Encounters Of The Sleazy Kind
I was unlucky enough to have had the following conversation after a restaurant gig one night:
Guy: Where are you going?
I kept on walking, and didn’t realise until I was almost in the office (where my bag was) that this guy was right behind me. I quickly made a plan which was to swiftly slip into the room and rapidly shut the door behind me. But, as it turned out, Mr Sleazebag was experienced in this little game he was playing because before I could even start to close the door behind me he barged his way into the room and closed the door behind him. I was suddenly in a very worrying situation: inside a tiny office with a man who clearly didn’t understand the meaning of the word “no”.
“Get out,” I told him in a very serious tone.
At the same time I reached for the door handle so that I could open the door and throw him out. But, once again, he was faster than me and clearly very well-practised in this type of harassment: before my hand even touched the door handle he put his foot on the door to prevent me from opening it. I was suddenly quite scared but dared not show it. I kept my face very stern.
All smiles and charm, he asked, “What’s your name?”
“Get out,” I repeated a little louder and even more seriously than last time.
“Just tell me your name,” he said softly in what I’m sure he thought was a soothing voice.
“Get out!” I raised my voice angrily this time, and Mr Sleazy finally left the room.
Now, while the above encounter was in no way my fault, looking back there are some things that I wish I’d done differently. My aim in exploring this is to help others handle such a situation better than I did, so here goes:
The first thing I’d do differently is to stop in my tracks the very second I realised that this guy was following me. So instead of planning on being quicker than him and trying to shut him out of the room before he could get through the door, I’d turn to face him as soon as I noticed he was following me. I’d then tell him in no uncertain terms to go away, and make sure that he was far away from me before I turned around to go towards the office.
Now let’s say I couldn’t do the above because I didn’t notice he was following me. And let’s say I did ended up trapped in the room with him holding the door closed, what I’d do differently is to immediately yell at him to get out instead of speaking seriously at a normal volume the first two times and then yelling the third time. With any luck, that would make him leave straight away.
So there are two things to file away in your mind should you find yourself in this horrible situation:
· Stop the situation the very nanosecond it comes to your attention - even if it means making a spectacle. Get the restaurant staff or even restaurant patrons involved if you need to. Use the help of whoever is around and do whatever it takes to stop the harassment dead in its tracks. After all, it’s better to make a scene in public than be harassed in private, right? In other words, do everything you can to not end up alone with the guy in question.
· If for any reason you do (as I did) end up trapped alone in a room with Mr Sleaze, then get very angry and very loud straight away and order him to get out. Don’t play nicely on any level: it’s just not worth the risk. I was lucky that this guy finally left me alone, but given how deft he was in trapping me in the room I know that this guy had done this many times before. Now while I wasn’t nice to him at any point, I also wasn’t immediately mean and I should have been. I was serious, yes - I wasn’t being coquettish or giggly or any such nonsense - but I should have been furious from the start.
Details aside, though, your aim is to stop things as soon as you realise what’s going on, whether you realise early on or (like me) a little too late. Do not smile, do not laugh, do not play coy - be serious from the start and get angry instantly in telling him to leave you alone.
SAY NO TO PUPPY MILLS! SAY NO TO ANIMALS IN PETSHOPS! SAY NO TO BREEDERS!
Adopt a homeless animal instead - they all deserve a second chance
It's estimated that 130,000 dogs and 60,000 cats are killed every year in Australia because there are not enough homes for them all. And the global numbers amount to millions upon millions every single year.
Puppy mills are a major contributor to the terrible problem of overpopulation. Puppy mills are essentially 'dog factories' where dogs are forced to churn out litter after litter, with no thought for the welfare of the dogs and all thought for profit. The dogs live in appallingly dirty, cramped conditions all their lives, and when they no longer serve their purpose they're killed, dumped or sold to vivisection laboratories.
Petshops fit into the picture because puppy mills are generally where petshops get their animals from. Furthermore, having animals in shop windows encourages impulse purchases, and adding an animal to your family should be a conscious, careful decision - NOT one to be made while shoe shopping.
Breeders contribute enormously to the tragic statistics above too. And it doesn't matter whether they're professional breeders or backyard breeders, and whether they breed for profit or not, because while there are homeless animals sitting on death row in shelters, any and all animal breeding is utterly irresponsible.
Now, here's where you come in. You can either be part of the problem or part of the solution. You can either buy animals from puppy mills, petshops or breeders and be part of the problem. Or you can adopt from a shelter or rescue organisation and be part of the solution.
If I haven't convinced you, visit your local shelter to see the homeless animals. Let their innocent faces convince you that adopting is the only responsible choice to make.
All information and photos are copyright © Despina Rosales.