This Woman's Story Of Harassment Is Way Too Familiar To Most Of Us

by Maria Guido
Originally Published: 
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Woman tweets story of harassment and so many others relate

If you’ve spent any time moving through the world as a woman, you’ve probably been harassed. You’ve probably been made to feel unsafe at some point. And you’ve probably felt very, very alone in even a public space.

Nathalie Gordon took to Twitter last week to relay a story of harassment that will probably be familiar to a lot of women.

It starts with her getting approached by a man on a bus.

Let’s stop here for a moment, shall we? This is an experience many of us have had — that moment when a stranger’s attention moves from awkward, to definitely unwanted, to possibly dangerous. Any woman who’s spent any time traveling on public transportation — or even operating in public in any fashion — has experienced this moment. It’s infuriating in its simplicity, isn’t it? That we can be among a crowd and still be made to feel unsafe in a matter of seconds?

Annnd, the moment where the man moves from “threatening” — to actual predator. Gordon gets up for help from the bus driver, because she’s being now openly sexually harassed in public.

Um, kick the passenger that sexually harassing women off the bus, maybe?

“What did you expect?” Gordon breaks it down:

“What I expect is to not be on guard EVERYWHERE I GO. And I know other women are – we’re all scared, all the time.”

There is an unspoken bond that exists between women, because it has to. We know there is safety in numbers, and we look out for each other. It’s almost innate. I take the same train to work every week, and there are three other women who I’ve developed a cordial smile-and-wave relationship with. And I’ve always had these women — well, not exactly these women — but women like them around me on every habitual public transportation route I’ve been on. It’s almost like we know we need to look out for each other — and our silent acknowledging of each other’s existence sends that message — I’ve got your back. We always have to have each other’s backs, because we can’t count on anyone else to. And this shit always happens.

Women began sharing their stories in solidarity and in response to her original tweet. It’s absolutely devastating to see how many women have stories like this to add to the mix.

“The stories I’m being told [from women] are harrowing,” Gordon told Upworthy. “There’s a real sense of hopeless when you see these messages en masse.”

Women, you haven’t done anything wrong. It’s not your fault if a man confronts you, harasses you, and makes you feel unsafe. You don’t owe your time or attention to anyone. We owe it to each other to pay attention, to step in, and to provide safety in numbers. We can interact with someone we feel is in danger. We can step in and make our presence known.

Women, we have to have each other’s backs. Because sometimes, no one else will.

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