This isn’t about one particular incident, this is about the overall attitude of men. Today it was sunny so I walked from work to the bus stop without my coat on and I felt vulnerable. Vulnerable! How ridiculous is that.
2 men who I walked past made some sort of sexual animalesque grunt at me just as I passed them and another guy in a group said something offensive. There was the usual classic of a group of builders making comments. I was wearing black tights and a dress with a baggy jumper over the top and I actually caught myself thinking ‘i’ll never wear this dress again without a long coat’. I think it was mainly because I was on my own, as these incidents seem to be about power.
It is intimidating and undermining for this to happen so much that it is normal. The sad fact is that I thought that somehow I had to adapt. I have to have an armour to walk to and from work!!!!!!!!!!
In the workplace it is illegal to make sexual comments like this, why is it ok in the street? Like many of you, I wish I knew what to say. ‘F off’ makes you look angry and mental. A disapproving stare seems to have no affect and the act makes me feel so pathetic that I don’t feel capable of making a witty banterous put down. What shall I do tomorrow?
This was fourteen years ago, the fall of 1997. I was nineteen. I was on a date with a girl, walking along the boardwalk – it’s one of the more romantic places in our small city. We found a nice spot to look out over the lake, and sat there talking quietly. We leaned in and began kissing, just an innocent kiss. Not a minute later, some slimebag scared the living hell out of us – he had to sneak up behind us of course – by saying stuff to the effect of, “Wow, do you two want some company? Y’all look good, a couple hot little white girls, you want some big dick to keep you company?” And just on and on.
What pisses me off the most, even after all these years, is that it was our first kiss – my first real kiss with a girl, even – and it was completely ruined. Luckily, my date took me by the hand and we walked to the car, even though I wanted to run. She kept telling me it was okay, that he was just some asshole, that we were okay. But I will hate that crusty old creep for the rest of my life. At the time, it felt like he took maybe the one good thing going in my life and cheapened it, made it a bad memory instead.
Wow, I thought I was over this. Just goes to show you how long those old wounds stay with you. I suppose I’m lucky that he didn’t pursue us or attack us, but I felt, still feel, violated all the same.
I live in a town that’s filled, primarily, with bars, places I usually enjoy and have never had a problem (possibly because I usually go out with a group that is primarily male). However, on this particular night it was a friend’s birthday and we decided that getting plastered was a good idea. To avoid spending too much money we went to the local dive bar, somewhere I previously had never set foot in. It’s a strangely dark place (even for a bar) and VERY crowded on weekends.
At one point I, along with three of my friends (all girls) went out onto the dance floor, we were having fun jumping around and dancing with each other for partners when I feel something brush past my ass, initially I dismissed it, it’s a crowded dance floor and you do have to work your way through it to get to the bar, a little awkward jostling is too be expected. However, it turned out to be some guy who started grinding on me, when I tried to gently push him away saying, “no thanks” he just pressed closer when I pushed harder he said “woah, you’re grinding all up on me.” And I glanced over my shoulder to see him and his friends laughing. I was so uncomfortable that I just moved closer to my friends and waited for him to pass.
I wish I’d turned around and told him off for getting in my personal space and then trying to validate himself by saying that I was getting into his.
I felt violated and my friends and I left shortly after this happened. On our way out we reported this to the bouncer (with the friend I’d been dancing with pointing the guy who’d violated me out, as she’d gotten a good look at him.) He just laughed and said a “hot piece” like me should be used to it by now. On of my guy friends told him that he was an asshole and that his job was to protect the clients. He just scoffed and said something along the lines of, “come on, brah.”
Needless to say I’ll never be setting foot in there again.
Me: crossing Woodward with my boyfriend. Young guy in the passenger seat of car stopped at the Woodward red light: yells “SEXY” etc etc at me while I wait for the Congress light to change. This is about thirty, maybe forty full seconds of yelling. He’s far enough away that I can’t tell what he’s saying, so I ignore him until some other college girls walk towards the intersection and he yells at them too about their clothing (skirts). I turn and yell at him to fuck off, notice the asshole is *holding a camcorder* and presumably had been filming my ass the entire time. Light changes, he laughs with the driver as they zoom off. Wish I had a photo or a license plate number but I don’t, wish I could just shrug it off and forget about it but I can’t. All I can do is sit around thinking of things I wish I had said and I hate that feeling.
Living in Brooklyn has its ups and downs….this week has most certainly hit a very low point.
The reason I haven’t updated in so long is because as I was coming home from the tattoo shop on Sunday night I was robbed at gunpoint a block away from my apartment. I was walking home on any typical night when I got grabbed from behind and put up a fight…when he realized I was or could be stronger than him (I am a 4’11” tiny girl and he wasn’t very strong and was only 3 inches taller than me) he grabbed my neck, pushed me against a parked SUV, cocked the trigger and stuck the cold barrel of the gun in my temple. At this point he humiliated me by ripping my glasses off and throwing them underneath the car and ripped my grandmothers gold ring off my finger.
“If you turn around and look at me you will fucking die tonight…I will put a bullet in your head”
I proceeded to give him my entire handbag that contained my wallet, credit cards, i.d., only 9 dollars in cash, my salon paycheck, my apartment keys, and old school iPod….but then he disgustingly patted me down…stuck his hands in my back jean pockets and grabbed my iphone G4 out of my front jacket pocket.
