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I know this isn’t street harassment, but it isn’t any less humiliating to be harassed on campus.
My first experience with harassment really shook me up because it happened in EIGHTH GRADE. I was sitting beside a jerk jock–you know the type–in math class when he started petting my arm and leg. We were not friends. There was no way this could be construed as a joke. I told him to stop. He didn’t.
I was raised by a woman who joined her school’s all-boys track team in the 60s to force the administration to open sports up to girls. I was NOT raised to take this. So I stood up in the middle of class, pointed to the boy beside me and told my teacher loud enough for everyone to hear, “He is touching me. He’s sexually harassing me and I’m not going to take it.”
I didn’t know it then, but that was my first time holla’ing back.
Now, I attend Delta College in Saginaw Michigan and I have been harassed and cornered no less than five times. I make it a point to laugh at the offenders and draw as much attention to them as possible, but they’re everywhere and they come in all flavors. There’s no point in reporting this to administration or campus police because they don’t do anything about it, but maybe posting this will give other girls the courage to say something too because they aren’t alone.
Ladies of all ages, NEVER let anyone make you feel less than you are. Hollaback and if you’re at Delta College, know that if I’m around I will be backing you up.
Submitted by Emily
I’m 19 years old and I’ve been verbally harassed by men many times before but luckily this is the only time (so far) that I have been groped by a stranger.
I had been shopping or maybe seeing a movie with my mom and one of my good guy friends. We were all in the elevator with a handful of other people and when we got to our floor I suddenly felt like someone had grabbed my butt. I thought that it might have been my friend’s hand accidentally brushing me but then I looked back and saw two guys in their 40’s looking quite clean and unsuspicious but LEERING at me in such a way that I KNEW that I wasn’t imagining things. Unfortunately because BEING GROPED was so completely outside of my expectations of something that would happen to me, especially in a nice mall in Seattle and with my MOTHER only feet away, it took me until we had exited the elevator to really understand what had happened. Oh how I wish I had given that man what he deserved!
Thinking back, I imagine turning around, holding the elevator doors open and just screaming at this man, humiliating him in front of the other family that was in the elevator with us. I don’t know who would have punched this guy harder, my friend or my mom!
At least I’m prepared for next time… unfortunately as a young woman I can be pretty sure that there will be a next time.
Submitted by Lorraine
Way back in 1973 when I was 22 and was working as a custodian along with my husband I had gone to clean an office near the loading dock in the cardboard box factory where we were assigned. My husband was cleaning the men’s restroom while I did the office.
The plant electrician entered the office and came close to me and then reached his hand between the front of my legs and groped me.
I went immediately across the plant to get my husband to help me to report the man to his supervisor. He spoke to the supervisor who spoke to the electrician but the man was not fired as I continued to see him driving around the plant night after night until we left that facility at the end of the month.
Submitted by Eileen
I was standing on a busy London street outside a tube station with a girlfriend around 2am, waiting for her mom to come and pick us up to take us to her house (I was about 22, 23 at the time). I was leaning on a barrier that separated the pavement from the road, looking out over the road, essentially almost bent at the waist. A group of 3 men walked past, a little the worse for wear, and one of them came up behind me, gripped my backside, and started doing sexual motions with his hips, laughing with his friends. I wasn’t having that, so I quickly whipped my right arm around, still bent at the elbow, towards his face. If I had hit, it would have knocked him for six, I’m sure. I stopped about an inch from his face, and said very calmly, almost quietly, “Go AWAY”. The men stopped laughing, swallowed, and walked away, and my friend looked at me in amazement, and asked where I’d learned to defend myself… I wouldn’t recommend that kind of physical action for every situation, but at that time, it just felt right, and it was an instinctive reaction. I feel for the women who’ve had to put up with this kind of behaviour – its not acceptable, and it needs to end. pronto.
Submitted by K
I was visiting a friend in Chicago last July, but while he was at work I decided to explore the city. I was sitting on a bench in Chinatown, reading a paper, when this old man comes up to me. I move my things so he can sit. I was 20 at the time. I have dark brown skin, dark curly hair, and was wearing an orange tank, brown flip-flops, and baggy khakis slightly above the knee.
