TRIGGER WARNING this post deals with street harassment and assault.
I have blue hair. Some of you already know this. It has been, in the past, blue, purple, purple and turquoise (x2), black, red, orange (when the red faded) and green.
I love having coloured hair. The first thing I did when I stopped working at a job where I had to have Natural Hair Colour was dye my hair purple and turquoise. I couldn't wait.
(actually, I could. I waited a while to save up for the dye and find a time when I was free and so was my hairdresser friend, but that's beside the point).
My kids love my hair. When I get a new hair colour, they stare at it and poke and pull and play. They have such fun. When I'm getting a new colour, I let everyone know, and they spend the next fortnight guessing. Kids and parents and staff, all wondering what I'm going to do this time.
But not everything about my hair is nice and bubbly. I have had stares, rude comments, been called strange names (fruit tingle? What the fuck?), been asked questions (is that real?), had ridiculous comments (your hair is blue! No, really?).
And twice, I have been assaulted.
The first time was when I had my hair purple and turquoise for the second time. I was walking to the train station with my little sister when a group of people surrounded me.
They encircled me so i couldn't escape. They started making comments about my hair.
They started pulling at my hair.
They. Pulled. My. Hair.
I screamed and swiped at them and yelled. They thought this was hilarious and started laughing.
I ran, shaking. I shook the whole train ride home. I tweeted about it, used the word fuck a lot.
The second time was yesterday. Friday, 11th November 2010.
I was waiting for the train after work when a drunk person got to the station. He didn't do anything to me, just made me uncomfortable, so I decided to take the train going in the opposite direction and then stay on it heading back. Then I'd be away from him.
I got on the train, didn't think much about where I was sitting. Same spot I always sit.
There were three people. Two were next to me, one was across from me. They tried to talk to me. Given I had a bad day. And am generally antisocial, I ignored them. After all, they don't have the right to my attention.
Apparently they didn't agree.
The one next to me tapped me on the arm. I looked over.
"Is that a wig?" asked the person two seats down from me.
"No," I replied, and tugged at my hair to prove it.
Then the person next to me started pulling at my hair. I was shocked and creeped out, and smacked his hand away.
The person two seats down from me then said "I'd marry ya for that hair."
The person across from me shook hir head. "Nah, rape ya."
The person two seats down said "Yeah, I'd rape ya for that hair."
The person across from me nodded. The three of them laughed. They might have said more, but I was too in shock at this point.
Luckily they got off the train just after this incident. I sat, shocked, for a few seconds. I'm not sure how long. Then I got up and moved cars, I'm not really sure why. To make it less of a walk when I got off the train, I think.
I called LM, no answer. I called Kat, no answer. I called Matt and explained it to him. He was worried for my safety. Kat called me back, I explained to her too.
I posted it on twitter, got advice from people. I made LM promise to meet me at the comic store as soon as I got to Perth. A friend walked me there from Shafto Lane, because even those few steps were too much for me to handle.
By the time I got to LM I had no energy left. I just cried on His shoulder. I told him about what had happened.
I called the police, told them about it. They told me to make a report, which I'm doing tomorrow (station was busy last night).
I wrote down all the details in a timeline, including descriptions of the people who assaulted me.
I am terrified of riding on trains. I'm going to get pepper spray.
This should not have happened.
ETA: I have made a police report. The officer I spoke to was very nice, and told me that they had absolutely no right to act as they did, and not to let anyone tell me otherwise. He also said that they couldn't do anything about the language they used, because it was common, but they could get them for touching me. Also, because my hair is blue it will be easier to find them on the camera, because I'll stand out.
I guess I shouldn't cut my hair off after all :)