There are some firsts that I will always remember; riding my bike (I screamed), and getting accepted into college (I also screamed), to name a few. Then there are the firsts I choose to forget; falling in love, getting in trouble, etc. And still, there are some firsts I never want to experience.
Tonight, I called the police to report sexual harassment. I’ve never filed a police report, let alone felt uncomfortable enough to call the police regarding someone harassing me, but tonight I did.
I live on the east coast, which doesn’t love air conditioning, which is actually fine with me, as long as I keep my windows open. I live on the third floor in a small, safe apartment complex where I know most of my neighbors. As I stood with my back to my open window in my third floor apartment at about 8pm two young, drunk men started catcalling me from the street. I could have closed my window or walked away, and I almost did, but then I stopped and thought, “no. No, they don’t get to dictate what I do.” So I was left with two options: either I confront them, or I report them. So I chose to report them.
To the BPD’s credit, the officers were beyond kind and took care of the situation, writing up tickets for trespassing and disturbing the peace.
But I’m left with two things:
- my own fear of those same young men finding me later, coming back, or worse. And I hate that I think that. I am so tired of feeling powerless in a situation like that. I am so tired of waiting for change. I am so tired of not fighting back. And I am so tired of feeling afraid.
- One of the officer’s words as he left: “You don’t need shit like that.” Thank you, none of us do.
So I write this, not for pity or praise or any response at all. I write this to remind myself that everyday sexism is so real. Micro (and macro) aggressions are so real. And now I can’t let myself forget.