Having been traveling here and there for quite some time, Cirebon is the first city I’ve been to that I don’t want to go back to – again. It’s all because of the first twelve hours of bad experience that I got there. The first experience of street harassment.
I (kinda) remember I’ve been to Cirebon before. It was a short trip with mom, if I’m not wrong. But clearly, that city left no deep impression as I can’t really remember what I was doing and where were we going during that trip. But as far as my Dori’s memory remembers, I didn’t experience any harassment at that time. Unlike my last time going there on a #DuoGinuk trip with Kakatete.
The first harassment that I got happened in less than 4hours of my time there. I was having dinner with Kakatete in a humble stall in Jalan Kartini. Our outfit, you may ask? A non close-fitting jeans and a long sleeve sweater on me and a knee-length pants and a casual non-revealing tee on Kakatete.
We ate and chat, ordered ice milk and chat, busy with ourselves. None of our act (in my sense) sent a code to a mid-age man who sat around 1 meter from us that we want him to accompany us for the night. And, with our outfits, nor do I think our appearance sent a code that we didn’t have enough money to pay for the dinner. And to add another note, we didn’t have any conversation whatsoever with him or his clique during our dinner. So, basically, we don’t know him nor do we care about him and he doesn’t know us either. But the moment I asked the seller how much was it for our dinner, he began to say, “Pretty girls, you don’t have to pay. Leave it to me. You know you’ll save when I’m here. Don’t pay. I’ll pay.”
I didn’t know that saying was meant for us in the beginning so I kept asking the seller to count. Only then when the seller showed some puzzled face and looked at him then looked at us and looked at him again, I realized that those ‘sweet offer’ was addressed to us. My face was plain and we clearly ignored him. We kept chatting like nothing had happened as the seller counted our dinner expense. We heard several ‘No pretty girls, don’t pay. Leave it to me. I will pay.’ – kind of saying that night before we finally took an exit. It was emotionally disturbing to me.
The next day, we became more careful with our selection of clothes. I ditched my cute sleeveless top and Kakatete ditched her short comfortable pants. We wore something everyone called ‘modest’.
But still, that modesty didn’t help some corrupted mind to think clear.
When we walked on Jalan Pulasaren, there was one motorcycle rider who rode so close to us and turned his head and smirked as he passed us. With no reason! We were a bit shocked that he got super close, it was almost touching. And I believe if he touched me, I would crazily went after him and dragged him off of the motorcycle. Creating a scene.
Another driver honked on us and as we looked (it was super loud you cannot not turn your head), he stared at us. More than 5 drivers (either motorcycle or car), turned their head and followed our steps while driving/riding. And the most inexplicable one: Kakatete dropped the cap of the bottle at the side of the road when I was busy asking direction to a man; then there was another man, coming from nowhere, stand in front of her (who was bending to get the bottle cap back) and said ‘Something fall? Pull it, please.” leaning his lower body towards Kakatete. ‘PULL’?? Yes, he said that. Kakatete was trembled when she got to me, told me the story, and ended it with a, “WTF!! Did he just ask for a blowjob?” 🙁
You may think we’re a bit too sensitive, but believe me, you will never know what something really feels like when you’re not experiencing it yourself. It was traumatizing. Our first twelve hours in Cirebon left an impressive memory. Impressively bad memory.
Do I think all people of Cirebon are bad and have dirty minds?
No, I don’t. We met several good people after those harassment. It’s just because the people I encountered with at the first time are crazily unintelligible, I might need some times to recover and able to set foot again in the City of Shrimp. Hehehe.