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I’m a teenager from a smaller town. There’s not much to do except walk to the local park or elementary school playground. That day all I wanted was to listen to music on the swings, but there were some young teens that weren’t ok with that. A group of 5 boys not maybe more than a couple of years older than myself started shouting and hooting lewd remarks. As I sat down on the swing 3 of them started walking over to me. One grabbed the swing while the other two stood in front of it. Their friends were gesturing provocatively and one even said he had something more fun I could sit on. I turned on my music to try to ignore them, but not a minute later was I pushed out of the swing and pulled to my feet. I didn’t wait for them to do anything else. I got up kicked the first one I saw in the shin and ran to a friends house to stay for a while. I’m still scared to go back alone.
Iba camino a Madrid y antes de llegar a la estación de Vicalvaro, en él cercanías, un señor cambió de asiento y se sentó delante de mí. Al poco rato se abrió la bragueta y mirándome fijamente comenzó a masturbarse. Cuando me di cuenta de que, efectivamente era eso lo que estaba haciendo y no imaginaciones mías (porque no quería mirarle fijamente, me intimidaba) me levanté para cambiarme de sitio y de vagón. Me miró ofendido y enfadado cuando lo hice. Tuve que bajarme del tren porque sufrí un episodio de ansiedad.
We had a quiet week at Hollaback! HQ with a smaller office, but team members Desiree, CJ, and Jae kept things up and running! Desiree attended Change Making in the Digital Age which was made possible by one of our awesome funders, Ashoka and CJ volunteered at the Sylvia Rivera Law Project’s Attorneys and Advocates Awards.
At Hollaback! around the world,
Hollaback! Baltimore hosted a talk, The Intersections of Gender and Police Harassment, and a Coffee Chat. Go Baltimore!
Holla and out!
I was waiting at a crosswalk while on my bike. A male biker at the same time started asking me personal questions. Where did I live; where was I going; what was I doing tonight? I ignored him. He became angry. He yelled at me that I was a fucking bitch. I responded, tired and calmly, that I was not a bitch, but instead was tired and just wanted to go home in peace. He repeated that I was a bitch and he’d never want to fuck me anyway.
I lived in Brookings at the time. My boyfriend worked the night shift at Walmart. He called me telling me that he forgot his lunch. We only had one car (that was with him) so I had to walk to bring it to him. We lived above a bar and just as I was leaving the apartment two men and a girl left the bar. The men began catcalling me. It started with asking me how I was doing, but quickly escalated to calling out that I should go home with them, and such things. I was 3 1/2 months pregnant and I was terrified for both myself and my baby. They followed me for half a mile before turning back around to go wherever they were going. The worst part, for me, was that there was a girl with them. Not only didn’t she stop them but she giggled the whole time like my discomfort and fear was hilarious.
At about midnight a guy followed me downstairs in the train station and asked why I was walking alone. Although I did’t answer or answered pretty pissed he didn’t leave my side until I told him that I have a boyfriend.
I was waiting at the crosswalk to cross the street. Three men walked by. One yelled, “Damn, Ling Ling! You’ve got an ASS!”
It’s a tradition that me and my mother, as creative writers, go to Barnes & Noble every Sunday. Once we arrived at the rather busy place, we found our seats, settled down, and my mom went to get in line to order some food. I had started typing on my laptop when a very suspicious elderly man (60-70’s of age) was awkwardly walking past me. I was wearing an appropriate kind of tank top with a plaid shirt and leggings. I am always vigilant of strangers and I do have trust issues. The elderly man whispered, only loud enough for me to hear, “Nice tits.” All the heat literally drained from my body. This guy had his wife with him for Christ’s sake! This was my first experience of harassment, and my first instinct was to see that he was alone and straight up kick his ass. I wanted to leave. I lost my appetite. I lost my will to enjoy my time. I lost my creativity. I’ve never felt so vulnerable or scared. I’ve developed a form of insomnia, even knowing that I will not see him again, but also knowing that this is only the first round of harassment. And I’m only sixteen.
I don’t even know if this is harassment…all I know is that since is happened I can’t stop thinking about it. The whole thing makes me very uncomfortable.
