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Was walking downtown on a Sunday afternoon when I noticed someone close behind me and getting closer. I quickened my pace and moved to the side of the sidewalk when he groped my ass. He apologized and I told him to fuck off. 20 minutes later I saw him again, I took his picture and yelled at him, he told me not to take his picture and I told him not to grope women. He looked terrified. I reported it to the police and they did not even want to look at the picture.
At the time i was 15-16 i was alone going to a bus stop and this guy followed me there and asked me where the streetcar is and if i can show him, i said there is none here… Then he walks away and comes back and asks me to bring him to the subway i said no and he’s just staring at my boobs then he left and i called my friend crying and he came running back and i screamed “leave me the fuck alone or I’ll kill u!!” And he just came so close to me in the bus shelter staring at my boobs and my crotch and i told him to leave and he just stood there, slowly walking away. I was screaming cry cause i was alone then these couple came to the bus stop and i felt relived and he asked me whats wrong, i told him , and he said the same guy did the same thing to his gf across the street and said if he came back he would kick his ass so i felt safe. The next morning i woke up to go pick up my phone from a store and the same dude was infront of my condo and tried to hug me i dodged it and ran as fast as i could to a school and called the cops, when i was talking to the police they got a message that they arrested him half way through the interview. I also went downtown to hand out resumes and i needed to push a button to get into this one store, and the guy let me in and he was the only one working, he was like 60 and called me beautiful and was rubbing my leg asking if i was a virgin and he tried raping me.. I was 15!! I ran as fast as i could out of the store hoping i didnt need him to open the door for me to leave, i ran across to the grass and started crying and called the police. Other then that I’ve had about enough of this shit feeling unsafe going anywhere. I’ve had men on subways stalk me i have seen men just stare at me or down my shirt, I’ve also seen a guy masturbate on the subway and laughed about it thinking it was hilarious everyone saw and there were kids there… Like wtf?
I was walking alone around the Cascade Station outdoor mall in Portland, OR. Behind me and to my right I hear a male voice.
“You walk really fast.”
Not sure and hoping it’s not directed at me I continue.
“You walk really fast.”
The voice and comment make me more uncomfortable.
I’m Asian so I know this is for me. I look over and glare.
He is a man wearing yellow glasses and a camo jacket. He yells, “Why are you so stuck up!”
I hurry into the nearest store.
I’d gone to the store and found myself going out of my way for half an hour to avoid a man that had been following close behind me. He still waited until I had to walk home, then attempted to follow me there. It wasn’t until I looked him in the face and asked if I could help him that he finally stopped.
Two of my roommates and I went to a party in our college town. I saw one of my friends and while trying to talk to her, this guy kept dancing with her and tried to get me to join in. We were in the middle of the dance floor so I casually danced while talking to her. He kept trying to grab my hand and make me dance with him. I kept telling him no and shaking him off me. He told me I was rude and that if I didn’t want to have a good time I could just go somewhere else.
So I started talking to other friends. While hanging around and dancing I noticed that these girls were trying to talk to their friend who was pinned against a wall by this guy. I approached the friends and found that they were trying to leave and the guy wouldn’t let their friend go anywhere with anyone. I approached him and told him that I needed her to come with me. He pushed her aside and got into my face saying that he caught her trying to hook up with his cousin and that she wasn’t going anywhere without him. I grabbed the girls hand and put myself in between them. I told him that she wasn’t going to stay with him nor hang out with anyone else for that matter because she was leaving. He told me that I better keep her out. As he left I ushered her to her own friends.
At this same party while I at attempted to find my own friends, I heard yelling at the staircase. I walk up hoping not to find the same offended. But it was worse. There was a group of guys yelling at this one girl. She was crying and yelling. All sorts of names were being thrown at her. I grabbed her hand, and pulled her towards the door, amazed at what a disaster this party was and all the harassment. She sobbed that he said he had loved her “but he didn’t really mean it,” she cried, clinging to my arm. I was at a lose for words and pushed her towards the door and remember telling them to stop and that we were leaving. I hear my own friends across the house. I turn to see if I can see them, when someone grabs my arm, telling me that this girl was never allowed to come back because SHE created a scene. I turned towards the door. I can’t find this girl I just ushered out. I turn to one of the guys outside asking if he saw a girl. He “informed” me that two of his friends escorted her off the property. Luckily for me they hadn’t made it very far and I found her friends to take her home.
