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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
Was on the way home at around 9:30. I look up, this guy across me is already staring at me and I continuously stare back at home and he starts smiling and starts mouthing some words to me. He gave me the most disgusting and perverted looks ever. He did this for the whole ride and kept looking back and staring at me, and if I stared at him longer, he would smile. Who does he think he is?
When I left, he told me, “Bye.” Wish I cursed him out.
Submitted by S.T.
The guy is the one sitting in the picture.
So the other day I had what Oprah would call an “A-ha” moment. Though I prefer to refer to it my “Get the fuck out of my personal space you male-privilege-assuming bastard” episode. Just has a nicer ring to it.
Anyways, I was at a gas station and had just finished filling up when an older gentleman clad in overalls (I live in NC) ambled over to stand RIGHT in front of me, blocking my entrance back into the driver’s seat of my beloved automobile.
He tried to start up some inane conversation about gas prices, which were SO HIGH these days compared to when he was young. Pissed off that he wasn’t getting my subtle “step-back-random-dude” vibes, I thought about asking if his first car was a Model T. But, as he kept inching creepily closer to me, I just said very firmly “I need to get back in my car.”
But that’s not what HE wanted.
The lovely gent actually shook his head no and tried to keep talking, all the while inching closer and closer toward me. In my mind I found myself running through all those perpetrator-excusing things we’re taught to do as women…Maybe this guy was just a little crazy, bless his heart, or actually was trying to pick me up but didn’t know how to go about it…but then IT CLICKED.
I didn’t, and I don’t, give a damn why a STRANGER chooses to disrespect my personal space with unwanted interaction. When I say leave me alone, it means LEAVE ME ALONE.
So I screamed at the top of my lungs “Get out of my way” so loudly the man literally winced, covered his ears and RAN back to his truck that was parked near by. People were looking and he was embarrassed.
It, was awesome.
And empowering. Worse things have happened to me, but this was one of the first times I’ve ever responded so powerfully. It felt good and it balanced out the “ick” factor.
I truly believe that HollaBack helped me to be so assertive. Reading through your blog’s entries and article links has helped me understand what street harassment is really about: Power. Making women feel less than men in public spaces, making us feel like prey, whether we’re in a power suit or a sundress. Making us feel like we’re the property of any and every man on the street.
This won’t be the last time some stranger thinks he can treat me like I exist for his amusement.
But, I’m going to keep being loud. I’m going to keep holding harassers accountable whenever I feel safe enough to do so. And it’s going to feel good, oh so good.
Death to the “good girl,” I say.
Ladies, it’s time for us to get mean.
Submitted by Beth
I am at 14th street with my daughter last week. I was talking to my daughter who is 10 and I notice this guy is flicking his tongue at me and “adjusting his jeans” directly across from me. As soon as I noticed this I took out my phone and tried to get his picture. He looked freaked out and got off at grand central! I didn’t even get a chance to take a picture but it worked and got the perv off the train. My daughter didn’t notice anything because she had her nose in her book. What balls this guy has.
Submitted by Samantha