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I was 8 months pregnant with my baby girl, on my way to a weekly pre-natal appointment at my clinic. I would take two buses to get there. The second being on Chicago and Franklin. Although I ride the bus everyday I have to say, when I have to walk this particular street alone, even in broad daylight I get anxious. I live in the the not so nice part of South Minneapolis. So I get off the first bus and wait to cross the street, standing next to an older, (let’s say 40’s) greasy haired, fast talking man who also got off the same bus. He turns to me and starts asking the usual questions I’ve answered a million times the past 8 months, “How far along? A girl or boy?” I politely answer him with a smile… which I honestly regretted immediately after.
Yes, I regretted having common courtesy and politeness because he took it as an invitation to violate my personal boundaries that I assume everyone has, and stepped closer to me. Then he comments on my pregnant body by saying something about how I must have been “eating a lot of cornbread and collard greens.” It gets very hot during the summer months here in Minnesota and I was wearing shorts and a tank top. Not that it matters much but I got the crazy idea that maybe people wouldn’t be as interested in harassing a pregnant lady in shorter shorts, seeing as how I got even hotter than usual, carrying an extra body and more blood inside me as all.
I begin staring at the light willing it with my mind to change when he asks me “Can I touch your belly?” Without any hesitation I say “No, I do not like being touched.” Before I can even finish my sentence he reaches out and puts his big dirty hand on my belly and takes no time to move it downward.. I push his hand away and start walking across the street and he follows right next to me. Before I can take 5 steps I hear my name! I turn around, right in front of the bus, and see my friend Jessica. The greasy asshole stops too and tries to get me to keep crossing the street with him by warning me of the idle, giant bus, as if I didn’t notice it..
I walk over to her and she walks with me across the street. Funny, he lost interest in me when I was with my 5 foot 10 friend, her children and her friend. I felt angry… I’ve been raped a total of 4 times in my 21 years, assaulted many more. Why is it I don’t have a right to my own body? Why was I ignored? I felt the most beautiful and respectful of my own body being pregnant with my baby girl. To hold a life inside me, I felt gave my body and life more meaning.
Why did his actions and violation anger me more than my previous assaults? I am a Native American woman, I grew up in South Minneapolis, in modern society, without a father, brother or even cousin to protect or teach me what my mother couldn’t. I was and still am seen as vulnerable prey, my mistakes came with such a precious and great cost. I was only 15 years old when I was first raped and sexually assaulted. I was in a physically, sexually and verbally abusive relationship for 2 years. This was only a very small part of my story. I just want to be heard.
I was walking up onto Oxford St when this scruffy creepy guy tried several times to intentionally step right into my path and block my way. After sidestepping twice the third time I physically shoved past him hard with my massive shoulderbag, he shouted something unintelligent but left me alone as it was really busy about. He went on his way hopefully to take a bath.
A guy, mid-30s, dark blonde hair, wearing a tech Network-embroidered shirt and carrying a tech Network-emblazoned backpack, hopped on my relatively empty train (headed in the direction of the business’s main building at rush hour) and chose, among all of the empty benches, the one directly facing me and then aimed his knees so they touched mine.
When walking into a store in Sacramento, a worker approached me and told me that I “better not steal anything”. I am Hispanic so I found it incredibly rude & irrational as I was only looking at some makeup, and did no such thing to provoke her comments.
I just got cat called to by 12 year olds. That is wrong on so many levels.
I was walking home from work when a group of college-aged guys drove by. One of them yelled “Pussy!” out of the car window.
Then just a minute later, I walked past an older man getting something out of the trunk of his car and he looked me up and down and said “Heeeeeeeeeeeey.”
Happy Friday Hollaback!’er’s!
Hollaback! sites around the world are making this last week of summer count! This week,
Hollaback! Ottawa marched in their Capital Pride parade (with amazing outfits!)
Hollaback! Bahamas had a press heavy week – including Bahamas at Sunrise and the radio show “Connected.” On top of all that, they held their first Educational Ambassador Training (on Constitutional Amendment Bills going to referendum) at the National Art Gallery of the Bahamas.
The Hollaback! Mothership‘s deputy director Debjani Roy had an op-ed published in XOJane.
Hollaback! London is taking the UK by storm this week with their Good Night Out campaign. The crowd-funding for their campaign just launched – so spread the news! The team also made waves over at the BBC, after they were interviewed to discuss the recent attack faced by a woman at the Notting Hill Carnival.
Great work team!
Until next week,
HOLLA and out!
Here are the “highlights” of my day yesterday:
I had three men catcall at me (“Hey baby,” “Hey little lady,” “hey pretty girl”).
I had two men I don’t know at all wave at me accompanied with a smug face.
I also heard a whistle.
I heard some mansplaining at work also (“Why don’t you smile more? You would be so much prettier if you smiled.”)
Here’s the stupidest part of the whole story- all of this happened in my car. I didn’t even look particularly cute yesterday. This just goes to show that it doesn’t matter what measures you take, men who catcall at women are pigs.
On a sunny Thursday morning at 10am, I was walking my bike to the bike shop. A guy walking toward me stepped to the side to, I believe, let me pass but instead he stared at me and said, “Smile. Smile!” I said, “don’t tell me what to do, asshole.” So he stood there screaming, “Bitch! Bitch! Bitch!” Until I was a block away.
I was on my way from to Duane Reade at around 8pm, and this man who was sitting near the edge of the side walk started shouting ‘Hey Hot Stuff’ repeatedly. I had just moved to NYC this past Saturday, so I’m not really used to this stuff. I’m overweight and not very attractive so at first I didn’t realize it was even directed at me. I had completely ignored the offender, I heard them call me a bitch under their breath as I passed. It made me uncomfortable even when I thought it wasn’t directed at me.
I had to walk past them on my way back to my dorm. This time I had my phone out but I could tell they were snickering. It just left an all around bad feeling in my gut. I don’t even think I was dressed proactively, Just a knee length jade dress with some white lace trim and sandals. I think that’s what made it even more unnerving. If it happens again I think I’ll report it to Security.