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My boyfriend and I just moved to Wichita, KS from a small town in New England so that I can earn my graduate degree. The street harassment that I’ve experienced since moving is completely unreal, and continues to boggle my mind. The worst incident occurred this past Friday in a thrift store while we were furniture shopping. My boyfriend and I were at opposite ends of the store because we decided to look at clothing when I noticed a man following me. I was wearing a dress that stopped about an inch above the knee and that was slightly form-fitting because it’s very windy here and wearing flawy dresses without flashing everyone is difficult and annoying. Anyways, I noticed a creepy man following me through the women’s section of this particular store, so I decided to move closer to the mens section and look at blazers. I moved quickly, and thought I had left him behind until I looked behind me and saw him crouched behind me on the floor looking up my skirt. I felt disgusted, humiliated and shocked. Not knowing what else to do I ran across the store to tell my boyfriend what had happened. The man promptly left. I felt numb and hollow for the rest of the day. I wish I had said something to him, I wish I had screamed at him, I wish I’d alerted the clerk, but I did none of these things and I feel like a coward. I have always liked to think of myself as the sort of person that would fight back against street harassment, but I find myself ignoring my harasses or refusing to leave the house alone. Usually, if I am with my boyfriend I experience no issues, but I wish I felt safe walking my dog by myself, or running to the gas station down the street.
My friend and I are walking back a few minutes after midnight to our dorm from the club *car rolls down window* *wolf whistles* FUCK OFF *window rolls back up* *car drives away*
I needed to walk two blocks away from my house to the gas station to get a drink. It was ten pm-ish on a friday night. I had been wearing an open back dress all day that showed a lot of skin. I figured since it was late i’d dress down a bit, to attract less attention to myself. jeans and a t-shirt.
I walked down the street and it all went downhill from there. one block away from my house a man crossed the street, walking towards me and aggressively yelled “where you fixin to go, ho1?” ( REALLY!? HOW IS THIS ANYWAY TO TALK TO SOMEBODY! HAS THAT EVER WORKED? SERIOUSLY. I AM SHOCKED.)I kept walking but turned around and yelled “excuse me?!” end of that. I walked another block and into the gas station. Behind me in line was a seemingly inebriated older man. I bought cigarettes. Then I realized, after I paid, that I needed a lighter. I bought a lighter and the man behind me started screaming at me in front of everyone about how I was going too slow. I was taking up time on purpose. And some comment about how I was a racist? which made absolutely no sense at all…I looked around because this stranger was yelling at me in front of 5 or 6 people. No one did anything. I just looked at the guy behind the counter and he kind of just shrugged at me. WHAT. I just start yelling back “this is the 2nd time in 5 minutes that i’ve been harassed by a man! (I think I also starting shaking my finger..it got weird) this is not ok. it’s not ok for you to do this.” I started crying a little so I left quickly.
As I was power-walking home I actually started crying. 1 block left. I can see my house. There are several men in the street. One stands in front of me on the sidewalk as I try to pass and say’s “can I talk to you for a second baby?” and i walk past him. I’m crying a lot at this point. I start walking up my front steps and a car stops at the stop sign right next to my house and a man yells at me from the car, “damn girl! nice legs!” I cry hysterically….I’m not crying because I’m scared or sad. I am so angry that this is “normal.” I get harassed everyday. It happens to everyone. And nobody is doing anything about it. I can’t even take a five minute walk without having four harassing encounters with men. This is not ok. This should not be normal. The worst part about this is that before I went on my journey to the store, I changed my clothes. I took off my dress and I put on something more “decent.” We live in a victim blaming, rape-culture and for that one moment, they even fooled me. They fooled me into changing my clothes and thinking that I could to something about it.
I had just had a baby 2 weeks earlier. I needed to get some groceries and went to the local grocery store. While waiting my turn at the deli counter some older scroungy guy walked behind me and said “Nice tits! “. I was speechless and so embarrassed! I couldn’t look at anyone and no one could look at me! They guy behind the counter looked panicked at having to take my order but that was okay because I was so upset I left.
My first experience with street harassment was about nine or ten. I have always had broad hips and large breasts which made me appear to be older, Ever since then men always go out of their way to honk their horn, follow me as I walk home and say I have nice ass. One day I was sick and needed a bottle of ginger ale. I decided to walk to the corner store in shorts because it was hot and half way there 4 cars honked at me. I turned back, changed my clothes and put on a long pair of pants and a sweater (No hips, no curves, no nothing showing in the hot heat). Still another 3 cars honked their horns at me. Women should not be objectified and judged like an item on an auction list and shouldn’t have to limit themselves in the way they dress to accommodate and hopefully repel creeps like them.
