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One late night I was on my way home from work and was waiting on my next bus. As I was getting off the bus I took to the terminal I failed to notice a man had said something to me because of my earbuds in my ear. I quickly realized the man was following me.
I ignored him. I sat down on a bench and waited. The man shortly approached the bench I was sitting at and sat down. He then continually tried to initiate conversation with me even after I politely told him I was not interested.
He said things like “You’re are so beautiful.”,”You have a nice body.”, “Can I have your number? Can I give you mine?” He continued to move closer to me while asking questions while I was clearly uncomfortable. He even at one point touched my shoulder, put his face directly in my face and said “You different, not like other girls.”
Finally my bus came and I was relieved that I was free of him. But then I noticed him getting on the same bus I was. No big deal. That could’ve been a coincidence. But as the bus ride went on I noticed he wasn’t getting off. I live a ways away from my bus terminal and usually late at night I’m one of the last people on the bus. So I get on my phone in a panic that I’m being followed and call my mother. While I’m having this panicked conversation with my mother I get closer to my home. A block away from my apartment there is a gas station and after hearing my panic my stalker gets off the bus and a walks straight into the gas station. On the route to my home there were numerous gas stations on the way for this man to have gone into. I don’t know for sure if he was following me but I don’t know many people who travel across cities late at night just to get to a particular gas station. It was one of the most terrifying and violating situations I ever experienced.
I’ve been walking my young daughter to school in the morning, as the new year just began. Each day, either on the way there, or the way home, a man all but breaks his neck, eyes nearly popped out of his head to STARE at me as I stroll along trying to convey my disapproval with glaring back at him. What’s worse, is that this nonchalant pervert does this while driving a carload of his own children to and from school! Today, the sixth day of school, the disgusting halfwit drove up behind us, and involved his boys with catcalling from within the protective womb bubble of his car! My little daughter was so confused, “Why are they yelling at you like that mommy?”
“Because he thinks he can get away with it, and unfortunately, some men were brought up believing women are really soulless sex objects, incapable of being fully human, outside of unwelcome sexual objectification”
I didn’t knock on the door to have words with his wife/girlfriend or whatever either oblivious or uniformed female counterpart he managed to deceive into thinking he was even remotely worthy of being called a man (or simply prey on the fact she was born into a society where women are expected to put up with it to prevent a rape, murder, or worse… accept the myth that men were created this way, and that this shockingly prevalent societal crime is somehow normal). So, I took a picture of the license plate on his red Toyota Camry!
Yesterday I was standing outside of my residence hall talking on the phone, when a group of three guys started catcalling at me. I tried to ignore them but they wouldn’t stop, so I flipped them off. One of them just laughed at me, and they walked away. Later on, I realized that one of the guys was friends with my roommate. I don’t think he realized it was me when he decided to harass me (he was far enough away that I couldn’t really see his face), but I was shocked to find that someone who had seemed so nice could be so crude and obnoxious.
Today, I was riding my bike to class when some guy yelled “hey foxy” at me. I’m pretty irritated with feeling like I’m on display for people who only see me as an object for their viewing pleasure. I hate feeling scared when I pass guys I don’t know on the street, fearing that they could do something to make me feel uncomfortable or unsafe.
I work as a cashier and about half the men who come through my line call me “honey,” “baby,” “sweetie,” etc. because I’m a young girl.
Worse, though, when I was sixteen and had just started my job, I was selling the store’s debit/credit card to a man in his mid-forties. He replied, “Well I’ll get one if you give me a kiss.” I was speechless. How did he think he had the right to say that to me?
I almost got caught by the city parking enforcement for not switching my car over. I ran outside before he got out of the car and yelled that I was leaving soon, but just switched it over and went back in my apartment. When I was about to leave for good, the parking enforcement guy had pulled his car around behind mine and was leaning against his car. I asked him if he was still going to give me a ticket. He told me no, he wanted to talk to me and then proceeded to hit on me, saying he likes curvy girls and that I have a nice butt. He also asked if I was seeing anyone. I didn’t know what to say so I just said yes and thanks and ran back inside.
For the past two days, construction workers have been refurbishing the facade of a hotel that I pass on the way to my bus stop. Each time I have passed the building, both going and coming home from school and work, I have been whistled at and cat-called by the workers.
