With all the talk of what constitutes harassment in the SFF community, the incredible Jay Lake had a link to Chris Brecheen's experience on BART. Go read it please.
Twenty-five years ago, I had a similar experience on the D.C. Metro. A young man was lliterally hitting on every woman in the car. They scrunched away from him, looking fearful. I think what pissed me off the most was the amusement on the male passengers' faces. I watched him ask the woman in the seat in front of me for a date. I watched her cringe and say "No."
More than than once. Just like every other woman.
So of course, he moved and sat down next to me. Before he could say anything, I said, very loudly, "No. I'm not interested."
On the plus side, he got up, found an empty seat, and didn't bother the three women sitting behind me. But you should have seen the ugly looks I got from every other passenger, including the women he had been bothering. You would have thought I'd kicked his puppy.
At the time, I was living with my cousin who was a police officer in D.C.
At the time, D.C. was the murder capital of the U.S.
At the time, women were expected to be nice to men no matter what, and as my cousin said, that was a receipe to get raped and murdered.
Maybe I've been lucky. I've projected an image of "Don't fuck with me" all my life. Originally just to keep from getting beat up in the high school girls' bathroom.
In fact, one of the security guards at the D.C. office where worked stopped me one day after lunch and asked where I served.
"Served?" I know I had a puzzled look on my face.
"Yeah," he said. "Which branch?"
I laughed. "Never. Sorry."
He shrugged. "Oh, well, you walk like a vet."
So much for my mom's attempts to make me adopt a "lady-like" walk. My stubbornness and my super-cool cousin have probably saved my life more than once.
Now that I think about it, my mother tried to get me to adopt the very behaviors that would make me a victim. I resisted, but what about all other women in vulnerable positions? If we don't stand up for each other, who will?
I applaud Chris's behavior that day on BART, but guys like him are few and far between. We can't rely on white knights to save us, ladies.
We need to save ourselves.
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