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Radio host gets ratioed the hell out after doubting a colleague’s Tweet on street harassment

Hey baby

By David Futrelle

If you spend a lot of time on Twitter, you probably know about The Ratio, the closest thing we have to an objective measure of the Extreme Badness of any particular tweet. If someone gets many times as many comments on a tweet than retweets and likes, chances are good that most of those comments are telling them that they’re full of crap. The higher the ratio of responses to retweets/likes, the worse the tweet.

Yesterday I ran across the most extremely ratioed tweet I’ve ever seen, posted by a Chicago radio personality — John Willians of WGN — doubting a story of street harassment tweeted out by Amy Guth, also a radio host on the same station. By the time I saw it, the tweet had gotten more than a thousand responses — and only 2 retweets. Reading it, I think you’ll see why.

It probably didn’t hurt that Guth tweeted out a bit of a challenge to her Twitter followers:

The two evidently discussed the matter on his show yesterday, which I unfortunately missed. I’m sure he learned a thing or two.

And he could learn a lot more from the hundreds of women (and a smaller percentage of men) who responded to his tweet with pointed critiques — and stories of the street harassment.  I’ve collected some of the responses that stood out the most to me; you can also plunge straight into the giant thread yourself here.

The critiques were appropriately blunt.

And then there were the stories — story after story, weird and horrible and  utterly believable. (I’ve blacked out the names for all the story tweets because, you know, this is the internet.)

An appalling — if not surprising — number of respondents said they started getting creepy come-ons and other varieties of sexeual harassment when they were still children.

Horrifying. And there are so, so many more in the thread itself.

Dudes, if at this point — after #metoo, after Trump’s “pussy grabbing” tape, after countless public revelations — you still doubt that street harassment happens, it’s because of one or more of these things 1) you’re not talking to women, 2) you’re not listening to women, or 3) you give off such a creepy, Men’s Rightsy vibe that no woman feels comfortable telling you about the harassment she’s had to deal with. Fix yourself. Start by reading this whole thread on twitter.

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DawnPurityseeker
DawnPurityseeker
2 years ago

@Spukikitty

Hey, nice to meet you as well! 🙂

@Alan

That was beautiful. 👏👏👏👏👏👏👏

kupo
kupo
2 years ago

@That Love Sound
Welcome. I can’t blame men for not wanting to get involved, but at the very least just don’t encourage it.

You should really avoid saying stuff like this on here, though:

As a man (medically verified)

You may not realize it, but that’s incredibly transphobic.

Rhuu - apparently an illiterati
Rhuu - apparently an illiterati
2 years ago

@DawnPurityseeker

We were just talking about how men don’t believe white, middle-class CIS women about harassment, so why would they be any more believed about rape?

They are more believed about many things, that is one of the fundamentals of intersectional feminism. They aren’t believed *often*, but if a white middle class cis woman and a Native American woman living around the poverty line both accused someone of something, who has a better chance of being taken seriously?

TW for everything past this, all of these links!

For a First Nations example in Canada, I give you the Highway of Tears.

For poor (and I believe often First Nations) female sex-workers who’s disappearances were ignored for YEARS, I give you this shit stain of a pig farmer (not giving him any name recognition.)

For an example where men weren’t believed because they were gay, just look at what’s coming out in Toronto right now about an actual serial killer the police were told on separate occasions was operating in the area.

(I swear another professional says ‘shit, Toronto Police, you have a serial killer stalking gay men in Toronto!’ and they went ‘naaah’, but I can’t find the link.)

Nothing is *easy*, but some things are easier for some. It’s shitty, but it’s the world we currently live in.

(Also apologies if the formatting is all messed up! Hopefully this will pop up in time for me to edit it. Also, hopefully this doesn’t get snagged in moderation with all the links. :S)

Dvärghundspossen
Dvärghundspossen
2 years ago

@Dvärghundspossen Nope. All we can do is chip away at the crap, both within and without.

