My Outfit Is Not An Invitation

Photo by marina guimarães via Flickr

I came home from an evening out at around 11:30pm and there was a big cookout and party going on in the alley behind my house. I’m friendly with some of the guys who hang out in my area (they used to live in the area and come back to hang out) and one of them called out to me as I passed by the party. I went over to say hello and maybe shake hands as we often do. This time however, after commenting on how cute I looked, the guy put one arm around me in a quick one-arm hug. Fine, okay. But then with that hand he gently stroked my hip before releasing me.

I want to be able to dress nicely — yes, showing a little skin but not a scandalous amount — without having guys think that it’s for *them*. Just because I want to look pretty and feel good about my outfit does not mean that it is an invitation to you, jerk.

Later in the evening I went back out in a neighborly effort, and a different guy who I know in passing but not by name came up to see if I was taken care of or if I needed anything. Let me be clear that I have never had a conversation with this man, yet he felt entitled to take my hand in his as he asked me if I needed anything.

As far as harassment goes, these instances we pretty low on the intensity scale. What most frustrated me about the events was the evening was the overwhelming sense that I can’t be friendly with my neighbors (20 years my senior) without them taking it as an invitation. They know I’m seeing someone. I make a point to shake their hands like I see them do with other guys. I don’t want to be rude to them, but keep your damn hands to yourself, and quit telling me how cute I am.

Submitted by Anonymous on 7/19/2010

Location: North Capitol & Bryant St

Time of Harassment:Night (7:30P-12A)

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.


One response to “My Outfit Is Not An Invitation

  1. Golden Silence

    Since you live near them and will probably see them more often than you’d like, have you thought about confronting them? Simply tell them you’re their neighbor, you want to be able to get along, yet you want them to show you respect and not touch you inappropriately.

    Best of luck to you.

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