When I was 14 or so, I was walking along a path along some railroad tracks about five miles from home. We lived out in the country. It was a secluded area. A guy who was probably in his mid-20s was riding his bike along the path. He asked me if I wanted a ride back to the road. I was tired and said sure. When he “helped” me onto the bike he grabbed me in the crotch to lift me onto the bike and then held onto me. I was just confused and stunned. Now looking back on it I feel fortunate he didn’t have the nerve to be more aggressive.
I also remember a male babysitter when I was about eight years old exposing himself to me and my brother. I only remember making the comment that he was really big. My older sister says he molested us too. I have no memory of that.
I was 13 years old, a dishwasher at a restaurant, and it was my first job. I loved my job, I had been going to the restaurant every Tuesday since I could remember with my mom. We knew the owner and his family, we knew the chefs, waitresses, and cooks. Then one night, the owner became way too drunk. He kissed one waitress and grabbed another by the butt. Then he came to me. First, he uncomfortably made me hug him in the hallway, and then later came and groped me from behind, all parts a 13-year-old should never have felt. I never did anything, I didn’t tell my mom until I was 19 when we went to a new restaurant in a different city, and we had to leave because that old owner was now a chef there.
I was three, and desperate to go to school. I LOVED school, so my mom put me in nursery school. Every day, at recess, a boy from the other classroom came out the door onto the playground, walked over to me and punched me, hard, in the stomach. Every day, I cried. Every day, the teachers thought it was cute. Boys will be boys. He likes her. He’s just trying to get her attention.
In order to get this to stop, my mom had to withdraw me from the school. I cried about that, too. Because I was being punished because he was hitting me. It wasn’t the last time I was harassed or assaulted. It was merely the first.
I was getting off the elevator in the building I work in, and a slimy old man made this really gross ‘Mmmm!’ sound at me when he saw me. Then as I walked by he gave me this oversized, creepy smile and and equally creepy “Hello.”
It was one of those annoying instances where it happened so fast that what he was doing didn’t even register until I had already walked past him. Wish I had thought quicker and said something, and found out what company he worked for to report him. If I run into him again and that happens, that’s definitely what I’m going to do.
I was followed around the downtown San Jose area by a large man wearing an oversized black hoodie, long black pants, black gloves, tennis shoes, and a gold Halloween mask that resembled the comedy mask on the symbol for theater. He followed me on a black bike, asking what my name was, where I lived, and if I eat cat food (I was wearing cat ears). He behaved erratically and may have been armed. Please keep an eye out for this individual.
A woman was walking west on King St. W., a major nightclub district in Toronto, on a Saturday night. She was walking west, about to cross Bathurst, when a man, walking east, approached her and said “Hi, my name is [his name which I didn’t catch],” then extended his hand to shake hers. Possibly out of habit, she shook his, but he held on and tried on some pick-up moves, and she, much like the cat in the Pepé Le Pew stories, struggled to release his grip as she obviously wanted to cross the street and get on with her night. I yelled out “Let her go! Let her go! Let her go! You don’t know her! Let her go!” and then, to anybody would would listen “Don’t ever do that!” Since someone was standing in between me and them, and to avoid collateral damage, I didn’t yell as loud as I could, which I later regretted.
After a few seconds, she managed to break free, and he went in a different direction. I “followed” him by staying a few meters ahead of him, looking back to see if he was still going the same way as me, and promising to myself I’d intervene if he tried to do it again, but also to see if I could be able to describe him later. (The best I could come up with when talking to a friend about it was “he wore a white sports jacket, and a black shirt.”)
I was a little tipsy from the two beers I had earlier in the night (so I wasn’t sure where my bravery was coming from), and all of a sudden, right after the encounter, I had a heightened fear response, so I crossed the street, something I also regret doing. Even so, I tried tracking him from across the street, but realized later that it might have been a similarly-dressed guy (who was walking a dog, and with what looked to be a woman friend of his). It feels silly that I feared for my physical safety when there were so many people around, and it also feels silly that the only tool I felt I had at the time was to yell at him. Ineffectively?
I’d love to be a more involved bystander than I was that night, and would love to know what to look for, to notice street harassment more. It pains me that I’m blind to it after reading the undeniable stories of it, and if I notice it more, I want to be able to do something about it.
I was calmly, quietly waiting my turn at the takeaway counter for Moe Sushi at Crossways Subiaco. There was a long queue, but I wasn’t in any hurry at all.
Suddenly, without warning, a well-dressed, well-groomed lady in her 60s/70s comes up behind me and grabs my shoulder painfully hard from behind, and it still hurting several hours later; I may need physiotherapy treatment; I may have bruises tomorrow.
She clearly felt it was ok to do this because I am a wheelchair user.
It is NEVER ok to grab anyone, wheelchair user or not, unless there is an immediate safety issue.
“I want to get your attention to ask you intrusive questions” is not an immediate safety issue.
A man on the train patted me on the head like a dog because I use a powerwheelchair. Nearby bystanders did/said nothing.
So I work as a nightlife photographer and I really feel that I have to get a few things off my chest! My job involves me taking pictures of people having a good time, but often on a night I will have to deal with a few assholes! You would think a girl could get used to this sort of thing or just take things as a joke, and I do some of the time, but when you are constantly being chatted up or kissed on the cheek or whatever, it does get rather soul destroying. All I want to do is my job and carry on so I can pay bills! I am there to take photos, not hand out my number! Fair enough people are drunk but it gets so tiring, I am a photographer and an artist and not a piece of meat! Every night, it’s a constant battle, as someone would grab me from behind or try to kiss me or ask my number or pinch my bum or tell me that I would look hotter with dark hair, or ask me what I’m doing after work or give me compliments that may seem all well and good but they just make me feel uncomfortable! this constant sort of harassment from the many drunk men of Newcastle just makes me feel like an empty vessel, or like an object; like I have no soul and I’m just there for the entertainment! Why can’t people just have a normal conversation? I don’t mind normal conversations, in fact, that is a much more welcome social interaction! There are few times I have had to literally push people away because they got a bit close! I’m only 5-foot-3 but I think I’m a lot tougher than I look, although I’m always terrified that something will be taken the wrong way if I lash out.
After I was asked to walk with a young girl (about 13 years old) to a car to get something, a group of boys were staring at her from the moment they saw her until she was out of sight. When I stared back at them, making clear what I thought about it, it didn’t bother them at all. Normally I would expect a sign of embarrassment in such a situation, but it showed me that there wasn’t any respect for the girl. For me, it was really sad to see.