Assault, Nonverbal Harassment, public masturbation

Hillary’s Story: “I was shocked”

I was standing on the platform waiting for the train when I noticed that a small man had leaned on a pillar near me. He was a little too close, so I just took a few steps away and continued to wait. A few minutes later I realized that it looked like he was masturbating. Just from my peripheral vision, I saw what looked like him touching his fully exposed genitals. All I wanted to do was get away from this creep, but as I walked away, he followed me and continued to station himself within my vicinity, and moved whenever I moved.

As the train pulled in and he walked nearer to me I yelled “You want to get the fuck away from me!” to which he responded by spitting on me.

My only instinct during this whole thing was to get away from this pervert. He exposed himself to me and followed me, and getting other people involved was the last thing on my mind. It’s kind of intimidating, and I didn’t expect to feel like that when confronted with a situation like this. I always assumed that I’d be prepared to kick someone in the balls if they ever tried something like this with me, but when the moment came I think I was in shock.

Looking back, I should have yelled and been more vocal and gotten everyone on that platform’s attention. Even though I stood up for myself by recognizing what he was doing and telling him to get away from me, I should have gone a step further.

I feel fortunate that nothing worse happened – that he didn’t try to touch me or follow me on the train – but I will be prepared to make a scene if this ever happens to me again and make sure that there is one less disgusting human being who is able to do this to other women.

one comment 
Nonverbal Harassment, public masturbation

Ewa’s story: Streetcar creep

About half an hour ago I got on the back of the Spadina Streetcar at Spadina Station. A short (5.6″) man wearing jeans and a dark jacket was sitting in an aisle seat. He followed me to the back of the streetcar, sat down, spread his legs with one on the seat in front of him and began touching his genitals through his pants while looking over at me. This only lasted a few seconds before I looked him in the eyes getting ready to yell. He saw the provoked expression on my face and took his hands of his crotch and put his legs in front of him. I kept looking at him until I was sure he would not begin masturbating. Other male passengers got on the back of the streetcar and this pervert kept his eyes off me and his hands at his sides.

This man got off at College Street. To add to the above description, he looked rough: his hair was messy and he had stubble. He also talked to himself at one point in a South Asian accent.

I chose not to call the police because my previous experiences of reporting to the police were not satisfactory. I have experienced sexual assault and harassment many times in Toronto. In one instance, after being assaulted by a group of teenage boys, I had the experience of being intimidated by a police officer as he took my statement in my apartment: he kept inching closer to me until I was pressed up against my oven feeling unsafe. On another occasion I had police show up 20 minutes after a 911 call even though there was a police station less than 5 minutes away. The two officers who showed up appeared not to have any training around sexual violence and could not give any information about witness safety to a woman who was experiencing partner violence and stalking. I had called 911 on behalf of this woman after I had tried to help her, and after her partner nearly hit us with his car.

Regarding the man on the streetcar today, if you see this man masturbating on the TTC do not let him get away with it. If he touching himself (for more than a few seconds as in my case) and there are people around I would yell at him and draw others’ attention to him. I would also tell the driver. If you feel comfortable dealing with the police then place a call to them right away before this man leaves the streetcar. I understand that some people would not feel comfortable yelling, in this case just tell the driver and/or call the police.

one comment 
Nonverbal Harassment

Issys’ story: Smile, you’re on creep cam!

My friend and I were on riding the number 2 train last night from 42nd Street. At 34th Street an old man (resembling the Six Flags man) sat down diagonally across from us. To our right was a young Asian female with headphones on and taking a cat nap. He pulled out an old school SLR camera from a black plastic bag. He proceeded to take pictures of the young girl. He snapped at least two shots. Then pulled out a magnifying glass from the inside pocket of his grey blazer. I was appalled. We gently nudged the girl to wake her up and explained the situation to her. Unfortunately, she didn’t seem as appalled as were. She got off a few stops afterwards. He stayed on until Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn, NY. He took pleasure in zooming in and out with the lens. And using the magnifying glass to take a “closer” look at this piece he just shot. This perv is on the loose and I can only imagine how many other shots he’s already captured. Be careful ladies and gents!

one comment 
Nonverbal Harassment

Anonymous’ story: TRUST KIDS’ INSTINCTS

When I was 13 or 14 my parents and I moved to a new home and had a party to meet the neighbours. One of the neighbours (a middle-aged Caucasian man with curly white hair named David) introduced himself to my family, and took particular interest in me. He shook my hand and didn’t let go until my mom stepped in and made the situation awkward.

