A few weeks ago I was traveling through the Amtrak station in Sacramento, late at night and found myself in a scary situation.
The station and platforms are connected by covered walkways and tunnels which are very creepy after dark. When I got off the train the conductor made a point of recommending that I head immediately to the station rather than waiting on the platforms. She knew that there would be men loitering on the platforms and that it would be dangerous or uncomfortable to wait there.
It takes a few minutes to get to the station and once I was in the tunnels I ended up alone with one group of passengers almost out of sight ahead and another group lagging behind—and this is when the guys who were hanging around started following me. One man followed me on the bike and then circled around me, making comments, telling me to smile and come with him. “Where are you going?” “Talk to me.” “Smile for me.” As I walked quickly towards the station and tried to brush him off he kept riding circles around me while four of his friends walked behind us and laughed. I felt trapped by the five of them and didn’t see anyone around who could have helped me if I confronted them.
I was able to shake them off when more passengers from the train caught up with us and was relieved to get to the station. There, a second conductor was advising women traveling alone or with young kids to walk to the platform in a large group or ride with him to avoid trouble.
It amazes me to think that this is a well known problem that has not been dealt with!! I wrote to Amtrak asking for information on this TWO WEEKS AGO but have had no response
— so what do I do next?
A few nights ago I was coming from the French Quarter where I was picking up my medicine. I got on the bus home, but then thought I got on the wrong bus and got off too early (I moved here 3 weeks ago). Immediately an older man (I am 20) said “You look like you’re lost, baby.” He then followed me for 15 minutes until I called my mom telling her what cross streets I was at each time I reached cross streets.
I was terrified, and couldn’t help but wonder what would have happened if my mom was at work?
I got out of the train station (in my hometown) and as I was walking on a main street, (my car was parked across the parking lot a block away), I saw a pickup truck slowly see me then make a right turn INTO the parking lot. I didnt think anything of it, but I was aware. I saw he made a stop (near where you purchase tickets) so I was alarmed because I only remember seeing the driver alone in the car.
Long story short he made a u-turn around the parking lot, parked for a few moments and as I walked passed him, he pulled up behind me, fucking following me! I panicked, called my mom and walked fast. As fast as I could I went inside my car and locked the doors. I tried to contain myself and saw he passed by me and I left my parking spot and got his license number and car information.
I called the cops but when they spoke to me they said there wasnt really anything they could do because “he only followed me, he didnt talk to me or anything just lurking around in his car, maybe he was just being a pervert.” They had his information, but they couldn’t really stop and question him. This is awful and it pisses me off, I wanted to share with you all my story.
I’d been round a friends house all night having a few drinks until the early hours of the morning. It got to 4am and it was light outside, so I thought I’d start walking home (30 minute walk overall) and it’d be pretty safe as I could see everything clearly around me. In hindsight, I shouldn’t have walked home alone, but I honestly thought I’d be okay because I usually am.
I get about 10 minutes onto my walk home only to hear someone on a bicycle, and they start cycling past me only to then go onto the pavement and stop right infront of me. This alone terrified me. I then realise it’s a guy, and I instantly freeze. He smiled at my reaction, then proceeded to ask me if I had a cigarette…so I lie and tell him I don’t smoke, hoping he’d go off. He didn’t. He edged towards the road and started cycling again. I was literally clutching my phone in my pocket so tight, ready to actually hit him around the head if he came closer. He then slowed down and edged towards me on his bike again near the pavement, obvious to him that I was extremely uncomfortable.
He then said “you’re very beautiful, aren’t you” followed by a leer. Bearing in mind I looked awful from a heavy night drinking, wearing leggings and a dress with a hoodie…so this just creeped me out even more. I just smiled and looked down. He then asked me where I’d been and why such a “beautiful girl” was walking in the early hours of the morning. I replied with “a friends house”, still looking at the floor. He then asked for my age, and I told him 18 to which he replied “I’m 17″. I looked up at him and he did not look 17. Early 20’s youngest. He had an absolutely creepy smile, I was trying to get a good look at his face because I was at this point terrified for my safety. I was hoping by now he’d actually leave me alone, I was so scared. I was trying to be as normal as possible, I didn’t want to provoke him in anyway so I thought it’d be easier to answer his questions.
