With every step we take toward gender equality, there are always some setbacks. Recently, a woman shared her experience of a man taking a photo up her dress on Reddit, which is one particularly disgusting setback that should upset anyone who has ever worn a dress — or cared for a person who has worn a dress. But before you get too forlorn, take heart in knowing that this woman stood up for herself and urges all of us to do the same.
The story comes courtesy of Reddit user Snailsentrails, who posted in a subreddit called TwoXChromosomes about the incident of sexual harrassment. Snailsentrails wrote that while she was shopping in Walmart with her three children, she bent over to look at something on the bottom shelf in the pharmacy section. She felt her dress go up past her butt and when she went to pull down her dress, she heard a camera shutter sound.
She saw a man in his late 50s walking away holding his phone in his hand — and she claimed to see a photo on his phone of what looked like the pattern of her dress and her underwear.
While many people would have been understandably too surprised or mortified to say anything, Snailsentrails wrote that she made a scene in the pharmacy and directly confronted the man by yelling, “Did you just take a picture of me??” He walked off, but she informed a Walmart employee immediately, all while keeping her three children close.
She left quickly after, but she called Walmart to make sure they were following up. She claimed that the employee who reviews security footage stated that the man appeared to be following her in the store. She also filed a police report, and the security footage will be made available to the police in their investigation. And, as happens far too frequently with accusations of sexual harassment, Snailsentrails noted that people are calling her a liar, so she also posted an image of the pamphlet she received from the police officer to prove her story.
While she took many of the appropriate steps to make sure this man is held accountable for his actions, she said she would have intervened more directly if she hadn’t had her children with her:
“If this happens in public please don’t hesitate to call these people out about it. Embarrass them. Shame them. If my children had not been observing I would have went and taken his phone from him. It was horrible, and I feel extremely violated and disgusted.”
Although the case hasn’t yet been resolved, Snailsentrails’ takeaway is still empowering: “Anyways, I just wanted to vent a bit and remind all you lovely people to stand up for yourselves and your friends, and strangers, and to not be afraid to make a scene when someone does something repulsing. Thank you for listening.”
Despite any cruel words that Snailsentrails is facing on the internet, it’s still so important for people to share these stories to point out that this behavior is harassment and that it is unacceptable. And while we are so sorry that this mother had to go through this — with her children present, no less — we are grateful to her for speaking up and encouraging others to do the same.