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I’ve never felt unsafe before. That may be surprising, as I live in New York City, but I’ve never really feared for my physical safety. I’m a big lady and I’ve always felt comfortable walking or biking or taking the train at any hour of the day or night.
Last night, two men on a dark street stripped me of that sense of security.
I was riding my bike home from my friend’s house around 1:30AM. I had dressed up for Shabbat services in a cute, short dress and was feeling a little chilly. I was riding mechanically slowly, really only looking forward to getting home so I could curl up in my warm bed and watch some dumb recorded tv shows.
I ride through some pretty desolate areas on this route. Keep in mind, I’ve ridden this route several times a week since I started biking. I’ve ridden it at four in the morning before. It is the only way I use to get home when I’ve gone anywhere east of Prospect Park.
I approached the overpass of the D train on 39th street right near my apartment and passed two men. All of the sudden I heard someone running behind me and I turned around to see one of them chasing me on my bike. He was running full out only a few feet behind me. I screamed out “What the fuck are you doing?” and started pedaling as fast as I could. They screamed “bitch” at me and threw a glass bottle which shattered near my tires.
I was three blocks from my home.
I rode at full speed the last three blocks. When I got to my house, my hands were shaking so badly I could hardly lock up my bike. I was terrified that the men would have followed me home. I ran up my stairs and locked the door, finding an empty apartment. I sat on my bed shivering with fear, unable to really process what had just happened.
When I looked back at that man chasing me, I truly thought that he would overtake me and pull me off my bike. There aren’t a lot of street lights in that area and even less people out on the street. If they had wanted to take my bag, they could have. If they had wanted to sexually assault me and slit my throat, they could have. These are the thoughts that kept me awake as I huddled in my bed, to scared even to cry.
I don’t know what they’ve left me. I ride my bike every single day. I ride it to work, to friend’s houses, to the grocery store, to rehearsal, to meetings, to parties, and anywhere I want to go. I haven’t bought a monthly metrocard since June. My bike is an essential part of how I interact with the city. It’s my life. Yet now, when I think about riding in some of the areas where I travel on a regular basis — I am terrified. What if this happens again? What if next time I’m not fast enough? What if they do get me off my bike? I’m so scared, but I’m not allowed to be — I need my bike.
How can I reclaim the sense of physical security that they’ve taken from me?
Submitted by Emma
This keeps happening to my friends in Crown Heights (brooklyn) where I live: there is a man that walks around (maybe about 5’11”, burly very chubby) with a big dirty black quilted coat on who shuffles up to women, and SPITS on them! He has tried to spit on me twice. It’s TERRIFYING and has happened while it was still dark out before I went to work. I saw him again (on Nostrand Avenue) Friday night, but was with my boyfriend. He beelined toward me, but saw my boyfriend and shuffled off.
I have heard two other people say this man has spit directly on them! I was hoping maybe someone out there would know more about who this crazy brooklyn spitter is?
Submitted by A. T. S.
On Sunday afternoon a random stranger attacked my friend. He came up from behind us with no warning and when I asked him why he claimed that she had bumped into him and not apologized. He knocked her teeth loose and she is covered in bruises and scrapes from how hard she hit the ground. I followed him several blocks up University Place and when I grabbed his shirt to try to keep him from running away he punched me multiple times and bit me before several guys wrestled him to the ground in front of the Whole Foods in Union Square. That’s when I got these photos.
Submitted by Cori
One day as I walked a friend to the train station, I noticed a man in my periphery against a wall by the station, I walked her down and then noticed on my way up that the man against the wall was still there and now trying to get my attention. So oh course my first response is to ignore the bastard, but this man proceeded to follow me. Only a few feet from the station, he proceeded to use his body to corner me up against a wall. My instinct told me to push him away. However, when I pushed I was so scared that I didn’t know my own strength, I shoved him back. He stumbled a few feet backwards and became enraged. I saw in his eyes that he was going to hurt me, so I ran.
Of course, it was the only moment that I have seen this area so empty that I had to run and be chased a full block until I found some people on the street. They were a construction crew. I ran in between them and pointed at the crazy man chasing me. They used their body to block the crazy guy and told me to run home. As I was running home, I could still hear this crazy guy screaming at me about what he would do. As soon as I got home, I locked all the doors and thought about how frightening this was. I was scared. Scared like a child who thinks about monsters. How can one person make another person feel like this in one moment. I am truly sick and tired of this harassment. Since coming to NYC, I understand why people become agoraphobic. Enough is enough. I will not be silenced.
For awhile, I tried to figure out what it is about me that lured these violators to single me out. Is it the way I walk? Is it because I am so short and small? Is it because I seem weak? Is it because of the way I dress?….In the end, why the fuck does any of this matter. It is just plain unacceptable.
Enough is enough.
