Verbal

Ellen’s Story: “I Was Horrified”

I was walking alone in broad daylight along a busy street in downtown Ottawa.

“If you help me out I’ll give you free movie passes for a year.” A man appeared out of nowhere at my side with these words. I tensed up and started walking faster.

“What are you, a nervous twit?” he said.

“If you’re going to talk to me like that, I’m not going to help you,” I replied with more rationality than was necessary. I picked up my pace.

“Look at you, you nervous twit! I’m going to get my girlfriend to bang your head in!” He was walking with me now, two meters to my side.

I was horrified and veered away from him. Other pedestrians were in sight now, so he started to turn down a corner. I flipped him off as I continued walking away from him.

“You’re fucking ugly!” he yelled. I held my gesture in place for him and the oncoming pedestrians to see as I walked, and as he retreated from our incident back into the rest of the world.

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11+

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Stalking

Leigh’s Story: “I Have Never Felt Less Safe”

It was a beautiful sunny day in my beach town of Isla Vista, CA, and I decided to go tanning with my boyfriend at Sands Beach, which is a decent walk from our apartment and not actually a part of the town. The beach was nearly deserted, so we walked up into one of the secluded sand dunes to go tanning as we usually do. I took my top off because I hate tan lines and there were hardly any people in sight; also it is impossible for anyone walking on the beach to see what is happening up in the dunes.

After an hour or so of peacefully lying there, my boyfriend looked up to see a scary looking man in his 40s crouching in a bush in a nearby dune and taking pictures of me. He immediately sprung up and chased after the creep, who ran away but was finally caught up to. He claimed to be the neighborhood watch (there is no such thing in Isla Vista) and said he was taking pictures to collect “evidence” of my apparent crime of being topless (a common occurrence at Sands Beach) and when my boyfriend demanded he delete the pictures, the guy made hollow threats to call the cops, tried to run away, threatened my boyfriend, etc.

Finally, my boyfriend had intimidated this sicko enough to convince him to delete the pictures off the camera while he watched, so luckily I don’t have to worry about them showing up anywhere. This occurrence is especially unsettling to me after the tragic events that happened here last weekend, and as a women especially, I have never felt less safe in Isla Vista. I hope things get better here soon.

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9+

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Assault, Verbal

Lex’s Story: Harassed and Laughed At

I was walking home from work at around 5:45pm today. It was a beautiful day. I was on a normally busy public street near George Washington University. However, at that particular moment, there was a brief lull in foot traffic.

A teenager, no older than 13 or 14, was walking towards me. Three other teenagers were behind him. I really didn’t look twice at them.

As I pass by the first teenager who was walking by himself, he slaps my butt. Honestly, it took me a few seconds to register what had happened. I walked a few more steps and suddenly it registered. Apparently, the other three boys were with him and were laughing.

I whipped around and said, “What the fuck?” As they walked away laughing, I continued to get more incensed and said “Really, you can’t treat women like that!” They continued laughing—one of them made a point of pretty much laughing in my face— and told me to “shake that ass.”

I immediately started shaking and crying. I’ve been lucky in my life to not experience much street harassment. This was the first time someone ever felt entitled to touch my body in a public place. And I felt powerless. Since it never happened to me before–someone reaching out and grabbing me–I had no idea what to do. There were no cops around to tell. No one really saw. The kids were laughing in my face.

It’s been two and a half hours. I can still feel the echo of his hand slapping me.

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15+

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Assault

Isis’ Story: Fighting off an Attacker

As an American woman in Turkey, I anticipated harassment and notions of “inequality” but I never expected to be physically assaulted on the street.

I was walking from work to a nearby shopping center in the early evening when a man passed me then turned around and followed me. He caught up with me and started talking, but I didn’t know Turkish and he didn’t speak English. I continued on my way as he tried to talk to me. We were on a main street during rush hour. There were lots of trees and garden areas lining the street which proved to be his ultimate cover.

After passing a bus stop, I decided to turn down another main street as he grabbed my arm and threw me down on the ground by my neck. He strangled me as I fought for my life. I had taken self defense classes in university, so I instantly thought to try and poke his eyes out. The struggle lasted for maybe only a minute but felt like a life time. I was able to free myself and started to scream as he pushed me down again into a pile of trash. I kept trying to scream, and finally he let go and walked away.

I stepped out of the bushes, literally about 4 steps, onto the main street and saw people waiting at the bus stop. I waved down a taxi and went home. When I got out of the taxi, I left behind leaves, branches and dirt on the seat. I was in the elevator and a couple saw me, but the woman just whispered behind my back. When I looked in the mirror my hair was knotted and full of remnants from the attack.

I took a shower and laughed to myself that I had gotten away. I was empowered that I had actually fought the asshole off and survived with only a sore throat.

I didn’t call the police as I didn’t know how to, and apparently the police aren’t to be trusted in Turkey.
Ladies we must fight with all our beings. It’s the key to survival.

