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Scripts for Replies to Sexual Harassment?

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This topic contains 36 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by avatar Kate 5 months, 1 week ago.

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  • #741391 Reply
    Lucidity
    Fed Up

    I am a very attractive woman. It’s hard for me to write that, because I struggle with low self-esteem, depression, and anxiety. I’ve been doing well in therapy, but just re-reading my first sentence fills me with self-loathing (what an arrogant thing to say, they’re going to hate me, etc.).

    I didn’t used to be attractive – I was a late bloomer who was teased about my looks and weight in high school, and experimented with unflattering hair colours and head-shaving in my early twenties. It’s only been in the last five years, since getting treatment for my depression, that I’ve blossomed. An exercise and nutrition regiment has me in the best shape of my life, and my newfound confidence has me actually taking care of myself (daily showers!), wearing makeup, and trading in my baggy clothes for flattering ones.

    I live downtown in a busy city, and walk or take public transit everywhere. I used to get the occasional creepy comment, but these past few years, I’ve been getting sexually harassed on a daily basis (no exaggeration). For a long time my anxiety made me freeze up, and I’d often mumble “thank you” while turning red from humiliation, but the #metoo movement has me realizing how fucked up it is that I was thanking men for harassing me.

    I want to look these men in the eye and say something that will make them realize that commenting on a stranger’s appearance is not a compliment. I want to say something that will make them think twice next time they deliberately try to make a woman uncomfortable by saying something overtly sexual to her. I feel confident enough to stand up for myself now, but in the moment, I still freeze up and can’t seem to come up with a retort. I end up ignoring them, but I don’t want to ignore it anymore! I want to say something that will make them feel as uncomfortable as they’re making me feel!

    Please help me prepare some comebacks that I can memorize and have ready. What do YOU say when a stranger says “hey baby,” calls you beautiful, comments on your breasts or ass or legs, tells you he’d like to fuck you, or asks if you spit or swallow?

    Please don’t tell me, like some of my friends and family, that I should get a car so I don’t spend so much time walking/on transit, or that I should put on my baggy clothes and change when I get to work. If one more jagweed tries to tell me that it’s the person being harassed who should change their behaviour, not the harasser, I’m going to call NASA and volunteer to colonize Mars, because I can’t stand living on this awful, backwards planet anymore.

    #741392 Reply
    avatar
    Kate

    I ignore them. First of all, they WANT a response. If you engage with them in any way, positive or negative, you’ve given them what they want. You’ve now made it into a conversation, and given them the opportunity to come back at you with more abuse – bitch, cunt, etc. You’ve also given validity and credence to whatever they said. I think women are way better off not reacting. My two cents.

    #741393 Reply
    avatar
    Kate

    But, if you google it, there are several articles that offer creative suggestions for how to react to catcallers. I think it’s a waste of your time, but go for it if you want.

    #741394 Reply
    avatar
    JD

    Nice rack? Spit or swallow? “Eat a [email protected]”. You’re beautiful? You need to learn to not be offended by someone being kind and god forbid wanting to get to know you. It isn’t harassment for a stranger to say you are nice looking, regardless of this “movement”.

    #741395 Reply
    avatar
    ktfran
    Participant

    I too, like you LW, live in a big city and walk/take public transit everywhere. And I too, like Kate, ignore the comments. I prefer not to engage. 1. for fear it could escalate and 2. what Kate said.

    #741396 Reply
    juliecatharine
    Juliecatharine

    Uh..what JD? Yeah, strangers shouting shit at you on the street is harassment.

    LW, I hate to say it because I agree it’s total bullshit but I think Kate is right about ignoring them. Aside from not wanting to give them what they want (a response) I worry that you really never know if one of these whack jobs is dangerous. I hope you know that nothing they say is a reflection of you, they’re just toolboxes who can’t get laid and are bitter about it.

    #741397 Reply
    avatar
    anonymousse
    Member

    JFC, no ones deserves to be harassed walking down the street. It is not a compliment.
    I’m so tired of people telling women they need to suck it up. That’s exactly why we live in a toxic hetero male sex dominated world.

    I would always ignore it. There is no way responding is going to change the situation for the better, unless you are with your girl gang. Then, ladyblades attack! There were a few awesome viral videos of women fighting back by following men in cars who had harassed them.
    But seriously, as much as I walk around trying to fix injustices in front of me with words, by responding, you are giving attention to the situation, feeding the trolls. And situations often escalate.
    THere’s always that chance that he’s a psycho misogynist.

    #741398 Reply
    avatar
    JD

    She said the vulgar things people shout on the street then said in there “you’re beautiful”. I don’t find that to be harassment and I suspect that someone saying that isn’t vulgarly shouting it but perhaps saying it while standing near at a light or something. You can have your opinion on that but that is mine and it won’t be changing. The more people who want to tell me I am attractive the better. Doesn’t hurt me in any way and frankly or more than one occasion has lifted my spirits on a cruddy day. Heck, my husband hit on me, hungover, at a Starbucks, shoving a crumb cake into my mouth while I wore sweats. Hearing someone say I was pretty when I felt like crap made me feel good. Then again, I don’t take offense to little things.

    #741399 Reply
    avatar
    SherBear

    Ignore ignore ignore!! I too live in a big city and take public transit and am quite attractive myself but I just tune them out. As what was said before they are looking for any type of reaction and as women we do need to think about safety and not needlessly escalating situations.

    #741400 Reply
    avatar
    anonymousse
    Member

    If they are men working on a site and you can see their company’s info, call that company and complain.

    Commenting on a women’s breasts on the street and saying she is beautiful is harassment. JFC. How old are you?
    That is not meant to make a woman feel good about herself, it’s to put her back in her place.

    #741401 Reply
    avatar
    anonymousse
    Member

    “I suspect that someone saying that isn’t vulgarly shouting it but perhaps saying it while standing near at a light or something.”

    Really? Where do you live? Under a rock?
    Men shout it. Men whisper it at bus stops. No matter what, it is harassment. Obscene comments that aren’t wanted is the definition of harassment.

    #741402 Reply
    avatar
    Kate
    Keymaster

    Yeah… “you’re beautiful” can be a compliment, but when it comes from a random guy on the street it’s just another, albeit less vulgar, way to aggressively claim your attention and patronize you. I don’t give a fuck if some rando sitting on a stool outside the convenience store thinks I’m beautiful. Please keep your comments about my physical appearance to yourself, unless you’re some lady in the bathroom complimenting my boots or my hairstyle. Then I assume, ok, you’d like to have similar boots or hairstyle, so I say where I got them or that I saw a tutorial on YouTube. You’re not trying to capture my attention so you can try to achieve some patriarchal sexual claim on me. PS, I’m NOT beautiful and I get that pretty regularly. It’s meaingless.

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