One late night I was on my way home from work and was waiting on my next bus. As I was getting off the bus I took to the terminal I failed to notice a man had said something to me because of my earbuds in my ear. I quickly realized the man was following me.
I ignored him. I sat down on a bench and waited. The man shortly approached the bench I was sitting at and sat down. He then continually tried to initiate conversation with me even after I politely told him I was not interested.
He said things like “You’re are so beautiful.”,”You have a nice body.”, “Can I have your number? Can I give you mine?” He continued to move closer to me while asking questions while I was clearly uncomfortable. He even at one point touched my shoulder, put his face directly in my face and said “You different, not like other girls.”
Finally my bus came and I was relieved that I was free of him. But then I noticed him getting on the same bus I was. No big deal. That could’ve been a coincidence. But as the bus ride went on I noticed he wasn’t getting off. I live a ways away from my bus terminal and usually late at night I’m one of the last people on the bus. So I get on my phone in a panic that I’m being followed and call my mother. While I’m having this panicked conversation with my mother I get closer to my home. A block away from my apartment there is a gas station and after hearing my panic my stalker gets off the bus and a walks straight into the gas station. On the route to my home there were numerous gas stations on the way for this man to have gone into. I don’t know for sure if he was following me but I don’t know many people who travel across cities late at night just to get to a particular gas station. It was one of the most terrifying and violating situations I ever experienced.
I’ve been walking my young daughter to school in the morning, as the new year just began. Each day, either on the way there, or the way home, a man all but breaks his neck, eyes nearly popped out of his head to STARE at me as I stroll along trying to convey my disapproval with glaring back at him. What’s worse, is that this nonchalant pervert does this while driving a carload of his own children to and from school! Today, the sixth day of school, the disgusting halfwit drove up behind us, and involved his boys with catcalling from within the protective womb bubble of his car! My little daughter was so confused, “Why are they yelling at you like that mommy?”
“Because he thinks he can get away with it, and unfortunately, some men were brought up believing women are really soulless sex objects, incapable of being fully human, outside of unwelcome sexual objectification”
I didn’t knock on the door to have words with his wife/girlfriend or whatever either oblivious or uniformed female counterpart he managed to deceive into thinking he was even remotely worthy of being called a man (or simply prey on the fact she was born into a society where women are expected to put up with it to prevent a rape, murder, or worse… accept the myth that men were created this way, and that this shockingly prevalent societal crime is somehow normal). So, I took a picture of the license plate on his red Toyota Camry!
Yesterday I was standing outside of my residence hall talking on the phone, when a group of three guys started catcalling at me. I tried to ignore them but they wouldn’t stop, so I flipped them off. One of them just laughed at me, and they walked away. Later on, I realized that one of the guys was friends with my roommate. I don’t think he realized it was me when he decided to harass me (he was far enough away that I couldn’t really see his face), but I was shocked to find that someone who had seemed so nice could be so crude and obnoxious.
Today, I was riding my bike to class when some guy yelled “hey foxy” at me. I’m pretty irritated with feeling like I’m on display for people who only see me as an object for their viewing pleasure. I hate feeling scared when I pass guys I don’t know on the street, fearing that they could do something to make me feel uncomfortable or unsafe.
I work as a cashier and about half the men who come through my line call me “honey,” “baby,” “sweetie,” etc. because I’m a young girl.
Worse, though, when I was sixteen and had just started my job, I was selling the store’s debit/credit card to a man in his mid-forties. He replied, “Well I’ll get one if you give me a kiss.” I was speechless. How did he think he had the right to say that to me?
I almost got caught by the city parking enforcement for not switching my car over. I ran outside before he got out of the car and yelled that I was leaving soon, but just switched it over and went back in my apartment. When I was about to leave for good, the parking enforcement guy had pulled his car around behind mine and was leaning against his car. I asked him if he was still going to give me a ticket. He told me no, he wanted to talk to me and then proceeded to hit on me, saying he likes curvy girls and that I have a nice butt. He also asked if I was seeing anyone. I didn’t know what to say so I just said yes and thanks and ran back inside.