Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Lulu

Seen on the Purple Line to Linden at about 8:50 a.m. 

The other week a fat, balding man sat across from Lulu on the train. He started listing, in great detail, all the vulgar things he’d like to do to her. He had a lot of dirt under his fingernails, and when he reached down his pants Lulu fled the train. It wasn’t her stop.

Now when she rides the train she hides her body beneath a plaid trenchcoat. It used to be her mother’s, so it provides a two-fold protection: it’s too big for her, and it smells like home. Lulu looks down at her hands; her fingers weave together and apart again. Today she has a Victoria’s Secret bag with her. She needs to return a bra. She has decided it’s too revealing. She hopes the bag doesn’t snare the attentions of ugly men who want to tear open all her secrets and eat them up. 

The other day I stumbled across this website called Hollaback. It's an attempt to end street harassment, which I think is a great idea. It's a bigger problem than most people realize. I've been followed off the train before by a man asking over and over again for my number, even though it was obvious I didn't want to talk to him, and I've been groped on my way to the CTA as well. It's absolutely horrifying, and I know LOTS of other women who have had similar experiences. Hollaback has lots of tips regarding what to do if you're being harassed or if you witness street harassment, and it gives women the opportunity to share their stories. You should check it out, spread the word, etc.

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