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Once I found Hollaback, I started thinking of my experiences and found quite a few. There was one that I didn’t even see as harassment but now I see it has always stayed with me in the most negative of ways. This was very long ago but I feel this is the perfect way to talk about it. I was about 10 years old and was sent to a nearby store to get something needed to cook. As I walked, this guy on a bike stopped me and asked if I knew where a certain street was, I said “No, sorry” and continued on. He did this about 4 more times until I reached the store. Once I got out I took a different route home because of the fear he might catch up with me again–I felt very uncomfortable. Once I was pretty close to my house I thought I was free but he called out once again and said “Hey, look at this…” I looked toward him and realized he was flashing me—I couldn’t move, I felt horrible and though he did not approach me further I felt dirty. I finally got home and didn’t even know what to do–I knew something was wrong. I hated how he made me feel and now I hate that he specifically targeted me and went out of his way to make me feel that way. It has been 10 years since it happened but I still feel glad I found somewhere safe to say, “FUCK YOU!!…Hollaback.
This incident happened when I was about 12 years old (I am 20 now) and I was in a park with a friend. We had spent the entire day at the pool and we were laying on the playground asphalt sunbathing and waiting for my mom to come pick us up (the park was right next to the pool). We definitely weren’t alone in the park since there were mothers and children all around us, houses across the street and lifeguards at the pool next door. All of a sudden, a man with very short shorts came up to the park and leaned up against the trash can with his leg pushed up against the can (his package was very obviously hanging out of his tiny shorts). I saw what was going on but I didn’t really understand it, so I ignored it. The mothers automatically caught on and left, without saying anything to my friend and I. All of a sudden we were in the park by ourselves, with the man. He then walked down to a park bench in a shaded area. I looked over at him and he had his entire penis out of his shorts and he was aggressively masturbating while looking directly at us. Being 12 years old and very naive, I was totally confused and didn’t know what to do until my friend saw what was going on and grabbed my arm and ran with me to the entrance of the pool. Thankfully my mom arrived as we were walking up to the entrance and being the fierce mama-bear she is, searched the park for him, screaming for him, but couldn’t find him. We called the police and made a report and they came to my house with mugshots, hoping to catch the guy (apparently he’s been caught doing this before) but they never did catch him. The really sad part is that this happened in a very wealthy and nice part of town where there were plenty of people around. I also don’t understand why those mothers did not warn my friend and I. Now that I look back on it, I wasn’t scared when it was going on.. just confused. I didn’t understand why a man would want to do something like that to little girls and I was never taught to look out for things like that.. especially at the playground. Now that I am adult, I am always on the look out but it terrifies me to think that there are young girls, and boys, who are just as naive as what I was.
Until street harassment and sexual violence ends, we need to have each other’s backs. To make sure Tara’s story never happens again and to build a world where everyone can sit in a park safely, donate today.
I was drunk and fell asleep on the bus and missed my stop. I live in a really residential quiet area. On my walk home, I walk down the street and I see a person. I keep walking and then I start screaming. I apoligize to the guy, because I think that I’m just overreacting. And then he grabs me and is jerking off. I scream, “don’t fucking touch me,” and run towards my apartment. I don’t think he’s followed me, but I just feel so stupid and scared. Like I walked into his private moment and it was opportunitistic. But at the same time, I should be able to walk home in peace.
I was driving home the morning after a really fantastic party at a girlfriend’s house. On my trip a cute guy in a truck passed me. We made eye contact and both smiled and started sort of interacting on the highway. We pulled over and said hello and he more or less asked me to hook up with him. I was completely offended, rejected him outright, got back in my car, and drove away. He quickly caught up with me. I couldn’t lose him. He mouthed words and gestured to let me know he was masturbating. It was disgusting the way he was leering at me while stalking me down the road. It still makes my skin crawl; I can’t remember what he looked like but I remember clearly the way he looked, if that makes sense.
This morning, I took the L train. I had just come from having a wonderful cup of coffee at cute bakery near my boyfriend’s apartment. I was happy when I headed home, though I was mildly annoyed by the ever-jarring automated voice that narrates subway travel.
I was almost home when we stopped at the Lorimer stop and the train doors opened. I saw a man standing on the platform turn around and pull his penis out. He smiled at me and waved it in my direction.
The ever-jarring voice then became my savior. “Stand clear of the closing doors, please,” it said it in it’s non-change human-esque manner.
The man put his “personals” back in and stepped back quickly and creepily smiled at me.
He was lucky that time.
This is the second time I’ve been flashed this year. I’ve been licked by strangers, verbally assualted, holla’ed at, and groped by countless people.
