Appalachian Ohio, Athens GA, Atlanta, Berkeley, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Columbia MO, Columbus, Des Moines, Durham & Chapel Hill, East Lansing, Fredericksburgh VA, Houston, Los Angeles, Muncie IN, New York City, NYU, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Plattsburgh, Richmond VA, San Francisco, Tucson, Twin Cities
Hi, my name is Caree and I’m a senior in high school. One weekend, I got off work late (maybe 11 pm or 12 am) and stopped by Kroger, a grocery store, on my way home.
After about 15 minutes of shopping, I realized that I kept seeing the same guy around, everywhere I went. I would turn around and there he would be, staring right at me. When I made eye contact with him, he looked away and acted like he was shopping. So I keep shopping, and this happens again about 3 or 4 more times.
After 10 minutes of shopping around, I see that he has nothing in his shopping cart which I thought was proof: he was NOT shopping, and it was NOT just a coincidence that he was always shopping in the same area as me. He was following me around the freaking store and watching my every move.
This was before I had heard of this site, otherwise I would have walked right up to him and taken a photo of his face. Instead of doing that, I just turned around and looked straight at him. When we made eye contact, he looked away as usual, but eventually would look back my way thinking that I had moved on. I stared at him for about 60 seconds before he finally walked away. I wanted to let him know that I saw him and knew what he was doing. Men like him need to know that they will not get away with it, not with me anyway.
Even though he left me alone after that, I was scared. When I got out of the store I walked to my car quickly with my cell phone and keys in my hand. I was terrified that he was going to follow me out in the parking lot.
I’m not sure what I should have/could have done about the stalker. Telling the Kroger employees seemed useless. Confronting him seemed dangerous. And calling the police? It didn’t seem like he had committed any kind of tangible crime that I could accuse him of. I felt trapped and helpless. And now I feel like all I can do is hope it doesn’t happen again.
Submitted by Caree
Way back in 1973 when I was 22 and was working as a custodian along with my husband I had gone to clean an office near the loading dock in the cardboard box factory where we were assigned. My husband was cleaning the men’s restroom while I did the office.
The plant electrician entered the office and came close to me and then reached his hand between the front of my legs and groped me.
I went immediately across the plant to get my husband to help me to report the man to his supervisor. He spoke to the supervisor who spoke to the electrician but the man was not fired as I continued to see him driving around the plant night after night until we left that facility at the end of the month.
Submitted by Eileen
It is common to get cat called or whistled at when walking in the streets of Mexico City. Personally, I could say that I get verbally harassed about three times a week in different areas where I transit about.
I would like to mention the latest event of this type. I had just hopped off the Metrobus and was walking by a magazine stand when a young man, probably a salesman I had never seen before starts walking beside me and tells me “que guapa amiga… eh?” (I could translate it as “you are cute my friend, hey?”)
I continued walking and ignored him with a straight face so he kept on walking by my side and in an angry tone asked me if I was going to be mad at him or what,…as if I had the obligation to answer back at him. He eventually left my side as I went closer to a restaurant. Since then I take a detour from that area whenever I can. Policemen usually favor the ambulant salesmen who often bribe them to be able to sell their goods in the street….so there is no use nor safety in reporting directly to them. Sadly.
Submitted by Amancaya
A middle-aged man was passing out flyers while I was on my way to the library. I was passing him by when he complimented me and said, “You’re so beautiful.” I said thank you and tried to keep on walking when I realized that he kept following me and repeating it over and over again. “Don’t you speak English?” he said. “I SAID YOU’RE BEAUTIFUL.” I told him, “I do speak English and I said thanks,” trying to get away. Finally, after about ten minutes, he stopped following me. What I really wanted to do was curse him out and tell him I am a freaking English major and that he had no right to expect some sort of gratitude from me just because of a compliment, not to mention STALK me when I didn’t engage in a conversation with him. Just because you pay me a compliment does not mean I am obligated to go on my hands and knees to thank you or get to know you. Don’t accuse me of not knowing how to speak in English just because I don’t speak your language of creeperism.
Submitted by S.A.
On a half empty subway train with empty seats this guy was sitting next to women who were sitting in the window seat trapping them in next to him. Then he would start hitting on them. I noticed this happening from the other side of the train, he did not do it to me, and it didn’t really piss me off until one lady, obviously uninterested, asked to get up so she could move away from this guy. He just barely shifted his weight, and did not move out of the way. The woman rolled her eyes and was forced to slide her body over his to get out. She was forced to make physical contact. He got this smug little smile when he made her do this. I lost it. I waited till he sat down next to yet another girl and got up in his face and took a photo. “THAT’S ENOUGH OF THAT. You are being creepy!” I said to him. I told him exactly what he was doing and that he needed to stop. I told him no one was interested and he was not “smooth” making girls touch him who did not want to. He got offended and said he was just “talking to them” and yelled at me for a minute but stopped his harassment. He stood by the doors till I got off. I walked right past him and wished him a blessed day.
