demonstration, homophobic, Story

Gen’s Story: Make ’em Roll in the Dough

I was walking out of a bakery with my best friend when we were passed by two teenage boys. They looked at us and one whispered to the other. The larger one yelled at us “Are you guys LESBIANS?” and then they walked away as if nothing had happened.

I am a masculine-presenting genderfluid person, so I didn’t really register that they were directing the comment at us. It took me a second to process what they had said, and when I did, I was shocked. I didn’t say anything because being non-binary can already be tricky and they made me feel unsafe. My best friend offered to hit them with the bag of frozen pizza dough she was carrying, which made me feel a bit better.

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demonstration, Stalking, Story

Leah’s Story: “He literally stalked me to my street”

I’d been round a friends house all night having a few drinks until the early hours of the morning. It got to 4am and it was light outside, so I thought I’d start walking home (30 minute walk overall) and it’d be pretty safe as I could see everything clearly around me. In hindsight, I shouldn’t have walked home alone, but I honestly thought I’d be okay because I usually am.

I get about 10 minutes onto my walk home only to hear someone on a bicycle, and they start cycling past me only to then go onto the pavement and stop right infront of me. This alone terrified me. I then realise it’s a guy, and I instantly freeze. He smiled at my reaction, then proceeded to ask me if I had a cigarette…so I lie and tell him I don’t smoke, hoping he’d go off. He didn’t. He edged towards the road and started cycling again. I was literally clutching my phone in my pocket so tight, ready to actually hit him around the head if he came closer. He then slowed down and edged towards me on his bike again near the pavement, obvious to him that I was extremely uncomfortable.

He then said “you’re very beautiful, aren’t you” followed by a leer. Bearing in mind I looked awful from a heavy night drinking, wearing leggings and a dress with a hoodie…so this just creeped me out even more. I just smiled and looked down. He then asked me where I’d been and why such a “beautiful girl” was walking in the early hours of the morning. I replied with “a friends house”, still looking at the floor. He then asked for my age, and I told him 18 to which he replied “I’m 17″. I looked up at him and he did not look 17. Early 20’s youngest. He had an absolutely creepy smile, I was trying to get a good look at his face because I was at this point terrified for my safety. I was hoping by now he’d actually leave me alone, I was so scared. I was trying to be as normal as possible, I didn’t want to provoke him in anyway so I thought it’d be easier to answer his questions.

He then said “do you have a boyfriend?”, to which I lied again and said yes, really hoping that he’d leave. He then said “what a lucky man, you’re so beautiful”. I just nodded and looked away, and he cycled off shouting “bye” in the process. I could have literally had a panic attack on the spot. Bearing in mind I was alone, 20 minutes away from my house, there were lots of alleyways coming up where he could have easily been waiting down and I was drunk. Drunk and stumbling.

I have generalized anxiety disorder so my reaction was a lot worse to that of a normal person, and I was really finding it hard to pull myself together. I was walking home paranoid as anything, carefully crossing onto the “safe” side of the road everytime an alleyway came up incase he was there. I was so sure he’d gone, I was looking behind me every few seconds. I then approached my road and literally sighed with relief, because I thought I was safe then.

I was literally about 20 seconds away from my house, when I see a bike. It was him. Cycling towards me. Down my road. He smiled at me and said “Long walk for a girl isn’t it?”…I just looked at him and sped up. I looked behind me and he was cycling off. Then I half ran home, fumbling for my keys and looking to see if he was behind me. No sign of him, so I open my door and shut it quickly but quietly behind me, hoping he wouldn’t see or hear what house I was going into. Then everything sunk in and I had a panic attack, absolutely terrified. There is no way, absolutely NO way in hell that it was coincidence he was down my road. From where he saw me last, to my road was 20 minutes away. You have to go down multiple different streets to get there. He literally stalked me to my street.
It was the scariest thing that’s happened to me for a long time. I’m so terrified he saw what house I went into.

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demonstration, Story

Nox’s Story: Independent Woman

Last week I attended a conference in a small and beautiful Norwegian town. In general, people were very nice and hospitable.
One evening, after some drinks with other participants, I was walking towards the hotel with another participant (a man), both rather tipsy.
A young, 18-ish local guy randomly joined us in the walk.
He was mildly drunk, with poor body-coordination, but generally friendly and funny and apparently totally harmless. He was saying random things.

