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Last Friday after work I decided to go for a run, it was a cool evening and it was starting to rain, which quickly turned to sleet and then light snow. I was less than a 1/4 mile into my run when I heard yelling — my ipod was between songs, otherwise I might have missed the specifics of it. There was a guy (I am assuming high school age) leaning out the window of a car on the other side of the street who screamed out, “Nice ass………WHORE!!!!!!!!!” I have to be honest, it wasn’t just the words that upset me, it was also how he said it — there was anger in his tone, and it felt threatening.
I tried to shake it off as just a bunch of immature kids with poor judgment and kept running.
Maybe a mile later I was on Beacon St in Cambridge when the same car drove by me again with this guy again hanging out the window screaming at me — I had my ipod cranked up so I don’t know what he said but the tone was, again, unmistakably angry & threatening. I was freaked out that this was the 2nd time they’d driven by me, and I was getting into less residential neighborhoods where there were fewer people on the streets — I had visions of the next time they drove past me, what if they pulled over? got out of the car? pulled me into the car?? I decided to listen to my gut, cut my run short, and turn around & head back for more populated streets & home.
Unfortunately I was not wearing my glasses & did not get the license plate #. I am getting over this but had an anxiety dream about it Friday night that involved me being cornered by a large man and calling for help that never came. I remain disturbed by the fact that somewhere, somehow, the boys/men in that car learned that harassing & threatening a woman in this way is acceptable.
In the summer before my senior year of High School, my mother decided to host a party for her coworkers. Myself and my brothers were there to help watch the younger children, grill the hamburgers and hotdogs and my mother enlisted me to be the official ‘bartender’. The party was in full swing and going well when one of the night-shift nurses showed up with her two daughters and her husband. She pulled me off to the side and asked me to make her husband something very strong as he didn’t want to be at the party. So I made him a drink and took it over to where he was sulking by the pool and told him to drink it, “orders from your wife”. He laughed a bit and every once and a while would come up and ask for a refill before going back to where he was sitting.
A little while later, one of my brothers and I were watching the kids while they swam and I was teaching his daughters how use pool noodles as squirt guns, etc. I noticed him staring, but I didn’t think much of it. After we tired the kids out, my brother made them popcorn and put on a movie for them. While I was in the kitchen getting a soda he came up behind me, brushed my hair over my shoulder and creepily whispered to me that I was “really good with his girls”. This made me extremely uncomfortable, and I just made some weird noises and muttered “thanks”. His family and him all left not long after that, but that was not the end of it.
Around midnight, when the only people left at the party were some of the younger hospital workers without kids, he turned up again. My oldest brother came to the backyard and told me that there was some guy outside asking for me. I was very confused and thought it might’ve been one of my friends, so I walked out to the front of the house. When I saw who it was, I immediately felt scared and uncomfortable, so I called to my brother and asked him to stay close before going outside. He had driven to our house and was very obviously drunk and reeked of weed. He came up to me, well within my personal bubble and seemed very happy to see me. I didn’t understand most of what he said because it was all drunken slurs, but I do know that at one point he pulled a pipe out of his pocket and asked me if I wanted to go toke up with him in his truck. At this point I was rather fed up and I could see my brother looking very angry in the doorway, so I very pointedly told him that he had a wife and two children waiting for him at home, and even if he didn’t I wouldn’t touch him with a 10 foot pole, and that he was far to drunk to drive and if he wanted me to call him a cab (all in a very sickly sweet voice). He got rather ticked off at my comment so he grabbed my arm and started to say something but my brother twisted his arm and threw him to the ground before he got anything out (my brother studies martial arts) and told the man to get “the fuck off our property before I blow a hole through you, and don’t touch my sister again”.
I later found out from my mother that he crashed on his way home and received a DUI, and he wife filed for a divorce not to long after (which I was very happy to hear, I didn’t think he belonged around children).
During that same summer I was driving one of my friends home late at night when some guys pulled up next to us. It was a hot night, so I had the windows rolled down, and they started to make rather lewd comments and gestures at us. The light turned green so I sped off and turned into a random neighborhood, but they followed us and honked their horn and flashed their lights at us constantly. I pulled back on to a main road and got stuck at another stop light when they pulled up next to us again and resumed yelling. So I switched the song and turned up my car speakers all the way and turned to them and began serenading them with this song (Another F.U. Song):
My friend burst out laughing and they tried to yell over the music, but I just turned it up more. They eventually gave up and sped off.
