“3 men approached me trying to touch my face and kept asking me to come with them”

I’m a 16 year old girl, living in Brussels (parents moved from US to work here). I’ve recently stopped hanging out with my friends at the mall or the city shopping street, because of the looks, catcalling and remarks my friends and I get. My friends and I do not dress provocatively, but we do wear sun-dresses and shorts in summer, which we should be able to do, without being shouted at.

I really hate this behavior. A few weeks ago I was waiting for my friends outside a cinema (It hadn’t opened yet, I was 10 minutes early), It was 2 P.M, and around me were couples, groups of friends, families etc. Yet, 3 men still approached me trying to touch my face and kept asking me to come with them, and tried to pressure me into going into their car with them. I got so scared, I ran away and called my parents to pick me up.

Since that experience I don’t go anywhere without my mom or dad. This has really had a bad affect on me, I wish the sexual street harassment would stop. What is disgusting is when they do it to underage girls as well. I know 13 year old girls who are touched by strangers. It makes me sick.

Some people say it is flattering that men find them “hot”, but it makes me feel even more worthless and empty, as if the only reason I exist is to be looked at for being female.

– A.R.

Location: Brussels, Belgium

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.

2 Responses to “3 men approached me trying to touch my face and kept asking me to come with them”

  1. Jennifer Rice says:

    As a grown woman I would find that to be very scary behavior, but to read about it happening to a teen-aged lady such as yourself is simply infuriating.

    You are not alone in that it doesn’t make you feel more attractive to be harassed so; most women feel degraded and disgusted by such behavior.

    If it happens again, go to the nearest sane adult and ask them to call the police because you are being threatened. Let the harassing jerks explain themselves to someone they CAN’T harass, like law enforcement.

    Sadly these experiences are all too common for women. The best advice I can give is to always trust your instincts, move away from any place or person when you feel even the slightest bit threatened, and don’t worry about over-reacting. You won’t have red flags go up about a guy unless he is doing something to warrant your concern. Nice men know how important it is not to behave in a way that makes women feel threatened.

    Try to focus on getting angry about it and recognizing that they are the problem, not you. Try not to internalize their bad behavior by feeling shame or that you deserve it. Easier said then done I know, but it’s worth it to tell yourself over and over again that YOU are NOT the problem, they are.

    Take good care of yourself, and see if you can get a mixed group of kids, boys and girls, to go out with in public places, at least until you find the ‘safe’ places in your city.

  2. I’m sorry you had to go through this. It’s really maddening to see what this world is coming to. You did alright by calling your parent.

    It might help to try and click pictures of those guys then and there and calling 911. But every situation is different, and you would be best to use your own judgement to decide if making a safe exit is better or standing up is better. If you were in a crowded place like waiting in line outside a cinema, then maybe making a scene and trying to ashame those guys would have worked.

    Either ways, be careful and take care.

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