The discomfort others believe they can inflict on another is revolting. Overstepping boundaries, diminishing a person to a sexualized object for your enjoyment, destroying the safety and security a person is entitled to when walking out the door, regardless of their outfit choices.
I should not have to second guess when wearing a dress to work in the dead of summer out of fear.
Yet the pit in my stomach, nausea growing by the second after having a strange man enter my comfort zone, take the open seat next to me, and bend over, adjusting the angle of his vision to look up my dress, moving closer and closer in the tight two seater we are crushed into. Occasionally looking up to try to meet my vision, as I turn my head to catch the eyesight of a fellow female around me, as if to scream “help”, holding my breath until I can get off at the next stop, squeezing my legs tighter, praying to be left alone. I want to scream “who the fuck do you think you are”, yet I’m frozen, conditioned with the belief if I act out the situation could grow worse and I would provoke him further. He continues to lean lower, turning his head, leaving no action to be discreet as my emotions rise and stomach turns.
As I try to collect myself after having finally stepped off the train, alleviating the scenario, with a sigh of relief after the realization I haven’t been followed, yet accepting I may be late for work due to this detour, I realize the abuse of powers. The sick mentality a stranger can use to harm another, sexualize, diminish, provoking fear and questioning personal style, not due to the belief of deserving to be the victim of a grotesque act, but to ensure the security of it never happening again.