Tag Archives: harassment

When did saying hello turn into something sinister?

So, second blog post of the day! I’m not quite like a bus but who knows whether something else will make me rage/laugh/want to comment later on today!

So I saw a video today. Bit of background. A guy called Rob Bliss (from Rob Bliss Creative) partnered with Holloback! (a not for profit organisation which aims to campaign against street harassment.  For 10 hours, Rob walked in front of an actress called Shoshana filming her and the responses as she walked silently through the streets. The video is  available at http://youtu.be/b1XGPvbWn0A.

I was dumbfounded but didn’t quite know why as it’s something that I have personally experienced. A few years ago I was walking near my student house (okay it was more than a few years ago!) and a guy was standing outside a shop. As I walked past avoiding eye contact, he said very loudly, “do you want some sex with me”. Looking back I wished I had a witty comeback but as it was I kept my head down and scuttled off. I was completely bewildered at the fact someone thought that was an appropriate opening line to someone they had never met before.

Recently I had a guy come over and spit alcohol in my face. I wasn’t doing anything. I didn’t have eye contact with him, I was walking far away in both instances but yet they still felt it was appropriate to assault me verbally and physically.

Such instances make me feel sad. They make me feel sad because I come from a small village in Yorkshire where it was the norm for people to say hello and smile as they walk past. It’s sad because people who are lonely and may not have much contact are losing out because people don’t want to engage in innocent conversation at bus stops, on the bus, the train. I have been told I just talk to anyone, I should be more careful about responding. Despite my experiences I am going to carry on responding to a hello and a smile because I believe the good contacts will always outweigh the bad. But I will try to prepare myself that not everybody is good.

The bit that made me laugh in a sad way during the video was when someone said ‘you should say thank you when someone compliments you’. Well I do. I do when it’s my husband. I do when someone says I have nice gloves and ask me where I got them from. I do when the compliment is given when nothing is expected in return. I don’t when randomers come up and get annoyed when I don’t take the compliment which is quickly followed up by a ‘can i have your phone number’. I blame social media in a way. Social media encourages us to give opinions, views and comments about people’s lives who we don’t know in real life. If you see me in the street I will say hello but don’t be offended if I don’t share my life with you.