By this point I was over this exasperating party so I get my friends to leave. While we were walking back across town through Main street I notice there surprisingly wasn’t as many people walking about as I expected. Behind us there was a man on his phone. He was around his age and I’m talking to my friends minding my own, but then I hear him say “these asses though, bro. It’s like watching a porno.” I feel my gut drop realizing nobody else is around and this guy has been following us. I turn around.
“Excuse me?! My friends and I are walking home. We just came back from a party we are not dressed up like this for you! Don’t EVER compare anyone to a PORNO. This is my body and it’s not here for your entertainment.” At this point the guy reaches towards me as if to COMFORT ME. I push his hand away from me and tell him “And do NOT try to touch me ever again. Leave us alone” and we turn to go on our way. He stops following us though.
I think it is disgusting how girls who go out are expected to be there to entertain the men. This is not our purpose. We have our own rules to our bodies and we should not be expected to be intimidated and pushed around when we go out.
I was walking up onto Oxford St when this scruffy creepy guy tried several times to intentionally step right into my path and block my way. After sidestepping twice the third time I physically shoved past him hard with my massive shoulderbag, he shouted something unintelligent but left me alone as it was really busy about. He went on his way hopefully to take a bath.
I was waiting at the light rail station on Tukwila International Boulevard, a very troubled stretch of road near Sea-Tac Airport where there’s been a rash of seedy motel activity in recent years. On my way home from work, I had just gotten off the train and just missed my bus home, so I had to wait half an hour. I used to walk home from there because I love walking and it’s only two miles, but walking there by myself proved extremely dangerous and stressful. There is literally CONSTANT harassment, not a moment’s peace. And not just harassment but stalking and following.
A man in his 20’s approached me, and welcomed himself to sit right next to me in a plaza full of empty seats. He had one of those fake gold teeth, pants belted around his mid-thighs with his flannel boxers on proud display. I have never, ever, ever understood the appeal of this.
“Hey girl”, he said (of course). “Hi”, I said (sheepishly and making a point to appear busy with my phone). He asked me if I would join him on the 128 to the Admiral District. I cringed. That was my bus. I told him, politely, that I was engaged (at the time), flashing my ring for added credibility. He smugly declared “Girl, that’s not real! I’d get you a real one!”.
I was a little fed up with his ego. I said “Really.” flat and sarcastic. Not that it’s anyone’s business, but after doing my research, I directly asked my now-husband to get me a stainless steel, cubic zirconia ring, because it’s still very durable and I can’t make sense of spending thousands of dollars that at the time we didn’t have for something that’s value should be largely sentimental anyway.
Mr. Underpants kept going on, about how my fiance must have been a cheapskate, how a fine-ass bitch like me deserved diamonds, and how if I had a brain I would leave my husband and get with Boxersface (you can see that the underwear thing is a hangup for me).
While I do realize that the reason we women must reveal our relationship statuses because the only way to nullify strange mens’ “ownership” of us is to already be “owned” by a man, my relationship has very serious, significant meaning to me. I have only been with one man (which was not a religious decision), and, ever since, I have never had one iota of interest in going out with anyone else. The thought doesn’t even occur to me, whatsoever. Men=not interesting. So having a man, not to mention one who belongs to a subculture I’m PARTICULARLY turned off by, tell me that my relationship is meaningless to him and if I don’t let him destroy it, I’m “stupid” is in actuality a personal attack on my independent life decisions as a woman.
So I told him, “Gross, you’re gross, leave me alone”. And he said “Bitch, you’re just such a fine bitch, I just wanna show you how a bitch like you is supposed to be treated”. So by now, I’ve been called a “bitch” about sixteen times in my entire life and every last one was by this guy. I don’t think I want this guy to teach me how I’m “supposed” to be treated.
Thinking I was finally going to tell one of these losers off, I took a deep breath, and was interrupted by “Hey, what’s going here? Leave her alone, she doesn’t have to put up with this.”
