“Leave me alone! Don’t touch me!”

In an Afghan-owned grocery store that sells Middle Eastern and South Asian products. I was shopping, minding my own business, and this absolutely scuzzy sleazy-looking guy, unshaven, unkempt, shirttail partly hanging out–you get the picture–says behind me “Hey, beauty, where are you going?” I ignored him, of course. He followed me through an aisle full of Islamic religious items, saying “Where do you live?” as I continued to totally ignore him. Then he sneaked up behind me when I was about to get in the checkout line, and said “Want to go with me?” as he bumped his whole body up against mine from behind.

So I wheeled around and shouted out loud “Leave me alone! Don’t touch me! Get away from me!” I had taken harassment silently innumerable times before, but this time I just snapped. He was startled and backed off. There were several people around, including a store employee, who pretended nothing had happened. I paid for my purchases and was leaving when I noticed he had hung around behind me, waiting. If he had tried anything else, so help me I would have broken his ugly face. I took a women’s self-defense class taught by Lauren Taylor in DC and learned how to inflict severe injury on harassers if necessary. Anyway, he didn’t follow me out of the store and the incident was over, except for the work I had to do within myself to recover from it.

I’m Muslim myself, and I’m seriously pissed off how the extreme sexual segregation in Islamist fundamentalist societies raises men in total isolation from women so that they never learn how to behave properly. There was nothing in that sicko scuzzball’s behavior but open hatred and aggression toward women. He assumed because I’m Muslim that I would meekly submit to harassment. I hope I taught him a lesson.

Submitted by JbH on 4/19/2010

Location: the K-Mart Plaza on Elden Street in Herndon, VA 20170

Do you have a personal experience with gender-based public sexual harassment or assault you would like to submit? Just click here and fill out the online submission form. All submissions are posted anonymously unless you specify.


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2 responses to ““Leave me alone! Don’t touch me!”

  1. good for you! back when i lived in brooklyn i saw a lot of muslim women standing up against harassment, they did not put up with anything!

  2. Well done! I agree that Lauren Taylor is such an empowering woman in encouraging us to stand up against this crap.

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