demonstration

Sophie’s Story: Taking charge

I had to send this email to the local Waste Management Company today:

“On my way home from work this evening (NB US 23 meets M14) I was sexually harassed on the road by the driver of Truck ****** at 530 pm. He endangered me through his distracting attempts to grab my attention, and those in the lane with him as his focus on making filthy hand signs at me prevented him from safely handling his vehicle.

Please ensure that this gentleman spend more time in the future looking at the road than he does making lewd gestures at women out of the window of his garbage truck. Maybe, you could take away his garbage truck.

Much Thanks”

I feel much better that I got his truck number and I wrote in. Driving is a huge responsibility and when you’re in control of a two ton machine, you should not be distracting other drivers.

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demonstration

Lo’s Story: “How does it make you feel when someone calls you a name?”

Today as I was enjoying a peaceful walk home, a car sped by and a man yelled, “Hey- give me some of that pussy!” Unfortunately, my neighborhood harasser was driving too quickly for me to see the license plate or his face, much less take a picture. The icing on the cake was that a few minutes later, a different car drove by and two more young men honked and cat-called me. As a teacher, I spend a great deal of time asking children, “Do you think it’s a good idea to call people mean names?”, or, “How does it make you feel when someone calls you a name?”, in an attempt to teach them empathy and think about how their words and actions affect their classmates. If (or when) this happens again to me or someone I’m with, I want the opportunity to ask the harasser the same questions. Of course, I’m not foolish enough to think I alone can change a person’s behavior, but maybe sparking a dialogue is a starting place.

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demonstration

Carey’s Story: An invasion of space

Today after work (around 6pm) my friend and I stopped at the awesome churro truck that is usually parked on Echo Park ave just south of Sunset blvd. We’re standing at the window, and right as my friend is placing her order a man comes up to me and kisses my hair. When I jump back and yell, “what the fuck!?” he starts to laugh. He says, “I scared you didn’t I?” I got really upset and started yelling at him to get away from me. My friend stepped in between us and told him to get away from me. He started yelling back at us that he didn’t touch me. We turn our backs to him, and he starts to walk away. But as he is walking away he starts yelling, “if I ever see you again I’m gonna fuck you up!” He yelled it multiple times as he walked towards Sunset Blvd.

Hollaback LA where are you!?

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demonstration

Lisa’s Story: “I’m just trying to get to work”

I get verbally harassed daily on my walk to work, which is from Civic Center to an office in SOMA.  Usually they do things like say “Hey baby!”, smack their lips or make kiss-y noises.

Today, a man was walking towards me and I moved left on the sidewalk to give him room. As he passes, he yells “BOO!!” right in my ear.

Why? Because I’m a young woman, Asian, by myself?? I’m just trying to get to work and knowing that I have to walk through street harassment every day is taking its toll. I am thinking of leaving my job just to work in a better neighborhood.

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demonstration

Jess’s Story: “We had no idea where we were”

My frıend and I were out night clubbing in Istanbul.  Next thing we wake up in a taxi on a freeway, obviously leaving Istanbul. There were 2 other men in the taxi.  I started screaming and yelling; asking where are we going etc and they all just yelled in Turkish. I continued yelling and finally the driver pulled over.  My friend opened the door and we ran, kept on running until we felt like we were safe.  We had no idea where we were.  Luckily we bumped into some security guard that had a hut on the freeway and they called the police.

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demonstration

Kathleen’s Story: Dehumanizing

While out with my sisters, I bumped into a guy that one of my sisters used to work with. He was with another guy friend of his and he stopped me and said hi, so we all chatted for a few minutes. This was outside in the smoking area in front of the bar, so back inside, I went to the bathroom and when I came back, my sister was talking to the guys at the bar. When I came over, the guys friend said, “Hey, who’s your friend with the nice tits?” and pointed right at me, while I was standing there.

Compared to others’ stories, this isn’t really that bad. But it still served the purpose…I was embarrassed and degraded, because that guy succeeded in reducing me to my sexual attributes. That’s the most frustrating part of the harassment, how dehumanizing it is. Yeah, maybe I am a girl with nice tits, but I’m also a person with thoughts and feelings, who deserves respect.

