On most days I find that I get stopped on the street by men. On a few occasions they have been aggressive, threatening and have followed me home. I have always dealt with it, and felt that it was a problem I shared with many woman and have even become accustomed to being particularly cautious and paranoid when I walk anywhere alone. I thought it was normal for woman to feel unsafe when out alone.
However, on my way back from work one day I was approached by a man on roller blades. I had heard him shout from quite a distance away and as usual, ignored it and carried on walking. The man eventually caught up with me and started to ask me questions, he was rude, intrusive and very very threatening. I tried to increase my pace until he eventually stood in front of me so I had no way of ignoring him. I pleaded with him to leave me alone, calmly at first but when I realized there was no way he was going to walk a way I got more desperate and begged him to stop.
Eventually he held back and I thought that It was over until I felt him come up behind me and grab me and start touching me. I was shocked. I screamed at him, “Don’t fucking touch me” and tried to raise alarm, but the one man that heard and saw what was happening walked away faster.
I felt helpless, vulnerable, weak and violated. It was almost as if I could feel his hands on me even after he skated away. I immediately called my parents and waited until I found someone to walk me home and called the police. It is safe to say that I have never felt so vulnerable in my whole life.
The fact that this man maliciously and intentionally touched me because I didn’t want to talk to him made the incident all the more sickening. I feel so angry and resentful; who made it acceptable for men to do this to me or any other woman that they decide is deserving of it?
Until this day, I have never thought twice about street harassment and more importantly I felt that I was never told, as a young girl by my school or by anybody that this is something I should speak out about and report to the police. At the age of only 19, I do not know if I will ever feel safe walking on the streets alone.
Location: Wandsworth Common, London, UKShare on Facebook