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I was walking to my bus stop one day to catch my bus, and as I was waiting, a car pulled up to me and gestured to get inside the car. After shaking my head countless times, he finally drove away. I feel very unsafe riding the bus.
So yesterday me and my sister when on a bike ride to go check out a couple houses we had seen for rent. Once we got to the first house on our list we hopped off our bikes and looked around real quick. As we were about to hop back on our bikes, a car crept up to the side of us, and the people in it rolled down their windows. Inside were 5 men gawking at us… my first thought was to grab my pepper spray, but then I thought 5 big men…who knows if they have a gun or something more effective than my little can of pepper spray, and clearly my sister and I can’t take on 5 men. All we could do was try and keep walking and hope they would leave. Finally once we reached the end of the street, the guys realized they weren’t getting anything. They slowly turned and drove off. I was so scared thank God my sister was with me. I could only imagine how much worse I would have felt if I were alone.
Double whammy! I was walking to the Y this morning for lap swimming. As I walked past a laundromat, a man stepped out the door and mouthed “Wow!” as I passed. Whatever, I ignored him. On my way back I walked past the same laundromat. Two men are standing outside talking. One of them stared me down as I walked by while still talking to his buddy. I’m just trying to get to my workout. Arg!
A few friends and I went to our favorite bar one evening. First my two friends had their asses grabbed by a drunk prick. Later, as we were standing and chatting, I glanced behind me to see a man sitting with his hand outstretched toward my skirt, wiggling his fingers. He was making this gesture to a table of people he was sitting with. I immediately sought out the bar manager and reported him. As I was walking back to my friends I saw that this drunk asshole had started arguing and was bumping chests against a male friend of mine. Apparently in my absence he had hit on my other two female friends and tried to put his arms around them. One of them pushed him off and he pushed her backwards. I ran back to the bar manager who promptly grabbed a bouncer and escorted him and his drunk friends out of the bar. Later in the bathroom the jerk’s female friends apologized to me.
I’ve been a fan of Hollaback for about a year now, and I finally decided to share a story. There are so many experiences of harassers getting away with their words and/or actions, and leaving the victim feeling powerless and trapped. However, I am happy to say that this is a success story!
I work in an industrial neighborhood in the East Bay, California. Every morning, I take a walk in about a one-mile radius from my workplace. There is a tow-truck company whose trucks frequent the area quite often, as their headquarters are nearby.
Beginning around October of last year, there was one particular driver for the company who, everytime he saw me walking, would blare his horn. A shrill, jarring, airhorn-like sound. Truck horns are designed to startle someone in an urgent situation, and naturally when this first started occurring, I would immediately look towards the sound to see what was happening. When I looked, the driver would have this grin across his face that felt so… Invasive. Sometimes he would wave, as well. My standard reaction was to flip him off, but that wasn’t satisfying the need to make him feel the way that he made me feel. Cornered, on display. I should throw in that this would always happen when he was driving by (in motion), and never when he was stopped. Big surprise, I know.
A few months later, another driver for the company started honking, grinning, waving, etc. as he passed. This happened several times. Everytime an instance occurred with this company, it was one of those two drivers. They were always in separate vehicles, never together at the same time.
So, I began to recognize my options. I thought about notifying the police, but I then realized that harassment in the workplace is taken much more seriously, internally speaking. If a company discovers that one of their employees is harassing others inside or outside of the workplace, there are often serious repercussions. I decided to call the company.
I immediately- but non-confrontationally- asked to speak to a manager. I told the receptionist that I had been experiencing harassment from two of their employees for approximately four months, and that I was fairly confident the company was unaware that this was happening. The woman I spoke to seemed to understand the urgency, and transferred me to the manager’s phone line. He was not in the office, but I did seize the opportunity to leave an in-depth message. I addressed everything that had happened with the honking and smiling, and let him know how these actions affected my feelings and sense of safety. I noted the times that these instances occurred, and the drivers’ appearances.
I never did receive a phone call back from the company, but I am ecstatic to say that not one single harassment incident, from either driver, has occurred since. I still see the same drivers when I go for a walk, and they will look, but will not say or do a thing. In fact, the majority of the time, they can’t even look me in the eye anymore.
People need to know that they CAN make a difference. They DO have the power to change things. They need not be afraid to use their voice and take action. The harassers do not have any more power than those who are harassed, and this story proves that those who choose to victimize others will endure justified consequences, if we speak up!
I was walking from class home when these two guys yelled at me from the car. something about wanting to “break me”. I just gave them a dirty look and kept walking. By the time they had circled back I was livid. When they yelled more obscenities at me I flipped them off. That’s when they threw the bottle at me. I was so shocked at being hit and worried about the broken glass when it hit the concrete that I didn’t get the license plate number. It pisses me off that they got away with it.
I’m a gay male who’s on the rather… chubby side, and I’d always wanted somewhere reasonable enough that made me feel comfortable and not like i wad being judged, and thought I found that with a 24 hour gym. Perfect, I’m up late anyways and there won’t be as many people there at night! Little did I know, I’d be made uncomfortable by a completely different situation.
