Content Warning(s): catcalling, sexual harassment, fear of stalking.
Submitted for Sexual Assault Awareness Month - Our Voices & Stories.
"I went by myself to a local meetup a few years ago as Kuroko Tetsuya from Kuroko no Basuke. [Editor's note: Kuroko is a male character.] I was a little nervous to be traveling by myself in cosplay, but I thought I would be okay since I was going to meet up with friends right after I got off the train.
The event ended up going great and I felt pretty safe the whole time I was in the park with my friends, but the real trouble started when I was on my way home from the event. Since I lived in a different town from my friends I had to go on the train back home by myself. I had done it many times before since I commuted to school via the train, so I wasn't too worried.
The train ride itself wasn't bad, but as soon as I got off at the station and started walking to my car I encountered trouble. After the conductors had went back into the train and it took off for the next station a man around a few years older than I was started following me down the steps to where the parking lot was. As soon as I made it down to the bottom of the steps I heard him calling for me, calling me his "blue haired basketball player."
He beckoned to me a few times calling me that, and I tried my best to ignore him. It was dark out, so there weren't that many other people around at the station. Maybe 1 or 2 other people in total had gotten off at the same stop as us, but they were gone by the time this man had caught up to me. He said had asked me "if I wanted to play some basketball with him" and then made some moaning and groaning noises at me.
I didn't hear what else he said because at that point I started running to my car, scared that he would be chasing after me. I finally made it to my car, after what seemed like a SUPER long time in my mind since I was scared to death. I managed to make it home that day from the train station, but not without being freaked out and still super scared for my safety.
I still don't like traveling by myself at night, and this experience solidified my fear even further. I used to think that I would be "safer" if I covered myself up more or if I crossplayed since my "curves" wouldn't "be out there," but it seems that no matter what I wear there is always that one person who takes it too far. I hope that no one else ever has to experience the pure fear that I felt that night."
We're so sorry you went through that, A. Many of us know what it's like to be catcalled, but it's usually under the circumstances of dressing in our day-to-day life clothing. When cosplay comes into the mix, it complicates your feelings even more. You might have thought that wearing something that presented more stereotypically "masculine" would mean you were safe from that kind of harassment. In fact, it can be more shocking when harassment occurs in "crossplay"/stereotypically-masculine presenting cosplay! You're definitely not alone and what happened wasn't your fault. We're glad you got out of that situation okay.
Your story reminds us that it NEVER matters what you're wearing, cosplay or otherwise--you're NEVER asking to be harassed. It doesn't ONLY happen when people presenting as "feminine" are catcalled by men on the street.