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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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Blair’s Story: Walk in the other direction

Walking back to my dorm from the campus library after studying late into the night, I had to cross a busy intersection. While waiting to cross, a car turned down the cross street, slowed down next to me and a guy in the passenger seat said “I like mine thick,” to me and just gawked at me. It was terrifying because the car almost slowed to a stop. I was too scared to do anything but walk quickly in the other direction.

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Kara’s Story: Holla-ing Back!

At this time in my life I was doing work as a costumer for my community college’s production of the Wizard of Oz. We had to work a LOT that month, so when we got our lunch breaks, sometimes I would head over to the local mall to chill out for the hour and grab a bite to eat. The way our mall is set up is that the parking lots are in sort of a circle with the mall building in the center. There are sidewalks leading to the building, and if you’re walking in one parking lot, you can see the other lots on either side. (Kind of like a wheel where the sidewalks are the spokes.)

I was walking down one sidewalk with a lot on each side of me. Minding my own business. Then I hear, all the way from another sidewalk on the other end of one of the lots:

“HEY BABY!! HEY! YOU LOOK HOT IN THAT DRESS! HEY!!”

I glanced over in his direction and saw a guy, all the way across the lot on my left, keeping pace with me. I sped up a little, so did he. He kept shouting.

“HEY! HEY! WHY DON’T CHOO COME ON OVER HERE BABY! HEY!”

I was getting closer to one of the entrances to the building, and wondered if I could keep ignoring him. It wasn’t working.

“HEY BABY! HEY! COME ON OVER HERE! HEY HEY!”

It was becoming clear that ignoring him was not going to make him stop. He probably would have kept shouting at me all the way to the building and I was a little afraid of running into him inside the mall. I gathered up my courage and shouted back as loud as I could, thanking my theatre training for teaching me to throw my voice from the diaphragm:

“LEAVE ME ALONE!!!!”

He heard me. But still didn’t stop. That only turned his shouts of “hey baby” into:

“F*CK YOU C*NT!! F*CK YOU!! YOU STUPID B*TCH!” F*CK YOU!!”

Gee…and just a second ago I was “hot in that dress…” Amazing how quickly a harasser’s opinion of you can change.

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Kara’s Story: Get Lost, Screaming Creeper

My fiancé and I were taking a stroll at night near Main street in our town. There are a lot of bars down Main and it’s intersecting streets, so there were some drunk patrons leaving one of the bars that we passed by. I noticed one of them was a guy I had known in high school, and I remembered that this guy had been very creepy and didn’t have a sense of personal space and I had been harassed by him many times before in several situations, so I urged my fiancé to walk a little faster and hope that he wouldn’t notice me.

He did…and he started shouting at me from behind.

“Damn! Look that that ASS!” he said “Girl you must work out!”

My fiancé put his arm around me and pulled me a little closer. This guy was drunk, but I remembered that he is no less creepy when sober. I knew there would be a confrontation in the street if I turned around and said anything, so we walked a little faster, trying to get to the traffic signal to cross the street, and told my fiancé to not acknowledge him.

“Come on girl, I see dat ass, lemme see your face!”

“Keep walking….keep walking…he’s not there…” I said in a hushed voice.

We got to the signal, but it had JUST changed and now cars were going by. We quickly turned the corner out of sight and ran behind one of the buildings so the harasser lost us. We ended up going in a circle back to the other end of the street where the bar was.

Every time I see this guy in public, I turn the other way. Whether he’s drunk or sober, he always creeps me out.

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Lauren’s Story: Flippin’ him the bird

I was walking when a guy was just standing in the sidewalk yelled at me “I bet you have a nice ass” As I passed him, I turned and gave him the middle finger.

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Lauren’s Story: Just plain creepy

This happened when I was a teenager, maybe 16 or so. I was walking into a grocery store when I passed this creepy guy eyeballing me, as he walked away I overheard him say “too young” in a disappointed way. The town I was in is known for its high number of sex offenders. It was just creepy. I don’t like to grocery shop often anymore.

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KG’s Story: No Means No

So I have a couple different stories and both of them happened when i was 16. I’m 20 now. I hope it’s ok that i am sharing something that did not happen to me recently. i just really want to share them because i think it is great that this hollaback thing exists and i haven’t shared these stories with realy anyone because i’m sort of embarassed.

SO this one time i was hanging around the plaza the morning after halloween and this really nice group of people were sitting on the grass smoking blunts and asked me if i wanted to join them. I accepted their offer. most of them gradually got up and left after a bit and then it was just me and this guy who didn’t seem threatening at all at first. i talked with him for a bit and then he started complimenting me a lot on my appearance which i thought was nice of him but it sort of made me uncomfortable. so i decided to politely get up and leave. he followed me and his compliments started to get nasty and sexual. I just ignored him hoping he would get the picture. obviousy i should have told him to fuck off but i didn’t want to make a scene i guess. so he keeps following me and being gross. i started to make my way toward the bus stop because at this point i just wanted to go home. on the way there he pushed me up against this fence and showed me his half boner. i kept pushing him away and telling him to stop but he woudn’t. he put his hand up my skirt. so i pushed him with full force and ran towards the bus stop. he followed me. sat next to me at the stop and kept trying to kiss me and stuff. i kept telling him to leave me alone. it’s stupid but i really didn’t want to make a scene because i was really embarassed. i should have yelled for help i know. there was this couple sitting across from us and i tried to make eye contact with them. they looked at me but they must have assumed he was just my boyfriend and i was mad at him or something. i don’t know. he was begging me to pay for his bus fair so he could come with me. i didn’t (of course). so i got on the bus and made it home safely.

a similar thing happened to me again in this same area. i was still 16 at the time. this guy said hi to me when i walked past him and i said hello back. he takes this as an invitation to follow me around for an hour begging me to come home with him. he looked like he was in his 40s. i told him i was 16 and that i was just waiting for my parents to get out of an appointment. which was true. but this did not raise any red flags in his mind. he even tried to trick me into coming to his house by saying “hey i have some weed but i left it at home you wanna come with me to get it?”. i just kept telling him to fuck off and he finally did thank god.

for a long time after this stuff happened to me i refused to go back to this area by myself. i live in this area now and haven’t had any problems because now when guys flirt with me i just ignore them.

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Whitney’s story: We’re not laughing.

Hello I am new here,
I know I’m going to be laughed at for this, but I need to free this pain from my chest.

being dropped off to my very first “Job Interview.” I’m not sure or can’t seem to remember my age at the time, but I’m thinking around 15 to 16 maybe?.
Back on topic, after leaving the job site (at a theme park) since it was only a few blocks away, I was made to walk home. Feeling lonely like I always do, on the quite gloomy day, I stopped at the light waiting to cross. A couple of men in a very old and dirty looking red car drove past me (kind of quickly) with their door open. I didn’t know what was going on until they fully passed by, but I noticed some type of water coming from the open door. I didn’t see the man’s face, but he yelled “SORRY” while laughing away. It was all over my suit pants & soaked my shoes, I held my tears but every step I took towards my home became harder and harder. I’m not very smart but first thought it was a soda, or something else. but it turned out to be pee (from the smell & other things). Everyday I dealt with bullying from many people in highschool, at home, etc. I guess I shouldn’t be shocked by this.

Sadly enough while being raised by my grandmother,
she taught me that if I cry, it will get worse. Keep in mind she was an abusive person.

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Pari’s story: interpreting politeness

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?

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GG’s story: My dad was within feet of me.

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.

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