“There have just been so many”

I don’t even know where to start because there have been so many. To avoid a short novel, I’ll explain the last three instances which have all happened in the last month.

1. Having gotten off the bus and started walking home (it takes about 5 minutes from the bus stop) I was followed by a car. I had my headphones in and hoped he would drive on when I ignored him. It didn’t work and I felt so intimidated (it was 11pm) that I took my headphones out and told the man I just wanted to be left in peace. He continued to follow me up my road. Finally I got to my flat and in a moment of madness said ‘this is where I live please leave me alone’. Once inside and a bit calmer I felt really vulnerable that he now knew where I lived but I just blurted it out in the moment as I wanted him to go away.

2. Walking to brixton with my headphones in. A man matches my pace and although I can’t hear him it seems obvious he is saying something to me. I ignore him as he’s with another man but he keeps walking beside me. I take my headphones out and he tells me he just wanted to say I had nice hair. I felt compelled to say thank you but actually resented him intruding on my journey and space.

3. I was walking with a friend through Stratford tube station. A man rushed towards my friend and asked to speak to her. He was in a large group of men and it was alarming and completely uninvited. We rushed past to which he shouted ‘I will slap you’. We ran to our platform to avoid further confrontation. It give a wonderful evening a sour ending.

Thank you for creating the space for us to share these stories. It’s surprising how liberating it is to share them. Often when I tell people, they are more concerned with what I did to de-esculate the situation rather than how it made me feel. It’s normalised.