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My story may technically fall under “domestic violence” but I think once you air your dirty laundry in public it deserves come under censure.
I was walking through my boyfriend’s apartment complex, headed towards his unit when I heard angry screaming echoing through the parking lot. I stopped walking, wondering if I could make out what was going on and didn’t have to look far before I noticed a girl sitting behind the wheel of a parked car, sobbing her eyes out. All the yelling was coming from her passenger seat. I was immediately concerned even though I didn’t know what was going on, but it looked and sounded like she was getting verbally attacked. So I head back to my car, hoping to buy some time and see if I needed to call authorities. Some scary guy is walking in and out of her car, screaming insults at her, making a scene, and even brought his room mate out to the car so he could justify whatever tirade he was on about (She had called him a liar or something? I would have called him unstable).
It’s only been 30 seconds or so, but I’ve already decided to call security when I see him grab her face, yelling “Look at me! Look at me, bitch!” I was so angry by this point I stomped over and started yelling HEY to get his attention off of her. It worked, probably a little too well. Luckily we were on opposite sides of the car but that didn’t stop him from trying to scare me too. Calling me names, and saying how this was none of my business. I said none of that mattered and “You DON’T. TOUCH. HER.” and that I’d be calling someone to the scene. Now that I look back, he responded in probably the most ridiculous way possible, “Go ahead and call the cops. I don’t give a fuck! I’ve BEEN in prison before!” If I hadn’t been so mad I might have laughed in his face. I gave him a pointed look, flipped open my phone in the bitchiest way possible, and stomped away to grab the number for security.
When I met the guards a minute later the couple was gone. Luckily, since I’d seen the Screamer pull his friend outside I knew which apartment they lived in. The guards confronted the guys but I saw no sign of the girl. I’m still worried about her and I only hope that by sticking up for her, maybe she’ll learn that no one deserves to be treated like that.
Submitted by Katherine
This happened about 5 years ago. I was going home by the subway, and after Yorkdale station, the cart became really empty, and there were just myself and an older (looked to be in his 60s) man in the cart.
He began by being rather grandfatherly (I was 19, but looked much younger), asking if I go to school, and how my summer was. He then asked if I had a boyfriend. I was rather confused and naive, so I just answered honestly, saying no, I do not. He then smiled really big, went “yeah?”, and proceeded to fondle himself through his pants. I was really scared at this point, but I was sorta paralyzed and just didn’t know what to do. Finally, the train pulled into Downsview station (last one on the line) and I just bolted out the door.
I didn’t tell anyone about this because I rationalized that it wasn’t a big deal, he didn’t touch me, and it’s not like I have any proof. Looking back at it now, I know I should have tried to get a conductor, but the fact that I had no proof still would make me hesitate to tell another stranger.
Another thing that really stuck with me about this incident is how small that man is. His dick was literally the size of my thumb. This information doesn’t have much relevance to the story, but I somehow remember it quite distinctly.
Submitted by Anne
I was walking out of Taco Bell while talking to my husband on my phone. As I was passing by a beat up looking white car, a guy asked out the window: “Hey, can I use your phone?” I responded with “No, I’m talking business with my husband,” automatically. He was a younger white guy in the driver’s seat. His buddy was inside and conversing with the manager of the place. The guy said a few more things but like I said, I was talking to my husband so I wasn’t paying attention.
As I got to my car door, the other guy came out and said very suggestively “Hey, can I get something *else*?”. Unfortunately I got very pissed off and said f you to him. I realize now I shouldn’t have; but I can’t change the past.
As I was backing out, another car came around the corner very fast and because of that I almost hit him; the harassers were in their car and one got out, and said something (I do not know what), because they were also involved. I saw them stop their car a bit away while I was pulling out, and then of course like I knew they would, they started following me. I intentionally drove through the parking lot the complete opposite way towards the office store’s part of the parking lot; they followed me. So I turned to get onto Calumet Avenue, and they still followed me. This entire time I was on the phone with my husband, and he told me to go directly to where he worked.
Oh, by the way? He owns a gun shop and gun range. A tiny sliver of me was hoping that if they continued to follow me, they’d see my husband and his other worker standing outside with their hands on their guns.
Luckily, the idiots ended up turning off very quickly, before I even turned onto the expressway. Just shows that I need to get up off my lazy butt and learn to shoot and get a permit to carry, like my husband keeps telling me to.
