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My Dress Isn't Permission

A rant about my sexual harassment being justified by the dress I was wearing.

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Before today I've never encountered such an uncomfortable act of sexual harassment, and it infuriates me that it happens to other women on a daily basis. This morning I decided to go to Ollies to look at the books. (If you've never been they have AMAZING books for under a dollar). Anyways I was wearing a dress; it reached a few inches above my knee. This man after a few minutes of following me around the store would come close to me and whisper things like "You know I like thick girls," and would walk off like he wasn't talking to me. For a while I thought maybe it wasn't directed towards me, he had started the harassment with a comment about my calve muscles. I was wearing knee-high boots. Therefore, my calves were hidden.

Even not being sure that these comments were directed towards me still filled me with an insane amount of discomfort. I was angry that this stranger was ruining going to a bookstore by myself. What right does anyone have to make such crude comments? Not even to mention how did he assume it was going to get a positive reaction.

Just a bit of advice, if the person you're hitting on literally runs away from you, they're not interested. Stalking and sexual comments, especially when you don't even know the person's name isn't exactly a turn on.

I learned that the comments were directed towards me when he came up behind me and put his hand under my skirt. The only thing I felt at that moment was anger, I turned around and kicked the stranger. The stranger was actually mad at me for my reaction. He said, and I quote "You shouldn't wear things like that if you don't want attention." For one I don't care if I'm walking around in my birthday suit, you DO NOT have automatic permission to touch me. Two, he really thought the fact I wore a dress was a logical reason to touch me.

By the time I was able to report the man to the manager he had left the store, but the manager did walk me safely to my car. It hit me then how ridiculous it is that I had to have an escort to the parking lot. That this situation was happening at all. It hit me that this happens daily. That for a moment I was mad at myself for deciding to wear a dress. No one should have to fear that what they wear is going to cause harassment and no one should have to worry about going shopping alone. The mindset that we're in that a short skirt means a girl is desperate needs to stop. Most the time the girl just really likes the dress and has the confidence to wear something they feel good in. Don't be the person who destroys that confidence.

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