Every morning, I take the city bus to school. The bus terminal near my apartment is pretty busy and it’s not uncommon for me to get verbally harassed by men while I’m there waiting for my bus. Because of this, I was trying to mind my own business the other morning when a man approached me. I had my ipod in when I noticed him coming directly towards me. I avoided looking at him, hoping he would leave me alone, but no such luck. The next thing I knew, he was standing way too close to me and was talking to me. I turned my ipod off and asked him what he had said. He started asking me questions about my ipod and then asked me how old I was. I told him I was 20 and he looked me up and down and said “Some pretty for only 20…” I started to text my friend hoping that if I ignored him he’d move away, but he didn’t. Each time I stepped away from him, he’d step closer again.I was starting to feel threatened so I walked away to the other side of the terminal, pretending to look at the bus schedule. The man followed behind me without hesitation. As I was looking at the schedule he started asking me what bus I was taking, I ignored him and walked away again, back where I had come from. He continued following me. I walked into an area with a larger group of people and he still followed me. He was still standing too close, and was looking me up and down my body. I was so creeped out and my heart was beating so fast. He had this look in his eye that told me there was something not right with him. I wanted to tell him to get away from me, but at the time I was so scared. I was worried that if I told him to leave he may react badly, I didn’t want to escalate the situation.
After what felt like a lifetime, but was really a few minutes, his bus came and he left. Shortly after, a friend of mine arrived and we got on the bus to go to school. On the bus, I told her what had happened and we got to comparing stories about the various times that men have harassed us and about how generally messed up our society is. During this conversation, the man sitting in front of us kept peeking around and looking at us. It was clear that he was eavesdropping. When he got off the bus, he walked by our window and stared at us, then licked his lips and winked as we drove away. We were completely taken aback. After everything he had probably just heard us say, he had the nerve to do that!
I thought about that morning for the rest of the day. I was angry at myself for giving someone else the power to make me feel scared. I was angry at myself for not standing up when I should have. I am constantly being harassed by men, and ignoring it obviously is not working for me. I’m done with keeping my head down and my mouth shut. From now on I WILL hollaback!
A couple years ago I was living in Victoria and was going downtown to meet a friend for a show. I was probably 17 at the time, but my round face, short stature and plain clothes made me look 14 tops. My dad intended to drive me straight to the theatre, but I was thirsty so I asked him to drop me off at 7-Eleven so I could get a drink (he was uncomfortable, but since I was only a few blocks away from where I was going, I told him I’d be fine). When I came out of the convenience store there was a creepy man loitering outside, staring at me. He got fairly close and stepped in front of me, glaring unapologetically at my chest. He told me my “necklace” was pretty, and asked if he could get a closer look at it. He kept inching closer and it was obvious he intended on touching/molesting me. I smiled politely (an instinctual reaction), said “no thanks”, and went on walking. As I walked away he continued asking me if he could take a closer look at my necklace, and once I’d put enough distance between us to deter him from talking to me, he continued to follow in silence. He stalked me for two blocks until I finally met up with my friend, then he left. I told my friend what had happened, and we awkwardly laughed about it before brushing it off and going on with our night.
I find it disturbing that someone would behave like this towards someone who was so obviously underage, and uninterested.
I work in a college where there are young students, mainly between the ages of 14-23, largely from underprivileged backgrounds, council estates and disenfranchised areas. I work as a senior manager, always dress professionally in a suit, button up shirt, dark tights and low heels. I unfortunately am one of the youngest people in the organisation, despite my status as a senior manager.
I frequently have students catcalling me in the corridors, as I pass between meeting rooms. It is disgraceful if it happens once, but for it to happen constantly, despite my demure appearance is ridiculous. My policy (depending on how urgent my meetings are), is to deal with incidents then and there, professionally, using the student policies designed to support and protect staff.
Unfortunately, the last (and potentially worst) situation happened last week. I was not only catcalled in the corridor, but was followed back to my secluded office up the stairs by 3 male students, who cornered me in an office, making me feel as if I was a piece of dirt, a piece of meat- IN MY WORKPLACE.
After being chased up the stairs, I ran into the closest room, screamed, locked the door and called security straightaway. The students were inevitably suspended, but following an investigation, with findings that the male students had a good academic record, and no previous disciplinary sanctions and on the grounds that NO assault occurred, they were let off with a verbal warning.
I am furious, totally furious, and cannot face going back to a workplace that puts harassment above the safety of their staff.
I know that harassment in the street is common, but in the workplace, its deplorable and inexcusable.
Do I need to be raped before it becomes serious enough to be dealt with????
