I realized that the whole point was that he wanted me to feel powerless
New submission from Aria
I was 14, and on the bus to school wearing my uniform. I noticed a man, about 30, staring at me. I looked away, then looked back after a few minutes, glaring at him when he didn’t stop. He continued to openly and unblinkingly stare at me, and began to smile, the kind that doesn’t reach the eyes, in obvious enjoyment at my discomfort.
I realized that the whole point was that he wanted me to feel powerless, so that he could feel powerful, but that only made me feel more threatened, vulnerable and angry. I tried to ignore him, but my mind raced with thoughts on how unjust it was, how at my age I shouldn’t even be able to understand this kind of attention, but for the fact that it happened almost every school day. This was someone so pathetic they had to intimidate a lone 14 year old to feel strong.
When I stood up to leave I leaned over, looked him in the eye and said loudly “It’s rude to stare. Especially at school kids.” Everyone on the bus turned to stare at HIM. I felt an incredible rush of returned power as I watched him splutter in broken English and just turned my back to go about my business.