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I was standing outside a club waiting for a cab, when two men in suits pass by. One taps me on the side, near my breast, and says “hey beautiful.” I point at him and shout, “Hey! You! Don’t touch me! Don’t touch women on the street!” He kept saying “I didn’t touch you, I didn’t touch you,” (my response: “yes you did, asshole!”) as I pointed him out to a completely apathetic crowd. There were even cops nearby, and they did nothing. Nobody even seemed to notice at all.
I grew up in a small town of 1500 people, it wasn’t really an everyone knows everyone kind of place, or if it was I didn’t notice because my family minded our own business for the most part and didn’t do much socially in town. I was maybe seventeen and I was pumping gas at the only gas station we had. It was spring I think, I was wearing a pink top with short sleeves and jeans and a grey jacket. It was warm out so I started taking my jacket off when some guys sped past me down the main street and shouted “Ow!” out their car window at me. I had my back to them but I didn’t turn around because I was sure it was just some high school jerks making fun of me. I didn’t feel like I was attractive enough to merit an “Ow!” just for taking my jacket off so they must have been making fun of me. I didn’t turn around because I wanted them to think I didn’t heard them, I didn’t want to give them any satisfaction, not that it mattered, they had already driven away. It didn’t upset me too bad at the time, I didn’t feel like I was a particularly pretty girl back then but I wasn’t really bothered by my plainness. I didn’t feel demeaned or harassed, some guy was being a jerk and then he was gone, that’s all. I didn’t know I’d remember it forever as the first of many catcalls I would hear over the next decade or so but that’s how I think of it now. As an introductory lesson to gritting my teeth and ignoring the harassment I would soon experience on a regular basis. It didn’t start for me in the big city, walking near a construction site in a short skirt, or running in the park in a tank top. It was a small town of 1500 people and I was taking my jacket off.
I was nineteen and I had an apartment in the city about a half hour from home. It was my first place of my own and I loved living alone, I have always craved independence. I didn’t know a lot of my neighbors, I kept to myself. One day I was walking to the mailbox, just about five minutes from my front door. I was wearing jeans and a purple shirt with short sleeves and a flower embroidered over the left shoulder. A car went by me driving too fast, and a middle aged person (I can’t bring myself to call him a man because he isn’t one) put his head out the passenger window and bellowed at me “Whoo! Hey, girl! Look at them titties!” I was nineteen. I was a teenager and a middle aged person had just loudly and publicly commented on my breasts in the rudest, grossest way possible. I didn’t ignore him, I couldn’t, I turned and watched the cowards speed away. I was just shocked. I wanted to put a rock through their window. I couldn’t. They were gone. There was nothing I could do. Its been ten years and I still think of that day, that guy, the thing he said to me, how I wanted to call him out, hurt him, break his car. How even if he hadn’t sped away I wouldn’t have done any of those things. I would have turned my back, gone home. I was nineteen and he was bigger than me and scary. I was a few steps from my mailbox, there was a man there checking his mail. He said “That wasn’t very polite.” No it wasn’t. I was so embarrassed. I agree, “Yeah”, I said. I went home.
I was twenty seven and had lived and traveled around and pretty much heard it all. The honking horns, the drive by shoutings, on the street, on the bus, on my bike, strange men commenting, hollering, commanding, Hey girl, hey beautiful, you’re gorgeous, nice dress, smile, smile, smile, nice tits, nice legs, smile, you’re hot, where you going, wow, smile, where you going, I’ll take you, sweetheart, baby, shorty, great body, smile, honey. And I’ve been ignore, ignore, ignore, ignore, ignore, for years I’m ignoring. FOR YEARS I’m ignoring. But this one day, this one guy, this one fucking guy really put me over the edge. I was walking to the bus stop, I was in a good mood. I had injured my leg a few weeks before and was finally off crutches and happy to be walking again. It was daytime on a moderately busy street and I was crossing when a truck stopped, he was friendly. “Where are you going? I’ll drive you.” I was friendly, too. “No thanks, I’m not going far.” I was wearing a yellow tank top with denim shorts and sunglasses. I passed by his truck, I was walking away. He said “Your tits really bounce when you walk.” My middle finger shot up over my shoulder without missing a beat, without turning around. I’ve heard this shit before, asshole, you’re not ruining my day. I was walking away. He said sarcastically, angrily, “Yeah, I was really gonna rape you in the ass.” I was walking away. It was daytime, I wasn’t scared but I was mad. What if this wasn’t a busy street on a sunny day? What if it was dark and empty? Then I might have gotten in that car, I might have been put in that car. The anger in that person’s voice because I didn’t get in his car, it was like I had robbed him of something he deserved. I will never forget his rage, his childishness, his entitlement. He wasn’t my first harasser or my last but he sure gave me something to remember him by. I told some friends, I never forgot, I found some support, found some women like me, I found out that most women are like me but a lot have it worse. I found out I’m done ignoring and I’m looking for solutions.
