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Several years ago, I only had a bike to get to and from my job. The ride was five miles each way, and in no time at all, I was in pretty good shape.
One afternoon, after finishing my shift, I had just crossed an incredibly busy intersection and was coasting down the sidewalk when out of nowhere, these guys started catcalling me. I don’t remember exactly how many there where, but they were saying things along the lines of “Yeah baby! Looking good!”
Tired, cranky and now pissed off, I slammed my brakes on, located the direction of the catcalls (a dark green pickup about fifteen feet away from me), and in front of the entire waiting line of traffic, I flipped the guys off with both hands, screaming at the top of my lungs “DON’T EVER CALL ME THAT AGAIN!”
Not waiting for their response, I got back on my bike and pedaled home.
When I related the story to my mother later that night, she expressed her disappointment in my “unladylike” behavior and that the guys were only “trying to compliment” me.
That night, I wasn’t sure who I was more upset with: the truck full of guys who catcalled me or the mom who didn’t seem to understand that I was defending myself against street harassment.
I’ve always been a bit spacey and slow on the uptake when it comes to conversation, so I often don’t realize I’ve been flirted with or hit on during the day until I’m going through my day right before I fall asleep. This usually isn’t too much of a problem for me, but it’s thanks to a certain brave woman that it didn’t lead me to some dangerous consequences when I faced a harasser a few months ago.
I was taking the bus back from the airport, and a female passenger struck up a conversation about the luggage I was using. We chatted a bit, and eventually a man sitting behind me joined in on the conversation. The woman got off at the bus stop and the conversation continued, and because I thought he was just being casually friendly I didn’t notice that he was persistently casing me out for personal details – where I was going, what college I was going to, where I was staying, etc. stuff that I didn’t think twice about when telling him because I didn’t realize that’s what he was doing, or that he was showing non-platonic interest in me,
Then, a woman sitting across from me turned, looked at me and him, and loudly and pointedly told me that she would be watching what stop I was getting off at in case he decided to follow me. Suddenly, I realized the situation I was in, and what possible danger I was getting into. He confirmed that suspicion by getting angry and turned to verbally abusing her, trying to tell me that she was just jealous because he wasn’t hitting on her and forcefully insisting I tell him my name. She wouldn’t take that kind of behavior and started telling him off, and they started arguing. All I could do was keep silent – I’d never been in this kind of situation before. Eventually, he got off and I thanked the woman for cluing me in.
When I got off, I was shaken. I felt stupid that I’d let myself get duped so easily, angry that he would think it was okay to treat me like that in the first place, but above all else, I was grateful that someone had stepped in to help someone else who was unknowingly being placed in a dangerous situation and defend them from a harasser. I don’t know your name, woman on the bus, but I’d like to thank you again for your altruism and your bravery.
I was on post at my job when an middle-aged gentleman proceeded to take his rolled up race program and slap my left buttcheek with it. Earlier in the day, he grabbed my wrist to look at my tattoo but I thought nothing of it at the time. I just dismissed him as another drunk patron.
But after the newspaper incident, I immediately reported him to my supervisor who took over 40 minutes to return with a security guard. The guard went over to the man (who was kicking back, drinking beer in his lawn chair next to his wife) and asked him his side of the story. I then watched the security guard and the man exchange laughter/guffaws while looking in my direction.
I took my break to calm down and came back to my post to hear from my co-worker that the gentleman in question came over to apologize to me. He also informed my co-worker that he was an off-duty police officer.
I had to let him through my turnstile for the rest of my shift whilst being subjected to his leers. We don’t have HR on site where we work, so my complaint is lost in translation with our NYC office. In order to pay my bills, I have to be subjected to this patron for the rest of the season.
My friend and I went to the U2 concert. At the concert there was an inner ring that was pretty crowded and sort of like a mosh pit. My friend and I, being the stupid 16 year olds we are, decide that we just wanted to walk through from one end to the other to see if it was worth standing in there. It was really crowded and we quickly decided that once we found our way out of the ring we would not come back. But as we were walking through we pushed past three boys that were probably about 17. My friend was walking first so she didn’t see it but all three of the boys stared at us in a really creepy way that made me feel uneasy. Then as I was getting past the last boy he grabbed his crotch and gave me this look as I stared at him in repulsion. Needless to say I pushed my friend a little faster and said KEEP GOING when she tried to stop right after we passed them. The three boys heard me say this and started laughing like it was all some big joke. I felt like crying. What gives them the right to make me feel uncomfortable just because I’m a girl? I wish someone would have seen and done something. I wish I would have done something. Because that was no joke and it was not okay.
I was walking from my car to campus with two friends when I saw about 4 men fixing a roof nearby. Not long after, we began hearing things like, “hey ladies”, “Heeeey mama!” and the like. I used it as an opportunity to tell my friends about Hollaback! (they hadn’t heard of it). It was a great way to avoid the situation AND educate a few more people about this amazing site.
