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I was harassed by a man on the street on Tuesday night. I was unlocking my bike when a man came up to me.
This is the sequence of events as I remember it – it all happened pretty fast. He got uncomfortably close and mumbled “Are you black or white?” (it should have been obvious from looking at me – and I’m only so sure that’s what he said). I said a firm “Goodbye” to him 3 times, but he ignored and just stayed and mumbled. I told him to “F** off”. He grabbed my bike handles after I refused to engage with him. I told him to “F** off”. He yanked one of my brake cables off. Thankfully, 3 guys on the other side of the street say “Hey! Hey!” and started to cross. He darted and I biked away without looking back at him.
The whole incident was unsettling, but I left feeling more angry than scared.
When I got to the bike shop to fix my brake, I called 311 to report the incident. It was almost more stressful to talk to the lady on the phone and later to the police officer who got dispatched to me than it was to get harassed by a stranger because they had this whole attitude of “what do you want?” They didn’t seem to get that I didn’t want to prosecute this guy, I just wanted to get this incident documented because it happens to way too many women way too often. In surveys, over 90% of women report having been harassed in public places. Overall, I felt more ashamed for reporting a “harmless” incident than supported in my attempt to get it recorded.
I was taking the train home from work. A man came by and seemed to be selling train tickets. He spoke to me (his voice was very hard to understand) and I said no thanks and he moved along. He then circled back and asked if he could sit across from me. I said sure and tried to look busy. He wouldn’t stop talking to me even though my headphones were in and I tried several times to just ignore him. I reluctantly talked to him for a while while he asked me when my birthday was and if I had kids and I just wished he’d take a hint and leave. Then he asked if he could give me a kiss and before I knew it he stood up, leaned over and kissed my cheek. I tried to push him away and I said “no” several times in a loud voice but he didn’t care. He sat back down and kept talking to me while I sat, shaking. I was looking around, hoping someone had noticed but the train wasn’t very full and nobody saw. There was an older woman in the seat ahead of him (I try to sit near other women) but her headphones were in and she didn’t notice. The man kept talking to me and I pulled out my book and insisted that I just wanted to read. He kept talking, he touched my leg before I pulled it away, and eventually put his hand out for me to shake hands (he put it directly in my line of sight so there was no ignoring him) and I was so flustered I just took it. He said my hands were soft and that I was very pretty and he finally left. I spent the rest of the train ride shaking and nearly crying and hoping he wouldn’t follow me home. As soon as my stop arrived, I called my boyfriend so someone would be on the phone with me as I walked home. He was out of town so I spent the rest of the night alone and scared. I told him everything but it was so hard to explain how helpless I felt (he’s 6’1 and not easily intimidated). I keep replaying it in my head, knowing it could have been so much worse but still hating every second of it. I wish I had known how to react. I can’t believe I shook his hand afterwards. I’m somehow ashamed; I know it was mostly from shock and the fear of inciting anything worse, but still. The next day I didn’t have access to my car so I had to take the train again to work. I got a friend to drive me home in the evening so I could put off those feelings a little longer. Plus I don’t want him to figure out my schedule. My budget and lifestyle depend on public transportation. I’m hoping it gets better but I have a feeling it’s going to get worse.
I was walking home from uni at around 2 pm in the afternoon, same thing i do everyday, when i passed by these two guys that stopped what they were talking about and one of them said to me “girl, you don’t know what I’d like to do with that ass of yours”.
I couldn’t help it so i turned back and looked at them with a “what the hell are you saying” face. My reaction was normal, but they thought it to be an attack so they decided to follow me to my house, and when i was getting inside, they shouted “now we know where you live”.
They had to be around 16 years old and I am 22, so their effort to threaten me just made me laugh, which offended them so of course they called me in the same sentence a PRUDE AND SLUT.
There were more people in the street, they were watching the scene and they didn’t even make a sound.
What pisses me off it is not that they insulted and followed me or comment about my ass; what bothers me is that their behavior has been normalized and socially accepted. In fact, at least in Spain, many men don’t even see that as an attack to women as a collective.
This is why we need feminism. Having a dick doesn’t legitimize a man to have an unwanted opinion on a woman’s body. Catcalling is harassment, not complimenting. Even if it was complimenting…we don’t need men’s approval on how we dress or look. We don’t need any man’s opinion on how hot or fat we are; in fact, we don’t need any man’s opinion on anything we do, unless we ask for it.
