Linda’s Story: A story of saying STOP
I left my friend’s house at 11:30pm and started walking towards the metro station. The street was empty and the sky was dark. Halfway I see a group of young men standing along the opposite side of the street. I instantly know they are gonna say something. I look straight ahead and walk faster. As I pass them they yell at me: “Hey! Where are you going? Come stay with us.” “Nice legs!” “Hey, you could at least say hello!”. I just walk past as fast as I can.
Almost at the metro station I realize I forgot my bag with my metro card at my friend’s place. I walk back, and I realize too late I’m on the same side of the street where the boys are standing. They start yelling nonsense again. One of them goes: “Hey look at me!” just as I pass him. Instinctively I go: “Schhhhhhhh!”. They all laugh. I get to my friend’s place, I get my bag and voila: ready for the third round. I walk on the opposite side of the street this time and I look straight ahead again. As I approach them they start imitating me: “Scccccchhhhhhhhh! Schhhhhhhhhhh!” One of them yells: “Oh she really loves walking past us!” Another one goes: “Yeah, she’d really like to see our big dicks!”
I stop. I turn around and I walk slowly towards them until I stand in the middle of the empty street. They are all spread out on the sidewalk. May be nine or ten guys. They look at me in complete silence. I feel my heart beat very fast.
“Guys, I’m a girl. I’m alone. I’m walking to the metro station late at night. It’s dark. You’re ten guys. I am not being disrespectful to you. But you are to me. A lady..”
One of them goes: “Oh she’s a lady now!!” They all laugh, but they’re nervous.
“A lady, a woman, a girl, anybody should be able to walk in the specific street without being yelled at.”
One or two of the guys try to make they other ones laugh. One of the older guy says: “You should listen to her, you’re just idiots”
“Why do you scream this kind of stuff? Do you think I like it? NO! I don’t. I would never scream those things to anyone. Do you think girls start walking faster when they hear those things because they’re happy about it? Because they’re so impressed by you? Or because they’re flattered? Well I can tell you they arent’t. They’re FED UP with it.”
I walked away. They stayed silent. Since this happened I’ve constantly said STOP to every verbal harassment I’ve been subject to. Calmly and smiling I look the guys in the eyes and I tell them what they’re doing is disrespectful. If we all say STOP, it will stop.