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Thread: Turning down unwanted male attention...

  1. #1
    disobedient avocado Lianwen's Avatar
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    Default Turning down unwanted male attention...

    Besides screaming out the katakana for sexual harassment and running away, is there a better way to turn down unwanted male attention in Japan?

    When I visit the local city, it's very easy to just sumimasen and get away and there's always someone around that I know will help me, but in the past month I've been approached twice while I'm a stone throw away from my apartment and it's made me very uncomfortable because it's so close to where I live. Normally I'm aware of my surroundings in the city, but I find it very easy to let my guard down when in my small neighborhood; parents will drive by and chat me up from their cars after picking their kids up from the station and old people have come out of their homes when they see me walking by to give me food from their garden. These two times are the first time I've ever really felt unsafe in my neighborhood...and these two incidents have happened so close together.

    In my neighborhood, I'm in walking distance of a police box and fire station. When I reported to my supervisor one of the really weird and creepy approaches I've had in the city, she just ignored me and nothing happened. I'm pretty sure my BOE won't take me seriously and I'm worried that if I am in this position again and if I walk into the police box, it'll get back to my BOE and I'll be given a "talk" (keep in mind, I live in a town where my BOE is called when I go to the bank) and it'll overall reflect badly on me and nothing will be done anyway.

    Any advice? I mean, it's easy to joke about, but in all seriousness, having it happen twice so close to home and so close together does make me really uncomfortable.

    I know what I'd do in America, but the language barrier does make it difficult for me to be as firm in Japanese as I am in English. The last guy who followed me responded to my "暇がありません" (after he asked me to take a drive with him and my speaking sucks) with a 超かわいい.
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  2. #2
    Senior Moment Antonath's Avatar
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    Default Re: Turning down unwanted male attention...

    I'd say you need to be blunt about it. Say you're not interested, not that you have "no free time". Tell them they're rude, in a loud voice.

    If you feel you need to go to the police, do it. Screw your BOE giving you a "talk", protect yourself first and worry about (fairly minor) consequences later. And if they do moan at you for going to the cops, make the point that you told your supervisor about it and she ignored you. Don't let them guilt you or nag you out of feeling safe, especially in your home area.
    ...because Japan.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Turning down unwanted male attention...

    Embarrassment works best to tame men. If you feel unsafe, be loud.
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  4. #4
    Feckless Manchild Otaku word's Avatar
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    Default Re: Turning down unwanted male attention...

    Quote Originally Posted by uthinkimlost? View Post
    Embarrassment works best to tame men. If you feel unsafe, be loud.
    word

    Also...

    Quote Originally Posted by Lianwen View Post
    Besides screaming out the katakana for sexual harassment and running away...
    ...this actually might not be a bad move, especially if there were people around to see it.
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    When I read your post I suddenly feel like I am so far away from being crazy.
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    It's festivals days like these on which I really try really hard to make up for not partying in college.
    yeah, because who needs free flowing drugs and alcohol fueling adventorous sex with taut, lithe young bodies when you could wander around a dying town in the freezing cold with a can of asahi super dry in your hand while some toothless old farmer shouts at you.

  5. #5
    Member Shelia's Avatar
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    Default Re: Turning down unwanted male attention...

    You could always start yelling expletives in English at them. Whilst they may not understand it should effectively communicate your intentions and could serve to ward them off.
    2014 Short-listed, Sydney (≧∇≦)/ Yamaguchi-ken

  6. #6
    Open the doors, Hoff. BambooTelegraph's Avatar
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    Default Re: Turning down unwanted male attention...

    Quote Originally Posted by Antonath View Post
    If you feel you need to go to the police, do it. Screw your BOE giving you a "talk", protect yourself first and worry about (fairly minor) consequences later. And if they do moan at you for going to the cops, make the point that you told your supervisor about it and she ignored you. Don't let them guilt you or nag you out of feeling safe, especially in your home area.
    +1

    Your safety is the most important thing. If your supervisor ignores you, go above your supervisor and talk to your PA.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Turning down unwanted male attention...