Submitted by Caitlin
I was standing on a busy London street outside a tube station with a girlfriend around 2am, waiting for her mom to come and pick us up to take us to her house (I was about 22, 23 at the time). I was leaning on a barrier that separated the pavement from the road, looking out over the road, essentially almost bent at the waist. A group of 3 men walked past, a little the worse for wear, and one of them came up behind me, gripped my backside, and started doing sexual motions with his hips, laughing with his friends. I wasn’t having that, so I quickly whipped my right arm around, still bent at the elbow, towards his face. If I had hit, it would have knocked him for six, I’m sure. I stopped about an inch from his face, and said very calmly, almost quietly, “Go AWAY”. The men stopped laughing, swallowed, and walked away, and my friend looked at me in amazement, and asked where I’d learned to defend myself… I wouldn’t recommend that kind of physical action for every situation, but at that time, it just felt right, and it was an instinctive reaction. I feel for the women who’ve had to put up with this kind of behaviour – its not acceptable, and it needs to end. pronto.
Submitted by K
It’s hard for me to tell this story because I was so shamed and distressed by it, but it’s good too, to share.
This happened a long time ago, but I think it’s helpful because it shows how this sort of harassment can hurt for a long time.
When I was 12 I was at the Winter Fair at Landsdowne Park in Ottawa with my 6th grade class. We were all running around being silly, having escaped teacher supervision. At that age I had already developed as a woman. As I was running past this old man who looked like a farmer, he yelled at me, “Nice tits!”. I felt like I had been punched in the stomach. It scared me and I still feel scared as I type this. The rest of the day was blur, except when he yelled it at me again, about 20 minutes later. That night I went to a family gathering at my Grandma’s and I felt depressed, anxious, withdrawn, dirty, moody and ashamed. I honestly felt like I would never feel safe and comfortable with my body or my self again. It took time but I healed from this; however, my body still feels the fear and shame today when I think of this.
I was sensitive as a pre-teen about my sexuality and it’s taken me a long time to become confident in it; it’s something I’m still working on at age 31.
I don’t know why a man would need to say something like that to a young girl, but anything we can do to stop this sort of action is important and valuable. I want the world to be a place where people feel good, confident, safe and respected. Thanks for creating this site!!
Submitted by Charlotte
I was visiting a friend in Chicago last July, but while he was at work I decided to explore the city. I was sitting on a bench in Chinatown, reading a paper, when this old man comes up to me. I move my things so he can sit. I was 20 at the time. I have dark brown skin, dark curly hair, and was wearing an orange tank, brown flip-flops, and baggy khakis slightly above the knee.
He starts talking to me, and even though I felt something strange, I ignored it. After all, you’re supposed to be respectful of elders, right? He keeps chatting, and I nod and answer his questions and keep trying to read my paper. He asks if I live here. He puts his arm around me. I freeze. And now I know something’s wrong. He asks me how tall I am and I tell him, then he says “I don’t believe you stand up.” So I do, and he stands up and hugs me. He tries to kiss me but I turn my head so it lands on my cheek, and then he presses himself against me and I can feel him. His hands slide down my waist to my ass and I try to push him away, but my brain’s gone all fuzzy and he won’t let go and I’m frozen. I look around to see if anyone’s coming to help- it’s the middle of the day, and there are people all around me. But no one seems to know what’s going on. He’s laughing and I finally manage to get him off me, but not before his fingers brush my breast and I grab his hand and turn it into a handshake. He acts like nothing happened, laughs again, and asks if we met again would I say hello to him. I just want him to go away, so I sit down and stare at the ground and nod. He says “I’m leaving now. I’ll be at so-and-so place, then I’ll head home. It’s going to rain soon. You should go inside.” Then he leaves, looking behind him and waiting like he expects me to follow. As soon as he turns the corner it pours. I call my friend and insist he comes to get me, but he can’t get to me for another hour, so I am forced to wait in the train station, sobbing, while four other random men corner me and attempt to get my number. Apparently creeps can smell vulnerability.
Submitted by Miga
1. I was 17, well before cell phones. Walking down the street in Cambridge with two girlfriends. A car slowed behind us, rolled along for a short while. There was a bar up ahead and we thought perhaps they were going there. The car pulled into a parking spot in front of the bar and two men got out and began walking behind us. “Hey, what’s your name? Where are you going? Hey pretty…” non-stop, though we brushed them off. Crossed the street, they did too. Soon we realized we were headed towards the Charles River, not a good place to have two creepy men follow you at night.
