First let me thank you for being here to help
myself and others. I am a 26 yr. old female
barber. A customer, whose hair I had cut once
before and had acted as a gentlemen, came in
today. We talked about his daughters baseball
game that he would be attending tonight. He
said how he went to everyone of his older daughter's
games before and how he never misses his younger
daughter's games now. I commended him on being
a good father, how many parents these days
don't seem to understand that all their children
want is their time and attention. I keep client
record cards and told him I would be moving
to a salon soon, and would let him know when.
He said "Definitely, please let me know".
I thought it was a complement on my skills.
As he was leaving he stood sideways and
held his arm out, as if for a small 'pat
on the shoulder hug'. Now, I did not like
that at all, I know any touching (other than
their head because I have to) is inappropriate.
But I live in a small Alabama town and the
lady who I had worked with at the barber
shop, before she retired, had given lots
of side hugs to her clients. Granted, it
was when she told them she was retiring and
she had cut all their hair for 20, even 30
Anyway, I didn't like it, but since the lady
was respectable, and I took most of here clients,
I assumed it would be alright, rather than risk
insulting and loosing a client. I mean, what's
in an innocent shoulder pat, right? I know that's
the excuse he would use, in his head if not to
me. I kept my body lined sideways with his, put
my arm around his back, and patted his arm, when
he swooped his arm around my back, PAST my arm,
and onto my BREAST!!!! where he squeezed it quickly
and repeatedly about three times. The whole thing
happened in less than 2 seconds and I was so
SHOCKED! I just said "Okay Bye-bye now!!!".
I know I'm making excuses. I know I should
have confronted him then and there. Afterward
I wanted to tell him that I was somebody's
daughter too, and I have to deal with this
all the time, and soon HIS daughter would deal
with it all the time because of men like him.
I know the end of it all begins with ME, but
this time my boyfriend called him and impolitely
told him never to show his face again.
I know this is a terribly long e-mail. I'm
sorry and thank you for listening, but there's
a bit more. I've had this job since January 2005.
A male barber, let's call him Satan, had just
purchased the business from the lady who was
about to retire. I am currently still in progress
of attaining my cosmetology licence. No salon
would accept me yet, and I don't have family
here to practice on, as the other girls do, so
I checked out the barber shops. I would say I'm
psychic, except apparently 99% of men seem to
be predictable pigs. Of course, Satan began telling
me how pretty I was, "Gosh, you're pretty!". Can
you imagine that in a redneck accent?!!!! It's
ALMOST funny. I would nicely say "Oh, stop!" and
quickly change the subject.
When that didn't
work, I started not saying anything and quickly
walk away. WHEN THAT DIDN'T WORK!, I finally
told him "Look, that is making me uncomfortable,
you're going to have to stop", then he did
stop. But he still is constantly talking about
what muscles he worked out that morning (yeah,
right), and making comments about women that
walk past the shop. I ignore him and that's tolerable,
but he also always find some way to touch me!!!!
not inappropriately though!!!!! If I stand behind
my chair and he walks by, he'll lightly push
my shoulder, when I'm sitting in the waiting
room with my ankle on my knee, he'll walk by
and lightly smack my foot. I know this may sound
silly, but I also know it thrills him just to
touch me anyway he can. I sit there tense, knowing
it IS coming, WHEN?WHEN?WHEN? OH, GOD THERE IT
IS! HOW DARE YOU, YOU PERVERT!
I know I could
get a job at a restaurant until I graduate, but
I really need the experience, and no one else
would take me yet. AND, 2 weeks after I started,
he went to Florida with his family and consulted
his WIFE on buying a skirt for me!!!! I don't
feel bad for her because she puts up with it.
He confesses to me that he's using her for her
paycheck, and then he preaches to me about the
teachings of Jesus Christ!!!! and hangs up printed
verses of Psalms all over the shop!!!! I can't
tell him to stop any of this because in Alabama,
one doesn't need a reason to fire someone. He
would pawn what he is doing off as nothing and
say I'm too difficult to work with or something,
I know because it's happened before. What he's
doing, I could never charge him for, therefore,
put up with it or leave. He knows where the line
is, and he won't cross it but he steps right
up to it and stays there.
The other day I was sitting on the trunk of
my car in a parking lot while waiting for my
boyfriend. A man drove up and said "You
sure look good sittin' up there!" I ignore
him and he drove away. I know if he had persisted
I would have told him off, but as it happened,
I'm still left so angry and feeling just like
nothing but a piece of prey all the time. After
this I seriously considered wearing a garb just
to STOP IT! STOP IT! STOP IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
But I am an American! I would rather FIGHT for
For 10 years I have put up with it
because it does make life easier, I needed this
job. But it doesn't make life easier. The stress
has taken it's toll. I am so tired and depressed
from holding in the anger. Going home and yelling
and beating up pillows does not help anymore.
It is time for me to ACT!!!!! It's time for all
women to act! The laws cannot help us if we do
not help ourselves.
I WILL stand! I WILL NOT accept it any longer!!!
But I do not have much experience with confrontation,
in fact I am a little scared of it. Please help
me get involved.
I would like to join some group,
where others can help me learn and where I can
eventually help others learn. I live in Tuscaloosa,
Alabama and I would be willing to travel to some
neighboring city if I must. Please help me, I
need the support of women, please. I know change
is slow, but it is also inevitable. I WILL help
change things, if only an inch, it is an inch
Thanks for sharing both your anger and your
passion for changing things. I wish there was
a solution to street harassment or just that
in between harassment that is more than annoying
and yet not something that legal recourse likely
applies to. It is certainly the most common form
of abuse that I hear about. It makes me slightly
resentful of anti-violence laws -- because the
laws actually make the abuse definable, but when
something falls outside of the definition, it's
then not quantifiable and therefore not legitimized.
It does a disservice to these more banal forms
of abuse or just confuses it.
In terms of what
to do -- I'm certain that there are resources
in your town that you can tap into. I don't know
this for a fact, but I'm guessing that at a minimum
that the university there has a women's center
for women's studies or something.
a fairly big town and I'm sure that comes with
some systems and organizations already in place.
Not that these don't need perfecting, but I always
think it's better to start there before trying
to start something from scratch. This guarantees
you more infrastructure and also more opportunities
to maximize your idea. I think the most important
thing to keep in mind before you get involved
is what are you hoping to accomplish.
I am more
of an optimist than a pessimist, but it's unlikely
that you will be able to end violence, more important,
however, is that in lieu of that, what can you
accomplish, contribute. It's just important to
be realistic about what you can accomplish so
you don't burn out. I hope that helps and I hope
that you continue to find ways to funnel your