This happened to me while I was traveling alone in Spain, which I guess in our patriarchal and rape culture society means that by virtue of being female and alone, I was “asking for it”.
I was sitting at Plaza Mayor, just enjoying the sites and people watching while I enjoyed some down time for my feet after a full day of walking. An old man, and I don’t mean an older man, I mean a senior who was old enough to be my grandfather, sat next to me. I didn’t think anything of it, I didn’t see any kind of threat from somebody who is the age of my grandfather. He started speaking to me in Spanish, and I should have pretended that I didn’t speak Spanish, but it was an opportunity for me to practice. So I took it. The conversation continued and he kept asking me to go get coffee with me, and eventually tried to tickle me several times and slid his hand down my back to grab my ass.
I immediately stood up and told him that I had to leave, and he put on this simpering face and voice “don’t you want to go for coffee with me?!”. Absolutely horrified and feeling violated, I left the plaza citing that I had to go meet a friend. The amazing thing is that the plaza was full of people and everybody saw this happen, but nobody did a thing about it. Sadly, this was not the only incident of harassment that I had on this trip.
These combined experiences put me off so much that the next time I traveled alone, I cut my hair short so that I would look less feminine and the sad thing is that that actually worked and I was not harassed. Goes to show just how much we objectify women and those who do not fit a certain normative ideal of beauty…then we’re left alone. But we shouldn’t have to change the way we look and the way we want to look to avoid being harassed.
When you’re dressed up as Snow white, you should simply expect some (unwanted) attention because you kind of stick out. Like, when I was waiting for my dad to pick me up and a car slowed down and stopped to make a little joke (“Hey, can we be your dwarfs?”). But not on a themed party where most people are dressed up, right? All right, I can take a one-liner (“Still looking for a prince?”) but there are some boundaries that need to be respected. So yeah, I didn’t like it when that one guy lifted my skirt or when that other guy stroked my hair or when that whole ‘gang’ of guys were just blatantly staring and smirking at me, or when that other guy just grabbed me and said ‘Snow white’ in the most perverted tone you can imagine. God, that last one still sends shivers down my spine, especially the way his fingers stroked my belly when I pushed him away. But yeah, when you’re dressed up as Snow white, I guess you should simply expect some (unwanted) attention in our sexist society.
When I was a freshman in high school, there was a guy that I had a crush on. My friends always told me he was staring at my butt, but that always made me uncomfortable. The first time he grabbed my butt was in PE and he told me that his friends pushed him into me. I convinced myself this was only a mistake. The second time I could hear him loudly talking about how my butt looked so nice and then he grabbed me again. I never did say anything to him about it, and I never told anyone what happened.
I leave school around the same time that the boy’s football team heads to practice everyday. I’ve never had a problem before, but today I had a random guy run up behind me a slap my ass, and continued to run. The rest of the guys burst out laughing and cheered until I started yelling at them, even then they were still laughing while saying “oh, yeah no, that wasn’t right.” I asked for that guys name from the rest of the guys, and no one would tell me. I have no clue who did it, but I was just as hurt at the fact that out of tons of guys who were there, no one bothered to help me. No one stuck up for me. I just stormed off to my car. I didn’t know what else to do. If it happens again, hell will be raised.
I was a cocktail waitress in a rock and roll bar for a number of years when I was in college. The bar was always crowded and the clientele had to rely on the wait staff to deliver the drinks as the crowd around the bar was pretty impenetrable. There was one night when one of the wait staff a friend of mine had a drink poured over her head by a guy because she didn’t get it to him fast enough. So I was already pissed off. Then as I was making my way thru the crowd to take orders without a huge tray of drinks and some guy grabbed me in the crotch and gave me a “hey baby”. Really? Without much thought I turned on the asshole, channeled my inner wonder woman, grabbed him by the front of the shirt and slammed him against the wall. I remember yelling something about “don’t you ever” with my finger in his face, and I don’t know who was more surprised- him, me or his friends. Felt good, and a little bit scary.
