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Unfortunately I’m no stranger with harassment on the streets, having lived in Sydney and small country towns before Newcastle, I mean as appearances go I don’t consider myself unattractive, I’m not by any means thin, or conventional, but I take pride in myself and am careful to dress appropriately.
However the intensity and consistency of verbal and physical attacks since living here have been unprecedented, from having drinks thrown at me in bars, creeps asking incredibly personal things, even having my hair sniffed while walking the streets.
Mostly I try not to take too much notice, my long term boyfriend having even bought me a tazer to make me feel safer when I am out, and though it does its incredibly heartbreaking that it should come to that.
But rather to the point, I only just discovered this website and felt that I should share my most recent, and probably the most hurtful of experiences, being a late Sunday night, my boyfriend and I went for a walk to the 24hr grocery store to pick up some things so I could bake him some treats before he had to head home for work (he works rather odd houred shifts)
In my year of living here I was somewhat surprised to see the local club was going and quite lively, being familiar with the rather unkind crowd we opted to keep our distance and went on to do our shopping, however on our return as we took the same back streets avoiding the drunken crowds a car drove by slowly, a man leaning out the window screaming “fat slut!” at me as I stood there right next to my boyfriend, I felt completely humiliated, and angry for being judged at such a stupid hour on a Sunday night, I felt I had a right to be a little haggard, but I couldn’t dare even express the pain to my boyfriend as he silently ignored it, walking back home all I could do was try not to cry.
All I could ask myself was, “What kind of man would insult a woman, a complete stranger, in such a way? Why should anyone ever have to put up with such a public humiliation?”
I yet to understand, but I certainly found some solace in this site, I’m glad to not feel completely alone.
Walking toward my house, I made eye contact with a guy walking the opposite way on the other side of the street. I looked away. He did not. He kept staring at me, slowly turning his head a full 180 to keep staring at me as I walked up my driveway. It was completely silent, less than 30 seconds, and he was pretty far away from me, but I still felt shaken and threatened, and at the same time silly for feeling so threatened when nothing “really” happened, and angry that something so small means so much.
I had never lived in a city before this summer, and it took a while for me to get used to the unending comments I heard on the street. They always made me feel uncomfortable, and I found listening to music protected me the most on my walk to work.
My last week of summer work, I had run out of power to listen to my music so I was walking around without my usual guard up. I started to notice someone yelling, “Bitch!” at me as I was walking. At first I ignored it, but the yelling got worse when I turned around.
When I got to the cross walk and it looked like me and the man who was yelling at me would be standing together, I decided to walk off to the side and stand by a populated bus stop until he passed. As he walked across the street, he hatefully spewed, “bitch,” and “white cunt” with “privileged pussy” my way.
I didn’t know what to do; I just wanted to go home. After I crossed the street, he turned around to see me again. He stopped dead in his tracks and threatened me until I crossed the street again to walk on the other side.
I was wearing sunglasses, so no one could see me cry on my way home. I don’t let anyone talk to me like that, but he was so much bigger and filled with so much anger. I felt so powerless and so small.
Saturday night at about 8pm I parked on Little Raven street, at the far end of the mall from the Denver Library, where I was heading to drop off some books in the drop box. I made it to the library and successfully dropped off my books in about fifteen minutes. Walking back from the library to the mall (which involves walking down the street between a city park and the Denver capital lawn), a man started following me. I sped up, he did too. First, he just tried talking to me, to get me to stop. I responded, but kept walking. Then he asked me if I could sell him a bowl. I said no and kept walking. After crossing Colfax, I was passing the bus station when he angled his walking and tried to cut me off against the wall.
I ran into the bus station and went straight to the security guard. He followed me into the bus station, and the security guard made him go away for me. After I watched him go out of view, I walked out of the bus station to catch the Free Mall Ride down 16th street mall. A stop later, he got on the mall ride and started staring at me. I work on the mall at a place in which my coworkers are predominantly males, so I got off the ride and went to my work with the hope of losing him based on the intimidation factor of other males.
I waited 15 minutes, then tried to leave. I was partway down the block when he walked up next to me and said “hi”. I turned around and went back to work and waited for them to finish closing so I wouldn’t be walking alone. I didn’t get to my car till past 11pm.
My three friends and I took a weekend vacation up to the Adirondacks in Upstate New York this past month. We are all 20 years old. One afternoon, the 4 of us took a canoe out to a popular canoe/kayak/swimming spot. It was extremely hot out, so all of us were in our bathing suits. On our way back to the shore, we noticed a strange man, alone, standing in the water watching us. Staring. He stared at us the entire time it took us to pass by him in the canoe. At first we thought nothing of it, but about 2 minutes later, I looked behind us and realized that he had followed us. Still, staring at us silently standing waist deep in the water. I yelled “Can I help you?”. No response. We were all extremely creeped out. This continued for about ten minutes, as the man followed us to the shore. He proceeded to follow us all to our car in the parking lot, and stand with his hands on his hips staring at us while we struggled to put the canoe on top of the car. It was at this point that my one friend, Paige, had enough. As we were driving out of the parking lot, she rolled down the window, the man still watching us, and flipped him off. He stared back, and she yelled” YEAH, THAT’S FOR YOU CREEP!”. If I had known about this site at the time, I would have easily been able to snap a picture of this guy. Sexual harassment doesn’t always have to be verbal!
