Bekka’s Story: “NOT an invitation for you to holler at me”

This morning, I am feeling fed up.
I was walking from the coffee shop to the mental health center that I’m volunteering at when I hear someone shouting. I realize that person is shouting at me from his car and he is trying to get my attention. He proceeds to whistle at me repeatedly and starts jeering. I ignored him and kept walking but he proceeded to shout and make inappropriate noises until I made it in the building.

I have never understood why men yell at women from their cars. What do they get from this obnoxious behavior? I have been honked at, yelled at, sneered at, propositioned, and gestured to by men from their cars since middle school. It happens when I’m walking on the street, waiting at the bus stop, and even once when I was driving on the freeway. Several times I’ve been harassed on public transit as well. Sometimes when I talk about it with people they tell me I should take it as a compliment or that it must mean they found me attractive.

I DON’T CARE if you find me attractive. It does not make me feel good when I am harassed. Men, if you have ever participated in this behavior, why do you do it? I am not going to give you my number. I am not flattered or complimented when you hit on me from your car. I am not going to smile at you. I noticed men do it more often when they are with their friends. You are not impressing me. You are not more of a man because you harass women on the street. It is not cute. It is not okay. I am not going to sleep with you. Motherfucker, I am not going to give you the time of day. If I had a bag of rocks I would strongly desire to throw them at your car.

Friends, please do not invalidate someone’s negative feelings and emotions if they talk about being a victim of street harassment. It IS quite prevalent, a big deal, and can lead to violence. It is not a compliment. It is not acceptable. I don’t care how I look or what I am wearing, it is NOT an invitation for you to holler at me.