This happened a few days ago now and I posted it on Twitter but I wanted to write about it here too.
I was walking down the street on a very wide footpath that was not crowded at all. I’m minding my own business, focused on what I have to do next.
A man is walking in the opposite direction minding his own business and not looking at the shops or anything. When we’re about to pass each other he veers towards me and in an accidental manner brushes his hand on my arm.
It took me a second to realise that it was in no way an accident, he was on the shopfront side of the footpath and I was on the road side of the footpath. Feeling angry now I turned around to look at him and he was looking over his shoulder watching me and when he saw me look, he smiled at me. I felt disgusted.
You might this this is a minor thing but when it happens time and time again it makes you feel dirty and used. Yes, even such an insignificant action, he touched me when I did not ask for it or consent and that’s not okay.
When I posted it on Twitter I felt like I was overreacting and being dramatic, afterall he only touched my arm right? But I didn’t ask for it, it wasn’t an accident and it wasn’t okay. It upset me. I got some lovely responses that reminded me it wasn’t okay and it’s never okay.
I don’t think I need to mention that I’m not an overly touchy-feely person, I’m a sensory person and I like textures and textiles but I’ve grown up not being a cuddly person. I’m including it because while that is a personal trait of me as a being, it’s a preference, but that goes for people I know, family and friends even acquaintances. This man did not know me and even if he knew my preference he would not have taken it into consideration because he was thinking about him and that it would be okay to just touch me. It’s not okay.
Notice how I didn’t mention what I was wearing or how I was feeling? This is because it doesn’t matter. Regardless of what you are wearing it shouldn’t illicit anyone to touch you if you don’t ask for it. Regardless of how you are feeling it doesn’t excuse them from touching you nor does it mean that you are overreacting when you get upset about it.
It’s not okay.
I wanted to get that off my chest and out of my mind, to elaborate on it a bit more now that some time has passed.
There are situations where touching without consent are much more severe and to those people I’m so sorry. I’ve still taken the time to write this one out because I’m not sure where or how or when or why people decide it’s okay to touch a strangers arm on the street let alone where they get the idea that it’s okay to take it further. It’s not okay.