Louise’s Story: Just Keep Walking

One of the most memorable things I’ve had shouted at me was when I was walking down the pavement of a main road just outside of Cheltenham town centre late at night. Generally speaking it’s a pretty safe area.

I was unaware of the 3 men walking behind me a little way back until one of them started trying to get my attention by shouting “Hey! Hello?” I turned my head briefly to see who was shouting at me but kept walking and ignored them, as I figured they were looking to get a response, and would lose interest if I refused to give them one.

Then one of them yelled at the top of his voice “I would tear your ass in half”.

I couldn’t believe it. There was no hint of humour in his voice to tell me it was just an idiotic and immature joke or a poorly judged and unwelcome attempt to hit on me. Given that it was after dark and the road was very quiet, it was quite simply unnerving.

I didn’t shout back because I was dumbstruck and didn’t want to engage with them. I wanted to quicken my pace to widen the gap between us, but I didn’t want him to know that he had succeeded in frightening me, so I just kept walking, trying to hide the fact my body had gone rigid.

I couldn’t understand what he got out of doing it other than making me (an 18-year-old stranger, minding her own business) feel both physically threatened/unsafe and deeply insulted/disrespected. I hate the fact that he thought it acceptable/funny to make me feel that way.