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My boyfriend lives downtown, and to reach him I have to walk two blocks to get to the N, R, or W train at 6th ave. This requires me to walk down west 28th street, and it is a eventful walk every time I do.
Every time I walk down 28th, one or more men feel like they have to say something to me. Its the flower district, and when the venders put all their plants out on the street, I am forced to walk through a jungle and been in close spaces with several men who are always giving me the up-down, I feel them start to enclose on me and get too close for comfort. It seems like every time I make that walk to the subway, someone will tell me I am “beautiful” or that they “want to talk to me”. Recently, I had more than the normal amount of comments..
I was returning from my boyfriend’s place, and as I walked out of the subway stairs, immediately after a man standing right outside the exit said “hey miss I wanna talk to you”, and even followed me for a bit! I held my breath and walked faster, but as I passed a parking garage another man started to comment on my appearance! So I walked faster… and then as I reached 29th street ANOTHER man started to make kissing faces at me! All of this happened within three minutes, and I felt like my security was being stripped away with each harassment.
Now I find myself trying to avoid taking the N R or W even though it is the closest and most convenient subway. Sometimes I’ll make my trip 20 minutes longer if it means I don’t have to walk on 28th. If I am leaving my boyfriend’s place after dark, I’ll shell out the extra money for a taxi, have him escort me, or even call my friends and tell them to meet me on the platform. Literally, every time I am on that street a man has to make some obscene comment to me. The walk from my place to that subway is only 10 minutes, but it is always the longest walk of my life.
Submitted by Susanna
I’ve never felt unsafe before. That may be surprising, as I live in New York City, but I’ve never really feared for my physical safety. I’m a big lady and I’ve always felt comfortable walking or biking or taking the train at any hour of the day or night.
Last night, two men on a dark street stripped me of that sense of security.
I was riding my bike home from my friend’s house around 1:30AM. I had dressed up for Shabbat services in a cute, short dress and was feeling a little chilly. I was riding mechanically slowly, really only looking forward to getting home so I could curl up in my warm bed and watch some dumb recorded tv shows.
I ride through some pretty desolate areas on this route. Keep in mind, I’ve ridden this route several times a week since I started biking. I’ve ridden it at four in the morning before. It is the only way I use to get home when I’ve gone anywhere east of Prospect Park.
I approached the overpass of the D train on 39th street right near my apartment and passed two men. All of the sudden I heard someone running behind me and I turned around to see one of them chasing me on my bike. He was running full out only a few feet behind me. I screamed out “What the fuck are you doing?” and started pedaling as fast as I could. They screamed “bitch” at me and threw a glass bottle which shattered near my tires.
I was three blocks from my home.
I rode at full speed the last three blocks. When I got to my house, my hands were shaking so badly I could hardly lock up my bike. I was terrified that the men would have followed me home. I ran up my stairs and locked the door, finding an empty apartment. I sat on my bed shivering with fear, unable to really process what had just happened.
When I looked back at that man chasing me, I truly thought that he would overtake me and pull me off my bike. There aren’t a lot of street lights in that area and even less people out on the street. If they had wanted to take my bag, they could have. If they had wanted to sexually assault me and slit my throat, they could have. These are the thoughts that kept me awake as I huddled in my bed, to scared even to cry.
I don’t know what they’ve left me. I ride my bike every single day. I ride it to work, to friend’s houses, to the grocery store, to rehearsal, to meetings, to parties, and anywhere I want to go. I haven’t bought a monthly metrocard since June. My bike is an essential part of how I interact with the city. It’s my life. Yet now, when I think about riding in some of the areas where I travel on a regular basis — I am terrified. What if this happens again? What if next time I’m not fast enough? What if they do get me off my bike? I’m so scared, but I’m not allowed to be — I need my bike.
How can I reclaim the sense of physical security that they’ve taken from me?
Submitted by Emma
One day as I walked a friend to the train station, I noticed a man in my periphery against a wall by the station, I walked her down and then noticed on my way up that the man against the wall was still there and now trying to get my attention. So oh course my first response is to ignore the bastard, but this man proceeded to follow me. Only a few feet from the station, he proceeded to use his body to corner me up against a wall. My instinct told me to push him away. However, when I pushed I was so scared that I didn’t know my own strength, I shoved him back. He stumbled a few feet backwards and became enraged. I saw in his eyes that he was going to hurt me, so I ran.