I was twenty eight, I was walking home, the ATM wasn’t working, I was frustrated. I was wearing a jean skirt and striped yellow halter top, I was sweaty and gross. A truck went by, honked his horn at me and turned into the gas station across the street. Not today, guy. Not today. I barely waited for traffic to let up before I crossed and made a beeline for the red pickup. He was watching me approach, I don’t know if he was happy or scared to see me coming at him. “Hey, did you just honk your horn at me?” He got really flustered. “I was just saying hello.” he said ” You’re very pretty,” I told him that’s not a nice way to say hello, that its so rude, I should be able to walk from here to there without hearing that. He was apologetic, embarrassed. I felt a little bad after, it isn’t his fault no one ever told him women are people and deserve to be respected, not honked at. Then I got mad at myself for feeling bad because a grown up person should know better and it is his fault. That was the first time I ever confronted a harasser but not the last. I wish I could say I had confronted all of the ones that came after red pick up truck guy but I haven’t. Most of them drive away, a lot of them are bigger than me, I’m almost always alone when it happens. I flip people off more than any other small town girl I know. Sometimes I ignore still. But if I feel safe enough, if they stay in the area I try to call them out as much as possible. Maybe some of them will listen and one less woman or girl will have to endure one less holler. Or maybe it just makes me feel better. Whatever, fuck these guys.
Yesterday, I’m twenty nine, riding the train, a drunk man is talking a woman, asking her if she has a boyfriend and when she’s going to dump him. He asks to sit next to her but she says she’s getting off the train. I wonder if that’s her real stop or if she’d rather walk than sit next to this guy. After she leaves he slurs a conversation with another young woman who is being more polite than I would. When its his stop he puts a hand out for her to shake and when she gives him hers he brings it up to his lips and kisses it and then rubs her head like she’s a dog before he exits. She looks a little shaken, runs her fingers through her hair and moves to my side of the train. I feel guilty, I should have said something to him, told him to leave her alone, spoken up because she wouldn’t or couldn’t. She looks troubled, I wonder if this is the guy she will never forget. That she’ll think about, get angry about, wish she would have told him to fuck off, wonder if he would have hit her if she did. He was a foot and a half taller than her and large and drunk in the afternoon. I don’t think I’ll forget her. I get off the train and man asks me for a lighter, I don’t have one, sorry, as I’m walking away he tells me I have an impeccable body. I’m wearing a white t shirt and shorts. I tell him he needs to keep those comments to himself, that it isn’t nice constantly hear things like that every time I leave the house. He’s confused, I walk away.
I was standing with one of my best male friends and his brother in line to get tacos at the taco truck behind a bar. A group of guys was looking me and snickering at me, but I thought nothing of it. They were obviously immature and doing nothing to hurt me in any way. Then, on of them ran over to me and slapped (groped?) my butt and ran off. The rest of that group of guys were laughing amongst themselves and at me like I was a joke. My friend got so angry at the guys that he wanted to fight them back or go off on them which I knew would only make the situation worse and embarrass me further. All he did was yelled at them, “she’s 15, that’s disgusting”. I wanted to say something to them but I was honestly afraid and embarassed-it was dark and everyone was staring at what had just happened so I just dropped it, got my burrito and left.
