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Street Harassment…AGAIN

Street Harassment…AGAIN

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This might sound dramatic, but I think one of these days I might strike a man. I’ve spoken about the disturbing amount of street harassment most women have to endure by Vincentian men before, but I think I must speak about it again. I might be young, but I’m already exhausted by men. Ever since I was 12, I’ve had to be wary of men making sexual advances, and I’m tired.

Contrary to popular belief, women don’t want to be told to smile. What is it with men and telling women to smile? Usually, I’d just ignore the command, but some men are persistent. When I ignore them, they’d feel the need to talk some more; “you’re too pretty to have your face like that, smile nah?”. These days I look them straight in the eye and ask them if I’m decoration; “God did not put me on this earth to please you, you’re harassing me”. That usually gives them pause. I’d get lame excuses such as “I was just trying to talk to you”. I know you were trying to talk to me, but could you leave me alone?

These requests are always made in the most ridiculous situations. For example, when I’m at my desk doing my work and a male co-worker decides to tell me “put a smile on your face”. How about you shut your hole and leave me alone, sir? Could you imagine if I walked around smiling for no reason? You’d think I was mentally deranged. The truth is, most men think it’s your job to please them.

They think it’s their right to request you to change your facial expressions to appease them. Sorry to break it to you, my existence is not for your pleasure.

A second more disturbing behaviour I’ve observed is what I call “accidental collision”. It took me a while to observe this trend because it is so wild and stupid. One day I was walking in town minding my own business, when a car drove towards me, almost pinning me between another vehicle on my right. I was scared naturally, because I’d almost been pinned between two cars, until I noticed the driver winking at me… He immediately tried to flirt with me, telling me how beautiful I looked. I was so scared I turned sideways to escape, and I walked away quickly with him screaming obscenities at my back because I ignored him.

Another incident involved a young man riding towards me with his bike. I looked up in shock because once again, I was almost knocked down, except he was smirking. He told me “Don’t worry, I wasn’t really going to hit you. What’s your name?” This man almost knocked me over with his bike to flirt with me. I was so angry I almost shoved him down. The same thing happened last week with a cart man; “don’t worry beautiful, was just trying to get your attention”. Once again, a man almost drove into me to flirt. I wonder if men know what it feels like for women to endanger their lives just to verbally harass them on the street? Of course, they don’t know, they don’t have to fear for their lives when they’re around women. My right to safety means nothing to these men. They are willing to endanger me, just to flirt.

There are very few occurrences when I would lash out at these men, they almost always respond with shock. They genuinely don’t realize that what they’re doing is wrong, they think we like it. I remember discussing this topic to a group of people and a man proudly proclaimed in the room that “You women like it when we do that. You would miss it if men stopped trying to talk to you.” All the women responded with a resounding “NO”. Men genuinely believe that we like it when they interrupt us to say, “smile beautiful”. Well let me help you. Below is a list of all the things most women hate:

1) Telling us to smile. If I felt the need to smile, I would. Please go away!

2) Interrupting us in the most ridiculous places to try and flirt.

3) Complimenting our breasts and bottom at work.

4) Calling us “sweetie”, “honey” and “dear” in a professional environment. Learn my name or don’t call me!

5) Resting your hand on my back or arm when you’re trying to pass. You wouldn’t grab a man’s lower back, so don’t grab mine. It is a gross invasion of personal space.

6) Learn to accept rejection and stop punishing women when they don’t want you back.

7) If you find it difficult to follow these instructions, just stay away from women completely.

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