Thanks for reading and hi from Spain to all women out there fighting for equality 🙂
This happened to me years ago but I still cannot shake it. I was at a club with some friends and dancing when this guy just came up to me like he wanted to dance. I ignored him. Moments later, he proceeded to stick his hand straight up under my shirt, under my bra, and felt my bare breast. I was so shocked that it took me a moment to even realize what was going on. I backed away and yelled at him
(the music was loud so I don’t even know if he heard.) I wish I would have told someone and made a big scene and really called him out, but I was just so shocked! It was like it happened in slow motion. My friends even missed it and I never told them about it. In fact, to this day I never told anyone about it, but I think of it often.
Over the past few year’s I have experienced endless amounts of harassment, from little boys years younger than me grabbing my ass and a man twice my age forcing himself on me in broad daylight – not to mention constant whistles and animal sounds “Hey baby””Hey sexy””Smile love”…
However, nothing has every upset me so much, as an incident that happened last Christmas while I was at home in Ireland for a few days.
I was standing at an ATM taking out money at 10 at night when my friends stood ten feet away waiting on me.
Out of nowhere these two grown men come up behind me and begin making these aggressive whispers in my ear ……
“Holy Fuck what I wouldn’t love to do to that”…”Look at the fucking hole on that”…”Jesus Crist, and those tits look at those fucking tits” …. At this point, I was so overwhelmed and almost couldn’t believe it was happening. I turned around and one of them looked me straight in the face and said “I’d love to get fuckin stuck into you”
More than anything I was so so angry that they though they have the right to speak to someone in such a horrific way.In the end I told him to Fuck off and that they were both absolutely discussing, and there is no way they will ever get a woman speaking like that to women.
I was walking home from an event only a few blocks from home. I cut through a parking lot and saw a couple guys getting into their car. I was at least 30 feet past them when I heard someone call out ‘hey’ a couple of times. I ignored it and continued walking quickly but he got louder and finally yelled out ‘you with the orange scarf’. I turned to see a guy leaning out the passenger side but I was still walking fast. he said ‘you better look at me when i’m talking to you’. I had already turned my head back around and kept walking. I was right at my back gate but I didn’t want them to see where I live, so I kept walking as if it weren’t my house. At this point I was out of their sight so I walked around the corner to head to my front door, thinking I was done with them. About halfway down the block, a car pulled over to the curb, the passenger window rolled down, and the man said ‘I found you’.
they had gone around the other side of the block. I kept going, this time straight for my front door, wishing i had pulled out my phone. when I got to my front gate, I turned to see the car was gone.
I was cycling back home at stound 8pm tonight, after helping my boyfriend move house. The route home is well lit but usually quiet. As I cycled across a bridge a group of 6 middle aged men walking towards me started cat calling and yelling. They then obstructed my path forcing me to slow down and veer to the the other side. I tried to ignore them and cycle away as quickly as possible but I felt intimidated and scared as no one else was around. This is just one example of something that happens regularly but it’s started to effect my behaviour and I want to do something to prevent this insidious attitude happening
I’m 36 weeks pregnant and single. A few weeks ago I was walking into the city centre alone and a guy appeared beside me and started talking to me. It must have been obvious from my body language and responses that I was uncomfortable, but he continued to talk to me and walk alongside me regardless
I stopped and got my phone out in the hope he’d take the hint and carry on walking but he stopped and waited for me despite my obvious discomfort. He asked me if I had a boyfriend and I lied and said yes. Only at this point did he apologize and leave me alone. It made me angry that he only left me be because he thought I was involved with someone, not because he was making me feel uncomfortable. I felt unable to ask him to leave me alone because I was scared he might become aggressive towards me and my unborn son.
I was 13, and was on the bus with my guy best friend. Our relationship was always platonic, and I felt comfortable with him. On the bus, I was tired so I decided to lean on his shoulder and sleep. Just before I dozed off, I felt a hand on my chest moving down to my breasts. It felt foreign, and I was terrified. Then, he put his other hand on my thigh and moved up to my crotch. I was too scared to do anything. When I couldn’t take it anymore, I pretended to wake up, and the hands shot back. Till this day, he still doesn’t know I know what he did to me. He completely betrayed my trust, and I never went out with him again.
I work in a supermarket, and this morning a decent sized group of builders from another city came in. You could hear them halfway across the store being loud. I was the only person down my aisle, and no managers were close enough to see what was happening. They walked by the end of the aisle and I heard one yell ‘ey let’s go down this one!! she’s fit!!!!’ – they all started cheering and came down, then said hey to me and they all started laughing about how I wouldn’t even smile at him.
I so wish I could’ve retaliated, shown him how what he’s doing sucks, but being an employee it’s my job to be nice to customers, and being a new starter I didn’t want to risk getting into trouble for it, so I had to just walk away.
I’ve had a lot of anxiety issues the past two years and although I know I could handle any situation and not be in harm, I was still shaky afterwards because it truly sickens me to know some people still behave in such a misogynistic, desperate way.