demonstration

Anne Marie’s story: “I declare this verbal war: won.”

Today, like every other day, I was sexually harassed by a man on the street. As I was walking to my university’s student association to draw money from the ATM, two older men were sitting directly outside the entrance door. As I walked into the association, one gentleman said “ooooOOOOOO siiiiiim Senhora” in a sexual manner.

I continued to the ATM, withdrew money, and walked back out the same entrance. The following conversation occurred (in Portuguese mind you).

Me: Can I ask you both a question?
Them: Yes of course.
Me: Imagine that you are walking and a homosexual man said “oooo sim senhor” to you sexually as you walked by.
Man 1: What? Are you a homosexual man?
Me: No. Imagine if a homosexual man did that to you. How would you feel?
Man 1: I don’t understand, where did this happen?
Me: No. Use your imagination. Imagine a situation where you are walking and a homosexual man called out to you sexually. How would that make you feel?
Man 2: I have a lot of gay friends, so I wouldn’t say or do anything about it.

(Sidenote: I find this hard to believe considering the amount of anti-gay sentiment. I find it hard to believe that he has “a lot” of friends who are openly gay, especially at his age. But hey, maybe I’m wrong, maybe he has a lot of gay friends. Who knows?)

Me: Ok. I don’t believe you. You probably can’t imagine it because it has never happened to you. But everyday that I go out, men call out at me in the street-
Man 1: Because you’re very beautiful.
Me: But I don’t care if old men find me beautiful. Why do I care if you think I’m beautiful? You are egotistical to think I want to know anything about you or what you think about me or my body. And I shouldn’t feel like I can’t dress the way I want –
Man 2: Yes you can dress however you want.
Me: No! I can’t! Because if I dress nicely then men harass me. I shouldn’t have to feel like I can’t walk on my own university campus without being harassed by creepy old men. How old are you?
Man 1: Me? uh… well..
Me: Exactly! You’re disgusting for commenting about me or my body. You are so old! And I nor any other girl wants to know what you think.
Man 2: Well you are in Portugal now and things are different here.
Me: No they are the same everywhere in the world, and it doesn’t mean that you have a right to harass me and it doesn’t mean that it’s okay.
Man 1: But I am not harassing you, I am telling you something nice.
Me: Objectification of my body is not nice. It is disgusting. I am a human being with intelligence, not a body walking around for you.
Man 2: Well Portuguese women like it.
Me: NO. They don’t. Every woman that I have spoken to thinks that it is disgusting too.
Man 1: No no no no. Women like to know they are beautiful. You are the only one with a problem.
Me: No. I am not the only one. Women don’t want to know if creepy old men think they are beautiful.
(Two girls walk by)
Me: Excuse me, girls, girls! If a man whistles or hollers at you, is it something good or something bad?
Girls: Bad.
(At this exact moment another girl walks by)
Me: Excuse me, wait wait, if a man whistles or hollers at you, is it good or bad?
Girl: Bad
Man 2 stands up and walks to the entrance: Listen I wasn’t being mean to you, and now you are being mean to me and embarrassing us –
Me: Nooooo! Why do you feel embarrassed? Women obviously love that you comment on their bodies as they walk by! You are clearly right! Did you hear what they said? They said they love when men whistle and holler at them! There’s no reason to feel embarrassed! Feel proud of your behavior because you are obviously right!
Man 1 stands and reaches out to touch me: Listen, what is your name?
Me: Do NOT touch me [I put my hands up]. Do not come near me.
Man 1: Ok you are crazy and mean.
Man 1 walks into the association too.

I declare this verbal war: won.

Even if they think *I’m* crazy or weird, maybe they will think twice before they holler at another woman… and if they don’t, I will be ready again.

In any case, even if hypothetically I am crazy and/or mean (crazy, I will admit to, mean? I don’t think I’m mean), two old men should not be sitting outside the entrance to a University Student Association and then sexually harassing women as they enter.

