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I have been dealing with harassment since my teens (now late 20s), mainly by men who think honking, yelling, or directing some sort of comment at me is the way into my pants. However, I experienced the biggest violation on my way to work one day this summer.
I ride my bike through a slightly sketchy part of town in the morning to get to my job- it’s about a 10 minute ride. This particular morning I was riding and out of the corner of my eye I saw a car get close to my bike on the left side- so close that I thought it was going to hit me. As it came by, a teenage boy stuck out his hand and grabbed my butt while I was still riding and while the car was moving toward a stoplight. He even yelled out a “woo!” as it happened, to the delight of the 3 other guys in the car. Dumbfounded, I sped up trying to catch them…the crazy part is, they went through a red light and illegally went around traffic to try to get away from me. A few lights down the road, I gave them a profanity laced scolding and I took their license plate number down. I sure hope the cop that talked to me gave the groper a speech to remember later that night at his parent’s house.
I have experienced two encounters of verbal harassment at this same spot. It is right around the corner from my apartment building, and I always walk down that block to go to the nail salon. Today, I was honked at by a significantly older male as he was waiting at the red light and I was crossing the street. He continued to honk at me as he drove down the block. Luckily he didn’t follow me. The other encounter happened just last week. A group of boys around my age (17) were riding their skateboards down my block. I have never seen them before, so I figured they were just passing by. Then one of them starting calling out, “Hey girl can I get your number” and “You’re really hot,” among other things. One of his friends rode up to me and told his friend to stop. However, I was already so nervous that I ran home. I should not have to feel like this when walking home.
About a month ago (06-02-14) I was walking back from one of my friends’ houses in the flats of Southside. While I was walking on the backstreets I noticed a strange man about half a block behind me. Since I didn’t feel comfortable, I walked to Carson Street in the hopes of being in a more public place. Since it was rather late (about 1 AM), not many people were around, and as a result, it was just me and this man walking. As I noticed him getting closer to me I turned around to possibly confront him. When he passed me he said, “I was gonna rob you, but you look tougher than I thought,” and continued to walk away. The main moral of this story is to watch out for people in the Southside of Pittsburgh late at night. This is not the first story I have heard or experienced like this!
Today I was walking back from school at around 3:50pm, by myself. Two men were walking on my side of the road towards me. I didn’t cross, since two boys from my school were just ahead and could see me. When the men walked past I kept my head down as not to provoke them, and when they walked past in silence I thought I’d gotten away with it, but after a few seconds one of them turned around and shouted “I’d finger her!” Followed by the two of them laughing and the other shouting “Sorry, he’s sick in the head!”. It was embarrassing and scary, and while I worked up the courage to glare at them after the first remark, after the second I just wanted to cry.
I ran until I was right behind the boys from my school and when I got home I reported them to the police, but this isn’t the first time I’ve suffered harassment on that stretch of road and the police just told me that “they were only being immature” and “that happens when people get let out of school”. These were not school children. They were fully grown adults and I am a fifteen year old girl.
Frankly I’m disappointed that the police didn’t do more, my little sisters walk that stretch of road twice a day and I don’t want them to ever have to suffer that kind of humiliation.
A few months ago, I went out to a Friday night dinner with my husband of 23 years at Rocco’s Tacos on Clematis Street in West Palm Beach, Florida. I wore a new dress and was feeling proud of myself, especially after having worked very hard to lose more then 50 pounds to get back to a healthy weight. After dinner, while my husband visited the restroom and before we walked back to our car for the drive home, rather than wait inside I told him I’d be out front since it was a beautiful evening.
As I strolled a few paces away from those dining on the sidewalk, two men who appeared to be in their twenties were approaching, laughing. I slightly backed up and angled my body to avoid brushing against them or others as they passed, and one of them said something that sounded like ‘Tasty!’ while his knuckles brushed the front of my crotch. He didn’t stop moving but it felt like *very* deliberate contact. I immediately turned after him saying ‘What the fuck?!’ but both of them immediately took off running — and laughing.
My husband arrived a minute after that. I told him I thought I’d just been groped and he really wanted to go after them. I convinced him they were long gone so there wouldn’t be any point. Now I wish I’d let him try, although I still think it wouldn’t have led to finding them in the crowds that were on Clematis that night. I feel violated by a couple of punks who obviously think humiliating and denigrating women at random is a fun game. When I think of putting on that new dress for a second time, I just can’t. I’ll probably end up donating it even though I spent a lot of money on it.
