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Saturday, May 9, 2009

Case #4

Street harassment is nowadays something normal for teenagers and women as a whole. For someone living in a town, this kind of harassment is something which she has to face nearly everyday while going out of her house.

Hi, am a girl of 18 years old and since the age of 13 or so, I have been facing street harassment. At the very start I thought that it was because of the style of clothes I’m used to wear, and I was used to hold myself responsible for their act, but realised shortly after that this actually doesn’t matter for them... Even if am wearing jeans and pullovers, vulgar comments from those “unsocialised” people would not stop. And these "pssst", staring and honking would take place whether or not I am in a group of friends or with my brother or even my mother... Luckily I don't have these harassments in front of my father...

Two or three years back, I was at the bus station at Saint-Pierre, waiting for a bus to go home. There was a short man there, aged around 40 to 50, with dirty clothes staring at me. I didn’t really bother, because am used to it.... But then, shortly after, when the bus came and I took a seat, the man walked in the bus and sat just behind of me. I was of course irritated. And I didn’t know what to do, but I preferred not to make a show out of it. So I made as if everything was normal. Some minutes later, the man started to put his hand on my seat (as for him it is the front of his seat). Without saying a word, I changed seat and came two rows forward. To my great surprise, the man then took one seat in front of me in the opposite site. And then looked behind, staring at me, with a sarcastic smile and with a sadist look. I thus preferred to look through the windows, hoping that he would stop his stupid acts. But, this wasn’t enough for him. When he saw that I was not bothering about him as such, he came once more in the seat behind me. I was disgusted. I wanted to call the "controller", but then, I realised that it’s a public bus; he can sit where he wants to, and I could never be able to prove that he is harassing me. Then, I wanted to get down in the coming bus stop. But I realised that he can get down as well as and the bus stops around were not even crowded. And the places around were desert. So, I stayed there... even if I would change place, he would change his seat as well... so there's no point in doing that. He started then to play with my hair. At that point, I was really angry. I turned around and to my great surprise! He was smiling at me!!! As if he knows me since years!!! And I’m a great friend of his! I took a deep breath a look in front of me... we are now in Quatre-Bornes luckily and I’ll be getting down in some minutes. I was relieved. The bus was now getting full and the man stopped with his stupid acts. My fear then was that he could follow me when I would get down. When the bus stop where I should get down came, I rush to the door, and there was already a crowd in front of the door (those who had to get in the bus). When I got down, I stayed in the crowd for a while and saw the man coming down. He walked a little further and looked around. I could see him but luckily, he couldn’t. Then he started going to the opposite way of where I should be going. I was relieved and crossed the road and went home.... but continued to look behind me in case he would have spotted me and would be following me. He wasn’t there- thanks god.

Just like this experience, I have been facing many more harassment, but this is the one which lasted the longest.

-S.K from Q-bornes

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