Yesterday I was walking to the laundromat to drop off clothes before heading out to teach a class. Walking out of the laundromat I decided to sneak in the 7Eleven next door to see if they carried my new favorite ice cream brand so that I could come grab some after class. A man so kindly held the door open for me, I thanked him and walked inside. They didn’t have the brand so just 60 seconds later I walked back out and he was sitting on the other side of the street watching me come out. I turned down the side walk and he crossed the street to follow me. He even yelled at me to stop and wait for him.
Image Credit: Courtesy of Erin Bailey
So now you tell me, what do I deserve?
Because this is about 5 percent of the harassment I have been a victim of this year. And this isn’t even the worst of it. What about the nights I’m out with my friends and just because I have heels on and am at a bar it gives anyone the right to hiss, yell or even grab me or my friends.
Or what about the gym. Or what I like to think is my safe zone. The one place I feel men should respect me most because there I feel like we’re on the same playing field. There I feel the most empowered. There I feel the most belittled by the comments, by the glares and by the entitlement.
I had a man come up to me a couple months ago at the water fountain in the gym as I was filling up my water bottle he waited patiently. He then told me he liked my leggings, that they made my ass look great, and they’d look better off.
Don’t ask me what I was wearing. That’s not the question.
If we stopped doing things that felt or seemed dangerous, we wouldn’t live.
Am I supposed to stop going to the park? Am I supposed to not run in downtown Boston in the broad daylight? Am I supposed to not go to 7Eleven or the laundromat at 6PM on a Wednesday night? Am I supposed to not go to the gym?
I am careful. I don’t go to dangerous places alone. I don’t run in dodgy areas by myself. I carry keys on me, and soon pepper spray to put my Moms mind at ease. But that’s not the point.
What do I deserve?