Asking For It: A Year of Outrageous Provocation

I’ve decided to document all of my unwanted interactions of 2018, and explain what I and/or others did to provoke them.


January 10: Because I walked down the street (ironically on my way to a feminist meeting), a pre-teen boy sitting in the street beside a homeless man muttered at me: “Fuck off, you fucking cow”.

January 10: Because I and other women (and some men) attended a feminist meeting, three individuals staged a protest by shouting at all those assembled the moment the first speaker opened her mouth.

January 13: Because I rode the subway alone, when a group of about eight drunk, middle-aged men boarded one of them ignored all of the available empty seating and lowered most of himself into the space beside me. Or rather, he partially sat on top of me and I had to squeeze myself into a corner to get out from under him.

January 18: Because my friend very politely asked “can you keep it down guys?” to two twenty-something men during a film screening at the cinema, they waited until the lights came up then assured us that they would talk as much as they wished. Because I spoke back to them, one of them physically squared up to me.

January 27: Because I walked alone along a street in the dark, a man walking towards me in the opposite direction made a noise as he passed me. I was on the phone, but it sounded like the kind of noise a frog might make, ie “ribbit”.


Early February: Because I had the flu and spent a large amount of time indoors, I manage not to provoke any men for two weeks.

February 14: Because I attended a feminist meeting, a crowd of people wearing face-coverings shouted abuse as I and others entered the venue, and did the same when we left.

February 18:
Because I walked from the bus stop to my flat at 11.30pm while looking at my phone, a man asked “You texting me?” as he walked past me.

February 24: Because I walked along a street near my house on a match day, a young man walking in the other direction stopped in front of me and sang the words “Three cheers for the red, white and blue” as he mimed playing the flute with a cigarette lighter.


March 7: Because the chap he’d previously been talking to (or rather, bellowing at) got off the Subway, a man got up and moved down the carriage to sit opposite me, then began talking at me. This time he didn’t bellow, and I couldn’t make out anything he said over the noise of the train. He spoke for a least a minute while I completely ignored him and typed on my phone. We were the only people in the carriage.

March 10: Because I walked around in Downtown Miami, various different men cat-called me, including one who was with a pre-teen boy (presumably his son).


April 15: Because I went running in vest and shorts, one man shouted at me that I was mental and another mumbled at me from a bus stop.

April 21: Because I walked down the street, a man walked right up behind me, almost brushing me as he overtook, then turned around and said “Hiya” before stalking off.

April 27: Because I got off a bus at night, a man made a lip-smacking noise as I passed him. When I stopped, turned around and said “what was that?” he silently stared me down for a few seconds.


May 6: Because it was a sunny day, a man driving a white van revved his engine at me then laughed when I stepped out to cross at a green man.


June 10: Because I was wearing a pair of shorts, a man screamed a comment about my arse from a moving car.

June 13: Because I started to film him spouting racist comments at other passengers on the Subway, a man called me “fucking snooty baws, you fucking cow” and darkly threatened “See if I see you again, I’m gonna…” before realising it might not be wise to finish the sentence while being filmed.

Published by Shona Craven

Writer, editor, talking head

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: