Sexual harassment is real

Last night I went out dancing with friends. I like to consider myself a good dancer. Not in the sense that I was trained in any way, but in the sense that I can feel the music and interpret it into movement in attractive and interesting ways. This has made me the center of attention on occasion, which is something I’m used to. But last night the line between attention and harassment was definitely crossed. Men came up behind me to dance with me, but I do not go out to dance so I can have a dance partner. So I step away from them and make it clear with body language that I am not interested. Most of the time that is enough to get the point across. However, last night one particular man wasn’t taking the hint. I would move away from him and go dance by other people and he just followed me around the dance floor. Eventually I said, “Leave me alone!” He walked away but returned a short time later attempting to dance with me. And again I was forced to flee. Why wasn’t “Leave me alone!” a clear enough statement? “Stop,” and “I’m not interested,” were also said. And he would leave for a minute and then return as if he hoped I would forget we had ever interacted and have a different response this time. I started looking for a bouncer but didn’t see one near by. And why should I HAVE to get one man to get another man to leave me alone?! After a lot of him trying to touch me without permission and me yelling at him to stop, he seemed to disappear. But to my dismay, he did return yet again. He seemed to finally grasp that I did not want him near me so instead he stood about 4 people away from me and stared. I was extremely uncomfortable with it so I maneuvered my thankfully large purse between my body and his gaze. He then proceeded to walk circles around me in an attempt to get an unobstructed view. I, of course, was not okay with that so my purse moved around my body as he moved. And the final interaction before I left was him walking right up to me in the middle of my friends with my purse expertly positioned and telling me to calm down. This man’s behavior was the cause of my frustration and uncomfortability and he had the audacity to tell me to calm down as if I could with him creepily watching me. I was outraged and yet I was the only one. No one seemed to think it was a big deal. It was insinuated that I should be flattered. I’m stuck in a situation where I’m being pawed at and overtly sexualized to my own discomfort and I am somehow making a “big deal” about it. The truth is that not enough woman, or people in general, make a big enough deal about injustices, and this entitled behavior will never change until we do. Speak up! Please. Don’t diminish this type of behavior just because you don’t want to offend.

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