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Twice within Thirty
1) Well-dressed, well groomed. I was waiting for a cashier at Big Coffee Franchise when the man to my left lunged to his right and wrapped his arms around me quickly, laughed, and then leapt back to where he’d been. I glared, made sure I had my wallet still, and went to find a seat. Within two minutes the manager burst through the kitchen door yelling at him to get out of the store, pulling his grocery bag out of his hands, revealing a bunch of their packaged proprietary coffee blend. So he was kicked out.
2) Unkempt. About thirty minutes later, I am reading and working on my laptop at my seat, and someone comes into the store, marches past my back to the restroom, curses loudly that it is locked, hits the door, [meanwhile I close my laptop, slide it under the table into my lap, and resume reading] . . . and then I don’t hear or notice him back in my peripheral vision. I look over my shoulder, and there he is, standing so I cannot push my chair out or leave, making kissy faces and kissing at me.
Me: “Leave me alone.”
Me: “Leave me alone!”
Man: kiss-kiss. “What?”
Me: “Go! Leave me a-lone!”
Man: “I’m just admiring the pretty girl”
Me: “No, go.” (pointing)
Me: Looking around for anyone for back-up, including the young man sitting next to me and the female law student sitting in the next chair… the manager bursts through the kitchen door again and gets the guy kicked out and told off about harassing customers.
Submitted by CR
I was walking home from work in the dead of winter, and I came to an intersection. The guy driving the pick up truck stopped at the stop sign, and waved me through. As I crossed in front of him, he beeped his truck horn, and I looked at him to see him making a tongue-pass at me. I kept walking, and he rolled down the window and yelled “what’s the matter, bitch? just trying to keep the neighborhood friendly!”
Submitted by Teenie
I was at a bar with friends (guys and girls) just outside the USC Gamecocks Football Stadium watching a college football game. I was wearing a jean short (mid thigh length) skirt and standing just behind the row of stools at the crowded bar when I felt the man’s hand behind me reach UNDER MY SKIRT and essential try and stick his fingers in my vagina. I immediately turned around and the first thing I saw was my guy-friend’s face who happened to be next this pervert and see the whole thing. He was as livid and disturbed as I was. He is also a large and loud guy. He pretty much got in the guys face and then insisted that the pervert be throw out of the bar, which he eventually was.
I was glad my friend was there and took a stand. I would like to think that I would have been able to stand up for myself as well. I know, however, that being aggressive, loud and in some one’s face is not my first instinct, but I’m sure I could do it with some practice. Something maybe that is (or should be) taught in a self-defense class?
Submitted by Leah
By VIOLET KITTAPPA
Congratulations to our comrades in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.
The Patriot-News reports that 150 students at Dickinson College have been protesting since Wednesday, demanding that campus sexual assaults be broadcast through the college’s Red Alert system in real time and that perpetrators of catcalls and lewd comments are disciplined.
The article reports that President Bill Durden agreed to study student requests, if they agreed to one of his own: ‘to tackle campus alcohol abuse and incivility that contribute to safety problems’, throwing the old red herring into the discussion to avoid just focusing on the problem.
You want that whole ‘can’t murder people on campus’ law thing to be enforced? FINE. But first, do me a favor by not abusing alcohol.
Hey, Bill Durden, sexual assault is a crime. Period. How about you just tackle that first, then we can talk about addressing incivility.
I would like to keep this story general, but I have had several men working at a car dealership make inappropriate comments towards me when I walk by. This dealership happens to be on the route I enjoy walking, and I refuse to deviate my path just because they are so inclined to comment on my attire. A couple of years ago they used to ask me if I would like to exchange my heels for wheels, but eventually stopped when I complained to their manager. I may be walking by the car dealership, but that does not mean I want to buy a car there. I walk by several other car dealerships, and I have never had anyone at those scream at me.
The behavior went away for two years, and then re-emerged a few months ago. Once one of the men told me how he noticed I had new shoes, which made me feel a little uncomfortable. Women walking by a place of business do not usually feel comfortable having men comment on their shoes. A few weeks ago I had two of them screaming they liked my socks, and my hat. They also mentioned they liked my gloves and umbrella.
