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I was 15 and I was on the TTC Dufferin bus when a man sat down beside me. It wasn’t very crowded, but he still sat right next to me. The man pulled his backpack over his chest and lap. After a few minutes, I felt his hand brush my side. I mumbled “excuse me”, and shuffled a bit to the side. He shuffled closer and slowly started grabbing my side. I got up quickly and rang the request stop bell, even though I was still several stops away. He muttered a soft, “sorry” and I was too scared to say anything except “It’s okay”.
I wish I’d been brave enough to tell him it’s not okay. It’s not okay to touch a woman against her will. It’s especially not okay to touch a woman against her will when you’re 20 years older and she’s a teenager.
This type of event is always very triggering for me. Today I was out with some friends when a man grabbed me from behind and kissed my face then kept walking. It happened so fast I didn’t have time to react physically, but I yelled “Fuck you” as he walked away. He and his friend heard me and laughed.
A few years ago I was employed at a clothing store in Seattle, WA. One night I was towards the back of the store straightening the rack of women’s lingerie when I felt a man standing very close to me. I moved to another part of the store when I felt him near me again. I tried to ignore my feelings and stay put. I then looked down and saw him on the ground, his head between my legs looking up my dress. I kicked him hard in the throat and he ran away. I called the police and they didn’t show.
I was about 24 and biking home along East Broadway towards Burnaby. It was during rush hour traffic and another biker came up behind me and slid his hand up my buttocks. It made me stop biking almost fell into traffic. We fought a bit and drivers just honked at us! This was from out of no where. I didn’t know the person and didn’t recognize him from any previous riding experience. Didn’t make sense. No one helped and after I called 911 the police said they couldn’t do anything for me. I still had to finish riding my bike home! I would never have thought that this could happen this way. This was back in 1984.
I had just returned from a trip overseas. I was 20. I was visiting with my brother at a local Taco Bell. I used the pay phone on the street and had a young man approach me asking for directions – I gave him the directions and his way of thanking me was to come into the phone booth and assault me and grope me. I was very shocked and tried to fight back. It was about 9 p.m. and still light out. People watched and didn’t do anything. I felt very violated, but what could I do? This was back in 1980.
My wife and I went to a show at a club last night hoping to have fun. Instead I was assaulted by some idiot; my ass was grabbed and I was pushed down stairs. I approached club security for help. Instead of help I further harassed, asked how much I’d been drinking, and asked if I knew I was at a ska show.
The security staff told me that these things happen at shows. I told him that’s no excuse, I didn’t come to a show to get groped. As a result of this, I got kicked out of the venue. So I called the cops, hoping someone would help me find the guy who groped and pushed me. Instead of helping me find the guy who assaulted me they gave me attitude.
So I waited outside trying to id the guy myself, and a collection of security guards and cops led me back into the venue, put hands on me, and made a big show of kicking me out again. So I called the cops again and asked for female officers to respond. So two male officers responded and got all mad I asked for females and refused to give me their badge numbers and names. They refused to speak to me saying I was irrational and yelling.
Additionally I was subject to further harassment by another security member; he catcalled and taunted me as I stood on the sidewalk. For the record I was freaked out and crying, not at all irrational. The actions of all of the so-called professionals last night was a sorry sight. Yeah, I’d heard stories about the bad behavior of “Bostons Finest” but seeing is believing for sure.
I was at a Halloween party and this guy was saying “good-bye” to everyone who passed. I said “bye” to him. He then stoked/grabbed/tickled the length of my torso. I instinctively brought up my arm as if to back hand him. He said, “oh, oh. Hit me. Go ahead, hit me.” With a disgusted face, I lowered my hand and said something like, “that is NOT cool. You should NOT do that to anyone.” Then I walked away. After contemplating the situation later I realized that I should have stayed by him, talked to him and made him feel very uncomfortable by standing my ground. He won that interaction and I could have annoyed him until HE walked away. He was alone and I was at a house surrounded by people who know me.
