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We’re all taught that we should at least feel safe at home. If we buy a home or rent a house, that property should be our haven, a place to live and relax.
Yesterday, I was taking advantage of that. As I was transferring seedlings into pots, a guy who was new to the neighborhood passed by, and we exchanged hellos.
Later, while I was reading in the sunshine, the same guy came around again, struck up a conversation. He was very polite, up until the point he grabbed my rear end.
I stepped back, said, “NOPE. OFF.” and pointed towards the sidewalk.
I think that reaction startled him, because he initially stepped back in a hurry. Apologizing profusely, he shuffled off, looking back at me as if he wanted to try continuing the conversation.
My glare told him just how likely that was going to be.
It’s not the first time something like this has happened to me, and it’s not the worst thing, either. However, it still left me feeling violated, angry and helpless.
After about an hour of stewing, I called the non-emergency phone number for the police. He wasn’t in sight anymore, and I only felt threatened by the uncertainty of “What if he comes back? What if he decides to try something else?”
I gave his description, told the operator what had happened and where the guy had told me he lives. Because I wanted to file a formal complaint, they sent a pair of officers over.
Since it wasn’t an emergency, it took a few hours for the cops to get here. That’s fine. Far worse things happen every day in this city. The two who showed up were a pair of young men.
Most police have a reputation of not taking sexual crimes seriously, and since this one was comparatively minor, I didn’t expect anything more than I got.
After I told my story, the one officer said with a laugh, “And you expect this guy to become a serial grabber?”
Straight faced, I replied, “No, but you know as well as I do that this type of behavior can escalate.”
At another point, he told me that other guys would have stayed and argued. To that, I let him know that, yes. I know that, too. It’s happened to me before, but I never made a report, because I didn’t think anything would happen.
His last try at minimizing the situation was, “Well, at least he knew what he was doing was wrong.”
If anything, that’s worse. If he knew it was wrong, why did he feel confident enough to do it? As a human being, didn’t that seem like a bad thing to him? How would he feel if it happened to a woman he cared about? How would he feel if it happened to him?
When they finally decided to take me seriously, they asked if I wanted a restraining order, which really, is all they could offer at this point.
I declined, since that was the first, and hopefully last, time I’ve ever interacted with that particular guy. If he does try giving me trouble, I will get one and I will keep a record of what he does. They told me that the fact they showed up would help my case if I have to take further action.
I felt a little foolish calling the cops on such a minor event, at first. The worst that’s happening on a personal level is a little more paranoia and anger on my part. I wasn’t physically hurt, and I haven’t seen the guy again since then.
The more I think about it, though, the better I feel about getting this on file. Harassment, whether that entails groping or anything else, is part of why things like rape and other forms of assault are so under reported.
Our culture has normalized that behavior to the point where victims are just expected to stand helplessly by.
I, personally, am sick of it. No, I’m not going to call the authorities every time some jerk whistles at me from the street or flirts lewdly with me in passing. If I did, I’d be on the phone almost every time I left the house.
What I am going to do is share my stories with anyone who wants to listen. When someone tries to get physical with me against my will again, I will make another report, and do whatever’s needed to get out of that situation.
Sadly, I say “when,” because there’s no “if” about it.
Moral of the story?
Don’t be afraid to say no, and if you can, report the incident to the authorities. Even if nothing happens in the long term, there will be a written record of the event and it will add up. Hopefully, that will amount to some change for the better.
When i was 17 i took driving lessons and my instructor tried to grope me every single day. He used to take me to dark lanes to teach driving.
Initially i thought ‘its just in my head,’ but as the days passed by he started to be very obvious making me uncomfortable. One day when he tried to slip his fingers in my top, i held his hand and yelled at him and asked him not to do so.It took me a whole lot of courage to say anything to him.
This is when he got a bit aggressive and came on to me, uplifted my top and assaulted me.The only reason he stopped was because i screeched and made noise.
Next day i discussed this matter with my best friend and we decided to report against him in the driving school. The authorities were shocked and handed him over to the cops.
I really wish i would have reported him initially but it takes a lot of courage to do something like that specially when you know that people are gonna judge you too.
i’m happy that my best friend supported me in this decision and stood by my side.
My friends and I (a group of four 15 year old girls) were in the city (Perth, Australia) for literally 30 seconds before we saw a group of guys ahead leaning against pay phones staring at us and smiling in this malicious way. We got closer to them and they turned their heads to stare and smirk and made comments to each other. When they were behind us, I turned around and they were STILL staring!
The rest of the day went by without incident until we had to walk home from the train station at around 6pm. A car of men slowed down slightly as it passed us and a man said ‘heyyyyyyy’. As it drove away, i yelled ‘Yuck! Disgusting!’ loud enough for them to hear (it was a quiet street). I said to my friends ‘I hate that they do that’ and to my surprise one of my friends said ‘no, when I get a car I’m going to do that’. I was upset that she, who had only 30 seconds ago been harassed, would do this to other people. I tried to explain why it was wrong but she didn’t change her mind.
This happened today, I was walking in town to a cash point so I could get a bus home. Several men were sat outside a pub and started shouting at me to get my attention, when I ignored them they continued with “she’s fat anyway” “get to the gym love”.
Normally I can shrug these experiences off but this has gotten under my skin. My bus stop was near the pub and I didn’t want to go there because I was scared they would heckle me again. So I walked to the next bus stop because of these ignorant men.
The worst part is when I told my boyfriend about it, I pretended what they said was sexual comments so I still seemed desirable instead of “fat”.
I felt embarrassed and powerless, I knew if I responded it would have turned into a public slang match and I would have lost all dignity. The worse thing is my boyfriend said “it’s pack mentality”. Is being a man really an excuse for offensive behavior?
This guy groped me in a club around a year ago. He is vile, and the worse thing is when I got upset about it my friends said I was “over reacting” and “it’s just what he is like when he’s drunk”.
I love my friends dearly but it still upsets me even though it was a year ago. I never got an apology from him. This is everything that is wrong with out culture today.
A man on the corner of Columbia and 16 started getting very close to me and talking to me as I walked down the street.
I was returning home after work, and in the apartment hallway two young guys, maybe 18 or so, catcalled as they passed me. I turned around and told them that was rude and inappropriate, that since I had more hair under my belt than they had years under theirs they needed to show some respect. It felt good to say something, even if they laughed at me.
HOLLA::Revolution is back in NYC and it’s better than ever.
#Hollarev will be held on May 27th, 2014, from 2-5pm at the New School in New York City. Tickets are running out for this year’s HOLLA::Revolution, be sure to get yours before they’re sold out!
This year’s HOLLA::Revolution will feature 12 astounding speakers, comedians, and performers. We can barely contain our excitement at the speaker list so far, and it just keeps getting better! Speakers include Sally Kohn, Tatyana Fazlalizadeh from Stop Telling Women to Smile Soraya Chemaly, and more!
Afterwards, join us for a post-#hollarev celebration down the road at the Cubby Hole.
For more information about the event, email us at [email protected]
A man followed me up the escalator and to the bathroom. He continuously commented on my legs. He kept calling them “strong.” Though he did not touch me, he was right up on my back the entire time and speaking into my ear. He dashed off when another person walked by us and then he watched me walk into the women’s restroom. When I left, he was gone.
When I walk around in the streets of Kingston, Jamaica, I often hear men and boys say “Pssssssssssst” I usually keep walking and try not to look at them but once my friend had shouted, “Are you losing air?”