I suppose I could tell their supervisor, but I really do not feel like wasting my time. Lately I have just been ignoring them, but I would imagine somebody realized what was going on because the last two weeks the behavior died down. I do not respond when one or two of the men screaming hi at me from the car dealership because people do not enjoy being screamed at. I am simply walking by on a public sidewalk, and I would appreciate being left in peace. I do not scream hi at people I do not know, and I would never make comments about what they are wearing. Some things are just not appropriate.
Submitted by J.E.
I was walking out of work one night. It was around 9 pm on a Sunday. As I started down the street towards the subway, I saw a group of guys come out of a club next the my work’s building. I didn’t really think much of it, because it is New York City.
When I got a little closer, they started hollering at me, and one guy came up to me and started saying things like “Listen, all these brothers want to fuck you right now, right here, okay? They want to fuck you so hard…”
I told the guy to screw off, and I crossed the street. They they followed me. This was a group of about 15 guys, and I am one 125 lb girl, and I don’t get scared that easily, but I felt like it was time to run. When they started trying to grab at me, it was absolutely time to leave. So I took off in the other direction, and ran into the Trader Joe’s on 6th Ave. They didn’t follow me.
Now here’s my question. There were three clubs on that street with bouncers standing outside of them- including the club that these guys had come out of. Where were the bouncers, and why didn’t they help me?
Submitted by Alex
I was followed for about 30 minutes by a man while walking alone midday in downtown Port of Spain, Trinidad. At first, I thought I was being paranoid, but as he recognized that his following me was making me nervous, I could see he was enjoying scaring me and he made more of a show of following me. I finally ran into a church and hid for another 45 minutes until he went away.
Submitted by Naomi
I was visiting Valencia in Spain for the festival Las Fallas. Like with the reporter in Egypt, the streets were completely packed with people. Everyone was squeezed together, and as I was squeezing through, numerous men groped me, one even getting his hand almost all the way down my pants.
Submitted by Deanna
I was walking into Gold’s Gym, when a car full of men barked at me.
Submitted by Deanna.
What do you do when a friend harasses you?
I have faced a great deal of harassment – verbal and physical – from strangers, while walking down the street, traveling in buses and trains, at college and at work, in Mumbai and Bangalore. When a stranger is involved, it is easy to fight back; and the incident, while not forgotten, doesn’t matter quite as much after some time. But when someone you consider a friend, someone you trust, treats you like a piece of meat, it becomes really difficult to deal with.
I was on a short holiday with a mixed group of nature-enthusiast friends at a wildlife reserve some months ago. While intently watching and trying to identify some butterflies at one point, I felt someone touch my butt. It could only have been the person standing behind me – a man almost 18 years younger, who was a regular member of our group trips. At age 43, I really thought that I was done with stuff like this – and that too by a person I knew and trusted? I did not react, as I couldn’t believe what had happened – I tried to rationalize the incident, wondering if it could have been an accident, a mistake, anything! But the next day, it happened again – just at the moment when all of us were watching an exciting bird! I had been careful to stay away from him, but at that moment, all of us converged on the same point to look at this bird – he happened to be behind me again, and in an instant, touched me on the butt again. Now, I did not have any doubt about the act, or that it was purposefully executed.
But I still could not bring myself to confront him, or to tell anyone else about it. This is the worst thing about being harassed by someone one knows – one feels greater embarrassment at the prospect of being disbelieved, than at the act itself. Maybe this was the mistake I made. I continued to behave normally till we got back home, and mulled over how to tackle the issue.
I decided to confide in the female members of my group, and also a few other friends. While some unhesitatingly believed me, some of those who were good friends with him, did not. Not only that, I was told that I should have confronted him there and then. While that is very easy to say, only someone who has faced harassment from a known person will be able to understand my state of mind. I also found out that I was not his only victim, someone else had also faced this problem, but refused to identify herself and speak up openly about it. Some of my friends confronted him with my accusation, and he, of course, denied it vehemently. And they found no reason to disbelieve him. I don’t understand this at all – why believe him over me? After all, women are supposed to stick together and support one another, right?
As it stands now, many of my friends continue to socialize with him in spite of my having told them about this incident. I am the one who has to take the trouble to find out where I may run into him, and avoid such events. Also, I can feel a definite cooling off in some of my friends’ behaviour towards me. In the end, I am not only the victim, I am also paying the price for talking about the incident.
So, my question is, what does one do if harassed by a ‘friend’?
Submitted by Uma