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I’m a gay male who’s on the rather… chubby side, and I’d always wanted somewhere reasonable enough that made me feel comfortable and not like i wad being judged, and thought I found that with a 24 hour gym. Perfect, I’m up late anyways and there won’t be as many people there at night! Little did I know, I’d be made uncomfortable by a completely different situation.
The first time it happened, a guy was staring at me while I was rinsing my face in a sink. I could see in the reflection of the mirror that he was literally staring at me and smiling. Then what does he do next? He pulls down the front of his gym shorts and flashes me! I went out and told the person at the front desk and lo and behold, “they can’t do anything about it unless there are witnesses.”
Flash forward a month or so, I go to the gym around midnight and stay til 3 am. At the end of my workout, which included a swim, I decided that since it was late enough I could probably shower without feeling embarrassed or having anyone see me. I go into the locker room and there was an older guy, probably in his late 30’s, early 40’s who had clearly just showered and was wrapping up to go home. No big deal. I went into a desperate part of the locker room and put some stuff in my locker and grabbed a towel, undressed, and wrapped it around my waist. I head over towards the showers and as I do, I pass the little section of lockers where he’s at. He makes eye contact and smiles at me and I kinda quickly smile at him and keep walking, when I hear him say, “damn!”
I ignored it, not really believing he was talking to me (my self confidence was pretty low at the time, I had no idea anybody would ever say anything like that to me, let alone a creepy gym locker room dude,) and went over to the little offshoot area where the shower stalls are.
I’m standing there with the shower running, washing the chlorine water from my hair when I hear another nozzle turn on. I was a little disappointed cause I thought I was going to avoid the embarrassment of anyone seeing me naked, but when I glanced over, it was the creeper dude, he had gotten BACK in the shower, straight across from my stall, and worse of all, he was JACKING OFF!!!! I was pretty damn shocked by that point and I turned to face away from him and rinse the shampoo out of my hair (I rushed so it shouldn’t have taken more than a few seconds,) and I heard him say something. HE WAS RIGHT OUTSIDE MY STILL MASTURBATING!!! I didn’t know what to do or say so I kinda backed up into my stall a little more to move away from him and he kept stroking and started reaching for me. I finally got myself together and realize what was going on and said “dude, if you fucking touch me I’ll punch you the fuck out.” He backed off enough to get past him and I grabbed my towel, threw on my gym shorts and shirt still soaking wet, and carried my shoes and took off out of that locker room so quick. I’d never been more afraid or shaken up in my life. I didn’t even want to stop to talk to the guy at the front desk.
I went back a few days later to report the incident and of course was told once again that they couldn’t do anything about it. It was sick and creepy and I don’t understand why because a man can “tell I’m gay” he thinks he’s entitled to invade my personal space and make me feel disgusting.
I was leaving a store, and I saw a man staring at me, sitting in his car parked next to mine. Then I realized he was masturbating. Called the police; by the time they got there he had stopped. They didn’t even file a report. I would have liked to press charges, but I don’t know who he was, and they didn’t bother to take down his info.
I was in Spar on Douglas Street, Cork City, Ireland, and was approaching the queue at the till. There was a man there before me. He stared at me and started motioning me to take the place ahead of him in the queue. I turned down the offer and he only made more urgent gestures and widened his eyes and it freaked me out a bit so I thought maybe he’d stop staring at me if I just went ahead and took the place in front of him, even though there was no need. But then as I was paying for my stuff he kept staring at me and put his hand into his pocket and started moving it up and down really fast, panting really heavily. It was so disgusting. I felt sick. I got out of there as fast as I could.
And in the exact same shop on another day, a completely different man offered me the place in front of him in the queue. I wouldn’t take it. I knew that, worst case scenario, it would be some kind of sick sexual harassment again, and at best it was insulting to be offered unnecessary help just because I’m female.
