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I’m Mexican, but I spent 6 months at Bordeaux, France as an international exchange. It was my first time traveling alone, and I arrived really tired. A friend there helped me finding my place (I decided to rent a room at Village 2, Pessac) and everything was perfect, but I wanted to send an e-mail to my family saying I was alright. I discovered the internet wasn’t free, because my iphone couldn’t receive the internet without a password, so I was a little bit sad because I felt alone and not communicated. I decided with little hope to go through the aisle near my room to look for some internet signal and when I passed through the showers I saw a guy. This guy told me if I had any problems and I asked him about the internet, he told me that it wasn’t free, so I said it was ok that I could fix it later, and I said thanks, but he told me he could lend me his laptop to send and e-mail if I wanted to. So I told him it was ok (I really wanted to send my family an e-mail), then he told me he could go to my room with my laptop (I should have been more cautious about this I know, but he was another student, and I thought he would be decent), anyway I said yes and told him the number of my room. Then after some minutes he was on my door , I opened, and left the door opened while talking to him. He gave me his laptop but the internet wasn’t working either, so he told me it should be something wrong, however he didn’t try anymore to fix it , and then I told him it was ok, and that I wanted to rest, but he told me that he could give me a foot massage. I felt really uncomfortable after that, so I get up and told him I was fine and I wanted to be alone, but he got nearer and told me that he could really help me unpacking my clothes and then maybe pass the night with me. So I really became afraid because he started to get really close to me, so I told him to leave me alone, so he was upset and told me that I was afraid, but I shouldn’t be, that every woman in France is like that, so I told him to leave me, and he really didn’t want to. After that I left my room making him leave it to, and then I turned quickly and told him to leave me alone, so I closed the door quickly and couldn’t opened it until the other they in the morning. I felt so scared, was alone at night, and I thought the worst thing, I also felt really bad considering I felt vulnerable and alone, without any friend to call neither any kind of communication, I was alone in an unknown country. I cried that night, and felt horrible. After some nights he came again knocking my room and told me to please talk, but I never answered and asked him to leave, I almost asked to change my room, but then I never saw him again. My international experience got better as I met many persons and I started to feel secure. It wasn’t a good experience as my first night in France, but hopefully everything turned out ok and I really love that city ,and with such good persons , but it is really sad some people like him live in a such lovely place!
I was walking home quickly after having had my space on the sidewalk blocked and something mumbled at me about my legs. This was two blocks from home. Feeling insecure, and wanting some community, I was on my phone, walking as fast as I could, trying to log the harassment in to this site, when I looked up.
Right in front of me, almost totally obscured by a tree was a man. I met his eyes directly by looking up from my phone at that moment, just by chance. He said something about getting with me, but I couldn’t even hear him. All I could think about was that he’d had to step out off the sidewalk to get behind that tree. That he’d clearly been watching me and waiting for the moment when I came level with him, and I’m certain he wasn’t planning to jump out and shout “Boo”. And also, because I was by now literally around the corner from my house, this man is my neighbour. It felt like my blood had been replaced by ice, and the world was on a frozen mute till I made it through my door.
I was walking on my way to work when two cars, one after the other, on the same block slowed down to “holler” at me. It took a while to get rid of the first one because i was going along with their conversation so i wouldn’t seem rude since i am new to the neighborhood. They finally left me alone after i explained that i was not interested in hanging out because i had someplace to be.
As they drove away a second car slowed down to follow me and “holler”. I told the guy that someone else had JUST done this to me and that it wasn’t gonna work. He continued by saying that i should take it as a compliment. He was very confused when i told him that it WASN’T flattering. I had to explain that it was scary, intimidating, and annoying for a lady to be followed by men in cars. He thanked me for our exchange by saying “wow I’d never heard a woman’s perspective before!” and he finally drove away.
THIS IS WHY HOLLERING BACK IS SO IMPORTANT. Many harassers have no idea they are being creepy! They think they are being nice and cool! We must stand up for each other and ourselves! I didn’t use to be this brave and I am often frightened by the angry responses post hollerback but I feel so much better doing it than when I walk by and say nothing!