Thanks Fishy Goat.

Sometimes when women discuss guys hitting on them, asking them out etc everyone is so in agreement that this is only a nuisance and nothing else and I feel completely alone in having this desire to be validated and have my desirability confirmed by random dudes…
I think we should talk more about how easy it is to internalize patriarchal shit that’s actually destructive for you. We do talk about that when it comes to beauty ideals and weight, and how people can easily internalize fat-shaming, but my feeling is other kinds of internalized patriarchal messages are a bit under-discussed.

Dvärghundspossen
Dvärghundspossen
2 years ago

A lot of street harassment is about dominance displays, but a lot of street harassment is actually an interview to see if someone is submissive and therefore a good target for a crime. (Often rape). I’ve lived in one if the more violent cities in the US. I can think of more than once where submissive behavior in my part ESCALATED the situation.

I don’t remember where on the internet, it might actually have been this very blog, but a few years ago I was in a discussion with other women about our experiences with being targeted by creeps when we gave off vulnerable vibes. When I had recently moved to Stockholm from the countryside I often got lost and couldn’t find my way, and really creepy creeps where all over me all the time. Eventually I learned to always pretend like I knew where I was going, so even when I was actually lost, I’d continue walking with a firm stride while figuring out how to go next instead of standing still thinking, and things got way better.
Another woman had experience with extra harassment when she had injured her leg and were on crutches. A third one was always the most harassed in her group of friends, and she thought it might be because her friends were tall whereas she was unusually short. Then a fourth woman chimed in about the levels of harassment she had to endure, who was super short, I’m not sure what the PC term in English is but you know, Peter Dinklage short. A fifth woman had experienced a sharp increase in harassment after her beloved cat died. Obviously she didn’t carry around a sign saying “my cat just died” but she probably gave off really blue vibes.
And so on, and so on.

Violet the Vile Wielder of an Ideologically Weaponized Vagina
Violet the Vile Wielder of an Ideologically Weaponized Vagina
2 years ago

@dvarghundspossen

You are in no way alone in that. I have many friends who feel the same way as you do; I’m the exception, and tbh I think it comes from my history of abuse – sex and sexual attraction have always been out of my comfort zone, so I think of myself as an intellectual, as creative, but I have never been comfortable with my own sexual attractiveness. For me, it’s a relief it’s fading, and I won’t miss it. But I can totally see that people who haven’t had my experiences wouldn’t feel like that, especially in a world where we’re told attractiveness is all that counts.

DawnPurityseeker
DawnPurityseeker
2 years ago

“They aren’t believed *often*”

Yes, this was what I was trying to say. But I see what you’re saying. Absolutely someone with more privileges is more likely to be believed than someone with less. But we are also a “just world” biased society, and even with a straight flush of privilege you better be able to explain away in court why you used force during self-defense. (General you here, no “you” you. 🙂 )

My wording was a little muddled, but I meant to compare CIS, middle-class, white women accusing men of verbal harassment, to CIS, middle-class, white women justifying using forceful self-defense against violence.

DawnPurityseeker
DawnPurityseeker
2 years ago

@Dvärghundspossen

I have to say that being pregnant seemed to ramp up the sexual/threatening interactions I had on the street. Still wasn’t quite as bad as what happened when I was a preteen, though. :/

DawnPurityseeker
DawnPurityseeker
2 years ago

ETA:

Although now that I think about it, maybe that’s because I was going to school in the “downtown” part of town when I got pregnant. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ (At the time, there was more crime in the “downtown” area).

Mish of the Catlady Ascendancy
Mish of the Catlady Ascendancy
2 years ago

@SpukiKitty,

Thank you, and kudos for apologising so honestly. And for what it’s worth, I’ve never thought of you as not belonging here – you’ve always been part of the community to me.

