Incident 1: Chaguaramas
I was walking along the beach, dressed in casual wear, just relaxing. I’d decided to visit, not to bathe, but just to walk, explore and enjoy the natural beauty of the area. After walking past an empty lifeguard lookout, and heading toward the road from the shore, a man who was walking with a group, smiled and said ‘Good Morning’. I smiled back and said ‘Good Morning’ in response. He suddenly ran up to me, kissed me, said something about me being pretty, and then went. I stood shocked for a moment and then nervously laughed it off. I felt ashamed and guilty for the incident happening. I tormented myself on how I should have responded and what I might have done differently to prevent the man from kissing me.
Incident 2: Chaguanas
I was walking on my way to the dentist. I noticed a man walking behind me and worried that he was following me, but I brushed off the idea. I continued walking when another man, who apparently knew one of my uncles, hailed me out. I talked to him a while, and then continued on my walk. I looked behind me and realised that the man who I thought was following me was still there walking behind me. I started to get nervous, because surely he should have walked past me when I stopped to talk to the other man… but he hadn’t. I continued to walk, and reached an area where few other people were on the pavement, though cars were still driving by. The man then started shouting behind me, telling me all the sexual things he wanted to do to me. I was scared, and I sped up my walk. The dentist’s office was nearby; I was almost there. After a quick walk, I walked into the building and told the lady guard there that a man was following me and that he was waiting behind the wall around the corner. The guard then told another lady working at the office. They locked the building and the guard went to look around the corner for the man. She didn’t see him… still though, they took my claim seriously, tried to calm me down, and kept the building locked. They suggested that I call someone with a vehicle since it was perhaps dangerous to leave and walk again. I called my mom. She came and we went to the police and made a report. I was scared to walk in Chaguanas for quite some time after that happened.
Incident 3: Curepe
I went to work in a dress. Most days I wore loose pants and a top, but this day I wore a knee-length dress that showed my curves. Some men made calls, comments about how sexy I looked and how they liked me, and kiss noises much more than usual at me that day whilst I was walking on the street. I felt extremely uncomfortable, objectified and even scared… and I never wore a dress to work again.
Incident 4: Curepe
I was on my way to Chaguanas in a maxi from Curepe. I dozed off for a short while (a few minutes), and woke up to find a man stroking my thighs and he had pressed himself against me.
…and yes, I know that men are sometimes harassed too. I’ve wondered from time to time how different I might be if I hadn’t been made to feel so uncomfortable by strangers/men making unwarranted, inappropriate comments and advances to me. I imagine that many women experience similar things. Thanks for sharing your stories in the comments.