Noticed a guy masturbating on the train, started taking pictures of him, and when he noticed me and got up, I started yelling at him, “I see you!!! Masturbator!!” No one else on the train flinched, the guy got off the train and I tried to follow him but he jumped back on, I kept yelling at him and banging on the window to warn the other people in the car. I exited train platform and tried to file a report with a station agent, who panicked, and said there was nothing he could do. It takes him 3 uptown F trains before he calls it in. Then he switches shifts and explains to the new station agents the situation, cause I’m still standing there, and I’m not going anywhere til I file a report. The new agent is the first person to ask me if I am okay, which I reply YES but I need to report this. He tells me the police are coming and I can file with them. 30 minutes later there is no police. I ask the agent when they are coming, he says he has no way of knowing. I ask if I will still be able to file a report tomorrow, explaining that I’ve had friends who experienced this and were not allowed to file a report because it was “too late”. He assures me I can file a report any time I want. It’s a snowstorm, so I’m worried I won’t make it home if I don’t go now. I get back on the train with a crystal clear photo of the masturbator that nobody has looked at, unable to file a police report.
A man on the TTC was masturbating while looking at me and my friend it was on the subway on our way to yorkdale from Kennedy.
Everyday and everywhere women get harassed.
I would like to share three stories that happened to me on a daily basis:
1. I got out of the subway and went up the stairs that guide you to the street exit. While I was climbing up the stairs a 40′ year old man was going down, passed right next to me and touched slightly my buttock. I look behind to see his face and kept on going thinking to myself “it’s not worth it to say anything right now…just keep going”. A minute later, I felt a finger pressing between my legs and I saw him (so he came back, climbed up and touched me again!) I pushed him hard and screamed: “What the f**k man!” really angry! He looked at me and I saw a glimpse of a smile. At that moment I felt powerless and went away quickly.
2. I was walking down a street with a friend to school some years ago when I was still in high school. We saw a man walking in the opposite way, towards us. There was nothing suspicious about the guy until the exact moment when we crossed he came close to my ear and whispered “I would lick all of you baby, you’re so fine”. Again I felt powerless because I felt that I couldn’t even reply and defend myself even in a verbal way because he could attack us or hurt us…it’s frustrating
3. Me and two girlfriends were having a great picnic in a park next to the river. We were having such a great time eating our snacks and talking until we realised there was an old man sitting in the nearest park seat touching himself on his baggy shorts, clearly jerking off, looking our way! We decided to pack our stuff and go away. At that time I couldn’t help myself and started screaming so that everyone in the park would look at him and see what was going on instead of just passing by without saying a word. I screamed “What the f**k are you doing! go home! that’s disgusting! people look at this man, he is touching himself! don’t you have a daughter, a grandchild? go home! you’re disgusting!”
We live in a country where the freedom of speech is guaranteed but in the streets we don’t feel that. We have to shut up, put our earplugs, walk quickly, look behind each street corner and don’t reply on any comment.
A man rushed up behind me on the car park escalator and ejaculated all over the back of my dress then disappeared . I wandered the streets in shock.
Two weeks later a woman was abducted from the same location and driven to bush land raped multiple times then her throat was slit and she was left to die. She is still alive today.
I regret not reporting my incident as it may have prevented what happened to this woman.
BY EMILY MAY AND CATHERINE FAVORITE
Today Gawker featured the story of a woman who witnessed public masturbation on the subway – and the pictures she took in response. While we are happy to see Gawker highlighting the issue of street harassment, their analysis was off. Way off.
“Obviously, there’s no proof of lewd behavior in these pictures, just one woman’s story so, who knows, this guy could be innocent [emphasis added].
What is it with the media’s insistence that women’s reports of sexual violence are untrustworthy? It’s an old myth that stands in the way of progress. The FBI says that “unfounded” rape claims stand at 8%. But that tiny little 8% gives the media enough ammo to question all reports of sexual violence. Articles like Gawker’s tend to have a silencing effect on the rest of us, which is perhaps why 75-95% of rapes go unreported, making rape the “most under-reported crime” according to the American Medical Association. But why stop at questioning the victim? Gawker also offered the victim a little advice:
Also, it’s probably wise to contact the police before reaching out to a gossip blog when a crime has occurred.
