Drawing boundaries is a difficult task, especially amongst roommates, since you have to cohabitate it.
If your roommate has a disability in addition, there’s a lot to negotiate there.
That’s the situation Reddit user jadamson98 found himself in: a disabled roommate, but one who kept crossing his boundaries. He found it difficult to assert them, and in a moment where they were being violated consistently, he confronted his roommate in order to try and clarify those boundaries.
However, unclear if he crossed the line, he went to the popular subReddit “Am I The A**hole?” or “AITA” to be sure he reacted within the realm of reason:
“AITA for confronting my hard of hearing housemates about her repeatedly walking in on me in the shower?”
Our original poster, or OP, set the scene upon which it was necessary for him to assert boundaries.
“I (M[ale]20) live in a student house with three girls (F[emale]20) and two guys (M20). Since moving in, I have been walked in on in the shower three times all by the same girl.”
“Every time, she has used her partial deafness as an excuse. That was fair enough the first time. The shower is admittedly pretty quiet.”
However, her walking in continued to happen.
“But it has since happened two more times. The second and third times, I suggested that she knock in future. Both times she apologised, saying she forgot.”
“I figured that this must have happened to the others in the house as well at some point so I had a chat with them about it, hoping that we could come up with a way to broach the subject without hurting her feelings.”
But OP was met with a surprise when he talked to his other roommates.
“Well, they knew nothing about it. Apparently this ONLY happened to me. I found this suspicious and so did the others. Half of them agreed that I should confront her about it while the others told me to leave it.”
“I was content with leaving it but then it happened again and I decided to be more firm when tackling the issue this time. I told her I knew she was doing this on purpose and that I would like her to stop.”
OP’s roommate did not react well.
“She burst into tears and accused me of being disablist. Apparently I wasn’t appreciating her inability to hear the shower running.”
“I responded by telling her I understand but that I have asked her repeatedly to knock before entering so that I can make my presence known to her, something she still refuses to do.”
“I then brought up how I found it odd that this has only ever happened to me and no one else. She was angry and embarrassed that I told the others about it.”
And she dug deeper with her insults after being confronted with this information.
“She insulted me, calling me a perv and telling me my dick was small, then ran to her room and slammed the door.”
Roommates in the house were divided over his response.
“The others heard everything from downstairs. The guys and one of the girls told me I was out of line for bringing them into it and for pushing the issue when she started crying.”
“The other girl said I was in the right for defending my right to shower in peace and that the girl who keeps walking in on me needs to have her head examined for the inappropriate way she reacted to being called out.”
Now OP needs help deciding if he was in the wrong.
“What do you guys think? AITA here?”
Redditors gave OP perspective on where guilt belongs by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH – No A**holes Here
Redditors pretty readily took OP’s side.
“NTA. It’s sexual harassment and people would lose their sh*t if it were a guy doing it to a girl all the time.”
“It being a girl doing it to you constantly doesn’t mean she should be allowed off the hook, and to use her hearing loss is bullsh*t.”
“I have a deaf friend (fully deaf, no sound at all) who puts her hand on the door and can feel the vibration of the shower running. There is 100% no reason your housemate can’t do that.”
“But also, why haven’t you started locking the door?”~CountingTheRavens
“NTA. I’m legit confused though. (Also hearing impaired myself…) but what does her “disability” have to do with her hands? Why can’t she knock?”
“While I might not know you’re in the shower, the closed door lets me know you’re doing something you needed privacy for and I can knock to see if the room is occupied.”
“She’s super pervy and creepy. If the genders were flipped everyone would be up in arms!”~gLoriousBunny
“NTA. It’s telling that she called you a perv.”
“What if you were on the toilet? No shower noise there. What if you were out of the shower but dressing? No shower noise there. It’s weird to barge in.”
“Two things to be done here. First: lock the door. Second: make a sign ‘Bathroom in use DO NOT ENTER’ and stick it on the door at eye height when you go in. Make it large and impossible to miss.”
“Ten to one she’ll still barge in on you and tell you she didn’t see it.”~diagnosedwolf
“NTA. She can see the shower in use.”
“She can feel the humidity in the air.”
“But maybe more to the point: lock the bathroom door (or install a lock if through some madness it has none)”~StAlvis
In fact, people are saying that OP’s roommate is bordering on sexual harassment.
“There are all sorts of locks and door obstructions you can use that you don’t have to install (and so they won’t break your lease).”
“I had a landlord who was always letting herself or her staff into my apartment with no notice. I was walking in my hallway in a towel when I heard my door being unlocked. It wasn’t malicious; she was just incompetent.”
“So, I bought Addalock on Amazon, which fits between the door and the door jamb to block it from opening.”
“You could also use a door wedge so that it can’t fully open. Hell, just a brick or something heavy.”
“I am extremely doubtful that this isn’t on purpose, especially given her reaction. Seems like she felt rejected, so she lashed out.”
