Okay, this is actually what you do if you’re being sexually harassed in any kind of public space. Draw attention to it, preferably pull away and let EVERYONE know that someone is touching you. This will not only get him to get off you but he’ll definitely think about this situation next time he wants to do something like this.
Spreading the word.
My mom and I were talking about this today after hearing about a woman who was molested on a plane who said nothing until she was picked up at the airport by her parents. My mom looked at me and asked what I would do in that situation and I looked her dead in the eye and I told her “it would take me .02 seconds to realize what was going on and yell angrily, and then I would be straight on to bitch slapping him so hard he wouldn’t be able to see the punch I’d throw with the opposite hand”.
She nodded and accepted my salty language like a seasoned sailor.
I’ve had experience with this before, in Prague a group of five girls and I were followed by three men at night. After a while they started yelling at us, the most common being “how much?” Meaning how much we “cost” as prostitutes. Seeing as they weren’t going to stop, I turned on my heel, faced them (which surprised them), spat at their feet and responded with “You couldn’t afford me.” This prompted the other girls to start yelling back at them as well, starting with our spitfire Czech friend to start slinging curses in Czech as she and the rest of the girls came up beside me. Needless to say the men backed off and pretty much fled. They weren’t expecting a fight. It empowered me and encouraged the rest of the girls to yell back too.
I’ve heard that a lot of people don’t know what to do in this situation because they’ve been taught all their lives to be polite and non-aggressive. Keep your heads down or whatever.
Keep in mind that studies have shown that rapists look for victims who won’t fight back.
Remember that nobody has the right to touch you without your consent or harass you, and you have all the right to make the biggest fuss about it that you can possibly make.
Get angry. Be in command.
I want you all to know that thinking what will happen in a situation and actually being in a situation are very different things!
My sister may be strong enough to speak loudly and get angry when a man is inappropriate towards her, but although I thought I would be too, I did not have that power! It wasn’t that I was taught I had to be polite in those situations, I heard a few times from parents to fight back, but I froze like a deer in headlights and was unable to say anything. I have been harassed and touched without consent more than once, and each time I have acted stronger with my words.
The first time I didn’t say a word, the second time I was hesitant and soft spoken, the third I was able to say a clipped “excuse me.”
Seeing posts like these and thinking about what I will do does help. Even though you may not like it you need to think honestly on how you will react, not just an imaginary “I’ll kick ass!” if thats not what you can really do. But do try and get mad. When you imagine yourself in such situations, if you do not feel anger, try. Get upset, even if you’re alone in your room. Set aside time to be angry because it will help it to emerge when they harass, assault.
But if you do find yourself in those situations and nothing goes the way you thought, don’t be sad. Don’t be upset with yourself, push all negative emotions to the one who intruded on your person if you can. You do not deserve to be put in these situations, but if you do or if you have been, and need someone to speak to, I am here for you!
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[Images: Jonpaul Douglass]