    I agree, if you do feel actually unsafe you should call your PA and at the very least have a record of this. When it comes to harrasment (and let's hope it does not evolve in to that) it's incredibly important to have documentation of incidents when they occur. As to the actual incidents themselves, bringing the attention of surrounding people to what's happening is good. Be loud and stand your ground. As well, I would suggest being loud in a different way, by mentioning these incidents to your schools as well. The more people who know, the better.

    I would also strongly suggest reporting the incidents to the police as well. It may be an isolated thing where you stand out as a foreign woman and therefore are a creeper magnet OR it is very possible that these people are harrasing women in general and your experiences are part of a wider problem. Either way the more this kind of thing is reported the better things are for all the women living in your area. Your milage may vary, but typical responses to this kind of thing tend to be an increased police presence in the neighbourhood, as in they will drive around a bit more and stop to talk to people who are being shady. As always, stay vigilent and vary your routine if you can so that you are less of a predictable target.

    Finally, if things do get serious and you feel like the police or your BOE are not taking your safety seriously, it's okay to report this to CLAIR over the JETLine or even to your consulate. This is of course only suggested if things get extreme, but JETs should be aware that these options are around. A consulate or CLAIR cannot and do not have the power to force a CO/the police to handle a situation in a certain way, but a few well placed calls from places like that also do tend to get things rolling.
    Last edited by Ercasse; April 14th, 2014 at 14:40.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Turning down unwanted male attention...

    Quote Originally Posted by Ercasse View Post
    I would also strongly suggest reporting the incidents to the police as well. It may be an isolated thing where you stand out as a foreign woman and therefore are a creeper magnet OR it is very possible that these people are harrasing women in general and your experiences are part of a wider problem. Either way the more this kind of thing is reported the better things are for all the women living in your area. Your milage may vary, but typical responses to this kind of thing tend to be an increased police presence in the neighbourhood, as in they will drive around a bit more and stop to talk to people who are being shady. As always, stay vigilent and vary your routine if you can so that you are less of a predictable target.
    9 times out of 10 when I've been harassed by a stranger/had things yelled at me, I could gather that it was because I stood out as a foreign woman and was a creeper magnet. (the other 10% is friends and coworkers too drunk to know when they've crossed the line) I've had creepy old dudes start talking to me, possibly mentally disturbed people stare at me down the hallway, other foreigners call out down the street... these kinds of people will pick anyone as their target, and the sooner some authority knows about this, the better. If you weren't there, they could be going after some Japanese person, or even a student.
    Last edited by songbanana; April 17th, 2014 at 16:11.

  9. #9
    Senior Member kenkennif's Avatar
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    Default Re: Turning down unwanted male attention...

    Shouting obcenities in English at people DEFINITELY has a shock and awe advantage. I was drunkenly eating ramen in my city's dirty downtown district at about 3am on saturday night when a group of youngish lads started scuffing and scrapping in the other side of the shop. I could see that the master was concerned and didn't know what to do so I got up and went over to them and shouted at them all to "Shut the f*ck up and calm the f*ck down and eat their f*cking ramen politely" and that ended things very quickly.

    Moreover I couldn't stop giggling the next day about how freaked out they must have been that a big random foreigner just came over to them and started shouting in his alian language.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Turning down unwanted male attention...

    Quote Originally Posted by kenkennif View Post
    Shouting obcenities in English at people DEFINITELY has a shock and awe advantage. I was drunkenly eating ramen in my city's dirty downtown district at about 3am on saturday night when a group of youngish lads started scuffing and scrapping in the other side of the shop. I could see that the master was concerned and didn't know what to do so I got up and went over to them and shouted at them all to "Shut the f*ck up and calm the f*ck down and eat their f*cking ramen politely" and that ended things very quickly.

    Moreover I couldn't stop giggling the next day about how freaked out they must have been that a big random foreigner just came over to them and started shouting in his alian language.
    This isn't the first time you've posted about the buzz you get from intimidating children. I sincerely hope it's the last.
    Last edited by mrcharisma; April 17th, 2014 at 17:04.

