Nonverbal Harassment

Amanda’s story: There are PLENTY of other seats!

Sitting in an almost empty bus. Another passenger, a man, gets up from his seat and sits next to me. There are empty seats available.

He presses his thighs against mine and tries to make eye contact.

I avoid his gaze. He sits like that for the entire journey. I cannot move.

Horrible.

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demonstration, homophobic, The Movement, Verbal

Monika’s story: I will stand up

This happened the day before spring break, before I found this site, and I feel terrible for not saying something.

I’m new at my school, so I don’t get a lot of attention, which is a good thing. I was sitting next to this girl, looking out the window, minding my own business, when I overhear a guy in the seat behind me say, “Hey girl, you wanna get with this?” The girl sitting next to me said, “No, thanks,” and turned back around. For the rest of the ride, he kept asking her if she wanted to have sex with him, how big his penis was, and at one point he even said, “What, you a lesbo or something?” She kept quietly saying, “No,” but he wouldn’t leave her alone. I wanted so badly to turn to her and say, “You don’t have to put up with this, there’s an empty seat up front, you can move,” but I was just too afraid. He kept harassing her the whole ride, even as I was getting off.

I really wish I had said something, but now I promise myself that the next time I see another woman being harassed, I will stand up and I will speak.

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Verbal

Katie’s story: Just trying to wait for the bus!

So, I get to Union Station about an hour and a half before my bus is supposed to arrive to take me home. It’s about 5am, and I’m checkin’ Facebook on my phone. This guy in his 50′s (I’m guessing) comes to where I’m sitting and asks what time it is. I reply. He then takes that as an invitation to sit down next to me and ask me for money. I tell him I don’t have any. He then points to his swollen eye lid and how someone beat him up. I ask him if I should call 911. He starts swearin’ at me and telling me that it was a cop who punched him, so 911 isn’t going to help. He asks me to go get him a burger from McDonald’s, but only if he goes with. I’m terrified and getting really inconsistent with what I should be saying (the lack of sleep didn’t help either). I eventually pack up my stuff and tell him I have to go. I proceed to another part of Union Station that is well lit with lots of people and few cops. He finds me about 45 minutes later. He tells me he’s forgiven me and asks if I have a dollar. I reply no. He calls me a bitch under his breath and walks away to go ask more people. He eventually left Union Station about 10 minutes after that.

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Assault

Rachele’s story: Freaky in a bad way

Earlier today, I was sitting on the stone steps in front of the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco, right in front of City Hall, talking on my cellphone. Out of the blue, a middle-aged light-skinned bald man in green cargo pants and a white shirt walking by suddenly stopped, laid down on his belly on the sidewalk, puckered his lips, and kissed my toes (I was wearing flip-flops). I was too slow to react before he smooched, then I stood up and walked away quickly, without looking back. Ew! This behavior was definitely not ok with me! This city is full of freaks, and that’s one of the things I like about it, but there are limits and I felt dirty and violated by what that man did. Just because I am a young woman does NOT make me available for random touching from complete strangers.

one comment 
flashing

CJ’s story: Weirdos in the woods

Is flashing and chasing a form of ‘stalking’? I’m not sure, but this happened many years ago in Glen Burnie when I used to walk and jog around in my neighborhood between Southgate and Old Mill. It is three separate instances, not sure if they are related but they all happened within months of each other. This was also pre-cell phones – in the early 80′s. The first incident was at the baseball fields in Old Mill/Southgate park – my friend and I were walking by and a man was apparently sunbathing naked – with a full erection – on one of the benches. We were 15 years old and looked at each other and giggled, and quickly walked away. The man never acknowledged us or moved. The second incident was a man emerging from a wooded area that bordered Shetlands Lane, near the Old Mill football field. He had his pants down and some kind of long jacket that he actually flashed open as I was walking by – he was about 20 yards away, so I turned around and pointed at his ‘display’ and started laughing as hard as I could. He closed his jacket and turned back into the woods. The third incident was somewhat scarier. I used to jog along the path next to the football stadium as it was right next to where I lived. The path was wooded on one side opposite the stadium and dipped down into a gulley at one point. While jogging on this path – and right at the point where it dipped down, I heard footsteps behind me and turned my head to see a man, with his pants down around his knees, running behind me. I outran him and was fortunately close to home and immediately told my Dad. He grabbed a sledge hammer from the shed and went looking for the guy, but fortunately I suppose, didn’t find him. These were not the only times I was flashed or approached by a man with an erection on display. After the first time, walking home from school and a young man came up to me on the wooded path to ask what time it was – with his pants down – I punched him in the face, ran home and called the police. They could do nothing and actually asked me to describe his penis – I was 13 or 14 years old. After that – I never reported these incidents to the police again. There was obviously a serious problem in that area with sex offenders and I don’t know if anyone (though I’m sure it did happen to someone) was ever actually assaulted. I was lucky, very lucky and wasn’t afraid to embarrass the perpetrator or even defend myself physically. Now that we have electronic media in everyone’s hands, though, and stricter laws regarding sex offenders – hopefully these types of incidents will be ‘exposed’ and girls (or boys, either) won’t be preyed upon.