I looked up and saw an older man, maybe in his 30’s, with a lovely wife holding a lovely little girl with might I add, the most adorable little afro. Think Blue Ivy =) Never you mind how he was dressed because his character is more the issue here, though I feel compelled to share that he was apparently confident that people would know he was wearing underwear whether they saw it or not. I thought, there, look at that, THAT’S a man. Of course, Pantyman mouthed off to him, told him to “Stay out my business.” Funny. Staying out of other people’s business is a virtue for wannabe homewreckers, I guess.
I thanked the family man. He offered to trade seats with me (at this point all the seats were now full). I was so grateful that I gave his family the leftover cookies that I had baked for my coworkers that day. He gave the seat to his wife and child, though, and stood right next to them (what a guy). From across the way, I could see and hear the man lecturing (insert underpants-related nickname I can’t think of any more of here). I was completely sold.
And finally, the bus came and the jerk thought we could reconnect or something. He was saying, “C’mon, c’mon, just go home with me one time, your fiance doesn’t have to know!”. I said “Are you kidding me?”. He said “What? What? You can’t have your own life? Your fiance doesn’t let you kick it with other dudes? What are you, his pet?”. I said… “Are you kidding me…?”…
And then, suddenly, everyone in line to get on the bus started putting him in his place, telling him to give up, leave me alone… He kept trying to bother me on the bus and the driver made him sit in the back. He raised some civil rights argument, and had the nerve to compare his lowly self to Rosa Parks (fighting for his right to harass women is totally the same thing as fighting for equality, not like, the opposite or anything), and I’ll admit it was a tad awkward, but no one else seemed to be offended.
Ultimately, it was both an exhausting and wonderful experience. Having so many people come to my aid was amazing. So often this kind of harassment goes totally unnoticed. In fact, in areas like Tukwila, you can be so surrounded by jerks that they’ll all just cheer a harasser on. It was great to see that there are people on that street who are willing to say it’s not okay.
It seems that the primary form of harassment I endure is being followed by car. I love to go for long walks, with my iPod, with my headphones. It’s discouraged because you’re supposed to be ever aware, lest you’ll be spirited away by one of what seems to be a massive army of would-be ax murderers. I resent that, though, because walking with my iPod is something I enjoy and I feel entitled to doing what I please.
It does seem to happen to me a lot, a man slows down as he drives past me, gives me a looong, hard, unmistakable look, and drives away, only to mysteriously reappear minutes later, drive off, and reappear again. Sometimes they try to talk to me, and still return even if I wave them off. Perhaps more disturbingly, sometimes they don’t try to talk to me at all, and are probably just monitoring my movements until I hopefully take a turn down a more secluded road. Sometimes they park on the shoulder and try to force me to pass by them, mere inches from their car doors, forcing me to cross the street where there isn’t a safe place to do so, or to turn back and not get where I’m trying to go.
In Bellevue (where I used to live, and where my husband works) this only happens about the half the time I go out. But in Tukwila (where I live now) it *always* happens, so I don’t go out on foot, or shop, in my own neighborhood, ever.
I’m not a confrontational person by nature (I mean VERY not confrontational), so it can be very difficult for me to puff myself up and argue with people.
But the most recent time, I found myself becoming angry. I had just been followed around 148th by a man in a pickup truck who passed by me exactly eight times, even stopping in driveways and waiting for me to walk past so he could plead with me to get in his car. My protests didn’t seem to deter him. Eventually, my heart was racing, my knees wobbling – frankly, I didn’t have much confidence in my ability to walk anymore. So I hid in the bushes, my old trick I pull out when what was supposed to be a peaceful, enjoyable walk is turned into a terrified jog toward the nearest store or bus stop, wondering if the world is really so horrible that these men could actually be thinking what I think they’re thinking.
After the man in the pickup crawled at 15mph down a very busy 35mph road nearing rush hour, craning his neck and cursing loudly through his open window, I emerged from the bushes with a spider in my hair, feeling defeated and whipped into submission. Naturally, I was planning my return route to my car, abandoning my “fun” walk altogether and wishing I hadn’t already gone a mile and a half, even though the plan was for five or more.