Dalillama
Dalillama
2 years ago

@Dvärghundspossen

in having this desire to be validated and have my desirability confirmed by random dudes…

.
Yeah, as a transfemme person, I have some complex feels in that regard. Like, yeah, they’re being assholes, but they’re also perceiving me as a woman, which is a thing.

Katiekitten420
Katiekitten420
2 years ago

I have 1 reply and 1 anecdote that is mostly for the benefit of men who may be lurking. The ones who feel “oh my God what is society coming to when you can’t even flirt with women! What are you supposed to do, just never speak to them? And all that nonsense. Anecdote first I guess. Now no woman appreciates being catcalled or harassed. If you honestly don’t know the difference between that and appropriate flirting, then yeah you probably shouldn’t hit on random women, sorry.

An example would be something that happened to me when I was a 16 year old junior in high school. I was on the train headed to school in the middle of the day because I was a juvenile delinquent LOL and I skipped the first half of the day. I was reading a book and I look up and there’s this gorgeous guy sitting across from me looking back at me. So I do that thing where you smile and flirt with your eyes to show I’m willing to be approached. He didn’t approach me immediately we flirted with our eyes for a good two stops and then he came over. He had a gorgeous British accent too LOL.

He complimented me on my outfit he said my silk scarf made the outfit looked Parisian. Note he did not compliment a body part he complimented something that had to do with my taste and decisions I made. So we made small talk, he didn’t just bloviate about himself, he asked interesting questions and had interesting anecdotes. Turned out he was a freshman at Brooklyn College and to make a long story short we ended up dating for a few months which in high school is a long time as I think most people will agree.

I’m telling this story to make it absolutely clear no one is saying men shouldn’t flirt with women or speak to women or lust after women(I’m using specific genders because yeah it’s not like men never get catcalled but it’s vanishingly rare) we just want you to do it with respect and treat us like people and not sex toys.

Secondly, in reply to Dvargund and the other people who spoke on it, I’m 34 and it’s nowhere near as important as it was when I was in high school and college but it’s still pretty important to me that people find me attractive. It doesn’t matter if they’re men, women, gender-fluid, cis or trans, I find great validation in people finding me attractive.

When I do go out to clubs which isn’t as often as I used to but at least once a month I go the whole nine yards. Mini skirts with fishnets and 5 inch stilettos and sheer lace tops and other assorted clothing that reveals a lot more than it hides. Plus very vivid jewel tone makeup, very eye-catching costume jewelry, glitter, perfume Etc. I honestly don’t know why it’s so important but it really is and sometimes I worry that it kind of means I’m not a very good feminist.

I feel the same way about how I prefer to date men who are as smart or smarter than me but I honestly don’t mind dating ditzy girls. Not someone who is literally stupid. I couldn’t bear that, I need someone I can conversate with. But you know, someone who puts on that ditzy persona. On some girls I do find it attractive is that horrible? Anyway let me get to bed I hope everyone has a lovely weekend

AuntieMame Redux
AuntieMame Redux
2 years ago

@Davargundspossen and Dalillama

First, Dave, thank you for being so brave and bringing up the internalized norms and misogyny we’ve all be trained to feel.

I’ve been harassed in similar ways to everyone else’s her – under the age of say 35 you can’t even leave the house. I never felt I was pretty enough, so I put my energy into intelligence and hard work and acts of service. But I often felt the mixed feelings with harassment or any kind of validation that despite my “flaws” in terms of beauty norms that I was attractive. These interactions have a lot of emotional complexity and motives as other posters have noted.

Dalillama thank you for being brave too and for acknowledging that desirability is still the first and sometimes only thing that women are validated for. That it is a stamp of approval of femininity. We aren’t validated in the same way for other things. We just aren’t. Even acts of service, submission and caretaking aren’t validated the same way.

Marilyn French wrote that the acts of aggression of some men enforce the patriarchy for all men. She was speaking of physical violence and abuse but I think it applies to other kinds of dominance and abuse too.

