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What it's like to be a girl in Romania

In this entry, I'm going to talk a lot about harassment. It's not that women are not harassed in Portugal, because they are. But rather, whether it's because I'm a foreigner or something else, I get harassed a lot more in Romania than in Portugal.

Walking down the street

Every day, there is some man that passes me in the street and says something to me in Romanian and I have no idea what it means. But I can guess from the look he gives me and the tone of his voice what he's getting at. Also, there are many cyclists riding down the street who ring their bike bell when someone is in the way or when they see a girl they think is good-looking. I have also been groped in the middle of the street in broad daylight in Bucharest, resorting to violence to make sure he respected my space, because no one gropes me without my consent and gets away with it. I punched him and the freak even tried to hit me back, so my only choice was to throw the rest of my cappuccino over him to get him to leave me alone.


The fact that I'm a foreign girl must make me more appealing or something. I've had classmates come to me in front of everyone else to ask me out, speaking loudly so their friends can hear them. What do they think? "Oh, look at me, I'm talking to an Erasmus girl... this should be easy... " There is a misconception that erasmus girls are "easy" because they have come to a different country, where no one knows them, and therefore they can do what they like. But seriously, just give up! I've had to use the tactic of calling my mum to avoid those classmates who came over to me and asked me out whenever they had the chance.

I've been harassed before in a class by almost everyone and the teacher didn't do anything about it - maybe because she was the only one who didn't realize what was happening? A boy in my class kept looking me up and down, his friends said something about me and then they laughed. At the time I didn't realize what was going on, as I don't notice those sorts of things, and I only knew after my friend Carolina told me later. The teacher then started to demonstrate the flexibility exercises we had to do, one of which included jumping in the air, opening your legs, and then trying to touch the floor with your hands. Almost everyone was doing these exercises, except a small few who stood on the sidelines, started to boo me and laughed at everyone together, including the boy who was looking me up and down. The situation made me feel so upset that I had to move places, but when I did, they all shouted "ooooooh!". I never went back to that class. I decided to change my timetable to a class at a different time with different people because my classmates in Portugal never behaved like this nor did they treat me or other erasmus students like this either.


One of my flat mates came to ask me where I was from, what I was studying and questions like that. Obviously, I wasn't going to tell him to go away because we are far away from home in a different country and it is always good to speak to someone who is friendly, so I spoke with him. At first glance, I seem unfriendly, but I am always nice when people speak to me which is a problem in itself as it comes across as me being interested in them. Ever since I spoke to my flat mate, he started to harass me. Every time he heard me in the corridor, he would come to my bedroom door to talk to me, or when I went to the kitchen, he would just appear out of nowhere and speak to me. That's not even including the times when he texts me on messenger or calls me on it too. I'm starting to get seriously scared about it. He has also told me that he wanted to be my only friend in Romania, which is how abusive relationships start, even though I don't want any sort of relationship with him. My solution to this problem is to no longer speak to him in the corridor and to go and cook on the fourth floor because he has already memorized the time I cook and always turns up there at that time.


I was just doing squats in the gym when a man approached me to explain how to do squats. However, the thing is, I've been doing squats for a long time and if there's one thing I know how to do, it is squats. It was ridiculous and what was even more ridiculous was that he wasn't physically defined. I know that doesn't mean anything, but it reinforces my theory that he only came to pick on me as I am a woman in the gym. Many people believe that a woman doesn't understand anything to do with the gym and therefore, it is just a way to talk to them. I responded by giving him an arrogant answer and told him I didn't need help, and that he should help the 20 men next to me who looked like they were about to break their knees doing squats.

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