Em’s story: “Street harassment actually ruins my day and gives me the shakes.”

I actually go to counseling at Avalon Sexual Assault Centre because I’ve been assaulted three times at different points in my life. One was quite recent so street harassment actually ruins my day and gives me the shakes, as I’m sure it does to many other women. I was on my way to buy groceries one day (which is right across from the building that Avalon is in) and I heard some man yell “PENIS!” while he was sitting in his car in traffic. It rattled me and made me angry that this happened so close to one of my “safe” places. Oftentimes as well, there will be groups of men sitting on the cafe patio on the bottom of the building that the Avalon Centre is in and when I walk by, some of the men stare at me. Like please, I’m on my way to get counseled for sexual assault, leave me the hell alone!! It doesn’t seem to matter what I wear, not that it should matter but some people believe I deserve that treatment if *ohmygosh* I’m wearing a dress.

Can society ever change? People act like it infringes on their own freedom if they’re told you’re not allowed to treat people this way. I feel like if you were to ask random people on the street if they like sexual harassment and assault, they would of course say no but they’re not willing to do anything to stop it from happening – especially change their own vile behavior – and downplay it when it does happen. Just leave the people on the street alone for frigs sake! Is it really that hard for some?