Towards the end of the street, we stopped, because my companion and I stayed at different places and we arrived to the splitting point. However, we didn’t say goodbye immediately, for there was this drunk guy and even though he seemed harmless, in the air there was the implicit possibility of him following me along once I’m walking alone.

After some awkward moments of trying to figure out the next step via non-verbal communication with the conference guy, I decided to tell the drunk guy in a friendly tone that we should say goodbye, and while it was a pleasure meeting him, he should really go now, because we are all going home. I gave him a hug.

He said goodbye, but then, after a second’s pause, in a completely different tone and posture than before, he stopped and loudly exclaimed: “You have a nice ass. Really, a sexy nice ass.” He leant towards me, trying to get closer.

I jumped away but I completely froze for this change of attitude. Trying to recompose myself fast, I told him: “You should go away now. I was friendly, but you lost me when you started to comment on my body. Go away.”

He responded: “Nice ass.” He turned to the conference guy: “I bet you’re gonna fuck her all night long. You’re gonna fuck that alright. Good for you!”
I was furious, but I kept calm and determined. In a calm but strict voice, I told him: “You must go away now, you cannot talk like this.”
I caught his shoulder, firmly, but not violently, and turned him around. “You are going to leave now.”

And so he walked away, much to my surprise and relief. That was it!
I was very happy that I didn’t leave my protection to the guy accompanying me (although it was a bit weird that he stood completely silent during all this).
I suppose he was also happy that he didn’t have to “rescue” me.

The story wouldn’t be a whole without noting that following the incident, my intentions to kill the awkwardness of the situation by joking around about it with the conference companion met total miscoding from his part and taken as an indication that in fact I might want to be fucked by him all night long.
He stood corrected.

demonstration, Story

Molly’s Story: “My legs are not for you”

Dunno if the reader knows this…but it’s fucking hot in Virginia and DC. The high today is 86, and humidity is through the roof. I decided to wear a dress for casual Friday and because I don’t want sweat dripping down my thighs as I hike toward my workplace.

So at around 2:00pm today a man, perhaps in his 60s, told me I was “asking for it” with “those legs.” He was saying that I’m inviting sex with my body. That my body s inherently sexual and obviously begs for sex.

I was pissed. MY LEGS ARE NOT FOR YOU. They ask nothing. And I shouldn’t fear walking in a dress because some guy might think dressing for myself = dressing for a penis. Seriously, you guys. This is a fucking problem. But despite my anger, I remained silent. It hurts to know that this lecherous man will continue to invade upon women’s personal spaces and interpret their bodies as a natural extension/completion of a man’s desires.

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demonstration, Story

Beatrice’s Story: Yelling Back to the Bros

It was a Friday night and I was out with 6 of my friends at the mall. It was the mall where everyone would go to after school so we went there regularly.

We were dressed in our school uniforms walking around. We reached this part where not many people went so when we were walking, we saw no one but another group of boys. I saw them before from afar, whispering and looking at us. I became a little uncomfortable because I knew that they were talking about us.

As my friends and I were walking, the guys started walking towards us. I was looking at all of them (they were about 5) to see if they were up to anything and then this one guy suddenly shouts “DAMN!”. My friends looked confused and uncomfortable but I let him go. A few seconds after, another guys says “DAMN GIRL!” and then another, and another. When we were quite far from them, the guys stop and look at us as we walk away. I can felt them staring so I looked back. When I did, this guy winked at me, gave me a big smile and said “BYE, GIRLS!”

I felt disrespected and really angry since they were being rude for no good reason at all so I gave them the finger and screamed “F*CK YOU” and walked away with my friends.

When they were out of sight, I talked to my friends told them how rude it was of them and they said that they didn’t even know it was directed at all of us which made me think about the thousands (or even millions) of people who get harassed everyday without knowing. Nobody should be able to just disrespect you like that. You shouldn’t let it pass.

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demonstration, Story

Stella’s Story: A Curt Complaint

A friend and I were walking to the bus stop yesterday, when we walked past the skate park. When we were almost past it, nearly every guy in the park (15 or more) started whistling at us, thrusting and beckoning to us. I gave them the finger, which resulted in one of them screaming ‘f*ck you bitch!’ to which my friend replied ‘that’s not polite!’. They continued to whistle at us as we walked down the street and some of us gave us the finger as well. I am a photographer, and on occasion I have photographed skaters at the park, many of which were there and harassed us that afternoon. They had never disrespected me before when I had worked with them, which made this incident even more unexpected.

