Adult men and teenage boys should stop following women on the street. Men should stop making unsolicited comments on women’s bodies. They should humanize themselves and the women they are doing these things to.
Today, the 8th of October 2016, a grown man followed me in his SUV. He consciously made the decision to follow a young girl, by removing his parked car from a parking lot to driving alongside her at a walking pace. This man, whoever he is, watched me walking and thought, “I should get her in my car”. I can’t allow myself to imagine what would have happened to me if he had gotten me inside of his SUV.
All this happened on the street I live on. He targeted me not even a block from my home. As I was walking, I realized I couldn’t go home – I couldn’t give him such precious information.
This was the second time a man followed me while in a car. This was the fourth time a man I was unfamiliar with has made an unsolicited comment about my body while in public. All of these things have happened this year. I am only sixteen years old. How much worse will this get as I get older?
It is disgusting that grown men can freely gawk at underage girls and have virtually no punishment.
In more than one way, I have been fortunate. I have only had these experiences during daylight. I have always been in moderately public places, and they have never used force or violence towards me. But those things have happened to other women, and I wouldn’t doubt that the men who have harassed me are capable of sexually assaulting, kidnapping, or raping their victims.
I am also fortunate that the police made no comment on my attire – they didn’t slut shame me for wearing a crop top, a short skirt, and wedges. They are taking my case seriously, despite the fact that they could get away with a simple “she was asking for it”. In fact, the two officers were very receptive and gave me a lot of comfort after the incident.
I turned. A man, in a car? Okay. Continued walking, crossed the street. Don’t acknowledge him, hopefully he’ll go away. Walking, I heard a car come up behind me. Is it him? It’s not him, don’t worry. This wouldn’t happen to you again. This stuff only happens like, once.. Right? The car came up from behind, it slowed down, approaching me. Nearly stopping, it crawled to a walking pace.”Someone as pretty as you shouldn’t be walking,” he said “let me give you a ride.”
“It’s alright,” I said, “I don’t need a ride, thank you,” I looked directly in his eyes as I said the last bit.
He continued to follow me. Hoping he couldn’t see how nervous he made me, I refrained from wiping the sweat off my brow. Why isn’t he going away? I want him to go away.
“You really are pretty,” my chest tightened. I couldn’t breathe.
“Come on, let me give you a ride,”
Why? So you can rape me? He sped away, turning around just a little ways ahead of me. He stopped. Why did he stop? Is he waiting for me? Is he going to try to run me over? Is he going to get out of his car and try to take me? His car started to move again. I let out an audible sigh. Coming closer to me, I figured he would just drive away. Of course he didn’t. Approaching me again, he rolled down his window, “Hey pretty girl,” he waited for a response. I gave none.
“Okay, fine, be that way.” He was angry. Sped away.
I rushed home, tripping over my wedges, I nearly sprained my ankle. I just wanted to be safe. Never had I felt so alarmed when I could see home – my safe zone.
I made it inside, sat down in the sofa and looked at my door. A noise outside startled me. is it him? No. There were children’s voices. I was safe. But I couldn’t stop staring at the door. I got up to lock it, then proceeded to lock myself in the bathroom and look up harassment on my phone.