Why many women are suspicious of men who really do just need directions

I was in my neighbourhood, walking home from an appointment at around 10.30 in the morning. A man in a car pulled over and asked me for directions to a street, but I explained I didn’t know where it was. He then proceeded to follow me in his car while saying the most disgusting things about my body and what he wanted to do to me. I wasn’t far from home but I didn’t want to lead him right to my front door.

There was a fork in the road with a small strip of houses in the middle, and I went down the one opposite to where his car was heading and hid in the wheelie bin area as I was terrified. I thought he was going to bundle me into his car. I heard his car back-up and assessed my options. I was already ringing my housemates but there was no reply. I scanned the area and saw a young man in the distance and bolted towards him. As I reached him and began to explain what was happening, I heard the car screech away into the distance.

I reported the situation to the police but nothing ever came of it. I felt it necessary to explain myself to the police: I was only wearing jeans and t-shirt at the time (i.e. nothing provocative), although the police officer made it clear that this was irrelevant.

This was not the first or last time something like this had happened to me. To a large extent these incidents of harassment dictate to me what I leave the house wearing, particularly if I am on my own, but I generally find that it doesn’t matter what I’m wearing. I still get unwanted vulgar remarks, horns honked at me and sometimes even followed while being jeered at. It has definitely shaken my confidence in going anywhere alone, even in the day time, and makes me feel disgusting and inferior to be objectified.

– Anonymous

Location: Leeds, United Kingdom

Share your street harassment story today and help raise awareness about the problem. Find suggestions for what YOU can do about this human rights issue.

3 Responses to Why many women are suspicious of men who really do just need directions

  1. katrina says:

    the delervery man grabbed my breast i was gobsmacked that he did it. usally i would have said something but i was in utter shock that he had just done that ….

  2. beckieweinheimer says:

    You are right about it doesn’t matter what you wear and to have to think about that when you are just leaving your own house. I am so sorry. Thanks for sharing your story. And I think you were very smart with everything you did, finding someone to stand by, calling the police. I think I would have just frozen up. Smart thinking. Bravo!

  3. Amelia says:

    Kudos to the police officer for telling you that what you were wearing was irrelevant.

    There’s been a couple of negative stories on this blog recently about the reactions of police & guards (ie. victim-blaming or minimizing the seriousness of the harassment) so it’s nice to hear that some cops are respectful, non-judgmental, and take street harassment and stalking seriously.

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