This is a thought that goes through my head at least once every week. Because at least once a week I receive unwanted advances from men. And it’s tiring and draining.
I want to say, “just leave me alone” to every single guy that approaches me, or cat calls me, but I can’t because I’m scared. I’m frightened.
I’m worried that they’ll keep on following me in their car and I won’t be able to outrun if they become mad. I’m scared because most times these men approach me when there’s no one else around, and so my screams will go unnoticed if anything bad happens.
I’m scared because when there are people around, being harassed isn’t something anyone has tried to stop. People tend to act oblivious, like they can’t see that a stranger has cornered me and they can’t hear my fake laughs and see my distressed smile.
I’m annoyed because so many men keep doing approaching me without backing off that now I automatically shut down every guy that talks to me, even when they’re just trying to find out what the time is or ask for directions. I hate it because I feel like a douche but then I remember the last guy who tried that and then wanted to get my number immediately after.
A lot of times I’m saved by the timely appearance of the bus I’ve been waiting for, or someone calls my phone, or something happens and I’m offered quick relief. Sometimes I end up giving them my number, finding the fastest way home without being followed and then block their numbers.
But escaping from these men from time to time doesn’t change the fact that I live in fear. That I’ve had to force earphones into my ears even when my tragus was freshly pierced.
And even if I escape, a lot of women don’t escape. A lot of women, like me are petrified of what will happen when we say, “just leave me alone.” And our fear is justified, because men have a track record of acting up when we say no.
And honestly, I’m fed up. I’m tired of the fact that men think that everyone they approach needs to talk to them. I’m tired of the fact that they don’t listen when I say I’m not interested. I’m tired of the endless invasion of my personal space, and the blatant disrespect that comes along with cat calling.
I’m irritated whenever I have to force the conversation and fake the laughs just so my Uber driver will take me home safely. Or when I think about buying pepper spray and weapons so I can defend myself if things get out of hand.
But above all, I’m tired of men thinking that just because they’ve approached you that they deserve your full undivided attention. I’m sick of men ignoring my obvious lack of interest in whatever terrible pick up line they’re trying to use on me. I’m tired of them asking for a second of time, or asking to be friends. I get exasperated when they assume that I’m just playing hard to get because they’ve gone through life getting nearly everything they want.
For once I want to say, “just leave me alone” without being scared for my life, or feeling like an asshole because I’ve been socialized to be passive as a woman. Hopefully that time will come soon. Till then I guess I’ll just have to keep being frustrated at the current system and keep doing my best to fight it.
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