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When I was a child, I don’t quite remember how old, but I think around 13, I was walking home from the grocery store with my mother, and it was late evening. While we were on a neighborhood street, there was a car that came by several times, honked their horn at us, yelled something at us that I don’t remember, and then laughed when I jumped. Which I did every time. It was probably my first encounter with something like this and it left me feeling scared and confused.
I was walking with my stepfather along Washington street when I was 17, back in the summer of 2003. Out of the blue this car with a group of teenage boys went by, honking their horn as obnoxiously as possible, and one of them rolled down his window, leaned out from the back seat, and had on some sort of Halloween costume after the Scream serial killer, and screamed at me as they drove passed. They made a point to do this three or four more times, as well. The screaming, if he was speaking actual words, seemed unintelligible. But, it was obvious that he, and his buddies, thought he was hilarious and impressive.
I was walking along the side area that was meant for bikes and foot traffic close to the four lanes, near the patches of grass, with a friend of mine. While we were walking, all of a sudden this truck went by and the driver honked the horn at us and grinned, as if he thought we were supposed to be impressed with him. We decided to ignore him, but it was still ridiculous and we felt as if the rest of the drivers on the road that day were probably staring at us after that, too.
Twice within Thirty
1) Well-dressed, well groomed. I was waiting for a cashier at Big Coffee Franchise when the man to my left lunged to his right and wrapped his arms around me quickly, laughed, and then leapt back to where he’d been. I glared, made sure I had my wallet still, and went to find a seat. Within two minutes the manager burst through the kitchen door yelling at him to get out of the store, pulling his grocery bag out of his hands, revealing a bunch of their packaged proprietary coffee blend. So he was kicked out.
2) Unkempt. About thirty minutes later, I am reading and working on my laptop at my seat, and someone comes into the store, marches past my back to the restroom, curses loudly that it is locked, hits the door, [meanwhile I close my laptop, slide it under the table into my lap, and resume reading] . . . and then I don’t hear or notice him back in my peripheral vision. I look over my shoulder, and there he is, standing so I cannot push my chair out or leave, making kissy faces and kissing at me.
Me: “Leave me alone.”
Me: “Leave me alone!”
Man: kiss-kiss. “What?”
Me: “Go! Leave me a-lone!”
Man: “I’m just admiring the pretty girl”
Me: “No, go.” (pointing)
Me: Looking around for anyone for back-up, including the young man sitting next to me and the female law student sitting in the next chair… the manager bursts through the kitchen door again and gets the guy kicked out and told off about harassing customers.
Submitted by CR
I was walking home from work in the dead of winter, and I came to an intersection. The guy driving the pick up truck stopped at the stop sign, and waved me through. As I crossed in front of him, he beeped his truck horn, and I looked at him to see him making a tongue-pass at me. I kept walking, and he rolled down the window and yelled “what’s the matter, bitch? just trying to keep the neighborhood friendly!”
Submitted by Teenie
Yesterday I ran into this guy for the third time in the past couple months on the CTA Brownline. He pretends to be really engrossed in his red flip cell phone (like he’s sending a text or something) but what he’s actually doing is taking photos of young women on the train.
The first time I saw him, I was sitting behind him and could see his screen. The second time I saw him he got on the train the stop before I exited, but when I saw him yesterday – I decided to snap a photo of my own. Long dark hair and wire rim glasses. Pretty sure he was wearing that denim jacket each time as well.
Watch out for this guy. If I’ve seen him three times (on the Brownline headed towards Kimball – twice during evening rush and once later in the evening) he’s got to be out there even more. Every time I see him it makes my blood run thin to know what he’s up to but not have the power to do anything to stop him.
My friend suggested I share with Hollaback! to spread the word.
Submitted by Summer
I am harassed on a daily basis, no matter what I wear or how I look. I take the bus to work everyday and I can’t remember a single time when I was not stared at. Most of the time it’s lewd staring but sometimes men will hiss, make kissing noises, approach me to ask for my number, yell at me from their car window, honk at me when they drive by. I’ve also been groped.
For the longest time I felt embarrassed to talk about how much this bothered me. When I talk about it to male friends, they think I should get used to it. But I don’t think I ever will. It’s not up to me to get used to it, it’s up to them to stop disrespecting me.
I’ve lived in 2 different countries and the same harassment happens in both countries.
It’s very sad that a woman should feel unsafe and uncomfortable every single day on her commute to work.
I feel scared to retaliate because I’m on my own.
Submitted by Sham
I got my fair share of catcalls and unwanted attention when I was a student in New York. I began having a discussion about this with one of my classes. The (male) teacher said in some cultures men giving that kind of attention to women was acceptable, so why did we women get so uptight about it here?
Another boy piped up that in his country, saying hi to a woman he didn’t know was completely acceptable.
I couldn’t manage to get anyone to understand that it wasn’t the attention that bothers me and other women, it’s the blatant sexual come-ons. And the fact that these things start out innocently, but can lead to things much more sinister.
A few days later, I was walking to work and a construction working waved and said a cheery, “Good morning!” to me.
I said good morning back, and that was it. I wonder, if you want to talk to a woman, why can’t it be like that?
Submitted by SJ
When I read one of the stories on here I remembered something that I had kinda pushed out of my mind. I had 30something neighbour that still lived with his parents that used to stare at me. Whenever he saw the lights going on in my bedroom he would go upstairs in his house and look into my window. I was about 15 at the time and only found out when my mum came into my room and told me that she saw him doing it. I don’t know how long that had gone on. I was so shocked at first, but I thought he needs some sort of “virtual slap”. So I pretended to not have noticed and one evening I actually saw him looking I took all my courage and opened the window and asked him if he liked looking at a 15 year old and what he thought his parents might think about it. The look on his face was hilarious! From that day he never looked again and he couldn’t even look into my eyes. Creep!!!
Submitted by Dana
I was on a family vacation in Las Vegas, being 15 at the time and i always looked really childish with chubby cheeks and a baby like face and i was going down the escalator with my mom talking on the phone right next to me!! I’m looking away towards all the stores and I hear “Hey,Hey,Hi,Hi” I look to my left and the guy riding the escalator up is waving at me and saying hi so I look around and noone seems to notice him and he’s staring straight at me, not my mom or anyone else. I make a weird look and he still is staring at me and i run down the escalator being so scared. My mom had no idea what that guy wanted and she thought he mistook me for someone.I doubt that. But he gave me a stare that looked so evil and like he wanted to harm me. I feel like I can’t even be safe with my mom next to me. He looked about 40ish and was balding. I can’t get the mental image of him out of my head.It still scares me so much. What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas…or not.
Submitted by Vicki