I am most often approached by men who don’t expect to hear no for an answer, who stalk me for at least a half a block while my pace doesn’t even let up and I haven’t made eye contact with them, or who try to strike up a conversation with me while I’m wearing headphones and avoiding looking at people.
I have described this as “being mistaken for a sex worker”. In truth, even based on this article, I don’t know whether that’s accurate (and that they are then just the “asshole clients”) or whether it’s sexual harassment.
I leave work around 5 on a steamy day in my favourite summer dress, hit the corner and as I try to cross, a guy in a silver car slows and makes friendly eye contact with me. With his hands he says “wanna get in?” I pause, confused for a second, then laugh, remembering where I am (I work near a stroll) and shake my head. No thanks! He drives on.
I’m cycling through a rich part of town wearing slutty ripped tights, my low cut dress hiked up to my thighs. Standing alone outside some interior design store, an older man yells “put some pants on!” I slow my pedalling for a second (did he just say what I think he said?) and yell backward “Fuck You!”
Ten years ago, I’d have considered these both street sexual harassment. But ten years ago I wasn’t a sex worker. Now…
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