demonstration

Ashley’s story: “I did NOT want to be a girl who does nothing… And regret it. So we called 911.”

As my fiancé and I walked into our neighborhood Grocery store for our usual Sunday morning grocery trip, my fiancé got me to grab the cart while he walked ahead to print out MVP coupons. As I took the cart out and started walking to find him, I passed by a man exiting the store, carrying nothing, wearing a white polo and jeans. As he exited, and I entered the store, I felt a hand grab my ass…

I turned around and yelled “EXCUSE ME?!” The man looked back at me out of the corner of his eye.. I said “did you just touch me?!” He averted his attention to some magazines near the exit door, looking very guilty. without making much eye contact with me he mumbled “I don’t know what happened, I was just walking by, I must have accidentally brushed you.”

At this point, my fiancé joins me, looking confused.. I tell him this man grabbed my ass and he starts loudly cursing at the guy. Whoever in the checkout lines wasn’t already witnessing what was going on definitely was at this point! Caught red-handed the man VERY AWKWARDLY re-entered the store and headed toward the beer section.

At this point, we aren’t exactly in the mood to grocery shop beside this guy as if nothing happened.. So we notify the cashiers who call management up. They get to us quickly & we identify the man. They assure us they’ll make sure the man leaves after purchasing his Budweiser. Then Dave asks me if I want to call the police…

For some reason the flurry of emotion (anger, violation, disgust, confusion) made me forget about this option. I did NOT want to be a girl who does nothing… And regret it. So we called 911 as the man stood in the checkout line. The managers of the store confronted him as he was leaving to let him know the police were on their way and to stick around.

Our (female) police officer arrived soon after and handled the situation. She asked if I wanted to press charges and I said yes. she wasn’t sure whether it could be filed as assault or sexual assault (forcible), but is going to let me know tomorrow.

In the end, I questioned myself at LEAST 100 times about whether I was doing the right thing. It’s so true that as the victim you still feel at fault somehow.. You question what you were wearing and you also go through phases where you feel sorry for the attacker. But I’m so glad I handled it the way I did… And that my fiancé didn’t beat the man’s ass as he was about to!

I hope that my story inspires someone to do the same & that my actions prevent this man from having a chance to victimize someone else.

PS. The manager of Food Lion who detained the man until the policewoman came said the man was bragging about how he’d been drinking at the bar already (the attack happened at 12:30pm on a Sunday)

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28+

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demonstration

Sydney’s story: “seriously? you’re going to shout at us?”

I was walking with a friend of mine through a park and we approached a group of guys in their mid to late 20’s, all obviously dressed up for a night out, cans of drink in their hands. We both tensed up and walked a bit closer together as we walked past(within a metre or two) them one of them screamed “GIRLS!” at us. My friend drawled “‘sup” and I just gave them my snootiest “seriously? you’re going to shout at us?” look and we kept walking. We could hear them laughing and shouting as they walked in the opposite direction and we mocked them, but all I could think was “why did they feel the need to shout at us when they were standing right next to us? why did they feel the need to say anything to us?”

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8+

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demonstration

K.’s story: #bystandersuccess!

A street preacher started screaming at a passerby (a visibly queer man), saying that the passerby was a “pansy” and offended the eyes of the Lord. I stopped and questioned the street preacher, who said that the Lord “created everything.” I looked at him and said, “God sure didn’t make those shorts.” He was wearing cargo khaki shorts, people, and his boxers were sticking out at the bottom. When I pointed out this detail, he said I was lustful. I said it wasn’t lust, he started screaming at me and calling me names, and then 1 homeless person and 3 tourists sprang to my verbal defense.

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22+

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demonstration

Wendy’s story: He laid down where?!

As I was walking home after a long day on campus a man laid down on the road to have a look up my dress, will never forget that day…

I’m still angry today because he deserved nothing but a kick, I just stepped aside. This ill treatment of women in public spaces should stop.

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11+

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demonstration

Lily’s story: “I’m gonna milk you.” You’re going to WHAT?!?

Okay so lets say my names lily and when this happened I was 12 ( it really was ) I was in the shop just beside the bus stop so I pick my item and get in line, there is a group of boys older than me in front of me and are messing around saying vulgar things. Then the one closest to me turns around sees me and says to the group, “oh shit there’s a wee girl behind us” , one of them ( the ringleader) says “I don’t give a big fat juicy c*ck” and goes behind me. Then he whispers into my ear ” you’re beautiful, will you go out with me, you’re sexy, I wanna sexify you.” later on I’m still in the line and the same person says,” hey ” and pauses, his friends says lily confirming its my name and the ringleader says,” hey lily hey lily I’m gonna milk you”. Later on the bus my friend tells me I’m gonna milk you means I’m gonna rape you. I was seriously scared. The worst thing is no one helped me.

