Satisfied with your response, the stranger says something else under his breath that you thankfully don’t quite hear. You’re glad that nothing escalated this time, and brush off the unwanted interaction. As you wait for the elevator, you realize you’re bothered by the experience more than you initially processed. Besides feeling gross for handing over your power to some random guy, you’re annoyed by your own routine complicity to the offensive behaviour of others. “Why do you always let men treat you this way?” you ask yourself, as though you haven’t already posed and answered this question more times than you can count.

Artwork: Tara Krebs,You’ll Distract The Boys!”: A Choose-Your-Own Compendium of Female Existence, 2018. Books are available at the J-Wing Library. Installed as part of the exhibition Art & Storytelling: Speak Up! (Aug 27 – Dec 14, 2018). Learn more here.

This artwork discusses sensitive information about sexual assault and harassment that may bring up difficult feelings for some viewers.

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For off-campus support, Good2Talk is a free, confidential helpline that provides professional counselling and referrals for mental health, addictions and well-being. Open to all students ages 17-25 in Ontario. Call 1-866-925-5454 (24/7).