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Dear creepy guys who follow girls home in Selly: We’re not going to fuck you

Following me down Heeley Road in a Corsa is not my style

Last week, like many other UoB students I know, I was followed home and harrassed by two men in a van. I was walking home from work at around 10pm and had a van slow down to drive at my speed and begin to yell at me to get in the van. The road was empty, and this continued for about a minute before a group of students came arond the corner and the van sped off.

What’s so fucked about that is that I wasn’t even the only one that happened to that night, or any other night.

Every day, another girl posts on Fab n Fresh about being followed home, harassed, or even assaulted and attacked on their way home in Selly, Pritchatts Park, or the Vale.

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And my question is: what do these men think they’re going to achieve? Do you really think I’m going to listen to you shout about my body and then proceed to get into your shitty bashed up car and want to sleep with a guy who has to drive around a student area in the dark to intimidate girls into complying?

It isn’t about compliments. Cat calling and harrassment are never compliments. When a guy yells “nice tits love!” as I’m walking back from shopping struggling with tote bags full of kilo bags of rice and Linda McCartney sausages, I can promise you it is not motivated by sexual attraction. It is perpertrated by the power and control over women’s bodies rape culture leads men to believe they are entitled to.

Seeing as these men are too dense and devoid of emotion to understand the plight until they are included in the narrative, let’s ask: how would you feel if it was YOUR girlfriend? YOUR sister? YOUR mother? Or YOUR daughter on her way back to her student house?

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And to the boys who then comment on the posts of girls warning other girls about incidents, tagging their mates and saying “damn mate you again?”: I’m sorry that your self respect is so diminished that you think sexual assault and harrassment is a joke. I’m sorry that you are so threatened by toxic masculinity that you have to prove how much of a lad you are by making light of sexual assault. And also, I’m sorry, but girls are never going to sleep with you if you have that little respect for them or yourselves.

We should be able to walk home without fear of being abducted or raped. We shouldn’t have to ring our friends in a panicked state and tell them we’re being followed, worrying it’s the last time we’ll speak to them. We shouldn’t have to deal with comments from sexually frustrated boys trying to impress their equally sad friends trapped in the cage of toxic masculinity commenting on our posts and ridiculing our experiences.

We shouldn’t have to pay for Ubers instead of doing the five minute walk home because some self-entitled twat gets off on intimidating and harassing 19 year olds minding their own damn business.

Because shock horror, women don’t like boys who make their everyday life hell and have no respect for them. I don’t know what you’re trying to achieve through intimidation and threatening assault, but it isn’t working.