It’s about time we ladies commit to standing up for one another in the face of harassment, every time without fail.
No Really, Wine Was This Feminist’s BFF
I know I play around with post titles, and like to get your attention by saying one thing and then explaining the opposite sometimes. But this title and story just couldn’t be more true. Last weekend, I visited a winery with my mom and cousin, and witnessed something that the feminist in me couldn’t ignore. So what did I do? I acted on it. This is a story of girls protecting girls, and I hope it encourages you to think about how you can support your sisters even more than I’m sure you already do!
Sharing Bottles, Tables, and.. Creepers?
So this winery we visited last Saturday night, it was PACKED. I’m talking people everywhere. My group and I were lucky enough to snag a big table outside by a space heater, and no sooner than ten minutes after we opened our bottle of Rosé, a drunk and disorderly man stumbled over. He gawked and slurred and said something along the lines of “I’m saying hello because I always say hello to beautiful ladies.” We didn’t react. The man walked away (as best he could) and a few minutes later, two ladies who looked to be about twenty-something asked to share our table. We invited them over of course. We didn’t really interact with them much aside from a “hello” and “goodbye” as we got ready to leave about 10 PM. That’s when I saw the same drunken, and now much more aggressive, man from before approach them.
Notice the Signs and Speak Up
So we’re about to leave, and I catch this guy getting closer and closer to the two ladies. I don’t want to look away; something keeps my eyes locked on him as if I already know he’s going to cross a line. Like I expect it. Sure enough, he leans in to talk to them closer and the girl positioned nearest to him shifts her weight away and glues her eyes to her phone. He tries to engage the second girl, and she avoids eye contact. I tug at my mom’s arm and explain what I’m seeing. She stops walking towards the door as does the rest of our group, but everyone stays frozen. The man pulls out a phone and turns the camera to face the girls, and I can’t stand there anymore. I march straight up to the man.
“You’re Making Them Uncomfortable”
I don’t launch into a full on rant about feminism and reproductive rights and the patriarchy, because what would that do. I look that elderly, drunk, threatening man right in his eye and say: “You’re clearly making these women uncomfortable. You need to walk away.” He looks at me shocked and defends himself calling them his friends and I take a breath so I don’t yell. Calmly but firmly I say, “This woman is moving away from you and the other won’t make eye contact and yet you are trying to photograph them without their permission. Leave now before I go get security.” He towers over me with anger in his eyes, but says nothing. The man walks away.
“Girls Should Do This For Each Other”
As soon as the man is gone, both of the ladies look up and begin thanking me. I sit down and tell them I’m sorry that happened to them, and I’m glad I could help in some way. The next thing that is said makes it hard to breathe for a second. One of the girls goes, “Girls should do this for each other, we need this.” And I feel lucky to have had this experience. I’m grateful to be able to share it and speak to the importance of speaking up. Because how many times can you imagine that people perceive a woman who is uncomfortable, ignore a situation that could lead to sexual assault or harassment, and don’t get involved. We need to be involved and defend one another against sexual predators. We need to make clear that we aren’t going to stand for it, in any form.
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