Last week, I saw this article about harrassment. While I was slightly shocked, I remembered my own horrific experiences with harassment on trains, walking down the block, and even at work. When the topic comes up, it usually becomes a quick joke. People make suggestive jokes, tease the woman for wanting to be harassed, and the real issue is never addressed. We need to take it seriously.
Early in my time in NY, I was frequently approached by men everywhere I went. At first it was flattering, but quickly it became sickening , something that made me feel nauseous. There is a story I want to share about my harrowing encounter with harassment.
The second story is one of the worst experiences I’ve had in New York. It was the day after Halloween. My eyes were smudged with makeup and I still had part of my costume on. It was 11 AM and I heard a creak in my flooboards, a different type of creak. Still groggy from the previous night, I turned around and found my landlord in my doorway. Bare in mind, he was a 60+ Guyanian man with kids older than me. I was baffled. He tried to come closer. I had to tell him multiple times to leave. He tried to grab me and touch me while he told me that he’d been watching me since I moved in earlier that year.
I felt beyond violated, but what happened after was truly infuriating. Luckily the police station was 2 blocks away. I ran to tell them what happened. The cops decided it would be ok to shout from one office to the other about what just transpired. The precinct was full, perfect for everyone else to be witness to the embarrassing event. The landlord was booked in jail for a few days and never told his family. Through a miscommunication, they found out. And what transpired? I was at blame. With over ten of his family members in the building, I was verbally assaulted, spat upon, called a troublemaker. I couldn’t have moved out of that place fast enough.
So the moral of the story? This stuff isn’t taken nearly as serious as it should be. There are little repercussions for the harassment and attacks faced on a daily basis. Even the pervert who masturbated on train riders got no jail time. People think because harassment isn’t always violent that it doesn’t cause harm. That’s not the truth. We are forced to fight our own battle as women because too many times it’s not spoken about or brought to light. Share your stories, enlighten others, and protect the younger generations to come.
Have you ever been harassed?