When I was 17 I played on a traveling soccer team and in order to get to practice I would have had to drive between 25 and 30 miles of back country winding road to get there. So since the coach was a man who had worked with my dad for close to 30 years he made the suggestion that I could ride with him because I was not a very experienced driver, so that way my parents would know I was going to make it home safe. All during practice he kept asking me what kind of underwear I had on and he would tell us all how great our rear ends looked, but we just passed it off as it’s just him being him and laughed it off. Well when we left, it was just he and I in the car because the rest of the team were from that county, he starts up again with the comments and I just laughed it off like I always did. Then he pulled onto a side road that I had never seen before so I just sat there. And when I asked why we were here he said he wanted me to see the “coolness” of his van that he bought for the team to travel in. So while still in my seat i turned my head to look back and he said that the back row of seats fold out into a full size bed and he said that the shades are made in a way that we can see out but no one can see in. There are no words for how afraid I was in that moment, so I just stayed strapped in the front seat and begged with him for an hour to take me home. When he finally got back up in the drivers seat he asked me if he had upset me, I told him yes you have upset me more than you will ever know– to which then he replied “I’m sorry I didn’t mean to that wasn’t my intention” and I said yeah I know what your intentions were now drive me home. It was then that he leaned over and tried to hug me and asked for a kiss. I squirmed away from it and told him to drive me home right now and to be prepared because when my dad and big brother and my big brothers friends that all see me as their little sister too find out what you’ve done, they are gonna drag your name so far through the mud that by the time it comes out it’s gonna reveal who you really are.
I know this didn’t happen to me on the street but he is one of those men who will harass a woman if he sees the opportunity. And until now I haven’t had the strength to say anything to anyone except for my immediate family, and I think this is a much bigger monster than any of us realize or maybe even want to realize. I also had another so called friend grope me while we were trying to workout one day because I asked him to give me some tips and help me with my workout. He was probably in his 40s and was a mutual friend of mine and he had known me since high school and I was friends with both of his sons yada yada yada. When he did that I was immediately in shock and scared because he was a very physically strong man. So when we went to leave I left and never went back or returned his calls. About 2 weeks after that I see him in the Wal-Mart parking lot and he grabbed my arm so tight that I couldn’t break loose and he asked me what I had told our mutual friend. I told him that I told them the truth, they asked me how the workouts were going and I just broke down and started to feel trapped all over again, I felt like I was trapped in that god awful van again. I didn’t find out until about a year later that my friend, my best friend chewed him up one side and down the other and told him that if he ever touched me again in any way that he would have my best friend to deal with, and they are someone that you do not want to cross.
Everyday and everywhere women get harassed.
I would like to share three stories that happened to me on a daily basis:
1. I got out of the subway and went up the stairs that guide you to the street exit. While I was climbing up the stairs a 40′ year old man was going down, passed right next to me and touched slightly my buttock. I look behind to see his face and kept on going thinking to myself “it’s not worth it to say anything right now…just keep going”. A minute later, I felt a finger pressing between my legs and I saw him (so he came back, climbed up and touched me again!) I pushed him hard and screamed: “What the f**k man!” really angry! He looked at me and I saw a glimpse of a smile. At that moment I felt powerless and went away quickly.
2. I was walking down a street with a friend to school some years ago when I was still in high school. We saw a man walking in the opposite way, towards us. There was nothing suspicious about the guy until the exact moment when we crossed he came close to my ear and whispered “I would lick all of you baby, you’re so fine”. Again I felt powerless because I felt that I couldn’t even reply and defend myself even in a verbal way because he could attack us or hurt us…it’s frustrating
3. Me and two girlfriends were having a great picnic in a park next to the river. We were having such a great time eating our snacks and talking until we realised there was an old man sitting in the nearest park seat touching himself on his baggy shorts, clearly jerking off, looking our way! We decided to pack our stuff and go away. At that time I couldn’t help myself and started screaming so that everyone in the park would look at him and see what was going on instead of just passing by without saying a word. I screamed “What the f**k are you doing! go home! that’s disgusting! people look at this man, he is touching himself! don’t you have a daughter, a grandchild? go home! you’re disgusting!”
We live in a country where the freedom of speech is guaranteed but in the streets we don’t feel that. We have to shut up, put our earplugs, walk quickly, look behind each street corner and don’t reply on any comment.
I was coming back home with my little sister. We were walking just around the corner from our house. Suddenly, I heard the sound of a motorbike behind me, and the guy who was driving grabbed my left buttock so hard, that I couldn’t even move…I was so shocked.
I felt very disgusted and powerless for not being able to do anything…