“I loudly informed him that I do not go to the supermarket to be harassed”

Hello. I’ve experienced street harrassment alot. I’ve been grabbed in a bar, grabbed in the street and followed to my door step. I get stared at and approached by men almost on a daily basis, and it’s no exaggeration. You would think that somewhere as lovely as Oxford that you would escape it. It’s not true. It’s happened to me more in three years living here than my whole life in South East London.

The worst time was in November. I just fractured my wrist a few days before and I had just sung in a concert and was feeling really proud of myself for doing the solo with a cast on! I decided to walk home at about 11 pm, just down the road.

A man walked towards me, so fast. He was short, and wearing a hat. He walked into me and grabbed me invbetween my legs. I automatically pushed him away but that was all I could remember. He carried on walking as if nothing had happened. I stood and watched him walk away. I was frozen, violated, my pride knocked out of me.

I ran home and called my boyfriend. My mother asked me why I didn’t hit him. I was afraid he might have been carrying a knife. I didn’t report it to the police. I don’t know why. I was just frozen and I didn’t want to be touched by anyone.

I tried to get in touch with my local MP after experiencing daily harrassment, shouting, being approached, and worst of all being followed. He never got in touch with me. The police said that all I can do is call them when I feel threatened. I feel like they wont take it seriously.

I was in Tesco the other day and this disgusting slimey man came up to me and winked and me and tried to talk to me – i had been running. I embarrased the hell out of him- I loudly informed him that I do not go to the supermarket to be harassed by disgusting men. A women behind me whispered ‘what a douche’, but no one did anything to see if I was okay. They never do.

I fear that if I carry pepper spray I will be the one arrested. I spoke to my local community police who said they would call me about this and send me information about protecting myself, but nothing has arrived.

I’m furious for every person that this happens to. I’m furious with the disgusting scum of the earth who think it’s okay. I’m furious that I’m scared of going out and it’s normal for me to be harassed. and I’m scared because part of me has accepted that something much worse will happen eventually.

I’m also sick of being accused of being a feminist or a sexist for being passionate about this ending. The reality is that mens attitudes towards women needs to change. When I spoke to the police officer the first thing he actually said ‘theres a big problem round here with different ethnic groups disrespecting women’. I don’t know what to think about a police officer saying this. I am certainly against any discrimination and I think racism is absolutely disgusting. I’m not really sure how relevant it is.

– Anonymous

Location: Cowley Road, Oxford, 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.

4 Responses to “I loudly informed him that I do not go to the supermarket to be harassed”

  1. Sue Henderson says:

    In my experience it doesn’t matter what race or culture or religion someone is, all of them have representatives who harass women.

    I’m puzzled by the reference to being ‘accused of’ being a feminist, as though that’s a bad thing. I’m a feminist and I will be so till my dying day, and I will never apologise for being so or consider it anything less than something to take pride in.

  2. Anonymous says:

    the point is that when im accused of being a feminist (regardless of if i am or not) it’s said as a bad thing. My experience of cultural harassment actually might differ to yours. I’m happy for you to be a feminist. The point is I don’t need it to be said to me as an insult rather than a positive. Thats my experience, which is what this site is about, so please respect that.

    I’m just puzzled as to why you find the need to find fault with what I’m saying. It would be nice if you actually acknowledged that it was difficult to tell my story, and these kind of responses make me want to be less open about it. Please do think about others feelings before posting. It’s odd that you want to pick apart my feelings, views and experiences, rather than actually be sympathetic towards what has happened. I’m finding this increasingly with these stories. Please think of others first.

  3. @ Anonymous, Based on other comments Sue has made, I don’t think she was directing her comments at you but rather at the people who make them to you — the police officer who was racist, the people who make you feel badly for being a feminist.

    Thank you for sharing your story here. It can be difficult and even scary to do it so I appreciate everyone who does. I want this to be a safe place for people so I’m sorry if Sue’s comment upset you. Again, I don’t think she meant it at you. Hopefully she can come on and clarify.

  4. beckieweinheimer says:

    Anonymous, thank you for sharing. It takes so much courage. I hate it too when I am scorned for being a feminist, like that is a bad thing. You are brave to share.

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