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The way this male "space invader" made me feel

(64 Posts)
ActuallyMortified Tue 28-Feb-17 18:39:03

Watching the kids at their activity earlier - the spectators gallery is always very crowded, many people have to sit on the floor or stand as there's never enough seating. I was sitting on the floor in a corner, next to the glass balcony bit that overlooks the activity hall, side-on to the glass and my back against a wall/pillar.

All of a sudden, this man came over and stood next to where I was sitting and leaned over to rest his arms and chin on the balcony edge - thereby forming an arch over me. To be totally clear, I was then underneath him with his genital area a couple of inches from the side of my face - enclosed by him to the top and one side, the glass panel to the other side, and the wall to my back. The two women in nearby chairs looked at me with a shocked look on their faces, which I returned. After a few seconds, I half got up and said to him "sorry, do you mind, I was sitting there, and it feels kind of weird to have you standing over me". He said sorry and stood up straight, but that was his one concession - so he wasn't literally standing over me any more, but still standing extremely close with his genital area next to my head.

I felt really uncomfortable and vulnerable and humiliated by the positioning. I shuffled forwards on the floor so that I wasn't at his feet any more. I was really surprised at my body's automatic responses then - I felt tears come to my eyes and couldn't help turning away and discreetly weeping a little at how he'd invaded my space and I hadn't been able to adequately stick up for myself. But I also felt too afraid to turn around to look at the rest of the gallery and find a space to move to in case anyone saw my vulnerability and upset. I had to actively focus on staying calm and taking deep breaths - especially because my youngest daughter was with me and much as I wanted an emotional release I wasn't about to lose it in front of her and a packed gallery. He could have stood at any of the many gaps in the balcony where nobody was sitting or standing right next to the glass, why did he have to deliberately arch his body over me? sad

I still have that feeling in my heart and stomach that I get after something has triggered unpleasant emotions, but I also feel pissed off with myself for not being assertive enough to tell this creep to move and worried that I'm not robust enough to deal with an actual dangerous situation (because this wasn't dangerous, just unpleasant).

I don't know what my aibu reasonable is...
To be pissed off that some men make women so uncomfortable by invading their space, especially when they're forcing their genitals into someone else's personal space..?
To have had this involuntary reaction of being upset and vulnerable..?
To be surprised and disappointed and angry that I wasn't stronger..? angry

KindDogsTail Tue 28-Feb-17 18:44:10

I am sorry you had this horrible invasion happen. I was wondering if something similar has happened in the past and this behaviour has brought something similar to your mind? You have had a very strong, instinctive reaction.

YANBU.

Pettywoman Tue 28-Feb-17 18:44:58

You poor thing. I totally feel for you. I would once have been like you. I no longer give any shits and would be very gobby about it. One day I'll get myself into trouble for admonishing the wrong person.

ISaySteadyOn Tue 28-Feb-17 18:45:14

No words of wisdom but I am sorry you were made to feel so unsafe.flowers

Astoria7974 Tue 28-Feb-17 18:48:50

I sympathise. I had a woman's hand on my ass today all throughout a packed tube journey. Made me feel really uncomfortable. Sure it was packed but she was facing me - surely she could have spotted my fat bum and moved it out the way. There was room enough.

welshmist Tue 28-Feb-17 18:50:14

I would have lifted my bag clumsily so that it hit his privates!!

MrsIanThornton Tue 28-Feb-17 18:50:28

It's horrible and understandable to feel that way. And you know he thought he could do it because you're a woman and that makes it worse. No way would he have done that to a man and then suddenly it's sexist and intimidating and just horrible.

Don't feel bad for bit sticking up for yourself more. You did great. I once had a man grope me on the tube and I didn't say a word just tried to shuffle out of reach as I didn't want to make a scene and was scared if I tried to speak I would just break down sobbing.

I try practising what I would say and so to get better at not putting up with total rubbish.

flowers

Schwifty Tue 28-Feb-17 18:53:58

You were too shocked at the time, I don't blame you! Don't beat yourself up about it! You did well to ask him to move at all. Hope you feel better soon OP

Chippednailvarnishing Tue 28-Feb-17 18:55:08

why did he have to deliberately arch his body over me?

Because he's a perv. I would actually go back to the venue and tell them what happened, you might find other people have mentioned it.

KingJoffreysRestingCuntface Tue 28-Feb-17 18:56:54

Should've flicked him in the balls. Hard.

If he bitched about it just say that's always how you flick irritating things out of your face.

