“It felt empowering to be able to respond” – Mel’s story

I was just walking into work (around 8:50AM) — we enter our offices through a back alley that usually has people coming and going from other businesses. I saw someone walking down the alley towards me and gave a small smile and was about to say “good morning” as I sometimes do when I see people in the alley. I’ve never had a problem with anyone here before. He looked at me and then said “mmm I bet you have a fat ass pussy on you” sort of under his breathe but loud enough for me to hear. We were passing by each other (walking in opposite directions) and it made me pause and I turned around (he was already pretty far at this point) and yelled back “Really? You talk to random women like that? Fuck you!” He was glancing back at me but I swear he started walking away a little faster. I was actually happy I responded because usually harassment catches me so off guard that I can’t think of anything to say until later and feel bad about not speaking up in the moment. It felt empowering to be able to respond, even though I’m still shaking a little from being so pissed off.