I live in an underdeveloped country working at a local NGO. I’ve had to deal with men staring and saying things for a long while but now I work between two construction sites and things have become really difficult. The men put their English to good use by shouting things like, “What a beautiful body!” or “Good pussy!” at me.
I complained to my boss, who is a local with a masters in gender studies, and she was very nice and supportive and tried to call the construction supervisor about it, but the harassment still continues and it makes me nervous about walking home every day. I can come home and commiserate with my room mate but it’s very difficult, especially given the poverty and the political/cultural situation here.
I know it’s never right to take abuse, but I struggle with the part of me that knows this is partially a product of the society I live in that’s been so oppressed for so long – that I could leave the country at any time but they cannot.
It’s not just me.. we hear them from the office catcalling women all day. As an international, however, I am singled out for abuse because they “know” I don’t have brothers or husbands handy. If I’m walking down the street with a man, this never happens. I don’t know how to handle this.