Mrsmorton Tue 28-Feb-17 18:57:38

flowers I'm so angry on your behalf. But I'm having a day like that where I can't believe the way some people feel they can behave.

CaptainMarvelDanvers Tue 28-Feb-17 19:07:03

YANBU! The guy knew what he was doing.

I had something happen, not as bad as you, on a bus. I was on a two seater near the back when a man gets on, the bus was pretty full but there was still spaces empty next to people on the two seaters near front, he decides to go to back and sit next to me and he decides to spread his legs so I sit closer to the window, he then decides to spread even more. I squashed myself up to the window and still he kept spreading till our legs were touching, he kept moving his hands on and off his knee. I just kept thinking if he touches my leg, I'm going to deck him.

But I was also getting upset with myself, questioning whether I'm overreacting and if I did say something would I get made out to be neurotic. Even writing it out now, I'm thinking someone will think I'm a right dramatic twat but this guy was up to know good.

Sorry for the long post.

Dallyw Tue 28-Feb-17 19:07:27

If you find your self in this situation again say very loudly so other people can hear "excuse me but will you get your crotch out of my face?"

CaptainMarvelDanvers Tue 28-Feb-17 19:08:49

*no not know.

OverAndAbove Tue 28-Feb-17 19:12:18

It's the kind of scenario when you wish you had said, very loudly, "can you move your balls please - they really stink". But it's so hard at the time. It must have been AWFUL!

PamplemousseRouge Tue 28-Feb-17 19:13:46

flowers I sympathise with you OP, that is a horrible situation to be in. Sorry that I have no advice to give, but hus behaviour was unacceptable. I'm really sorry.

PamplemousseRouge Tue 28-Feb-17 19:14:03

*his behaviour

Datun Tue 28-Feb-17 19:18:29

I try practising what I would say and so to get better at not putting up with total rubbish.

This is a good one. Practice what you might say. So it is at the forefront of your mind.

I don't at all blame you for saying nothing and I'm too wondering if something has happened in your past.

Practice saying something like 'Do you mean to make me feel uncomfortable?' (Not I'm uncomfortable because you need to make him own his behaviour).

Or 'do you realise you are standing too close to me'.

If you can't bring yourself to say something like that, just tut really loudly and stand up.

Awful man.

KickAssAngel Tue 28-Feb-17 19:24:50

It's not your duty to have to stand up for yourself in those situations. It's great if you do feel able to, but it's HIS responsibility, not yours, to know how he should be behaving.

If it's likely that he'll be there again, then maybe rehearse some phrase, or start teaching your Dd how to knit, and encourage her to wave the knitting needles around at crotch height as you teach her.

Frogtits Tue 28-Feb-17 19:30:55

Totally sympathise - some years back, some dirty bloke pushed his erection into my bottom on a crowded tube train. I couldn't move - the carriage was packed and I was frozen with shock.

To this day, the memory disturbs me.

BlackMirror Tue 28-Feb-17 19:35:33

But you did stand up for yourself! You should feel really proud as some people wouldn't say anything as it's so horrible what happened.

What a dickhead

MinnowAndTheBear Tue 28-Feb-17 19:38:40

You should read "The Gift of Fear" by Gavin de Becker. It is precisely about these kind of strong reactions to potentially dangerous/intimidating behaviour. I cannot recommend it highly enough.

Vegansnake Tue 28-Feb-17 19:51:23

As a teenager I was on a bus and a man got on the top deck next to me.got his penis out and began to masterbate..no one helped me or even seemed to care.i remember being terrified he would get of at the same stop as me..he didn't,and I ran all the way home..I was 13.. I also was walking my dog near a lake aged 14 and a man ran past with his penis out swinging from side to side..I just ran for home..then the following year,on my way to school a man poked his penis through a bush at me as he mastubated..this time I ran all the way to school and they called the police and drove me round to find him.....even then the police tried and tried to get me to say he was just urinating..like I was stupid or didn't know the difference between wanking and weeing

Vegansnake Tue 28-Feb-17 19:52:11

In my experience men do seem to delight in making women feel uncomfortable

Gildedcage Tue 28-Feb-17 20:21:32

I agree. A man virtually say on top of me on the train and I couldn't move. Nothing like the horrid position the OP or Vegan were in but strangely I have never experienced a woman do the same. He looked at me like I'd grown another head when I asked him to move, which he did, marginally. But sometimes I do fucking hate men. Sorry to generalise I know it's not all men. I had a lovely df and I have a lovely dh and ds etc but some men really are the pits. I'm not surprised that you felt as you did OP.

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