I get street harassed A LOT. I have had a man touch my ass on the bus twice, had a guy touch himself while sitting next to me on the bus while looking at me, have had disgusting things said and shouted and whispered to me on the street.
Once I was on a fairly full bus- a guy came up to me and asked me quietly if he could ask me a question. I presumed he wanted to ask directions or something, so I said ok and he said, “Can I have a pair of your panties?” I said “excuse me?” and he repeated it in a disgusting voice. I raised my voice and replied so the whole bus could hear me, “EXCUSE ME, DID YOU JUST ASK ME FOR A PAIR OF MY PANTIES? HOW DARE YOU!” and everyone stared at him and he leaped out the door of the bus and ran away. That felt more good than embarrassing.
All of this has happened in Italy. I’m not a hugely attractive girl, I’m just… pretty to those who know me, I suppose, but I don’t stand out too much… I often wear skirts but with black tights and I never wear low cut tops or even high heels. And I don’t even hang around bad areas of the city. It always happens in nice neighbourhoods or in the city centre where I work.
Whenever I am harassed, I’m not usually the best looking or even most provocatively dressed woman nearby. I feel like there is something about my expression or attitude that attracts these guys. I have spoken to my friends about it and no one I know has had anything near the amount of disturbing experiences, even my drop dead gorgeous friends.
Whenever it happens, even though I am almost used to it, I feel frozen with fear and can’t be 100% sure it’s actually happening and not me being paranoid. Like when a guy touches my ass on the bus, I’m not sure.. and then as soon as I get off the bus, I know it was for real and I should have done something to shame the guy. It makes me sick to the stomach and is no way flattering. I know it’s not meant to be flattering, it’s meant to make you feel sick or angry or intimidated. The thing is, if you complain about it you end up looking vain or something. I really hate it but people just shrug and say “you’re a pretty young girl, it happens.” Well I don’t see the model-type girls in bare legs and hotpants getting harassed.
Location: Turin, Italy