I studied abroad in Spain last summer (I am originally from the U.S.). While in Segovia, a relatively safe and suburban city, my roommate and I experienced daily street harassment, in the form of a greeting typical to Spain: “Hola, guapa” or “Hello, beautiful”. At the beginning, we found it charming; it was always in the middle of the day, they kept their distance, it was very non-threatening behavior, and it is just a custom of that region. Towards the end of the trip, however, our impressions began to change. We were there during festival seasons, and everyone seemed to be much rowdier. We are both very chesty girls, so that was the focus of all the harassment – once a man came up to us and just said “pechos” (“breasts” – oh, how well spotted). One evening, around 8pm, we were walking down the streets and talking about how we were growing tired of the male behavior (this was just after a man older than our grandfathers passed us on the street and gave us the lingering “up-down” glance while licking his lips). We saw a young man walking towards us with a shit-eating grin on his face, we knew he was going to be inappropriate, so we just ignored him and continued talking to one another. As he got closer, he continued to smile and began gesturing to his chest. In my head I thought “ha-ha yes, we have breasts, thanks for pointing out the obvious”. We were both very pointedly ignoring him, but right as he passed us he said, in English “really big tits” and kept walking. My friend and I both stopped immediately in our tracks and our jaws dropped. We were both so mad we actually could not move for a few moments, by which time he had already moved on. I loved Spain and would go back in a second, but it kills me that this experience, as well as the other street harassment moments are the ones that I remember most vividly.
Was walking to a tram stop at night when someone yelled across the street: “lesbian, I’ll fucking kill you!” I looked back and there was a group of four people, continuing to yell “freak” etc. I felt pretty intimidated and anxious and not in the mood for confrontation so I just walked faster.
When the tram arrived they also got on. I sat a good distance away from them but not far enough to escape hearing their calls to “sit on [their] face” and loud discussion of how they were going to “rape” me. I’d like to say I had a witty comeback but in reality I just felt shite and tried to ignore them til I could get off.
My boyfriend raped me.
Luckily I have not had to deal with street harassment like I did in my 20’s, but to this day (and I am 50 now) I remember the unreal awful terrifying and constant harassment I faced daily just trying to get to my job. I had just moved to Los Angeles and had to take a bus to downtown and then walk four blocks to my job. Daily I was yelled at followed, called mamma cita, watch men touch themselves….I felt vulnerable and terrified. It never stopped and it was horrific. Back then there were no “purple shirts” which are prevalent now in downtown which are bike security guards, but I really was on my own. I think that harassers need to be arrested because more than likely they have raped someone in their past or present. I think harassment is a sign of potential violence towards women and needs to be considered at least a misdemeanor.
I was walking to the store when these two guys pulled up in there car and start talking to me.
I was sitting on the bus, behind the bus driver, and across from a man, and in no way was I looking or staring at the man, but from the corner of my eye, I saw him grab his crotch and shake it, in my direction, which I thought was so disgusting and rude.
I did my best to ignore him, then, but wish I had told the bus driver or something. I plan on making a complaint to the Metro.
Thanks. Glad I was able to share my story. Hope this helps someone else out there feel like they’re not so alone. Have a blessed day, folks.
My boyfriend showed me a story on CNN about street harassment and that’s where I saw the link for this site. I’m very torn about this, actually. On one hand, I’m glad there is a forum for women to share their experiences and vent out how frustrating these situations are, without fear of getting horrible comments that make you feel like you “were asking for it”. That’s not what we want to hear after we’ve been victimized. It isn’t a question of shaming nor is it a plea for pity and attention, but some people take it that way. The reason I’m so torn is that on the other hand, my heart breaks that there is a need for a site to express how we feel and worse, that there are so many women who have undergone these traumatic situations. The most recent instance I have had of unwanted sexual attentions (I’m not even counting the catcalls this morning as I was crossing the street to work) happened about a month ago. I was dressed in slacks and a button up uniform shirt for my internship in an office. I was on a crowded bus and found a pole to grab onto when I felt a man place his hand at the nape of my neck and run his hand down the length of my spine towards my rear. I froze in place: there was no mistaking the man’s touch for a simple accidental bump. Fortunately for me, a gentleman witnessed what happened and stood up and gave me his seat while calling out the other guy on his inappropriate behavior. He informed the bus driver of what had occurred and the creep was kicked off the bus. But the damage was done. I felt dirty. Worse, I caught myself thinking “I deserve this.” That’s what angered me most. I’m grateful someone stood up for me, though. It reminded me that it wasn’t my fault and that there are people who will stand up against injustices.