I was standing in line at Armadillo Grill late last night when a man approached me attempting to hug and then grope me. I said stop but he didn’t, then I yelled. He started screaming that I was a white privileged bitch and then other things like “Princess Diana” which I don’t understand. None of the staff members helped me when I was clearly panicked. He waited for me outside and continued screaming at me while I was waiting for an uber with my friends.
On my way home from getting groceries after work today I was walking along a very busy street with one side being redone resulting in the erection of a janky, narrow two-lane temporary sidewalk. A man walked towards me innocuously and as we crossed paths he reached his hand out and cupped my breast. I stopped and the chicken cutlets in my grocery bag gently hit my thigh. I thought, did I imagine that?
I turned around and watched the man in the hooded sweater continue walking. The man had just touched my breast as if he were pushing the crosswalk button and now I was letting him walk away. But what could I do? It seemed the moment had passed. The barely perceivable moment of shame had passed and I was the only witness and no one would fight for me. I suddenly remembered the same feeling of helplessness mixed with fear flooding over me when I had been a student in New York my freshman year in 2009. I had been on my way to tutor at Tompkins square middle school on the east side of the notoriously shady Tompkins Square park and I had been texting on my blackberry half watching where I was walking. On a similarly deserted side street in a popular neighborhood, a man, jerked his arm into my breast sending my sad little blackberry flying out of my hand and onto the sidewalk. I stood there stupefied not knowing what to do. I even remember wondering how I could have provoked his fury. As I now watched the man who bore so many parallels to my faceless aggressor from the lower east side I realized very quickly that while they may have not changed, I had. Here I was in my law firm work clothes, I was grocery shopping, no longer mooching from Weinstein and Kimmel! I pivoted on my toe and began clop clop clopping in my kitten heels towards the faceless man who had just touched my breast. He glanced back and kept walking straight. I yelled after him “Pourquoi vous m’avez faites ça?” He began to pick up his pace. He was picking up his pace and now I was pursuing him, how rich! I yelled again, “Pourquoi vous m’avez faites ça?!” We turned off rue du Faubourg Saint-Martin, out of the janky temporary sidewalk, and onto the heavily populated Boulevard de la Villette. My heels were not letting me catch up with him and I yelled a third time “Pourquoi vous m’avez faites ça!?” A young boy in a suit around my age, and a mother pushing a stroller with two little girls hooked to her waist looked at me, then at him, then kept walking. The man was speeding up and I could not catch him. I had spent a minute of my life chasing this coward down the street and with my thoughts boiling over and my limited French I could only think of one final succinct phrase to yell at him: “Vous êtes un lâche!”
I stopped and my chicken cutlets hit my thigh again. I was shaking badly, the adrenaline was rushing, but I was smiling. I turned around to walk back towards my apartment. I crossed the mother I had passed and she seemed to understand what had happened and asked me if everything was okay. I told her, Yes.
My Maman had always told me if there was danger, to go away from it. Her favorite anecdote is that of the safety lesson the plane stewardess gives the cabin before takeoff. Should there be a problem with the air pressure, the stewardess instructs you to first put on your mask, then and only then, may you help others. With my Maman’s blunt twist, the moral of the story is summarized as such: You can’t save anyone if you’re dead! So I apologize, Maman, for going towards the danger. But you see, the danger turned out to be a ruse. Admittedly, at the moment I pivoted I didn’t know what I would do. I had imagined so many times before, following other street-slights, crude looks and creepy words, “I will slap him so hard”…But this man was not in slapping distance. He was far away. I didn’t imagine I would run to catch him and start a fight. What provoked me to keep going was his reaction. He ran away. The moment I refused to be the victim and hand him the aggressor role I found him deflated of the initial danger he had posed to me. In fact, as he picked up his pace, I realized exactly what these faceless street aggressors are. Shameful cowards who believe their nearly imperceptible act will go unpunished. I have never been harassed by a pack of boys or men. I have only been shamed in silent incidents like this in which their often-complicated retelling seems to be completely imbalanced compared to the time and place in which they took to happen. Perhaps this is why they continue to occur.
In yelling after this man I called attention to myself and perhaps a normal Parisian would have never done this. But I called attention to him as well. I dragged the moment of shame to hang over both of us and as far as I’m concerned I no longer have anything to be ashamed for. For so many words used about this incident, I could have just as easily summed it up here: that piece of shit had no right to touch me. Not the first one on the lower east side and not this one in the 10eme arrondissement of Paris. The faceless man doesn’t have the right to touch you, and you weren’t dreaming. He does it because he thinks you wont act back. As if you ought to feel shame for being on the street and buying chicken cutlets for dinner. No. This is for my girls. The faceless creep is universal and he is not worthy to touch you. The only shame is in letting the moment pass.