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demonstration

Erin’s Story: Inappropriate behavior

I’m a female of 20 years of age and I am quite attractive in the sexual senses.  On July 25th 2011 I was taking the last 97 bus home from the downtown club scene when a really creepy man started hitting on me and groping me in inappropriate ways.  This was like another time when an older man was jacking off in the back of the bus and staring at all the people in the front.  Anyway, he wouldn’t stop being rude and obnoxious and by the time I got off at my stop he followed me and was getting worse.  He told me to follow him into a nearby bush to have sex with him but I told him to go away. Eventually bad got to worse and he started groping me and I had to call the cops who didn’t show up.  I called my boyfriend and he showed up and saved me from what could have been an act of sexual molestation.

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demonstration

Corinne’s Story: “I had always assumed that the presence of a male would protect me, but I am not so sure anymore.”

I was walking on the road beside the river with my father to get back to our car, and since we had both just gotten off, we were still in our swimming trunks and life jackets. Now, I would think that baggy swim shorts and a bulky life jacket wouldn’t be too sexually appealing, but it doesn’t matter to some. A truck drove by and a group of three twenty- something guys drove past wolf whistling and yelling “Nice ass!” My Father simply yelled “Thank you!” and kept walking. I’m glad that he made a joke out of it, but I was still a bit freaked out. It was frightening to me not that this happened, because I have been harassed before, but that they would be so crass to me in front of my Father. I had always assumed that the presence of a male would protect me, but I am not so sure anymore.

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demonstration

Sally’s Story: “All male spaces where I am not welcome or safe”

I am sitting on a street car with my roommate, both of us women in our early twenties, recounting our day, and a man stands in the aisle behind us. The streetcar is nearly full, but not packed.

The man’s crotch grazes my arm. I suspect this is accidental, caused by the movement of the car and shift inwards a little, but the man continues to cause his crotch to make contact with my bare arm as the streetcar creeps to our destination. I shift so far inwards, that I am pressed against my roommate and twisted half sideways. She realizes what is happening and looks at the man disdainfully, he walks further down the streetcar.

I intermittently experience male sexual aggression on public transit in Toronto, making me feel like the Streetcar, the Subway and the Bus are all male spaces where I am not welcome or safe. Trapped in the small, confined cars as they move along streets and tunnels I almost never feel safe enough to say or do anything about it.

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demonstration

Samantha’s Story: Harassed on the way to work

I was walking towards the courtyard of my office building in the middle of downtown. I spot two people, one man and one woman, sitting on one of the benches in the courtyard. I continue towards the building entrance and I notice that the man was angry with the woman. The woman was sitting very straight faced but looking away from him. He was inches from her face spitting as he spoke something I couldn’t quite understand until I got closer. He made eye contact with me as I was about to pass him “…I’d fuck that bitch…” (gesturing towards me). I was instantly angry. I was angry for her and myself. He was objectifying me AND her most likely. I thought I’d keep walking without creating a scene. But as I was about to go inside, I stopped. I turned around and in a defensive tone I yelled “EXCUSE ME?”. The man turned around to look at me, confused. I said “You don’t talk to me like that! You don’t say things like that to a woman.” He was shocked and began to mutter “Sorry, ma’am..” but I interrupted and hollered “Go fuck yourself!” and made my way to work.
We have a security guard at the front but he must not have noticed the incident. I walked past him and up the elevator to my office. I walked inside and looked out the window to the man and woman. She appeared to be fighting back now. A co-worker asked me what happened and I told him. He told me to inform the security guard. I went back downstairs and let the guard know there was a gentleman outside making lewd comments to young women passing by. He told me he’d take care of it and call the cops if he had to. I said it was all right. A couple female co-workers entered the building at that point and asked me if I was alright and relaxed me.
One of them told me I shouldn’t have responded to the man, saying he could have had a knife or weapon. I just thought to myself that I’d rather fight and stick up for myself then allow myself to be objectified and used.
Security came to tell me that he had kicked the man off the property and I wasn’t afraid to walk back to my car after work.

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