I am sick and tired of feeling unsafe on public transport.
Yesterday, I gave my second statement to the police regarding a male masturbating aggressively at me on a bus. Both times there were other people on the bus.
I am a sixteen year old girl who lives in Sydney, Australia, and I am sick of being commoditised, objectified and violated by men and boys. I should not have to deal with being waved onto the bus free of charge, “love”, in return for being belittled and gawked at. I should not have to receive the harassment of strangers until I feel uncomfortable and unsafe. I should not have had to notice a palpable change in the way strangers react to my short, masculine haircut. I should not pose a threat to men and a flattery to women if they think I am a lesbian. I should not have to constantly second-guess every male that passes me on a bus, or a train station, because their presence triggers an irrational fear as a result of being masturbated at twice in the past two months.
I should not need the skills to stand up, yell out and take action when something is wrong because no-one else will,and deal with the trauma of being harassed. I should not be so bitter than I no longer wish to smile at strangers.
But I do, and I have, and I am. I am afraid, so I am defensive. I am angry, so I am cold. I am a woman, and I belong to me.
The above is Lily’s story, but it’s the same kind of story that’s repeated again and again by basically anyone that’s experienced street harassment.
This is not an uncommon experience. This is not okay.
People should be able to walk the streets without fear of harassment, but because this is not case, we should not let people experience these things alone.
If you see something, say something. Support people who have and are facing street harassment. No one should be a bystander.