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The above link is not my story, but the story of another woman…similar to stories everywhere, including my own. The injustice. The shame. The embarrassment. The rage.
I was cursed with beauty and in my youth and had dozens of my own experiences: sexual harassment and assault, cat calls, blatant staring at my breasts or crotch, whistles, honking, men masturbating in public near me, etc. I’m thankful to be middle-aged now–I am almost invisible.
I saw a post on FB today: When a man is raped, no one talks about what he was wearing.
I was out with my friend in the city that I love so very much, and I experienced the most real sexual harassment in my 24 years, twice. We were at a bar and this guy came up to us and asked if we we wanted a drink and I said, “I’m sorry, but we’re good.” Which he didn’t like at all and didn’t understand why we didn’t want a drink. I tried to explain to him that he needed to respect the fact that we didn’t want anything, we didn’t want to be talked to or touched. He proceeded to call me a bitch because I didn’t want to talk to him, so I told him he needed to back off.
I think no one would be surprised that he wasn’t pleased by that, so he threatened me with, “What are you going to do, anyway?” And my friend and his friend said to just walk away, so I did, to not cause a scene. Then we went to another bar where the EXACT SAME THING HAPPENED! And I told a bouncer at the new bar that I had been assaulted and I didn’t want to file a complaint, I just wanted to know that there was someone looking out for the other women there, because when I left to go find a bouncer the new assaulter had a girl by the neck. The bouncer seemed to think I had made it up. More than I hate to think that women are being assaulted in the hospitality state, I hate to think that women are being shamed for sticking up for other women. I worry because I had to ask two women if they were okay because I wasn’t comfortable with the appearance of the situation, and they were both so shocked that someone would pay attention enough to be concerned.
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.
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.
A 30 year old who worked at a barber shop who I had just met pressured me into kissing him. I was 16 when it happened.
Exiting the train on the #6 train platform a few minutes before 8:29PM on Friday night, May 9, 2014, a middle-aged man stepped on my shoe three times and reached near my back pocket to take my smart phone. When I turned around, he said “F*ck you, you b*tch. “You f**king Asian B*tch, I’ll punch you.” I was shocked so I followed him to take photos. He turned around and repeatedly said he would hit me.
At 8:29PM, I took a photo of his back while exiting near the 14th Street exit escalators leading up to The Food Emporium, Union Square location. And another riding up the escalators.
At the crosswalk, outside Panera Bread, I tried to take a photo of his face with the flash when he turned around and lunged at me, trying to punch me in the face and seize my phone. Three people who took the train with me saw what had happened and blocked him from coming at me. The man then tried to go around the two young males and throw a punch. The two males said to stop and kept side-stepping/blocking him to make sure he couldn’t successfully land a hit. They told him they would get the cops if he didn’t stop and he finally backed down.
The attacker was wearing a long-sleeved gray knit shirt under a black zip-up vest, with dark blue jeans folded at the hems, with tan work boots.
A skinny male, age 21-28 with glasses leaning against the Panera Bread had witnessed the attack. I had told him I was trying to take a photo of that man because he tried to rob/grope me on the 6 train. I mentioned him because I wonder if he took a video of what happened.
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.
I am 15 years old, and I have dealt with sexual harassment from age 11 up until now. I now see men as animals, instead of human beings.. but worse I now see myself, as just a piece of meat. This still happens, but in 8th grade I decided I wasn’t going to stand for being groped in the halls everyday, and whistled at, and yelled at from cars, and windows. One day at school, a guy walked up to me and said “hey… Let me ‘titty fuck’ you right there in the corner!”, as you can imagine I was appalled at the fact he would have such disrespect for a female, no forget female, as a person!! I stood there completely silent, just taking his crude harassment. Eventually when he was done touching me, and yelling at me, I calmly walked away, he followed me. I finally lost my temper and decided I had nothing to lose, I tuned around And yelled back “IM A PERSON!” And he said “yeah a person with big tits!”, that is about the point where I lost it completely, and broke down, I screamed at the top of my lungs, “you objectify women! You have no respect, and because of that, nobody will have respect for you!” And he laughed and laughed at me… But believe it or not, I felt better afterwards! :O alas I continue to get harassed…. I hate highschool, and I hate how assholish guys can be… The worst parts are- I’ve told the office and they simply responded with “oh I’m Sorry we can’t help you.”, how fucking awful is that? The second worst part is that I don’t feel safe anymore as a person and a girl… I hate it
My best friend and I loved getting pedicures together. It was an easy way to get to spend time together since she just had a baby and I was newly married.
We always went to Royal Essence at the St. Johns Town Center in Jacksonville, FL. They had the best pedicures. It included a short massage while your nails dried, a hot stone massage and a paraffin wax treatment for a great price.
This particular day, as maybe once before, I had a male pedicurist. I didn’t think too much of it, just tried to act normal as it’s always a little awkward to have a male you don’t know rubbing your feet/legs.
What I didn’t know was that this particular pedicurist waited until a young girl came to the salon then would step up to work, otherwise, he’d just wait in the back.
while rubbing my legs with lotion (a normal part of a pedicure) I found myself trying to force my legs together (I was wearing a summer dress). He was trying to rub up to my knees and slightly more but I politely resisted, not thinking too much of it.
At the end of the pedicure I sat down to get my nails dried. Another part of the pedicure at this particular salon was a short back massage while your nails dry from your pedicurist. Something I normally enjoyed. But this time, with this particular pedicurist, it went too far. He began rubbing my shoulders, then went down my back. I was just talking to my friend sitting next to me, trying to act normal, and then he started rubbing my lower back, too low.
We left without me saying anything. My friend and I kind of laughed as if it was just an awkward situation.
The next day at work I told a co-worker about it and she encouraged me to speak up about it. I was too nervous to call the salon because I didn’t want to cause a commotion and put myself in any danger so I called my mom.
My mom called the salon, explained the situation to the owners. We found out that the guy was already reprimanded because the owner saw how low he massaged my back, and said not to do that. But it didn’t stop there. They said that they knew he would wait around in the back until a smaller/younger girl would come in.
Basically, they decided to call the cops and have them present while they fired him (he was kind of a big guy) and when they fired him he spoke some threatening words to the owners.
I had to file a police report about what happened (they called it ‘light battery’) and later received a notification that he was arrested for battery.
It was a scary situation but in the long run I’m very glad I spoke up. The cop filling my report said the same thing, mentioning that if he’s bold enough to do that in public, who knows the things he’s doing in private.
I hope my speaking up helped someone else stay safe from worse harm.
In July 2010, while returning home at around 7:30 pm, I felt like I was being watched.
I realized that these were the same people who always seemed to hang around that place when I returned from my Language studies at the nearby institute. That particular night, I had walked a little forward to catch my bus home. The area was dimly lit and no one was around. There were three men. They started to sing and cat call. I turned around to confront them and was chased and later stabbed with a throw knife. I had to run for my life and I barely made it out. Fortunately, there is a police box very close to that place now. But there are countless such dingy and dark alleyways in our city where people keep harassing women, making them feel unsafe.
It is not about wearing clothes since in our city, most women wear salwar or saree anyway. The fear also arises because mostly who revolt are either beat up badly or in worst cases, shot or stabbed. People are afraid of raising a voice or even share their stories. I feel that if the support behind these harassers is destroyed, our city’d be much safer.