Submitted by Kristen
I was minding my own business when out of no where this guy started making sexual joke about my boyfriend and I; and then he proceed to tell my boyfriend and I that he (my boyfriend) must have slipped me a date rape drug last night.
Submitted by Summer
I have been repeatedly harassed by a gross guy who works at the public library near my house. He works as “security” but stands around and leers at women and hits on them all day. He would always talk to me in an invasive, macho way, with the tone of voice of “hey, baby” as if he was at a bar and not working as security. I was always cold to him and showed him my disgust. I observed him doing this to other women also. I complained to the library manager and she said other women had complained about him, and that they would address it with him. She told me I should speak to him directly but I didn’t want to make an issue of it at the time. He is a predator and predators are about power and control. At the time a girl I knew had been raped by her bf and we plastered anti rape signs around the town and put anti sexual harassment signs all over the library. It’s not as direct but still empowering as a way to use your voice.
He continued to harass me and nothing changed. A year ago I was on the street downtown with friends and he came up and asked for a hug. I was with other people and laughing/relaxed and he caught me off guard, although my face showed disgust he he gave me a hug which I completely regretted – I felt slimed. Awhile ago walking home in the dark up the street he made a beeline towards me, diagonally from the library, and again made a slimey comment. I gave him a look of extreme disgust and walked away.
I recently had a private meeting with him and the library manager in which I told him his behavior was unacceptable, inappropriate, and must STOP or I would press charges. I told him he disgusted me. He had a typical b.s. response saying he was just being friendly and he didn’t know what I was talking about, I told him he knows EXACTLY what I am talking about; I held him accountable. A short time after the meeting, the library manager told me she had told him directly, that’s it, no more talking to women at all. I thought it would be resolved but his creepy and predatory behavior towards me continued. Recently he was reading his book from across the library, and I was tutoring students at a table, he came to read his book right behind the bookshelf next to me, to be leering at me and invade my space, when he could have chosen to go anywhere in the library and he knows I hate him and he disgusts me, esp. after the meeting. I was busy with students and didn’t speak up at the time. He has continued to speak to me when he was told not to.
The other day I decided to confront him and am glad I did. I got fed up and who cares if I was a little aggressive, he needs to know what it’s like to have his space invaded. I went up to him, said, “I need to speak with you.” He was about to make a call on his cell and he said “wait”, I said, “no, now”, I closed his cell phone cover, got up close in his space and went off on him, told him I had told him to stay out of my space and to not talk to me, he disrespected that, and he needs to learn respect and as soon as it happens again I’ll call the cops. He started swearing and then ran off. It felt good to be forceful and up in his face. God what a SCUMBAG he is.
The librarian clerk there saw the interaction and protected the predator saying it’s his job to walk around the library, how dare I talk to him like that? (typical b.s.). I was direct with her as well and she said I couldn’t talk to her like that, she freaked out and was very hostile. I let her know that he acts like it’s his job to harass women, and that this town is full of typical passivity b.s. and that other women have complained. It was frustrating to be attacked by this librarian, but who cares, the main thing is I used my voice and now he knows I will kick his ass and definitely call the cops if it happens again. I have taken my power back. Predators are the scum of the earth. I documented everything on paper on writing and will do everything in my power to get him fired. Thanks for letting me vent and share this story, it’s great to know there are ass kicking chicks out there. It’s OK for women to assert themselves, and it doesn’t matter how they do it, as long as they speak up. Kick ass and speak up, use your voice!
Submitted by Carolyn B.
Responses were mixed; surprisingly, the overwhelming majority were positive. One girl, who appeared on the verge of tears, said “Your work here is pretty hard to swallow, but it’s effective.” Others weren’t so supportive; one man said he liked what we were doing, but that the comments being projected from the recordings were “harsh”. Our response? “YEAH, THEY ARE. That’s why we’re here.”
This lowlife asshole always stands on the Manhattan bound side of DeKalb ave off the L line and tries to swipe people with found metrocatds. He always gets up in girls personal space and harasses them if they say no and use the machine. A week ago, I had firmly said “NO” and he started immitating me so I told the MTA person at the other end. Obviously he had gotten away so after taking his picture today, I hope he gets caught!
Submitted by Danielle
This guy kept his leg wide open the whole time on the Q14 bus tonight. He kept putting his hand between his legs and massaged the area like he’s in a porn movie. He kept eyeballing me and staring at me until I took out my camera phone and snapped this nasty pervert’s face. As soon as he got off the bus, he just stared right at me through the window and I just flipped him my middle finger. Dirty pervert.