He starts talking to me, and even though I felt something strange, I ignored it. After all, you’re supposed to be respectful of elders, right? He keeps chatting, and I nod and answer his questions and keep trying to read my paper. He asks if I live here. He puts his arm around me. I freeze. And now I know something’s wrong. He asks me how tall I am and I tell him, then he says “I don’t believe you stand up.” So I do, and he stands up and hugs me. He tries to kiss me but I turn my head so it lands on my cheek, and then he presses himself against me and I can feel him. His hands slide down my waist to my ass and I try to push him away, but my brain’s gone all fuzzy and he won’t let go and I’m frozen. I look around to see if anyone’s coming to help- it’s the middle of the day, and there are people all around me. But no one seems to know what’s going on. He’s laughing and I finally manage to get him off me, but not before his fingers brush my breast and I grab his hand and turn it into a handshake. He acts like nothing happened, laughs again, and asks if we met again would I say hello to him. I just want him to go away, so I sit down and stare at the ground and nod. He says “I’m leaving now. I’ll be at so-and-so place, then I’ll head home. It’s going to rain soon. You should go inside.” Then he leaves, looking behind him and waiting like he expects me to follow. As soon as he turns the corner it pours. I call my friend and insist he comes to get me, but he can’t get to me for another hour, so I am forced to wait in the train station, sobbing, while four other random men corner me and attempt to get my number. Apparently creeps can smell vulnerability.
Submitted by Miga
I wish I’d found this site weeks ago. My roommate and I had gone out for drinks at our favorite pub, hoping to chat with a few of the regulars we’ve become close to while studying abroad. As we’re sitting there, this group of Belfast men, most old enough to be my father, begin beckoning me over. I refuse and try to ignore them, but every time the come up to the bar, they plant themselves on either side of my chair and press close. I continue to try to ignore them, only keeping my hand on my purse, because the area we’re living (and drinking) in has had a recent spike in pickpocketing. By now, my regular friends are beginning to get annoyed. One has been telling them off and another takes up fighting stance when two of them decide it’ll be a good time to spin me around. I tell my friends to ignore them, they aren’t worth it and try to return to my conversation when the youngest throws his arms around my shoulders and my roommate’s and starts begging us for kisses and both of us are telling him about the boyfriends we’ve left back in the states (convenient fibs about guys who we’ve both just recently turned down). These jerks just won’t let up, though and when I lean across the bar to tell the bartender (another friend and woman) that they’re all mad and I’m getting freaked, one tries to shove his fingers up my rear through my (knee-length, 3/4 sleeve) dress and black tights. I scream and nearly jump the bar and promptly hide and then the youngest tries to come around the bar when my roommate has finally told him that it he doesn’t get off, she’ll break his nose (she could and would do it, too). When I tell him he and his friends are making me uncomfortable and I don’t appreciate having my butt grabbed, he makes a grab for me and I jump away. He only managed to get my hip. At this point, the bartender kicks them all out (except for one drunken lout who’s so hammered he passes out and cuts his head open on the bar). I wish I’d said more. I wish I’d told them what pathetic, dirty little toads they all were.
I found out later that week they were living in our building. We both avoid the courtyard like there’s a 20 starving Komodo Dragons living out there, except I think these guys are scarier!
Submitted by Alicia
Just found out about this site via the radio, and it’s motivated to finally share my story.
A few years ago when I had just turned 18, I stopped at the gas station on the corner near my house on my way to work. There was only one older gas attendant, 56 I would later learn, working. He kept glancing over his shoulder which I thought was really weird, but I just kept my music on and pretended not to notice. Then, when the last car in the station was gone he leaned against my car and started asking questions/making comments – did I have a boyfriend, I was very pretty…
I was incredibly nervous but figured i’d be out of there in a minute, i’d only asked for $5 worth of gas to make it to work and back. Instead, he mumbled something I didn’t understand…and then stuck his hand DOWN my shirt and into my bra. Without even thinking I floored it and drove away, with him hanging half out of my window. I was appalled that he shouted, “call me!” while I was driving away.
