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It’s Halloween weekend in Baltimore. My friends and I put in our time at the restaurant we served at, enjoyed some libations at the bar we frequented, and were walking to 711 for some good old fashioned convenience store treats. There were four of us, all women, enroute when all of a sudden I felt my skirt raise and someone place their hands on both butt cheeks and did what I could only say is juggled them. I, stunned, pulled my skirt down and slowly turned around. The man who did this was running in the direction he came from and never turned around as one of my friends yelled obscenities at him.
I stood there in a daze wondering what it was that I did to invoke such behavior. Was I targeted because I was fat and in the back, an easy target. Was I targeted because of my skirt? I mean, it was my uniform. I had to wear a black, above the knee tight skirt. Was it because of my clown accessories; striped socks, rainbow suspenders, and over sized glasses? We continued to the store talking about the incident and what would compel someone to do such a thing.
My friend, the one yelling obscenities to the man who groped me, approached Captain America, remember it was halloween, at the coffee bar asking where he was when the assault happened. He replied,” look at what she’s wearing.” I don’t remember the rest because I was utterly shocked to hear this come out of someone’s mouth. I thought it myself but to hear it out loud was mind bending. My friends and I eventually started making light of the situation calling the assaulter “The Butt Juggler” and laughing at the ridiculousness of it all. This was just over a year ago and it wasn’t until I stumbled upon this movement that i realized what I experienced was assault. Who knows what would’ve happened if I was alone. What if he didn’t run away but further his assault? I was lucky. So many women, and men, aren’t.
I was riding on the train, standing near the door. This man gets on and stands near me. There was space for him to be near a pole or something for support, but he deliberately stood near me, making eye contact. Every time the train moved, he would graze my breast and slide his hand down my side. I didn’t want to cause a scene, but felt so creeped out that for the rest of my visit I walked everywhere, and avoided the trains.
So, I have been thinking about this thing for a while, and I actually didn’t realize how big of an issue it had been with me until I took some time off thinking about it.
There has been this one time, among many others to be honest, which has really tampered with my confidence of walking around at night.
It was during spring, I was going back home with a friend (also a girl) after a couple of drinks out, but was not wearing anything particularly showy and it wasn’t really late either. The area we were walking in was kind of famous for being a quite safe area to walk around, so we didn’t think much of having to walk back.
As we are chatting I noticed this guy on a bike riding past us and openly staring at me and my friend. Now as it is quite common to get stared at in Japan, I didn’t make much of it. After another ten minutes the same guy passes again, but then again, I was a little bit on the tipsy side I guess, and generally being quite self-confident I don;t mind these kind of things very much.
But when after another couple of minutes the same guy comes back from behind me on the pavement and gropes me real hard before rushing away I was left in shock for a while.
I had never experience harassment in a physical way, and was was taken aback by what had just happened. I felt like crying and screamed back at the guy who had already ran away. My friend had not witnessed any of it until my scream. She asked me whether I wanted to stop in one of those 24/7 convenience stores, but I just said I wanted to go home.
After this incident, it came quite easily to joke about it. Everyone was just saying it must have been my “popularity” or stuff like that, and I was playing along.
Until I realized that because of this experience, and some others I had later in the future, I feel very defensive walking in an area with people I don’t know, and in particular I feel defensive of men in general.
I don’t understand why we should be made to feel in this way and also why it seems to be a matter of course to take these things lightly. I want to feel safe when walking around by myself, without anyone creeping up on me from behind touching as they please.
My partner (a guy) and I enjoy making and wearing costumes (and in my city there is no shortage of costumed events). For Halloween, I had decided to be a video game antagonist known for the huge helmet he wears. While the helmet covered my entire face and most of my torso, anyone could still tell I was a woman because the rest of the costume was an A-line undershirt and a butcher’s apron over leggings -not skimpy but you could see my shape.
Because I have a good case of bitch-face and a fast aggressive walk, I rarely get hassled in daily life but while I was an anonymous woman wearing a mask on Halloween, I got the most harassment of my life. Even with my guy standing next to me, randoms would come over to touch me (like I was a Real Doll), to tell me how hot I was even though they couldn’t see what I looked like, and when I tilted the helmet to peer at them they would tell me to leave it on, as if I were a fetish object for their pleasure and confronting them with my personhood would ruin their good time.
Even when my partner would intervene they wouldn’t stop trying to pick me up until we relocated. Of course, when we had successfully gotten away from one jerk, another would take his place. It’s not even as if they knew my character! The worst offenders had no idea what I was even supposed to be, only that I was a woman’s body without a visible head. I have never felt so much like a piece of meat in my life. I’ve never been to a Con but think maybe now I know how the women that attend those might feel.
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.
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.
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.
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.