I was in a drugstore few weeks ago and was looking at some products when I felt something brushed through (with some pressure) on my butt. I thought it was just a bag of a lady so I didn’t take notice of it. Second time it happened, I saw a man just walked past behind me and he was talking to his girlfriend/sister before that. I looked around and I was really sure he was the one that touched me. I panicked and try to spot if it was his hands or just something he was holding. It was his hands. And then it happened again and this time, I stared at him and he just gave me a smirk and actually stood staring back at me. After a while, the girlfriend/sister called out to him and he walked away. Not before talking another look at me. I was so freaked out and I don’t know what to do. He was obviously younger than me, probably just a teen. I was wearing a tank top dress that was mid-thigh length.
I often experience stalking in the mall or when I am walking home. There was so many times that the strangers stalk me till I was almost reaching home. I has to rush to the lift (pretending that I wasn’t running away at the same time) and I pressed on multiple levels so that the stranger wouldn’t know which level I am staying at. I shouldn’t have gone to my block where I am staying, but I was afraid to walk anymore further with someone following me.
Verbal / Ogling:
Many times there are strangers who gives me the dirty look and eye me up and down. I wear casual office wear most days and these are the days that are the worse. I have no idea why. Even at work. Sometimes strangers pretend to talk to me, like saying ‘Hi’ and eye me all over. Sometimes the more disgusting ones whistles and stuff. For example, yesterday when I was about to cross the street, a man old enough to be my grand father commented at me and said something I didn’t want to hear.
Yesterday in the train, a older man stood facing me throughout the whole journey. Everyone was facing the door (including me), but he was the only facing me. He kept leering at me and when other passengers blocked his view of me, he shifted to make sure he sees me again. It was so disgusting and he tried to move closer but there was too many passengers and I kept moving further away too. When I alighted, he tried to come closer, but I sneaked off with the crowd quickly.
My friends and I were walking down the street when a car full of guys slowed down, one of them had a cucumber and started rubbing it and making faces at us, we jumped into the closest building
After experiencing one guy watching me with his video camera at one waterpark, in the same afternoon at a different water park, a bunch of guys watch me go into the wave pool. They follow me and start to surround me as soon as the waves started to get big.
All of a sudden I feel hands on various parts of my body. I turn around and they are just smirking and laughing and getting closer. So as another wave comes i go under water, kick one of them in the chest and swim away. I never told anyone.
I was competing in a beauty pageant in the Wisconsin Dell’s. After the competition my family and I went down to the waterpark. As I’m walking, I see this guy with a video camera watching girls. Then he sees me see him. He smirks and he points his camera right at me and watches me walk away.
This man driving a truck honked at me and entire half a block. I ignored him until I turned the corner and he just leered at me. I was wearing a skirt and feeling beautiful and he made me feel shameful and frightened.
I walk from work to Green Square Station of the afternoon, around midday. It’s a 20 minute walk in which I always experience some form of street harassment – whistling, horn honking, and catcalling both from cars and from men on the street.
Today I was at a set of lights waiting to cross. A car with two males drove around the corner from behind me. The passenger yelled something out his window before splashing some type of liquid on my face.
I just want to be able to get home in peace!
Stopped at a gas station with my family in upstate Alaska. this guy held the door open for me then kept watching me as I walked around for like 15 minutes until I found my grandpa. He still stared at my body even when I walked out the door. I felt like I was having a panic attack as I got in the car.
We shouldn’t have to live in fear of going for a simple walk or jog, but many people do. A walk can quickly turn into being sexually harassed ten times in all of twenty minutes. This harassment would not be acceptable if it was done within the walls of a classroom, or a place of business. But for some reason, many people consider it acceptable when it is done from a car or on the street. The victim, always a stranger. Always someone minding their own business. Always a person who simply wants to get their morning exercise done, or reach their destination to buy lunch for themselves. And when they try to recount their experience, they are often told to suck it up, or that it was probably just what they were wearing. Or – perhaps worst of all – that they should take it as a ‘compliment’.
