It was 4 am, and I just ended a long day of work. This night at work had been mentally exhausting and I was ready to make my way home, crawl into bed and pass out for days. Granville at this hour is a really strange place, especially if you’re sober. When I first started working late nights on Granville, I used to find the aftermath of the clubs quite comical. Inebriated people everywhere, laughing, some crying over drama, often times there were crazy fights. I thought it was funny how people turn to a barbaric state when they drink a little too much and stay up too late.
To get home from work, I have to take a cab. It doesn’t take me long, usually about 5-10 minutes to hail one. During this time, I can guarantee I will hear a whistle, or a comment asking me to go home with them. One of the more memorial comments;” You’re so hot, I could light my cigarette on you”. After I told him that it was widely inappropriate, he proceeded to call me a bitch. Experiencing days and days of cat calling, my patience has worn thin, and I dread leaving work.
Although I have been called at, I’ve never had anyone physically approach me until this specific night. Because it was so late, I knew I would have to go hunting for a cab. While on the corner of Granville and Cambie, a young man was staggering up the side walk. I instantly held my breath. At this point in the night, I just want to go to bed. I kept my eyes up and was determined to flag down a yellow chariot. Suddenly, I hear a slurred “Heyy howww arre yaa?” and proceeding that sloppy introduction I feel his hands grope my hips and butt. I jump out of his grip, and yell “Please do not touch me!”. His response? ” Don’t be such a bitch”.
It was strange, the next day after this interaction, I had been hollered at 4 times. Each time I made it clear that those comments were not a way to get my attention. It never really used to stick with me so strongly, but weeks later, I am still mad.
I can’t comprehend why people think that harassing someone on the street is acceptable. To be fair, I tried to think of all the times I may have whistled, hollered at or approached someone on the street like I’ve been experiencing. The only time I can think of is when i was 13 with my best friend, we were riding bikes and yelling silly complements like “Hey boy, I like your shirt!”. This is the difference, I was an adolescent finding my flirtatious confidence, and hoping to land a summer boyfriend.
After being groped, I’ve decided that I am going to approach every person who harasses me (if I feel its safe of course). Maybe talking to them, explaining that harassment is humiliating. That comments like that make women in Vancouver dread leaving work, walking down the street, getting groceries, taking public transportation, or existing out side of the comfort of our home. My ignorance is over. Its time to talk.