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This occurred back in July and although I wanted to write about it then, I wanted to forget it even more. In having to choose what category of harassment it falls into in order to send this story in, I’m even now embarrassed at my difficulty in labeling it. I don’t know that it counts as assault, even though it definitely didn’t feel like groping.
It was 10pm on a Friday night and I was waiting on a well lit block, in front of an active open restaurant, for the bus that I take everyday. Instead of heading to or from work, I was on my way to a small joint birthday party for two friends. Since I knew I’d be traveling there and back alone, I’d already decided to leave a little earlier than I needed to and had consciously decided to leave my bag at home and travel light so I’d be less of a target for theft. I’d also chosen to wear a more conservatively cut and oversized shirt than I would otherwise have worn on such a warm night.
Ten minutes into my wait for the bus, I was watching traffic to see if it was approaching my stop. I suddenly felt something slam against my backside. It didn’t feel like someone tried to cop a feel, and it didn’t feel like someone slapped my ass as they were passing by. It felt like someone wound up and hit me as hard as they could with something flat. I imagined a stack of books or a box and instantly thought maybe I was in the way of someone making a delivery to the diner or moving something out of the apartment entrance next door. I glanced around, embarrassed and blushing, and realized that none of the many other people walking across the street or crossing at the corner were paying attention, even though the smack had sounded obvious and loud to me. I spun around and realized that the only other people close to me were three guys who looked to be in their early 20’s, dressed for a night out. They were two feet away from me at that point and were continuing up the block laughing, the one in the middle of the group looking back at me and grinning.
I pointed at them and shouted “hey,fuck you!” feeling suddenly ashamed and angry. I’m not usually shy about addressing comments or gestures that are aimed at me or other women in public, but as soon as the group slowed their pace a little, I realized just how much bigger and heavier than me each of those guys was and how little attention was being paid to the situation by passers by. The middle guy waved me over and smiled, “yeah, fuck me!” and kept walking away as his friends laughed.
I waited the next ten minutes for the bus, with my hands shaking, still physically hurting and trying not to cry. Until the bus arrived I debated whether or not to walk to the police station that is three blocks away from that intersection, but imagined being laughed at by police officers once I described that a stranger had essentially spanked me. I also realized that I didn’t see any of the guys’ faces straight on and they were pretty nondescript young brown haired white guys with accents very common in my area. I wouldn’t have hesitated to report it if he had hit me that hard on any other part of my body, but this felt much more mortifying and even harder to verbalize to a stranger. And feeling that way made me even angrier.
I debated going home, but was worried that I’d run into the group of guys on the way to my nearby apartment. I wasn’t in the mood for a party and didn’t want to explain why and spoil the mood for the birthday friends, since I knew they’d be livid. But, I was too upset to want to be alone. I got on the bus when it came, and got off a stop early when I saw that two friends of mine were closing up the shop where we worked. I told them what had happened and sat and talked with them for a while before walking over to the party, where I hung back until feeling better and could walk home with some neighbors.
After that I worried that the guys who did it would recognize me in the neighborhood but that I wouldn’t recognize them. In writing this I realize I haven’t taken the bus alone at night since then, even though it was just a spanking. In other neighborhoods and cities I’ve been followed on my walk home, verbally threatened, flashed and groped but never felt as embarrassed or ashamed as this had made me feel.
Submitted by Laura
A few friends and I were walking through the neighborhood one day, just chilling. We were walking down Bay 46st, going towards the neighborhood park, to see a blue car exiting his driveway. We were walking towards the car, figuring that by the time we got there, he would have pulled out into the street, but he pulled out alright. He stopped his car, and was just sitting there directly in front of us without pants on! I was going to walk around the car, and curiously looked in when I heard his laughter. I didn’t realize what he was doing at first.. it took a second. My friends were just standing there in shock, and we all started yelling at him. The smile soon went off of his face, and he speedily drove away. I tried to get the license plate number, but he drove away too fast. We did not call the cops or anything, because we had no evidence, and we figured that they would not believe a bunch of teenagers. This happened in about May or June 2010, but I just recently found out about this website, so I figured I should tell you all my story so you guys can be on the lookout! If i remember correctly, he had longish hair. He was wearing sunglasses, and he looked from his 20s-30s. I’m not sure what kind of car it was, but it was small, 5 seats. I am still in shock that a some-what young man would have the audacity to do this! Especially in a kid friendly neighborhood like this. Careful girls!!
Submitted by Melissa
nt tried to make her his latest victim but she wasn’t having any of it. The petite Tai-Chi instructor and now Hollaback poster child has been seen by over half a million viewers giving this creep the lashing of a lifetime. Valdivia nt will serve jail time and is reportedly awaiting deportation.
“It’s about getting over the embarrassment of that circumstance and bringing the shame, taking away the shame, from you, as a woman being violated — and bringing the shame back on the perpetrator,” Briggs said, in an exclusive interview with CBS 2.