Oh, Gawker. We know you’re DC-based so let’s fill you in on how this goes down. If you tell the NYPD, they might ignore you. If they don’t, you have to sit in front of a big black book of all the sexual offenders in the subway. If you don’t get totally freaked out and run screaming, you *might* find your guy. And then what? It’s a long, painful court process. No wonder victims turn to the internet for reprieve. And no wonder we have a robust “no coulda woulda shoulda” policy. Victims of sexual violence deserve to have whatever response makes sense to them most, because after all, it wasn’t their fault.
So Gawker, next time someone shares their experience of street harassment with you, perhaps you could politely suggest that gentlemen of the world refrain from public masturbation? It seems like good advice to us.
About 10 years ago (~2001) while I was living in Alexandria, VA, a friend and I decided to hit the Target store. I drove, and after parking we walked through the parking lot towards the store. As we neared the store, a car coming from our right slowed and stopped as we approached it I thought, “how nice, he’s stopping to let us pass in front of him.” How wrong I was. As we stepped in front of his car, I looked over to see the male driver with his penis out, masturbating madly with a huge grin on his face. I was still holding my keys in my hand, and I was so angry I acted without thinking. I jammed my keys into his car hood as we walked past, leaving a huge gouge in the paint all the way across. He didn’t do a thing…didn’t yell, didn’t honk, didn’t say a word, and we continued into a store. I still have fantasies about what I could have done with a can of pepper spray, given that his window was open!
I saw this man’s boner on my way home from work.
I noticed him touching himself in front of me on a crowded train (the Brooklyn-bound F around 6:50pm 6/27/11, between Jay St & 4th Ave.) and looked down to see his pants unzipped, with the shape of his hard penis sheathed in nothing but gray boxer briefs. He kept trying (unsuccessfully) to pull his shirt down over his “situation.”
I was shaking too much to say anything. All I could do was snap a photo. I regretted not speaking up the minute I got off the train. I even contemplated darting back on and yelling “Attention women on this train! This man has his pants unzipped and cannot keep his hand off his dick!”
As a woman, it’s an internal battle of wanting to call the asshole out while also not wanting to put yourself in danger. Clearly a man who’s deranged enough to touch himself in public is capable of worse.
At this point, all I can do is hope that he gets the exposure he deserves, someone braver than me recognizes him, and gives him a swift knee to the balls.
[UPDATE: This story has gone viral and was covered by the Village Voice!]
My 2 friends and I were sitting and talking at the Manorhaven Pool in Port Washington, NY …..The 3 of us are all Chinese-American with our kids nearby in the pool…A tall 6’4” drunk man came over and started harassing my friend who had earlier reprimanded him for trying to smoke in the pool area which is forbidden….He started asking about her ethnic origin: “Are you Korean? Are you Japanese, etc.?” and then he started to imply that if she was an illegal immigrant that he could possibly turn her in because he had “the power” and that she was someone “without power”…He flashed a badge and said that he was a Federal agent of some kind. My other friend and I watched him and waited for him to get bored and walk away ….meanwhile, I held up my cameraphone to him and took his photo (Thanks, Emily for making me feel fearless and quietly confident!)….
Later, he went away (he was there with his 2 daughters and maid and her daughter)…and started talking with the lifeguard….While he was chatting up the lifeguard, I went to the front desk and reported him…and they said they were aware and getting ready to close in on him…..
Thank you, Emily…I think in the past I would have felt more afraid and alone and embarrassed…. and somehow felt maybe I didn’t belong there and that maybe I had done something to bring this upon myself….It felt empowering to have my friends there at my side and all the other moms and their kids there….and knowing that I was not alone….There is safety in numbers…even if they weren’t all there, just knowing that what he was doing was called “harassment” and that he was the one in the wrong….and that other people would have reported him in the same situation was enormously comforting….. I will try to e-mail you his photo….
