Appalachian Ohio, Athens GA, Atlanta, Berkeley, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Columbia MO, Des Moines, Durham & Chapel Hill, Fredericksburgh VA, Houston, Los Angeles, Muncie IN, New York City, NYU, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Richmond VA, San Francisco, Tucson, Twin Cities
I was standing in the metro. Some guys were standing next to me ( They didn’t understand german, just arabic, so I assume they were from an arabic country, although this isn’t a matter of nationality) and were chatting, they seemed to be in their 20s. I want to add that I directly came from school and I was dressed very modestly. When the train stopped at the station, they guy next to me let me leave the train first . I liked this act of politeness very much, that’s why thanked him and smiled to him very nicely. It wasn’t meant as flirtation or anything, I just wanted to be polite. But when I left, I heard them laughing : oooooooooooh Dankeschön Dankeschön ( which is the german word for thank you, that i used). They said it in a weird tone , then they started to say something in arabic. Of course I don’t really know what they said, but I am sure that they thought that the fact I thanked him in a friendly way, was a sign that I liked him. They continued grinning into my direction and that really upset me.
Generally, I have experienced that guys from the middleeast sometimes misinterpret politeness from girls. I am from Iran, and Iranians also behave this way. Another time, I was in the metro with my friend when a Iranian guy started talking to me, in the middle of our conversation! I replied politely but reluctantly. still, when my friend left the train, he talked to me all they way, asking how old i was and if i would give him my phone number . he was actually pretty nice, but it was still a bit awkward for me.
When I am in Iran, I experienced that if you look into a guys eyes for a few seconds or smile at him, he thinks you are interested in him. That really sucks. so – guys ! even if I am polite to you – it doesn’t mean I want to date you our stuff okay?
My car broke down on the side of a busy but small road during 5 o’clock traffic. My dad was with me and he was standing outside looking under my hood. I was way too uncomfy to get out of the car because I was wearing a short dress and wasn’t anticipating having to stand on the side of a road. I have been sexually assaulted and raped before so this adds to my extreme anxiety in situations such as this. I felt bad that I was not helping so I did step out of the car, and of course – as soon as I did I hear “DAMMMNNNN BABY” or something to that effect. This man was hanging out the driver’s side window making hand gestures at me and yelling, at a stop sign, with tons of other cars waiting behind him and all around. Although my stress level heightens in situations like this I always have something to say back. I look at him, gave him the finger and just said “NO. NOPE.” with a super bitch look on my face. He THEN yelled “Whatever, BITCH!” and drove away, continuing to look at me. My dad was within feet of me. There were TWO OTHER men standing with us and he STILL had the audacity to do it. My dad an the other men did not hear it, luckily. Otherwise we would have had a bigger problem.
So me and a friend of mine are walking through downtown Portland Oregon to the mall to get some Christmas shopping done. As we’re crossing the street, a man comes up to me and my friend and starts screaming 6 inches from our faces
“I WANT TO F*CK YOU, F*CK ME RIGHT HERE RIGHT NOW MAKE LOVE TO ME”
After being startled half to death I finally worked up the courage to scream right back, “GET THE FUCK AWAY FROM US BEFORE I BEAT THE SHIT OUT OF YOU!!” He didn’t back off so we shoved our way through and kept walking.
What bothers me the most was that there were 20 or 30 people around us at the pioneer courthouse square and not ONE person did anything or asked us if we were okay.
This is only one of numerous times ive been harassed on my way to work/class/at work.
I cant shake the feeling these encounters gives me. Something has got to be done.
I have witnessed some assaults so far, but most of them weren’t that severe. But in June 2010 , I experienced Something really bad happened to me and my friends when I was 14 years old. My friends and I were sitting in a bus when a man right next to us started to masturbate in front of us. At first, I didn’t really realize what he was doing , but when I got it, I was so shocked ! He looked into my eyes while doing it and I turned away, but still we all could hear him breathing louder and louder. It was disturbing, disgusting and just so creepy. Some adults saw what he was doing, but no one helped us. It was really, really disgusting. I felt so humiliated – he was “using” me in order to please himself.
