As many women, I have been verbally harassed and followed by men in many occasions. I remember one time very clearly, in the span of 5 minutes I was screamed at, and followed by a man and a car. I felt bad and gross. Scared, alone and frustrated. It felt like my body did not belong to me, as if I was attached to a piece of meat.
That particular day I felt especially mad. I realised that as social beings, it is inevitable to have encounters with people, and that these are impactful external stimuli. But there is a line that should never be crossed. These moments are easily transformed into inner thoughts that can get louder and louder with time; words that daunt you forever. In the moment, I felt gross, invaded. And all the while, I knew I deserved to be treated differently.
But how can a young girl know this, if wherever she walks she is object of a feared hostility?