Zara embroidered peasant dress & sexual harassment?

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…

zara embroidered peasant dress

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.

zara embroidered peasant dress
zara embroidered peasant dress

How did that make me feel in 5 words?

  • Vulnerable
    Having a stranger all up in my personal space made feel intimidated
  • Angry
    At this strange man that he thinks it’s ok to speak to anyone like this.
  • Embarrassed
    That I wasn’t ruder, wasn’t ‘stronger’ and that clearly I seemed as though I would think he behaviour was ok
  • Disappointed
    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.

zara embroidered peasant dress
zara embroidered peasant dress

5 Comments

  1. August 31, 2016 / 9:42 pm

    It’s sad and disappointing that I’m not surprised that nobody stepped in to help, despite your clear uncomfortableness, and I think on a whole people’s attitudes need to change towards helping strangers (instead of avoiding contact with everyone, like most people seem to do on public transport). I agree that you shouldn’t feel ashamed that this happened to you – the fault was not yours! It’s never ok to make someone feel uncomfortable like that, and you were completely right in your actions x

    • Lisette @ Spoke + Co
      September 1, 2016 / 10:10 am

      It really is such a shame that in London at least we have a ‘man mind thyself’ attitude because I always step in and try and help where I can see it’s needed 🙁 xx

  2. September 2, 2016 / 11:08 am

    It’s so disappointed that no one stepped in around you to remove him, it makes me so mad people think it’s acceptable to demand attention from females travelling alone. Good for you for standing your ground and refusing to give in! PS. on a side note, that dress is beautiful on you!

    The Little Things | Louise x

  3. September 5, 2016 / 2:07 pm

    This has happened to me in the past I find it is mostly a culture thing where some men think it is okay to speak to a lady like that, but in this country we are quite conservative in how was approach strangers on the day to day and they don’t quite get that speaking to a woman like that is rude and uncomfortable because they think it is complimentary. He shouldn’t have carried on though and should’ve got the message that he was making you feel awkward – I’m so sorry you had to sit through such an experience with that idiot.

    Mel ★ http://www.meleaglestone.co.uk

  4. September 13, 2016 / 1:58 pm

    I’m sorry to hear you went through this. The other day a man stopped me from getting back into my flat until I gave him a number – I ended up giving him a bad number and I’m still angry with myself for not just saying no, but it’s impossible, and it must have been worse when you were on a train because you can’t escape and you’re stuck with them. It’s a shame that no one stepped in to help you. Hope you’re okay lovely.