This was one of the most disturbing things I’ve experienced. Later, there were other things, comments, looks or rude remarks . Still, the bus incident was the worst – it made me feel dirty and abused ! I wish I would have said something, but I couldn’t say anything.
There have been so many times throughout my life that I’ve experienced street harassment without even realizing what it truly was. Like many women, it began around the time I reached adolescence and has only gotten worse. Unfortunately, I have too many stories to share here at once, but there is one from several years ago that still sticks out in my mind like it was yesterday, and probably always will.
I had just turned 16 and gotten my first job hostessing at a restaurant in the small town I lived in. One spring afternoon, a friend from work and I decided to go shopping at an outdoor plaza and take a walk around the park across from it. We went in and out of a few stores, having a nice time. My friend needed to make a quick stop at a store in the plaza and since I didn’t need to go in that store I told her that I’d walk across the street to the park to get some ice cream and we agreed to meet back up by the ice cream stand in a few minutes.
I did just that, but the line for ice cream was short and my friend was no-where to be seen. I sat on a bench in the park and ate my ice cream out of a little cup, waiting and watching the few people there walking around the track. I pitched my empty cup in the garbage bin beside the bench and that’s when I saw him: an elderly man, perhaps 70 or 75 years old, walking a bicycle, overtly staring at me and making a beeline in my direction. I didn’t pay him much heed until he came to a halt right in front of me. I looked up, confused, and he said, “Sure is a lovely day, isn’t it?” I replied that it was. He then backed up a bit so he and his bike were close beside me and I was beginning to feel that intuitive prickling sensation we all experience as a primitive warning system, but try to ignore. He said, “What’s a pretty girl like you doing alone in the park?” He leaned closer to me. I had been sexually assaulted less than a year before and was still slightly skittish around strange men approaching me. I tensed and began feeling like a cornered animal, prey; his body and bicycle were blocking my most immediate exit. I tried to think of an appropriate response that might discourage him. “I’m waiting for my boyfriend,” I said. “He’s just on the other side of the park.” I thought that may be enough, but it only gave him more to question me with. “Do you like to have fun with him? I don’t think there’s nothin’ wrong with two adults having fun.” I knew what he was implying and I knew there was no way he thought I was older than I was, let alone an adult. With my tiny frame and still slightly child-like face, I was often mistaken as being even younger than I was. ‘Is he a pedophile?’ I thought, and it alarmed me even further. I smiled sheepishly, uncomfortably, hoping he wouldn’t sense my unease and prey on it like a canine when it smells fear.
“So you like to have fun? I live around here, I just got this real nice place. We could walk over there if you wanna. We’ll have fun.” He smiled. Creepy. His words themselves were innocuous but the implied meaning was clear. I looked around as discreetly as I could, hoping to see my friend or another person, anyone, nearby. I didn’t, but I wanted away from him right then. “Oh look, there comes my boyfriend!” I stood up abruptly, causing him to stagger backward a step, and power-walked with no real destination in my mind; just away from him. He got on his bike and rode out of the park.
I crossed the street, heading to the store my friend was in just as she came out of the door. I called her name and she must have seen something in my eyes I was unaware of because she sounded alarmed when she asked, “What’s wrong?!”
I relayed my experience to her and we got in her car. She was determined to find the man and we circled every block in the vicinity, but we never saw him. Although the panic I felt was nearly gone, adrenaline was still pumping through my veins, and I was shaken. I told her I just wanted to go home. As I was getting out at my house, I sincerely thanked her for her concern and efforts in trying to find the man.
Only when I was alone in my bedroom at last did I allow the tears to flow unbidden. I felt ashamed, scared, powerless, sullied, but most of all I felt angry. Angry not only at this one creep, but for all the women who have to live with men like him and their lecherous glances and words that poison innocence. I was angry with myself for not standing up, not reporting him right then because I realized that with the confidence and persuasion he exuded towards me, he must have done this before and will undoubtedly do it again, perhaps to an even younger or more naive girl who will follow him home.
I realized I needed to take a stand, and I have. Not only for myself, but for every person who has ever experienced sexual harassment. I’m so thankful for organizations like Ihollaback for raising awareness for something so vitally important. From me, and I’m sure from women everywhere, thank you for showing us we have the strength to holla back!
