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Nox’s Story: Independent Woman

Last week I attended a conference in a small and beautiful Norwegian town. In general, people were very nice and hospitable.
One evening, after some drinks with other participants, I was walking towards the hotel with another participant (a man), both rather tipsy.
A young, 18-ish local guy randomly joined us in the walk.
He was mildly drunk, with poor body-coordination, but generally friendly and funny and apparently totally harmless. He was saying random things.

Towards the end of the street, we stopped, because my companion and I stayed at different places and we arrived to the splitting point. However, we didn’t say goodbye immediately, for there was this drunk guy and even though he seemed harmless, in the air there was the implicit possibility of him following me along once I’m walking alone.

After some awkward moments of trying to figure out the next step via non-verbal communication with the conference guy, I decided to tell the drunk guy in a friendly tone that we should say goodbye, and while it was a pleasure meeting him, he should really go now, because we are all going home. I gave him a hug.

He said goodbye, but then, after a second’s pause, in a completely different tone and posture than before, he stopped and loudly exclaimed: “You have a nice ass. Really, a sexy nice ass.” He leant towards me, trying to get closer.

I jumped away but I completely froze for this change of attitude. Trying to recompose myself fast, I told him: “You should go away now. I was friendly, but you lost me when you started to comment on my body. Go away.”

He responded: “Nice ass.” He turned to the conference guy: “I bet you’re gonna fuck her all night long. You’re gonna fuck that alright. Good for you!”
I was furious, but I kept calm and determined. In a calm but strict voice, I told him: “You must go away now, you cannot talk like this.”
I caught his shoulder, firmly, but not violently, and turned him around. “You are going to leave now.”

And so he walked away, much to my surprise and relief. That was it!
I was very happy that I didn’t leave my protection to the guy accompanying me (although it was a bit weird that he stood completely silent during all this).
I suppose he was also happy that he didn’t have to “rescue” me.

The story wouldn’t be a whole without noting that following the incident, my intentions to kill the awkwardness of the situation by joking around about it with the conference companion met total miscoding from his part and taken as an indication that in fact I might want to be fucked by him all night long.
He stood corrected.

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35+

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Molly’s Story: “My legs are not for you”

Dunno if the reader knows this…but it’s fucking hot in Virginia and DC. The high today is 86, and humidity is through the roof. I decided to wear a dress for casual Friday and because I don’t want sweat dripping down my thighs as I hike toward my workplace.

So at around 2:00pm today a man, perhaps in his 60s, told me I was “asking for it” with “those legs.” He was saying that I’m inviting sex with my body. That my body s inherently sexual and obviously begs for sex.

I was pissed. MY LEGS ARE NOT FOR YOU. They ask nothing. And I shouldn’t fear walking in a dress because some guy might think dressing for myself = dressing for a penis. Seriously, you guys. This is a fucking problem. But despite my anger, I remained silent. It hurts to know that this lecherous man will continue to invade upon women’s personal spaces and interpret their bodies as a natural extension/completion of a man’s desires.

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41+

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Beatrice’s Story: Yelling Back to the Bros

It was a Friday night and I was out with 6 of my friends at the mall. It was the mall where everyone would go to after school so we went there regularly.

We were dressed in our school uniforms walking around. We reached this part where not many people went so when we were walking, we saw no one but another group of boys. I saw them before from afar, whispering and looking at us. I became a little uncomfortable because I knew that they were talking about us.

As my friends and I were walking, the guys started walking towards us. I was looking at all of them (they were about 5) to see if they were up to anything and then this one guy suddenly shouts “DAMN!”. My friends looked confused and uncomfortable but I let him go. A few seconds after, another guys says “DAMN GIRL!” and then another, and another. When we were quite far from them, the guys stop and look at us as we walk away. I can felt them staring so I looked back. When I did, this guy winked at me, gave me a big smile and said “BYE, GIRLS!”

I felt disrespected and really angry since they were being rude for no good reason at all so I gave them the finger and screamed “F*CK YOU” and walked away with my friends.

When they were out of sight, I talked to my friends told them how rude it was of them and they said that they didn’t even know it was directed at all of us which made me think about the thousands (or even millions) of people who get harassed everyday without knowing. Nobody should be able to just disrespect you like that. You shouldn’t let it pass.

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71+

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Stella’s Story: A Curt Complaint

A friend and I were walking to the bus stop yesterday, when we walked past the skate park. When we were almost past it, nearly every guy in the park (15 or more) started whistling at us, thrusting and beckoning to us. I gave them the finger, which resulted in one of them screaming ‘f*ck you bitch!’ to which my friend replied ‘that’s not polite!’. They continued to whistle at us as we walked down the street and some of us gave us the finger as well. I am a photographer, and on occasion I have photographed skaters at the park, many of which were there and harassed us that afternoon. They had never disrespected me before when I had worked with them, which made this incident even more unexpected.

