“This is where a man in a truck followed me for several blocks harassing me, making me feel scared for my life and less than human.”
In Southpark San Diego CA along Fern street.
This was the worst street harassment I have encountered to date.
This sticker is an attempt of me to try and reclaim some of the power he took from me.
I was in the middle of my morning ritual, walking to the local coffee shop to pick up a beverage and a pastry for breakfast. Half way back, I see a truck coming in the opposite direction pull over. I look over and see the man driving staring at me and making kissing faces at me. I ignore him and keep on walking. This kind of thing happens far too often.
But then, something unexpected happened. He swings his truck around and beings to slowly follow me shouting at me through the rolled down window. “Hey baby, gimme your number” he demanded. Again, I kept walking trying to ignore him but feeling more and more threatened. I grab the pepper spray from my purse. All I could think of was “don’t show emotion, don’t acknowledge him, keep walking, get to your car and get out of here.”
He continued to follow me, getting more aggressive and more sexual with his language. I was terrified. I just kept thinking how this is going to be the day that I have to actually use the pepper spray and was scared he was going to kill or rape me.
He starts to demand I get into his truck all while calling me sexy and objectifying me. I make it to my car, and he swings around and drives off, but not before lingering a bit. I quickly start driving off to work, but within a few blocks had to pull over. I lose it. I start hyperventilating and having a panic attack and bawling my eyes out. I fumble for a phone to call my friend just so I had someone to talk to.
I was afraid to sleep in my house that night. Its been a couple of days, and I was still afraid to take out my trash because I didn’t want to go outside. I almost called in sick this morning to work because I didn’t want to leave my house.
I have to wonder, if he knew what this did to me, would he feel bad? Would he be happy that he was able to exert this power and dominance over me? that he was able to take something from me? Does he think what he was doing was a compliment? How many other women has he followed?
I have been harassed many times before but this one was different. Southpark is my home. Its my community. I feel a very strong bond with that area. I love living there. It feels like its ‘mine’. Even when harassed there before, I still felt power in it being MY neighborhood. But this time, he managed to break through that. He cracked any sense of security I had. He stripped away my autonomy. Something broke inside of me that day.