Today will be different.
I first remember it happening when I was around 14. I was in high school. I lived in the country. I had to walk a quarter of a mile from where the bus dropped me off to home. Guys driving by would sometimes call stuff out the window of their cars. Sometimes they slowed down. Sometimes they stopped the car to say things and offer me a ride. I was afraid. I didn’t know if they would take no for an answer. I didn’t know if I could run faster than they could. I knew bad things happened.
College. I was 20 feet or so from my dorm one night. A guy grabbed me from behind. He put his hands between my legs. He told me not to scream. I screamed. He ran. The cops asked me if I was frequently asked out on dates.
Life after college. I’m living in D.C. I’m walking on 18th or 17th Street. I’m walking with a friend. A man passes, walking in the opposite direction. He reaches behind to grab my ass as he goes. I turn. I point. I yell: “This man just grabbed my ass! Stop it!” People stare. I feel vindicated.
My first years of being a lawyer. I am traveling to give a talk at a university about women in the law. I am walking out of my office building. A man passing by stares and says, “Nice tits.” I look down. I want to disappear.
Fast-forward 10 years. My niece is living with me while she does an internship. She talks of her commute on a packed rush hour subway. She tells of a guy rubbing against her. She tells herself it’s just that the train is crowded. Then he puts his hand on her thigh. Then he starts to move his hand up her leg. She was too stunned, too in disbelief to do anything at the time. Several weeks later, the two of us are coming home and some guy says something. I turn and yell, “Stop harassing us!” He looks embarrassed. My niece smiles. — “Hey Baby:” Enduring Street Harassment – Louise Melling
The day before I read this, I put up a series of tweets all about my inability to let catcalling slide. It’s fucking degrading, it’s gross, and you know what? It’s probably the most ineffective way to get me to peel off my panties. Seriously, even if I didn’t have a problem with street harassment, why would I want to sleep with a guy who thinks that acting like a douche-tastic frat boy is a great idea?