Thursday, July 26, 2007

Personal Anecdote

The following situation occurred last night around 9pm on a Fremont - Richmond BART train. I was sitting with my legs stretched out as I usually do after a tired day at work. There were 5-6 other people in the car I was in. I was in no way dressed provocatively (if anything I looked like total crap) - just wearing a large coat and jeans. At Coliseum station a burly, scary looking man came on, looked around the nearly empty car, saw me and decided to sit in the seat across from me, staring at me the whole time. Uncomfortable, I sat up and faced the window (away from his direction). All of a sudden he shouts, "Hey, do you want to fuck me?" I had my headphones on luckily so I pretended not to hear him. He repeats "Hey you, you want to fuck?" Thank god the next station was my stop. What should one do in such a situation? Should one obviously get up and move to another car, thus acknowledging them? Or should one just ignore them and hope that they go away? I am always scared to get up and move because they may decide to get up and follow. But if I sit and ignore, they may decide to pester me throughout my entire commute (which has happened several times).

Submitted by Anna in SF.


c said...

that sounds totally scary. one part of my wants to just yell at him "no i don't, you asshole!" and another part of my wants to just the hell out of there as soon as possible. glad you're ok.

Golden Silence said...

I would've yelled at him (which would've gotten other riders' attention) and gotten away from him as soon as possible. Never let these men intimidate you or make you feel uncomfortable.

The Snobographer said...

I don't know if there's any way to react "appropriately" to harassment like that. Your instincts for self-preservation often go against your burning desire to put an asshat in his place.
The best recommendations I've read and have applied with some success are to look the harasser in the eyes, expressing no emotion, then go back to whatever you were doing. You see him, you hear him, and he's completely insignificant to you.
And as for someone like this guy "asking" you something directly, if you felt up to it, you could give a very simple but firm "no" in reply.
Same with "how YOU doin'?" Look at the guy, register no emotion on your face (practice at home in the mirror), and simply say "fine" and continue whatever you were doing.
If you ignore them entirely, it lets them know that they're succeeding in intimidating you, which is why they do it.
Your mileage with these tips may vary.
You got out of there okay and that's what really matters.

btw, whether you're dressed "provocatively" or look like "total crap" doesn't matter.
Nothing you ever do or say or wear can "make" a guy harass you. It's 100% on him.