For sexual harassment and street harassment and other non sexual acts of dominance in particular I wonder if men (mostly unconsciously) do this to women in social circles not necessarily their nuclear or primary circles as a means and method of enforcement. EG street harassers don’t do this to their mothers or sisters etc. It’s generally strangers. They’re doing it to other women. But other men are harassing their mothers and sisters and daughters, thus keeping everyone in line.

And finally, when I was nine years old, one of my friends was raped and murdered by a teenage boy. I was the last person to see her alive. This year is the fortieth anniversary of her death, so she has been on my mind a lot. We walked home together and sometimes played in the woods. This relates to the topic because when the police talked to me, to see if I’d noticed anything unusual, I had to tell them that in the past few weeks we’d been approached by two teenage boys and one grown man on the woods path….all saying something sexual to quasi sexual to us. This was a small town in southern Alaska in the late seventies.

Dave and Dali bring up an important point. Even though we are scared and angry at the harassment and abuse there is also the validation of “Oh, this guy finds me acceptably pretty. I get to exist a while longer.”

It shows just how deeply really toxic stuff is ingrained in all of us. The converse is the idea that women are men’s rightful sexual prey and objects. All of this is tied together in these interactions.

weirwoodtreehugger: chief manatee

Gods do I have zero sympathy for men who whine about how they are “afraid” to date/flirt/talk to women because of the MeToo movement and there finally starting to be consequences for predatory behavior.

As if there’s no fear involved for women in dating. We have to fear the guy will turn out to be a rapist. Or an abuser. Trans women have the additional burden of having to figure out when if ever it’s safe to disclose that they’re trans. We constantly have to make assessments about whether or not men are safe and if we make the wrong decision, the consequences can be dire and you can bet we’ll get all the blame for it.

Any man who whines about hard MeToo is making things for them is asking women to accept abuse in order for him to feel more comfortable. Fuck. That.

Get it together, dudes. Learn to read body language and vocal tone. Think about the situation you’re in. Figure out whether or not an advance would be appropriate or welcome. It’s not always fun or easy to assess every situation you’re in, but if women have to do it, you have to do it to. As a bonus, if men do get their shit together and stop harassing and abusing women in large numbers, we’ll stop having to be so vigilant around them and that means it will actually be easier to get a date/get laid.

weirwoodtreehugger: chief manatee

Also yes, it’s completely normal to feel bad on some level when the constant harassment starts to dwindle. Even though most of me is glad I can now leave the house without being creeped on, there is a part of me that things that must mean I’m not pretty or thin enough to harass anymore. Plus, like I was saying in one of the other threads, part of why it took me so long to figure out I’m somewhere on the aro spectrum was because it had been so successfully drilled into me by the culture that you’re supposed to want a man to fall in love with you, pursue you, and you live happily ever after and that your worth is tied to making it to the altar. Despite being a feminist for many years, I still assumed for the longest time that my lack of romantic success and lack of motivation to pursue relationships meant there was something very wrong me. Like, deep seated psychological issues wrong.

ChimericMind
ChimericMind
2 years ago

@Dvärghundspossen: The current PC term for people like Peter Dinklage is, believe it or not, “little people”. Which I always thought seemed MORE condescending, in part because I associate the term with leprechauns. There really needs to be a better term, because this pass of the euphemism treadmill seems to be a failure from the start.

SpukiKitty
SpukiKitty
2 years ago

@Mish
Thank you. *HUGS*

@ChimericMind
Agreed. “Little Person” could mean anyone; A leprechaun, a child, Danny DeVito, etc…..There needs to be a better term for people with a growth-impairment because “Little Person” is so darn vague.