Kept crossing streets, turning, picking up speed, and they just kept up with us, calling after us. We came across a cab at a streetlight and dove into the back, asking the driver to drive anywhere.
2. Walking to school in London, 8am. A van pulls up at a traffic light and a man opens the side door, “hey beautiful, get in!” “No.” “You ugly bitch, get in the van.” “Fuck off.” “Awwww, c’mon pretty. Don’t you want to go for a ride?” My cross light turned, they were stuck at the light, I managed to slip away.
3. Also walking to school in London. Pass by a buss stop with a group of middle school boys waiting at it. “Hey gorgeous, nice legs.” Are you kidding me? A child!? I asked him where his mother was, which shut him up.
4. Late night London, two men in a car pull up as a friend and I are walking to the bus. They say all sorts of nasty things and try to coerce us into the car. Follow us along for blocks until we found an open kebab shop to duck into. One followed us in. We watched our bus stop and made a run for it when the bus pulled up.
5. Also was followed home in London, no comments, just followed and then he banged on the door of the apartment building for awhile. After that every time we were followed (not uncommon) we kept walking up the street to a night club where we knew the bouncer.
6. Seattle: Waiting outside a bar for a friend. A man walking down the street swerves towards me, comes right up in my face and hisses: “pull my panties off with your teeth…” Ugh.
7. Seattle: Walking to the bus (again!). Man standing on street: “Hey, are you a guy or a girl?” I opt not to respond. As I get closer, “oh look, a girl. Hey, you’re really pretty.” I stay silent, keep walking. As I pass him, “Hey, you should grow your hair out.” Keep walking; hear from a distance as I go, “hey, you should gain some weight though.” Thanks man.
8. Seattle: A man is standing talking to a another man, who I know. I give them a look as I pass by them as I caught them talking about someone being cute. As I pass the man says to my acquaintance, “she’s cute too.” My acquaintance says, “yeah she is. She’s married though.” (Thanks. I love being talked about like I’m not even there.)
9. Seattle: A man starts hitting on a friend outside a club. Won’t take no for an answer. Grabs her arm and tries to pull her into a cab. I jumped in, pulled him off her, yelled, and the two of us retreated back inside. A crowd of people watched this, including a bouncer. No one said anything.
10. Bonus, San Francisco style: Walking with my husband. A man says “hey, why you with that guy? Why don’t you give this a try?” My husband thought that was pretty rude. I wrote it off as yet another day where I left my house.
And those are just a start. Reading this site I am flooded with memories over the past 20 years and how angry, vulnerable, and diminished it always makes me feel.
Submitted by KM
I wish I’d found this site weeks ago. My roommate and I had gone out for drinks at our favorite pub, hoping to chat with a few of the regulars we’ve become close to while studying abroad. As we’re sitting there, this group of Belfast men, most old enough to be my father, begin beckoning me over. I refuse and try to ignore them, but every time the come up to the bar, they plant themselves on either side of my chair and press close. I continue to try to ignore them, only keeping my hand on my purse, because the area we’re living (and drinking) in has had a recent spike in pickpocketing. By now, my regular friends are beginning to get annoyed. One has been telling them off and another takes up fighting stance when two of them decide it’ll be a good time to spin me around. I tell my friends to ignore them, they aren’t worth it and try to return to my conversation when the youngest throws his arms around my shoulders and my roommate’s and starts begging us for kisses and both of us are telling him about the boyfriends we’ve left back in the states (convenient fibs about guys who we’ve both just recently turned down). These jerks just won’t let up, though and when I lean across the bar to tell the bartender (another friend and woman) that they’re all mad and I’m getting freaked, one tries to shove his fingers up my rear through my (knee-length, 3/4 sleeve) dress and black tights. I scream and nearly jump the bar and promptly hide and then the youngest tries to come around the bar when my roommate has finally told him that it he doesn’t get off, she’ll break his nose (she could and would do it, too). When I tell him he and his friends are making me uncomfortable and I don’t appreciate having my butt grabbed, he makes a grab for me and I jump away. He only managed to get my hip. At this point, the bartender kicks them all out (except for one drunken lout who’s so hammered he passes out and cuts his head open on the bar). I wish I’d said more. I wish I’d told them what pathetic, dirty little toads they all were.
I found out later that week they were living in our building. We both avoid the courtyard like there’s a 20 starving Komodo Dragons living out there, except I think these guys are scarier!
Submitted by Alicia