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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.
These photos was taken on December 14, 2012 in South Bend, Indiana. These clever gentlemen thought it was super funny to talk about how much they would like to “violently rape that bitch,” “take it from that cunt,” and “beat the shit out of her.” They mentioned being puzzled about why “whores should even get paid” for the privilege of having their small penises inside them. They also thought it was super awesome to call me a “fucking whore” when I asked them to stop yelling ugly misogynistic things across the restaurant.
Sadly the manager asked me to leave after I began taking photos of these men. I explained to the manager that the group had been talking about beating up women, raping women, and were using extraordinarily offensive sexist language including bitch, cunt, slut, etc., but the manager simply told me to “return to my seat.” I declined to do so and left, while the men continued to shout “whore” at me (and at least one threatened to rape me as well).
Since posting these photos on Facebook, I have found out that these gentlemen are Notre Dame undergraduate students, at least some of whom were recently banned from living on campus.
It isn’t much of a story, I was just hoping to take a little control back after the routine, lech-y verbal harassment that occurs in the not-so-nice part of my neighbourhood here in LA.
I was walking to the pet store to buy some dog food when a 50-something man started shouting sexual obscenities in my direction, entreating me to “come over to his car” to “get a better look”, blah blah. He was sitting in his BMW SUV in the Citibank parking lot, smoking a cigarette.
I looked over at him, he grinned and I quickly averted my gaze. As I was in the pet store, I was mad at myself for not staring him down, so on my way back, I held up my iPhone and conspicuously snapped a profile photo of him, then got a little closer to take a photo of his license plate. As he saw me taking the second picture, his grin turned to what seemed like a confused frown.
Here’s his car, and his license plate. He can go fuck himself.
This experience is a few years old, but I just came across this site after sharing the story a few days ago, so I thought I would share it here.
A few years ago I was visiting the Summer Solstice Festival in Greensboro, NC. It’s a wonderful festival that I enjoy very much, and usually the people there are awesome. I was with my husband (now my ex) and a couple friends — one of whom brought her children.
We agreed to meet up at the fire dancers, and with one thing and another I ended up in the middle of a tightly packed crowd, with an autistic little boy of five or so, with no way to track down the rest of my group or even get out of the crowd until the performance was done. It might not have been so difficult for another person, but I’m nightblind — I could see points of fire and tightly packed, shadowy bodies and nothing else. Still wouldn’t have been a problem, except that my young charge was both cranky and intent upon joining the fire dancers any way he could. He set up a screaming tantrum to rival the drums, struggled, kicked, bit, and pulled my hair in his flailing attempts to get away from me ( and in case you did not know, autistic kids are ridiculously strong).
A very kind older gentleman (perhaps forties or early fifties) was sitting next to me, and he offered to help me with my uncooperative charge. He helped me get the little boy restrained, then semi-calmed, and I was very grateful. And it didn’t bother me that the man sat close to me and put his arm around me either. He was inviting me to come take classes at his yoga studio.
That was when he groped me.
So here I am, still with a squirming child in my arms, and I’m terrified that without this man’s help I’ll lose my grip on the kid and he’ll go charging in amongst the torches and the gasoline. I can’t go anywhere — I’m sitting crosslegged with a kid in my lap, people pressed in on all sides, and I CANNOT SEE. And this man is talking about how he would really like to see me me again, with his arm wrapped around my shoulders and his hand on my breast.
I felt so helpless. I never expected it, not from an older man, not from one who was so soft spoken and helpful, not from a freaking YOGA TEACHER at an event where I was used to receiving a higher level of courtesy than usual. I didn’t feel like I could escape. I didn’t even feel like I could PROTEST, because his influence seemed to be the only thing keeping the kid beating the heck out of me and escaping. Don’t get me wrong, if this guy had touched the boy in any way that could have been considered inappropriate I’d have set up an unholy racket. But for myself? I sat there and took it.
I’m a braver person now. I’ve learned some tricks, and I’m not so helpless in the dark anymore. But I’m even more reluctant than ever to be left alone in any crowded place now.
I was on the bus with a friend of mine in broad daylight going to the subway. At our stop we got up to walk out and these two men were sitting by the doors. As we were standing there they started making comments about our clothes and our bodies so my friend turned around and told him to f*** off. They did not take kindly to this and started calling us terrible things. One of them came very close to us and said “you don’t appreciate my compliments, fine, you deserve this” and he dumped his water on both of us. At this point we had expected someone to intervene but nobody did. One man asked if my friend (who was now in tears) was ok but the other people on the bus just grumbled about the water that had gotten on them. I was so shocked at what had happened that I turned to him and said, “do you know how old I am?” and he said “you’re a stone cold b****” and then got off the bus. We followed and stood outside the station and as he was walking away I said “I’m fourteen” he turned and gave me a disgusted look and then walked away. Now both these men were probably in their mid to late 40’s and they hadn’t even shown the slightest bit of remorse when they found out they had just harassed two teenage girls. Before this I didn’t feel safe going places in my neighborhood at night, but now I don’t even feel safe going places during the day.
I was attacked this morning by a man: Keep yourselves safe.
This morning while walking to my car to get to work I passed two men on the street standing on a corner. One man made a B-line for me while the other called out to him, “Don’t go over there.” The man did not listen, he sped up to me, and grabbed me. I screamed, “Let go of me!”, he did not listen. “Stop!”, he did not listen. “Let go off me, get your fucking hands off of me!”, he did not listen.” I yelled, “Somebody help me!,” the man nor his friend listened. I kicked and yelled with no result, “You are just going to stand there while your friend attacks me. Help me!” The man grabbing me stared me down, he could have been drunk or high or whatever but he stared me down and made gestures to his pants. The other man slowly crossed the street coming up behind the man, “There are things you don’t understand,” grabbing his friend off of me. I immediately ran away towards my car and began to cry.
I am so violated and shaken.
This has never happened to me.
I hate this man. I hate his friend.
I hate my terrified screams.
Please keep yourself safe.
Last night a guy in a club stopped in front of me on the dancefloor, squeezed my cheek and told me to smile. I gave him the finger and walked off and heard him shouting about “WHY DID SHE GIVE ME THE FINGER” all the way to the smoking area. It was about as articulate I could be in a loud club environment where you can barely hear yourself think. Will prepare something wittier if there is a next time.
I had to go run an errand for my boss at the drugstore up the street. So, I’m obviously focused and in a hurry. I’m also wearing my scrubs, no makeup, hair a mess. This old guy is walking past me as I go up to the register. “Hey, there, sexy,” he says. I stop dead in my tracks and look at him. “Excuuuuuse me?” I ask, with as much sassy indignation as I can muster. “Oh, uh. I said, hi, ma’am…” was his sheepish reply. “You’re fucking right, that’s what you fucking said.” I said and continued walking.
I don’t often get harrassed, and I know the common refrain is that I should be flattered that someone is paying me any attention, but that is total bullshit. It is not flattering to know that I am viewed as a walking set of sex organs. That is not a compliment.