Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Sexual Harassment in Public

I can't tell you how many of my female friends suffer from harassment in the grocery store, walking or biking down the street, in parking lots...anywhere you care to name.

Several have been terrorized and pawed at and grabbed when they tried to ignore the offender.

This upsets me.

I have not suffered from this particular malady. Maybe I'm not all that "hot". Maybe it's the years of martial arts training. Maybe I inherited that "You'll be up to your knees in floor if you try it"... look from my mother. But it upsets me anyway.

And I have to wonder...does it really get a guy anywhere to make some kind of filthy comment to a woman alone, trying to do her grocery shopping? Does it get him any dates? Does it accomplish that "main objective"? I don't see how it could. When someone is acting that way toward one of my friends, all I see is jackass.

Even those who don't comment out loud--the ones who drop their heads downwards and to one side when a woman walks past...what, if anything, does that "get" you?

My friends have told me stories about how frightened they were because some guy totally invaded their personal space in the hopes of "getting next to that". My friends didn't know if they were going to be grabbed, hit...or worse.

Afraid to say, "NO!"...that it might cause that individual to snap and accost them. Afraid to say anything at all that might escalate the incident.

They avert their gaze downward in the hopes that he will somehow lose interest and go away. And they feel ashamed. Like they did something to warrant that attention. They tell me how vulnerable and exposed it makes them feel. Defenseless. I hate that my dear friends feel that way.

It's time to speak up. It's time to say, "GET OFF ME!" when someone's in your face. You are less likely to be targeted if you're not afraid to make noise. Forget about the training that nice girls are quiet and composed. Blow the whistle. Spray the mace. Deploy the stun gun. Tell him to back off.

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