It wasn’t Valdivia
nt‘s first illegal adventure in subway sex abuse and, somewhat shockingly, wasn’t even his last—he was reported for the same offense in 2007 and yet again one month after assaulting Briggs. Oh, Mario. From us to you–please get help (but have fun in jail first).
There was a construction site near my house for several months. I had been avoiding walking near it whenever possible, taking the longer route between my home and my bus stop. One day I had the *audacity* to just take the faster way home. I figured that if I just walked fast and pretended to be on the phone that I would be safe. Wrong.
Several men, both on the ground and on the building, started to yell at me. A couple of them even approached the fence to get as close as possible, making vulgar gestures and remarks.
When I got home I made this sign and posted it late at night. I used zip ties to secure it to their fence, facing the busy street in front of the construction site. They didn’t manage to get the sign down until 9am – long after all the rush hour traffic got to read my message.
On the back of the sign, I included the definition of sexual harassment and a special message for the assholes that made me feel unsafe in my own neighbourhood.
Submitted by Jessie
I got off work as a bartender at 1 am on a Saturday night and was headed to a late night food take out place on Lincoln.
Lincoln Ave has lots of bars so it also has lots of police presence.
I was wearing a Hawaiian shirt tied at the waist, and jean shorts to my knees. No cleavage, no skin except arms and lower legs, and I was wearing sneakers.
A guy walking towards me just pushed me up against the wall and started groping me, he was drunk as can be, and I shoved him off me and I was angry beyond words and I started punching him as hard as I could figuring I would get in as many licks as I could until the policeman who was like 30 feet away would come over. I was so fueled I didn’t care if I got hurt, my adrenaline was pumping.
The guy was hitting me back more than I was hitting him so I stepped back and started screaming for the cop who finally came over. I asked the cop why it took so long for him to come over and get this answer…..He said, “I thought you knew each other.” AS IF THAT MATTERED!!!!
Pigs!! I signed a blank complaint form after telling my story not knowing how this process works. I went to the appointed court time at 11 am on the designated day, sitting for over an hour and my case was not called. I was so out of place in the scum hole of the court room, that the prosecutor finally came over and asked me what I was there fore. When I showed him my paperwork, he went through the GARBAGE and found the paperwork for me. My case was at 9 am. The cops purposely told me the wrong time so the groping asshole could get the complaint dropped.
I’m disgusted all over again just writing this. Ladies, take no shit!
Submitted by Gigi
I was inspired by the woman featured on Jezebel, but frankly as a feminist I’m sorry to say that I regret standing up for myself.
I was in the car, my ID badge from work still on, then a young Latino teenager (I mention his ethnicity for a reason) asked me a question and started reaching into his pants and pulling out shoplifted objects. I walked away to the other side of the car. He yelled extremely vulgar insults across the car – “SIERRA CUNT WAS A WHORE IN HIGH SCHOOL! SHE SUCKS DICK!” making hand gestures. I thought to myself “Hey, if that girl can stand up to harassment so can I!” I ran towards him and said, in a very classy and calm, though strong voice “You can not speak to any woman that way! I’m going to follow you. This is harassment. I’m going to tell the police and the conductor” To which he replied “It’s free speech. I’m an American. You don’t even belong in this country, bitch” (I’m visibly Indian American). No one did anything. He continued to hurl insults at me for quite a while, then when he got off the train, I followed him.
Only to have him run back into the train as the doors closed, laughing and yelling “HAHA HAHA YOU FUCKING BITCH!”
My biggest fear, besides not saving face, is that I will be a total FAIL viral video. Worse, no one did anything. I really wish John Quinones from ‘What Would You Do?’ burst in to show everyone how their complacency sucks.
Worse, I blame myself. Why was the girl on the train with the flasher successful and I wasn’t? What could I have done, changed trains (I’ve never done it/am afraid to). I yelled to the conductor as the train went away but he just stared at me.
I don’t know what I should have done. PS – I’ve always stuck up for myself from ‘Eve teasers’, living in South Asia for two years. I feel as though I give off some pheromone that tells these creeps that they can mess with me and that they will ultimately feel dominant with their successful taunts.
Submitted by Saira
This happened to me 4 years ago when I was in college. My school’s campus is right next to a train stop. I was on my way to a meeting at another university and was dressed in dress slacks and blouse. As I was going up the escalator I felt something going in between my legs. I turned around and realized there was a man feeling me up. I asked him what the fuck was he doing. His reply, “Bitch you know you like it” and he ran down the escalator. I was in total shock, there was a train on the platform but I went into autopilot mode I went back down stairs and told the attendant where I went into hysterics, after calling the police he decided to give me a “hint”: I should wear sweatpants when I take the train and bring a change of clothes with me because I have such a shapely body that sometimes men can’t resist and I should hide my body to make it less likely something like that’ll happen.
I felt so victimized that day, not once but twice…. I still see that attendant every once in a while and I relive the memory every time I see him.