I was going to a friend’s birthday one night in a decent neighborhood and got a little turned around when I got off the subway. I walked around, trying to get my bearings and figure out where I was going. There wasn’t anyone around that I could see. As I was walking around, two guys were walking along the sidewalk towards me, obviously drunk. They started to talk to me, asking me nonsensical questions. (Nothing sexual, just weird, like “Do you like mermaids?”) When I wouldn’t respond, the one grabbed me by the arms and asked the question again. I looked him in the eyes and said, “DON’T you touch me!” He immediately let go, and they staggered off laughing.
I was so shaken up and taken aback by the whole incident. More than anything, though, I was proud of my gut reaction and forceful hollaback to let these guys know that what they did is totally and completely unacceptable.
I still do not remember how old I was, somewhere between 6 and 9. I felt safe; I was in a card store with my mom at the mall that I had been going to for years. It was familiar and I felt safe. A man and another person, I cannot remember if it was male or female, squeezed passed us as they were exiting the store while we were at the register. The man touched my genitals, I believe, without looking at me, probably to avoid detection. I didn’t even understand what was happening, let alone know what to do. I was holding my mother’s hand but she did not see and I never told anyone.
Luckily that is the only time I ever experienced physical sexual harassment. However, this is a lesson to parents that it does not matter the age of your child. They need to know that there are bad people that could hurt them and what to do in such a situation as the one I experienced. Just because you love your child unconditionally does not mean everyone else will keep your child from harm. Bad things CAN happen to them. Had my mother explained to me that if someone touches you in any way that you should scream or tell someone immediately, perhaps this pervert could have been caught and been stopped from hurting other children. That is something I still think about today. Are there other victims that he hurt in the same or even worse ways? Children need to know what to do! Otherwise perverts will continue to go undetected, able to hurt others, perhaps someone you love and cherish.
This is the first time I’ve ever had such an incident, although this occurred close to last winter, I am still weary of shopping near City Hall.
Some background info, I am 18 but look way younger than I am, I can still pass for 14 if I wanted to. What happened was, I was coming out of a store from shopping alone and was waiting at a corner to cross the street to get to another store, a 40-something year old man at the corner stared at me for a while an mumbled something about the weather, I smiled and thought nothing of it. He then turned to me to make even more small talk and then asked me if he could walk with me. At that point I got the bad feeling but since I was in a busy part of city hall an was heading into a store, I didn’t think to find help. In the store he kept on asking me questions and talking about himself, apparently he “works for google” and had just gotten a haircut down the street. After leaving the store, I headed towards a even busier street just in case, and he kept following me for 2 blocks after that, asking me more questions like “where are you from”, “where do you live”, “is your family here?”, “how many siblings do you have” eventually he asked if I had a boyfriend to which I said yes and he still had the nerve to ask for my number. After saying no, he finally left me alone.
Although my situation is nowhere as bad as the others, the key points that makes this not an innocent situation either is that this guy was obviously old and he did not know my age, I could have been 14 years old for all he cares and he would have still persisted in attempting to get my number. Any decent human being would know how suspicious it looks to follow a young girl around trying to get their number. Not to mention the specific questions he asked seemed to be trying to determine whether I was one of those Asian international students attending a school in NY on my own or not. He was the epitome of those creepers that try to take advantage of foreign students.
I was traveling for work and grabbing a drink at the bar next to my hotel. I was alone, so I was making conversation with a couple next to me for a while and everything was fine, then they left to go catch a concert. When the couple left, a man who had been next to us for a while started to talk to me. He seemed friendly enough but within 15 minutes he was grabbing my thigh and arm and trying to get me to go back to my hotel with him. I clearly told him I was married and NOT interested. I pushed his hand away and quickly got the bartender to get my check. While waiting for my check, he grabbed my leg and thigh again. I pushed him away he actually said “your husband doesn’t have to know, you’re in the big city now” Was this guy joking? I had pepper spray primed for action in my pocket. I paid and left the bar looking over my shoulder and ran into my hotel and told the hotel staff that I thought someone was following me and that I wasn’t expecting guests so not to call my room or anything if this guy had followed me. The worst part is that this man claimed he was a former NYC police officer working private security for some other company now. I was very distraught, I’ve never been harassed like that in NYC and I travel there for work all of the time.