Gross.

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43+

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demonstration

Karen’s Story: Followed by a Loudmouthed Coward

I was walking to work this Sunday morning at around 7:45AM and a man comes up to me sayng “hey, hey, hey” trying to get my attention. Well I ignored him cause this has happened so many times I can’t even count anymore and I find that if I look at the person or respond they persist futher. So anyways I tried the unreponsive method and it just made him angry cause then he starts saying just awful comments (sexual in nature) and also racist things. I tried hard to not listen cause it was garbage he was spewing but they got really violent in nature(something about he hopes I choke giving a guy a blowjob) and I was so scared all I could do was walk faster but he was relentless and followed me. Nobody was on the street except a woman who was walking a bit ahead of me but she either didn’t hear or didn’t care( a typical response in every encounter I have had, sigh) . He didn’t leave until I got to a busy intersection where a couple of other people were and he left thank goodness. He was such a coward I knew it but at the same time, as much as I wanted to tell him off because he was the lowest person I have ever met, I couldn’t because I was worried he would get violent. I hate these feelings of humiliation, disgust but mostly fear. I should be able to walk in public without being afraid for my life. Street harassment needs to end! Thank you for listening I feel better now.

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32+

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demonstration

KarenW’s story: “hey, hey, hey”

I was walking to work this Sunday morning at around 7:45AM and a man comes up to me sayng “hey, hey, hey” trying to get my attention. Well I ignored him cause this has happened so many times I can’t even count anymore and I find that if I look at the person or respond they persist futher. So anyways I tried the unreponsive method and it just made him angry cause then he starts saying just awful comments (sexual in nature) and also racist things. Not about my race (I am white and so was he) but about sterotypes about white women and black men. I tried hard to not listen cause it was garbage he was spewing but they got really violent in nature (something about he hopes I choke giving a guy a blowjob) and I was so scared all I could do was walk faster but he was relentless and followed me. Nobody was on the street except a woman who was walking a bit ahead of me but she either didn’t hear or didn’t care( a typical response in every encounter I have had, sigh) . He didn’t leave until I got to a busy intersection where a couple of other people were and he left thank goodness. He was such a coward I knew it but at the same time, as much as I wanted to tell him off because he was the lowest person I have ever met, I couldn’t because I was worried he would get violent. I hate these feelings of humiliation, disgust but mostly fear. I should be able to walk in public without being afraid for my life. Street harassment needs to end!  Thank you for listening I feel better now.

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15+

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demonstration

Lisa’s Story: Bookbag Douchebag

I live in a town that discriminates against women. Without knowing this, I moved up here to pursue my B.A. I can’t afford a car, it’s insurance, or gas money so I take the bus. I have a lot of classes, so my book bag gets some weight on it. The other day a man was waiting with me at the bus stop in the middle of town. I am taking a lot of classes this semester and my bookbag has some heavy weight on it. This guy starts laughing at me and telling me that he has never seen a woman carry a bookbag this heavy before. He gets out his phone, takes a picture of it against my permission and says “Im gonna tweet this shit!” still laughing. I kind of brush it off, we get on the bus and he happens to sit in a seat adjacent to mine. He is going on and on about this bookbag. At this point, I’m getting angry. He starts saying things like I’m a robot and the bookbag is my battery pack and that the amount of makeup I was wearing made me look like a hooker so I must be one. He then starts ranting on about how women shouldn’t be in college and that they’re only good for “making babies”. He turned to a guy who happened to go to my school and asked if it was common for women to carry heavy bookbags let alone be in college. The guy said “Uh, yeah” and shook his head in disbelief. All this and all I was doing was minding my own business.

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demonstration

Chelsea’s Story: Take the Power Back!

I was at the store when a guy walking towards me stared at me and said, “DAY’UMMM!”. He then began to theatrically look me up and down and stare at my backside. I looked him right in the eyes and said, “No! You’re being rude and I don’t like it. It isn’t flattering and you’re a creep”.
He left the store immediately. Tell your harasser they aren’t being complimentary and they don’t have power over you.