It wasn’t until I called my mom in tears that I realized I had to do something. I went with my dad to the police station, which ironically is positioned directly across the street from the gas station, to make a report. I was beyond mortified to have to explain to both the cop and my dad what had happened – was it a grope or a fondle…inside the clothes or outside…how long was it? After a million questions I was taken in the back of a cop car to identify him, and then had to listen as he made up excuse after excuse while the cops questioned him.
Thankfully I didn’t have to go to court myself, the cop testified for me. My initial decision directly after the incident was to just pretend it didn’t happen, but i’m glad I took action. I found out that this guy already had a restraining order against him because he had done the SAME thing to another girl only a few towns over. It’s been 6 years and I still take someone with me to get gas and only lower my window a crack to slip the money through.
Submitted by Brittany
I got off work as a bartender at 1 am on a Saturday night and was headed to a late night food take out place on Lincoln.
Lincoln Ave has lots of bars so it also has lots of police presence.
I was wearing a Hawaiian shirt tied at the waist, and jean shorts to my knees. No cleavage, no skin except arms and lower legs, and I was wearing sneakers.
A guy walking towards me just pushed me up against the wall and started groping me, he was drunk as can be, and I shoved him off me and I was angry beyond words and I started punching him as hard as I could figuring I would get in as many licks as I could until the policeman who was like 30 feet away would come over. I was so fueled I didn’t care if I got hurt, my adrenaline was pumping.
The guy was hitting me back more than I was hitting him so I stepped back and started screaming for the cop who finally came over. I asked the cop why it took so long for him to come over and get this answer…..He said, “I thought you knew each other.” AS IF THAT MATTERED!!!!
Pigs!! I signed a blank complaint form after telling my story not knowing how this process works. I went to the appointed court time at 11 am on the designated day, sitting for over an hour and my case was not called. I was so out of place in the scum hole of the court room, that the prosecutor finally came over and asked me what I was there fore. When I showed him my paperwork, he went through the GARBAGE and found the paperwork for me. My case was at 9 am. The cops purposely told me the wrong time so the groping asshole could get the complaint dropped.
I’m disgusted all over again just writing this. Ladies, take no shit!
Submitted by Gigi
This happened to me 4 years ago when I was in college. My school’s campus is right next to a train stop. I was on my way to a meeting at another university and was dressed in dress slacks and blouse. As I was going up the escalator I felt something going in between my legs. I turned around and realized there was a man feeling me up. I asked him what the fuck was he doing. His reply, “Bitch you know you like it” and he ran down the escalator. I was in total shock, there was a train on the platform but I went into autopilot mode I went back down stairs and told the attendant where I went into hysterics, after calling the police he decided to give me a “hint”: I should wear sweatpants when I take the train and bring a change of clothes with me because I have such a shapely body that sometimes men can’t resist and I should hide my body to make it less likely something like that’ll happen.
I felt so victimized that day, not once but twice…. I still see that attendant every once in a while and I relive the memory every time I see him.
Submitted by lawyer-in-training
I’ve probably been groped about a half dozen times in my life (on the street, at a concert, on the subway, at an amusement centre, at work…) and witnessed a man masturbating in a parking lot not far from me, trying to get me to come over to him.
But this story is a bit different – it involves two men, in broad day light, on a busy London subway train.
I was standing near the subway doors and doing my best to move out of the way for people coming on and off the train. As the doors opened, I moved away from the doors but felt something rub on my ass as a man exited the train. Then I felt the same thing happen again and noticed this second man exit, this time with his hand in his pocket and clearly sticking out so as to have rubbed up on me. I saw the first man look back and give the second man a knowing look (sort of like ‘that was fun’).
By the time I realized what happened the doors were closing and there was not much I could do about it.
I didn’t get to say anything this time (although in the past, I have chased a groper down the street yelling at him as he got away on his bike). However, I did want to share this story because it’s important to show that these are not isolated incidents, where only one (sick/crazy) man is involved. In this case, these were two men who felt that not only could they both grope me but that they could also get away with it, as they did.
I’m glad this website is here so that these incidents can get exposure. So that we can stop the myth that people can do this to other people, and that no one will speak up about it.
Here’s to assaults like this never happening, and here’s to us doing something about it when they do.
Submitted by C