Kat’s story: “I’m still bewildered as to what was even happening”

This is about a really bizarre thing that happened to me a couple years ago. At the time I was more confused than anything else; and while I’m STILL confused, I’ve recently been thinking about it again and it was definitely a very direct form of harassment.

I was walking alone downtown at around 5pm to meet a friend at a film screening. I was running late and walking quickly. Walking directly in front of me in the opposite direction (towards me) on the sidewalk was a group of three men in their early-to-mid-twenties. We were on Granville St. in front of the Metro Centre, I didn’t take any more notice of them than I did of anyone else on the sidewalk. When we got closer to each other one of them pulled out some kind of beige mask or face covering (it might have been pantyhose?) I still didn’t pay any attention and kept walking, and the man who had covered his face stood directly in front of me and blocked my way. He didn’t seem to be making any moves to harm or rob me; or even say anything, he just stood in my way, like INCHES in front of me. He didn’t seem like he was in trouble or needed my help, either. I was in a hurry and in no mood to deal with whatever bullshit this was so I didn’t acknowledge him except to try and move and carry on my way. He moved with me, still blocking me. This happened maybe one more time, and then I shoved him to the side and kept walking. I didn’t look back and I heard his friends laughing as I walked away. They didn’t follow me.

This all happened in under a minute. I wasn’t thinking as I acted. I didn’t want to acknowledge or engage this man in ANY WAY except to get him out of my way; because I don’t owe a stranger who invades my space my time or my words and I was just so mad and confused. This could have gone any number of different ways, though. I don’t think pushing the man was the safest thing for me to do. I’m lucky nothing else happened and I wouldn’t have been able to physically defend myself if it had. And I’m still bewildered as to what was even happening at all. I don’t know if they were targeting me because I was a small woman walking alone or not; but it seems likely. There were lots of other people on the street with us. I didn’t report it, though I probably should have. I hope they didn’t try anything on anybody else.

Other shit happens too, to me and to so many others. More recently, on a quiet residential street, a middle-aged guy pulled up in his car and said “get in here”. I walked away as fast as I could, and that time I did report it.