When I was a child, I don’t quite remember how old, but I think around 13, I was walking home from the grocery store with my mother, and it was late evening. While we were on a neighborhood street, there was a car that came by several times, honked their horn at us, yelled something at us that I don’t remember, and then laughed when I jumped. Which I did every time. It was probably my first encounter with something like this and it left me feeling scared and confused.
I was walking with my stepfather along Washington street when I was 17, back in the summer of 2003. Out of the blue this car with a group of teenage boys went by, honking their horn as obnoxiously as possible, and one of them rolled down his window, leaned out from the back seat, and had on some sort of Halloween costume after the Scream serial killer, and screamed at me as they drove passed. They made a point to do this three or four more times, as well. The screaming, if he was speaking actual words, seemed unintelligible. But, it was obvious that he, and his buddies, thought he was hilarious and impressive.
I was walking along the side area that was meant for bikes and foot traffic close to the four lanes, near the patches of grass, with a friend of mine. While we were walking, all of a sudden this truck went by and the driver honked the horn at us and grinned, as if he thought we were supposed to be impressed with him. We decided to ignore him, but it was still ridiculous and we felt as if the rest of the drivers on the road that day were probably staring at us after that, too.
My sister was walking home alone one night in a desolate small town (where she was a high school student) and became aware of a man following her. This went on for a block or two until she spun full around, stared at him (from a short distance), and then yelled, “I have seen your face, I can identify you to the police, leave me alone and stop following me!” and ran. He did not pursue her.
I was on the bus one time in San Francisco and had to stand up as the seats were all taken. I stood right next to where an older white man was sitting, just inches away from him, and for whatever reason(?) he reached up and put his hands on my hips. I slid out his grasp and shouted (on a completely silent bus full of people), GET YOUR HANDS OFF ME! and everyone looked over. He did, but he also said “it’s just as much your fault as it is mine”. EW.
Once I was with my best friend on the streetcar (in Toronto) and this old(ish) man approached us and started talking to us. I find it very hard to simply ignore people when they do this and he just seemed like a harmless, lonely old man. Then he started asking us if we’d go to dinner with him. We politely declined. Then he started asking if he could pay us 1000$ each to just have dinner with him. We kept declining, and his offers just kept escalating until he was offering 2500$ each to bring us up to his apartment so we could meet his female friend Kitty.
Since we had just been taking the streetcar for fun we decided to get off. He followed.
He kept walking beside us and talking, not being overly threatening, but I was sure to keep myself in between him and my friend (she’s two years younger, and I have a black belt in karate so I know I could handle myself).
She then bumped into something and said “ow” to which he responded “oh don’t worry girls, I won’t hurt you” – then he grabbed my arm and continued “well, I might”.
At this I just knew we had to get away from him. I tried to mouth the word “HELP” to passers by. I made eye contact with numerous people (including three guys who looked like they could have been College football players) but none took notice. I even thought about running up to one of these guys and pretending that I knew them. I didn’t though.
We were in a somewhat chic neighbourhood, and the only places around were expensive lunch restaurants, and our misplaced sense of decency made us not want to disturb people’s meals.
Then we passed by this upscale salon and someone was handing out flyers at the front door. We walked over and each took one and tried to strike up a conversation. Then the old man started talking to this flyer guy. This was our out we thought! We snuck behind him and walked briskly to a corner store just up the street.
Once in the corner store we both looked shook up and the owner of the store asked us if anything was wrong. I quickly told him to call 911 (which he did not) and that a man had followed us off the streetcar and we were trying to get away, but before I could finish the old man walked in and walked straight towards us.
He turned to the owner and said “these are my daughters! This one’s a pilot” – he said pointing to me “and this one’s a nurse” – he said pointing to my friend.
-let me just say that my name is Amelia, like Amelia Earhart, which I hadn’t told him. As well my mom wanted to be a pilot when she went to military college but being a woman she wasn’t allowed. And my friend’s mother is a nurse. Just a really weird coincidence… anyway…
Since he was situated in front of us we were both shaking our heads vigorously to let this store owner know that this was not the truth (plus we were both obviously in our teens, so being a pilot and a nurse was a little out there).
He distracted the man enough that his son could sneak us out of the back of the store. The son escorted us to Bathurst, and from there we walked quite briskly down to Queen street. I don’t know if the police were ever called, but this guy was definitely creepy. At certain points I was sure that if he had found the chance he would have tried something horrible.
