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I work in southern Italy during the summer and ride the trains to get to and from various places. On a Saturday, when returning from a visit, I was standing on the train with a few friends and a group of 20 year old guys got on. They were annoying, like a lot of guys that age can be – you know, talking loud, pushing each other around, etc. I turned my back to them and just kept talking with my friends. They started making smooching noises (kind of an Italian catcall) – I kept ignoring them. Then I felt someone grab my back. I really couldn’t believe it – trains get crowded, so I didn’t do anything. And then it happened again and I realized that this guy was grabbing me. And for the first time in my life, I froze. I didn’t know what to do at all. Here I am in a foreign country and I have no idea what to do. My sister (who works in India) would talk about women being grabbed and worse on the train – she herself had been groped. I remember getting angry at her for not doing anything about it – not telling anyone. But, standing on that train, being grabbed – I didn’t know what to do either. I was angry at myself for not standing up. I was angry at the guy in my group for not doing anything (although, he told me later, he was just as shocked too). All I could think about was “what if I do something and it just escalates?” I hate that feeling of powerlessness. And then I thought, well, it was just a grab – these things happen. But I’m still mad about it half a year later.
I was groped on the bus today.
I was groped by a man on a bicycle two days in a row in Astoria. Considering I have lived here for 3 years and have felt very safe, this is really shocking and difficult to comprehend.
The first incident happened on the corner of 43rd Street and 30th Avenue around 3:30 while I was walking to the gym. A man on a bike was riding on the sidewalk towards me. He stopped directly behind me while I was waiting for the light and smacked my butt. I was so shocked that I did nothing as he sped away. No one else on the street seemed to noticed what had happened. I daydreamed all of the obscenities I could shout at this perv if I could go back in time, thinking that that this was a fluke and would never happen again.
Oh no, the very next day I was walking down 46th street around 6:30 pm and a guy on bike sneaked up behind me, whispered “nice ass” and grabbed me. He then sped away. I screamed “Asshole!” but really, does this affect a person like this? I got a better look at him and assume he’s probably the same guy.
I called the local precinct and the cop who I spoke to said that other women in Astoria have complained about this guy, near the locations I was at. He told me I could file a report if I wanted to. I went but a different cop said that it would be a waste of time. “These things happen,” he told me. Thanks buddy, that sure makes me feel safer.
I was visiting my friend a University of Missouri and we went to a party. Me and my friends were pretty much the only ones dancing so when a strange girl came up and started dancing with me, I was happy that she was joining us. However, she then proceeded to bite me on my neck. Very hard. Shocked I just walked away. I told my friends and they thought it was just as weird as I did and we all kind of laughed at it. Later, I was standing against the walk talking to my boyfriend when she came up to me again. I said to her in a light but firm way “Don’t bite me again, because that really hurt!” She, of course, bit me again. I then tried to slink away but she had me pinned against the wall and started drunkenly pressing herself into me. She touched my breasts. My boyfriend then grabbed my armed and pulled me away.
It was such a weird thing and only now, reading this site, do I realize I totally underreacted. Of course, if a man had done this to me, not only would I have fought back, but my boyfriend would defended me. I was so worried about not hurting her feelings or making it seem like a big deal that I forgot about my self respect. This will never happen again, whether by a man or a woman.
I’m usually the person targeted for harassment, since I’m tall and multiracial (and confident), and therefore the most visible woman on any given block. But just now I witnessed an egregious harassment of another woman, and I followed up with the harasser, as I would hope others would do for me (but have NEVER done.)
A big man (at least 6’2″, maybe more, and maybe 220 lbs or more) lurched out of an alcove at a small woman (at most 5’4″ and 120 lbs, maybe 25 y/o or less) who was walking down the sidewalk. He went at her fast, but slowly enough that she could get out of his way. But, since he held his arms out in front of and behind her, she could only get out of his way by going sideways. He pushed her across the sidewalk and into a car, where she ducked under his arm and kept walking. She bumped into me because she was busy looking behind her at the man, who was leaning into the car, laughing at her.
This all happened too fast for me to react to it. Now, as you can tell from the photo and video I’ve included, the man is poorly dressed and dirty, clearly down and out, possibly a drug addict. I do understand the rage and the invisibility of men like this, especially when you add on the racial component and the pressure and invisibility that comes with that.
HOWEVER, it is NOT OKAY for an oppressed man to take out his rage on a woman, or on anyone who is more vulnerable than he is, or on whom he can become violent.
I had a few seconds to decide what to do. He was still lingering just a few steps ahead of me, adjusting himself to the success of his harassment. At moments like this, I have to figure out if I’m going to be harassed myself. If I see a potential harasser up ahead, I’ll generally cross the street to avoid them. But this time, I decided to take the initiative, because I was so angry about what he did to that woman.
I stood still on the sidewalk as I thought about it. During this time, a family of two women and two little girls came down the sidewalk and the man lurched out amongst them, although I’m not sure this time if he intended to scare them or if he was just substance-addled. But that was the last straw for me.
I pulled out my phone, switched to camera mode, and walked past him, glaring at him as I went. As I expected, he started to follow me, saying something to me (I don’t know what, I had my headphones on until I turned my camera to video mode.) I started snapping pictures of him and, as soon as he saw me doing it, he walked away from me. He kept ducking into the building alcove, hoping I’d walk past. I tried that one time, but he just came back out and continued following me, so I continued snapping pictures.