I was walking up the hill on my way home and had a bunch of guys hanging out of their car yelling ‘hey sexy’ and other things. One of them tried to slap my ass from the window and the car got very close to me! I was unable to say anything or so anything because it happened so fast!
My story is not necessarily about one incident but many over my time here in New York. I live in a neighborhood where I am, on average, verbally harassed about 3-5 times a week. These interactions range from kissing and sucking noises, to verbal assaults (hey baby look at that fat ass) to derogatory intentions hidden behind kind words (Oh, God Bless you, baby) and beyond. One time a man was saying very rude things, and while that was happening another man drove up in a car and yelled “don’t talk to him baby, talk to me!” I screamed “thats harassment” to him as he drove off.
I’ve also been physical groped. When I was groped I chased after the man but unfortunately lost him in the crowd. I was fortunate that the cops were supportive and drove me around looking for him, but I know that is not every woman’s experience.
For a while I just dealt with it, but I’m at my wits end. Its to the point where I have actually started emotionally preparing myself for the three block walk from my apartment to the train. When I had the thought “well, maybe I should just stop wearing yoga pants in public” I knew that they and gotten into my head and it was time to do something.
I’ve begun confronting these men. Some engage while most walk away as if nothing has happened.
Now, my story is probably going to be quite long.. but Ive just experienced ANOTHER form of harassment on the way home and I’m actually so angry so I need somewhere to vent. Since moving to London about 3 weeks ago I have experienced more of it on the streets of London than I ever have done in my life. Ive been on edge for a few months after an experience in Sydney, Australia when a guy approached me on the street and grabbed me, groped me and ran off and all witnesses to this never did a thing to help. So, I am not the most confident when Im out and about since that and being London hasnt helped matters. Today walking home in Stratford I was waiting at the lights and a guy approached me, I hadnt seen the green man and was still waiting and he made a joke which I laughed off.. he then continued to follow me down the road asking where I was going and if we could be friends.
I told him where to go but that didnt stop him and he walked by my side saying horrible things and making me feel so uncomfortable until I pulled my phone out and rang my mum and he walked away.
Last week I was walking home at night on the phone and a guy came up behind me which completely shocked me and put his arm around my waist and said ‘hey beautiful’ to which I replied ‘get your hands off me you’re disgusting’ and he walked away. Since Ive been here Ive been yelled at from cars, cornered by boys when Im walking down the street, disgusting things have been said to me by boys young enough to be my son and men old enough to be my grandfather and the whole time I am just thinking, what is it I am doing to attract this much unwanted attention? I dont dress provocatively (not that that would matter) and I keep my head down but still this happens to me literally every day in some shape or form and it just makes me so angry. I hate walking down the street now, I dont feel safe and its horrible that there are pathetic men in the world that can make a girl feel like this…just fuck off!
Two of my roommates and I went to a party in our college town. I saw one of my friends and while trying to talk to her, this guy kept dancing with her and tried to get me to join in. We were in the middle of the dance floor so I casually danced while talking to her. He kept trying to grab my hand and make me dance with him. I kept telling him no and shaking him off me. He told me I was rude and that if I didn’t want to have a good time I could just go somewhere else.
So I started talking to other friends. While hanging around and dancing I noticed that these girls were trying to talk to their friend who was pinned against a wall by this guy. I approached the friends and found that they were trying to leave and the guy wouldn’t let their friend go anywhere with anyone. I approached him and told him that I needed her to come with me. He pushed her aside and got into my face saying that he caught her trying to hook up with his cousin and that she wasn’t going anywhere without him. I grabbed the girls hand and put myself in between them. I told him that she wasn’t going to stay with him nor hang out with anyone else for that matter because she was leaving. He told me that I better keep her out. As he left I ushered her to her own friends.
