Zara embroidered peasant dress? Yes… it’s awesome. But I’m not here to talk embroidered smock dresses or even new season Zara. I’m here to talk sexual harassment and why as women we shouldn’t feel embarrassed to be harassed. I want to tell you a little story…
I sat on an 8am train to head home for the weekend when I helped a Portuguese chap called Wilson – he wasn’t sure if he was on the right train. I let him know that he was headed in the right direction and picked up my makeup bag to put my face on. Little did I know this was just the start of my journey. At first it was polite pleasantries to a new visitor to London and bit by bit the questions became a bit more personal.
At first it was him staring and commenting on my makeup as I applied it. Then he moved on to ask things like what was my name, how old was I, where did I live. Then it was the incessant requests for my phone number. I was embarrassed and nervous to start with – I felt guilty for not wanting to give my phone number to a complete stranger on the train. I remained polite and put it down to something being lost in translation. This continued for 1 hour.
It got to the point where this his face was 40cm from mine and he was telling me I was beautiful, I should give him a kiss, was my boyfriend ugly? Doing that horrible air kiss puckering thing at me. I was backed (literally) into a corner of the train and despite my repeated rebuffing and rejection no one around me helped. No one stepped in to ask if I was ok. No one even batted an eyelid and a quite obviously uncomfortable situation.
How did that make me feel in 5 words?
Having a stranger all up in my personal space made feel intimidated
At this strange man that he thinks it’s ok to speak to anyone like this.
That I wasn’t ruder, wasn’t ‘stronger’ and that clearly I seemed as though I would think he behaviour was ok
Firstly disappointed in the people around me. Secondly disappointed that this is still something which would be considered ‘normal’.
It’s not ok to make other people feel uncomfortable, if someone says no – they mean no. Don’t feel bad if you don’t want to give your phone number to strangers. Just politely decline. Don’t feel bad that you will hurt their feelings and never feel pressured into saying yes to anything.