On Being Chased

Yesterday, I’ve read an article called My Body Doesn’t Belong To You, where the author shared her story of being harassed on the road, probably because of her huge cup size. I suddenly remembered how I was teased back in 6th grade because of having very small boobs (something very opposite to the author’s issue). My male classmates would call me names like flat chested or airplane runway. I was so annoyed with them at that time and frustrated with my body specially my boobs for not growing up to the standard size. All my classmates were already wearing bras but I’m still using a ladies’ sando.

Later in life I realized how having small boobs is actually an advantage. Nothing jumps up and down when I run fast, people look into my eyes and not on my boobs when I talk, it’s easy to fit in clothes, I don’t attract any unwanted attention, I don’t get catcalled, I don’t get harassed. But that’s until I started being chased.

My first experience of this Catch Me If You Can game is when I was in Dubai, trying to cross a road. As there was no pedestrian lane, I was waiting for the cars to stop or disappear before I can cross the road. A car stopped in front of me. I thought he stopped because he was waiting for someone so I took several steps towards the rear of the car. He reversed until his front door is in front of me. His window was rolled down. He smiled and he motioned his head in a way that he’s calling me to get into his car. I ran and crossed the road regardless of how many cars were coming my way. I saw him sped up and took the u-turn to chase me. I ran and luckily found a small shop. I went inside. He parked his car outside the shop. I was walking around and around that small shop with only 2 back-to-back shelves trying to buy time. I felt like I was playing hide and seek but on this game, I don’t want to be found. After 15minutes his car was gone. I felt relieved. I waited for 10 more minutes before leaving the shop. As I stepped out of the shop, I saw his car about 10meters away from me. He found another girl to chase.

Once I was walking home from the metro station. I passed by a police car parked in front of a tea shop, the police men were having tea. I feel safe whenever I see them; it means nothing can happen as people in Dubai are scared of the police. But then just a few meters away from the police car, as I was walking I saw a car parked maybe 2 meters away from me. An old local guy was sitting on the driver’s seat, smiling at me with his crooked teeth. I ignored him and pretended that I didn’t see him. I turned left. His car followed me. I walked in a slow pace, took my phone and pretended to call someone. Then he left.

I was waiting for my shuttle service right in front of my office building when an old sports car stopped in front of me. I saw an Arab guy (but not a local), looking at me, and said Car Lift. (In Dubai, car lifts are private cars turned into taxi where people take during rush hour when taxis aren’t available). I said no. He asked in broken English, Where you go? I didn’t say anything and just walked towards the rear end of his car. He left after a few minutes. This scene happened in three consecutive days.

Once I was walking home, I heard someone shouting, Excuse me! Excuse me! I stopped as I thought it was a polite call, maybe I dropped something and someone wants to return it so I turned around. I saw an Indian guy, wearing an office attire, long sleeves and tie, running after me and when he stopped, he asked, Can I be your friend? I said but one word, No! I turned around, walked and took my phone. I glared back at him once more and checked if he was still following me but I was glad that he left.

One night, I was walking with a female friend. The streets were brightly lit up. I saw a car coming towards us, and I told her, this car will surely stop in front of us, as if I am already an expert in these kinds of experiences. She knew my Catch Me If You Can experiences and she can’t believe me as she has never experienced any so far. The car didn’t stop, it passed by us but it took a u-turn and it was behind us in no time. Inside the car was a local guy. He uttered something in Arabic which we didn’t understand. We continued walking and ignored him so he drove away. My friend said, this was my first experience of this kind of harassment but I’m sure he came for you, not for me. If I’m alone I wouldn’t have experienced that.

I thought about it. Maybe it’s not about the boobs anymore and I’m sure it’s not about my outfit. I always dress up modestly and if I’m not wearing office attire, I wear trashy clothes as I hate getting attention. I thought maybe it’s the nationality because some people in Dubai look down to others. So I asked 9 of my Filipina friends if they have experienced any such harassment but none of them did. So I’m the unlucky 1 out of 10 women and it’s not about the boobs, nor the outfit, nor the nationality. It’s about how they look at women in general.

So much for my experiences in Dubai and I’m glad that I moved here and for more than a year of living here in the Maldives, regardless of my cup size, my attire or my nationality, I only get chased by big yellow trigger fish and I definitely prefer that.

