I was walking in the early evening in the east village of Manhattan, on an upscale, populated street. In my usual defensive street manner, I was walking quickly, I was not smiling, and I was not making eye contact with anyone on the street.
I passed a man who I didn’t look at and then heard from behind me, “Hey, you got a nice ass.” I stopped and turned around, I had enough that day. This happens everyday, sometimes twice or three times a day. This comment was particularly rude and blatantly disrespectful, and I didn’t want to ignore it anymore.
I yelled at him and told him to shut up and that he was being disrespectful, he yelled at me and called me a bitch, saying “I got a right to like a big fat ass.”
I took the high road on the fat ass comment, and said, “Some women may have been sexually assaulted or raped, and they don’t like being talked to like that.” (I have been sexually assaulted).
He said, “All you gotta do is tell me that.”
Oh, so my preemptive opener for any man should be, “I’ve been assaulted, do not talk to me.”
Yes, I was upset and yelling at him, but I was trying to explain something too, that he could have learned something from. Clearly I had no effect on him whatsoever, since when I turned around and walked away, he said, “You still got a nice ass though.”
He had to have the last word, didn’t he. One more time to assert his power, knowing that I was visibly upset and could not turn around again.
Evey day [I am harassed]. Every single day without fail. I’m so tired of it. I don’t know what I can do. I feel totally helpless and unable to enjoy being outside. I am afraid when I see men coming toward me on the street. I am afraid they are going to touch me or speak to me. When they’re walking toward me I am saying to myself “please don’t look at me, please don’t say anything.” This is no way to live! I am worried about how this is really affecting me. Any advice on how to deal with this or what I can do would be appreciated.
– Amie B.
Location: East Village, NYC