I was 17 and had traveled to Boston from South America with a couple of friends to learn English. My language school was near Cambridge square, and we had class until 1pm, and then we had an hour or so to have lunch before classes resumed.
One day I decided to go to some random restaurant because I wanted to eat something different, my friends didn’t want to come with me so I went there by myself.
I sat at a table, and after I ordered. A guy sitting at a different table started to talk to me. He said “how come such a lovely lady is eating all by herself?” I was very naive then and didn’t expect sexual harassment to take place in the U.S. (little did I know), so I just answered his question and explained that my friends didn’t want to come with me. I still answered with a particular tone to show that I was uncomfortable and would rather not talk.
The guy later asked me if I liked my food, I said it was alright and then I took some random thing from my bag to pretend I was reading so he wouldn’t talk to me. He had a strange look, the kind of look that makes you feel you’d rather be somewhere else.
He kept talking to me, and I told him that I was sorry, that I couldn’t understand what he was saying because I was still learning English. I thought that would be a good thing to say to end the conversation.
I asked the waitress to bring the bill, and she said the guy had paid for what I had ordered. I wasn’t sure I had understood what had happened, I was nervous and wanted to leave, so I asked again, and she said the guy had payed my bill. Confused, I asked her why??? She said she didn’t know why but he had indeed payed my bill. She gave me a piece of paper that the guy had sent to me, which said something like I was beautiful or something. Then she said, “apparently he likes you”.
I asked the waitress if I could leave, she said yes. The guy was staring at me. I (sigh…) said “Thank you”, then left the restaurant and staring running towards the language school. My heart was pounding, I was terrified and wondered if the guy would be following me. I thought that was unlikely because I was running really fast.
I was very annoyed and confused. One thing that bothered me was the lack of female solidarity, if I had been the waitress, I wouldn’t have let a random guy in his fifties pay the bill of a 17 year old without asking her first.
I never ate alone again during the rest of my stay.
I am 22 years old and have, like most women, been verbally harassed since I hit puberty. When I hear a “God damn you’re hot,” or a whistle, or even a simple “Hey” from men, I sometimes smile, always feel awkward, and continue on like it didn’t happen. But today, I was walking the block from the lot I park in to where I work in Detroit and had to pass by a construction crew. I couldn’t see the men. Perhaps they were behind a large green plastic sheet that blocked my view or standing within the building on which they worked. But I heard them. They whistled, and yelled. I felt uncomfortable, they could see it in my movements, my lowered head, and quickened pace, and then they laughed. It was the laughing at my obvious discomfort that I find the most disturbing and that I can’t stop thinking about.
Every Tuesday and Wednesday when I’m walking along the road to the train station and again when I’m walking home the same truck with the same 2 men drives past honks and yells things out the window.. I’m wearing black pants and usually a warm jacket.. I do not want or need your attention.. I don’t understand why some men have to be such pigs.. They are most likely double my age.. Its just not right..
when i was 11 years old, i was living in Dubai. I was anxious about going to public places because of threatening stares. One time, i was at the supermarket, waiting in line to pay for groceries when this man, probably in his thirties decides to stare and smile repeatedly. I tried to frown at him, and express my anger non-verbally,but all he did was laugh at me. it pissed me off even more… the fact that he thought it was amusing!! like the baby i used to be i started crying!! then when i told my mom the story i laughed at myself for feeling threatened by some immature asshole with no real purpose in life. Later that same year i was with a couple of friends at a public park and it was really crowded, full of adolescent guys with no respect whatsoever. they were making gestures and noises and lewd comments but we ignored them annoyingly. then there was this guy who looked like he was in his late teens. he approaches us with his peeps behind him as if he’s the boss and asked us our names, where we’re from …etc i got really pissed!! how dare he think he could hit on kids with that smug on his face!! i was really scared but i wanted to do something!! so i turned toward him and yelled ” GET LOST!!” he felt
so threatened that he ran away. it feels good! like i gained power back from them now i’m 16 and whoever dares harrass me will be called out on the spot!!
Last fall was my first semester at college. On a weekend trip home, my mom and I went grocery shopping together. We’d split up in the store, and I was just sort of wandering around on my own. I kept noticing this group of three or four young men. They kept looking at me and talking among themselves, and it made me uncomfortable. I was standing in an empty part of the store, looking at something on a shelf when one of them appeared a few feet away from me to my right. He gestured for me to come towards him. Being the nice, accommodating girl that I am, I did. I was standing a few feet in front of him. He started questioning me.
“You got a man?”
“How old are you?”
“What you doin’?”
“Look, man, I don’t even live in Columbia…”
“Where you live, then?”
At that point, his friends came up. Now, I was blocked in. There was one guy in front of me with another behind him, one to my right, and a shelf on my left. Alarm bells started going off in my head. They were all about a foot taller than me with muscular builds, and there was no one else around.
One of the other men asked me if I had a man. I said, “No,” and started to walk away. Over my shoulder, I tossed back, “And I don’t want one either!”
I’ve been followed around in stores before. I’ve been approached by random guys a few times who asked for my number without even a proper introduction (I forgive them for that because they’re young and stupid). But I never felt threatened by anyone in public until that day. I carry pepper spray with me everywhere I go these days, and I don’t ever make eye contact with strange men in grocery stores. The world’s a dangerous place.