While walking down the street with my friend we were stopped by the group of three men. One of them groped her. Also, the verbal harassment took place. After we escaped from them they were following us and screaming humiliating phrases. We run into my friend’s house to be safe.
I was on a crowded subway on a school field trip where everyone was shoulder to shoulder. I felt a purse pushed up against my butt for a few minutes. It was uncomfortable so I tried to push it away a little and then I realized that it was somebody’s hand cupping my butt. I was immediately horrified but then the train stopped and almost everyone exited the train. I was left alone with my class too embarrassed to tell anyone. It was months before I even told my best friend.
i worked in a high end Italian restaurant, everyday anything I wore I would get hollered by the staff. I felt very uncomfortable.. I am just 19 years old and these men are in their mid 40s and above..plus this was a new job for me.. I couldn’t step in the kitchen without hearing a whistle or someone trying to grab my butt.. It just got to the point that I had to quit that job.. And now am afraid to work in any other restaurants due to the harassment that happens in the kitchen/ restaurant.
As usual, i was going home after closing the bar i used to work at, it was around 4a. So i was (a little bit) drunk, heading to my flat, at a 2mn walk away, walking on a big lightened pedestrian street when a groupe of 4 or 5 young men joined me. One criticized my low waist jeans saying he sees everything and the others laughed when i stammered a multiple excuse “you don’t see anything / i’m wearing a boxer/it’s not my fault my button gave way sooner”. last thing i remember, the guy who adressed me put a hand against my throat, pining me against the church’s wall. They all left laughing. I ran back home. I don’t want to blame myself for being tipsy, i don’t want to feel guilty about an outfit, but i do feel bad about the explanation i gave them : we shouldn’t need any.
I was 14 years old and I was with some friends in a World Cup event that was happenning at the beach. Me and a friend of mine were going to tha snack bar when a drunk 30 year old guy surrounded me and asked if I would kiss him. I didn’t want to and I told him that, but he didn’t let me go. He hugged me and asked many times why I didn’t want him while he tried to still a kiss. My friend was a little bit far, since she thought that I was intending to kiss him, and the friends of the guy were laughing aroud us. I wanted to get out of there, so I told him that I would kiss him if he let me go. It was a very disgusting moment, but then he liberated me. At that time I hadn’t realized what happened. And whenever I tell this story to someone, people also doesn’t see. By now, I regret that I didn’t kick his balls and call the security. I have the right to say “no”.
A group of young boys on bicycles was blocking the path where I usually run — this is a wide, safe path by a river.
As I ran by, two of them touched my butt. I turned around and yelled at them “hey! that is not acceptable. You cannot do that.” I then ran away but I still want to cry. It made me so upset and angry.
Printemps dernier. Je monte dans le bus bondé. Il pile, une main touche furtivement ma jupe au niveau de mon pubis. Je remarque que c’est celle d’un homme et place mon sac devant ma jupe, de sorte qu’il ne puisse pas réitérer -à cet instant je lui laisse encore le bénéfice du doute puisque je me dis c’est peut etre la secousse du bus qui l’a poussé contre moi. Sa main cherche mon entrejambe. Je le repousse, essaie de me dégager. Les larmes montent mais je reste muette. Il change de place.
Last spring. I get into the crowded bus. It stops suddenly, a hand touching my skirt at the level of my pubes. I notice that it is of a man and put my bag in front of my skirt, so it can not happen again -to this moment I let him have the benefit of the doubt because I think maybe the shaking bus drove him against me. His hand looking for my crotch. I push him, trying to free myself. Tears come but I remain silent. He changes position.
I was on the PATH train home during my daily commute from work in NYC to NJ. The train lurched quite a bit and people were jostling. At first, I did not think the man meant to be so close to me or that he meant to touch my butt. I inched closer to the bar I was holding away from him.
A couple of stops later, the ride was smoother, and the touch was unmistakably real. I turned around to see a man twice my size. I frowned and move even closer to the bar. I only had one more stop before I could get off the train. He did not stop getting closer to me. Then, another man said, “How about you stand over here? I notice it too.” This man helped me move away from him in the crowded train, and I knew I was not imagining it.
I took a photo of him from behind and tried to catch a photo of him as I got off the train. He got off too. He lives in my city. I took another photo of him from behind with a PATH camera that would have captured his face. I tried to find a police officer on my way out of the station and could not find one.
I was angry and worried that he might mistreat another woman. I was not sure of what to do, but I knew I needed to let someone know. I searched the PATH website to find an email address to send the photos. Unable to find the address, I decided to call the PATH police department. The officer who answered asked me why I waited two hours to call about the incident (I was still shaken and could not find the information easily). I was told I could go down to the station to file a report. I get the feeling I am not going to be taken seriously.