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  1. Sorry, I'm not sure where to put this... but I was wondering if we could have a discussion about how to deal with harrassment on the streets of Turkey. I found it quite a minor thing during my last 3-month visit, but the few times I experienced it were scary and I wish I'd known how to deal with it. I put it down to the way I look and dress, because I have also experienced harrassment in the UK, too, but in the UK it's a lot easier for me to defend myself. I don't freeze up when someone touches me on the streets here, I hit them. But in Turkey, somehow, it seems different, and I can't seem to get the words out. I'm used to walking around Istanbul and being stared at and whistled at, people yelling "fistik" or actually saying to me "I want to f*ck you" or "are you a virgin". This is all innocuous to me. I was 17 last time, and I'm 21 now, and I've developed a hard attitude towards it, as long as it's all non-physical. But I never know how to react when touching starts. Two main incidents come to mind. They may both sound harmless. But they both made me feel threatened and tense, and made me freeze up and say nothing. Both happened on public transport. 1) I was on the bus in Istanbul, going from Taksim to Besiktas. I wasn't on my own, I had a male friend there with me. You know how the buses are jam-packed at the best of times, anyway, I was stood up, facing the window, holding onto one of the supports overhead. I felt someone's hand on hip, but ignored it, figuring they didn't realise they were touching me. Then their hand moved furthur down, and stayed there. The guy was kind of pressing himself into me. I tried to lean forwards slightly but there wasn't anywhere to move to. I also kept wanting to turn around and slap him off me but it just wasn't happening, the words weren't coming out. I don't even remember how it ended, but I think he got off at a stop before me, and the whole time I said nothing. 2) This one happened on the bus in Antalya. I wasn't alone this time, either, but the person I was with had gone furthur up the bus to talk to someone, iirc. Anyway, I was sitting alone, and I noticed a group of five men standing closeby talking, and a couple of them looking at me. I blew it off, whatever, I'm used to people staring at me here. But soon, they had moved closer, until all five were stood around me in a circle. It was literally like they'd trapped me, and I don't know why I didn't just stand up and push my way through them. But they were all staring down at me, and I remember being so freaked out, I couldn't even look up. I just stared at the ground until my stop came, and again, I don't remember how it ended then, either. This is so frustrating to me. I know how to say f*ck off, don't touch me, in Turkish, although I've never said it before. I say these things in English, in the UK, but something about being in Turkey seems to put me on lockdown and I don't hit out at anyone messing with me. What do you think people in this situation should do? I guess I need a bit of reassurance that I'm not pathetic for having this happened. It's very upsetting to just write it down even though it was a while ago, and I'm really hoping I can deal with this situation, should it arise again, this summer when I go back to Istanbul.
  2. Does anyone have this issue? I am taller female (5'10), even taller in heels . I am a very shy person by nature. I have been finding people stare at me, which makes me very uncomfortable. Growing up I was taught not to stare at people. I don't know if it is a cultural thing, or people are just being rude. I would love to hear people's views.
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