I looked up the number for the hotel and asked to speak with a manager. The woman who picked up the phone tried to convince me that I had the wrong hotel, and that no construction workers were working on the building any more. I did not back down. The hotel manager then tried to intimidate me into giving him a description of the man so he could reprimand him. I let him know that I did not entertain my street harasser’s inappropriate behavior by approaching him alone in a parking lot. I then told him that he is responsible for the behavior of his employees, and that it should be a policy for all of his workers not to engage in such inappropriate conduct. The manager told me he would discuss the incident with his workers. I plan on following up with him.
There was standing room only when I got on the bus, so when it cleared, I took the nearest empty seat as soon as it was available. Unfortunately it was next to a man who I quickly realized was staring unapologetically straight at me. After giving him a few seconds and the benefit of doubt, I turned to face him, looked him in the eye, and asked if he was staring at me. He just continued to stare. I stared back, but then decided it would be wise to move out of arm’s reach. Again, he continued to stare directly at me. I stared him down again from across the aisle and asked him to stop staring at me. He pretended to not be able to hear me because he had headphones in. I decided to whip out my phone and take a few pictures in case I might need them as evidence later. By the time I had taken the pictures, I got off the bus and notified the driver. He asked why I hadn’t said anything to him earlier. I thought he had heard me talking to the guy, but I guess not. If it happens again, I will take the pictures right away, notify the driver, and contact DC Metro police to file a harassment report. Here’s a pic of the asshole.
As a study abroad student in Angers, France I experienced quite a bit of street harassment, however, one incident stuck with me more than the others…probably due to how much it scared me.
I was walking down the street by myself going back to my bike to head home (probably not a good call at night, but I thought since it was the street the university was off of it would be fairly safe…). I suddenly had one of the people who I did not know, and had maybe said “hello” to when my friends and I were out because he asked me my name but didn’t have much of a conversation with otherwise, run up to me from down the street trying to convince me to go with him (where exactly wasn’t stated).
When I refused and said I really needed to go he tried to convince me to just “talk” with him in the alley. That was definitely a red flag for me so I kept walking. After that, I turned back to see a huge group of about 10 guys (I came to realize they were his friends when I saw him running to meet up with them) all yelling at me to come with them. I just started walking quickly away, getting more and more nervous seeing as, despite my lack of response to all their calls, they were continuing to follow me and getting closer and closer.
I started to panic and run, and luckily ran into this bar whose owner had been one of the people I had had an extended conversation with already in the town, and came to understand that his bar was where most of the foreign exchange students would come on weekends. Being able to speak French pretty well, I explained my situation. He looked out the door and, after having seen the rowdy, intoxicated group of guys calling out at me, said in a concerned voice “stay here, my sister will come and take you home, this isn’t safe.” His sister (with a baby carriage in the back of her car, which seemed promising) then came and picked me up from the bar where I had been waiting safely. I was so happy for the kindness of a family I had just barely met, and also so grateful I had escaped this situation in which I was VASTLY outnumbered.
I came to learn that this street wasn’t known for being safe at all, despite its extremely close proximity to the school, that that’s no excuse for harassment being allowed to take place.
I said “no.” That should have been the end of that conversation. When that wasn’t respected, it was clear to me that they didn’t care about my opinion on the matter, even thought it was ME they were trying to get to come with them. Not okay.
I went on a walk with my dog wearing long running shorts, an old, baggy t-shirt. A car full of high school boys was at a stop sign while I was a block ahead. They hung halfway out the windows and whistled and yelled at me. It wasn’t much but I was a 13 year old, innocent young girl and it scared the hell out of me. I felt ashamed, embarrassed for there were other cars in the intersection, and I felt like I did something wrong. I started running because I was afraid they would circle the block. I’ve been timid of walking alone ever since (it was a year ago), but finding Hollaback has given me the courage to know that I’m not alone and that I can stand up for myself.
While doing my grocery shopping I look up and see a man looking at me. I’m usually a friendly person and will smile and sometimes say “Hi” or “How are you?”. I smiled at him and he immediately looks at my chest and groin and says “I was wondering if you were going to smile at me.” All the while grinning at my body.
I thought of all kinds of fantastic come backs after the fact, but was too dumbfounded to say a word at the time.