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I was an exchange student in Spain for 9 months and toward the end of those 9 months I went to spend a week on the beach at Salou with a group of friends.
One afternoon I was walking the 2 blocks from our hotel to the beach by myself when I heard a man calling out to me. I glanced at him, then looked away. I noticed him running after me. I sped up. He grabbed me and attempted to kiss me. I twisted out of his arms, looked him dead in the eye, and said firmly, in English, “I don’t understand any Spanish.” Which, by the way, was an utter lie. But I assumed that he would be put off by a person who spoke no Spanish.
I walked swiftly and decidedly on toward the beach. Thankfully, he left me alone, although behind me I heard him say, in Spanish, something like, “You don’t have to know any Spanish!”
Submitted by Olivia
I know this isn’t street harassment, but it isn’t any less humiliating to be harassed on campus.
My first experience with harassment really shook me up because it happened in EIGHTH GRADE. I was sitting beside a jerk jock–you know the type–in math class when he started petting my arm and leg. We were not friends. There was no way this could be construed as a joke. I told him to stop. He didn’t.
I was raised by a woman who joined her school’s all-boys track team in the 60s to force the administration to open sports up to girls. I was NOT raised to take this. So I stood up in the middle of class, pointed to the boy beside me and told my teacher loud enough for everyone to hear, “He is touching me. He’s sexually harassing me and I’m not going to take it.”
I didn’t know it then, but that was my first time holla’ing back.
Now, I attend Delta College in Saginaw Michigan and I have been harassed and cornered no less than five times. I make it a point to laugh at the offenders and draw as much attention to them as possible, but they’re everywhere and they come in all flavors. There’s no point in reporting this to administration or campus police because they don’t do anything about it, but maybe posting this will give other girls the courage to say something too because they aren’t alone.
Ladies of all ages, NEVER let anyone make you feel less than you are. Hollaback and if you’re at Delta College, know that if I’m around I will be backing you up.
Submitted by Emily
Satire can be a powerful artistic form used to change bad human behavior.
It uses irony, wit, and ridicule to attack human vice, folly, and foolishness.
“As such, it is a tool that can be used to defeat street harassment,” writes blogger and self-defense guru Erik Kondo.
“Satire can be used to deny and refute the power of street harassers and expose their weaknesses and flaws. I came up with the term ‘sexless toad’ because as a man, I believe it is an insult that takes away power and is emasculating. The point is to come up with words that take away power. The insult ‘asshole’ actually gives power.”
Click here to read the tale of The Harasser, The Toad, And The Goddesses’ Daughter.
11/27/2010, around 1pm. I was walking with my friend V. on Broadway in uptown Manhattan (just past Nagle Avenue, along the wall of Fort Tryon Park) when we encountered four young men, around 13 or 14, perched on the wall and benches hanging out. One kid yelled out at us, saying “your girlfriend’s cute!” The others laughed and chimed in, yelling at V., and started asking “is she your sister or girlfriend?”
Feeling a bit defensive and reckless (I honestly wanted to answer “both” just to see their reactions) I lied and said yes, and they all started hooting “tap that ass!” and “kiss, kiss, kiss.” They shouted at us down the rest of the block; it was awkward, but we both took it in good humor. I would hope that they’re just being reckless young kids and they’ll grow out of that kind of behavior soon.
Submitted by Ronan
I’m 19 years old and I’ve been verbally harassed by men many times before but luckily this is the only time (so far) that I have been groped by a stranger.
I had been shopping or maybe seeing a movie with my mom and one of my good guy friends. We were all in the elevator with a handful of other people and when we got to our floor I suddenly felt like someone had grabbed my butt. I thought that it might have been my friend’s hand accidentally brushing me but then I looked back and saw two guys in their 40’s looking quite clean and unsuspicious but LEERING at me in such a way that I KNEW that I wasn’t imagining things. Unfortunately because BEING GROPED was so completely outside of my expectations of something that would happen to me, especially in a nice mall in Seattle and with my MOTHER only feet away, it took me until we had exited the elevator to really understand what had happened. Oh how I wish I had given that man what he deserved!
Thinking back, I imagine turning around, holding the elevator doors open and just screaming at this man, humiliating him in front of the other family that was in the elevator with us. I don’t know who would have punched this guy harder, my friend or my mom!