I work in midtown east on certain days. I tend to walk around in the area to find a place to sit and have lunch late afternoons, most likely walking down 2nd ave in the 40′s. Today, as I round the corner of 40th and 2nd, there is a construction crew with some of the men up on a scaffold and a guy on the ground with a flag, warning people about the construction as they walk by. As I approach them, flag guy, already having spotted me and locking his sights on me from a few yards away, begins making loud, lewd comments directed at me as I walk towards them. It’s raining and I have my umbrella, so I turn my umbrella sideways to block his view of me as I walk by him. He, not knowing what to do then, actually shuts up. By this one action, I actually shut him down for a few seconds. My action was very pointed and very obvious. It confused him and threw him off his game. Ha! I’m sure most women just grit their teeth and bear it from him. Well, not today.
I go into a pizza place nearby, have my lunch and then exit. As I approach the construction crew on the return trip, flag guy sees me coming and is already warming up that loud mouth of his. As I pass I again turn my umbrella sideways blocking his view of me. This pisses him off. He says “Bitch!! Blocking me!! Fuckin’ bitch! All day long, baby! All day long!!!” I just continue on my way, but you know… I’m happy to have pissed him off and to have come up with just the thing to put a “dent” in his routine, even if only for a few moments.
I will take my camera with me to work next week and walk the same route again at lunchtime. If he is there and starts with the loud catcalling, which I’m sure he will, I am snapping a pic of him and will let him know that I’ll be posting it on a sexual harassment website. I fight these guys daily, and here is the next one on the list…. will keep you all posted.
I’ve lived in New York for several years, and am no foreigner to cat calls and general verbal harassment that follows me down the street often. One time, however, really sticks out in my mind. I was on the 1 train heading down towards Lincoln Center in the spring. I was going to try and rush tickets for the opera. I sat down on the subway in one of the seats that is only next to one other seat. As we passed each stop the seats were filling more and more, and eventually a man slumped into the seat next to me. He wasn’t a huge man or anything, but it was clear that he was taking up a lot of room- more room than necessary. What’s more, he was holding a pile of coats and jackets in his arms, which made him take up even more room. A few of the sleeves and edges of the jackets were spilling off of his lap and onto the edge of mine. I’m generally not a very controversial person- I usually would rather have myself experience a little discomfort than cause a confrontation, so I didn’t say anything to this man about his coats or the fact that he was taking up a little extra room on the seat. As I sat there, counting down the stops until I got to Lincoln Center, I thought for a moment that I felt something touch my leg- under my leg, under my thigh. I shifted uncomfortably, and wondered if I had imagined it. A minute or so passed, and again I felt something touching under my thigh, near my butt. This time I was sure there was something there. I turned to the man and simply yelled “HEY!” and he feigned confusion, but retracted his fingers and the coat edges that were on my lap, which I now realize were there to provide a cover for his hand moving underneath them. I remember sitting there next to that man seething with fury. I felt more angry in that moment than I ever have. Eventually I turned to him and said: What you are doing is ILLEGAL. He said: I don’t understand! I replied: AGAINST THE LAW. People were staring at us. I continued to sit in fury, and when the train came to a stop I stood up and got off even though it wasn’t Lincoln Center. I was close enough that I ended up walking the rest of the way, in a blind rage. By the time I got to Lincoln Center I was about 10 minutes too late in line, and I had no chance of getting tickets- this was really the salt in the wound. I’ve thought about that incident many times since and wondered what I should have done. I know am ready- if anyone ever is encroaching on my space I will not hesitate to say something. If someone ever gropes me on the subway again I will alert the conductor and ask that they call ahead for the police.
One of the worst parts about the incident was realizing that this man was planning it- He set out that day with an unnecessary number of coats, came onto the car, found a girl sitting by herself, and attacked. He has probably done this any number of times, and probably continues to do it to this day. Next time I’m fighting back by calling the police.