Of course, it was the only moment that I have seen this area so empty that I had to run and be chased a full block until I found some people on the street. They were a construction crew. I ran in between them and pointed at the crazy man chasing me. They used their body to block the crazy guy and told me to run home. As I was running home, I could still hear this crazy guy screaming at me about what he would do. As soon as I got home, I locked all the doors and thought about how frightening this was. I was scared. Scared like a child who thinks about monsters. How can one person make another person feel like this in one moment. I am truly sick and tired of this harassment. Since coming to NYC, I understand why people become agoraphobic. Enough is enough. I will not be silenced.
For awhile, I tried to figure out what it is about me that lured these violators to single me out. Is it the way I walk? Is it because I am so short and small? Is it because I seem weak? Is it because of the way I dress?….In the end, why the fuck does any of this matter. It is just plain unacceptable.
Enough is enough.
Submitted by Michelle
As I was leaving my house to walk my dog, a passing tan-colored van slowed down in the middle of the street and the male driver (probably in his 40s) stuck his head out the window, looked back at me, and smiled creepily. I looked at him and snapped “What?!” His smile dropped, and he goes (completely expressionless) “Nick rack”, and then drives away. Another passenger in the car simultaneously yelled “Nice…” (something – I couldn’t hear the rest).
Ten minutes or so later, I’m still walking my dog, and the same van drives by AGAIN, with the same dickless creep this time just GLARING at me. I see it go further up the street and slowly turn back onto the street where he’d originally harassed me – it looked like he was pulling over there. I started getting nervous at this point, because that’s where I was headed and it’s the street I live on. I started thinking of what I’m going to do if he’s indeed parked there and waiting for me (I could have turned around, but going the other way would have added another 20 minutes onto my walk, and it was getting close to sunset). Fortunately, he wasn’t there when I got to my street. But I’m so tired of going outside and then wishing I hadn’t left the house at all.
Submitted by Amy
I moved to NYC in March and beginning in May I was living in a sublet in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn. Not my ideal choice, but cheap and with a friend, so not a bad deal for a couple of months, or so I thought. I have never been harassed so much in my life as in the 8-block, 10-minute walk it took me to get from my front door to the train and back. I have lived in Brazil before and there the men constantly catcall, so even though this neighborhood was annoying, I figured I could deal. Now, I have big curly brown hair and a generous behind, and this definitely attracted attention in that area but what am I supposed to do, dress in a brown sack? Like I said, I figured I could deal with it. One night, however, I was walking home along Nostrand Ave. and a big SUV full of guys, windows down and music blasting, drives in the opposite direction and pulls into a side street right into my path, so that I have to walk around the back of the car. As I walk up to it, they start the customary, “Oooh, girl, mmm hmm!” and all of that typical bullshit, and of course I pretend like I can’t hear them because that’s what I always do. I also wasn’t frightened they were going to physically assault me because the street itself is pretty busy, and even though it was after midnight there were some other people, including men in suits and other people coming home from work. Anyway, I walk behind the car ignoring them, but as I get around it and start walking away from them, one of them shouts (and I mean he screamed it), “I would SUCK your little pink clit. YES I WOULD!” and then he and his buddies just laughed, didn’t even drive away, just sat there laughing. It was the most invasive, disturbing and disgusting thing anyone has ever said to me, and I was absolutely shocked at the nerve of these men. I mean, how would they feel if someone talked to their mothers or sisters that way? What’s worse, none of the men walking near me said anything back to them. I mean, I don’t expect anyone to stick up for me per se, but would it kill you to reprimand the members of your gender that are giving all of you a bad reputation? I mean, grow a pair and tell these assholes you don’t talk to women like that, since lord knows that won’t listen to us! After that night, I started staying at my sister’s place when I got out of work late, and by July I had moved out. I will never ever live in that neighborhood or any other where I feel threatened on a constant basis. EVER. Unfortunately I just found out this site exists, otherwise I would have definitely taken their picture. Hopefully there won’t be a next time….