Submitted by Michelle
I was at the Carroll street stop off the G/F at 2:30am on a Thursday reading a book on the bench along with 5 other people and the f train came (not my train… waiting for the G) and this guy next to me (early thirties wearing an ipod) tries to force himself on me as I am screaming and pushing him off. He runs on to the train, and no one says or does anything. It all happened so fast, didn’t get a photo, totally shocked and horrified. WTF! Ladies beware of perverts late night on this stop.
Submitted by Leah
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I’m writing to report an incident that happened to me on the subway today. At approximately 9:30am on the D train going between Atlantic-Pacific St. and Grand St. (right before the Manhattan Bridge), I awoke to the sight of a man masturbating on my arm.
I was napping with my iPod on, and I woke up because I felt something repeatedly hitting and rubbing up to my arm. When I looked down, I saw an uncircumcised penis being masturbated right on top of my arm. Luckily, he hadn’t finished yet. (Though the police mentioned that it would have been better to have DNA evidence. Ew.) I immediately screamed something like “OH MY GOD, GET OFF OF ME YOU SICK MOTHERFUCKER!”
At that point, the man mumbled something like “sorry” and walked quickly through the crowd to the other side of the train. I was stunned that no one tried to stop him, and even shifted to let him through. I screamed again “DID ANYONE SEE THAT? THAT ASSHOLE WAS MASTURBATING ON ME!”
No one did anything. No one saw his penis, because my arm was covering it.
So I took my camera-phone out and went after him. He had taken a seat more towards the front of the carriage and pretended to be asleep. I snapped these two pictures of him (attached). And then when I was done, I screamed again “I’VE GOT YOUR PICTURE NOW, YOU SICK FUCK. I’M GOING TO REPORT YOU TO THE POLICE!” Of course, this got the attention of everyone around us and everyone was staring at us except the pervert who was still pretending to be asleep. There was no way he didn’t hear me. So I went back to my seat.
Later I did report him to the police, and am still waiting to hear back.
Submitted by Alice
From our friends at Gothamist:
After two young women refused a Brooklyn man’s advances during a late night pizza stop last month, the failed pick-up turned into a violent assault, leaving one women with a fractured jaw and another nearly blinded. One of the victims, a 26-year-old student who would only identify herself as Christine, tells the Post she was eating pizza with her friend at 3:50 a.m. at John & Tony’s Pizzeria on First Avenue at 60th Street on March 20th, when they were approached by 31-year-old Dzemal Kolenovic. Christine (pictured) says that after she responded to his advances by asking him to leave her alone, he became abusive, yelling, “F- – – you, bitches. You whores.” And when they stepped outside, Kolenovic was waiting, and allegedly threw Christine to the sidewalk. She says, “I asked him, ‘Why are you doing this?’ and he said, ‘Because I’m Albanian, I can do whatever the f- – – I want.’ ” Her friend tried to dial 911 on her cellphone, but Kolenovic smacked it out of her hands and fractured her jaw, according to police. He then continued beating Christine, who recalls that “first he punched me once in the right eye and then he got really wound up and hit my left eye. I had bruises all over. My arm, my knees were all cut, and my lower back. Both my eyes were swollen shut.”
She was partially blind for a time, and doctors say she may require several surgical procedures. As for Kolenovic, police were able to track him down via restaurant credit-card receipts! He turned himself in to police last Wednesday and was charged with two counts of felony assault. He’s since been released on $5,000 bail to do “whatever the f – – – he wants,” and that has Christine understandably worried: “My main concern is that he doesn’t come after me and he doesn’t do this to anyone else.”
The police are asking for people’s help is identifying a man who assaulted a woman during yesterday morning’s subway rush hour. According to the NYPD, yesterday at 7:35 a.m., a 33-year-old woman “entered the Subway system at the Broadway Station [in Queens] in the confines of the 114 Pct and entered the ‘W’ train (Manhattan Bound). As the train approached 39th Street, the victim was sexually abused by the suspect who was sitting next to her.
Post courtesy of our friends at Gothamist.
Our hearts go out to Ysemny Ramos’ family. Ysemny, a mother of three who was three months pregnant, was killed after ignoring two truck drivers who were harassing her.
Ysemny’s story is a terrifying wake up call to women. Perhaps as a survival technique, we imagine that our street harassers are just wayward men. They may scare us, but we try so hard not to believe that they can hurt us. Ysemny’s story reminds us that street harassment can be more than annoying, more than scary, it can be deadly.
We owe it to the future Ysemny’s of the world to put an end to street harassment now. Join the movement and send your pictures and stories to hollabackNYC.com.
For the Ysemny’s full story, click here.
On Monday afternoon, I was getting off the train at the Clark St station in Brooklyn (2/3) when I was walking up the stairs from a subway platform, a man lifted my dress and when I jumped up quick, he tried to hold on to my ankle. I screamed and he ran down the stairs and got on the train. I called the police and was told that there wasn’t much that they could do…
Scared the hell out of me.
Submitted by Suzy