Did It Hurt When You Fell From Heaven?
I’ve been hit on a lot in my life. I don’t say that our of vanity, just as a woman who possesses the proper body parts to entice a guy to want to make attempts to get me naked. There are too many men out there who will flirt with anything on two legs in the hopes of getting laid. Ever since my classmates became old enough to forget that girls have cooties and develop a desire to see naked women, I’ve been hit on in every thinkable way.
The scariest would have to be one afternoon driving home from college; a guy pulled up next to me on the highway and began gesturing to me as we drove. I ignored him as best as I could, but he was quite persistent and eventually settled in behind me for about 20 miles. Beginning to get nervous as he followed me off of my exit, I immediately pulled into a gas station and began to make my way inside. As I did, he flew into the lot and jumped out of his car. Wearing jean overalls and no shirt, he approached me and told me I was hot and asked for my number. I practically ran inside, waiting for him to leave so I could go home without this creep following me.
I read an article about women who feel that unwanted flirtation is a form of sexual harassment. It states that fear and discomfort are what define sexual harassment and that aggressive or sexual comments alone can instill terror in a female who is uninterested in a male’s advances. In public, there is no real way to escape it other than blocking it out and getting from point A to B as quickly as possible. It also cites a report from the CDC stating that noncontact and unwanted sexual experiences will affect one third of women in their lifetime (compared to 12.8% of men).
As a female, it is our responsibility to protect ourselves in public against such advances and to also not overreact over advances that are solely verbal. Obviously, unwanted physical contact is wrong and often in violation of the law, but words are just words. Riding MARTA through Atlanta made me a target for a wide variety of verbal advances, some as tame as “hey cutie, can I get your number” and some as strong as commenting on my body and letting me know what they would like to do to it. Rather than sit on that train and become a victim, I chose to ignore it. I would move my seat if necessary, always had my earbuds in and my nose in a book to make myself unavailable, and always sat in an area near an official or near other females.
It may be morally wrong for a man to shout out “nice tits” to a female who is minding her own business while walking down the street, but there is also a problem with us expecting everyone to properly censor themselves in public areas. It’s impossible to control the actions of others, especially in bars, on city streets, on public transportation, and other areas that are unable to enforce strict rules on proper behavior. At work, we can go to our boss or HR, but while out enjoying drinks with friends, there isn’t an easy route to take to make it stop. The bartender or manager isn’t going to do much unless the offender is drunk and/or disorderly and the police likely won’t do much either in a he-said she-said situation where no contact was made and no real laws were broken. You’re on your own.
I’ve hit guys who have grabbed my ass in bars and clubs, figuring that their decision to touch me justified my decision to smack them in the face. I’ve told guys to piss off after they refuse to get the hint that I’m not interested. I’ve laughed with friends at pathetic attempts by men to get my attention. I’ve learned to deal with unwanted advances without getting angry or upset by it. I decided not to allow it to control me or interrupt my life. I’ve realized that some men will go after any female that is conscious and I’ve realized there isn’t a damn thing I can do about their behavior.
Instead of getting angry and upset, females need to be strong and stop playing the victim. If it escalates beyond words into physical contact or if it becomes threatening, it’s definitely a problem. If it’s simply unwanted flirtation and advances, find a way to deal with it and don’t be so soft about it. No one chooses harassment, but people do unwillingly choose to be an easy target by allowing their emotions to cloud their judgment and by getting upset instead of brushing it off and removing themselves from the situation. Choose to be strong, choose to be unafraid to tell these guys to piss off, and choose to hold your head up high and not let some horny idiot ruin your entire day.