Of course, seconds later, a different man in a Lexus nearly rear-ended a BMW staring blankly over his shoulder at me. Then, he scurried into the U-turn lane and tried his luck. I was completely emotionally drained and stressed to the maximum. I furiously waved him off, glaring, no mistake that I wanted nothing to do with him. He passed by me, and, of course, jumped right into the next U-turn lane (148th is full of them). He passed by on the other side and yelled out his window. I held up my hands like “What!?”. He got in the U-turn lane. Shouted at me again (each time, I believe all he said was “Hey!!”). I started to cry. He got in the U-turn lane. I wondered if these men have, I don’t know, lives? Places to be? Personalities? Suddenly I realized that the most pathetic, degraded people were these men who seemingly had no souls and no morals and no concept of the damage that this selfish, disgusting behavior causes to their personhood.
What was this, the fourth time he had turned around to yell at me? Sadly this is a small number in my experience. Finally, uncharacteristically lusting for blood, I screamed, “I’m gonna call the cops!!!”. He sped off. The two older women walking a few yards ahead of me stared at me as though I were insane.
I did feel stronger. Often times, I feel that my freedom is being taken away from me, that the streets aren’t as open to me as they are to men, or worse, that if I want to enjoy the streets, I must thereby accept that I’m subject to whatever treatment the men, whom “own” the streets, see fit. It didn’t seem possible to me that there was any way to deter one of these more persistent harassers. They buzz around like flies. You can swat them but they won’t relent.
I couldn’t help noticing that, after scaring off the last guy, I was free to walk the rest of the way to my car without incident. I’m sure it was because I was storming down the sidewalk looking like Satan, and it must have frightened any potential stalkers. I’ve been told that the probable reason why I in particular am harassed so very, very much is because I have an “approachable” demeanor. But I don’t want to have to be upset before I’ll be allowed to enjoy myself. I won’t be able to enjoy myself if I’m upset.
Since then, I found the whistle that my dad gave me in my desk drawer. At time time, I thought he was being paranoid. He’s lived in the slums of LA and I have not. But apparently these thugs crawl all over the place. For fun, I taught my dog to respond to the whistle with tricks. I’m thinking from now on I’ll just blare on the whistle whenever a man makes me feel threatened, see if I can train them like the dogs they are.
DISCLAIMER: No offense is intended to dogs. My dog is actually much, much better behaved than a lot of men =)
I live in Harlem, the street harassment capital of the eastern sea board, so I am, unfortunately, not a stranger to it. This didn’t happen in Harlem though.
I was staying at my friends house in DC. He was at work, so I was taking the sunny day to walk to the local movie theatre. I had just had the thought of how lovely and calm, and sunny and quiet it was, and how nice it was to not be cat called as I walked when this young guy, maybe 25 *maybe*, says excuse me.
I turned around and said yes.
He said “Does your husband know you’re out looking so nice?”
I stopped walking, looked at him and said “Don’t. Stop. I don’t know you.” then started to walk away.
He said “Well, does your husband?”
I kept walking.
He started shouting “Don’t be like that. Oh, I see, you are one of those people -those negative people. I feel sorry for people like you. I hate people like you.”
and I kept walking
and I checked over my shoulder at every stop light because we were sorta going to the same place so he more or less followed me for five blocks- and I was scared. When I got to the movie theatre, I cried in the bathroom. and I hated being a woman that day.
I was walking downtown to my apartment — about a mile total. I was waiting at a crosswalk when a man came up right next to me and put his hand on my arm. He was very drunk and looking at me with a stare that put a chill down my spine. As soon as I could, I crossed the intersection. He kept up, walking directly to my side less than a foot away. I tried to shake him off, but he continued to follow me through the next couple of blocks, putting his hand on my arm at each crosswalk pause.
I finally went into a bank to shake him off. The three women tellers were as shaken as I was when I told them why I was there. When I couldn’t see him anymore, I went back to the street. On the next block, he jumped out at me from some bushes he had been hiding in. I walked faster, but he kept up. A maintenance man saw what was happening and stopped the guy, telling me to keep going.
That delay only worked for so long and the guy caught up with me. I called 911 and by the time I was under the underpass and across the bridge a police officer zoomed through the intersection and stopped right in front of us. As he was arresting the guy, two more police cars came up. I declined to press charges or declare myself a victim. He probably just needed to sober up.
It’s not like he hurt or threatened me, but I’m having a hard time shaking it off, given that the low level street harassment continues as it always does. Someday, I hope women and men can look back at street harassment as an unfortunate past problem.