demonstration

Samantha’s Story: Song writing

I was riding the commuter rail on the way back from a function in Boston. I’ve taken the rail several times before and typically put my headphones in and write songs or poetry and put my purse or my legs on the rest of the seat to ensure my personal space. The day this happened, the train was very crowded and the only seats free were on the sideways seats, one row facing the other.
I was listening to music and writing a song in my notebook when I noticed a couple boys (about 18ish, maybe early 20s) staring at me. I tried to ignore them and write, but they kept staring. Finally, I heard one start shouting at me.
“Hey.”
I ignored him.
“Hey! What are you writing. Hey! C’mon. Tell me.”
This continued a few more minutes. Not one man or woman on that train stepped in. I rolled my eyes and responded very calmly.
“I’m writing a song about castration. Why?”
The boys looked a bit shocked to say the least. I kept a straight face and stared them down until they lowered their eyes to the floor. I noticed a couple people around me smirking to themselves.
Needless to say, they didn’t bother me the rest of the train ride.
Also, for the record, the song I was writing was not about castration.

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demonstration

Shocked’s Story: Masturbating on bus

So ,umm something happened while I was on the bus yesterday around 8pm and I told one of my guy friends but I’m not able to talk about it to anyone else…and I haven’t got the guts to tell my parents. So here it goes: I was sitting in the bus like I do every day. This guy gets in and sits next to me but not directly. Like there’s a mini-passage between our seats (1 meter approx.). Halfway through the bus ride, I glance at the window and I could see his reflection (because it’s dark outside and there is light inside the bus). What I saw REALLY shocked me. This guy had his dick out and was MASTURBATING. Like really masturbating very openly. I never looked at him directly but I could see everything through the glass window. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I was scared he would cum on me or something plus I was VERY uncomfortable so I changed seats. One minute later, another woman comes and sits next to me traumatized. The f**king pervert got off the bus like 5 minutes after I realized what he was doing.
Now, I don’t want to scare my parents by telling them this story (I’m 21 but still). I thought it wasn’t a big deal (disturbing but no big deal) but I was wrong. Its been like 2 hours and I’m still a little bit shaken by this. I told my friend and asked me if I’m ok and everything but seriously WHO THE HELL does that!!
Thanks for listening. I didn’t know who else to turn to and I HAD to get it off my chest. <3

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demonstration

Tiffany’s story: Free Dinner and Ice Cream

I’ve had long hair all my life, waist/hip length. Unfortunately, around when I turned into a teen it became a bit of a burden. Cat-callers would address me by my hair, calling me Blondie along with other lewd things. There’s been times where strangers, behind my back, have stroked my hair. Some from the top to the very ends (at my butt), then vanishing from sight. I used to think I was imagining things, until my friend who was shopping with me verified it.

On my sixteenth birthday (July 2006) at a restaurant in the Springfield,MA Marriott hotel, the manager came out and chatted up my mother and I. As he was doing this, he was also stroking my hair and said to me, unbeknownst to my mother, “men love long hair…” in my ear. He was a larger man in his 50′s. I wish I reported it. He still worked there as of the second incident described below.

A couple years later (July 2008) there was another incident at this same hotel, same restaurant, where a couple of older business men were asking my mother inappropriate questions. The waitstaff (men and a woman) witnessed this and did nothing, said nothing. We reported it to the front desk and my mother was in tears. The hotel security, a very nice woman, assured us she’d fix this. But she then said she couldn’t/didn’t because these men belonged to a company(unknown) that frequently puts its employees up at the hotel. They gave us the dinner free, threw in a couple of ice cream bars, and sent us back to our room. That’s when I realized how easy it is for people to get away with sexual harassment. Especially at this hotel. Ruined my birthday, twice.

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Claudia’s Story: “I was 13 years old”

I was walking to school, a car stopped,
the man inside told me: “Come here, I want to suck it”
(oral sex). I wanted to cry, but I was brave, and got far from there.
I was 13 years old.

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Hanna’s Story: Not OK

Everyone says Holland is so liberal, so open-minded. Also that sexist harassment is nil here.

Combine Sexist with Racist. Happy Racists.