I am an employee of a school district, and I frequently travel between all the schools in the district. One day, I was driving from the high school to an elementary school in a residential neighborhood. It was warm, so my windows were down. As I drove past an older man (probably in his 50s), hey shouted “Hey”. I ignored him and kept driving. He started to chase after my car until I stopped at a stop sign a few feet ahead of him. He started to scream “Hey bitch, who the hell do you think you are ignoring me? I just wanted to tell you that you’re hot”. I immediately put up my windows and continued driving to the school. I ran inside, just in case he saw where I parked (the elementary school was visible from where this took place). I also haven’t driven in that area with my windows down since, and I get very nervous traveling to that particular elementary school now, where as before I didn’t.
I was in Paris for Easter. It was early afternoon, I was walking back to my hotel, which was in a very posh neighborhood, a group of two boys and two girls were walking in the opposite direction of the same sidewalk. They were about 13 to 14 years old. The idea of any harassment wouldn’t have crossed my mind at all, I barely paid attention to them, which made it even worse. As I was about to pass them, one of the boys grabbed me out of nothing in between my legs, the other one slapped my butt. After that, they just casually proceeded in their walk while screaming laughing, including the two girls.
As an adult, who thinks of herself as a strong woman, I was caught off guard, not knowing what to do, hating myself for not doing anything, at least a slap might have done after all. Even though I already got used to whistling, being hauled, forced into conversations, etc. I was defenseless at this point, kept wondering what made them do it, and was alarmed by the fact that a kid might be a possible threat to me. However, I mostly regretted all those women around these two boys, be it their sisters, mothers, friends or future girlfriends and wives.
I don’t have a single story. I have tons of stories. Growing up I learned not to take walks, to never acknowledge people, and pretend to talk on the phone (with 911 already dialed).
I began riding a bike for exercise, as I receive less comments and gestures, although they still happen.
The most recent was when a car came up right alongside me, a man leaned out and seemed to try and grab me while yelling “HEY B****!!!” I wasn’t sure what to do, so I kept going and thankfully another car came up, so he had to go back in his lane.
I’ve had people make offers for me to sell my body, as if I were on auction. I’ve had people call me names, whistle, etc. In one walk I could have four incidents. I stopped walking to church, because it got too uncomfortable and someone would follow me consistently.
When I go out with my male friend, it is so NICE not to have the comments or be on guard as much. I was shocked the first time walking around the city with him how NO ONE tired anything. It makes me want to have an escort all the time. Which is extremely sad.
I’ve become to expect the harassment, and am pleasantly surprised when I don’t receive any. However, most of the time I get at least some. I don’t even bring up all the incidents to people, cause I know they will think they aren’t a big deal, but they ARE a big deal.
I wish I knew of a SAFE way of telling the jerks that it is NOT okay. However, I try not to engage, because I don’t want it to escalate.
While I was exploring BaoBao Bakery in Chinatown in broad daylight with friends, a middle-aged elderly man groped my butt twice in the middle of the store, first as a “tester” brush to see how I would react and then a later, stronger touch when my confusion at the first contact did not result in negative consequences. At the time, I was not sure whether the crowdedness of the store was what had caused the touches and whether they had been honest mistakes. Looking back, though, I realized the man could have easily grabbed the breads without touching my butt the way he did.
Instead of suffering in silence, I have decided to Hollaback! by posting this story. I had not taken a picture of my harasser but wish I did. This incident happened in Boston Chinatown, and I am not sure if the man spoke English. I don’t think potential language barriers should prevent women from hollering back – in whatever language they choose – and publicly denouncing their harassers for their behavior. If anything like this happens again, I will not hesitate to Hollaback!
Note: BaoBao Bakery does not deserve special blame. It merely was the location I was in at the time of this incident.
I was maybe eleven or twelve? Either way I was very young and very innocent. I hadn’t properly hit puberty yet and I wasn’t in any way old for my age. In short, I was just a kid. I was walking home by the local shops, right in front of Mcdonalds when a man (35? 40?)hissed “You’re looking great, sweetie, I want you” or words to that effect. I freaked out and ran home, crying, where some friends saw me in the park. I cried and explained what had happened and my girlfriends soothed me and organised a lift home for me. That was upsetting, but not as upsetting as the reaction the next few days. People would come up to me, curiously asking if I had been raped, because that was what they had heard from a friend who heard from a friend who said they were there. Some boys came up to me, teasing me about my older lover. I saw the man again, a few weeks later, and he smirked at me and wiggled his finger for me to come closer. Thankfully I was with a friend and we kept walking until we were out of sight, where I called the police. It was probably the scariest encounter with street harassment in my life, maybe because of my age.