Submitted by C.
My girl and I were walking down the street yesterday. As with every day when we/she/I walk down the street, some jerk in a prettied-up car decided it was his business to violate our space by sticking his head out of the window and assaulting us with a list of sleazy, misogynistic, homophobic and idiotic comments. He seemed to think that we wanted to know all about the fact that hot lesbians were part of his heterosexual male fantasy… he was wrong.
In response to his violent penetration of our personal space, my girlfriend and I screamed a list of obsenities at him, telling him exactly what he could do with his fantasy, his over-inflated ego, and his fucked up attitude. Apparently, women getting angry at his harassment was not a response he was used to, so he stuck his head back out the window to let us know that we were “fucked up bitches” and “crazy fucking psychos”. Shit, why hadn’t we noticed? Clearly we were the psychos, considering we were the ones cruising around town and looking to assault vulnerable individuals.
His car paused at a set of lights, and he continued to scream at us, throwing his fist around and piling every swear word he knew into discriptions of us. Fed up, my spunky girlfriend shot a massive glob of spit onto his beautifully painted car. Inspired by her actions, I too walked up to his car, and kicked the back of it as hard as I could. This sent him into a frenzy, and he jumped out of his car to further yell abuse at us. We pointed out that the police were sitting across at the next set of lights, so he backed off, but continued to scream at us as he drove away.
Now, some might think it was a bit of an overreaction to kick someone’s property in response to a “compliment”. I’d like to tell those people to take their ignorant, sexist agendas and shove it up their arses. As a woman and as a lesbian, I spend every day of my life confined by the consequences of men’s belief that it is perfectly acceptable to verbally, physically and sexually assualt, harass, and intimidate me. I spend each day fighting off unwanted physical advances, being powerless to respond to drive-by sexual advances, having to shut up and ignore the endless streams of catcalls and wolf whistles, watching program after program representing women as sexual/domestic play objects for men, and battling with both men and women to convince them that yes, it is important to be aware of the the power issues that surround gender relations. I spend nights crying as a result of the sexual abuse I have experienced, days altering my routes so I can feel safe when walking home, and endless hours being overwhelmed by how much work is yet to be done in order to create a world which is safe, equal and free from violence and intimidation.
That kick to the back of the prettied-up car, therefore, was a kick for every man who has ever intimidated, objectfied, assaulted, abused, taken advantage of, raped, or hit a woman. It was for every catcall, wolf whistle, and unwanted comment any woman has ever received since becoming old enough to be violated. It was also a warning to each individual who thinks it is ok to harass women, whether in public or in private.
And fuck, it felt good.
Watch out world… I’ve discovered the power to holla back, and holla back I will.
Submitted by Sandra
No I will not take off my shirt or show you my ass for your polaroids. Skeevy asshole. I’m so happy to go back to San Francisco and say goodbye to the Bowery’s poetry scene… Where they knowingly tolerate blatant sexual harassers in their scene.
I talked smack right back at you and played along to hear more of the bullshit. And then pointed out to you that craigslist would be a better place to find women for your polaroid exploits. Put up your ad and get the fuck out of poetry.
Dear women in the Bowery Scene and people there who aren’t misogynist fuckheads, I feel sorry for you that you have to put up with that kind of thing. Why do you?
Dear woman with the shaved head who tonight at the poetry club took off your shirt for this dude in the bathroom, did you feel all empowered when this guy went on to harass other people and show your photo in his book and to boast that he likes the authentically dykey ones the best, next to the trannies?
Dear MC dude of the Urbana slam team, nice job of laughing off sexual harassment to my face. Also thanks for letting me know that “that guy hangs out here every single day at the poetry club.” That makes it all better! I’m sure everyone just thinks he’s SO funny and such a character!
Dear guy working the door… I thought you were laughing with me and were complicit in my fool-baiting. “Thanks” for then when I confronted the dude about his fucked-upedness, then acting like you didn’t hear anything wrong… And for saying that you didn’t hear anything hostile. Because we all know that asking all the women in a cafe, or a poetry reading at a bar, to take off their clothes for a camera and if they have any “intimate” piercings or tattoos is just totally FRIENDLY… It makes women feel all appreciated and welcome and stuff…
Oh also? The tempting offer of a free copy of your poetry book in exchange for the polaroids of my naked body… not tempting at all.
Submitted by Liz Henry