I live in Sydney, Australia, and for 98% of the time I can walk the streets feeling very safe. I’ve never had more than a drunkard say, “Woah, look at them breasts!” but have never been physically threatened/touched. And at my 5ft height, that isn’t a hard thing to do. However, I always get the good mornings and hellos from groups of men that my gut instinct says are up to no good, with that long and lingering glare while they look at my body. I feel violated.
When construction for a new apartment building began next to mine, I felt ill. Each morning walking to the train station I’d walk as fast as I could. I’d wear jackets even if it was too warm to do so just to give the men less to look at. Then the “Good morning’s” started by two particular groups of men. I’d cross the road if I saw them and they’d simply laugh knowing they got to me, so a couple of times I stopped and stared them down. It worked, for a few mornings, until they got the guts to wave back as I stared.
One morning I had enough, I was furious so I wrote a letter of complaint to the development company. That was last Friday afternoon, and this Monday morning I was stopped by the foreman and he politely let me know that he will speak to the men and have them stop the harassment and that if it happens again to seek him out or contact the company again. He was very gentlemanly, well-spoken and non-threatening and I repeatedly thanked him. A male ally in the construction industry!
I wondered how I could complain about men simply saying, “Good morning,” and then laughing as I ignored them… how do you complain about a hunch that they are not respecting me?
After finding this website and global movement, I was given the confidence and words to use to strongly construct a good letter. I had obviously done it though, and I hope my morning walks to the station can be enjoyable once more! I will let you know how it all goes.
Location: Sydney, Australia