“I want you to walk to the end of this block…if you look back…if you look back or turn around…I will fucking kill you right now”
I wanted to break down. I wanted to scream…I went deaf with anxiety and walked to the end of the block as calm as possible…then I crossed the street and ran like I have never ran before in my life…luckily there is a police station a block away…
Getting all my shit back has become an utter nightmare…thank god my parents live in the next couple neighborhoods over so I can stay with them until I get mailed a new phone and my landlord sorts out the key situation of my apartment.
I am not sure I will ever be the same again…at least not for a while…you think you are safe until this actually happens to you. I am so lucky to not be killed or raped…I am trying to be strong and resume back to normal life….its been hard to sleep and feel relaxed but if I can’t function then the bastard wins….in the end I will get out on top and this will make me a stronger woman than I already believe I am.
Toronto Police representative Michael Sanguinetti’s words of wisdom to students at York University in January that “women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized” was the basis for Sunday’s inaugural “SlutWalk,” drawing close to 1000 men and women fed up with institutionalized victim-blaming and shaming.
From the SlutWalk site:
Historically, the term ‘slut’ has carried a predominantly negative connotation. Aimed at those who are sexually promiscuous, be it for work or pleasure, it has primarily been women who have suffered under the burden of this label. And whether dished out as a serious indictment of one’s character or merely as a flippant insult, the intent behind the word is always to wound, so we’re taking it back. “Slut” is being re-appropriated.
Watch MoxNews.com’s report here:
Last Friday after work I decided to go for a run, it was a cool evening and it was starting to rain, which quickly turned to sleet and then light snow. I was less than a 1/4 mile into my run when I heard yelling — my ipod was between songs, otherwise I might have missed the specifics of it. There was a guy (I am assuming high school age) leaning out the window of a car on the other side of the street who screamed out, “Nice ass………WHORE!!!!!!!!!” I have to be honest, it wasn’t just the words that upset me, it was also how he said it — there was anger in his tone, and it felt threatening.
I tried to shake it off as just a bunch of immature kids with poor judgment and kept running.
Maybe a mile later I was on Beacon St in Cambridge when the same car drove by me again with this guy again hanging out the window screaming at me — I had my ipod cranked up so I don’t know what he said but the tone was, again, unmistakably angry & threatening. I was freaked out that this was the 2nd time they’d driven by me, and I was getting into less residential neighborhoods where there were fewer people on the streets — I had visions of the next time they drove past me, what if they pulled over? got out of the car? pulled me into the car?? I decided to listen to my gut, cut my run short, and turn around & head back for more populated streets & home.
Unfortunately I was not wearing my glasses & did not get the license plate #. I am getting over this but had an anxiety dream about it Friday night that involved me being cornered by a large man and calling for help that never came. I remain disturbed by the fact that somewhere, somehow, the boys/men in that car learned that harassing & threatening a woman in this way is ok.
Ironically enough last month we had a sexual harassment class. You know when they tell you what is appropriate and what isnt. I thought oh that would never happen in my school. Little did I know that it did. As I was leaving early i see this three kids that were younger than me yet bigger (I am really small) walking up the stairs as I am going down.
I am looking at my phone texting a friend, when this kid calls back “i said hey”. I turn around thinking i might know this person, and i stupidly answered “i dont even know you” he starts getting all worked up saying that i should still say hi and not be rude. That just because im hot and he likes my curves doesnt mean i have to be a stuck up chick.
I just walked away and ignored him, but it bugged me. The whole way down the stairs he kept shouting stuff.
The worst thing is that if i report it the kid will prob just get a detention (if that). Cause my school (a catholic one) does the most retarded punishments, once a kid handcuff some grade 7s to a toilet, punishment: oh a 3 day suspension, no biggie. You steal something, oh no punishment if you give it back, no questions will be asked
This happened the day before spring break, before I found this site, and I feel terrible for not saying something.
I’m new at my school, so I don’t get a lot of attention, which is a good thing. I was sitting next to this girl, looking out the window, minding my own business, when I overhear a guy in the seat behind me say, “Hey girl, you wanna get with this?” The girl sitting next to me said, “No, thanks,” and turned back around. For the rest of the ride, he kept asking her if she wanted to have sex with him, how big his penis was, and at one point he even said, “What, you a lesbo or something?” She kept quietly saying, “No,” but he wouldn’t leave her alone. I wanted so badly to turn to her and say, “You don’t have to put up with this, there’s an empty seat up front, you can move,” but I was just too afraid. He kept harassing her the whole ride, even as I was getting off.
I really wish I had said something, but now I promise myself that the next time I see another woman being harassed, I will stand up and I will speak.
This April marks the tenth anniversary of SAAM (Sexual Assault Awareness Month), and the awesome activists at SAFER (Students Active For Ending Rape) are calling for a push from awareness to activism, making this years’ SAAM stand for Sexual Assault ACTIVISM Month. Students, recent alumni, parents, and teachers are encouraged to participate by “pledging” a direct action against sexual assault this month, whether by fundraising, submitting their definition of accountability to the SAFER website, or checking up on their schools’ sexual assault policy and pushing for reform where necessary.
Check out this video for some student submissions of what accountability looks like to them: