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I was walking from my apartment late one morning to get to class. It’s a 10 minute walk from my front door to my desk. That day, I was slumming really hard, I don’t care what I look like for a 10 am algebra class: black gym shorts, grubby t shirt. My apartment is on the corner of the intersection. I was about halfway through the intersection when a car suddenly turned left onto the street I am crossing. The driver stopped his car right in my path.
“Where you goin looking like that, you wanna come with me?”
When confronted, my first instinct is to become combative, and this was no different. I screamed at him: “get your f*cking car out of my way, it’s none of your business where I’m going.”
“Aw baby you ain’t got to be like that,” he said as he pulled away.
Ok, dude, you ain’t got to block my path with your whole entire CAR as I’m walking to class. I don’t CARE how short my shorts are.
And this is but a single instance. Where my neighbors were protective and kind, the men who hang out at the corner store were vocal enough about harassing my roommate and I that we began to take a different route to leave the neighborhood. Getting on my bike was impossible without some dude saying something to me. Young teenagers half my age would hit on me on the street, in this neighborhood, street harassment is par for the course.
I got to the gym every week day morning at around 6AM. I can say that I’ve never had issues before at this particular gym…I just put my headphones in, lift, run, and leave. No one has ever bothered me before. This morning, the sun was shining through the windows and I could barely see while putting away my free weights. Now, I do have blue eyes and when the sun hits them, they can look very light blue. A man lifting weights next to me said, “You’re eyes are beautiful!”
I replied with, “Thank you.” and continued to choose weights and go back to lifting. But before I could he said, “What are you doing lifting here? You know a man loves him a girl with blonde hair and blue eyes.”
I was repulsed and didn’t know what to say. So I put my headphones back in, smiled, and started to walk away.
Then he said, “You got a man?”
I replied, “Yes.”
He said, “Is he here? You lookin for a man.”
the entire time his eyes just scanning me up and down. It was SO uncomfortable.
I put my weights away and walk to the other side of the gym to get away from him. About three minutes later, he’s at the machine next to me! Still looking at me and making comments.
I decide to just go to a treadmill surrounded by people and run. I felt so uncomfortable that I left the gym after about 15 minutes of running.
You would think that would be all. There is a grocery store next to my gym that I frequent and I needed to pick up a few things. I went directly from the gym to the store to pick up coffee beans, Milk, and a protein bar. Within 5 minutes of being in the store, I see the man again in the store! I quickly grab my things and walk out.
This was absolutely inappropriate, made me feel so uncomfortable, and frankly, unsafe.
It’s not a compliment. It’s harassment.
Group of ~10 guys in the city park drinking, one of which is making a point to go out of his way to come up to women and shake hands or give high fives.
I sit down to eat my sandwich, and there he comes (I think he missed me on the way in because he was busy bothering someone else).
“Gibberish gibberish (in Dutch)”
“I don’t speak Dutch”
“Hello, will you shake my hand please?”
“No thank you”
“What? Please? Everyone else has.”
“No thank you.”
“Are you a friendly person?”
“Please leave me alone.”
Offers fist pound. “This is all I want then I’ll leave you alone.”
“You can leave me alone right now.”
He gives a look of disbelief but departs.
~15 minutes later, another member of the group comes up. He says hello and offers me some food. I say no thank you. He says “What do you want?” He says this to me. I say “I want to be left in peace to eat my lunch.”
~15 minutes later I walk past the entire group, as they are near the entrance. I hear in English “I like that one, but she’s very impolite.”
Kept on walking. Desire was to eat in peace and not be wheedled, whined, shamed, or harassed into interacting with anyone I didn’t feel like interacting with. My free will and desire is not negotiable.
I have been dealing with harassment since my teens (now late 20s), mainly by men who think honking, yelling, or directing some sort of comment at me is the way into my pants. However, I experienced the biggest violation on my way to work one day this summer.
I ride my bike through a slightly sketchy part of town in the morning to get to my job- it’s about a 10 minute ride. This particular morning I was riding and out of the corner of my eye I saw a car get close to my bike on the left side- so close that I thought it was going to hit me. As it came by, a teenage boy stuck out his hand and grabbed my butt while I was still riding and while the car was moving toward a stoplight. He even yelled out a “woo!” as it happened, to the delight of the 3 other guys in the car. Dumbfounded, I sped up trying to catch them…the crazy part is, they went through a red light and illegally went around traffic to try to get away from me. A few lights down the road, I gave them a profanity laced scolding and I took their license plate number down. I sure hope the cop that talked to me gave the groper a speech to remember later that night at his parent’s house.
