A man slowed his car to follow me & my daughter (8 yrs old) on foot. He followed us for about a block yelling out his window that I’m sexy, I need to give him my number, at least my name, just hop in & talk to him for a little bit….
My daughter was obviously confused & uncomfortable, but I ignored him hoping she might think he wasn’t talking to me. I have a history of sexual assault & was merely focusing on controling my senses so that I wouldn’t dissociate. Then he pulled up into the driveway in front of us, cutting us off & yelled at my daughter: “Your mom is a fucking bitch-cunt-whore” before leaving in a fury. My amazing daughter yelled back that he was a stupid jerk & pulled me off the sidewalk, toward the park nearby where there was more people on foot.
Now, even though my only “invitation” for such threateningly creeptastical behavior was to fearfully ignore his graphic catcalls, the other family nearby looked at me instead as if I had caused the entire interaction & they held their children closer as we walked by. I do recognize the difference between a glance of disgust and a glance of pity. They directed their blame at the wrong person, just like when a rape victim is told she shouldn’t have gone out or she shouldn’t have worn a V-neck shirt. A more appropriate response would have been to ask if we’re alright!
My daughter asked me what the man’s words meant & why did all of that family look so mean at us. I told her there are no good answers to those questions. I told her I wish I’d been strong enough to tell him to go away when he first opened his mouth because following us was illegal. She said she knew I was scared because my hand was shaking in hers & that she would always be my hero when I need one.
We wanted to walk to the police station but we couldn’t remember what color the car was or any other details. We agreed that next time we would just tell such a person, “You’re breaking the law” & then we would tell them what they look like so they would know we would remember them.
– Tiffany Brown
Location: Small town outside of Syracuse, New York