A few years ago for Halloween, my friends and I went to Salem, Massachusetts, as was becoming our tradition after going several years in a row. My friend’s 15-year-old daughter was with us, my surrogate niece. She and I spent a good portion of the day wandering the town. At various times, I kept feeling a man watching us, which could not have been creepier, and since it was Halloween, he had on a hockey mask like the character Jason from the horror movie Friday the 13th. Each time I saw him watching us I linked arms with my “niece” and moved into the group of everyone else, eventually bringing up that it couldn’t be coincidental that he was literally in doorways behind us or looking around building corners at us every so often.
After a full day out and still wandering near dinner time, my “niece” and I found ourselves a few steps behind our group, chatting away. As she was talking I heard a very low, deep voice FAR too close to us saying,”bitches…” over and over. I thought I would throw up. I grabbed her, not even needing to turn around and started running and screaming for help. A friend’s husband and several men we’d never met had to step in and physically drag him to police officers because this horrifying man was chasing after us and became so fixated, he was completely out of control.
That was far from the first time I have been harassed, followed, catcalled, verbally abused for no reason and petrified of a strange man on the street. Unfortunately it was a terrible lesson in “the danger of being female and in public” for a 15 year old girl that night.
I moved from Maryland to Niagara Falls when I retired in 2012. The house is wonderfully secure, and I look forward to being here the rest of my life.
One of the 10 windows in my house was open a bit to air out the guest room, and I had not engaged the little prongs on the upper sash to prevent it from being opened from the outside.
I have a propensity for staying up too late, sitting at my laptop in the kitchen. One night, I got to bed after midnight and, as usual, finished reading the daily paper. I noted the time at exactly 1:30 a.m. when I turned out the light to sleep.
Within a minute, I heard rustling. I assumed it was out on the front porch, then realized it was coming from the guest room next to mine. I saw a short man in full silhouette against the yellow window curtain across the room. I shouted.
He came around to my side of the antique double bed and leapt full-sprawl on top of me. That made me angry. I shouted for him to get off me. He rolled off to the other side of the bed beginning immediately to get between my legs.
What little reading I had done in the 1970’s about the realities of rape came back to me clearly. Locked my ankles across one another. He could not penetrate the block either with his groin or his hands. He started to touch a breast. I realized I’d better lock my arms across my chest, because having anyone touch my breasts is too emotionally intimate. He stopped trying to touch me there.
He then took my hand and directed me to masterbate him. I acquiesced in the masterbation for a bit and his penis became erect. I withdrew and resumed the lock across my chest. He spent TWO AND A HALF HOURS mostly trying to use my body to reach ejaculation.
The man had obviously showered before coming to my house. He smelled fresh and he was perfectly clean. No sign of tobacco, alcohol, or marijuana. He wore a navy T-shirt, no underwear, and those long ugly nylon-ish basketball shorts with elastic waist. He’d clearly planned the whole thing.
He said very little, always directly in my ear, “Where your purse? Where your purse?” Very deep, very soft. Although at one point I had a long opportunity to study the profile of his face against the street light coming through the yellow curtain, I recognized neither his face nor his voice.
But I’d recognize that torso again: He had two long scars, one very straight and “clean” directly from the naval toward his genitals, the other parallel but off to one side a bit and with a rough scar. His arms were distinctly muscular and well-defined. He was a little taller than I. I still did not recognize him.
When he left, I called 9-1-1, and report an attempted rape. He was arrested on Tuesday morning outside the house of my lawn man, where he was reporting for work. He never made bail. He pled guilty. I hope I never see him again. But if we cross paths, I’m going to be so damned angry, I may not contain myself.
I was walking back to Air B&B near U Street corridor. A man ran from the alleyway shouting sweetheart at me. I ignored him and continued walking. He continued walking with me and asking me for my number. I told him I had a boyfriend and was meeting my mom. He did not stop following me. I didn’t want to go back home so that he didn’t know where I lived. I decided to go to a nearby Starbucks so that more people around. He followed me to Starbucks and asked me my number once again. I told him that I didn’t want to talk to him and that he was making me feel uncomfortable. I waited for my mom to pick me up and finally I was able to go back home. You know the weirdest thing? My fortune cookie earlier in the evening had told me that my luck will change. I really hope this doesn’t happen to another woman or man.
I was followed around the downtown San Jose area by a large man wearing an oversized black hoodie, long black pants, black gloves, tennis shoes, and a gold Halloween mask that resembled the comedy mask on the symbol for theater. He followed me on a black bike, asking what my name was, where I lived, and if I eat cat food (I was wearing cat ears). He behaved erratically and may have been armed. Please keep an eye out for this individual.