Author: aysabaw

Aysa is a self-proclaimed hotelier without any culinary talent. She used to fly around Dubai for ten years via her magic carpet but destiny led her to a new path. She is now a little mermaid swimming in and around the Maldivian waters. If she is not reading her books, writing something comical, leaving rubbish comments on your posts or strumming her guitar, then she's up to some mischief.

17 thoughts on “On Being Chased”

  1. I experienced the same, Ate, but here in Abu Dhabi naman. Mine was worse because they were literally following my friend and I for a good 20-30 minutes even though may mga pinapasukan kaming shops to buy time. We knew they were going to follow us up to our accommodation so what we did was we entered a residential building and pretended to live there, went inside the elevator and just stayed sa isang floor dun for 10 minutes. When we went downstairs, they weren’t in the lobby anymore. Two guys sila, not local, siguro Pakistani. That was one of my most terrifying experiences here in UAE.

    Keep safe always, Ate!

    Love, Amielle

    Liked by 2 people

      1. That’s what happened to my first cousin in The Emirates. So pretty… worked in the front desk of a 5 star hotel. There was an native guy who almost stalked her….. later she was raped….. then she was the one found guilty of having sex as a single woman. Do you know that to have a conviction, she should get 3 witnesses to the rape ? How stupid is that ?

        She was asked to leave the country. She went back to the Philippines, pregnant and gave birth to now a very good-looking nephew of mine. Looks like an actor.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. That’s a horrible thing. Yeah of course they will turn the case around and in the end its against her they will never jail a local.

          But hopefully your cousin is doing well now after all of these.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Yes. she is. Married ,with 2 kids, I hear. I met her in2010 and 2014, at family reunions. Still pretty. She’s top honcho of a Philippine cosmetic company. She gave me so many samples, ha ha.

            Liked by 1 person

          2. Well, 3 kids , including the first one……. he’s very handsome, puede artista. and he’s now 18 years old.

            Ah, the samples….. super dami…. I think the brand is Biologics.

            Like

  2. Quoting Thordis Elva in her TED talk (a story of rape and reconciliation), “I was raised in a world where girls are taught that they get raped for a reason. Their skirt was too short, their smile was too wide, their breath smelled of alcohol. And I was guilty of all of those things, so the shame had to be mine. It took me years to realize that only one thing could have stopped me from being raped that night, and it wasn’t my skirt, it wasn’t my smile, it wasn’t my childish trust. The only thing that could’ve stopped me from being raped that night is the man who raped me — had he stopped himself.”
    Yes, it’s not always about being a man or a woman but most of the time, it’s about a person’s power and control over another. Good to know you survived unscathed, Aysa. The trigger fish is a riot, though. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Hi aysabaw; Thanks for the follow! First, I like how you write your blog posts, and yes, harassment is real! Sorry that you went through that. Men sometime don’t understand their boundaries. I suggest to take self defense classes to protect yourself first. I’m commenting also because when I was writing an academic paper I found your post through google because I was writing about a personal story for me also being Filipina like you. I was writing about OFW, Overseas Filipino Workers and understand when you talked about Filipinos being coach roaches of the world. It made me cry and I was affected by it in a way I wanted to let my professor know that I’m not alone in feeling like a “coach roach” as you said and I’m here in America. Same struggle, different place. Cat calling is prime here and men just say things coz their drunk, don’t care and too aggressive in any time of the day really. When I was walking with my girls friends downtown to go out, little white pigs that consider themselves, “men” called out, “hey, look, Asian market”. I felt very degraded as a woman. Anyways, I explain my point of view on my paper. I’m going to share my paper here on WordPress with quotes from your blog. I was inspired when I wrote it back home in the Philippines at the time. I was going through similar micro aggression you experience being a Filipina and working in another country. Afar from being a writer, I’m first a community organizer and am wondering if you know of the grassroots org, Anakbayan? Hopefully they have one there in Dubai. Call me kasama kasi intindihan kita, babae, kapawa.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Kimberly, I am very surprised yet happy to hear that you included my post on your papers. I feel so honored. I am not in Dubai now but I still work overseas though I don’t experience harassment anymore.

      You take care there and keep safe. Stay away from these white pigs as much as you can.

      I’ve heard of Anakbayan when I was in college. These orgs in PUP are just in our face.

      Like

  4. kadiri mga manyak amp. nakaka-trauma naman un.. gusto ko pa naman sana mag-Dubai din haha dapat pala mabilis tumakbo at may super hide and seek skills!

    Like

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