At this same party while I at attempted to find my own friends, I heard yelling at the staircase. I walk up hoping not to find the same offended. But it was worse. There was a group of guys yelling at this one girl. She was crying and yelling. All sorts of names were being thrown at her. I grabbed her hand, and pulled her towards the door, amazed at what a disaster this party was and all the harassment. She sobbed that he said he had loved her “but he didn’t really mean it,” she cried, clinging to my arm. I was at a lose for words and pushed her towards the door and remember telling them to stop and that we were leaving. I hear my own friends across the house. I turn to see if I can see them, when someone grabs my arm, telling me that this girl was never allowed to come back because SHE created a scene. I turned towards the door. I can’t find this girl I just ushered out. I turn to one of the guys outside asking if he saw a girl. He “informed” me that two of his friends escorted her off the property. Luckily for me they hadn’t made it very far and I found her friends to take her home.
By this point I was over this exasperating party so I get my friends to leave. While we were walking back across town through Main street I notice there surprisingly wasn’t as many people walking about as I expected. Behind us there was a man on his phone. He was around his age and I’m talking to my friends minding my own, but then I hear him say “these asses though, bro. It’s like watching a porno.” I feel my gut drop realizing nobody else is around and this guy has been following us. I turn around.
“Excuse me?! My friends and I are walking home. We just came back from a party we are not dressed up like this for you! Don’t EVER compare anyone to a PORNO. This is my body and it’s not here for your entertainment.” At this point the guy reaches towards me as if to COMFORT ME. I push his hand away from me and tell him “And do NOT try to touch me ever again. Leave us alone” and we turn to go on our way. He stops following us though.
I think it is disgusting how girls who go out are expected to be there to entertain the men. This is not our purpose. We have our own rules to our bodies and we should not be expected to be intimidated and pushed around when we go out.
It was supposed to be an amazing day for me.
I went on the bus after hanging out with friends and shopping with quite a lots of clothes on my way back home around 8pm.
Just few minutes after I got off from bus and a guy in purple top ran behind me then touched my ass and pretended to get in crowd of people on the street by walking. because he didn’t excepting a girl with lots heavy bags would do anything return.
My guts make me chasing after him, and it was quit obvious that he was surprised but instead running cross the street when a lots of cars came over. I stopped after he crossed the street.
Then I called the police but they let me to stay where I was to wait until someone came. and I did but the longer I waited there was no one.
So I decided to go home and talk to my parents . but when I reached my place the police came with anger attitude during the conversation about why I didn’t show up. And he seems I was the wrong one to waste his time. and he wasn’t really serious about how terrible this things just happened on me .
It’s the common things that most of girls under the education in China , they most choose to be silence by the fear.
But I wouldn’t be the one who is too scare to make a better life for their children in the future.
Today I volunteered my time to help transport the elderly and disabled to and from the UW husky stadium and the parking lot. To transport, we used carts with about 7 seats and had certain pick up locations to pick up our passengers.
I had a great learning experience and here’s why:
1. I learned that if you ever want to be harassed and doubted about your driving skills, simply sit in a parked cart and be female. Sit in this parked cart while being female at a husky game and you will get to have multiple men question why you’re in there.
2. I learned that the whistles management gave us in lieu of the horn that’s missing from our cart should only be used by men unless you want other men to chant “blow harder” after using one.
3. I learned that when traffic directors stop you, they’re not stopping you to tell you where to go, they’re stopping you to tell you, “damn, you look fine.” Every. Single. Time you pass by.
– everyone else will also do this if you are a female in public.
4. I learned that i should never simply walk through a crowd as someone (most likely man) is most likely to grab some body part as i walk by.
5. I learned that saying no to someone several times does not actually mean “no”. It’s actually just a word females sometimes say to make noises and doesn’t actually mean anything at all apparently.
Lastly, i learned that if ever i want to feel the rage of a thousand suns, i should be a female at a husky game.
Today a man took advantage of a crowded MUNI streetcar to grope a young woman. She was able to move away from him, and spent the rest of the trip separated from her friends in the back. I saw what happened and asked if she was ok (she looked shaken, but nodded yeah). I told him that he couldn’t treat women like that but he pretended not to hear me. So I took his picture and am sharing it now so others can look out for this predator.