left, reached behind him, and grabbed my crotch.

Without even thinking, I punched him on the shoulder as hard as I could. My mom turned to me and said, “What did you do that for?” I told her that he grabbed me. He then had the audacity to walk past us one more time, which is when my mom and I glared at him and told him, “No.” I then held eye contact with him and gave him the finger until he looked away.

I have been the object of visual and verbal harassment before, but I’ve never been groped and it left me shaken and feeling almost guilty, just for being female and somehow attracting that kind of attention.

Submitted by Tasha.

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