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how would you react if verbally harassed in the street by a young teen boy?

(26 Posts)
GertrudePerkins Wed 09-Sep-20 16:31:35

interested to know if I overreacted. Walking to collect my DC there were three approx 12/13yo boys walking towards me. One looked at right me, said something I couldn't hear (noise cancelling headphones) and the other two laughed.

I called the lad back, said I didn't hear what he'd said, and asked him to repeat it. He said "I said I liked your coat" (a likely story). I told him women's appearances were none of his business, asked his name, and said I'd go into the school if he was rude again. Part of me thinks I've overreacted, he's just a kid. Part of me is outraged at the constant grind of crappy low level sexism. Which part is right?

OP’s posts: |
FunTimes2020 Wed 09-Sep-20 16:35:54

Hmmm, teens can be daft, often to show off in front of mates, and I agree no need for it but not sure I would call it harassment as such. I would have given my best Paddington bear stare and carried on walking.

Thisismytimetoshine Wed 09-Sep-20 16:36:40

Good on you for calling him on it.

Crankley Wed 09-Sep-20 16:38:32

I would run him over with my mobility scooter. smile

More seriously, you don't know what he said, I wouldn't have called him back.

moonlight1705 Wed 09-Sep-20 16:39:09

A group of 4 lads pushed past me on a pavement and called me an ugly, fat, thick bitch.

I didn't do anything as they must have all been about 16 and were all about a foot taller than me. I feel like I should have said something but didn't as I felt intimidated.

Good for you in saying something.

DeliciouslyFemale Wed 09-Sep-20 16:39:24

You did the right thing and I actually admire your courage. Even at that age, a group of boys can be quite intimidating. It might make him think twice about trying to ridicule or abuse a female in the street. Boys that feel it’s their right to comment on women in the street can grow up to be men who harass, whistle at and bully women. No woman should have to put up with that shit.

Healththrowaway199 Wed 09-Sep-20 16:40:52

I think you did well tbh!

Not necessarily teens, but just say with groups of men cat calling, I just go with a sarcastic laugh or a blank expression

GertrudePerkins Wed 09-Sep-20 16:44:14

FunTimes2020 I agree "verbal harassment" is probably a bit strong, but didn't know how to neatly phrase it, and it's certainly undesirable and inappropriate.

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shrill Wed 09-Sep-20 16:44:32

You did really really well. Hopefully you stopped him thinking women or anyone on their own is easy bait. I would have probably just blanked him but depends on the day & place.

GertrudePerkins Wed 09-Sep-20 16:45:06

I would add that it's not massively courageous when there are only three of them, pre-growth spurt, and my 5'10, size 16 frame looms very large over them wink.

OP’s posts: |
ageingdisgracefully Wed 09-Sep-20 16:46:34

I don't think you overreacted at all.

Good for you for calling him out on his behaviour.

I'd have done the same (though plenty wouldn't).

CuriousaboutSamphire Wed 09-Sep-20 16:59:03

My best/worst: I was crossing a side road, I got both feet off the pavement and had taken a step when a car screeched to a halt and the driver shouted

Get some me glasses you stupid bitch. You need to remember the highway code.

I stopped, looked at his number plate then at him and reminded him, in great detail, what the highway code says about the right of way when a pedestrian has already stepped into a road, the local speed limit, his obligation as a driver to assess all possible road hazards, including pedestrians, that driving like a prick doesn't make you clever, that no one likes a twat, that he needed to mind his manners, learn how to drive and give pedestrians and his passengers some respect.

I also told his passengers that he was unlikely to think of their safety if he thought it was funny to scare pedestrians like that.

2 in the back got out, 2 girls, and his male passenger in the front apologised to me.

Someone then asked if I'd mind stepping back onto the pavement so the traffic could start moving again and one passerby said I had been that scary in the classroom too grin

The driver posted on Facebook too, got torn a few more strips by lots more people!

Dogsaresomucheasier Wed 09-Sep-20 18:00:55

Curious, I salute you! And OP, and everyone else who stands up to this sexist crap!

Deathraystare Wed 09-Sep-20 18:05:09

Well done Curious and Gertrude!

MsEllany Wed 09-Sep-20 18:05:52

So you didn’t hear what he said, he said he liked your coat which apparently is a woman’s appearance, and have taken offence at this sexist comment?

Yes I think you overreacted. If you heard something rude then fair go, tell him off. But you didn’t hear him and made an assumption. And loomed over a 12 year old. None of this was harassment or abuse. I can’t believe people are crowing at you doing this. He could have said anything, and might have caught your eye simply because he was walking towards you.

And not in any way comparable to having a go at a driver who nearly ran you over confused

Susannahmoody Wed 09-Sep-20 18:08:04

Good for you for saying something

He wouldn't have said it if he was alone

Thisismytimetoshine Wed 09-Sep-20 18:08:28

MsEllany

So you didn’t hear what he said, he said he liked your coat which apparently is a woman’s appearance, and have taken offence at this sexist comment?

Yes I think you overreacted. If you heard something rude then fair go, tell him off. But you didn’t hear him and made an assumption. And loomed over a 12 year old. None of this was harassment or abuse. I can’t believe people are crowing at you doing this. He could have said anything, and might have caught your eye simply because he was walking towards you.

And not in any way comparable to having a go at a driver who nearly ran you over confused

I doubt they were sniggering about liking op's coat...

Susannahmoody Wed 09-Sep-20 18:08:49

None of this was harassment or abuse.

^
confused
How so? How was it not abuse?

NetballHoop Wed 09-Sep-20 18:10:08

I do try to stand up to awful behaviour by anyone but as I get older I do try to be a bit more careful in what I say.

I do however make a point of emailing schools when I have seen their pupils behaving well. I think it's important that they get positive feedback when deserved.

ElGuardiandenoche Wed 09-Sep-20 18:11:06

@MsEllany I’m assuming what the boy said was ‘you look like a goat’ or something similar and then backtracked when confronted.

MsEllany Wed 09-Sep-20 18:14:23

Susannahmoody

None of this was harassment or abuse.

^
confused
How so? How was it not abuse?

@Susannahmoody No you explain to me how it was abuse, considering even the person who is relating this tale is guessing what the child said?

@ElGuardiandenoche well your assumption is as good as mine, isn’t it, as OP didn’t even hear what he said!

RuffleCrow Wed 09-Sep-20 18:15:22

"Don't I know your mum? Tell her i said hi."

MsEllany Wed 09-Sep-20 18:16:46

RuffleCrow

"Don't I know your mum? Tell her i said hi."

This is an appropriate response.

GertrudePerkins Wed 09-Sep-20 19:49:20

I conceded upthread that this is more rude and inappropriate than harassment - bad turn of phrase.

I am happy to consider that I may have overreacted, and it absolutely wasn't my intention to distress the lad.

However I really don't think unsolicited, rude, personal comments (there is no way he said he liked my coat - he was making fun and laughing) should go unchecked. I have a daughter in the same school, and the amount of low level rudeness and sexism she appears to be expected to tolerate in the name of "lads' banter" depresses me, and I wish people did more to check this as boys grow up.

OP’s posts: |
LionessRoar Wed 09-Sep-20 20:07:09

Years ago, in my first year of primary teaching I was cat called by a group of Year 6’s. I turned round to see who made the comments and heard a mortified boy call ‘oh shit, that’s Mrs LionessRoar’! They then legged it down the street and I carried on walking. A couple of days later I passed one of them in the corridor and said hello Billy (not his real name). He turned the brightest shade of red 😆

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