On the Subject of Street Harassment: Part Deux

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This is basically just an update to the situation I described in my last post. The bus stop creeper. So as I mentioned, I decided to start taking a different bus route to the downtown hub in the mornings so as to avoid interacting with him at my first stop. I have to leave a few minutes early to catch the different bus but I figured it was worth it for my peace of mind. From the hub I then have to transfer to another bus which takes me to my library. I knew he ended up at the hub too but he has never been near my side of it and I thought he never had seen me there, and I'd be safe. For last week that worked. 

Then yesterday morning I was waiting at the hub, tucked up against a pillar which offers some form of protection, with my headphones on, reading on my NOOK. I was quite immersed in my own world when I feel this sense of dread, and a shadow towering over me. The effing creeper. Literally creeping up behind me. Right by me, wayyy too close. I am just dumbfounded. He says "Hi (diminutive of my name), going to work?"
"Yes I am." Deadpan and disinterested.

I don't take out my headphones or even look up again after I realize it's him. He tells me to have a good day or something like that and reaches his hand towards me like he wants a handshake or something. I don't acknowledge it and he finally leaves. I am freaked out and worried, he must realize I haven't been taking my regular bus yet he can't put two and two together. It didn't help my mood when waiting for the bus to go home yesterday evening some jerk walked by me, saying "smile, honey, can't be that bad."

Are you serious? After my morning that was the last thing I needed to hear. Some guy inserting himself into my life for no reason other than his grandiose sense of entitlement to my smile. I feel impotent and infantilized every single time that happens, like I'm 15 again and the only satisfaction I can get is to mutter "fuck off" under my breath, where they can't hear me. Which is no satisfaction at all. I have huge speeches in my head, where I can knock them out with my verbal pyrotechnics, stun them, shame them. But nothing comes out. That's the worst part of it. Even though I live on the edge, anticipating it every day, still I am shocked into submission every single time. Being an INFJ and prone to social anxiety, outward conflict is incredibly difficult for me. I have two voices, my private  one that I can use in writing or with close friends, G, family, etc. Then my public voice, which is very proper and reserved. Expressing emotion, especially negative ones or actually raising my voice, is nearly impossible. 

So yesterday was a pretty bad day for me. Today is my late day at work, where I go in later and work later. I have never seen bus stop creeper at that time of day so I thought I was safe. I was waiting for the bus downtown, reading and listening to music. Then the shadow appeared over me again, and this time I was terrified by it, because I wasn't expecting it at all. He says the same thing as yesterday, much too close, and at first my brain was compelling me to respond with the same bland hello as before, and in a millisecond I weighed and measured the logic of that response, how it wouldn't solve my problem and I could just see every day from then on stretching out in the exact same way. I was furious that he was there when he never had been before, and that thought scared me to death. Something snapped inside me, and I spoke loudly, even more loudly than I meant to because my headphones were still in and music was playing,
 "LEAVE ME ALONE. I'VE HAD ENOUGH. LEAVE ME ALONE."

He was stunned and said nothing and I stormed towards the other end of the hub, shaking like a leaf, sick inside, near a panic attack. I felt like I was having an out of body experience. I knew I was moving and talking, but it was like someone else was doing it. Considering how scared I was, I was shocked I managed to get out such a clear, albeit unsophisticated, statement. It wasn't the verbal pyrotechnics I hear in my head, but it got the message across. I actually had to walk back by him when my bus came at the other far end, and he was still there, but sort of turned away and pulled his hood over his face like he was shamed and embarrassed. I pray that it is enough to make him leave me alone from now on. And I pray he's not a psychotic creeper who would attempt to retaliate. 

Hoping tomorrow is a better day. Until next time, much love to you all.


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2 comments :

  1. I hope he doesn't bother you again. I'm so sorry this incident and the others from your posts happened to you. I've had similar experiences but not as bad as yours.

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    1. Thank you Iris. I know that my experiences too are sadly fairly mild compared to many others. But in the moment they definitely don't feel so. I found myself almost playing it off to a co-worker I was telling this story to, saying "well, he hasn't called me names or said anything overtly sexual or anything like that..." and he said, "that doesn't matter. It's still harassment." And he's right. It's clearly unwanted attention, and now it's bordering on stalker-ish. I keep replaying my reaction in my head and the more I think about it, and how I tried being polite and subtle and it didn't work, I know I didn't overreact and I did the right thing.

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