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white middle age male living on my street swerved in front of me and proceeded to follow me to my home. I stopped in my driveway and he drove up calling me a f-ing slut for the almost accident. He said he would rape me and that I am a whore who deserves it. A man was harassing a girl in a close proximity and I think it was him. He drives a big white dodge I believe.
My family and I travel to Boston multiple times a year, and we stop In the city of Philadelphia to mess around and sight see. Waking up unusually early one morning, I walked to a local bakery and bought a doughnut to give to someone that was homeless. As I was walking around, looking for someone to give it to, a man started walking with me. He said hi how are you? And I replied fine with a smile, automatically feeling awkward. He asked me if I knew where I was going, and I said yes, trying to give off the impression I didn’t want to talk, while trying to get some distance between us. He then started to ask me my name, and ask me how I “do it so well.”
Startled, I was at loss for words. I am most certainetly not shy and am quite assertive, but I was so caught off guard. I replied “Umm no thankyou I’m under age.” He then proceeded to follow me asking me if “it was because he’s black.” He continued to follow me to my hotel room, where thank god the door men saw my face, and didn’t let the man in. I have never been followed before, and it was very scary for me, only being 15.
On my way to work, I experienced street harassment as I do almost every morning. He walked up just behind me and said “I like that. You look good. Yeah, you look real good”. I said “I don’t like that”. He flew into a hot rage and said “I don’t care if you don’t like that, say thank you and shut the fuck up!” He threatened to beat me up, he said I’d better keep walking and followed me down the sidewalk. Someone came out of the same building and told him to leave me alone. I could hear him yelling things like “Go fuck yourself” “You think you’re better than everyone?!” and “Fuck you, white bitch!” for 2 blocks. This is why I so often say something. “Good morning” is great. As soon as someone starts commenting on your physical attributes, it’s not okay. All street harassment is about power and verbal harassment is on one end of a spectrum of sexual violence. It happens everywhere. It’s not a compliment. It’s dehumanizing and threatening.
Followed by car while walking with friends also followed in the supermarket and while walking home
I work at a building community next to a large produce market from the port. To get coffee or lunch, I often have to walk through the market while produce is being loaded, unloaded, and purchased. Nearly every time I walk through this area, I am harassed by whistles, catcalls, winks, and sometimes followed to my destination. Most of the time I ignore them, sometimes I make a point to tell someone if they should be ashamed of themselves for making women feel unsafe. Sometimes I even laugh at them really loud and make a point to make them embarrassed.
Walking to college through a shopping centre a “gentleman” held the door for me. Same man then follows me gets ahead of me and constantly kept turning around to make sure I was there this made me anxious but then he walked down and alley and I just thought what a creep so kept walking and he appears at side street looks around for witnesses, asks the time and proceeds to verbally assault me with explicit sexual language. Contacted police all caught on CCTV. No charges. Not my choice. WTF.
My friend and I (females) were walking home around 1am on Main Street. We were walking behind a man who was following two girls. How do I know he was following them? He was walking too close to them for comfort, the girls were looking behind them at the man frequently while walking very fast, and when they started crossing the street he did the exact same thing. They girls noticed, so they came back to the original side where my friend and I were. He disappeared into the neighborhood.
Everyday in the early morning I have to walk a few blocks to the bus stop that my uni bus picks me up. One early morning when there were hardly any people on the street. I saw a guy staring at me in the gas station. Like any other time I ignored him. While I was walking I felt I was being followed and I walked faster. Then when I tried to bring my backpack from my shoulders behind, I felt a hand grabbed my butt. I yelled what the f*** is wrong with you!, the harasser ran to the alley on my left and he looked back smiling, right after he touched me. There weren’t anyone on that block when it happened. And months after the incident I saw the guy not sure whether it was him or not at first. But after seeing him more than twice (I think he lives near my area) I’m sure it was him.
I’ve had a number of encounters with harassers, which I distinguish from men who just say “hi”, smile, wave or just move on. The first truly terrifying encounter I had was when I was in my twenties and living in a small Northern California town in the Sierra foothills.
Two of my closest girlfriends and I were walking down Mill Street on our way to some ice cream. It was high summer and we were dressed in cutoff jeans and sleeveless shirts. We heard the roar of a car engine, honking, and shouts and looked up to see a trio of young, shirtless men in a convertible with the top down coming up the street toward us, shouting, waving their arms and pointing at us.
“Three!” they yelled, pointing at themselves. “Three!” they repeated, pointing at us. While impressed that they could count so high, we shook our heads in unison and kept walking.
“Wanna go to the river?” they persisted. “We’ve got beers!”
“No thanks!” one of my girlfriends called. “We don’t drink!”
We kept moving and figured they would too. But no. The driver spotted a parking place up the block and his companions shouted, “Stay there! Stay there!” “Come to the river!”
We assured them we did not want to go to the river—shaking our heads and making emphatic gestures that were lost on them. (Maybe they thought we were signaling “no catch”—which was essentially correct, but in the wrong context).
We didn’t stay there, of course. We walked faster and ducked into a clothing store at mid-block. Behind us, the car pulled to the curb with a squeal of tires.
My last glimpse of the guys before I slipped into the shop was of all three jumping out of the car. We scurried to the rear of the store and tried to disappear behind the clothing racks. The guys loped by the front of the shop asking each other “Where did they go? Did they go in there?” They went up the street a few stores, then turned and came back, this time slowing to peer through the window.
My friends and I scooted into a changing room and pulled the curtain closed.
So eager were these guys for our company that they came into the store and asked the clerk if she’d seen three girls come in or walk by. She had seen us, but she shook her head no. “Sorry,” she said.
The guys wandered off at last and we emerged from the changing room only when we had heard their car engine rumble out of earshot.
Several summers later, the same friends and I were at the river for a girls’ day out, lying in the sun at a secluded pool. As we chatted drowsily, we heard a shout from the trail about twenty feet above us.
“Look!” cried a man’s voice. “Bitches! There’s bitches!” I looked up to see several young men in cutoff jeans looking along the trail for a way to get down to our beach.
We didn’t hesitate. We grabbed our shirts and shoes, dove into the river and swam to the opposite side. By the time the bitch hunters had reached the sands, we’d hidden ourselves in the rocks on the opposite bank.
“What do we do if they come after us?” one of my girlfriends asked. There was only one answer we could come up with; each of us picked up a rock.
We were lucky—they didn’t come after us. They didn’t know the river as we did because they were from out of town. I know this because one of them said, in disgust, “We oughta go back to Oakland if it’s gonna be like this.”
Years have passed. Not that long ago, my husband and I were waiting at a Southwest airlines gate for a flight when a group of about four college-aged men in shorts, tank tops and sneakers rambled into the waiting area. When they plopped into seats near where I and my husband and I were standing, all the hair on my body stood on end and I wanted to bolt and run. I was seized with a bizarre, visceral, completely unexpected fight or flight reaction to their presence.
I did not connect this to the first two incidents until I began to write my story down. But they are connected. I am afraid of groups of young, white men to this day.
As an afterthought, it occurs to me to wonder why any man would think a woman would find him attractive when the first thing he says to her or about her is “Look! Bitches!”
I was walking a few blocks to a friend’s house one evening. Immediately a man crosses the street, runs up to me, and asks if I have a man. He walks beside me all the way there, saying he would be my teddy bear and keep me warm at night. I don’t say any thing, because it’s night in the student ghetto. He gives me a hug when we arrive (yuck) and laments that he’ll never see me again because I won’t take his number.