Athens GA, Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Cleveland, Columbia MO, Columbus, Denver, Des Moines, Duke University, NC, Durham & Chapel Hill, East Lansing, Flagstaff, AZ, Houston, Iowa City, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Lubbock TX, Manhattan KS, Muncie IN, New Orleans, New York City, Oneonta, Pittsburgh, Plattsburgh, Providence, Richmond VA, San Fernando Valley, San Francisco, Twin Cities, West Georgia (University)
I was waiting for the “walk” sign so I could cross Houston Street in New York City. A man, likely 30 years older than me, stood next to me and said, “Hi, how are you?” I looked up and quickly nodded while giving a faint smile. He then started to tell me about himself to which I showed little interest except for occasionally saying, “Ohh.” He then began to ask me where I lived and where I was going none of which I responded to. He pulled out his cell phone and asked me to put in my number, I said “no”, turned around and went down the stairs of the nearby subway. I did not actually need to use the subway, because I lived nearby, but figured I could hide out there until the light changed and he crossed the street. However, he followed me down the subway stairs and said he needed to use the subway too. At this point I was very scared and started saying, “Please leave me alone. Please leave me alone,” expecting someone in the subway station to step in, but instead on-lookers dispersed, and I was left alone with him. I was scared to run up the stairs in case he continued to follow me or tried to pull me towards him, so I walked right up to the turnstile and fumbled with my wallet, pretending to get out my subway metrocard. He went to the turnstile next to me and put his metrocard in and crossed to the other side. I then immediately backed away as he yelled angrily at me, “Hey! Come back here! Come back here! Give me your number!” I was so scared and in shock that I just stared at him for a bit as he yelled at me, before turning around and sprinting up the stairs and down the street for the next four blocks.
I work downtown and will either take the bus home or walk. A few months ago, probably in February or March, I noticed a man hit on a woman as I left work around 8pm. She brushed him off and he tried to talk to me, but I ignored him and kept walking. I had to run some errands so I stopped by Target, and was talking on the phone to my mom when he tapped me on the shoulder. He said he knew I was in the middle of a conversation but he really “liked [my] look” and wanted to talk to me. I told him to wait until I was finished talking if he wanted to speak with me, and walked away.
A month or two later, I was waiting at my usual bus stop when the same man came up to me. He struck up a conversation with me, and not wanting to be rude, I talked to him for a bit. When he asked me if I was an artist, I told him I had designed the image on my t-shirt. He laughed and said “Well, now I’m looking directly at your chest.” Thankfully that was the moment my bus came, and when he asked me out for coffee I told him I wasn’t interested, and had to leave.
Those were both downtown. Tonight, I was walking home from work again and was stopped at an intersection closer to my neighborhood. I turned to look at something and saw the same man behind me, so I quickly turned away obviously not wanting to be engaged in conversation. He walked all the way around me until he was right in front of my face and couldn’t be ignored and said “Hello, you know you look really cute.” I felt like this guy needed to be put in his place, so I told him that I saw through his act and he had done this to me several times before. Rather than being ashamed, he was delighted, and said “Really! Wow! I thought you looked familiar!” I forcefully told him that I was not interested in talking to him and that I was trying to make my way home in peace. He said “Well I just thought someone should tell you you looked cute.” I walked away from him without a word.
I’ve not only had uncomfortable interactions with this particular man in the last few months, but have had multiple notable sexist interactions with men in the last week alone, all while simply trying to commute home from work. I feel uncomfortable to even walk out my door or wear something that shows a bit more skin. It is not acceptable to be made to feel this way simply trying to get to and from work.
I was walking my dog down my block and there was a group of men working on my neighbors driveway. I could see one of them staring at me and I watched him move behind a vehicle parked in the road. I watched his feet under the car…he was waiting for me to walk up to him. But he was hiding. When I came up on the vehicle, he stepped right in front of me, sort of blocking my path. He asked what kind of dog I had so I told him. Then he asked me if my husband was home. Even though Im married to a woman, I just said “Yes, yes he is”. I didnt want him to think I was single or home alone. He then said, “Can I ask you a question, can I have a hug?”. My dog began to growl at him, and my dog has NEVER done this before. Mind you, it was almost 95 degrees, hot and humid. I said “No dude and you better back off or my dog will bite you”. He asked again, making it sound like he wasn’t asking for much. I quickly walked away. He stared at me the whole time. My dog kept stopping to look back at him, thats how I caught him staring. Now he knows where I live, as he was working there all day and I live two houses down. I locked myself in the house all day yesterday and today Im afraid to walk my dog because hes there again. I think Ill go out with a pocket knife, just in case. It might not sound very threatening to some of you, but Im scared of this guy. Im scared that he knows where I live. And theres not much I can do about this other then continue to be hypervigilant.