Then he turned down a street to get away from me. Unfortunately for him, I’d remembered my video camera and switched to video. I turned the corner and did a little interview with him, which you can see in the video. Of course, he denied it all. Too bad I didn’t get pictures of the harassment.
He took off down the street and I followed him for a block and a half. He kept looking back to see if I was following. I stopped taking pictures, but I kept my phone held up. Finally, he walked down an alley to get away from me and I let him go. I wonder if that’s the first time in his life he’s had the tables turned on him like that. He sure didn’t like being harassed or followed.
Let me emphasize here, though, that it was the middle of the day, there were lots of people around, and I’m pretty tall and imposing-looking. I don’t necessarily recommend that other, smaller women turn the tables quite so thoroughly on a big man who was willing to get physical with a woman. It could be dangerous.
To ensure that every bystander is as amazing as Claire, donate to the “I’ve Got Your Back” campaign. Claire has already donated, as if she wasn’t already badass enough.
I was out with a female friend of mine on Tuesday. We went to a local piano bar and were having some drinks and singing to the music. I was standing and a man had come and talked to my friend. While I was minding my own business singing and dancing a creep grabbed a handful of my butt. I immediately turned and started swinging. I got him twice in the chest and kicked at him to get him away. The blows that I landed were of minimal impact and caused no damage to him, but it startled him. I told him, “Don’t fucking touch me!” he said, “I was just trying to light your fire.” Ugh, gross. I said, “You’re disgusting, don’t put your hands on me.” He apologized several times and disappeared.
Maybe I’m not right by reacting physically, but I’m still proud that I stood up for myself. I’ve never acted so aggressively and people don’t think that a small girl like myself would defend herself. I guess now that guy knows better.
To help build a world where this story would have also included some amazingly supportive bystanders, donate the “I’ve got your back” campaign. Only 11 days to go!
I was drunk and fell asleep on the bus and missed my stop. I live in a really residential quiet area. On my walk home, I walk down the street and I see a person. I keep walking and then I start screaming. I apoligize to the guy, because I think that I’m just overreacting. And then he grabs me and is jerking off. I scream, “don’t fucking touch me,” and run towards my apartment. I don’t think he’s followed me, but I just feel so stupid and scared. Like I walked into his private moment and it was opportunitistic. But at the same time, I should be able to walk home in peace.
This seems to be a fortnightly occurrence and I am unable to escape it.
Thank you perverts!
Women are just as much to blame; the social power dynamics have shifted and while employment may be regulated by male approaches dating definitely has a blurred line.
I seem to fairly often be a victim of somebody grabbing or slapping my behind, I have had my testicles cupped and on many occasions experienced inappropriate contact and remarks.
This weekend a young lady pinched my behind while I stood at the bar in the Victoria pub, Birmingham, I turn around and give her a filthy look and ask her to stop but as I turn back to the bar she decided to grab me again; this time when I turn all of her friends are staring at me and making remarks like ‘hey handsome’ or ‘hello cute ass’
Unfortunately as a man I have little support so when I open my mouth to criticize I am immediately set upon by the eyes of every person in the room and offered tokens of aggression by some woman and men who stand up, but why?
Because the power dynamics of a 6″3 athletic man standing over four much smaller females dictates that indeed I should be the aggressor.
So I am oppressed twice simply for buying a drink and standing up for myself.
Power dynamics exist in many facets and social normality, especially for the socially responsible, is damaged when certain power dynamics are ignored; the main reason I wrote this.
The truth is a lot of this is about social molding and in my experience, women can be just as bad as men because they realize how strong the social power dynamic is in supporting them.
I was walking home from work along N. Rampart. I was talking on my phone to my mother and munching on an apple. I noticed a younger guy walking slightly closer than normal to me along the same route. As we were the only people walking on the street I turned my head towards him, nodded and smiled in a greeting. He didn’t really respond. I continued walking and talking to my mother (from Canal St.). He was on my left side about 5ft away, slightly behind me. It was mid-afternoon with lots of traffic so I assumed it was just an uncomfortable coincidence that we happened to be walking down the same street at the same time. Then we reach my turn (St. Phillips) and I make my turn left and suddenly he was MUCH closer than I thought and I nearly bumped into him. I was startled and looked up quickly and said “sorry” and kept going. A few steps later I felt a hand grab my entire ass and dig into my anus and kind of hang on. I jumped and turned around there he was, smiling at me. He couldn’t have been more than 14. I yelled at him “what the fuck are you doing. What makes you think that is okay.” He got kind of pissed off and turned to leave but I was MAD! He couldn’t just get away with that! I rocketed my apple into the back of his head where the apple split open. -ooooh was he pissed. He turned around and I suddenly noticed how much bigger, stronger and faster he was than me. Shit. but I couldn’t give in and now he was pacing back and forth having picked up 1/2 of my apple and staring angrily at me so I just looked back. I knew if I looked away or tried to get away he would come after me for revenge and I would be done for. So I just looked back at him and asked him why he thought that type of behavior was acceptable. After a few more moments he turned and left. I called my 911 and reported it, then called my mom back and continued home. I saw him on the same street a few more times. He was always menacing.