I flew into Heathrow on Saturday evening around 9:30pm after a quick trip home. I requested a car from a very well known App, and the driver soon rang me to say he was outside the terminal. After some confusion it turned out he was parked outside the arrivals (which seems logical!) but I was after coming out the departures exit (my fault – I was after a few glasses of wine. Certainly not drunk, but not all that sober either). He was nice enough not to cancel the trip and instead drove around to meet me, which given the size of the terminal and the direction of the one-way roads took him about 10 minutes. I was grateful that he didn’t leave me stranded, once he arrived I expressly thanked him for this.
We chatted on the ride in towards the city, partly to be polite, partly to show my appreciation for his earlier help. I asked him general questions about his life, family etc., as you do in situations like that. He asked me where I was going, I told him to meet my husband at a party. to which he replied something along the lines of ‘he’s so lucky’. Husband rings and I confirm with him that I should be arriving in about 15 minutes (as per drivers suggestion upon overhearing convo with said husband).
As we get closer to destination (a pub I have never been to in Chelsea), he starts getting more ‘complimentary’; “you are so beautiful”, “my ex was not as pretty as you”, “any man would be lucky to have you”, and more stuff I can’t quite remember fully (partly out of tipsiness, partly just to forget). What do you bloody do when a cab driver starts talking to you like that alone on a motorway at 10pm anyway? I just put it down to slightly inappropriate compliments, as I decided that to voice my slight discomfort would make the rest of the journey even more strange. I thanked him (weird I know) and stated I am texting husband again to say I am almost there.
So I am rambling on about something at this stage, trying to change the subject and make the time go faster, and I notice he has pulled up the car. Now, at first I take little notice of this, I guess we have arrived at destination and I’m going to finish my point and be on my way. But after about a minute I kind of register that we are on a residential street and although I’ve never been to this pub before, I’m pretty sure it’s not in between these flats we are parked outside.
I have a bit of a ‘what should I do’ moment here. I mean, I’ve just been nice to this guy as I feel he’s gone out of his way to find me at the airport when he could have just buggered off, so I don’t now want to get all sassy with him (or presumptuous that he’s up to no good). But at the same time I immediately feel unsafe and vulnerable, and his ‘compliments’ are suddenly starting to feel loaded with intention. I decide to play dumb.
Me: ‘Oh, we are here! Where exactly is the pub? I don’t see it.’
Driver: ‘The pub is up around the next corner on the main road’
Me: ‘OK – why are we stopped here?’
Driver: ‘Just because I thought we were having a nice chat and we could continue to get to know each other for another few minutes. I like being with you’.
Me: ‘That’s very sweet thank you, but my husband is waiting for me so I better go’.
So he starts the car and drives the final minute along this darkish street on to the bright main road to the pub. Car stops, I thank him, and get out. I feel – even now – very strange about the whole thing. Was I too drunk? Was I too nice? Was I too chatty? Did I not make my situation clear enough? Does any of that matter??
Topped all off by Husbands reaction when I told him on Sunday – well, you must have given him a reason to act like this. You are always too nice, guys can read that the wrong way, it can be taken as flirting. THIS HURT ME MORE THAN ANYTHING. I feel let down by men TWICE; first my the man who took advantage of my tipsy-niceness in his position of control as driver of the car, second by my husband who claimed immediately that it was my own fault.
As I said at the start of this ramble, I don’t know if this counts as harassment because he didn’t touch me or say anything really explicit, but I just feel that grimy down-in-the-gut stink you feel when something just doesn’t add up to OK.
Thanks for reading my story. x
I was 16 years old at the time, however I am fairly tall for my age and appear to be older than I really am, not that that should make ANY difference. I was taking the train to downtown Toronto by myself and walking to a little place called Kensington Market to meet my mother and sister who were already downtown. It was about a 15 minute walk from the train station and I felt confident walking alone downtown. As I was nearing the market I see a man riding his bicycle coming in my direction. I am a pretty polite girl so I simply smiled back at the man. As the man rode closer on his bike he seemed to be leaning closer to me and when he passed by he leaned ever further and TRIED TO KISS ME while he passed me on his damn bike! I totally did not see this coming and I was in complete shock. Sure I am used to getting cat calls very often but I have never experienced something like this. I had no idea what to do. I simply just kind of stood there in shock not knowing wether to cry or scream. I couldn’t do much either way because the man had simply continued to bike passed me like nothing had happened. It was disgusting and I will never forget.