Submitted by Sage
I’m 13 years old and I was over my friend Monica’s house and she lives about 2 miles away from a 7/11 and she decides we should walk there. I thought it would be fun. (we live in MD in baltimore city) and it wasn’t really late at night or anything either, it was at about 5pm and cars were honking at us and I turned to Monica and said “you know, these guys are pigs its making me frustrated” and just then a guy across the street sitting in front of his house says “hey sexy ladies how are you doin?” and I didn’t hear the entire phrase so I said “hey!” and monica said “shut up! don’t talk to him he wants you to come over there so he can rape you or something!” and then we kept on walking and he kept on talking but his voice faded as we walked. Then later, a car came by and honked at us and it scared me so I flipped him off and he turned on the next open road abruptly and turn around and waited for us to catch up with him. So when we realized this we went across to the other side. Then we were near him and right before he turned we ran back over to the other side of the street and he went in the other direction so I guess he gave up on it. I was extremely scared though. I almost started crying because I was so overwhelmed. That had never happened before.
Submitted by Jessie
This guy was sitting across from me on the train taking up two seats. this was the 4 train around 4 pm on november 24th (08). he started off my incessantly muttering ‘bitches are gonna get it today, bitches are gonna get it today’ and staring / leering at every girl on the train. then he honed in on me, just staring at my face and smiling, licking his lips, mouthing the word ‘bitch’. finally he started leaning across the aisle with his legs trying to trip girls up walking past him, and then started kicking the sole of my foot. i said ‘what’s wrong with you??? stop touching me!’ and i snapped his picture. i don’t think he noticed because i have a touch screen phone that looked like i was playing a game on it.
i ran to the door at my stop but he followed me off at the last second, sneaking through the doors right before they closed. i ran across the platform (at franklin avenue, brooklyn) and asked two teenage high schoolers for help because i thought the guy was going to follow me. so they pretended like they knew me and walked me up the stairs, stopping at the turnstiles to talk to me for a while. all the while this giant creepy f*ck was standing there watching us. finally he got sick of standing there, threw his hands forward and said ‘forget you bitch! i’ll fuck you another time!’
Submitted by A.T.S.
“I get harassed 100 times a day. I tried everything to stop it but it doesn’t stop. I wear loose clothes, I don’t wear make up, I spend more than an hour in front of the mirror everyday thinking of ways to hide my body. I walk home everyday. It only takes me 15 minutes, I cross the bridge. It is usually very loud and busy, but that does not stop men from approaching girls, any girl, good looking or bad looking, covered or not.
I remember so many scary harassments. There was this guy who followed me and suddenly grabbed my bottom in front of everyone. I screamed but he ran away and no one interfered. Once I was shopping with my father and aunt, and this guy kept staring at me and blowing me kisses. My dad shouted at him and started hitting him. I think men are doing this because they are jobless and have no manners.”
To read more stories from the women of Egypt, click here.
I was walking home at 12:30 at night on the corner of 23rd St and 30th Ave in Astoria, a man was standing on the corner. He said, “Hey baby, what’s your name” and he kept darting in front of me and wouldn’t let me walk past him and was trying to lunge at me and corner me into the fence. I started yelling for him to back off and get away from me and a car pulled up and that stopped him for a few seconds. I walked around him and started walking home and he was following me so I crossed the street and started walking in the middle of the road. He started running towards me so I ran out of his way and screamed “Get away from me!” over and over and he ran in front of me and crouched down and hid in between parked cars so that if I walked forward he could grab me. I ran the other way towards the hospital and called 911 while I was running. I could not file a police report because thankfully he didn’t touch me and he didn’t steal anything, but everyone in Astoria needs to watch out for perverts and predators like this creep.
Submitted by Sarah
I was out walking my dog around 10:00AM on 88th Street betwwen Atlantic avenue and 95th Avenue in Queens (London Planetree Park) when a man pulled up in a Dodge Durango, he made a comment about the way I looked and he asked me if I had a name.
He wanted me to get into his car and I don’t think he noticed my dog. When I asked him if he was “f**king crazy” and I went to get his plate # he sped off. I stopped a police cruiser and told them about the man and the plate number. I am sure the cops dismissed my complaint. I am sure this happens a lot and women just brush it off but I didn’t feel safe. I don’t know how far it would have gone if this happened at night.
Submitted by Cicely