I like to think that in the year 2014, I can walk through Melbourne Central to catch a train with my housemate without having some guy chase after me specifically to talk to my (rather unimpressive) chest.
Apparently, I can’t.
Being sexually harassed in public sucks. I spent the rest of the trip home feeling edgy, tired and anxious. I’d gone from having a great night out with my girlfriends and some $1 champagnes to standing with my back to the wall, anxiously tugging on my skirt to make sure it wasn’t too short (spoiler: it wasn’t).
It would be nice to live in a society where a group of twenty-something girls can catch the last train home on the Thursday night without feeling mildly violated, extremely confused and a bit scared. It would be even nicer if I didn’t have a casual sexual harassment story to tell in the first place.
I’m pretty sure every female I know has at least one, usually several, stories of casual sexual harassment to share. Off the top of my head, I’ve copped it at work, walking to uni, on public transport. In fact, sexual harassment happens in pretty much any public space- and some private ones too.
Whilst some people still think it’s a compliment to honk their horns and scream out the window of their very large truck as it thunders down the highway past the girl on the nature strip, the reality is it’s intimidating. It’s kind of scary. It’s silencing, particularly when it happens in the workplace and no one around you steps up to put a stop to it. It makes you feel small and vulnerable and kind of useless.
Thanks: Easter chocolate sales, my brother for taking me to Costco, Trudi and Matt from MPS for working so hard to get this issue to print
No thanks: Our smoke alarm, for beeping every 40 seconds for two days straight.
Sorry: Isa – I swear I don’t know how my hair got in your bra.