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
2 years ago

I remember the first time I was told the preferred appellation was little people it did seem a bit twee and condescending; but then it was explained to me that, unlike if you use some other term, it acknowledges that you’re talking about people; who just happen to be little. We don’t bat an eyelid at ‘tall person’ or ‘black people’ after all.

epitome of incomprehensibility

@kupo from a while back – Fair point about people putting the onus on women to protect themselves. From what I remember, one page was about how people had responded to street harassment. It seemed OK at the time, but I guess it could be suggesting “Here is how YOU should respond” or even putting the idea of neat narrative closure over safety, which is dangerous.

The one with the “this is harassment” cards I read as symbolic, not as a real-life solution (who’s organized/extroverted enough to actually print and hand things like that out? not me, anyway). I thought its presence on the web, signaling “this stuff is not OK” does a net good. (“Net” indeed.) But again the idea that you have to get back at somebody in a narratively interesting way could be dangerous.

epitome of incomprehensibility

Oh yes, and @DawnPurityseeker – thanks for the link to Marc MacYoung page. I was looking at it last night. I thought the “Intent, Interview, Positioning” sections were useful in assessing and avoiding potential danger places like “in-between” locations. Parking lots I hadn’t thought about that way – only things like hallways and alleys.

I poked around the site and read bits about anger, negotiation and de-escalation strategies. These were useful things to think about. I tend to get angry easily when it’s not warranted (and then just go away when a verbal confrontation might work).

The part about sexual assault was frustrating to me, specifically when he tries to position himself as a political moderate, saying he won’t give into ideas like “all men are potential rapists.” Huh, Mr. Marc??? I mean, most people are potential rapists, whatever their gender, if you’re using the word “potential” correctly (as in being capable of something). That does’t mean I think of everyone as a potential violent criminal, but I don’t think of them as automatically safe either, if that makes any sense.

@AuntieMame Redux – I am so sorry about your friend and that you had to go through that.

I was also thinking about the point you made about being validated for looks. I was helping a student edit an essay today. One of her sources was a study* that found that men considered women less trustworthy if their online dating profiles were “too attractive.” While the authors connected this to the fear of fraud (people using false profiles as a pretence to ask for money), it’s not as if those type of fraudsters don’t target straight women. And the reverse – women finding attractive men less trustworthy – wasn’t evident.

So I think part of the “good-looking” – “untrustworthy” connection is because looks are supposed to be a big part of a woman’s persona. If women are “faking” their looks, well then, they must be fakes through and through! Because women are nothing but their physical appearance! (/s for that last bit)

*It had a punny title: “Too Hot to Trust?”

Katiekitten420
Katiekitten420
2 years ago

I feel like maybe I should clarify something from my earlier comment. I was not referring to catcalling and such things specifically. I’m talking about every kind of attraction good neutral or bad. I was literally obsessed with it in my teens and early 20s and even to this day it is deeply important to me. Honestly the cat calling that is straight up harassment even though 5% of me does he find it flattering I would rather go without approval if it has to come like that. But if it’s just “hey pretty girl” or something like “hey cutie” you know, stuff that’s not really respectful or really offensive(at least to me) I find it mildly pleasant and then stuff that’s actually respectful is awesome. Does that make me not a real feminist? Or at the very least a bad one? The fact that if people(as I said before, man, woman, gender fluid doesn’t matter)didn’t find me attractive I would be absolutely devastated? I’m very insecure about my feminist going to feed because as some older commenters may recall I was told many times in college that I not only wasn’t a feminist but the way I acted was bad for women and I should be ashamed. I’m always questioning myself

Dvärghundspossen
Dvärghundspossen
2 years ago

Thanks everyone for sharing!

Skylalalalalalala
Skylalalalalalala
2 years ago

To respond to a post earlier in the thread, I’ve never felt attractive and never really got any external indication that I was attractive (including harassment – which is just pathetic really that *not* being harassed makes me feel even worse about myself – like how ugly must I be for that to happen?) so all getting older has done has firmly hammered into my head that I’m never going to be young & attractive because….I’m not young anymore. My husband insists I’m gorgeous & he sees men checking me out all the time but I don’t believe him. So …. yeah, getting older hasn’t really affected my self esteem or anything because apparently I “hit the wall” when I hit puberty and I never got validation from my looks before anyway. Which, honestly, is weird when I look back at pictures of myself in my teens & early 20s, because I was a lot more attractive then than I thought I was.

