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SSH will not publish any comment that is offensive or hateful and does not add to a thoughtful discussion of street harassment. Racism, homophobia, transphobia, disabalism, classism, and sexism will not be tolerated. Disclaimer: SSH may use any stories submitted to the blog in future scholarly publications on street harassment.

“When you stare at women like that it makes you look like a creep”

In Stories, street harassment | on 01.09.13 | by | Comments ( 1 )

As soon as I got on this bus I could see this guy on the bottom deck leering and looking me up and down as I walked past him to sit at the back. I figured I was only going a very short way so wouldn’t sit elsewhere just to avoid him, but in that short time he continually craned his neck round to stare and leer at me, wanting me to know exactly what he was doing and enjoying making me feel uncomfortable.

When I had to get off I said as I walked past, “When you stare at women like that it makes you look like a creep.” I was expecting him to be abusive back (he had that aura about him where you can usually predict it), but it was still surprising how angry he instantly got. These are the bits of his speech that I can remember (there was much more…): “I wasn’t fucking looking at you – I was looking at her [indicating a girl sat directly behind him and out of his line of vision]. You’re fucking butter! [whatever THAT means] Fucking four eyes – you think it’s Halloween or something? [whilst I used to hear this line when I was a teenage goth, I think it's the first time I've had it simply for having glasses!] You’re fucking butter! Think I’d look at you? Ugh!”

I laughed at his Halloween comment, told him whoever he was looking at he was still a creep (notice he didn’t even deny gawping at women), and loudly told him to “Stop harassing women” as I stepped off the bus and walked away. The bus would usually come past me to its next stop, but it didn’t, so I wonder if the driver was remonstrating with him for his pleasant little outburst. I don’t know – I didn’t look back :)

Less than a minute after I’d got off the bus. I picked up an Evening Standard and one of the main stories in there was about the rapper Dappy spitting and swearnig at two girls when they ignored his advances (for which he was in court). This behaviour is so common, it’s almost a cliche.

Did I have to say anything? No. But I am getting sick to death of being intimidated in my daily life by people like this. I was catching the bus after leaving the gym – I go to a women-only gym that’s not in the most convenient of locations anyway, rather than exercise outdoors or in a mixed gym, and I refuse to feel like I also can’t do that because of these creeps.

- Jen

Location: London, 38 bus to Victoria

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One Response

01.09.13

Nice one, Jen. And yes, I think you did have to say something – for your own sake. Sometimes you just have to fight back and it sounds as though you’re glad you did. I’m always glad when I speak out too. :)

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