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Thursday, May 24, 2007

We're not gonna take it

Every day when I walk out of my Somerville apartment, and walk down the street to the bus stop, I get stared at. Leers, looks, cars slowing down to stare. I'm SO sick of it, but I don't really know what to do about it. Sometimes I stare back, and make a face, but that doesn't stop them. I used to worry every day about what I was wearing - especially in the summer. If I have any skin showing AT ALL, I know I'll get harassed that much more. I feel powerless.

Yesterday, I was walking home and I noticed a man across the street, and a young woman jogging towards him. I thought to myself "Oh, he's going to check her out and be disgusting about it." Sure enough, he stared and leered at her. Once she ran by him, he stopped walking, turned around and stared at her. I NEVER say anything to men, but I'm getting so fed up with it. All of a sudden I started yelling at him, "That's rude! Don't look at her like that-that's rude! She's not a piece of meat!!" I don't even know where the words came from, they just came out.

The man turned to look at me. He looked so surprised. He kind of muttered something, and looked at me as if he was trying to think of something to say. I continued walking, worrying that he would come after me. But, he didn't. It was an amazing experience for me. It felt so great to just YELL. To let a man know that it is not acceptable to stare at women like that. That we aren't here for him to stare at and think about fucking. I don't know if he even heard what I said, or what I meant by it, but dang, it still felt so great!

I decided, after last night, that I'm going to stop "ignoring" these men. Ignoring them just sends them the message that it's ok to harass women on the street. I don't care if people think I'm crazy; I'm going to start yelling at men on the street.

I got home and told my roommate about my experience. She related her harassment story of the day-being on the T and having a man lurking over her, with his crotch right in her face. Even when the T cleared out and there were plenty of seats available, this man still stood there, trapping her in. She got up to move, and when she moved, the guy turned around to look at her. She was ready to move again, but luckily he just stayed put.

Women face this every single day. Even if it doesn't happen to you every day, we still know it could. We still have to be hypervigilant, and worry about what might happen.

So from now on, I'm yelling at men. Enough is enough.


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