“But either way, there are ways to protect yourself from your crazy roommate that don’t need to be installed. Good luck and may all your showers be safe.”~myohmymiketyson
“NTA. Circumstantial evidence suggests that she does it on purpose to ogle you in the shower. That’s repeated sexual harassment.”
“You had every right to confront her and also use the info you got from the other roommates to call her out on the lie how she just forgot to knock and couldn’t hear the shower.”
“Honestly, if the gender roles were reversed, she would have been chewed out on her inappropriate behavior a long time ago by your roommates. Install a lock or buy a door stopper.”~Orleans87
“NTA. As this is only happening to you, it’s too convenient for it to be because she cannot hear the shower.”
“And, when living with multiple people, who the hell doesn’t knock on the bathroom door before opening it if it’s closed? That’s basic common courtesy!”
“Honestly, since it’s only you, AND since she is refusing the very simple compromise of knocking that has been suggested, this is sounding like there is some other reason behind it.”
“If you really wanted to push the issue, it qualifies as sexual harassment.”
“I’m not sure why some of your roommates are coming down on you for it, but it’s probably just because the girl started crying, so obviously you must have been wrong 🙄.”~Briarrose1021
“I’d make a modest cash wager that she had/has a crush on you. She probably thought this was a nifty way to make a move, and when it failed, she played the hard of hearing card.”
“NTA at all. Everyone would concur that this is an obvious case of sexual harassment if the genders were reversed.”~AgonyUncleCharlie
People are also suggesting OP install a temporary lock on his bathroom door, since it didn’t come with one.
“I’m with the one girl. This is weird. And as a disabled person, I can tell you that nothing about this was ableist.”
“The chances of her walking in on you three times and no one else even once are astronomical. And turn this around, if you were a woman and she were a man, I’d be telling you that you need to have ‘him’ thrown out of the house for being so creepy.”
“If we won’t tolerate it from a man, we’re not going to tolerate it from a woman, either.”
“Like yes, obv we women deal with this more often than men do, but sexual harassment is sexual harassment, no matter the genders involved and as a society, we need to stop normalizing harassment against men.”
“My advice would be to stick to your guns. I doubt she’ll try it again, but if it’s brought up, defend yourself.”
“This did not happen by chance, and it was textbook definition of sexual harassment. As far as logistics go, you can try a sign on the door, with a 3M hook, that says occupied and vacant.”
“Or a more direct route would be getting a rubber door stop and wedging it under the closed door from the inside.”
“Good luck, OP. I’m so sorry this happened to you.”~CrimsonStiletto
“NTA, that goes beyond inappropriate and enters sexual harassment territory.”
“Easy fix: get a sign saying „Occupied!“ and hang it on the bathroom door when you’re showering. Take away her excuse.”~HoldFastO2
“NTA. I’m sorry, but I have both vision and hearing issues. I’m legally blind in one eye, and I’m supposed to be wearing hearing aids in both ears (the hearing aids were damaged while I was in the hospital several months ago).”
“I can still hear the shower going, that’s with the door closed and me in the next room over. Being slightly hard of hearing doesn’t prevent a person from seeing a closed door, and knocking… ”
“Leave the bathroom door open when nobody is in there, and now there’s no excuse for her not remembering to knock. You can put up a sign saying to knock if the door is closed, as a reminder.”
“But if you are the ONLY person that she walks in on, is that bathroom only used by the two of you? I would have called her out on that the first time, it’s rude to just walk in on someone.”
“And does she walk in on you while you are using the toilet? I would think that it would be even quieter than taking a shower.”
“She’s got a problem if she can’t leave you alone when you are in the bathroom. It sounds like she’s doing it on purpose, with everything you’ve posted.”
“As for your other housemates, they aren’t the ones being walked in on. Its only reasonable that you mention it to them, so that you could find out what they were doing to keep her out while they were in the bathroom.”
“And telling her that they didn’t know anything? She shouldn’t have been doing it in the first place, it doesn’t matter if you brought it up or not.”
“She’s not the only one living there. Don’t let her false tears persuade you that you are in the wrong. She’s the one that appears to be fascinated with your small, ahem, member.”
“You might want to discuss the potential of moving on, whether it be you, or her. It doesn’t sound like she’s going to change, although you might want to give her one more chance.”
“If she walks in on you again, don’t be polite anymore. Yell at her immediately, and make a huge deal out of it.”
“And sit everyone down and explain how upsetting this is, you really shouldn’t be dealing with this type of sexual harassment (this definitely qualifies, I suspect).”~unwillingvictim
“NTA. Her reaction clearly reads to me as being upset you called her out on this and you know whats she’s really doing.”
“The part where she called you a perv when she’s doing the creeping and refusing to simply knock first shows there is something more going on.”
“I would make your side very clear with the others and ask how they would react in this situation with someone of the opposite sex doing this constantly.”~thefallenS117
Reddit is pretty clear that OP may need to do more than assert these boundaries—he may need to take more direct action.
If OP’s roommate doesn’t stop walking in on him after this confrontation, that is the definition of suspicious. Hopefully he will do what needs to be done to keep himself safe.