A woman was walking west on King St. W., a major nightclub district in Toronto, on a Saturday night. She was walking west, about to cross Bathurst, when a man, walking east, approached her and said “Hi, my name is [his name which I didn’t catch],” then extended his hand to shake hers. Possibly out of habit, she shook his, but he held on and tried on some pick-up moves, and she, much like the cat in the Pepé Le Pew stories, struggled to release his grip as she obviously wanted to cross the street and get on with her night. I yelled out “Let her go! Let her go! Let her go! You don’t know her! Let her go!” and then, to anybody would would listen “Don’t ever do that!” Since someone was standing in between me and them, and to avoid collateral damage, I didn’t yell as loud as I could, which I later regretted.
After a few seconds, she managed to break free, and he went in a different direction. I “followed” him by staying a few meters ahead of him, looking back to see if he was still going the same way as me, and promising to myself I’d intervene if he tried to do it again, but also to see if I could be able to describe him later. (The best I could come up with when talking to a friend about it was “he wore a white sports jacket, and a black shirt.”)
I was a little tipsy from the two beers I had earlier in the night (so I wasn’t sure where my bravery was coming from), and all of a sudden, right after the encounter, I had a heightened fear response, so I crossed the street, something I also regret doing. Even so, I tried tracking him from across the street, but realized later that it might have been a similarly-dressed guy (who was walking a dog, and with what looked to be a woman friend of his). It feels silly that I feared for my physical safety when there were so many people around, and it also feels silly that the only tool I felt I had at the time was to yell at him. Ineffectively?
I’d love to be a more involved bystander than I was that night, and would love to know what to look for, to notice street harassment more. It pains me that I’m blind to it after reading the undeniable stories of it, and if I notice it more, I want to be able to do something about it.
I was walking my dog at 10pm at night in the rain. Man yells at us to get off his property and starts calling me a bitch. I said I was not in his property and it’s a public side walk. I kept walking and he came out and hollered at me more. Every other word out of his mouth was bitch. He stood in the sidewalk and put his hands on his hips. Older white male at least 60 years old. I said I was going to video tape if he kept it up but it was raining and I just wanted to get the hell away. He also asked where I live. Unfortunately I live very close and know I’ll see him again.
Just now I was waling home and as I went through the lobby a man followed me in. Not recognising him I asked him what floor he was going to, he replied 4th and walked into the lift with me. As he walked out of the lift he tried to kiss my breasts and I stabbed him in the neck with my fingernail. I was so enraged I nearly walked out to try and beat him up but luckily my flight response kicked in and he didn’t try to follow me further.
It was my mothers birthday and we went to go get our eyebrows done at the mall. While my mom was waiting to get her brows done she realized she had forgotten her phone in the car. The mall wasn’t one we were familiar with or came to frequently (we just heard good reviews for the brow art).She asked me if I’d be okay walking to the car by myself and I told her it was no problem. On my way out of Macy’s there were these two guys just standing there, I vaguely remember seeing one out of the corner turn his head as I walked passed him into the parking lot. I got to the car and finished grabbing the phone and an older lady was waiting for me, she said that if those two guys were murdered they would have killed me (they were apparently leering very openly). Being only 14 (I’m tall for my age) I was freaked out because after the lady told me that, I looked up and saw that the 2 guys were standing right by my car. I’m so grateful that the lady saw that, waited for me and walked me back inside the mall. That experience was very scary, till this day I can’t understand why they followed me all the way to my car in the parking lot and it’s scary just thinking about what could have happened if it weren’t for that kind woman, no woman/young girl should ever be made that uncomfortable.
This summer, I decided to make a commitment to be a bit more fitter in my lifestyle. As a result, I have been running about 5 times a week at a large park near my town. On this particular day, I was exhausted and decided walk the entire loop of the park. As I strolled the pathway with headphones in, a tall man yelled something to me while walking towards my direction. I proceeded to take out my headphones and must have looked startled because he asked the question again with his unintelligible thick accent. He then pointed to his ring finger and asked if I was married. He kept following me as I walked the long path and stated that he has seen me run several times. During our conversation, he not only pressured me to come live with him in Jamaica, he asked me to marry him and exchange phone numbers. To be honest, I have never thought of myself as attractive and was never really given attention if I walked down a street. I never thought I would ever be harassed in such a place only because I had this preconception that Americans generally were not interested in Asians like me. This interaction, however, made me very scared and opened my eyes to the harrassment women have to endure on a daily basis.
My fiance and I have been sitting in the emergency room for over an hour and these two assholes have been nonstop staring/scowling at us like we’re zoo animals. We live in Illinois, so it’s not exactly uncommon, but it’s still unsettling and uncomfortable. Can’t wait to move out of this place.