The first time I experienced street harassment, I was only twelve years old. Think about that for a moment. Twelve. Years. Old. I was not yet old enough to understand that I was more developed than most of my other twelve year old friends. I seldom wear skirts now, because I identify as transgender. Back then, I tried to deny my identity and I tried as hard as I could to be normal. To ‘fit in’. I borrowed a mini skirt from my friend who was less curvy than me, and I wore it. I wore it with the matching top. I was more filled out, too, but I never noticed. I didn’t notice until adult men – read that again. Adult. Men. Slowed down long enough to call me a slut. I was twelve. I did not even know what the word meant, but I quickly found out. One would think my refusal to wear skirts has to do with my gender identity, but it actually has more to do with that day.
That was only the beginning of many years of street harassment. I wish I could say it has gotten better, but it has only gotten worse. Within the past year, I have taken up exercising. I want to be healthier. So, I walk daily. Sometimes, for an hour a day. Sometimes, more. It all depends on how busy or not busy my day is. Living where I do, it is hard to avoid walking on the main streets. I am literally harassed – on average – three to five times a day. There are some days where that number is easily ten, depending on how busy traffic is. The harassment ranges from honking (which is mostly just an annoyance – I startle very easily and do not appreciate being ‘honked’ at), to having kisses blown at me (degrading and rude), to having words shouted at me (which I can never hear regardless), to downright obvious harassment (such as being offered a ride by a creepy man at LEAST thirty years my senior [I am only 23, and I am often told I look even younger], to being asked ‘Yo, girl, how old are you?’, to being questioned about my sexuality, and on the worst days even rape threats when I ignore my harasser). I used to just keep walking, and take it in stride.
I realized that doing so just gives them permission to keep doing it. I realized that if I didn’t stand up for myself, I was teaching these men (and occasionally women, too) that it was okay to harass me. That calling me sexy, whore, or making humping gestures at me is ‘okay’. But when I was walking home from college, and a group of at least six men were following me, asking me how old I was… I realized that it is NOT okay. It was terrifying to me. It is annoying, and it makes exercising hard. So, I have started to take a stand. When a friend honked at a pretty woman, I asked him why. He explained that he thought it would make her feel good. When I explained that, often, the only thing it does is scare us or annoy us… he was honestly surprised. Education is imperative. As many of these people don’t really mean harm. Then again, there are many more that do. And when we experience harassment daily, we can never tell the difference.
The other day, I was walking home from the Kangaroo after just filling my Roo cup, and an older man in a white truck honked at me. I ignored him. But when I crossed the highway, I caught him from the corner of my eye turning around to chase me down. This happens a lot, and is downright terrifying. So, I assessed my situation. I had two paths I could take. One down the business area, where there were bound to be people around. One down a hill, with a forest on one side and houses on the other. I took the safer route, the business area. He honked again, stopping. And this time, I stood up for myself. I pulled my cell out, a way of letting him know I wasn’t afraid to call for help if I needed to and I firmly told him to leave me alone. When he drove away, and I kept walking I felt a surge of fear, but this time it was coupled with a surge of pride. We don’t have to put up with street harassment. But as long as people behave as though it is acceptable, people will believe it is.
Also, I am transgender. I wear traditionally men’s clothes most of the time (and only wear women’s clothes maybe once a month). So I dare anyone to tell me ‘It’s probably because of how you dress.’ I dare them.
I worked retail in the inner harbor most of this past year and there was a man that came into the store just about every day. He was well dressed and always accompanied by the same taller man every time. When asked if he was local or just visiting while being cashed out, he refused to say. They bought women’s lingerie very often but sometimes just came in, walked around, and didn’t buy anything.
One day I was over in women’s activewear fixing a display and he came up behind me without his bodyguard guy and started hitting on me, asking for my phone number, asking for my weekly schedule and when I got off. He asked me to call him, and when I refused, he told me he would wait outside for me if I changed my mind.
I reported it to the store’s security but they can’t do anything unless he actually does something and there is no protection for me once I leave the store. He came back to the store frequently after this first incident and would ask other employees if I was there.
I became afraid to go to work, afraid to ride my bike home after work, and concerned that he would find me. To me, it sounded like he was running some sort of sex trade or prostitution ring and that was terrifying that a man could harass me at work and make me afraid for my life.
Walking alone at night, trying to get home. Asshole loitering around with his friends whistles at me. A guy–don’t know if it was part of the group or just a guy in the wrong place at the wrong time–starts following me. Managed to get into my house without him seeing me go into the building but feel shaken nevertheless.