I was walking home from class today, hoping that the clouds weren’t going to start pouring down rain anytime soon. Today happened to be my sorority’s dress-up day and I chose to finally bring out my new dress, which I’d been too shy to wear lately because of a slit in the front. But as I joked on Facebook earlier today, safety pins really do save your butt.
I always have to pass by this really downtrodden house on the way home, it’s actually only two houses down from mine. I usually give the house a wide berth because not only is the house just awful but the men who live there scare me.
Today wasn’t an exception, as I notice one of them leaning out one of the windows staring at me as I walk by.
“Hey…whoa, I’d give it to you for free.”
I’m pretending to watch a car pass me.
I’m almost past him, I think.
“Gosh, you’re pretty.”
And though I’m actually really scared and my mouth is clamped shut, the feisty part of me is saying back: Well sir, you couldn’t pay me.
But mostly I’m thinking: It’s 2016…why is this still happening?
My roommate has her own story. She has a small group every week and her girls frequently tell her that they get harassed by the same men every time they come to small group. Keep in mind, these aren’t frat guys. These are fully grown men I’d peg for at least 35. My friend has considered multiple times going over and asking them to stop harassing her girls but she tells me, “I know it wouldn’t do anything. If anything, it might just make things worse for my girls.”
One night walking back she says she was followed by one of the men down the street and she realized that responding to their calls was the only way she could get them to stop following her. Back home, she called her boyfriend of the time to tell him what had happened and seek some comfort. The first thing he asked was, “Well, what were you wearing?”
Why the flim flam are we still placing blame on women who find themselves targeted by creeps? I don’t know how long it’s going to take for both men and women to be educated enough on this subject to not just make themselves aware of this, but also come to the right mindset about it. I don’t care if a girl is wearing a turtleneck sweater or a bikini on the street, better not blame it on her. I don’t care if alcohol was somehow involved, she’s not to blame. But more importantly, we’ve got to learn how to take care of ourselves and the people we care about. If you’re a woman, know the quickest and safest way home and don’t be afraid to ask for help or a walking buddy if you need it. If you live on campus, use those blue lights or even call for an escort, whatever makes you feel safe! If the same people are continuously harassing you, you have the right to call the police and ask for them to *ahem* mitigate the situation. Guys out there, inform yourselves about exactly harassment is and refrain from doing that yourselves. Support your girlfriends and friends that are girls by being that listening ear, that safe escort home, and never ask her “What were you wearing?”
Be safe, y’all. 🙂 For more information on street harassment, please check out stopstreetharassment.org.