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16-Year-Old Plane Passenger Can’t Stop Man’s Unwanted Advances, So The Crew Intervenes
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16-Year-Old Plane Passenger Can’t Stop Man’s Unwanted Advances, So The Crew Intervenes

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From navigating busy security lines to dealing with delays and cancellations, air travel can involve a lot of stress even before you board the plane. But sometimes the challenges don’t end at the airport; they can persist throughout the journey.

When Reddit user Softestlilbab was sixteen years old and flying to meet her dad, she ended up sitting in a row with a stranger who got increasingly interested in her as the trip went on. Learning that the girl was a minor didn’t stop him either.

As the woman explained on the subreddit ‘Entitled People,’ eventually, it got so bad that the only way she thought she could get out of the uncomfortable situation was to report the man to the crew. So she did.

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This teenager was traveling alone, so her dad booked her an extra seat

Image credits: nateemee / envatoelements (not the actual photo)

But that didn’t stop a creepy man from hitting on the minor

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Image credits: travnikovstudio / envatoelements (not the actual photo)

Image credits: svitlanah / envatoelements (not the actual photo)

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Image credits: Softestlilbab

Sadly, unsolicited male attention is part of growing up for many young women

We got in touch with Softestlilbab and she said this wasn’t the only time when she received unwanted attention from older men while she was growing up.

“I was 13 when a man offered my dad lobola [a gift in some African cultures that the groom’s family gives to the bride’s family as a thank you for raising her] for me in a shopping center,” the Redditor told Bored Panda. “And I’ve experienced so many more. Older men have no shame.”

Even though the flight attendants took action after the teen told them what was going on, she was still somewhat disappointed by it. “They didn’t ask me if I was okay, or offer to move him to another seat, or attempt to offer me some reassurance. However, the [crew member] in the jump seat was absolutely lovely and was so protective watching over me from his seat right in our sight line. I definitely adored him, he gave me dad vibes.”

Softestlilbab told her family and friends about the incident and she had some mixed reactions. “My immediate family was very protective and upset (I have 3 brothers) but I also had my one family member comment, ‘Well, maybe you shouldn’t have been wearing a little dress on the plane,'” the Redditor recalled. “But I was not, I had changed before meeting them after landing; I was in sweatpants and a hoodie on the flight.”

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Image credits: Karolina Kaboompics / pexels (not the actual photo)

This incident is indicative of a broader problem. Moira Donegan, who is a writer in residence for the Clayman Institute, where she, among many things, teaches a class in feminist, gender, and sexuality studies, says that for too many girls, teenage years are a time of unwanted attention from older men.

“Male attention creeps in at the edges of a young girl’s consciousness before she quite knows what it means,” she explains. “For my own part, I have a vivid memory of my mother dragging me out of a corner store after a man had been following me up and down the aisles; I was maybe 12.”

“Before that, a different man once approached me in a bookstore, where I was hunched over a book about a girl wizard, and asked if I wanted to take a walk with him. I was nine.”

“Neither of these men had been confused about my age: once I had been accompanied by my mother, the other time I was sitting in the children’s section of a bookstore,” Donegan adds. “My youth wasn’t a deterrent to their sexual attention, but rather part of its appeal: it signaled ignorance, naivety, and insecurity, the kinds of things that men like in women because they make us easier to control.”

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According to Donegan, by her teens, comments and approaches from grown men had become a regular part of being in public. “The message that all of this sends to young girls is that womanhood is a state that consists largely of receiving unsolicited male attention, much of it benign but much of it threatening, exploitative or hostile, and that their ownership over their own bodies, their ability to peacefully occupy public space, and their right to be perceived as the children that they are can all be abridged by the whims of a man’s desire.”

Clinical mental health counselor Lisa Leshaw agrees. She says that we live in a society that is obsessed with physicality, and the objectification of girls that stems from it can have dire long-term consequences on their self-esteem.

She says that we cannot minimize these experiences and write them off as “part of life.” Instead, we need to send a clear message that their feelings are valid, the incident was not their fault, and their boundaries deserve respect.

As the story went viral, its author joined the discussion in the comments

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Rokas Laurinavičius

Rokas Laurinavičius

Writer, BoredPanda staff

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Rokas is a writer at Bored Panda with a BA in Communication. After working for a sculptor, he fell in love with visual storytelling and enjoys covering everything from TV shows (any Sopranos fans out there?) to photography. Throughout his years in Bored Panda, over 300 million people have read the posts he's written, which is probably more than he could count to.