This happens to me where I live, once a week, but here’s a specific example:

I am on my bicycle on my way to the grocery store. Two teenage boys ride on either side and make mocking “ChingChong” noises.

And they stay there, riding alongside me.

I tell them to go away, (Racists!) – they say, in English, “We’re not racists.”

Yes, I am Asian. No, I am not from China, or of Chinese descent. No, even if I were from China this is not OK.

More often, it’s less but the same:

I am on an errand — someone bikes by and sing-songs “China!” and “NiHao!” at me, and they’re gone. Happy smiling racists.

It ruins my whole walk. It’s racist, and also sexist. Because racism is how they get sexist, and worse.

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Lindsey’s Story: Creep

I left my apartment at about 5:50pm to walk my dog, and it was already pretty dark. Since she had been inside all day, I decided we could walk around to Long Meadow so she could get some exercise. As we started walking that way, a man on a bicycle rode past us from behind. When I turned because I heard him coming from behind me, he smiled and waved a bit, in what seemed like a “Sorry, wasn’t trying to startle you” kind of gesture. Okay, that’s fine. So we kept walking. As we walked a little bit, I noticed this same guy was now standing by the lake, playing with his phone, bike on the ground next to him. Hmm. We kept walking. He rode past us again. I ignored him this time, but he did make some kind of gesture. Then again, we passed him, this time sitting on a bench, playing with his phone. He smiled and waved a little as we passed. This pattern continued for about 20 minutes or so, 2 or 3 more times. He’d ride past, then wait for us to pass him. I was getting annoyed, so I just stopped for a while. He stopped, too, a short way ahead of us. So I started walking back in the opposite direction, but also toward a park exit. Of course, he followed. I walked outside the park, and as I did, warned a couple women that a man had been following me, and asked them to be careful. I decided to linger outside the park to see if he would try to follow them. He didn’t. He just parked his bike next to some exercise bars near the Vanderbilt St. exit, and stared at me while I called the police. He stayed there the entire time I was on the phone, alternating between pretending to “exercise,” playing on his phone, and staring at me. Of course, when the police arrived, he left.

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Paulina’s Story: Anger and frustration

Groping and verbal harassment to women is, unfortunately, very common in my country, México. I’m 28 years old now, and I was 13 when for the first time in my life a man showed me his genitals in the bus. Back then I couldn’t do anything but start crying. Since that day on, that has happened to me several times, I’ve been groped on the street and in the bus, and not to tell the verbal harassment, that’s “the usual thing” when you walk on the street. Nowadays, I don’t start crying, I face them, push them or yell to them. Nevertheless, the feeling is always the same: anger and frustration. I try to participate in active ways to stop these things from happening in my country, it is very hard though, when most of the people think: “that’s bad but it’s normal”. I hope that movements like this can help to stop harassment against women.

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Elizabeth’s Story: “Not appropriate”

I was stopped by a fundraiser for Planned Parenthood, of all things, and he told me that he had watched me walk up the street and then walk out of Target and that I was beautiful. I said thank you, but I’m not interested. I know he meant well, but that kind of approach is not appropriate or appreciated.

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Patience’s Story: Disgusting

It wasn’t recent, but it took years before I realized that I’d been sexually harassed. I was attending Bates Technical College at the time and I was waiting to be picked up from school when some guy came walking down the street and started hitting on me. I was only sixteen at the time, and I was completely shocked to see that his d*ck was hanging out of his pants. I was disgusted, but too embarrassed to say anything (and I didn’t know what he was doing was harassment). If I could go back now and do something about it, I would.

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Lindsey’s Story: We shouldn’t have to deal with harassment

When I was 14, a friend and I were going for a walk, minding our own business and happened to walk near a construction site. We weren’t even on the same side of the street but many of the men stopped what they were doing just to yell and whistle at us.  It made me feel: embarrassed, frightened, confused, what did we do? It was the first time that I really encountered being treated differently in public and how it and many other incidents have made my wary and vigilant whenever I’m at any public forum, which is ridiculous to expect from women and even young girls. Other forms of harassment haven’t been on the street like this, but rather come from co-workers and from other situations, but all have contributed to my embattled mental state when dealing with male strangers. *sigh* I feel lame writing this from my current 26 year-old-self, but I don’t think girls should have to deal with that.

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