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Assault, Verbal

Skyla’s story: Bad end to a wine tasting

My friend and I were walking back to my house from downtown Saint Petersburg, FL, last night after enjoying a glass of wine at A Taste For Wine. She and I are both attractive women. As we are walking on Central Avenue, a drunk man in his 20s walks up behind us and begins verbally harassing us. He was yelling obscenities at us and like an instant reflex, I turn around and spit in his face. He says, “I can’t believe you just spat in my face! Nobody spits in my face,” and pushes me. Three women walk over to my friend and I and begin taking up for me since they had witnessed what happened. This scares the man and he walks across the street still screaming obscenities and threatening to harm me. I get my cell phone out of my pocket and dial 9-1-1. A minute later the police are on the scene. One of the police officers gives me the option of pressing charges or make the man go home. I tell the officer that I do not wish to press charges. I am a firm believer in karma and know that it will pay this guy a visit unlike any other. I begin taking mixed martial arts this week so that the next time something like that happens, I will be prepared to defend myself.

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Verbal

Maggie’s Story: Creep in the liqueur store

This happened to me the other day and it probably wasn’t that big a deal but it made me feel really uncomfortable. I had gone to the LCBO (liqueur store) with my dad.

My dad went to the other end of the store to the wine section. I was looking at some of the other liqueur bottles (I like to check out the bottle designs) when I yawned. A man who must have been around 60ish (I’m 21) came over to me and said “someone’s really tired.” but he said it in a more than just friendly way, if that makes sense. He also gave me a smile that was not creepy per se but more than friendly. It looked like he was going to say something else but at that moment my dad came over to ask me something and he just kept walking.

It could have been just friendliness but something about the way he said it reminded me of other times I’ve had men say disturbing things to me, and all those times started out as just friendly remarks too. But the fact that I was there with my dad just made it feel much worse.

I am not what would be described as hot by any means. I am a rather large girl and wear boyish clothes (baggy pants, t-shirts, etc) and yet I still get creepers talking to me. It just goes to show that no woman is unattractive enough to not get harassed.

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Verbal

Laurend89′s Story: “I am not an object”

I was walking back to my car alone when I passed an older man  sitting by himself on a planter. When I walked by he said “NICE ass!” I turned around and glared at him and he just laughed. I wish I had said something at the time, but instead I kept walking.

I am not an object. F*** you.

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Nonverbal Harassment, Verbal

EC’s Story: “Hopefully, he’ll think twice”

As I’m walking to the gym, I walk by a mid-rise building and there is a doorman and a maintenance worker standing by the door. They start catcalling, asking me my name, etc. I ignore them and keep going to the gym. On my way back from the gym, the same doorman is leaving his post and walking to the dry cleaner down the block. As he’s walking in, he sees me again and stops dead in his tracks to leer at me, so I turn around and start yelling that I’m going to call his boss (the super) and let him know that he’s harassing women and that it’s disgusting, and I’m going to let him know that he left his post also. I found the building management company’s number online and I plan on calling first thing Monday morning. Hopefully, he’ll think twice about making a woman feel uncomfortable as she goes about her day.

3 comments 
Verbal

Monica’s Story: My lips are none of your business

I was 18 in the spring semester of my freshman year at college. I crossed the street on the way to drawing class and a man stopped on his way to stare at me.
“OOOH DO YOU SPIT OR SWALLOW?!” yelled the man.
Unfortunately, he did not stick around for long to watch me drop my portfolio and go ape-shit with obscenities.
I acknowledge the fullness of my lips and have gotten teased about them while still feeling completely unaffected, but this was the most demeaning thing said to me.

And men on the street ask me why I don’t smile…

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