At least I’m prepared for next time… unfortunately as a young woman I can be pretty sure that there will be a next time.
Submitted by Lorraine
This took place today in LA. I was waiting on my bike to cross at an intersection and there were three random guys standing around trying to scalp tickets to a football game. One says, “Hey, gorgeous, how you doin?” I was completely bundled up, wearing a long coat and a scarf. I was also wearing flip flops (it’s LA after all). Another one says “Hey girl, you got beautiful feet. You got beautiful feet.” I didn’t really know what to do so I just rode off on my bike.
Just because I’m wearing flip flops doesn’t mean you can appraise the attractiveness of my feet. Though it did kind of make me laugh that that was the only thing the guy could think of to say, since I had no other skin showing (although even if I had, it wouldn’t give him the right to comment on it).
I pray that these guys find something better to do with their lives than stand on street corners trying to scalp tickets and harass women.
Submitted by Amanda
I was working on changing my car’s flat tire while it sat parked at the intersection of the street and an alley. Pausing for a moment, I looked up the alley, and found myself staring at a man with his pants at his knees, shaking his hips and nude genitals around in the air.
With a look of disgust I reached for my phone, but wasn’t able to get his picture before he pulled up his britches and took off. By the time the police were there, he was long gone, but I hope someone else gets a picture of him soon!
He looked to be in his 50’s and had a large beer-gut. Short, light-colored hair (grey maybe?), average height from what I could tell.
Submitted by Elizabeth M.
Hi, my name is Caree and I’m a senior in high school. One weekend, I got off work late (maybe 11 pm or 12 am) and stopped by Kroger, a grocery store, on my way home.
After about 15 minutes of shopping, I realized that I kept seeing the same guy around, everywhere I went. I would turn around and there he would be, staring right at me. When I made eye contact with him, he looked away and acted like he was shopping. So I keep shopping, and this happens again about 3 or 4 more times.
After 10 minutes of shopping around, I see that he has nothing in his shopping cart which I thought was proof: he was NOT shopping, and it was NOT just a coincidence that he was always shopping in the same area as me. He was following me around the freaking store and watching my every move.
This was before I had heard of this site, otherwise I would have walked right up to him and taken a photo of his face. Instead of doing that, I just turned around and looked straight at him. When we made eye contact, he looked away as usual, but eventually would look back my way thinking that I had moved on. I stared at him for about 60 seconds before he finally walked away. I wanted to let him know that I saw him and knew what he was doing. Men like him need to know that they will not get away with it, not with me anyway.
Even though he left me alone after that, I was scared. When I got out of the store I walked to my car quickly with my cell phone and keys in my hand. I was terrified that he was going to follow me out in the parking lot.
I’m not sure what I should have/could have done about the stalker. Telling the Kroger employees seemed useless. Confronting him seemed dangerous. And calling the police? It didn’t seem like he had committed any kind of tangible crime that I could accuse him of. I felt trapped and helpless. And now I feel like all I can do is hope it doesn’t happen again.
Submitted by Caree
Way back in 1973 when I was 22 and was working as a custodian along with my husband I had gone to clean an office near the loading dock in the cardboard box factory where we were assigned. My husband was cleaning the men’s restroom while I did the office.
The plant electrician entered the office and came close to me and then reached his hand between the front of my legs and groped me.
I went immediately across the plant to get my husband to help me to report the man to his supervisor. He spoke to the supervisor who spoke to the electrician but the man was not fired as I continued to see him driving around the plant night after night until we left that facility at the end of the month.
Submitted by Eileen
It is common to get cat called or whistled at when walking in the streets of Mexico City. Personally, I could say that I get verbally harassed about three times a week in different areas where I transit about.
I would like to mention the latest event of this type. I had just hopped off the Metrobus and was walking by a magazine stand when a young man, probably a salesman I had never seen before starts walking beside me and tells me “que guapa amiga… eh?” (I could translate it as “you are cute my friend, hey?”)
I continued walking and ignored him with a straight face so he kept on walking by my side and in an angry tone asked me if I was going to be mad at him or what,…as if I had the obligation to answer back at him. He eventually left my side as I went closer to a restaurant. Since then I take a detour from that area whenever I can. Policemen usually favor the ambulant salesmen who often bribe them to be able to sell their goods in the street….so there is no use nor safety in reporting directly to them. Sadly.
Submitted by Amancaya