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I live in the South Bronx, and I am harassed by men almost every day as I make the 10-minute schlep from my apartment to the subway, or vice versa; as I walk the five blocks to the grocery store; and even as I walk the one block to the laundromat. I literally cannot step outside my apartment without getting some kind of unwanted comment or stare. It makes living in a down-trodden neighborhood that much worse.
I used to ignore the harassers, but lately I’m just so enraged by this behavior that I’ve been trying to confront them, in an attempt to make them think about what they’re doing. My past attempts have thus far failed–the harassers just don’t get it, and the fact that I’m talking to them at all seems to make them feel even more self-satisfied.
But yesterday morning, as I reached East 160th Street and Courtlandt Avenue, I think my approach worked. I was walking back to my apartment from the grocery store when a man called out, in an very cheerful tone, “Good morning, gorgeous!” I said, in the same tone of voice as his, “Good morning, asshole!” He said, “Awww, that’s not nice. I called you gorgeous.” I said, “I don’t need you to call me that. I’m not an animal. I’m not a prostitute. I’m just walking home from the grocery store, minding my own business. I don’t need you to call me anything.” He said, “Well, I’m sorry. Most women like it.” I said, “Actually, most women don’t like it, and the ones who do like it only feel that way because they don’t know the difference.” To my complete surprise, he seemed very sincere and apologetic. He said, “OK. You’re probably right.” I said, “I AM right. Don’t talk to women like that. We don’t need it.” As I was walking away, he said, “Alright, have a nice day.”
I am quite confident that this man did not have any ill intentions towards me–he just didn’t understand the implications of what he was doing. Obviously I will never know whether or not he continues to cat-call, but my hunch is that he will stop. If one conversation can change one man’s mind, then I think we’ve accomplished something. Maybe that man will one day have a son, and maybe he will teach his son how to treat women with respect. Or maybe I’m being naive–but the experience gave me a little bit of hope, and I’m going to continue spreading this message however I can: ALL human beings have the right to be let alone. Women are human beings. Unless I ask you to talk to me, don’t.
Submitted by R.B.
(Flushing Avenue G stop, Brooklyn)
Reprinted from Metro New York, written by HOLLAhero Amy Zimmer:
Georgia Warren felt “disgusted” with what she witnessed on a Brooklyn-bound N train as it pulled into Pacific Street around 8:45 p.m. on Feb. 1: A man shoved his crotch against a woman and touched her shoulder. The man then walked toward Warren, but she shouted, “Don’t you f—ing touch me, you pervert.”
She alerted the conductor as two “good Samaritans” blocked the man from boarding another train. Police arrived 20 minutes later but said they couldn’t do anything because the man was “crazy,” Warren said. Despite subway PSAs encouraging riders to report lewd behavior, they didn’t take a report, she said. The victim left before police arrived, but Warren and another witness were willing to give statements.
“I just wanted to make sure this guy is not still out there touching people,” Warren, 24, said. “They released him — even as he fondled himself in front of them.”
Warren said the incident was reported to the Civilian Complaint Review Board.
The NYPD’s Transit Bureau chief last year said subway sexual harassment is the “No. 1 quality of life offense on the subway” and officers are required to take reports. The NYPD did not respond to requests for comment.
