New submission from L!

Last week, I moved to New Westminster. I work in North Surrey, so I was excited to finally start enjoying walking and taking the train to work.

Everyday this week, I have had to deal with street harassment at least once. Every time, it sticks with me and ruins the rest of my commute.

It’s all been verbal. One time, a man standing with his coworker stepped into my path and said ‘Hellllllllloooooo’ while looking me up and down. Another time, I stopped and bent over to pull a sweatshirt out of my bag and some guy driving by yelled “Nice Ass!” out his window. Today, a group of men in a large truck barked at me (which surprised and scared me) and laughed hysterically at my reaction as they drove off.

Why does this stick with me? It makes me feel awful. It doesn’t make me feel pretty or desirable. It makes me feel violated and scared that they’ll follow me or that it will happen again. What will I do? How will I stand up for myself? How will I do this without escalating the situation? These are the questions I ask myself the rest of the way. I try not to let it get to me, but it does.

In general, I am a confident person and am proud of my ability to speak my mind and stick to my convictions. But this behaviour breaks me down into a timid and nervous girl who I don’t even recognize. Usually, I don’t even have the opportunity to react to the harassment, so I’m left hanging with what my response could and should have been.

It’s not fair. I’m not here for your assessment and enjoyment. I’m just a person trying to get to work.