The graduation presents my father bought me and my sister when we went out on our own we’re powerful Tazers. I remember him looking at them before we left, trying to find the most practical ones. He messages each of us constantly to assure that we are carrying them, they also work as flashlights, one night I was terrified when I was pressed to use it on another individual.
A coworker of mine, we’ll say her name is Stacy, had told me about a weird man who came into our retail store one Saturday night, he came in when she was trying to close and was asking her odd questions. We didn’t think much of it and, subsequently, brushed it off. That following Wednesday, I got a call from a man who was looking to speak to her. He mentioned that he had been in that weekend and was supposed to call her back to discuss a few things.
When I brought this up to my coworker, she said that she didn’t talk to anyone at that length but the man and that they didn’t agree to speak again.
Just at that moment, with both of us looking confused at the phone, he called. I answered and attempted to prove him for information. What gave him the assumption that she wanted him to call? He simply kept insisting that they had ‘important’ things to discuss. According to Stacy, they had nothing to discuss. I hung up the phone on him and thought that would be the end of it.
The week after that, I was closing on a Saturday night by myself as we often do. I was cleaning something, in the front of the store which is just a wall of windows. It was only ten minutes before I had to lock the door when I saw a car pull slowly by my store. There was a man, driving alone in a car marked with Colorado license plates. He crept by, his eyes searching for something or someone. As he walked slowly up to the windows in the store, I didn’t have that tazer in my work apron and, even if I had, I would have felt fear-stricken regardless. He didn’t enter the store. He started from one end of the windows and slowly worked his way down to me. I knew at that point that something was going on. So, when he made eye-contact with me and smiled I felt like I was going to cry. I was absolutely paralyzed.
He looked similar in appearance to the man Stacy saw just a couple weeks before. I didn’t feel safe enough to take out my phone for a picture, however. I stood and hoped that he wouldn’t enter the store. I couldn’t lock the door either, I was afraid that it also may be someone important, like a health inspector. He man walked away from my store like he had been caught and just stood in front of the store next to mine. He stood there like he was thinking of his next plan of action.
Now, I was watching him very closely. So, when he quickly turned towards me and walked briskly to the still unlocked door, I physically jumped. The man opened the door, and spoke to me as if our whole exchange wasn’t filled with his off putting actions.
“So, where is a good place to get some food around here?” He spoke to me as if we had been talking before. I told him the first restaurant that I could think of, to get him out of there. The whole time he was looking at me, I felt violated and defensive, ready to pick up any object and defend myself. He also looked oddly disappointed. He left out the door after I gave him a recommendation. The man then proceeded to walk to his car, the only one in the parking lot, and entered through his passenger door. I continued to work. I swept and mopped and counted my drawer all in the period of which he was sitting in his car, alone. I. The seat closest to me.
When I went into our employee area to grab my things, I held my electrical flashlight in my hand, ready once again. The man’s car was not in front anymore and there seemed to be no other humans in sight. I walked frantically to my car and didn’t feel safe even when I reached my home.
I called Stacy and explained to her what the man looked like. She was positive that it was the same man, even down to his tie-die shirt labeled with a festival that happens in the area.
I told my boyfriend of my concerns about what happened. He starting asking me so many questions. “Why didn’t you call security? Why didn’t you lock the door when you saw him? Is she sure that it is the same guy?” The answer to all of his questions was silence form me. I realized that because we had no physical proof, people brushed it off on us being paranoid.
Now, the next week, this week, is when I had another Saturday closing shift. I locked the door early that night when no one was in the lot, just to be safe. As I was sweeping, I heard the roar of a motorcycle. I lifted my head only to see a similar looking man creeping by my store’s giant windows. His plates were also from Colorado. He made eye contact with me again and smiled. From what I could see, the only differences in the men were his face was shaven and the other man, from the Saturday before, sported a thick beard. He turned his cycle in my direction and drifted to the curb right in front of the door. He parked his cycle in front of the door. At this point, I was done feeling so terrified. I stood in front of the door as he was trying to open it, making sure he didn’t look away from my eyes. He seemed confused when I didn’t unlock the door to let him in. I didn’t care, I stood and gazed out at him, challenging him. After several failed attempts at getting the door opened by smiling at me like we were old friends, he got on his motorcycle and left. I work in a mall setting, there are many store surrounding me but, he drove up to mine intentionally and left without seeing any other stores.
