'I was entirely creeped out... I felt awful' - 2FM's Louise McSharry on cinema experience
Published 02/07/2014 | 15:15
Have you ever felt your personal space was being violated in a normal daily situation?
This topic highlighted the uncomfortable experiences that females are forced to endure every day.
RTE 2FM present Louise McSharry brought the issue to attention on air today.
Louise regularly goes to the cinema alone. Last night she went to see the newly released ‘The Fault In Our Stars’ to unwind after work:
“I had my tissues in my handbag, my big coke zero, and I was absolutely delighted with myself!”
What happened next, was far from the relaxing experience she was looking forward to.
“There was about 20-30 other people in the cinema.” Louise told listeners, “I started watching the film, all was going fine, until just over half way through, a man got up, came up the steps and sat down in the seat right beside me.”
The presenter immediately felt uneasy and could not comprehend the stranger’s motives.
“I couldn’t understand why he would do that. He then started moving and shifting so he was brushing against me.”
Panicking, Louise pressed herself into the edge of the seat before deciding to go to the bathroom.
However, a lost phone meant she was forced to return.
“When I came back, I moved one seat away...but then I felt guilty! I started to try and excuse him and make myself feel guilty about it.”
“I was entirely creeped out, I couldn’t focus on the film at all and I felt awful.”
“I felt really stupid, like I was completely out of control of the situation.”
Louise appealed to her audience to share their opinions on what she had experienced, and encouraged them to share their own ordeals.
What became apparent was that men did not understand why she felt so uncomfortable.
Listeners questioned whether the presenter had been dressed inappropriately or ‘slutty’ to warrant this unwanted attention, or if she would have had a different reaction had he been “good looking”.
Louise insisted there were no excuses for the man’s decision to sit next to a young woman who sat alone in a dark area:
“It was so inappropriate and bizarre and it was intimidating.”
“Technically the person hasn’t done anything wrong, but you can still feel so violated by these little things.”
“It’s not fair that people would intentionally make other people feel uncomfortable in that way.”
Several women called and texted the show, to highlight that they had experienced similar feelings when approached by men on buses, trains or in nightclubs.
One listener texted in to say, “Apologising constantly is a particular female thing. We find reasons to rationalise the strange behaviour of others when we should give ourselves a damn break.”