I am a student who lives in Brussels and as some might have acknowledged through the movie that was recently made and posted on this blog, street harassment is a common aspect of a woman’s everyday life. We are obliged to learn how to live with it because it is widely spread amongst young men that find it funny addressing to women in any kind of language. This same morning i was approached by a guy in a car who loudly suggested me to come with him and immediately drove away without leaving even the time to tell him how low this type of behaviour is. But we kind of learned to accept it, which is really humiliating, and I wanted to thank all those people who are trying to bring up this issue to media and common sense in order to try to stop this behaviour and give again to women respect and dignity.
Once I was in France, during my erasmus project, and i one night i wanted to attend a party in the opposite part of the city. I decided that walking by night for half an hour wouldn’t have been that safe so I ironically decided to take the metro to arrive at the party. but when i got in the station i realised i was completely alone and after a while a group of 6/7 boys came in and they immediately sat all around me trying to make an attempt. I knew I couldn’t escape nor ignore them cause that would have made them even more aggressive, nor i could stand up for my rights and my respect since they were far too many and there was nobody around. So i played the role of the “crazy in the coconut” girl.
After they asked me a few questions like where was i going or if i had a phone number i started asking them a series of questions without letting them think i was actually interested in going out with them, but stuff like: yeah, my friends are meeting me at the metro stop to go to a party, how about you guys, and hey, are you from here? do you like the city?… i kinda didn’t even let them finish with one answer and asked the following one with fake enthusiasm. The guys who were evidently just trying to annoy me got puzzled from my reaction and they didn’t find it funny anymore but they started getting more and more kind to me until one of them told me: “You know, it was nice meeting you, you’re very charming! have fun tonight!” it was the best move ever and they didn’t try to annoy me anymore, not even in the metro. I understood that sometimes politeness is the only weapon in these limit situations.
My worst experience though happened back in my city in Italy, which i always considered the safest one in the world. It was a saturday evening, after finishing studying in the university library. I was going home for dinner so i got out to the parking where i had left my car. I realised that as soon as i got out there was a guy walking behind me, but since my car was parked 100m from the bus stop i thought he was just going to the stop. In fact there were not so many cars parked at that moment. but when i got to the car i realised there was something wrong because there were no more cars around mine and the guy was going in the opposite direction of the bus stop. But i didn’t pay too much attention, i told myself: you’re paranoid! so i just got in. My car had rear doors aswell so by the moment i ignited the car the guy opened the rear door in an attempt to jump in. Fortunately i was fast enough to accelerate so he had to let go of the handle. i drove 500m down the road with my door opened until i felt safe to stop and close it. My knees were shaking, my heart was pumping hard and i was in flames from terror! I called my dad who took my to the police department to report the fact. On my way to join my dad i spotted the man who with nonchalance was waking towards the bus stop. I have always regretted not telling him from the car that he was very disgusting for attempting to aggress me and that he was a coward but the moment i passed i was too scared! i should have warned the people at the stop and i regret not doing that!
We always have to fight for our dignity, and that i learned after living here in Brussels where some good verbal spanking is always requested!
Location: Lille, France and ItalyShare on Facebook