Later I was sitting out on the patio with some of the adults and he came up behind me and put his hands on my shoulders, dug his face into my hair, sniffed, and said “I can tell you just washed your hair, Megan” (which was not my name). As a 19-year-old looking back on the situation now, I cannot believe that the other adults didn’t point out how incredibly inappropriate it was for an adult to smell a strange child’s hair, especially seeing as most of the adults that were present were parents themselves.

Later still he approached me to talk when the other adults had left the room, and got much too close for comfort. He was trying to invite me to come over to his house (by myself) so I could “help him walk his dog” or “work in his garden”, and every time I took a step backward to reclaim my personal space, he would take a step forward until I was backed up against a wall with no where to go.

When I told my parents about David’s behaviour, my mom told me she got an uneasy feeling around him as well, then went online to find out if he was a registered sex offender (he wasn’t as far as we know). My father, on the other hand, said that he was “just being friendly” and that “there couldn’t be anything wrong with him because he has a PhD and works as a professor at a nearby university”. I think that just goes to show how little men have to worry about this kind of stuff. Must be nice.

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Nonverbal Harassment

Amanda’s story: There are PLENTY of other seats!

Sitting in an almost empty bus. Another passenger, a man, gets up from his seat and sits next to me. There are empty seats available.

He presses his thighs against mine and tries to make eye contact.

I avoid his gaze. He sits like that for the entire journey. I cannot move.

Horrible.

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Nonverbal Harassment, Verbal

EC’s Story: “Hopefully, he’ll think twice”

As I’m walking to the gym, I walk by a mid-rise building and there is a doorman and a maintenance worker standing by the door. They start catcalling, asking me my name, etc. I ignore them and keep going to the gym. On my way back from the gym, the same doorman is leaving his post and walking to the dry cleaner down the block. As he’s walking in, he sees me again and stops dead in his tracks to leer at me, so I turn around and start yelling that I’m going to call his boss (the super) and let him know that he’s harassing women and that it’s disgusting, and I’m going to let him know that he left his post also. I found the building management company’s number online and I plan on calling first thing Monday morning. Hopefully, he’ll think twice about making a woman feel uncomfortable as she goes about her day.

3 comments 
Nonverbal Harassment

Disgusted’s Story: “Only one of many”

As a very young-looking 18-year-old, I was sitting with my mother in our seats on a flight while the plane was boarding. I had the aisle seat, and was reading. I heard my mother make a noise, and looked up to realize she was staring down a man who must have been in his thirties. The man had his arm leaned against the overhead bin, cornering my mother and I in our row, and was staring directly down my shirt. When we both stared at him in shock, he just grinned and made kissing noises before moving farther down the plane.

I forgot about this incident because it didn’t seem important, but I realize now that men don’t have these kind of experiences that they suppress, and this is only one of many.

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demonstration, Nonverbal Harassment, public masturbation

Anna’s Story: UGHH!!!!

UGH!!!!!!!!!!!! Sitting on the porch smoking a cigarette only to look up and find a CREEP jerking off directly across the street from me under a street light! I told him “F*#$ off! I’m calling the cops!” Which I did. They didn’t find him.
Gross!!!!

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Nonverbal Harassment

Jenny’s Story: “Aggressors are the people who need to take responsibility for their actions”

One night I decided to walk the twenty minutes to my home from the Skytrain Station. It was past midnight and the buses were not running, and I didn’t want to have to pay for a taxi. However, the route that I was taking went through the neighbourhood of Whalley in Surrey, BC, which is known for a high rate of crime and drug users.

I started walking and tried to be extra aware of my surroundings, since I was alone on a dark and empty area. A few minutes later, a car going in the same direction slowed down behind me. This happened awhile ago, but I seem to recall that the vehicle was a taxi with a number of men inside. I continued walking, now angry with myself for being alone in this situation. Meanwhile the car slowly crept along beside me. Someone in the group asked me if I wanted to get into the car with them.

Without stopping, I took a deep breath and yelled out “NO!!” in a very loud and firm voice. I was relieved to see the car drive away and I was left by myself again.

Once I arrived home, I told the event to my boyfriend and he was upset and concerned, saying he was glad that I was okay, but that things could have turned out much worse. He cautioned me not to go walking at night by myself.

I do think that it is wise to avoid risky situations (particularly walking alone at night). At the same time, it’s sad how women are told to be more careful and often women are blamed if an assault does occur. The aggressors are the people who need to take responsibility of their actions– they need to realize the harmful impact of street harassment!

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Nonverbal Harassment

GW’s Story: Don’t blow your horn at me

There’s an MTA worker who stands under the Manhattan Bridge, in the MTA work/storage facility, in the mornings. He blows an air horn to get women’s attention, every time we walk by.

He doesn’t just stare. He wants you to know he is watching you walk by, every morning. Good thing this area seems gated and closed at night.

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