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14+

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demonstration

Emily’s Story: I didn’t ask for your opinion about my body!!

I was at a gas station filling up my car and I was craving a chocolate milk. I left my car hooked up to the pump and proceeded in the store to grab what I wanted and waited in line. There were these guys at the register in front of me who exited the store once they finished paying. As I was leaving the store, I noticed the three of them were standing outside very close to the doorway. I immediately tensed up and kinda just focused my eyes on my car as I exited anticipating these men to say something. As soon as I stepped outside, one of them said something but I couldn’t make out what he had said. I just ignored him and kept speed walking to my car. When I hung the pump back up, I noticed they were walking past my car towards the road. One of the men literally stopped mid-step to tell me “You have a nice ass”. I immediately became infuriated and felt disgusted. I wanted to walk up to him and knee him in the balls. What the hell compels a man to openly speak his opinions about my body? I didn’t ask for your opinion or invite any comments. The clothes that I was wearing certainly werent provocative so what was this dicks excuse? I am sick and tired of having to ignore these pigs who think it is ok to make women feel uncomfortable while she is getting gas for her car and a chocolate milk… I realize he only said five words to me but thats all it takes sometimes to make me feel disgusting and like an disrespected object.

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31+

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demonstration

Drew’s Story: Harasser in the Building

This man (pictured here indoors) repeatedly stares down and intimidates the women in our building and has exposed himself to 2 male colleagues and solicited one of them. We don’t know what to do. I am posting for myself and my colleagues.

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demonstration

Elizabeth’s story: We’re rising against BARKING.

I was walking back to my car with a friend from a Denny’s after meeting up with him to see the Space Shuttle. It was late and dark, and as the two of us were walking down Exposition Blvd so I could get back to my car, some guys drove past us and barked like dogs out the window of their moving car, leaving me feeling very vulnerable at that moment.

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demonstration

Erin’s Story: Winter Clothes Don’t Stop the Leering

I came out of college and was waiting at a crossing to cross the road. In the five minutes I was standing there, I had one guy leer at me from his car, another leer and make some creepy, though vague gestures, and two others whistle and shout suggestions of things I could do for them at me as they walked past. Normally when I get this sort of treatment, it’s one of the days I’m wearing a skirt (like that makes it more acceptable *sarcasm*); not this time. This time, since it was winter and *freezing*, I was in boots, jeans and a knee-length coat, with gloves and a scarf on. Literally, the only exposed skin I had was my face. Didn’t seem to stop them commenting on everything else, though.

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36+

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demonstration

Amber’s Story: All they saw was my gender

Today I was reminded why New Media can be kind of awesome. I had two terrible experiences this weekend.

The first one initially seemed harmless – I was stopped by a limo of men on the celebrating a bachelor’s party on the pretense they were asking for directions to a club. Midsentence one of the groom stopped me and said they were just checking out my ass the entire time. I let it slide and walked away – this kind of thing happens. For them, it was socially acceptable.

But this afternoon I had an experience that upset me a lot more on the TTC. A man was shouting about how he was American and picking on an old man for his clothing choice. He started chanting red, white and blue. Then his eyes got mine. He held it, and said “pink.” He proceed to make lewd gestures and suggest what he would “like to do to me.” I held his gaze until I got off the train, and he didn’t stop the entire time. Nobody did anything. Neither did I.

I realized later that these two incidents were actually the same, even if I felt more directly threatened by one. All these men saw when they looked at me was my gender (my clothes weren’t even an instigator as they were for the older man, though I am not suggesting he deserved to be harassed either). And these things were said to make me uncomfortable, and to make them feel powerful. Yet the first case is unfortunately common and for some aspects of our culture (Pickup Artistry?) acceptable.

But the shame is that this is so often faced with silence. But we don’t have to. And that’s the beauty of this website. (Thank you)

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