I haven’t been feeling too mousy recently, but I did feel it today and I keep thinking over what I could have done differently. I was walking back from the gym. Right now I feel like I should describe what I was wearing or how I looked to emphasise that I didn’t deserve what happened, but no one deserves what happened so it is really beside the point and I don’t want to reinforce that idea.
A guy was standing outside the post office near my flat, talking really loudly on the phone, so he kind of caught my attention. He was also talking about someone being found dead in their house after a burglary so it caught my attention a bit more. A bit odd but I have definitely overheard odder. I don’t think I would have ever thought about him again.
Until he decided to bellow this at me..”WOULD YOU LOOK AT THE ARSE ON THAT”. He continued with a couple more of similar sentences.. I just walked away with my head a bit down. I didn’t want to look at him, I just wanted to get away. As I got further away from him and turned a corner, I felt really really mousy, feeling like I was scurrying away. I wanted to go back and confront him but my feet kept going.
As I continued my walk home, I fantasised about the things I could have said or done to him. This ranged from walking up to him and punching him, to calmly asking him why he thought it was okay to heckle people. I doubted either of these options would end particularly well for me or feel like I had got through to him. He wasn’t going to suddenly say “oh, sorry you’re right, I am a complete dick for doing that, I promise I will never do it again. I am going to go and look at the insecurities I have in regards to my masculinity and the misogynistic views I hold”. Hahaha I don’t think so.
Instead, I did what I often do, and whatsapped someone about what had happened, this time my boyfriend. He reassured me that I shouldn’t feel bad for walking away, it was the safest thing to do. This still doesn’t leave me feeling particularly good about how I reacted. Should I have walked up to him and filmed whatever exchange happened next? Would this really stop him from doing it again?
This is far, far from my first experience of street harassment. As we know, this shit happens a lot. I like to think that if I saw him doing that to someone else, I would step in. It is maybe harder to react when you are on your own and you feel very alone in the situation. I don’t know if anyone would have had my back today, I didn’t really hang around to find out.