Story of a girl :- One day one of my friends in P.G. got a call from here boy friend. She went out side coz there was some signal problem. When she was romaing at the tarace. A person was also roaming in the opposite building. The persons side’s lights were switched off. As my friend was talking on phone, that guy on opposite building removed all his clothes , and became naked, and started doing masterbation , facing my friend.My friend become awful, she aint was able to understand what is happining. She came running inside and told us the thing. We both went outside , and turned our tarrace light on, the guy quickly put his shorts up and went inside. I was also awful, what is this man doing. Aint he have any sister or mother. After that we share the scene with our fellow P.G. mate. One of them said, its usual that guy always became naked when i came outside on phone, i kust ignore that guy.Till date i have seen that guy doning this shameful act 4 times. I want to ask u. Is there not even single place for us girl to live. Coz of these shame ful act our parents fear to send us outside for studies…. plz do leave a coment.
Dated 19 april 2011
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.
I was headed home to Brooklyn for the day at about 2:30 p.m. after finishing a final exam at school in Manhattan. I was listening to a podcast and briefly closed my eyes between Rector and Whitehall. When I opened my eyes, there was a man sitting directly across from me (no other passengers were seated in this section of the train) masturbating with his genitals completely outside of his pants. His eyes were nearly closed. I got up and got loud, shouting, “What the are you doing jerking off in front of me?! That’s disgusting!” He got up and headed to the door at the other end of the car. I was so glad that a large, middle-aged man near where I had walked to in the car looked at me and said he had seen what happened. I told the man I didn’t want to let the guy get away, and he offered to help me. We walked to where the perpetrator was standing and stood right behind him. As soon as the doors opened at Whitehall, the perp bolted, and the fellow commuter and I flew after him.
I reached the perp first and grabbed the sleeve of his sweatshirt, bringing him down on the stairs. Three men helped me detain him on the stairs until the transit cop FINALLY came 10 minutes later. During that 10 minutes, the perp pleaded with me to let him go and to think of his family, he also kept trying to get away, but he knew he was too outnumbered to really make a run for it. Once the cop came, the other men departed. After a few minutes, the perp tried to get away from the cop by jumping the turnstile. I ran after him and grabbed him from behind by the belt, bringing him down to the ground. He resisted arrest, but the cop was finally able to handcuff him and he was arrested and taken into custody for public drunkenness and lewdness and I gave a formal statement to the police at the nearest substation.
I felt so good about not just keeping my mouth shut and letting this pervert get away with it. Even if nothing much happens to him, I feel happy with my decision to take action. On a side note, it was completely ridiculous to have to wait for 10 minutes for the transit cop to arrive. I also had to clearly state to the cops that I wanted to press charges against the guy, rather than them just giving him a warning.
I’ve had more experiences with sexual harassment than I can even count, but this one stands out in my mind in particular.
I was eighteen years old, taking the Metro from my apartment in downtown DC to New Carrolton to meet my sister. She needed help with a charity event that her non-profit organization was putting on, and I’d agreed to paint faces of the children in attendance.
It was about 10 am on a Sunday morning, so the train was pretty empty. The only other person on the car with me was a male, approximately 35 years old, about 5’10”, 180 lbs. He was wearing a dark red dress shirt, a patterned tie, and black slacks. I was sitting at the far end of the car, and he was sitting in the middle, talking on his cell phone.
He got on the car at Stadium Armory, but I’d been on since Foggy Bottom. For the first few minutes he sat down while talking on his phone, but then got up and started pacing the car. Every time he got to the end of the car where I was seated, he would linger, blocking the aisle from my seat, and leaning over me. This creeped me out, so I got out my phone and started texting my sister and my boyfriend so that I would look busy and he would hopefully leave me alone.
My seat faced the rest of the car. There was another bench in front of me facing the same direction, than a space for the doors, and a bench facing me. He sat down on that bench, so that he was facing me. I tried to keep my head down and look engrossed with my phone, but I could see out of the corner of my eye that he was staring at me.
I detected movement, so I glanced up for a second. He had his penis out and was masturbating, still staring at me, still talking on his phone. I could hardly believe what I was seeing. I immediately felt EXTREMELY uncomfortable and unsafe. I didn’t know what this was going to escalate into, I felt endangered all alone on the train, and I wanted to cry.
I pressed the emergency intercom button that goes to the conductor which was right behind my head. The conductor asked what I needed, and I said that there was a man exposing himself on my car. At the next stop, the conductor came down to the car, but by that time the man had plenty of time to leave.
So, no police report or anything ever came of it.
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.