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For much of my adult life I never realized that some of the comments I was getting on the street were harassment. Even though they made me feel uncomfortable I would respond politely and get away as quickly as possible, often leaving with an odd feeling about the whole situation.
One of the ones I hated the most was when men would tell me to smile, and in the past I would usually feel obligated to flash them a quick smile to appease them. This has happened on several occasions but one time stands out in particular, a guy told me to smile so I smiled and kept walking and then he stopped me and told me it looked fake and to give him a real smile, so I did my best to give a genuine smile. To this day it bothers me that this guy got upset that I couldn’t give him a genuine smile on command and that he felt entitled to tell me what to do with my facial expression.
On a busy street in the middle of the afternoon a man walked towards me and as he walked by he stuck out his hand and grabbed my ass. This is the first time this has happened to me on the street, (as an ex-nightclub employee in the UK it has happened a few times before in a club). I was shocked into stopping dead. I turned to look at him as he walked away and he looked back at me over his shoulder with a repulsive leer of a smile. The second time he looked back I decided I would follow him and get his photo.
There is something powerful about taking a person’s photo without their consent. He did not like me doing it.
I carried on doing what I had planned to do but when I passed some police I stopped to ask them if they thought I should report the incident. They said I definitely should so I filed a report. Those two actions made me feel a lot better, like I was able to take back some control.
So glad to find out that an organization like Hollaback now exists. When I lived in New York, I was followed by men, got cat calls from men in cars and generally harassed on a daily basis. It never occurred to me at the time that it was a form of sexual harassment and in fact, could be dangerous. It is a form of power that some men use over single women. A woman walking alone is an easy target.
After awhile, it makes women afraid to be women. Just going to the grocery store becomes a drama filled occasion. It’s not even about dressing sexy. Women get harassed in just a t-shirt and jeans.
The worse would be when I was groped in a crowd. It’s hard because you really learn not to trust men. Then, you finally meet a good one, like my husband. I’ve always missed my time in New York, but now I remember how hard it can be.
It’s hard to be a single woman in New York. Harassment is never cool. hollaback!
I was working at my job, overseeing a sailboat race in Baltimore harbor. I was coaching over our VHF radios when an unknown voice came on our channel saying extremely inappropriate things. The line I remember best was, “You wouldn’t be talking so much with my cock in your mouth.”
I was totally shocked since all channels are coast-guard monitored. I didn’t know how to react professionally so I turned my radio off. I felt so violated and I couldn’t believe that some random boater would challenge a race committee’s authority over a public radio channel like that.
This mostly happens all the time when i’am walking home from school or walking to school.But this time this morning when i was walking to school it was an latino guy in a white car i was crossing the street and it was a green light so i was crossing and he honk his horn at me while i was crossing and i looked back to see who it was and he rolled down his window and said “Hey mami you looking good can i get your number?” i turned back around and kepted on walking and i seen that car kind of following me when i was going to school but then it turned the other street when i got to school.
A few years ago I was in a store in the feminine care aisle. There was a guy standing there in front of the brand of pads I wanted for a long time so I went to do my other shopping and then went back to get my pads that I was looking for. He was still there but in a different section of the aisle. I took my pads off the shelf and put them in my basket. As I was walking out of the aisle (which had one exit) he sort of blocked my path and asked if he could “ask some questions” I said no thanks and sort of shuffled to the side to walk around him and he blocked me again. So I said fine ask your question. He proceeded to ask me a series of increasingly personal questions about my love life which I tried not to answer. After about five minutes of this he aggressively asked for my number and I did the old “oh sorry I have a boyfriend” thing. Then he proceeded to give me this lecture about how I should dump my boyfriend for him and all this stuff about how manly he was. I continued telling him I wasn’t interested and eventually he let me out of the isle. I made my purchases and walked back to my dorm feeling quite uncomfortable and shaken up. About a week later I was at my job, the front desk of the building I lived in. And he showed up and kind if hung around the lobby. My next shift he was there and asked if I had dumped my boyfriend yet. He showed up a few times after that and I started asking my friend who lived in the building come pick me up from work (I work late) even though I only lived a few floors above. I was afraid he would corner me in the elevator or stairs or follow me to my room.
i am naturally curvy and that used to be a source of pride for me i wasa lot more devolped then the other girls my age. but now my body is a nightmare i cant go anywere without a 47 year old man asking if he can put his dick in my tight ass. one day i was walking with my mother into walmart when two guys started yelling at us i looked over and one grabbed his crotch and said “hey bitch! why dont you creme for me…yea you with the xxxl tits.” my mother looked at them like they were monsters and said shes 13 but that didnt not stop them…they thought she was lying and they yelled back ” what am i too ugly for your sorry ass im not talking to you hag im talking to the sweet mamacita next to you and ps you should say thank you.” we hurried in and told a manager and he sent them off. im 13 and i get sexually harassed on a daily basis i have even had guys grab my boobs and then say hmm there firm how old are you. … i wish it would stop im glad people are finally doing something
I tried walking on a public street to the stores within a four mile radius of my house on three separate occasions recently, but every time I did, at least one person yelled out of car windows, honked at me, or both. I am not pretty, I am just average. I wore ordinary clothing, either t-shirt and jeans or t-shirt and running pants. No make-up. Hair in a ponytail. It didn’t matter. They honked and yelled anyway. I hated it. Every time I was startled and afraid someone would actually stop and get out of the car. So now I dress as a male when I walk on public roads. I wear men’s cargo pants and a loose button-up man’s shirt and a ball-cap. I even bought a chest binder and I usually wear it, too. No one honks or yells at me now. I think we should all start a yearly Dress Like a Man Day as a protest against harassment. If men want to appreciate feminine beauty on the street, let them do it quietly and politely! If some men won’t be civilized, maybe it’s time to take away their scenery.
I’m ashamed to say that 8 years ago I groped a young woman I was talking to her and I spanked her on the butt (playfully, I thought). She grabbed my hand away and told me off.
Her strong reaction made me embarrassed. If she had not spoken up I might have done it again. I think a site like yours is a good idea.
I live in one of my university dorms and was leaving for class in the middle of the day. Often, men, never women for some reason, hang around the corner by my building. Normally I don’t experience issues with the ones that are regularly there and have had some good conversations with them. One day there was a man I didn’t recognize standing at the corner. While I was waiting at the light he asked me if I had any change, which I did not as I rarely carry cash or change. When I said no he responded that it was ok, that my beautiful smile made up for it. Which was innocent enough and kind. As the light changed though he then remarked to his friend that “[he] would do [me]” and then commented to me that “[he] would f*** [me] given the chance.” I said nothing and crossed the street to get to my class and hoped that walking away would be enough to end the crude comments. Rather, he followed me for a couple of blocks until I reached my class. I was very glad he didn’t do anything but his remarks sent chills through my body and left me feeling very violated as he followed me to my class.