Yesterday afternoon, I was on my way to the supermarket to pick up some soup. I was picking up soup because I’m feeling deathly sick and not in the best frame of mind. So when a guy came up to me and started talking to me on the street, walking along side me, well, I wasn’t in the mood for it. The middle-aged man began whispering a bunch of vulgar things under his breath at me, slowly growing louder and louder. I couldn’t make out much of what he was saying, except that he kept saying the word “dick” over and over again. Finally, after walking a block with this guy next to me, I turned to him, growled and yelled “get the fuck away from me!” He quickly veered off his path and turned the corner.
I could afford to scream in this guy’s face for a number of reasons: it was broad daylight and there were tons of people around. Plus, in the moment, I really didn’t care because I was sick, and not feeling it. But plenty of times I’ve just ignored street harassment, or responded in a less voluble manner. Sometimes I just give the middle finger. And other times, I just say “fuck off.” Ideally, I’d really love to be able to ask these guys how they’d feel if it was their mothers or sisters or daughters that were being harassed.
So I want to know: What do you do when you you experience sexual harassment on the street? How do you respond? How do you wish you could respond?