Maria’s story: “I am fed up with feeling so alone”
I was surprised yet pleased to find that a site such as this exists. I have been experiencing street harassment all my life. It almost seems normal. From the time I turned 13 I’ve had to put up with cat calls. I’d hear them every day on my way walking home from school. I’d meet the same people and hear the same calls. ‘My sexy bow foot friend’ was usually the annoying mantra I endured for years at school. It still continues to date. Whenever I pass guys on the street, I hear ridiculous statements and lame pick up lines. It happens to all women everywhere. I try my best to ignore only to be cursed, called unmannerly and rude names when I don’t respond. If I’m in a bad mood, I snap and curse back. In a few cases, this has caused the other guys watching the exchange to laugh at me and further cursing from the offender. Feels like there’s no option out of this treatment. I just feel like a victim. Besides this street harassment, there have been several instances where I have been walking along a not so busy street and had a car slow down next to me and some idiot try to pick me up. Refuse to drive off even when I try their advances. This usually happens when its dark outside. The streets are well lit but it doesn’t help me feeling violated when it happens. Whenever it does, I wonder what if the guy doubles back and tries to kidnap me. On one occasion, I was on the bus coming home after dark from university. There was this guy who was not from my country I could tell from my skin colour and hair who kept staring at me. It was the second time I caught the bus and noticed the same guy staring. I got off the bus alone and started walking up a short hill to my home. I turned around and saw this guy following me. He was staring directly at me each time I checked. After a few minutes, I saw him make a turn behind me and disappear. I made it home safe but I was still very fearful. Since that night, I stopped catching the bus late at night and got a ride instead. I have not seen the creep since, not even during the day. I’ve lived in this same area for 24 years and have never seen this guy except that night. He does not live in my area. I believe that if I continued to ride the bus, the guy would have continued to stalk and tried to rape me. Another instance on the bus, I was sitting next to this jerk who was trying to chat me up. I ignored his advances and later got up and moved further down in the bus only to hear even more jeering. His friends also in the front of bus laughed out loud to every rude statement. There was a comment that women of my complexion have foul smelling vaginas. A few other women looked embarrassed but did nothing. I don’t blame them. Don’t think I would be brave enough to make a stance either. Luckily they got off shortly with even more rude statements, laughing and glances at me for my reaction. Maybe I stop catching the bus for I have just one instance to share which occurred there. Found myself sitting next to a middle aged fat guy who propositioned me to spend a day with him and he’d pay me as much as I get at work. I also get these propositions while walking the street. I work in the heart of town and one night the taxi while is usually on time was 30 minutes late. Every guy/group of guys had a dirty comment to make as they passed. I felt like I was losing a part of me with every comment. A bit of my happiness and piece of mind drifting away. I am fed up with feeling so alone and helpless just walking ordinarily and dressed ordinarily. What do guys think will happen if I or any other woman responds to their dirty comment? It certainly won’t land them in bed. Just go away jerks.