Once when I was 16 I walked down the road i live on to do my volunteering at a thrift shop. I approached an intersection when a man in a van began to harass me. He honked repeatedly as I crossed the street. Once I crossed,and the light had gone green he made a turn and began driving and honking alongside where i was walking. I just walked to the shop and did my work. Hours later, i had completely forgotten about the incident and went on break. I sat outside and watched cars go by while i ate some crackers. Suddenly the same man in the van from hours before came “casually” walking past and approached me. He started asking me why i was sitting there and if i was hungry and wanted to get in his car to get something to eat with him. I told him no and he eventually went away. It made me feel so uncomfortable.
I was about 24 and biking home along East Broadway towards Burnaby. It was during rush hour traffic and another biker came up behind me and slid his hand up my buttocks. It made me stop biking almost fell into traffic. We fought a bit and drivers just honked at us! This was from out of no where. I didn’t know the person and didn’t recognize him from any previous riding experience. Didn’t make sense. No one helped and after I called 911 the police said they couldn’t do anything for me. I still had to finish riding my bike home! I would never have thought that this could happen this way. This was back in 1984.
I had just returned from a trip overseas. I was 20. I was visiting with my brother at a local Taco Bell. I used the pay phone on the street and had a young man approach me asking for directions – I gave him the directions and his way of thanking me was to come into the phone booth and assault me and grope me. I was very shocked and tried to fight back. It was about 9 p.m. and still light out. People watched and didn’t do anything. I felt very violated, but what could I do? This was back in 1980.
Every time I’ve been severely harassed from 2011 to 2012. I get the occasional “nice tits” and rudeness but this is by far the worst. I know the exact dates because of OCD journal entries.
- On July 11th 2011, I was walking to my father’s house. I was not provocatively dressed at all: Rob Zombie t-shirt and jeans. My father lives in an alright area, but you have to walk under two highway overpasses and past a bar to get there. A lot of men hang out under the overpasses, but since it was broad daylight I didn’t see a reason to be anxious. This older man rode up behind me on his bicycle and started asking me questions. “Where are you going?” “What are you doing?” A lot of it was really condescending and he referred to me as “baby”. Then when I ignored him he proceeded to physically block my way (with his bicycle) right by the highway overpass. Naturally I was uncomfortable and refused to answer his questions. He finally rode away but not before yelling “YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE SCARED OF ME BECAUSE OF MY COLOR!!!” My father lives in a neighborhood predominantly made up of African Americans. I was afraid that they would assume that I had yelled some racial slur at the man or had done some great injustice by refusing to talk to him. There were people sitting at the bar who saw what he was doing but made no attempt to help me. I got to my dad’s, closed the curtains, cried and ordered pepperspray.
- On September 20th 2012, I turned 19 and wore a low cut shirt. I am pretty busty (wearing a 34 I–but actually more of a 34 K) so I am somewhat used to being looked at. I don’t mind being looked at, but I don’t like it when my body is commented on, because it is something I cannot control. I was going to class and a teacher looked me up and down and said “Looking good.” I turned red and said “thanks.” I really did not know how to respond to that situation because even though this person isn’t a professor of mine, they still had some authority over me. I really did not know how to respond or what to do. I told a friend of mine who is an RA and they encouraged me to report it, I didn’t want to stir up trouble so I didn’t report it, but I spent part of my birthday feeling dirty and cheap because of a lousy professor. The worst part, I almost stupidly registered for a class of his. Thank God I dodged that bullet. If I see him I make sure I glare at him in the halls. I stand by my decision not to report because I would of been slut shamed to hell and back for my low cut shirt.
–On September 29th 2012, I had to go to a Pagan Pride festival for my internship. Since I didn’t know where I needed to be I decided to call a cab. When I got in the cab, the driver had his young son in a carseat next to me. Then asked me where I was going. When I told him I was going to Pagan Pride for my internship, he got into the whole religion talk and how apparently pagan people are all very sexually promiscuous and bisexual. I explained that although I am not religious myself I respect everyone’s religion and sexuality, and that I myself am bisexual. He then asked me a lot of inappropriate questions about whether or not I’d been with a woman. The subject got onto how he liked my body, and he circled around the park so I would have to pay extra. He handed me his card and asked me to call him. I tore it up and threw it in the nearest trash can. It was a horrible experience because I was stuck in a vehicle with this person, and if I had jumped out of the car I would be somewhere unfamiliar. If I called the cops I would of been slut shamed because of the low cut top and semi-see through skirt I was wearing. Or in the very worse case scenario arrested for not paying. If this ever happens again, I will definitely call and complain.
