So it’s really interesting how differently men treat me when I’m with my dad, vs. when I’m alone. Apparently the lack of chaperoning makes some people think they have a free pass to do what they want. The amount of wolf-whistling, cat-calling, lewd noises and unwelcome touching I’ve witnessed in the past couple of weeks has been fascinating, to say the least. Two particularly terrifying moments have been a) someone I thought of as a friend who I had to fight off from grabbing me, after a whole night of him bothering the girl I was out with, and b) waking up from a nap on the beach to find that some guy I’d never met before had lain down beside me to watch me sleep. Gross.
It’s not the most pressing issue in the world, and men are actually more likely to be victims of violent street crime, but it’s an issue that’s often brushed under the rug. It’s a compliment, they say, as though a complete stranger’s opinion of my arse is in some way consequential to me. Do you know why it’s not a compliment? Because it’s not intended as one. It’s about some weird complex that people have that revolves around belittling women as if in order to prove themselves dominant. They’re not expecting me to run after their car as they yell something out the window, their entire modus operandi hinges on the victim not being able to fight back, either because the harasser has now gone or because the victim is shit-scared that if they respond negatively, the situation will escalate.
Sure, there are far worse forms of sexual assault, but it’s the persistence that exhausts me. It demonstrates the complete lack of respect that certain people have for others’ sense of security. I’m not some miserable bitch who’ll cry rape as soon as a stranger shows and romantic interest, but I, and a lot of women, have learnt from a young age to be wary and to be able to differentiate between someone who genuinely cares to get to know us and someone who only gives a shit about looking good in front of his friends. We know because this attention pretty much starts from puberty.
The take-home? Don’t yell shit at strangers, and don’t me any differently when I’m alone than you would when I’m with family, you disrespectful prick.
PS: How to Talk to a Woman Who is Wearing Headphones? You don’t. That’s why she’s wearing headphones.