Robert
Robert
2 years ago

John Williams, the WGN radio person, had Amy Guth on his show a couple of days after this brouhaha. He backpedaled with grace, and gave her ample time to expand on the nature of the problem.

On a personal level, my main contribution to the situation has been raising two sons who will, most likely, never engage in such behavior. Both my husband and I were raised to consider it loathesome and degraded.

Rahu
Rahu
2 years ago

Another thing that many men might not understand about being sexually harassed in public, is that when they do it loudly (as opposed to another favorite of theirs, coming up behind you and whispering “I have a knife and I know where you live”, etc.) is that they’re telling everyone that we are here for sex and we’re only worthwhile for sex and HEY EVERYBODY (i.e. all men in listening distance) THERE’S A THING HERE TO BE USED FOR SEX IF YOU’RE INTERESTED RIGHT NOW – LOOK – IT’S WALKING OVER THERE NOW, GRAB IT IF YA WANT IT!

And this is a sadly amusing video of a street interview about public sexual harassment:

Jaygee
Jaygee
2 years ago

I feel that my situation is uncommon. I don’t get catcalled or harassed. I grew up and live in a pretty liberal place (bay area), so that helps, though I do have friends that do face some street harassment here. I also grew up without looks being pushed as the epitome of female accomplishment. People more often comment on me being smart and nice (good because those are things I value, though maybe that’s why I value them). I think my self-esteem is mostly good, though sometimes I feel slightly insecure about my body (definitely not skinny, but also no one except my mom has called me fat). I consider myself average in terms of attractiveness, but that’s subjective, so sometimes I’m not really sure what to make of it. I don’t thinj of myself as cute because I don’t put very much effort into how I look and prioritize comfort over fashion. I’m a quiet and reserved person, which means I go unnoticed a lot (and fine by me).

Anyway I lived in South Korea for about a year, and there I felt like looks were way more important than it was where I grew up. People would tell me I’m pretty (I’m Chinese American, so I could blend in with Koreans, though I don’t exactly fit their standard of beauty), but when reflecting on it, I felt like I actually preferred not having to think about if I was pretty or not and generally having looks not be an important issue. Reading other commenters discuss liking validation for attractiveness as an effect of living in a patriarchy makes me think that patriarchy had less of an impact on me than typical. Which I count as lucky. This is not the first time I feel like I somehow ended up in some utopian liberal bubble.

Who?
Who?
2 years ago

A few comments on stuff mentioned here:

If your flirting is treatend by the metoo-movement, that means your flirting is in your opinion easy to be mistaken for a crime. So that are big problems where the person who has that problem should really do some solesearching.

There will be situation were normal interactions make women unconfortable(people are akward), but most cases mentioned in the tread (or by the metoo-debate) are not those cases.

Tipps for women in that situation are helpful because even if we chance society, this won’t go away completly. (How to react in a situation that shouldn’t exist is a good idea) But it is important that the goal is here to get away saftly not chance the world.

Now about the chance, most men will not see a need to chance themselves, because they think “I am not part of the problem”. Another one is “what can I do, to help solve the problem, nothink.”
And one other think is, we(men here) underastimate the problem. Since we don’t seem to see that much harisment, we think it is a problem of a few cases, how widespread it is is somethink that men have to realise first.

Some of the storys in the tread are very bad, hope all people here have gotten better and are not hurt that much.