Walking back home through the park at 6pm, with my 2 year old daughter, a group of men between 20 and 40- 4 in total sat drinking on a bench. One waved at me, then they began to shout at me ‘Slag’, ‘Slut’, ‘fat bitch’, ‘fucking slut’ etc. It would have been bad enough alone, but I was with my little girl. I didn’t respond, just ushered her out of the park with a heart heavy with the knowledge that this will no doubt happen to her some time in the future.
This is the worst that has happened to me, (I seem to be a constant target of catcalls, and I don’t even dress sexy, like that should matter, just a shirt and jeans) and this happened to me 2 yrs ago at a bus stop. My car was not working at the time and was taking the bus. A drunk was walking towards the bus stop and I saw his lips move as trying to say something and I of course ignored him as I always do (since I have my headphones on) but this time this man had the audacity to stop in front of me to continue to try and talk to me while he touched & massaged his “baggage.” I had a long coat on, sunglasses, and headphones. Shocked and disgusted as he was only 2 feet away from me I immediately shoved him with the umbrella I was carrying as there was a possibility of rain that day…Looking back I wished I would have pushed him harder onto the street to make him fall onto oncoming traffic or hit his “baggage” with the umbrella to make him fall into fetal position. I was so embarrassed and humiliated because no one around me did anything and the one lady that was also waiting for the bus just 6ft away from me look up and down on me as if I did something wrong.
Okay so I’m a 14 year old girl from Washington and I just recently took a trip to New York for the FIRST time with my cousins & their friends. So it was my first day in New York and I was SO excited to go site seeing and to take a ride on the subway. So as I was waiting for the subway this 30-something year old man kept staring at my cousins & her friends but then he stopped his wandering eye on me & started looking me up and down. It made me feel sick because that’s never really happened to me…I’m not saying that it doesn’t happen in Washington but I’ve never really noticed I guess. Well he stopped looking me up & down but then started staring at my legs & licking his lips, which I thought was hillarous because he kept trying to look to see if he could look up my dress which he obviously couldn’t cause I made sure I kept my legs crossed and I never really wear short revealing dresses. Anyway his friends were on the other side of the room so he walked right in front of me trying to look down my dress and still looking at my legs. As he walked back in front of me with his friends he then said “Hey sexy!” and did a little shy wave knowing that my Aunt was near by. At that moment I felt so sick I didn’t know what to say or what to do because this had never happened to me! Then it happened like it was fate my cousin stretched her legs out while he was walking & he was to busy staring at me like I was a piece of meat so then he FELL! I couldn’t help but laugh not from his pain but from the fact that my cousin had done this accidentally while I was tongue tied thinking what to say. IT WAS DEFINITELY FATE. He was so embarrassed even though he still stared at me and made gross remarks I still felt like the real winner as he left for his subway!
As an eleventh grader I waited at a bus stop on a busy street in full daylight. I saw a pickup drive in front of me and then, as the driver saw me sitting alone in my uniform, slam on its brakes. The truck pulled into an alley next to me and the driver hurried over to me, offering me a ride. He insisted it would be faster than the bus.
I was instantly amazed that this was happening to me. Did he think I was that stupid? I was terrified that someone with obviously harmful intentions was approaching me so brazenly. It was amazing, though, how simple his ploy was, and how he anxiously repeated the offer as if repetition would change my mind.
I pointed to the bus, now thankfully in sight, and told him no, over and over. He kept insisting. Finally I ignored him, since I had no pepper spray. The worst part was that I was afraid to reach for my cell phone to call for help. What if he had been armed, and decided he couldn’t risk help coming for me? Finally, as the bus pulled up, he gave up, hurried into his truck and drove away.
I can’t believe that this happened to me in broad daylight, in such a public location. Although nothing so frightening has happened to me since, the incident convinced me that none of us are ever quite safe.
I got some pepper spray and now carry it at all times.
I was on my way to the bus station today, walking behind a woman on her cell phone, when I heard a man say in a leering voice, “Well, hello, beautiful.”
The woman in front of me ignored him. She didn’t seem to notice that she was the target of his attentions.
“Hey!” He yelled, growing belligerent and glaring at her. “I’m talking to you!” She glanced over, fearful, and kept talking on her cell phone, trying to continue ignoring him.
Apparently satisfied with her reaction, the man snickered loudly and walked ahead of us. I was filled with rage and wanted to step in, yell at him to leave her alone (as I often wish someone would do for me), but I realized that I was one small woman in a secluded road behind the post office, and he was a large man who already didn’t care about women’s boundaries. For safety’s sake, I didn’t intervene, but I felt sick, sad and ashamed for my entire bus ride home.
I am normally on the receiving end of these encounters more than once a week. This time, I was not actually the target of sexual harassment, but seeing it happen to someone else was just as bad. What I wouldn’t give to be able to DO something without endangering my own life. These creeps walk around with impunity, harassing and intimidating and victimizing people, yet confronting them means preparing for violence. I hate to give them even more power by not stepping in, but what can I do?
The man met up with some of his buddies at the bus station. I snapped a photo from behind.