Thursday, June 21, 2007

Chicago memories & lessons learned

I was born and raised in Chicago, and my harassment experiences in this city have been pretty traumatic. I left Chicago to go to college in Alabama and Florida. The harassment down South didn't hold a candle to the aggression I get here in my hometown.

I was born with a deformity in my legs, so I'm used to people staring or yelling mean things.

I have been scared by harassers many times on public transportation.
1) On the Red Line trip home from the loop, an older man sat next to me (despite many empty seats) and kept asking every few minutes how close the 79th street stop was. He was sweaty and wearing huge dark glasses, so I knew something was wrong. When the train finally reached 79th street, I happened to turn around to watch him leave and saw him put his penis back in his pants. I realized he kept asking about 79th street to get me to turn around so he can jerk off at my face.

2) On the Blue Line a tall, fat man once again sat next to me, despite the train being FULL of empty seats, and offered me candy. (I look dangerously younger than my age, 31.) He kept trying to chat with me until I reached my stop. Since he was sitting in the aisle seat, he tried to physically stop me from leaving and asked me if I was a virgin. It was so embarrassing because a man that I had talked to before I got on the train was sitting directly behind me and did NOTHING to help me.

There have been several other incidents on public transportation in the ten years I have been
back in Chicago, and I regret that I DID NOT REPORT ANY OF THEM. However, I have learned to always sit in the aisle seat on the trains, NOT the window seat. That way I can choose who sits next to me! I've also learned never to sit in the back of the bus--assholes congregate there because it's harder for the bus driver to see what's going on in the rear view