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Now, here is where it really pisses me off. I saw some cops, a male and female, on the other side of the street where they were heading (but not on the opposite or same side of the street where the crime took place.) When I went to report what had happened, the male cop – an indignant chauvinist – asked what happened. I said it was a case of sexual harassment, with the punk getting upset since I wouldn’t meet his demands. He then belligerently asked exactly what did I say. When I told him that I told the guy what the fuck was he staring at, the cop, a Hispanic man, said, “Well, that set him off,” effectively blaming me for what happened. That comment set me off. To blame me for that attack simply because of what I said is an insult to my humanity and character. I feel that that statement typifies what most cops feel towards women, especially women on color, in circumstances like that. We are just supposed to grin, smile, and put up with it and not challenge their male authority/ entitlement. Esp. being a woman of color, I feel that statement basically shows what the cops think of us as women of color; that we are animals to be subject to animalistic behavior and we are not worthy of being treated like human beings. I told the cop that I knew a guy who justified rape who said the SAME exact thing he said. Then, when I informed him that my area is a place where a lot of pimps troll for vulnerable women and girls and that does who DON ‘T say anything and are docile get treated the worst, he went on to state that the are is FULL of prostitution, not PIMPS, but prostitutes. Basically, this chauvinist piece of shit thinks that it is more of a crime for a woman to charge for her own body rather than a guy who attacks a woman simply for rejecting his compliment. Then he asked what did I DO for a living, so as to justify treating me like trash! What a sick fuck. My dad was a cop and it is a fucking shame when you have someone like that on the police department who harbors such views. I will report him. As to what good that will do, I don’t know. But hopefully that file along with other complaints will take his ass off the force. His badge number is 34473 and his name is Lopez.
On January 24th, a woman named was assaulted on Hermosa beach and reported it to the police, read more here. Unfortunately, the police have effectively ignored her report and the perpetrator continues to go free:
Regarding the Hermosa Beach groping incident, it’s been weeks and I haven’t heard anything from them. I called and even went down to the station. Finally, on Thursday, I spoke to the detective, Detective Freelough, about my case. When I asked why hasn’t he gotten back to me, he asks me why I am in such a hurry, that the schedule of him meeting with the guy hasn’t been good, and that other cases takes precedence over mine. Despite the fact that what happened to me clearly was sexual assault, I am incensed that it is not being taken seriously.
Submitted by Raven
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I was leaning up against the metal rails on an already crowded N train when the door opened and even more passengers got on. One passenger took the opportunity to smoosh himself right up against my backside after the doors closed and apparently was just planning on remaining that way. I started to turn myself entirely around to face him and move away, meanwhile saying “Oh NO, no no no no.” This pissed him off and he started shoving me. I looked at him and in my loudest HollaBack voice said to him and the other passengers, “LOOK–I just don’t want your COCK pressed up against my BUTT. Is that so hard to understand? I think that’s a pretty reasonable expectation.” He said “That’s why I was turning around” and turned around. Mission accomplished.
Submitted by V.
Reprinted from our friends at Stop Street Harassment:
I was walking home from graduate school at around 2 am, on 9th Ave and 54th St, wearing a large sweater, leggings and rain boots. Then, a middle-aged white man in business attire, who was standing outside a bar said, “excuse me.”
I thought he was going to ask for directions, so I replied politely, “Yes?”
Instead, the pervert said, “Can I squeeze your little titties?”
I was so shocked that all I could say was, “You are disgusting,” and walked away. I looked back to see if he was following me, but thankfully he just kept standing there like a creep.
Submitted by LD
It was about 9am this morning and I got off at 72nd street to transfer to the downtown 1. The platform was pretty packed and I though to myself that a train hadn’t come in a while, regardless of how packed it was I was going to get on. Lucky me (I thought at the time) the train showed up a couple of minutes later. We all crowded on. And if you’re in NYC you know the trains can get super packed at this time. I was right at the door and someone squeezed in behind me. I didn’t give it much thought. A little into the ride i think i felt something on my butt but I couldn’t be sure because I had on a long, down coat (thank the Lord for this). I started to feel uncomfortable and I pushed my pelvis forward so that my ass was no longer rubbing against anyone. I also moved myself to the side a little but there wasn’t anywhere to go.
At the next stop the guy got off and I looked dead at him and saw that his hand was covered in cum. I panicked and looked at my coat and sure enough there was cum all over my coat.
Ladies, this guy is still out there and I’m going to keep my guard up and if I see him again (and I feel that I will) I’m getting a picture. I was in complete shock when this happened so I was a bit flustered but now during my commutes I’m going to try to find him. That smug look as he got off is forever etched in my mind.
Submitted by J.