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I was 22 and walking through the Sydney CBD at night looking for a taxi to get home. It was very late (around 3am) but I was sticking to well lit, busy streets where police are normally present. As I turned a corner to walk down one of the city’s busiest streets there was a large group of about 10 men aged between 18-24 walking towards me and taking up the entire footpath. I kept my head down and veered to the very edge of the path to get around. Just as I was about to pass, one of the men raised his arm straight above his head and a moment later swung it down with full force on my bum. The force of his hand jolted me forward and hurt. The group of men laughed and continued to walk past me. I felt scared and incredibly angry that I had been intimidated and physically harmed – but because the perpetrator had struck my ass it was supposed to be a compliment?
Today, when I was biking home from work, a young woman was crossing the street about a half a block in front of me (not in a crosswalk), so I slowed down in order to give her enough time to walk across, but she made eye contact with me and started to walk slower. Therefore, I started to swerve to the center of the road to go around her. She moved to obstruct my path further, then stood still in my path, faced me, and made sexual gestures and comments. I swerved around her, trying to avoid any sort of engagement, but then I was stuck at a red light, where she and some of her friends, including a couple of larger males, were standing with her. As a group, they started making fun of my clothing. The nature of their comments made me think that they thought I was a lesbian, based on my clothes. I just stared straight ahead, determined to not engage with them, not wanting things to escalate, waiting for the light to change. A man walking by, who had seen the incident, told them to stop harassing people and threatened to report them to the police, who were visibly parked about a half block away. The group proceeded to make fun of the man’s clothing as he walked away. At last, the light changed, and I biked away. The thought of going to the parked police car did cross my mind, but, in the end, I decided against it, not wanting to make the situation worse for myself. I am still conflicted about whether I should have done something though.
Living in Memphis is a wonderful and terrible thing sometimes. There are a lot of fantastic things about this place, but the sexist and sexually violent attitude that permeates this area disgusts me.
I’ve lived here for nearly three years, and in that time, I have been followed, hollered at, groped, cussed at, and just made to feel like I am “less than”.
This city has a SERIOUS and frighteningly blasé attitude towards sexual assault/harassment and it needs to stop.
On January 26, 2015, on the 7 train (going to Flushing, Queens) at around 3PM-3:30 PM. At the Times Square stop, a man entered the train cart and stood in front of me and another young girl. His zipper was down and he was masturbating. He was holding something on his other hand and using it to cover himself. It was difficult for me to let the train conductor know because he was right next to the conductor’s door so I took his picture instead.
My friend and I (females) were walking home around 1am on Main Street. We were walking behind a man who was following two girls. How do I know he was following them? He was walking too close to them for comfort, the girls were looking behind them at the man frequently while walking very fast, and when they started crossing the street he did the exact same thing. They girls noticed, so they came back to the original side where my friend and I were. He disappeared into the neighborhood.
As a student, I commute everyday through public jeepneys here in the Philippines. Considering that jeepneys are open vehicles, people outside are able to see the passengers inside. Every single day, I get to encounter a few men giving me insulting signals or whistling at me whenever I’m inside the jeepney. I usually just ignore them, although the first time I experienced it I got really scared and uncomfortable. But this one time really struck me that even the littlest types of harassment such as this, has got to stop.
It was 9:00 in the evening and I’m on my way home. The jeepney was stuck in traffic, and I was sitting at the other end at the back of the jeepney, and beside me was a middle aged man. I assumed he was sleeping so I didn’t really mind at first, but then I noticed that his head was slowly moving closer to my chest. So I shuffled a bit, which woke him up, so I politely told him to move a little farther away. He just smiled, which made me uncomfortable. A few minutes later I noticed that it was his hands that were moving closer to my thighs, so I quickly asked the driver to stop the vehicle. As I was gathering my things, the man quickly covered his head, because maybe he thought I was about to punch or slap him. Which made him even more guilty. I just walked the whole way through while crying, hoping it would never happen to anyone again.
As a woman, I’ve obviously faced a lot of cat calling. All of us have, from whistles to grabbing. This one instance isn’t about flirting though… It was about sales! On opening night at the state fair, I was out with my parents and kids. My kids needed a bathroom so I wandered off from my parents while they checked out vendors. No big deal, since I’m an adult after all! On the way to the bathrooms, a salesman for a popular Dish company decided to try to sell me on the service. I didn’t make eye contact, said “no thanks”, and kept walking. He decided that he was going to have my attention, so it was ok to grab the double stroller I was pushing with my two small children in it! Normally I ignore the harassment, but he brought out the crazy mom in me and I lost it on him. He had my attention alright! Stunned, he just walked away, no apology. If I were a man or with a man, he wouldn’t dare physically try to stop me for a sale!
What made this story worse is that I contacted the company they were selling for, and the reply I got? “It was a third party seller.” No investigation. No apology.
Street harassment doesn’t JUST take the form of half-assed flirting. The entitlement isn’t just related to trying to get into bed. It extends into every aspect of a woman’s life. We deal with unwanted contact in our daily life, from “compliments” to sales techniques! It was unfortunate that my daughter’s experienced the gender inequality at a young age, but I am happy that I showed them it is ok to stand up for yourself. We all need to stand up for ourselves and for other women when these types of things happen!
This morning I noticed the man next to me on the subway had taken a creepshot of the woman sitting across from him and was sending it to his friends to mock her. I immediately thought of confronting him, telling him what he was doing was not okay; telling her what had happened. What I actually did was take a creepshot of him as I disembarked, shaking with rage. I’m still really upset about what I saw, but most of all, I’m sorry to her for not helping her.
I was at Starbucks with my female friends sitting by a giant window next to the sidewalk and a group of teenaged boys came walking up. One of them thought that it would be hilarious to start making dumb faces right in front of the window at us. We all felt so awkward and tried to ignore them. He put his hand on the window so one of us could oh-so-romantically have our hands touching with the glass between us, which none of us obviously did. Then, one of them came inside and put his hand over me to touch his friend’s hand and his arm was touching my chest. I told him, “Okay, you’re touching me and I will fucking scream.” He backed off, but it’s absolutely repulsive that boys start doing this so young and that victims feel awkward because they don’t know how to respond. Why should we learn how to defend ourselves when we aren’t the problem?
I used to live in South London, I have moved out of this area now because of the amount of street harassment I used to get. I would get it at least three times a day. It varied from men staring, to wolf whistling, to walking along side me, making rude and inappropriate comments. I have received comments such as ‘c*m on my face you f***ing slut’. I have never known these men and the ages always very from about 18-40. I have been ‘stroked’ when walking past and one man went to grope in between my legs while looking me directly in the eye; luckily I saw it coming and managed to dodge a little and he grabbed my thigh instead. It makes me so angry when it happens but, I never know what to do. I have to bite my tongue as I want to say something to them but, realistically I’m too scared. It’s not worth it, I don’t know who they are or what they might do – and this is the most upsetting thing.