I like your legs

I am a social worker. Last night, I worked in the Emergency Department of my hospital for the first time. I saw one of my clients who was in the ED because of his high blood pressure. I spoke to him. Following our brief conversation, I passed another male patient who said something to me . I could not make it out so I asked him to repeat it. He said, “I like your legs.” My response, “That is sexual harassment.” He denied he was sexually harassing me. I walked away. To be honest, I was afraid my client might have heard it and would start thinking it was okay to talk to me that way. He has always acted appropriately so I realize that was just a thought. But, I noted I felt I had set boundaries with the male patients at least 2 times during my shift. I will work in the ED again this month and I don’t want to dread having to set boundaries or telling the male patients that their attention or remarks are unwelcome.

C I wore a dress in the ED. A male patient said ‘I like your legs.”
T I am being sexually harassed.
F irritation
A I tell him that is sexual harassment. I look around to see if my client has heard or witnessed this exchange
Ruminate – I don’t want to have another exchange like that with a male patient
R I am irritated and dread dealing with male patients who I fear will make harassing comments

I don’t want to feel irritated or apprehensive. But I also believe if I don’t speak up, other males will be embolden. Some people spend hours in the ED. I know I can’t control others, but I am not clear on how I can set a boundary for myself.