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  • Writer's pictureShy

facing harassment as a woman

The Legal Definition of Harassment varies depending on where you live. However,Harassment is generally defined as " a course of conduct which annoys, threatens, intimidates, alarms, or puts a person in fear of their safety".You would think in this day and age with the "Me Too" Movement there would be no need for anyone to have to worry about being harassed or to have to know their legal options when it comes to harassment BUT people still think they can behave a certain way , that their behavior is okay and there will be no repercussions to their actions. 

I still do not know what people think they will get out of harassing others. If you are trying to capture someones attention by doing this, if you find them attractive and are trying to open up a conversation to ask them out etc.. Either way I can guarantee you no one has ever gotten a date, relationship or anything positive out of harassing someone. You just look like an immature a** and no one finds that attractive or wants to be near that.

I have found that I have become more proactive and want to be more informed on how to handle things. Mid- October  I came back from walking Lola, as soon as I stepped foot onto my drive way two doors down from me a group of 7 boys start yelling "hey", "whats your name", and other things in Punjabi, Cat Calling. They start honking their car horns to get my attention they continued to do this and shouted at me until me and Lola got inside the house.  This is not the first time something like this has happened there has been situations before, not as intense as this but still situations that make me uncomfortable. 

Firstly,  I should be able to step foot on my property and feel safe. Secondly, you as human beings  should know how to act. Thirdly, you are students who have come here from India to get an education and build a better life for yourself by doing this you are giving all people who have come here from India to get an education and have a better life a bad reputation. Whether people want to acknowledge it or not most people do generalize a group of people even though there are a lot of people who come to Canada for a better education and life who do : respect others, work hard  long hours at work, go to school full-time, and are not like this group of boys I encountered. 

I wanted to know the process of what could be done so I called the Police (not 911, but their non-emergency line) . My main concerns were : I did not want these boys to ever do this again or to approach me, I did not want it to happen to other woman , my last concern was if I did file the complaint they know were I live and I do not want them to do something worse based of of anger that I reported it - I have heard a few cases like this. 

I spoke to this lovely lady, told her what happened and my concerns. She told me the process, the phone call me and her had is recorded but not documented meaning it is not a report but just a conversation. If I wanted to report it she would send a officer that is in the area to meet me where ever, like a coffee shop and that officer would file a complaint. I asked if I could just leave it at filing a complaint she said usually they file the complaint and they have to go and talk to the people to tell them to stop. She said she understands its a difficult position because they know who I am and where I live. For that reason I did not meet with the police officer. She did give me some tips if it continues. If it continues to happen and is a pattern I should defiantly file a report.  If they approach me or knock on my door call the cops first not your mum or a friend. By calling the cops first they have a better chance of reaching you faster and they are not playing phone tag between you and your mum or friend that you have called. Lastly she said to get cameras outside my home.

To me it is crazy that you can not feel safe on your property and have to do all these things to protect yourself, but you do need to do these things because you do not know what people are thinking and what they are capable of doing.  The reality is 7 guys  v.s.  me, my odds are not good. As woman we still have to worry about these things, I have talk to so many woman and we do get scared when a man crosses the street towards us, when a man even approaches us we question it, I walk with my keys in hand looking around in cars while I walk by them to make sure no one jumps out,  I do not have head phones in while walking, and I do not have a hood or hat on that will block my vision of whats happening to the left or right of me.

I have also read some articles and I know certain information varies depending on where you live. I have started to document it all down, I have my own notes of when, where ,what time it happened. I also noted down when I called the Police, who I spoke to and what the conversation we had entailed. It would of been smart of me to get my camera out and record what was happening but I just tried to get inside as soon as I could. 

My final thoughts on this is you have to protect yourself, be informed of how the process work and weigh out your options before acting. Also document everything down and do not be afraid to ask people questions. Woman face enough fear, harassment daily : at work, in parking lots , walking down the street etc.. We should not have to face any of that anywhere especially on our on property, in our own home, Every situation is different and needs to be handled accordingly and only take the steps that you are comfortable with to resolve it. 

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