About a week and a half ago, I decided to go hang out downtown so I could get out of my apartment. I headed into Borders to do some browsing. I went to the little catalog search kiosk and was typing in some keywords when a guy (early twenties, around my age) passed by me and went into a section nearby. He was nicely dressed and just looked like a normal guy hanging out in the bookstore. I glanced up for a second and saw him look at me but didn’t think too much of it and continued to search.
I headed to a section to browse and after a few minutes noticed the same guy walk again and look at me. I had a feeling that he was just trying to check me out, but I wasn’t interested, so I ignored him.
I went to a part of the section where there were some chairs. I was standing next to an empty chair with my back facing outwards and browsing when I felt someone walk behind me and sit down in the chair. I looked down and realized it was the same guy. I don’t remember if he was looking at me again or just pretending to sit there out of all the empty chairs in the area.
At this point I started to get uncomfortable and a little annoyed, so I quickly left and went to a different part of the bookstore. I didn’t see him for five or so minutes so I relaxed and continued to browse. But then he came back. He was wandering around the section I was in, up and down the aisles and looking at me when he passed by. At one point he got really close to me and was pretending to look at books, but out of the corner of my eye I could see that he kept looking up and over at me. He was kind of just hovering around. So I moved yet again. I was starting to feel anxious but there were other people in the section with us, so I wasn’t scared that he would physically hurt me or anything.
He kept slowly wandering away and then behind me and “looking at books.” So I got exasperated and looked up at him for the first time and just stared with a “what is your problem?” look. He looked surprised that I had noticed him and then walked away. I didn’t see him for ten or so minutes and was relieved, but then after that he came back yet again.
So I made a big deal out of slamming my book down and walking out of the store. He didn’t follow me out or anything, but I walked home really quickly.
I should have called him out on it. Afterwards I kept thinking of things I should have said… “Can I help you with something?” or “If you continue to follow me around I will call for security!” I was so upset about it but for some reason at the time I felt powerless. I told some friends about it afterwards and some of them said that I could have just said “hello” because he was “obviously just nervous”, but I don’t see how anyone could think a someone following around a girl who’s alone, regardless of where she is, is okay.
Submitted by Ashley on 7/14/2011
Location: In Borders bookstore (Silver Spring)
Time of harassment: Day Time (9:30A-3:30P)
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