I’ve always seen myself as one of the lucky ones. I’m “lucky” because most of the sexual harassment I’ve had to deal with has been verbal. A few catcalls and comments about my appearance. Things some might argue is ‘’easy’’ to shake off and just walk away from. But I’m still terrified every time I think someone’s talking to me when I’m alone.
But then I was followed. It was a bright spring afternoon, and I was on my way to the train station from college. I was 16. He was in his late 30s. He’d tried to start a conversation with a comment on how I looked. As I dismissed him, he got annoyed and called after me as I walked away. Then the following began, still with the constant verbal harassment.
Luckily, I’d been taught what to do if I ever found myself in this situation. I knew better than to go straight to where I wanted to go. I quickly grabbed the keys in my pocket and held each key between my fingers while using my other hand to call my mum, just in case something happened. This time, nothing did.
Yet after this, I’m still considered lucky. Because I was one of the victims who managed to get away.
Words by Alice Sjöberg