Submitted by lawyer-in-training
I was walking home from the grocery store on a chilly January afternoon last year when two guys in a black low-rider whistled at me. I flipped them off and kept walking. They hung a U-Turn, pulled their car up on the curb, blocking me, and started saying dirty things to me.
I started throwing produce at their car. They peeled out and drove off.
Submitted by Teresa
I’ve probably been groped about a half dozen times in my life (on the street, at a concert, on the subway, at an amusement centre, at work…) and witnessed a man masturbating in a parking lot not far from me, trying to get me to come over to him.
But this story is a bit different – it involves two men, in broad day light, on a busy London subway train.
I was standing near the subway doors and doing my best to move out of the way for people coming on and off the train. As the doors opened, I moved away from the doors but felt something rub on my ass as a man exited the train. Then I felt the same thing happen again and noticed this second man exit, this time with his hand in his pocket and clearly sticking out so as to have rubbed up on me. I saw the first man look back and give the second man a knowing look (sort of like ‘that was fun’).
By the time I realized what happened the doors were closing and there was not much I could do about it.
I didn’t get to say anything this time (although in the past, I have chased a groper down the street yelling at him as he got away on his bike). However, I did want to share this story because it’s important to show that these are not isolated incidents, where only one (sick/crazy) man is involved. In this case, these were two men who felt that not only could they both grope me but that they could also get away with it, as they did.
I’m glad this website is here so that these incidents can get exposure. So that we can stop the myth that people can do this to other people, and that no one will speak up about it.
Here’s to assaults like this never happening, and here’s to us doing something about it when they do.
Submitted by C
Sadly this was in 2003, shortly before I had a cell phone, and definitely before I had a camera phone, so I don’t have pictures of the perps, but I LOVE this website, and I felt it was worth sharing the story because I made a huge scene and embarrassed the s*** out of a couple of creeps who street harassed me.
So: Back in summer of 2003, I was walking to get lunch in the middle of a workday – so about 1 pm, broad daylight, and in the middle of Harvard Square – and I walk by a couple of guys sitting on some steps with their shirts off drinking tall boys out of paper bags. A little unusual for the demographic of Harvard Square, but whatever. They weren’t doing anything more creepy than that, and I kind of think open container laws are pointless anyway, so I went on my way. Then one of the dudes comes after me and says “Hey, uh, my friend over there wants to make babies, and he was wondering if you wanted to make babies with him.”
I looked at the guy and said, in a very pissed off voice, “Really? Which friend is this?” And the guy is like “Uh, no, uh, never mind…I probably shouldn’t have…uh…” So I say “No, let’s go meet this friend of yours RIGHT NOW” and march over to where the other guy is sitting and start yelling at him. I forget exactly what I said but I do remember calling them both disgusting classless creeps, and then he was like “Come on, it wasn’t a big deal, relax, we were just joking around!” At which point I really blew my stack and start yelling “REALLY? IT WASN’T A BIG DEAL? YOU JUST SAID A COMPLETELY DISGUSTING THING TO A STRANGER BECAUSE YOU LIKE TO LOOK AT MY BREASTS AND IT’S NOT A BIG DEAL? LET’S PULL ASIDE SOME OF THESE NICE PEOPLE GOING TO LUNCH AND SEE WHETHER THEY AGREE WITH ME THAT YOU’RE A DISGUSTING CREEP, SHALL WE?” So I start pulling strangers over and saying things like “Excuse me, may I take a moment of your time? This gentleman just said a disgusting thing to me and now I’d like to share it with you.” They finally start begging me to stop, saying things like “Come on, don’t make a scene, you’re embarrassing me,” things like that, and I told them maybe they should have thought of that BEFORE they sexually harassed me, and that they should think of me and the world of pain I, and thousands of other women like me, would be only too happy to unleash whenever they thought of acting like pieces of slime in the future. Then I said I was going to get a goddamn sandwich before they ruined any more of my lunch break but if I saw them on the steps when I came back I was calling the cops and reporting them for open containers, sexual harassment, and being generally lousy people. When I came back, they were gone. To this day I am 100% certain I did the right thing by publicly humiliating them, and I would do it again in a heartbeat, though this time I’d want a videophone handy and I’d use it to file a police report.
The weirdest thing about this story, though, and the one that bugs me most, is that I told my (supposedly liberal/progressive) boss about this when I came back (leaving out the profanity for obvious reasons), and explaining that I was feeling a little shaken up but thought I’d dealt with it responsibly, and he reacted by becoming VERY uncomfortable and treating me like some sort of hysterical loose cannon for the rest of the week – it’s like my standing up for myself made him more uncomfortable than the fact that I’d been a victim of gender-based violence and was feeling pretty gross and shaken up about it. I guess this shouldn’t surprise me because he had some serious issues with women (including stuff like giving men offices and women cubes despite the fact that they were in parallel positions?), but it still really gets to me – how many people react with discomfort at angry responses to harassment and would just rather that we ignored it and remained silent. Thanks but no thanks.
Submitted by Diana