I have experienced two encounters of verbal harassment at this same spot. It is right around the corner from my apartment building, and I always walk down that block to go to the nail salon. Today, I was honked at by a significantly older male as he was waiting at the red light and I was crossing the street. He continued to honk at me as he drove down the block. Luckily he didn’t follow me. The other encounter happened just last week. A group of boys around my age (17) were riding their skateboards down my block. I have never seen them before, so I figured they were just passing by. Then one of them starting calling out, “Hey girl can I get your number” and “You’re really hot,” among other things. One of his friends rode up to me and told his friend to stop. However, I was already so nervous that I ran home. I should not have to feel like this when walking home.
About a month ago (06-02-14) I was walking back from one of my friends’ houses in the flats of Southside. While I was walking on the backstreets I noticed a strange man about half a block behind me. Since I didn’t feel comfortable, I walked to Carson Street in the hopes of being in a more public place. Since it was rather late (about 1 AM), not many people were around, and as a result, it was just me and this man walking. As I noticed him getting closer to me I turned around to possibly confront him. When he passed me he said, “I was gonna rob you, but you look tougher than I thought,” and continued to walk away. The main moral of this story is to watch out for people in the Southside of Pittsburgh late at night. This is not the first story I have heard or experienced like this!
Today I was walking back from school at around 3:50pm, by myself. Two men were walking on my side of the road towards me. I didn’t cross, since two boys from my school were just ahead and could see me. When the men walked past I kept my head down as not to provoke them, and when they walked past in silence I thought I’d gotten away with it, but after a few seconds one of them turned around and shouted “I’d finger her!” Followed by the two of them laughing and the other shouting “Sorry, he’s sick in the head!”. It was embarrassing and scary, and while I worked up the courage to glare at them after the first remark, after the second I just wanted to cry.
I ran until I was right behind the boys from my school and when I got home I reported them to the police, but this isn’t the first time I’ve suffered harassment on that stretch of road and the police just told me that “they were only being immature” and “that happens when people get let out of school”. These were not school children. They were fully grown adults and I am a fifteen year old girl.
Frankly I’m disappointed that the police didn’t do more, my little sisters walk that stretch of road twice a day and I don’t want them to ever have to suffer that kind of humiliation.
A few months ago, I went out to a Friday night dinner with my husband of 23 years at Rocco’s Tacos on Clematis Street in West Palm Beach, Florida. I wore a new dress and was feeling proud of myself, especially after having worked very hard to lose more then 50 pounds to get back to a healthy weight. After dinner, while my husband visited the restroom and before we walked back to our car for the drive home, rather than wait inside I told him I’d be out front since it was a beautiful evening.
As I strolled a few paces away from those dining on the sidewalk, two men who appeared to be in their twenties were approaching, laughing. I slightly backed up and angled my body to avoid brushing against them or others as they passed, and one of them said something that sounded like ‘Tasty!’ while his knuckles brushed the front of my crotch. He didn’t stop moving but it felt like *very* deliberate contact. I immediately turned after him saying ‘What the fuck?!’ but both of them immediately took off running — and laughing.
My husband arrived a minute after that. I told him I thought I’d just been groped and he really wanted to go after them. I convinced him they were long gone so there wouldn’t be any point. Now I wish I’d let him try, although I still think it wouldn’t have led to finding them in the crowds that were on Clematis that night. I feel violated by a couple of punks who obviously think humiliating and denigrating women at random is a fun game. When I think of putting on that new dress for a second time, I just can’t. I’ll probably end up donating it even though I spent a lot of money on it.
I am an employee of a school district, and I frequently travel between all the schools in the district. One day, I was driving from the high school to an elementary school in a residential neighborhood. It was warm, so my windows were down. As I drove past an older man (probably in his 50s), hey shouted “Hey”. I ignored him and kept driving. He started to chase after my car until I stopped at a stop sign a few feet ahead of him. He started to scream “Hey bitch, who the hell do you think you are ignoring me? I just wanted to tell you that you’re hot”. I immediately put up my windows and continued driving to the school. I ran inside, just in case he saw where I parked (the elementary school was visible from where this took place). I also haven’t driven in that area with my windows down since, and I get very nervous traveling to that particular elementary school now, where as before I didn’t.
I was in Paris for Easter. It was early afternoon, I was walking back to my hotel, which was in a very posh neighborhood, a group of two boys and two girls were walking in the opposite direction of the same sidewalk. They were about 13 to 14 years old. The idea of any harassment wouldn’t have crossed my mind at all, I barely paid attention to them, which made it even worse. As I was about to pass them, one of the boys grabbed me out of nothing in between my legs, the other one slapped my butt. After that, they just casually proceeded in their walk while screaming laughing, including the two girls.
As an adult, who thinks of herself as a strong woman, I was caught off guard, not knowing what to do, hating myself for not doing anything, at least a slap might have done after all. Even though I already got used to whistling, being hauled, forced into conversations, etc. I was defenseless at this point, kept wondering what made them do it, and was alarmed by the fact that a kid might be a possible threat to me. However, I mostly regretted all those women around these two boys, be it their sisters, mothers, friends or future girlfriends and wives.