–On November 5th 2012, I was walking to the post office to send off my absentee ballot. I was about a block away from my dorm and on the phone with my boyfriend when the incident took place. I stopped to tie my jacket around my waist because it was hot near where I live. A guy wearing a violet-ish jacket and really worn out pants that might of been jeans or might of been khakis crossed the street and deliberately blocked my path. I stepped to the right and he mimicked my movements with his hands up and a wild look in his eyes. I was irritated so I just walked around him, and a couple of steps later I got this bad feeling, so I spun around. He was right behind me. I told him to “Get the fuck away from me!” And he left me alone. At that moment had he come near me again I am one hundred and ten percent certain I would of gone into fight or flight and severely hurt him, I could hear my heart beat in my ears. I was in survival mode on the way to the post office, but after I left I was shakey. I stayed on the phone with my boyfriend until I found a male acquaintance who walked with me to my next errand. After that I had calmed down enough to go to report it to campus security. Then I filed a report, and was interviewed by two officers who said they thought it was aggressive panhandling. I am genuinely sure that person had more sinister intentions by the look in his eyes. Why would you attempt to rob someone so close to their campus when security guards could hear and when they were on the phone with someone who could of presumably called the police? I was really shaken by the incident and really hope that person was caught, but I doubt they were.
This is why street harassment sucks. I don’t feel safe walking around near my father’s house or university. I have other less-severe incidents where people have yelled things out of cars or made kissy faces at me. I shouldn’t have to be nice to these assholes and not make a scene. I hate how people blame it on what I wear or on how I have big boobs, or tell me that I should ignore it and move on. I have a right to be angry with this treatment, and one of my new years resolutions is to not tolerate anymore of this bullshit.
Each day I learn increasingly how dangerous it is to be a female on this planet. I only recently returned, just before 2am, from the most terrifying experience of my life. On my commute home, I ended up at a relatively desolate subway station. A guy apparently took interest in me and started (literally) doing ninja kicks by my head as I sat, petrified, on a bench wondering what the fuck was going on. I moved away and he pursued, following me wherever I walked in the station. I sought solace by the only other people there at that moment, only to again be regarded as a piece of meat and catcalled by the two shitfaces. The psycho guy was oblivious to my intentions of ignoring him, my dirty looks, hanging around the emergency call button and wearing headphones. I was so tempted to push that button, but I was afraid he’d beat me to a bloody pulp in the time it took the cops to get that far underground to the station. I knew he would follow me onto my train and my prediction was correct, as he boarded the same car as me and made sure to stand a few feet away from me. I swung my umbrella around and clenched my pepperspray in my coat pocket. It was collectively the most horrifying 20 mins of my life. He pretty much chased me out of the station and I almost passed out due to running and having a simultaneous panic attack. Hollywood Boulevard was almost empty, but I saw a mall security guard (as I’d hoped to) and ran to him, relaying my story. The psycho followed me into the open air mall, only to continue walking up the steps when he saw me with security. I was literally shaking and out of breath. Another guard was called to escort me to my street, which is right behind the mall. He couldn’t believe what had happened. We approached the exit of the mall, which joins up with a parking garage for the hotel and also my street. Who was walking down the driveway from the parking garage? The psycho! I bolted back towards the mall until the guard received a call that the guy had left the area. The guard then walked me to my street and I said I was ok to get to my apartment, which was a few buildings down and waved to him when I was outside my door. I am so grateful to them for helping me and as sad as it is, I know it could have been much, much worse, as it is for so many people in this scenario. I don’t think it’s stretching beyond the imagination to say that guy would have attacked and raped me, then killed me, had we been alone. It’s like I can’t even live my life with these people around, all because I am a girl.