I called my father on my way out of the store, in hopes that he would help me calm down. I was so scared and exposed. Yet, I still knew that I had things to do in my personal life. I drove over to my local Wal-Mart to pick up a few things. I grabbed my purse, the home of my tazer, and started to walk in to the store. i could see the door form the place I was standing and had to stop to wait on crossing the road.
I heard a rumbling just to the left of me, I looked up. To my disbelief, the same man that had been at the store earlier, was stopped at the stop sign, waiting for me to cross. I practically ran away from him and my car as I heard some sort of whooping noise behind me, no doubt coming from the man.
I live close to that store so, I didn’t go home that night, in fear that he was following me. I am not sure where or who he is but, I am scared. I am so terrified. And, this isn’t even the first time I have felt scared because of a similar encounter. Next Saturday, I am scheduled to work again.
I was coming home from college, late at night. In the subway, I felt the look of a man who was standing next to me. I choose not to care. Then, he followed me out of my usual station. I was scared so I walk faster and faster. He started screaming “are you afraid bitch ? Why are you afraid” and laughing. I keep walking without answering. Then, I enter a bar so he stopped following me. I was sweating and shaking but no one noticed.
When I was eight my mother and I were walking home at night through an alley when a guy hanging around nearby started following us. He didn’t say anything, he just kept a few paces behind us (like we didn’t notice or something). My mom kept swerving around corners trying to lose him, but she couldn’t and finally he got so close that my mom bent down and pretended to tie her shoe. He stopped and stood there. “Oh you go ahead,” she said. He said ok and kept walking. He was circling back around the block though. My mom just told me to run. We dived behind a dumpster and hid ourselves just as he came back around the corner. My mom called a friend who was nearby and he came and talked the guy into going away.
On a regular basis i have felt a sense of someone watching me in my bedroom . The person always leaves some sort of signal such as a flashing light switching on and of everytime i enter the room. I have tried to ignore it but this along with the occasional artefact left outside of my house is becoming increasingly creepy .
I was walking by myself in a wooded/residential area and noticed a sketchy looking guy with a bike at the end of a street. I turned around to walk back the way I came and he got on his bike and slowly passed me, saying “hey how you doing.” I ignored him and he got into a car, and then several guys started calling out, laughing, saying “damn shorty what you doing.” They drove off and deliberately veered the car close to me. I was scared to respond because I was alone.
This morning I was harassed and followed for three blocks by a man on my way to the office from the Farragut West metro. This man walked closely next to and behind me, making lewd remarks about the way I looked, how I walked and about being Asian. He was loud, sometimes shouted, and on the sidewalk and at street corners other commuters stared and didn’t say a word. I lost him when I ducked into a cafe to make sure he didn’t follow me into my office building. I’ve been shaking and upset all day.
I believe it was my senior year of high school. I had dressed up nicely that day, wearing a dress – heels and all – to promote a dance concert that was the following evening. During one of my classes I left, most likely to use the restroom, and on my way back to the classroom I was approached by a male student in the hallway. I had never met him before, he was probably in a different grade, so I continued walking past him. He started trying to get my attention by calling me “shawty”. He began following me down the hallway yelling things at me. “Damn girl, why you all dressed up?” “You look real good today.” “Why don’t you turn around so I can get a good look at ya?” I did what most women do and ignored him. He then became angry. I could hear is pace slow behind me until he stopped and shouted, “Fine. Rude bitch.”
I never said anything to this boy or school authorities (which I now realize I should have at least brought it to their attention) but it does worry me that even though his volume was so loud, in an empty hallway, with classes going on, that none of the teachers or students thought it necessary to stop harassment on school grounds. That was not the only time I was the victim of cat-calling on campus during school hours. It never even mattered what I was wearing or if I was alone or if the harasser was alone.
Street harassment shouldn’t happen anywhere, let alone the halls of a school. I would urge Eaglecrest High School to pay more attention to the way their students treat their classmates. I can assure them I was not breaking the dress code that day or any day, but it never stopped me from being the target of someone’s harassment.