Submitted by Amelia
Twice within Thirty
1) Well-dressed, well groomed. I was waiting for a cashier at Big Coffee Franchise when the man to my left lunged to his right and wrapped his arms around me quickly, laughed, and then leapt back to where he’d been. I glared, made sure I had my wallet still, and went to find a seat. Within two minutes the manager burst through the kitchen door yelling at him to get out of the store, pulling his grocery bag out of his hands, revealing a bunch of their packaged proprietary coffee blend. So he was kicked out.
2) Unkempt. About thirty minutes later, I am reading and working on my laptop at my seat, and someone comes into the store, marches past my back to the restroom, curses loudly that it is locked, hits the door, [meanwhile I close my laptop, slide it under the table into my lap, and resume reading] . . . and then I don’t hear or notice him back in my peripheral vision. I look over my shoulder, and there he is, standing so I cannot push my chair out or leave, making kissy faces and kissing at me.
Me: “Leave me alone.”
Me: “Leave me alone!”
Man: kiss-kiss. “What?”
Me: “Go! Leave me a-lone!”
Man: “I’m just admiring the pretty girl”
Me: “No, go.” (pointing)
Me: Looking around for anyone for back-up, including the young man sitting next to me and the female law student sitting in the next chair… the manager bursts through the kitchen door again and gets the guy kicked out and told off about harassing customers.
Submitted by CR
I was walking home from work in the dead of winter, and I came to an intersection. The guy driving the pick up truck stopped at the stop sign, and waved me through. As I crossed in front of him, he beeped his truck horn, and I looked at him to see him making a tongue-pass at me. I kept walking, and he rolled down the window and yelled “what’s the matter, bitch? just trying to keep the neighborhood friendly!”
Submitted by Teenie
I was at a bar with friends (guys and girls) just outside the USC Gamecocks Football Stadium watching a college football game. I was wearing a jean short (mid thigh length) skirt and standing just behind the row of stools at the crowded bar when I felt the man’s hand behind me reach UNDER MY SKIRT and essential try and stick his fingers in my vagina. I immediately turned around and the first thing I saw was my guy-friend’s face who happened to be next this pervert and see the whole thing. He was as livid and disturbed as I was. He is also a large and loud guy. He pretty much got in the guys face and then insisted that the pervert be throw out of the bar, which he eventually was.
I was glad my friend was there and took a stand. I would like to think that I would have been able to stand up for myself as well. I know, however, that being aggressive, loud and in some one’s face is not my first instinct, but I’m sure I could do it with some practice. Something maybe that is (or should be) taught in a self-defense class?
Submitted by Leah
By VIOLET KITTAPPA
Congratulations to our comrades in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.
The Patriot-News reports that 150 students at Dickinson College have been protesting since Wednesday, demanding that campus sexual assaults be broadcast through the college’s Red Alert system in real time and that perpetrators of catcalls and lewd comments are disciplined.
The article reports that President Bill Durden agreed to study student requests, if they agreed to one of his own: ‘to tackle campus alcohol abuse and incivility that contribute to safety problems’, throwing the old red herring into the discussion to avoid just focusing on the problem.
You want that whole ‘can’t murder people on campus’ law thing to be enforced? FINE. But first, do me a favor by not abusing alcohol.
Hey, Bill Durden, sexual assault is a crime. Period. How about you just tackle that first, then we can talk about addressing incivility.
I would like to keep this story general, but I have had several men working at a car dealership make inappropriate comments towards me when I walk by. This dealership happens to be on the route I enjoy walking, and I refuse to deviate my path just because they are so inclined to comment on my attire. A couple of years ago they used to ask me if I would like to exchange my heels for wheels, but eventually stopped when I complained to their manager. I may be walking by the car dealership, but that does not mean I want to buy a car there. I walk by several other car dealerships, and I have never had anyone at those scream at me.
The behavior went away for two years, and then re-emerged a few months ago. Once one of the men told me how he noticed I had new shoes, which made me feel a little uncomfortable. Women walking by a place of business do not usually feel comfortable having men comment on their shoes. A few weeks ago I had two of them screaming they liked my socks, and my hat. They also mentioned they liked my gloves and umbrella.
I suppose I could tell their supervisor, but I really do not feel like wasting my time. Lately I have just been ignoring them, but I would imagine somebody realized what was going on because the last two weeks the behavior died down. I do not respond when one or two of the men screaming hi at me from the car dealership because people do not enjoy being screamed at. I am simply walking by on a public sidewalk, and I would appreciate being left in peace. I do not scream hi at people I do not know, and I would never make comments about what they are wearing. Some things are just not appropriate.
Submitted by J.E.