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14+

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Verbal

Jane Doe’s Story: All Too Common

Shoutout to the disgusting, spineless, flea infested neanderthal that yelled ”nice tits” at me/my coworker on June 2nd at 1:45 pm in Lakeland Ridge in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

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18+

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Verbal

Sara’s Story: Harassed While Babysitting

I was babysitting a 1.5 year old and walking down the street with her in my arms when a group of boys (no older than 16) walked past. “Miss, I like your shoes.” I replied “thank you” (not seeing any malice when being complimented on my excellent taste in footwear.) As soon as he passed by (like the little cowardly thing he was), he snickered “…and your fat ass.”

I was upset because there was nothing I could do because I wasn’t about to hollaback with someone else’s child in my arms and possibly putting her in danger, so I took a deep breath and continued to walk in the opposite direction.

I remember his face and his description (sky blue headphones and all!). I work in the area, and he no doubt goes to the school right by the site of the harassment, as it happened around the time the school lets out. I will be letting the school know about my experience (along with coward’s description) so that they might educate a younger generation that street harassment is unacceptable and illegal.

I’m sure this isn’t the last I’ve seen of him if he indeed attends that school or lives in this neighborhood, and hopefully I won’t have a baby in my arms so that I might give him a nice jumbo size portion of hollaback.

“Don’t talk to me like that. It’s harassment. It’s illegal.”

Maybe next time I’ll have a photo so I can show you what a coward looks like! Stay strong! You’re not alone.

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9+

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Stalking, Verbal

Erin’s Story: “I Hoped He Would Stop Following Me”

A group of men were on the stoop, drinking and hanging out. I walked past them around 9 PM at night (after dark) after parking my car nearby.

Several men started hooting and making kissing noises. I kept my eyes forward and ignored them. Then one man started following me saying, “Can I talk to you” and “Just give me a minute baby.” I hoped he would stop following me at the end of the block, but he didn’t.

I turned the corner and continued to walk towards my apartment, feeling increasingly scared. The man followed close behind me for two blocks saying things until he finally gave up and went back to his friends.

I thought I was going to be raped.

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9+

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groping

Jasmine’s Story: “I Was Speechless”

My boyfriend and I decided to go on a weekend away in Milano. I had never been there and was pleased to see what a modern city it is and how everything works.

We were going for the train back home and took the metro to the main station, and my boyfriend was leaning against the door while I was holding his arm, facing him. The car was crowded, but we all had enough space to move around comfortably. At first I thought that the guy behind me had lost his balance, and that was why he was so close to me. When he didn’t get back to a polite distance, I suspected something. I kept pushing closer to my boyfriend and the door but the guy would follow my every movement. My boyfriend got irritated, not understanding what was going on, and that’s when I realized that I was paralyzed, unable to speak up. At last the door opened and I bursted out of the car.

Now would be a good time to say that I am a militant feminist, that I am involved in politics and am used to seeing ordinary sexism for what it is. However, my first reflex has been to add layers to my clothing… I know it’s not the victims fault, and there is nothing to be ashamed of…how many times have I said that in public, in front of a crowd? But that day, I felt ashamed, dirty and guilty…

I wish I could say I shouted at him and took a picture, but I didn’t. As someone who never misses an opportunity to point at machismo and street harassment, I was speechless.

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9+

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Verbal

Samantha’s Story: Creeper in a Car

I was walking to the subway 2 blocks from my house when a car pulled up and started driving slowly beside me. The window was rolled down and the man driving the car yelled out, “Hey sexy.” I ignored him and kept walking. He continued to drive alongside me, then he yelled “Want me to lick your pussy?” I was so shocked, I yelled out “No, gross!” He shouted out “Slut!” and sped off. I was left confused, scared and angry.

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7+

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Verbal

Kaz’s Story: “Shock, Rage, Disgust, Mortification”

Last Sunday I was walking with my boyfriend and his sister to get dinner. We were chatting, so it took a few minutes for me to bother listening to the three drunk guys following close behind us. It wasn’t until I overheard, “She must have a wide set pussy,” “That one’s pussy must be tight,” and “That one could be a girl?” that I realized they were talking about us.

All at once I had an overwhelming sense of shock, rage, disgust, mortification (and some more disgust) that stunned me. They were loud and aggressive, so it was obvious they were looking for attention (or a fight). My logic side knew that talking back (in any manner) would most likely escalate the situation and expose us all to more childish slander. My primitive-rage side just wanted blood and justice…I mean, this was RIGHT after the Santa Barbara killings, so I was a little extra raw.

When they fell behind a little, my friend turned to scope out the situation (glare) and told me they were skinny little twerps. I held up my pinky and said “with skinny little pricks,” to which she replied “not enough for our wide vaginas” and we burst out laughing. Finally, they backed off.

I've got your back!
15+

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