This has to STOP.
Everyone should feel safe enough to be able to hit up the beach by themselves, right? I thought so too.
Thursday and again on, Saturday July 6th, both days I went to the beach alone to relax, read, journal and just listen to the waves and wiggle my toes in the sand.
Both days as I was leaving the beach at my car I felt unsafe, uncomfortable and targeted.
One day I was at my car brushing the sand off me and had a motorcyclist pull up and watch me intently. I chose to move to the other side of my car after I made it known that I noticed them watching me. They pulled away slowly and took another look as they went by.
The second time on Saturday, I had someone follow me to my car. I diffused the situation with my tone of voice, choice of words and eventually moving my body away from him, but also made it known that it was not right and I set my boundary.
These scenarios are examples of street sexual harassment.
People, why is this still happening? Everyone should be able to go the beach alone and not worry about being followed or creepily watched as they take sand off their body or do whatever! We should be able to run outside, walk down the street, dance on the dance floor, order a drink, THIS LIST goes on-be able to do everything without thinking or having to be aware that we might not be safe in ALL public places.
It would be great to be able to let my guard down but it’s always up. Always. I am aware of my surroundings and most times I speak up and talk back. I have fire in me and am fierce when I need to be. I admit there have been times where I have not responded the way I wished I had. The flight/fight/freeze respond kicked in and that is something programmed deep inside.
These two instances make me angry though. As I drove home on Saturday, I was pissed that in a weekend it happened twice. Then angry that after the first time I didn’t get mad because it’s such a common occurrence actually. I thought, who else is this happening to? And this is one beach in one province in one country. There are so many others experiencing these situations in other space, places, etc. All genders. We have to educate ourselves on what to do and embrace the power within us. We have to know that it’s never because of what we wear or say or actions we take. We never ask to feel unsafe or ask for unwanted advances.
We need to speak up, speak out, talk back, and look out for each other. You too can help stop this from continuing from happening by being an active bystander. If you see something happening that looks out of place, simply ask the person, “Hey is everything okay here, can I help? Or “Is everything cool here? What’s going on, are you safe?”
Here is a great article that offers more tips on what to do when you see something happening to someone else:
Honoring our bodies is one thing I coach clients and class participants about. One way we can honor our body is listen to the signals it gives us. Our body has wisdom and intuition and in turn, that intuition can help keep us safe. Listen to those gut feelings and the little senses you get when you are around someone or in a situation, they are important and a beacon to steer you away from possible danger.
Outer strength is just as important as inner strength and, in these situations, sometimes it involves both. Even though I was not physically harmed in these two scenarios, emotionally it has taken a toll and it did require inner strength for me to make the right choices in the moment. Never underestimate your inner strength. Value your body and its wisdom and all the inner strength you have. When you tap into the power you already have inside you, your strength is limitless.
It’s not just the beach where this happens, it’s everywhere. Including gyms and fitness centers of all kinds. I have been sexually harassed as gyms over the years and wish I had this article below to help guide me in the earlier days. THIS article outlines what to do, tips, what to say, and so much more. AND THEN if you want to take a step further and learn more about what you can do to prevent harassment from happening there is a free 5-day course you can take (link below). I took this course and found it incredibly valuable and a resource I will refer to time and time again. Please check out these important links.
What happened to me this weekend as I was leaving my two beach days didn’t impact the wonderful time I had there while on the beach. Will I go back to this beach? Yes. Will I go alone? Hell yes. Of course, I will. For me, it’s important I continue to live and move forward and not in fear but instead in awareness. In fact, this has been another learning experience and an important reminder that I need to be an advocate for myself and for others against sexual harassment. I need to review my rights, my plans in response to harassment, educate others, and also be on the look out for others safety too. Together we can move forward.
Check out these staggering and important stats:
Last summer I posted a blog post about running in a sports bra outside and people making comments about others bodies and it evolved into about post about body image, self-love and awareness vs fear. I received a great deal of positive feedback from this post and would like to share it here again with you: