Monday, November 20, 2006

3rd Party Hollaback

On the bus yesterday, I witnessed another woman being harassed. A homeless man entered the bus and started asking for money, explaining that he lived on the street and needed our help. I got a bad feeling from him and didn't want to hunt through my wallet, so I decided to ignore him and keep reading my novel. The woman next to me was the only person who responded by giving him money; she emptied out her change purse and apologized for not having more. And do you know how this guy responded to her act of kindness? He
got in her personal space (and let me assure you, he did not smell pleasant), leaning over the seat in front of us and started telling her what beautiful "eyes" she had. He was clearly prepared to come on to her until she disembarked, which is exactly what she did at the next stop.
She went out of her way to be nice, so why couldn't he respond in kind? Before she exited the bus, I was considering speaking up and asking the guy to leave her alone, while simultaneously wondering why none of the men seated around us would help her out.

It reminded me of an incident at my local Starbucks when a man actaully came to the defense of a woman being harassed. There was a guy sitting near me who seemed a little unbalanced, mumbling to himself and everything, and at one point, he stood in front of a woman who was working on something and started bothering her. She was clearly uncomfortable, but didn't know how to get rid of the guy. So, another man who was sitting near her stood up, and
very discretely, politely, and yet firmly convinced the guy to back off and leave the cafe. I almost laughed when he actually used the line
"perhaps you should leave the lady alone." Anyway, it was sweet, and very encouraging to see a man stand up for a woman who was being harassed.

~submitted by Jessica Q