A woman who called for a look at the girls on a Galway beach said that we must all take a stand against sexual harassment.
Shila Garari, a lecturer at NDI Galway, is investigating Garda after he was caught last week looking for women while changing to Silver Strand beach.
This morning at Newstallt breakfast he said it was a “scary experience” but he insisted he would not hesitate to speak again.
“I came out of the water and I was in a changed area and two young women, probably 20 or about 20 years old, came out at the same time, so we were in a change of shelter,” he said.
“It was busy enough down there. There were several cars parked here and people were walking, swimming.
“They were full of all the power of young women; They were kind of funny and gossipy and I was really enjoying their energy in the shelter there and thinking about my own daughter. “
Silver Strand Beach in County Galway. Image: Declan Maher / Gograph
He said a man in his forties came out of the water and joined their converted shelter.
“When I turned to sit on the bench, I noticed that he was clearly watching the young women change,” he said.
“Not just a glimpse, maybe not watching, he turned and saw their change and, I don’t know what happened to me, maybe it was my mother’s instinct. […] I just called her for it and said, ‘Hey can you just stop seeing the change in young women and just look ahead.’
“I don’t know where it came from but what I said and he stopped. He paused for a moment, he didn’t recognize me, he wasn’t looking at me and then he turned his head and started looking at them again.
“So, I told him again. I said, “Hey, we all try to think of our own business here and change thoughtfully and respect our comrades so you can stop seeing young women change.”
She said the young women collected her things to go and finish the change in their car.
“I thought,‘ Oh Geez, I’m stingy here now, I’m sheltered by this guy, ’so I collected my things and went to the bench near the beach area,’ he said.
“He followed me and grabbed me in amazement and started yelling at me – not the thing you want to hear on your beach downstairs in the afternoon.
“He was just angry and furious and thinking behind it, he acted like he deserved to do what he was doing.
“He was doing something that there was nothing wrong with what he was doing and our public space is for everyone. It’s for our young women, it’s for our kids, it’s for all of us, and if we don’t call it that, it will continue. “
Dr. Garariti said things got worse when he tried to get home from the beach.
“There’s a road that went up from the beach and when he was walking he started walking really slowly and looking at me and when I looked at him he was looking at me.
“So, I really moved away from feeling too brave and confident to be fairly intimidated at that moment.
“No husband likes to call his wife, ‘Honey, can you pick me up, I feel insecure but that’s how it turned out.'”
He said it was essential that they call for sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior when they see them.
“These are the kinds of behaviors that deprive women of their freedom and that’s what we have to do,” she said.
“It simply came to our notice then.
“We have to call it that and if we don’t change things and our daughters won’t be safe.
“Some people think these are stagnants, this right in their eyes and when they are called, the anger and frustration of the challenge can be quite frightening.”