Shayna’s Story: “I’m sure it won’t be my last”

I’m 15 years old, and yesterday, I was at a mall with a few friends. All of them had to leave earlier than expected, and I was left alone at the mall while awaiting my parent’s arrival. As soon as they had left and I began walking toward the other end of the mall, I began noticing men leering and eyeing me up and down, then whispering and pointing to the guys next to them. I began walking quicker and crossed my arms, pulling my sweater closed over my chest. My first thought was to walk alongside the nearest women around me, but pretty soon they were gone. I crossed the road from one side of the mall to a Doughnut shop separate from the rest of the mall, trying to find a safe place to sit inside and wait until my family arrived. However, on my way inside, a car slowed down behind me and a bearded man in his mid 30’s wearing a beanie and t-shirt slowed down, whistled, and started calling out to me. I ignored him and ran inside.

This was the first time I’ve ever felt unsafe in a public place as a woman, and, unfortunately, I’m sure it won’t be my last.

When I shared this with my father, he told me that it might help if I changed my wardrobe. As if this was my fault.