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Rokas Laurinavičius

Rokas Laurinavičius

Writer, BoredPanda staff

Rokas is a writer at Bored Panda with a BA in Communication. After working for a sculptor, he fell in love with visual storytelling and enjoys covering everything from TV shows (any Sopranos fans out there?) to photography. Throughout his years in Bored Panda, over 300 million people have read the posts he's written, which is probably more than he could count to.

Viktorija Ošikaitė

Viktorija Ošikaitė

Author, BoredPanda staff

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I'm a visual editor here at Bored Panda and I enjoy a good laugh. My work ranges from serious topics related to toxic work environments and relationship difficulties to humorous articles about online shopping fails and introvert memes. When I'm not at my work desk, checking if every single pixel is in the right place, I usually spend my free time playing board games, taking pictures, and watching documentaries

Read less »

Viktorija Ošikaitė

Viktorija Ošikaitė

Author, BoredPanda staff

I'm a visual editor here at Bored Panda and I enjoy a good laugh. My work ranges from serious topics related to toxic work environments and relationship difficulties to humorous articles about online shopping fails and introvert memes. When I'm not at my work desk, checking if every single pixel is in the right place, I usually spend my free time playing board games, taking pictures, and watching documentaries

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chelseamckee avatar
Chelsea McKee
Community Member
5 days ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Men really do s**t like this. They'll ask you where you live, where you work. Sir we just met and that's 100% none of your business.

guessundheit avatar
Guess Undheit
Community Member
4 days ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Cisgender heterosexual males are the biggest threat to women and children, like those 24 that were recently arrested in texass for KP and soliciting. There are literally dozens arrested EVERY WEEK in the US, but you never hear about them. The only times you do hear the gender and sexual orientation of the predator is when they're not cis hetero males (e.g. cis hetero female like that fundy christian teacher arrested today for "sexting" a student, LGBTQIA people, etc.).

Load More Replies...
maryelliott avatar
LuLuBelle
Community Member
5 days ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

One of the joys of becoming a little old lady is that random strange men stop sexually harassing you. Any man that thinks this doesn't happen regularly, especially to young women, is delusional. And they wonder why we prefer the bear.

ceecu1985 avatar
CatWoman1014
Community Member
5 days ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I’ve put on a bit of weight since I had my baby and I don’t get harassed as much for that reason either. So old and fat is the way to go I guess 😕

Load More Replies...
laura_ketteridge avatar
arthbach
Community Member
5 days ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Girls have been taught to 'be nice and not make a fuss'. This is c**p! Don't do it. Raise your voice, seek allies, don't let men treat you like this. Women - be the ally. Parents- teach your sons to be good boys and men. Teach them how to be friendly. Teach them not to be pervs. Men - call out men and boys who you see behaving like this. Often the men who are behaving badly only listen to other men. Call them out.

Load More Comments
chelseamckee avatar
Chelsea McKee
Community Member
5 days ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Men really do s**t like this. They'll ask you where you live, where you work. Sir we just met and that's 100% none of your business.

guessundheit avatar
Guess Undheit
Community Member
4 days ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Cisgender heterosexual males are the biggest threat to women and children, like those 24 that were recently arrested in texass for KP and soliciting. There are literally dozens arrested EVERY WEEK in the US, but you never hear about them. The only times you do hear the gender and sexual orientation of the predator is when they're not cis hetero males (e.g. cis hetero female like that fundy christian teacher arrested today for "sexting" a student, LGBTQIA people, etc.).

Load More Replies...
maryelliott avatar
LuLuBelle
Community Member
5 days ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

One of the joys of becoming a little old lady is that random strange men stop sexually harassing you. Any man that thinks this doesn't happen regularly, especially to young women, is delusional. And they wonder why we prefer the bear.

ceecu1985 avatar
CatWoman1014
Community Member
5 days ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I’ve put on a bit of weight since I had my baby and I don’t get harassed as much for that reason either. So old and fat is the way to go I guess 😕

Load More Replies...
laura_ketteridge avatar
arthbach
Community Member
5 days ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Girls have been taught to 'be nice and not make a fuss'. This is c**p! Don't do it. Raise your voice, seek allies, don't let men treat you like this. Women - be the ally. Parents- teach your sons to be good boys and men. Teach them how to be friendly. Teach them not to be pervs. Men - call out men and boys who you see behaving like this. Often the men who are behaving badly only listen to other men. Call them out.

Load More Comments
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