I was meant to be meeting a friend for an open mic night in aid of Earth Hour, at a university hall of residence about fifteen minutes away from my house. Getting there involves walking about ten minutes down a long, straight road (residential, with branches off it) to the next main road (a busy shopping/restaurant district) and getting a bus. It’s not the safest part of the city, but I had never before encountered any harassment along this stretch, nor seen it happen to others.
I left my house and joined the long road and was walking behind a couple. Soon I heard the footsteps of someone behind me and I instinctively started to walk closer to the couple. I looked quickly behind me and saw a man in a tracksuit, but wasn’t too panicked at this stage.
Unfortunately for me, the couple turned off at the next street and that’s when the man started calling out to me. At first I thought he was talking on the phone, but then I heard it clearer: “Hey sexy…sexy lady…” he kept calling out louder and was eventually just saying “sexy” over and over again. I tried to walk as quickly as I could without looking like I was running.
As I didn’t reply to him, he first started getting annoyed, saying things like, “What way is that to treat someone?” then, “That’s cheeky, that is, proper cheeky”, and then when I still refused to acknowledge that he was there, he started getting angry.
I didn’t pass a single other person until I got to very near the main road, but luckily managed to put a few people between us.
I was right next to my bus stop, but I couldn’t stop as I knew he would harass me further if he caught up with me, so I kept walking down the main road. This stretch is notorious for restaurant doormen trying to tempt you into their establishment, but luckily one of them took pity on me and let me past, whilst stopping my harasser (who was still following me) long enough for me to slip into the nearest shop. The man got frustrated that he had lost sight of me and sloped back off into the night, I had a lucky escape but I’ve never felt so dirty or abused in my life, and I dread to think of any other women he went on to bother that night.
I’ll thank that restaurant doorman if I ever see him again, but he shouldn’t have had to save me. Street harassers are filthy criminals and nothing more.
Location: Manchester, United Kingdom