The first time it happened, a guy was staring at me while I was rinsing my face in a sink. I could see in the reflection of the mirror that he was literally staring at me and smiling. Then what does he do next? He pulls down the front of his gym shorts and flashes me! I went out and told the person at the front desk and lo and behold, “they can’t do anything about it unless there are witnesses.”
Flash forward a month or so, I go to the gym around midnight and stay til 3 am. At the end of my workout, which included a swim, I decided that since it was late enough I could probably shower without feeling embarrassed or having anyone see me. I go into the locker room and there was an older guy, probably in his late 30′s, early 40′s who had clearly just showered and was wrapping up to go home. No big deal. I went into a desperate part of the locker room and put some stuff in my locker and grabbed a towel, undressed, and wrapped it around my waist. I head over towards the showers and as I do, I pass the little section of lockers where he’s at. He makes eye contact and smiles at me and I kinda quickly smile at him and keep walking, when I hear him say, “damn!”
I ignored it, not really believing he was talking to me (my self confidence was pretty low at the time, I had no idea anybody would ever say anything like that to me, let alone a creepy gym locker room dude,) and went over to the little offshoot area where the shower stalls are.
I’m standing there with the shower running, washing the chlorine water from my hair when I hear another nozzle turn on. I was a little disappointed cause I thought I was going to avoid the embarrassment of anyone seeing me naked, but when I glanced over, it was the creeper dude, he had gotten BACK in the shower, straight across from my stall, and worse of all, he was JACKING OFF!!!! I was pretty damn shocked by that point and I turned to face away from him and rinse the shampoo out of my hair (I rushed so it shouldn’t have taken more than a few seconds,) and I heard him say something. HE WAS RIGHT OUTSIDE MY STILL MASTURBATING!!! I didn’t know what to do or say so I kinda backed up into my stall a little more to move away from him and he kept stroking and started reaching for me. I finally got myself together and realize what was going on and said “dude, if you fucking touch me I’ll punch you the fuck out.” He backed off enough to get past him and I grabbed my towel, threw on my gym shorts and shirt still soaking wet, and carried my shoes and took off out of that locker room so quick. I’d never been more afraid or shaken up in my life. I didn’t even want to stop to talk to the guy at the front desk.
I went back a few days later to report the incident and of course was told once again that they couldn’t do anything about it. It was sick and creepy and I don’t understand why because a man can “tell I’m gay” he thinks he’s entitled to invade my personal space and make me feel disgusting.
My boyfriend showed me a story on CNN about street harassment and that’s where I saw the link for this site. I’m very torn about this, actually. On one hand, I’m glad there is a forum for women to share their experiences and vent out how frustrating these situations are, without fear of getting horrible comments that make you feel like you “were asking for it”. That’s not what we want to hear after we’ve been victimized. It isn’t a question of shaming nor is it a plea for pity and attention, but some people take it that way. The reason I’m so torn is that on the other hand, my heart breaks that there is a need for a site to express how we feel and worse, that there are so many women who have undergone these traumatic situations. The most recent instance I have had of unwanted sexual attentions (I’m not even counting the catcalls this morning as I was crossing the street to work) happened about a month ago. I was dressed in slacks and a button up uniform shirt for my internship in an office. I was on a crowded bus and found a pole to grab onto when I felt a man place his hand at the nape of my neck and run his hand down the length of my spine towards my rear. I froze in place: there was no mistaking the man’s touch for a simple accidental bump. Fortunately for me, a gentleman witnessed what happened and stood up and gave me his seat while calling out the other guy on his inappropriate behavior. He informed the bus driver of what had occurred and the creep was kicked off the bus. But the damage was done. I felt dirty. Worse, I caught myself thinking “I deserve this.” That’s what angered me most. I’m grateful someone stood up for me, though. It reminded me that it wasn’t my fault and that there are people who will stand up against injustices.
This happened last week. I know it’s not on the street but it was still uncalled for. It happened in a grocery store. It was my first time in the store since I had just moved to the area. Not 5 minutes into shopping, I hear someone whistling. When I look up, there’s a male employee looking at me and making kissy noises. He does it twice. I immediately turn down another aisle and far away as possible. But since the incident, I have emailed the store who say they will discuss it with their employees. My husband was very angry when I told him about it. Now I’m just paranoid to go places by myself.
More than once as I’ve walked to and from TAFE I’ve had the people who approach you on the street (to sign you up to a charity, to make donations etcetc) actually stand in front of me and not allow me to walk past. The first time it happened I was terrified. It was 2 in the afternoon, there was a lot of people walking around and this guy was shouting at me trying to get my attention, demanding to know why I wouldn’t stop and speak to him about (whoever he was working for) and it wasn’t until I looked up at him, and he saw how frightened I was and he looked around and saw all the people staring at him that he actually stood aside and let me walk past, still shouting after me.