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demonstration, Story

SS’s Story: “What the hell”

I woke up early to go to a meeting at my internship only to find out that the bus schedule online was incorrect meaning I would have to wait in the rain for the next bus to come and be late. It wasn’t even 8am, I was tired, wet, and rather cranky as I stood waiting and listening to music. I heard a weird nose and looked up to find a man slowly driving past me whistling at me loud enough to be heard over the music in my headphones. When I made eye contact he started blowing kisses at me as he continued to drive. I was too stunned to do anything except make a “what the hell” the face at him.

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demonstration, Story

Emma’s Story: Shouldn’t Have To Be Scared

I am only fifteen, and it happens all the time. It’s so disgusting because a lot of these guys are old enough to be my dad. I have a lot of stories but I’ll share this one because it was one of the more disturbing ones. This guy comes up to me at a bus stop near my school. And I know that I may look older than I am but I was wearing a backpack, etc. So I think it was pretty clear i was underage. Anyways, he walks past me and looks me up and down and says something like “dayyyum” and making weird grunting noises. And I’m just thinking oh shit here we go again. I just ignore him. But he walks back towards me and starts talking to me, he says things like can I have your number, etc. I tell him I have a boy friend, which is what I always do so they’ll leave me alone. But he doesn’t get the message and he keeps harassing me and he starts saying “oooh i get it you’ve never fucked a guy before i get it” and other even more inappropriate things. And I try to make it really clear to him that i want him to fuck off but at the same time I’m so scared of what he’ll do if I am rude, or I shout at him.

I hate that they can make me feel that way. Then he goes in for a hug and I duck out of the way, thank god the bus came at that moment because he kept getting more and more aggressive. But when the bus pulled up he backed off. What was so weird was that he didn’t even get on the bus. OH and did i mention there were adults, including several grown men just standing there obviously aware of not doing anything. A girl in my french class was there too and she gave me a hug when we got on the bus and said she was sorry but she was scared to do anything. A lot of girls are scared and they shouldn’t have to be. And I am usually a pretty brave and tough person. I shouldn’t feel so frightened and harassed only two blocks from my school. I’m going to get mase but I shouldn’t have to, I don’t think I’m even actually allowed to bring it in my backpack to school so I have no way to defend myself. I wish I was as brave as my sister she always yells at people who harass her.

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demonstration, Story

Sarah’s Story: Confrontation Before Class

Just after finishing high school, I enrolled in a local community college and began to take classes there two days a week. Due to a mix-up, I had three hour long classes, then a two hour break, and then an hour long class. So, for two hours, I was stuck aimlessly wandering around campus, sitting in the lunch room, or hiding out in the library. On a particular day, the weather was relatively nice so I decided to walk around a little bit. An older man, maybe late 40’s?, walked past me, looked at me, and then started to follow me. I ignored him initially because he didn’t say anything, but after a few moments he began to call out to me. “Hey, how long are you going to keep walking away?” I nervously told him I was on my way to class and didn’t have time to talk. He caught up to me, not caring at all about my excuse, and continued to talk. “How old are you?” Thinking he would leave me alone if I was young, I lied and said I was 17, not 18. He laughed and put a hand on my shoulder, saying, “it’s okay, I can take you on a date, nobody has to know.” I started to walk faster, and I ended up having to pretend I was going into a class to get him to leave me alone. The last thing he said to me was, “I know where you go to class now! You’re gonna have to give me an answer some time!” Similar experiences happened so often to the point I stopped going after that. People don’t know what they’re doing to somebody when they “innocently hit on them.”

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demonstration, Story

Anna’s Story: Should Be Shocking

I’m a law intern and my friend and I, both girls, dressed professionally, were shadowing a judge in the municipal court today. During the ten-minute recess, we both went to the bathroom, passing through the large marble atrium on our way. Two men were leaning on a railing as we passed; one of them said “Sexy, sexy” to us, and the other “Yum, yum,” and other indistinguishable grunts as we passed them.

I’m sharing this story precisely because it is not shocking. I think it should be shocking. I was too shocked to respond. We are desensitized to this behavior and have come to expect it; my goal is to question that expectation and that passivity.

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