demonstration

Thistle’s story: a freaking YOGA TEACHER…

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.

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16+

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demonstration, Story

Isha’s story: we had expected someone to intervene but nobody did.

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.

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75+

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demonstration, Story

Rashawn’s story: “There are things you don’t understand”

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.

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92+

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demonstration, Story

Rosi’s story: “SMILE”

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.

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24+

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demonstration

Lisa’s story: “It is not flattering to know that I am viewed as a walking set of sex organs.”

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.

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39+

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demonstration

Rachel’s story: Not just a “hi, how are you?”

I was walking back to my dorm today, and a construction worker called out to me, “Hi, how are you?”. I responded and he came over to the fence and started talking to me. He asked if I was married, if I was looking for a man right now, how old I am, etc. I don’t know why I kept answering. He told me that he wasn’t from around here, that he just comes up for work. He said that he’d seen me walk past several times before, and that there weren’t any girls like me where he comes from. He asked if we can just talk now and then. I told him I don’t have time. And he said something about phone numbers, at which point I finally started to leave. I’ve been conditioned to always be polite, and I guess that was my problem here. I was starting to feel scared, from the admission that he’s been watching me, to the realization that I normally have to walk by that construction site a lot. I realize that there is no reason at this point for me to be polite to this man, it’s just hard to change the way I’ve always behaved. I’m still scared after dealing with this. And I’m frustrated that I have to deal with this at all. I’m working on finding another route in order to avoid that area, and I’m angry that this is happening.

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17+

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demonstration

Betty’s story: “I hope this helps someone else out there feel like they’re not so alone”

I was sitting on the bus, behind the bus driver, and across from a man, and in no way was I looking or staring at the man, but from the corner of my eye, I saw him grab his crotch and shake it, in my direction, which I thought was so disgusting and rude.

I did my best to ignore him, then, but wish I had told the bus driver or something. I plan on making a complaint to the Metro.

Thanks. Glad I was able to share my story. Hope this helps someone else out there feel like they’re not so alone. Have a blessed day, folks.

I've got your back!
19+

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demonstration, flashing

Nancy’s story: “He was pretending to look at a set of sheets while his penis just stuck out.”

While shopping at TJ Maxx in Sherman Oaks, CA, a man was following me around the aisles. I didn’t think anything of it other than he was simply looking at the same things I was. I stopped at the edge of an aisle and he was looking at sheets near me. He was squatted and pulling sheets out of the bins. When I looked down at him, his erect penis was sticking out of his pants and he was facing my direction. He was pretending to look at a set of sheets while his penis just stuck out. I ran to a store employee and she had the manager approach him. He bolted out of the store when the manager got close enough. I couldn’t stop shaking. I’ve never felt so violated and disgusted. The store manager called the police and took my number. I never heard back from anyone.

Maybe he didn’t touch me or physically assault me. That doesn’t mean he didn’t scar me. I just thank God it was me who went through this rather than the little girl at the other side of the store. I can handle this more than that little girl could.

I've got your back!
29+

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demonstration

Melody’s story: “What are you, a fucking oompaloompa?”

I’m leaving the store, continuing onto my car, which is parked far down the parking lot. A group of men and women that are loitering around the front of the store start to make loud calls. At first I don’t realize they’re talking to me, but then they get louder and enunciate more. I have blue hair, so one man says, “What are you, a fucking oompaloompa?”

I decide to keep walking. He calls out something else. This specific person is obviously talking to me and either wants me to feel shame, or to respond to him.

So I turn around, and I close half of the distance, and I ask him if he wants me to punch him in the fucking face? I see that he is sitting on a structure, with his back to me, turned halfway around so that he can harass me. There are two silent women and two more silent men standing next to him.

I continue on and tell him that he is a hate filled piece of shit for treating a stranger the way he has. He tells me to ‘calm down’.

I tell him to go fuck himself, he said, “I wont be fucking myself…” and then I continue onto my vehicle.

Why people feel the need to be such raging pieces of feces, I will never know, but WAY TO BE CLASSY.

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19+

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demonstration, Nonverbal Harassment

Sydney’s story: he wouldn’t let me walk past…

More than once as I’ve walked to and from TAFE I’ve had the people who approach you on the street (to sign you up to a charity, to make donations etcetc) actually stand in front of me and not allow me to walk past. The first time it happened I was terrified. It was 2 in the afternoon, there was a lot of people walking around and this guy was shouting at me trying to get my attention, demanding to know why I wouldn’t stop and speak to him about (whoever he was working for) and it wasn’t until I looked up at him, and he saw how frightened I was and he looked around and saw all the people staring at him that he actually stood aside and let me walk past, still shouting after me.

I've got your back!
29+

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