Elizabeth’s Story: “I started to freeze up and panic inside”
I live in a city, and I deal with street harassment on almost a daily basis, but I recently experienced a situation worse than usual. I was walking alone downtown around midnight on a Friday night. There were no other people around. I hear yelling from behind me, “I want to f*** the s*** out of your a**!” and other similarly sexually explicit/aggressive statements. I started to freeze up and panic inside, but refused to turn around and look. I followed my typical course of action (now a reflex out of practice): Refuse eye contact and keep walking until you are a safe distance away.
This didn’t work. The yelling grew gradually closer and louder. The voices became threatening: “You need to look at me when I’m talking to you!” and “You know you want this!” followed by more yelling of what they wanted to do to me.
I finally was able to see my harassers without turning around; it was several guys in a car. They left as I approached a less deserted/more populated intersection.
This can’t be explained away as a compliment, a joke, or drunken stupidity. I can’t be accused of dressing provocatively; I was simply a young woman walking alone.