Hey guys, I wanted to discuss something that has been bothering me for quite a while now. To anyone that has been a victim of harassment, just know that I will never know how you feel, but I will always be here if you ever feel like opening up.
I always knew that harassment existed, but only through hearing my close friends stories had I understood the extent of how often it actually happens. It’s actually so upsetting to see my closest friends who were once so content and happy, to having to constantly worry about what they’re wearing and whether they’ll be alone that day. It’s just not fair. This has led to so many trust issues because in places where you’re meant to feel secure & have ‘nothing’ to worry about, are the same places people get sexually assaulted or even kidnapped.
The fact that when an individual is harassed, it is SO difficult for them to open up to anyone (let alone the police) because they just feel so shaken and distressed, it makes me so sad. You end up being in a dark place mentally & physically because you genuinely feel like that disturbing image is stuck with you for the rest of your life because you truly can’t unsee how you felt.
Society almost tries to restrict what a woman should do, and where they should be and when they need to be home – e.g. going home before the dark, not to go alone in dark alleys unless you’re with a male figure. I mean, yeah sure it helps – it is something that should be considered, but why can’t a woman walk peacefully? Why does she have to constantly look behind so that no one is following her? Or keep an eye on the man that left the bus at the same time as her? On top of that, some women have to walk in those dangerous alleys because they have to follow a specific route to get to their home, meaning that in the winter when it gets dark early, they are left with no choice but to walk in fear.
Examples of Harassment.
I wanted to briefly talk about what harassment is so that you get a clearer idea about it. It can happen anywhere – especially the workplace and in education. It can include threats, teasing or ‘joking’, spreading false accusations about someone and so much more. This is when people take advantage of an individual by emotionally & psychologically black mailing them. However it can also include messages of sexually suggestive emails or even texts via social media.
How you can help someone that HAS been a victim of harassment...
I feel like when people discuss harassment, they don’t mention how to actually support an individual that went through the situation. It is really difficult because if you say one wrong thing, that individual will probably overthink about it for the next couple of months or even years. You need to be considerate and not make the conversation about you – as hard as some of you may find this lol, it just is a bit mean if you change the topic to what you bought when you went shopping the other day – yes people do this.
If you were just walking by and you saw the individual being petrified – would you stop? Would you stand up for her? I guess most times people will say yes of course but when it comes to doing it, they just walk past like its nothing. I’m not asking you to start an argument with that offender, just approach them in a calm and collected manner.
How do you stop someone from harassing you?
I’m not sure how to answer this question because there’s no simple answer to it. The individual could be holding anything like a knife or a gun to make you give consent to them, but honestly give them the benefit of the doubt. Make them feel like you’re giving in but then at that exact moment when they aren’t looking either spray them with your perfume or your keys or anything you have that can be used as a self defense object. And if that doesn’t work: scream really LOUD. Someone will hear and should come, but make sure your mobiles location is always turned on to someone you trust so that they know where you are. Due to the rough times we’re all living in, there is a huge chance of someone being harassed which just isn’t fair, it is wrong – but for our own protection we have to be on call with someone if we’re in dark, quiet areas.
I don’t know if your schools taught you this but there are five D’s of self defense: Deter, Detect, Delay, Deny and Defend. First you need to make sure you are in a safe place where intruders can’t get in, then if they do somehow get in you press one of the fire alarms or emergency buttons & then try to have physical barriers such as key card entry doors to prevent them and then protect yourself: try hiding somewhere and make yourself locked in a room. Lastly, defend – if the higher authorities still haven’t arrived then you can use anything near you as a source of protection.
Despite all these self-defense measures, women are still more likely to get harassed and you can take it to court and get a restraining order so that this never happens again. And as easy as it is to say, tell someone you trust because they will try their best to make you feel better. Remember: you have been through the most tough situation (that even I don’t know what I’d do) all by yourself, it should strengthen you even more. You got this.