“Hey, mami, come back to my apartment!”

One morning, my family and I were walking from our resort to the beach in the town of Tamarindo  in Costa Rica. A truck full of men drove by, honking at my sister. Because my sister is Deaf, she could not hear them, and thus gave them no response. My dad or mom signed to my sister that men had just honked at her.

A few minutes later, the same truck drove by again, honking once more and, this time, yelling things in Spanish. Because I speak some Spanish, I knew what they were saying (they said things like, “Hey, mami, come back to my apartment! Let’s f*ck!”). My dad was angry and told my sister to button up her shirt all the way, even though she was dressed appropriately.

I was 13 at the time, and this incident of street harassment was once of the first I had experienced. It ruined the rest of my day, which should have been a pleasant day at the beach.

– Erica

Location: Tamarindo, Costa Rica

Share your street harassment story today and help raise awareness about the problem. Include your location and it will be added to the Street Harassment Map.

4 Responses to “Hey, mami, come back to my apartment!”

  1. Golden Silence says:

    I wish your parents had stood up for your sister as opposed to blaming it on how she was dressed. I’m sorry that happened.

  2. Tbg says:

    Sorry your sister had to go through this. I don’t know what to say, better be safe than sorry or stand up against street harassment. It’s a very hard decision.

  3. friday jones says:

    Your Dad was wrong to react to this incident by telling your sister to button her top button. She could have been wearing a tent, and they would have done the same thing as long as the tent was pink.

  4. LS says:

    In the case of sexual and public harassment of women by men, what the woman was wearing is always scrutinized. Women are always being sent the message that we are to blame. In doing this, societies are sending a dangerous message to harassing men who are already clearly irresponsible. The message is that it’s ok to blame what a woman wears for their actions. The message is, what the harassing man did is all the woman’s fault and the man has no culpability.

    Men are being taught that it’s ok not to take responsibility for their hateful behavior. On a systematic level, they are supported by society in finding some aspect of the woman that is responsible for her being treated badly. Of course this works great for men in male dominated, patriarchal societies because women always end up the losers.

    But there are other messages and they are not compliments to men in general and harassing men in particular. It’s basically saying that men are such mindless, out of control animals that they can’t even handle a woman dressed in a sexy outfit without losing control of the words that come out of their mouth or their actions. Not only that, they can’t even handle seeing a little skin. That’s pathetic.

    What is also being said is that men are easily controlled by women. All we have to do is wear something sexy and low cut and they can no longer exercise self-discipline and turn into harassers. Finally, the other message is that men lack self-respect and are not all that respectable. Because if they did have self-respect, they would not allow themselves to behave in such undignified ways towards women, allowing all the world to see how immature, emotionally undeveloped, and foolish they are.

    Boys will be boys? If I were a man I would feel insulted by this. In fact I have have spoken to some really great men who can’t stand harassing men because they make life more difficult for the good guys. The harassers perpetuate the idea that men can’t be trusted and men who can be trusted suffer because of this.

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