Starfury
Starfury
2 years ago

I feel like the importance of being attractive has been ingrained into a lot of us from an early age. I remember being told how beautiful my blonde hair and blue eyes were when I was a child, to the point where I was devastated to find out my hair would probably darken as I got older and I have maintained bleach-blonde hair for most of my adulthood, so much do I feel it is somewhat a core part of me. I think it is a bit messed up but I like that I can recognise some of the ways I’ve been socially influenced and continue to be. That way I can process what makes me feel happy and why, hopefully helping me balance my priorities and make better decisions. It seems a lot of people here are struggling with the same thing too and finding solace in awareness. I think I read a piece by Jessica Valenti in The Guardian about the subject a few years back.

Also on the subject of oglers and catcallers:

There are oglers who will look at an attractive woman when she is with a male companion and the male companion notices but not her because the ogler actually respects her more than the ‘perceived ownership’ of the man she is with, if that makes sense. Conversely, an ogler who respects a man’s perceived ownership over a woman will often make her aware but ensure the man stays ignorant. Oglers who make women aware tend to have less respect for women in general. This means that most of the men in our lives only tend to see (what is often considered) more ‘respectful’ or ‘harmless’ ogling – so that is what i think they think we’re complaining about. I dunno what my point is exactly but I was just venting some thoughts

Cadence
Cadence
2 years ago

Super long comment warning……

@Dvärghundspossen

I’m glad you said that – on the one side, I know that street harassment has very little to do with looks, but it always feels a bit perverse that as a 37 year old, I barely get harassed anymore by comparison to earlier in my life, but, at least those times when it starts quasi-respectfully, I feel a little flattered along with the annoyance.

As to the point about people on crutches, I can certainly contribute to that…

A few years ago, I ripped the ligaments and cartilage in my knee to shreds. After a full day at school, and an hour having my knee jostled on the bus, and trying to balance my ability to be aware with my level of pain via opioid pain killers, there was the evening a man held the door to the bus shelter open for me when I was transferring to my next bus. And I smiled and thanked him, because I was exhausted and in pain and dopey and just wanted to get home.

And then he followed me around the station, trying to touch me.

And then sat beside me, repeatedly trying to touch my leg and complimenting me, saying I was pretty and not like other girls, and then started to pull up my skirt so he could touch my bare leg.

This whole time, I was telling him to stop, shuffling over on the bench away from him, picking his hand up and putting it back beside him. I looked around the crowded shelter, and no one was bothering to notice, and seemed to be actively turning away, and when I got angry with him, he started to act like the injured party. I was beginning to think I was going to need to hit him with my crutch to get him to leave me alone. When my bus pulled up, he followed me onto my next bus (where I promptly asked for a seat to be cleared at the front, which was granted, and there was no room for him.) If I hadn’t been visibly disabled, I wouldn’t have had this option, and our bus drivers have an unfortunate record of ignoring women’s complaints and fears about safety.

So, yeah. That wasn’t the scariest instance of public harassment-by-stranger I’ve experienced, but even with more anger than fear, even with a “plan” to avoid becoming a victim more than I already was, even though I’ve earned through experience the knowledge that I don’t have to be nice and I will not let a predator flip the script so I’m in the wrong, it wasn’t helping. Then I had to deal with the fact that he saw what stop I got off at. The more predatory the harasser, the more likely they are to pick the weaker looking prey.

The “don’t look at a map in public” rule is also one I’ve learned to hard way (he offered to walk me there, then followed me around, ignoring all the cues I was giving that I’d rather he not, and then started trying to push me to come with him to this “beautiful place” outside the city so he could take my picture, until I finally hid in a public bathroom until I was sure he’d given up.)

I don’t want to dog pile on SpukiKitty, and I do agree we get way too conditioned to not make a scene and give the benefit of the doubt and be polite and nice, but I’m pretty sure there’s not much else I could have done in these situations. I still got harassed, I still had to give up time and energy trying to stop the harassment, and I doubt the harasser learned anything. The thing about predators is that they are predators. One woman reacting aggressively is not going to stop them from this behaviour, it just helps them fine-tune their model victim.

It is the effing worst to feel powerless, but women reacting differently to harassment won’t stop it.