I was out at a bar with my best friends, having a girls night. I went up to the bar to get another drink and because I am around 5’2″ I had to kneel on the barstool to be seen by the bartender! Apparently, a guy sitting next to me thought that this was invitation and proceeded to put his arm around my waist, grope my butt, and ask “Hey girl, whatchya drinkin’ tonight.” I quickly removed his arm for him and said “Don’t touch me.” However, he was not quickly deterred and he grabbed my waist again and said “I’m sorry baby, let me buy you a drink.” At this point I THREW his arm off of me and got right in his face and said “I said don’t touch me, don’t make me tell you again.” But it didn’t stop there. The guy, realizing that I actually meant business, said “Alright, I’m sorry can I buy you a drink?” To which I responded: “Are you (bleeping) serious?!” After that he got the hint and left the bar but not without making a point buy saying “Ok, bitch.” I was proud of myself for sticking up for myself, but I don’t understand why guys think they can just put their hands on girls whenever they want to. And of course when we don’t take kindly to their tacky form we are bitches. I shouldn’t have to be on guard and defending myself at every turn. Society needs a wake-up call.
He was standing on the stairway entrance into the Myrtle-Willoughby station and said something to me that I couldn’t make out as I passed…he followed me. I purposely moved a few feet away to look for my subway card and as I was rummaging through my purse he ran up behind me and lifted up my sweater and grabbed my butt. I yelled at him to stop and he flashed me a thumbs up sign as he left the station
I was walking back from a party with friends- we were going to try and get a late night bus. Just as we’re approaching the bus stop, a group of guys started running at us yelling “BITCHEEES”. I wasn’t really appalled until one of them ran past me, and as he did so, he ran his hand up my leg and grabbed my butt. I always thought I would be able to say something in that kind of situation, one that was more than verbal abuse, but I didn’t. I sort of froze and just said something to my friends. I’m disappointed in myself, but I’m more disappointed in the fact that women simply walking down the street is apparently an invitation to grope and touch them.
It was a girl’s night. I was out with my friends and we were walking around the city town’s square around 9pm, scouting out stores we wanted to go into. I was walking in front, and my friends were walking and talking behind me. As we kept walking there was a group of 3 guys coming our way and when we were about to pass them on the sidewalk the guy in the middle says “oh yay hug” and forces himself on to me, giving me a hug thinking he is funny. I didn’t hug back, as a matter of fact I pushed him off of me and said “no” As I kept walking, I heard him go “what’s your problem?”, or something along the lines of that, while his friends laughed in encouragement. It angered me that a person, especially a boy I did not know, thought he was in the right by trying to touch me in any way. Out of annoyance and anger, I flipped him off and continued walking down the sidewalk without looking back. At first I sort of felt bad for being so harsh with this guy. I found myself not blaming him at all and making up excuses for him to my friends, saying “Oh he’s just a boy. It’s not that big of a deal. I overreacted.” But my best friend stopped me after I said that and started telling me I was absolutely wrong. That it was an extremely big deal that he thinks he can get away with harassing me in public when it was unwanted. She made the point to tell me that WE CANNOT MAKE EXCUSES FOR MEN, JUST BECAUSE THEY ARE MEN (I put that in all caps because I think it is the most valid point of this story). And I believe what she said is 100% true. He was pushing boundaries, making me feel uncomfortable, and then acting like I did something wrong when I got mad. Thankfully my friend was able to help me realize that I wasn’t the antagonist at all. I now understand why it is wrong for men to think it is okay to whistle at women, or honk at them when they are walking by, or yell things at them, or even try and force themselves onto you. This is not right that women brush the situation off, while thinking “Oh he’s just a guy”; because it is still street harassment, and whatever it may be, it needs to stop.
I wanted to red flag Townsville, Australia as a big city for street harassment. It’s a city with a country vibe, a large local army base full of irritating alpha male types and very little to do…so this kind of behaviour is often seen as a right of passage for the males of the town.
The worst experience was when I and a friend were going home from the river after a day swimming and were walking on the pavement parallel to the highway. Some car full of guys actually slowed down, climbed half way out of the window and smacked my friend’s ass as he drove by in his truck. She was teeny at the time so the smack toppled her over onto her knees (grazing them quite badly) and to which they reacted to by hooting and saying “nice ass” before driving off. We didn’t get the licence plate in time to do anything about it and I’ve always been a bit bitter about the situation because we just had to deal with it in the only way we could – we just stopped walking that route home completely.
Seeing us as walking boobs and legs is just a way to pretend we’re not people, we’re not deserving of respect and we don’t have rights to our own bodies. It’s utter bullshit.