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15+

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demonstration

CC’s Story: “Making women feel like these are not their streets”

Today I was at a street festival on H Street in Washington, DC. As I was waiting for the bus to go home, I saw an elderly woman walk by, leaning on a cane for support. Suddenly, the guy who had been standing next to me walked up behind her and slapped her on the ass, then darted away into the crowd, pretending like it wasn’t him. I was shocked and disgusted. There was no goal in his action other than harassment and intimidation. She turned around and glared for a while, looking for the culprit, but no one did anything.
I wish so badly that I had yelled at the guy, or pointed him out afterwards, or gone over to the woman and told her how awful that was and shown my support. But I didn’t do anything, other than take a picture of this vile man after he had run away and crossed the street (he is the one in the striped shirt). I was surrounded by strangers, alone in a strange neighborhood. And it’s exactly this sense of making women feel like these are not their streets that is so awful and harmful. It literally affects how we feel every day when we walk down the street, whether victim or bystander. If I ever see something again, I will say something.

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16+

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demonstration

Nikki’s Story: “I’m a human being”

Some things I have learned about myself.

I am not:
An apple, waiting passively for someone to rescue me from the top of a tree.

A side of beef, to be poked at, prodded, jiggled, groped, or spoken about in terms of my juiciness, flavor, or firmness.

A dog, coming at your call.

A toy, to be used whenever and however you want.

I am:
A human being. A daughter, a sister, a friend. Someone of worth.

So I damn well better be treated like one.

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22+

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demonstration

Ingrid’s Story: I don’t want to see your penis

I was without a lighter and walking with a cigarette in my hand, searching for somebody who was smoking, so they could lend me the fire.
As I passed by a car, a man inside it called me and asked me for my lighter. As I told him that I was also looking for one, he said: “Well, then help me pick up mine in here” as he was holding his dick on his open trouser masturbating.
I kept walking, didn’t say anything. He turned the car on and made the return on the street twice yelling things like “slut” “bitch” and “delicious”. I finally was over me and yelled him to f**k off.
When the days passed by, I could see his car on the street again, until I was alarmed enough to let the police know. I don’t know what they did, but he never came back.

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9+

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demonstration

Bryn’s Story: Don’t mess with me

I was walking west along West Grand Avenue, intending to turn left on Brush St to visit my friend’s new apartment. I was hyperaware that I was trying to walk aggressively, with my head up in confidence, to try and deter possible threats. Ahead on the sidewalk were two men, standing near the curb. I elected to not to cross to the other side of the street because at that point, West Grand Ave is six lanes of traffic separated by a median. I was trying to get to my friend’s as efficiently as possible because it was around 7:30pm and I knew it would be dark by eight. As I approached the men, one stepped back towards the building, forcing me to walk between them, or move off the sidewalk into the street. I did not break stride, but in my mind I was thinking, “Oh shit. Oh shit, are these guys going to try and f**k with me?” As I walked between them, the one that had moved towards the building stepped in front of me, grinning. Still not breaking stride, I altered my direction to go around him, and he blocked my path again. I had my head up the entire time, but now I made eye contact with him, thinking, “Are you seriously going to try and f**k with me?” I didn’t necessarily feel afraid at this moment, just incredibly angry that I had to deal with this. I like to think that this was apparent in my glare because the man broke eye contact with me and moved aside. I continued walking without looking back. The other man yelled something out at me, but I did not hear it.
I don’t know if it was my demeanor that made the men let me pass, or if their only intention was just to scare me, but I feel very lucky that I was not mugged/assaulted/groped/raped/kidnapped or any other number of possible outcomes of two men against a much smaller undefended female. I feel very lucky that my fight instinct kicked in instead of my flight instinct, and that I only felt scared by the incident several hours later.

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17+

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demonstration

Emma’s story: HOLLABACK TO SCHOOL, a case of campus harassment

As I was walking home from a party (note: I was very sober at the time) with three to four of my female friends, a group of about four or five (very drunk) males walked past us offering their hands up for high fives. I was in a good mood, so I obliged them, offering my hand in return. I go to a state university. This kind of exchange happens often, so I thought very little of returning their enthusiasm. After the first guy in the group high fived me, he swung his hand around and grabbed my ass. Dismayed, I started to retract my hand, only high fiving one more of his friends. His friend followed suit. Then, all three of the men I did not high five reached over and smacked my ass in turn. I was so shocked I didn’t know how to respond. None of my friends even witnessed it occurring. I was less than a block from home so I just kept walking. However, not being afraid to “hollaback” I lovingly blew them all a kiss and said “Fuck you very much!”

I've got your back!
11+

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