  11. #11
    chill yo coop52's Avatar
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    Default Re: Turning down unwanted male attention...

    You have to be careful with that though- "fuck" is the only English word most of those tough types know (or at least they recognize it as a bad word), and they might think you're trying to start something.

  12. #12
    Senior Member kenkennif's Avatar
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    Default Re: Turning down unwanted male attention...

    I say 'youngish' they were definitely mid twenty year old punk types.
    What can I say... I'm British, most of our male population just get our kicks from binge drinking and mild Friday night scuffles.
    The one thing I can be happy about in Japan is that I'm very unlikely to be knifed... that's something Britain should try harder at erasing..

  13. #13

    Default Re: Turning down unwanted male attention...

    Quote Originally Posted by kenkennif View Post
    a group of youngish lads started scuffing and scrapping
    Stop pandering to the yanks.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Turning down unwanted male attention...

    Mace is legal in Japan, right?

    I have to say, the thing that I am bothered by the most after being out of Japan for 3 years now, is how creepy western guys can be. In New York the other week guys weren't as creepy and would just say hi and stuff but here in Germany guys have followed me home, asked to pay me for sex and mainly they just openly stare.
    I wish I had advice to give you other than to get some mace and to so as the others said and shout out in English.
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    Japan is one of the few places where an old lay will clutch her purse in terror at the sight of a white person.
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    The thing is, from what I know, you're pretty hot and maybe asian.

  15. #15
    Ghost of Ecru SomePeopleJustSaySnow's Avatar
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    Default Re: Turning down unwanted male attention...

    Quote Originally Posted by Jiggit View Post
    Stop pandering to the yanks.
    An' then oi sayed, 'gor blimey guv'nah, them scallywags an' ne'er-do-wells won't know what 'it 'em after an argy-bargy wif muggins 'ere,' an' I socked 'em right in the kisser and knocked 'em daan the apples and pears... Naaaahhhhh, Sonya, it ain't werf it! <Theme from Eastenders starts playing>

    Oh, such sweet memories of home...

    On a side note, shouldn't it be scuffling? Or have I been saying it wrong all these years?

    Edit: Oh, and to anybody worried about this stuff... yeah, I would have to go with shouting. It might not have the desired effect, but it does show that you don't fit into the 'passive fear' category, and that in itself can be quite useful.
    Last edited by SomePeopleJustSaySnow; April 21st, 2014 at 13:48.

  16. #16
    keepin' it real ihatefall's Avatar
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    Default Turning down unwanted male attention...

    Straight up! You have cause for concern. This was the same guy?

    Call your PA and the police! It's most likely not a big deal, but big deals start exactly like this. Who gives a fuck if they call your BOE, maybe then they will take you seriously. Then google the women's self defense tactics. (Eyes, throat, knees and groin. In that order. )

    Like I said, this is most likely a harmless otaku gaijin lurker troll, but in the .005% that he is not.....it's worth the precaution.


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  17. #17
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    Default Re: Turning down unwanted male attention...

    I know this thread is old-ish, but I wanted to leave a bit of my own experiences.
    Generally, insisting that you're not interested (興味がない。) and just saying "BYE" tends to work, at least for me. Being blunt, not making eye contact, and just quickly saying this stuff with confidence and continuing to walk along is generally pretty good.

    HOWEVER I've had some kind of freaky experiences in Tokyo -- no where near where I live -- which involved being physically touched and ended up with me screaming. All in all, if the guy's drunk or mentally disturbed enough, no amount of screaming helps because he's too gone to be embarrassed. If he doesn't seem totally drunk but won't leave you alone, it might be good (screaming at a drunk guy's not-too-drunk-friend who was trying to film one incident certainly worked).
    I've physically put myself between other female friends and guys trying to touch them before, and ended up with hands on me that I've shoved off, but if I were alone I'd probably be pretty spooked. I think the best thing you can do when you're in the moment itself is to be firm, blunt, brief, and move on. If you get aggressive without giving them too much of your time/attention, they'll usually f*** off and leave you alone.

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