Sunday 27 May 2018

'He will think twice before he does that again' - American tourist 'punched' man for sexually harassing her in Dublin

Leanna Carr fought back after she was sexually assaulted by a man on the streets of Dublin
Leanna Carr fought back after she was sexually assaulted by a man on the streets of Dublin

Rachel Farrell

An American tourist has gone viral on Twitter after she “punched” a man for sexually harassing her on the streets of Dublin.

Leanna Carr (26) was walking from her hostel to the bus stop near Aston Quay on Tuesday when she felt someone grope her from behind.

“I was walking in a hurry to catch my bus, when I felt someone grab my bum, hard. I turned around a little shocked initially, and said ‘what the f*ck’ to him. He started laughing, and said ‘oh you’re an American... you probably liked it’,” she told Independent.ie.

“I am never a violent person, and I have never punched anyone before... but I became so angry and had so much adrenaline that my reaction was to punch him. I got him on the cheek bone, hard.

“I started yelling a couple more things to him like ‘don’t ever touch a girl like that again, I could get you arrested’. He became very mad and I thought he was going to hit back.

“But there was an older couple next to us who saw the whole thing and the gentleman told the scumbag to keep walking. The man started laughing again and then crossed the street to disappear in the crowd of people.”

The 26-year-old powerlifter was visiting Ireland as part of a three week trip to Europe. She was on the second day of her travels when the incident occurred, and the altercation initially left her feeling discouraged as a solo traveller.

“I’ve never travelled solo and for this to have happened made me a little nervous. My first reaction was a little guilt, wondering if I had done the right thing in the situation. I probably would have reacted differently, say if I had been in a dark alley alone with him. I guess I felt more confidence acting the way I did because it was still light out and on a busy street.

A post shared by Leanna Carr (@leanna_carr) on

“I don’t think violence is always the answer, and I did get lucky that the altercation didn’t end up badly for me. Going forward, I do think it’s important be trained for self-defence and be a little more cautious of my surroundings, especially while traveling alone. I think he will think twice before he does that again to a woman.”

However, Leanna stresses that it didn’t change her mostly positive trip to Ireland.

“I was a little shaken and wanted to go home at first. I spent a couple days in Galway and went back to Dublin for another day, and I truly met the most amazing Irish locals who were very welcoming and kind. I realise situations like this could happen anywhere.

“There are ‘bad eggs’ wherever you go. I left Ireland with more positive than negative experiences. This situation just made me keep my guard up a bit, which is a smart thing to do when traveling solo internationally.”

Leanna shared her experience on Twitter on Saturday morning, and has since gathered over 5,000 likes. The response has been mainly positive, and Leanna hopes it will raise awareness for everyday sexual harassment.

“I didn’t think expect it to have such a large reach, It’s almost all been very positive. A lot of the responses were from women saying that I made the right decision, congratulating me and saying it was well deserved. Many locals from Ireland and Dublin apologised on behalf of the man who did this. Two or three people thought I fabricated the story... saying they’ve never seen a person walk up to a complete stranger in Ireland and do this.

“Maybe you haven’t seen it, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. No matter what country you’re in. Sexual harassment happens every day from complete strangers and most women do not know the correct way to respond. In the past, I probably would have felt too shocked and timid to have dealt with the situation. I probably would have just walked away... and that man probably would have continued to prey on innocent women.

“I never use Twitter and didn’t write the post for attention, but I’m glad it went viral. This is something that is very common and hopefully it encourages more women to feel comfortable and able to stand up for themselves if it does happen to them.”

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