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52+

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SS’s Story: “What the hell”

I woke up early to go to a meeting at my internship only to find out that the bus schedule online was incorrect meaning I would have to wait in the rain for the next bus to come and be late. It wasn’t even 8am, I was tired, wet, and rather cranky as I stood waiting and listening to music. I heard a weird nose and looked up to find a man slowly driving past me whistling at me loud enough to be heard over the music in my headphones. When I made eye contact he started blowing kisses at me as he continued to drive. I was too stunned to do anything except make a “what the hell” the face at him.

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53+

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Emma’s Story: Shouldn’t Have To Be Scared

I am only fifteen, and it happens all the time. It’s so disgusting because a lot of these guys are old enough to be my dad. I have a lot of stories but I’ll share this one because it was one of the more disturbing ones. This guy comes up to me at a bus stop near my school. And I know that I may look older than I am but I was wearing a backpack, etc. So I think it was pretty clear i was underage. Anyways, he walks past me and looks me up and down and says something like “dayyyum” and making weird grunting noises. And I’m just thinking oh shit here we go again. I just ignore him. But he walks back towards me and starts talking to me, he says things like can I have your number, etc. I tell him I have a boy friend, which is what I always do so they’ll leave me alone. But he doesn’t get the message and he keeps harassing me and he starts saying “oooh i get it you’ve never fucked a guy before i get it” and other even more inappropriate things. And I try to make it really clear to him that i want him to fuck off but at the same time I’m so scared of what he’ll do if I am rude, or I shout at him.

I hate that they can make me feel that way. Then he goes in for a hug and I duck out of the way, thank god the bus came at that moment because he kept getting more and more aggressive. But when the bus pulled up he backed off. What was so weird was that he didn’t even get on the bus. OH and did i mention there were adults, including several grown men just standing there obviously aware of not doing anything. A girl in my french class was there too and she gave me a hug when we got on the bus and said she was sorry but she was scared to do anything. A lot of girls are scared and they shouldn’t have to be. And I am usually a pretty brave and tough person. I shouldn’t feel so frightened and harassed only two blocks from my school. I’m going to get mase but I shouldn’t have to, I don’t think I’m even actually allowed to bring it in my backpack to school so I have no way to defend myself. I wish I was as brave as my sister she always yells at people who harass her.

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85+

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Sarah’s Story: Confrontation Before Class

Just after finishing high school, I enrolled in a local community college and began to take classes there two days a week. Due to a mix-up, I had three hour long classes, then a two hour break, and then an hour long class. So, for two hours, I was stuck aimlessly wandering around campus, sitting in the lunch room, or hiding out in the library. On a particular day, the weather was relatively nice so I decided to walk around a little bit. An older man, maybe late 40’s?, walked past me, looked at me, and then started to follow me. I ignored him initially because he didn’t say anything, but after a few moments he began to call out to me. “Hey, how long are you going to keep walking away?” I nervously told him I was on my way to class and didn’t have time to talk. He caught up to me, not caring at all about my excuse, and continued to talk. “How old are you?” Thinking he would leave me alone if I was young, I lied and said I was 17, not 18. He laughed and put a hand on my shoulder, saying, “it’s okay, I can take you on a date, nobody has to know.” I started to walk faster, and I ended up having to pretend I was going into a class to get him to leave me alone. The last thing he said to me was, “I know where you go to class now! You’re gonna have to give me an answer some time!” Similar experiences happened so often to the point I stopped going after that. People don’t know what they’re doing to somebody when they “innocently hit on them.”

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63+

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Anna’s Story: Should Be Shocking

I’m a law intern and my friend and I, both girls, dressed professionally, were shadowing a judge in the municipal court today. During the ten-minute recess, we both went to the bathroom, passing through the large marble atrium on our way. Two men were leaning on a railing as we passed; one of them said “Sexy, sexy” to us, and the other “Yum, yum,” and other indistinguishable grunts as we passed them.

I’m sharing this story precisely because it is not shocking. I think it should be shocking. I was too shocked to respond. We are desensitized to this behavior and have come to expect it; my goal is to question that expectation and that passivity.

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57+

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Rachel’s Story: Ruining the Ride

I love riding my bike, I use it as transportation as often as I can. Riding home last night around 10p.m. a car driving the opposite direction slowed down and stared at me as he passed. I glared back. He proceeded to turn around, and follow slowly behind me, in the bike lane. I saw someone I know walking and slowed and pulled to the curb to talk with him. The car turned off on a side street. Annoying as hell. I love riding my bike. I hate harassment, and it happens every time, from catcalling, to following.

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44+

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Jordan’s Story: “It’s creepy to us too”

I was on my way to work this morning, and was mentally steeling my resolve and “don’t talk to me” body language in preparation for the couple of creepy suits that are invariably standing outside the building ogling like it’s a full-time job. So I was taken completely by surprise when, only a few yards from my car, an older man walking the other way insisted “hey, smile, come on!” I was so startled that all I could manage before he was out of earshot was “Seriously? Fuck you.” I wish I’d had the focus to stop him and ask him if he would say the same creepy shit to a young man, or if that would seem like a weird imposition on someone else’s life. New golden rule: if it would be creepy to say it to a man, it’s creepy to us too.

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44+

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