I was once going to my car to retrieve something out of it. When I was finished I turned back around to find a man standing directly behind me. I thought to myself that maybe he was there to ask for change, something that I was used to. Instead of hearing the words “Can you spare a quarter M’am?” I got “I was just tryin’ to make love to you.” Not exactly sure how to react to this I started walking away. He then proceeded to follow me and he asked me where I was going. I said, “To my boyfriends!”. That’s where he grabbed my arm and said something to the extent of “What your boyfriend got on me?”. I was able to remove his hand from my arm. Luckily he just walked off. The man seemed out of it and was possibly drunk or on something else. Not much later I saw a group of horse cops in the same alley way. I approached them and informed them that a man had just come up to me and tried to pull me away and possibly rape me and that they could please stay around to keep a look out. Not only did they barely acknowledge me, but they all road off about 5 minutes later.
There is a man, Collin, who has followed me in his car, extremely close behind me while I’ve been biking (then got out of his car and told me what I was doing was illegal. WRONG! I have the right of way to bike in the street, just as a car). He comments on my university student columns all the time, saying awful shit and threatening things. He has done the same on Facebook (I have had to block him). I called the domestic violence shelter in town about him and they put it in their records. Luckily, he has moved to another state, but not for others. He works for an Asian woman’s agency now, too. He is threatened by feminists and he has a lot of hate toward women who speak their mind. He says he liberates Asian women (I’d like to tell him – they don’t need your liberation).
I was 19 at the time and my dad had dropped me off at the bookstore so I could buy a book I wanted. On the way back a guy on his bike stopped and began talking to me. I don’t like being mean so when he began asking me out, asking for my number, and trying to give me his, I tried to be nice and say things like “I don’t really like talking on the phone,” and “my dad will be coming to pick me up soon so I need to go,” rather than saying “Your creeping me out, leave me alone.”
But he keep asking me for my number, and trying to give me his, and trying to convince me I should date him out of pity (He was said he moved to the area a few months ago and didn’t have friends yet). I was getting more and more creeped out and more rigid in my answers but he wouldn’t give up. I didn’t want to leave in case he decided to follow me, so it took 20 or 30 minutes of him repeatedly asking for my number and trying to give me his before I could finally leave. How many times does a girl have to say “No” before this guy gets the picture?
That’s not all though, when I was telling my dad about the creep (who has a very distinctive birth mark on his face), it turned out he had done the same basic thing to my sister a few years back at a carnival. So much for having just moved here.
I have been harassed in my town several times but two times specifically stood out to me. The first one was when I was in 8th grade and was walking 4 blocks away to my friends house.There was this white car passing by slowly. He passed me several times… I was panicking, I didn’t know what to do. I started walking faster and it passed around the block again. I finally made it to my friends house and I knocked my heart out while looking down the street both ways. He opened the door and I ran inside hysterical. My friend closed the door and was concerned and later walked me home. Note: this happened during day light.
The second was last year during my sophomore year. This was on the same street from the previous incident. I had gotten off the train and was walking home. There were three boys older than me walking ahead of me slowly. Even before they started calling at me I felt like something was going to happen. They were walking in front of me waiting for me to pass them so they could probably do something. They all made typical calls encouraging each rooting for each other. My heart was racing…. I hate walking slow and doing so then just made it seem like this would last forever. I made sure to keep my distance but I didn’t want to stop walking altogether or I thought they might do something. A corner came up… I thought I would detour my route because I thought they wouldn’t go out of their way to turn back to follow me. So I walked 5 blocks just to avoid them, when my destination was only 2 blocks away…. but I also didn’t want them to know where I was going.
When I was 15, my friend and I were walking along the beautiful downtown area of Hoboken, NJ in the summer of ’04. We had just left dinner and were making our way toward the train station to go home. As we walked past the McDonald’s on the corner of Washington & 3rd, two men who had been leaning against the building talking to each other approached us. They looked to be about 30. They struck up a conversation with us, and then asked if we would like to join them for dinner. We said no, thanks. Then they asked if we would go back to their apartment which was right down the road in Jersey City. They even threw in that they had an indoor pool. At this point I was way creeped out by them, so I just nudged my friend and was like, “Let’s get out of here.” But she didn’t seem too threatened. And then they asked us, “Do you girls want to make $1500 each tonight? If you come back to our apartment to hang out for a little, we’ll give you $1500 each. You can make that kind of money in a night if you start hanging around us.” Finally I grabbed my friend’s arm and pulled her away and we started walking really fast. They followed quickly behind us. I panicked and decided to make a huge scene to get everyone’s attention so that they would leave us alone. I started yelling obscenities and was like: “THESE MEN ARE TRYING TO KIDNAP US!” Passersby paused and looked at us, and the men immediately darted off. We ran to the train station and hopped on the next train home.
I think that what surprised me most about this experience was not that these two men were trying to take advantage of two young girls– but that nobody really seemed concerned enough to do a damn thing about it.