He then said “do you have a boyfriend?”, to which I lied again and said yes, really hoping that he’d leave. He then said “what a lucky man, you’re so beautiful”. I just nodded and looked away, and he cycled off shouting “bye” in the process. I could have literally had a panic attack on the spot. Bearing in mind I was alone, 20 minutes away from my house, there were lots of alleyways coming up where he could have easily been waiting down and I was drunk. Drunk and stumbling.
I have generalized anxiety disorder so my reaction was a lot worse to that of a normal person, and I was really finding it hard to pull myself together. I was walking home paranoid as anything, carefully crossing onto the “safe” side of the road everytime an alleyway came up incase he was there. I was so sure he’d gone, I was looking behind me every few seconds. I then approached my road and literally sighed with relief, because I thought I was safe then.
I was literally about 20 seconds away from my house, when I see a bike. It was him. Cycling towards me. Down my road. He smiled at me and said “Long walk for a girl isn’t it?”…I just looked at him and sped up. I looked behind me and he was cycling off. Then I half ran home, fumbling for my keys and looking to see if he was behind me. No sign of him, so I open my door and shut it quickly but quietly behind me, hoping he wouldn’t see or hear what house I was going into. Then everything sunk in and I had a panic attack, absolutely terrified. There is no way, absolutely NO way in hell that it was coincidence he was down my road. From where he saw me last, to my road was 20 minutes away. You have to go down multiple different streets to get there. He literally stalked me to my street.
It was the scariest thing that’s happened to me for a long time. I’m so terrified he saw what house I went into.
During my first year of graduate school, I was in charge of a residence hall as part of my graduate assistantship. Because of my position, I was expected to be helpful and friendly to the residents, and to be readily available as I lived in the dorm. It was about 1:30 in the morning, and there was a knock at my door. I open it to find a male resident standing there. He immediately began to hit on me, first saying how hot I looked in my pajamas (sweatpants and an oversized t-shirt). I told him it was inappropriate, so he then started asking asking if I’d go out to a party with him. When I said no, he then repeatedly asked me for my phone number. I told him I was not going to give him my number, and then he started to try to push his way into my room. I slammed the door in his face, and he started yelling through the door calling me a bitch. I called campus police. By the time they showed up, he was gone. They told me to not call back unless he showed signs of physical violence.
After this interaction, he started to follow me around. He didn’t live on my floor, but he would always be out in the common area of my floor when I would leave my room. He would come down and just stare at me while sitting in the main lobby during my office hours. It got to the point that the male RAs in my building would stick around during my office hours as well because they knew how scared I was of him. He also began doing the same thing he was to me to my female RAs, and the other girls in the building. It got to the point that no girl in the building would go anywhere by themselves, even to do laundry. Because he was not being physically violent towards any of us, though, campus police wouldn’t do anything.
After two weeks of this, I couldn’t take it any more. I was playing pool with a few people, and he was getting a little too close to me. I turned around and hit him in the face with the pool stick I was holding. His nose started to bleed. He got angry, and I told him that if he did any of what he had been doing again, he’d get a lot worse. He left me, and all the other girls in my building alone after that.
I’m a freshman, and my school’s campus is in the center of my city’s CBD. So I leave school when the bell lets out, I start walking down the street, and almost immediately i notice some older guy is walking behind me in an almost forcefully casual manner. He’s a ways off behind me, so to check I stop and pull out my phone, pretending to shoot a text, and he stops too, leaning on the wall behind me. I keep walking, and so does he.
I pick up my pace quite a bit as I continue walking, making a point to unnecessarily cross a busy intersection and cut through a populated plaza in a effort to shake him. This does nothing as I see him reappear when I reach the street i need to be on. I try staying calm, text a friend that there’s some freaky fucker tailing me, and continue onto where I need to be: the bookstore.
When I get inside I feel safer, because the guy doesn’t appear to have followed me in. I head upstairs as I usually do, find a windowsill to sit in (I choose these because it’s especially inconvenient for anyone to try shooting up a conversation with me there), and begin reading.
Maybe ten minutes later, the guy shows up again. And he’s done with subtlety–I watch him out of the corner of my eye, trying to act immersed in my book, as he grabs a random title from one of the shelves and then pointedly takes a seat in the window sill across from me, even swiveling in my direction.
Still, I try to ignore him. As I try to act like I’m reading, he does the same with considerably less effort. He holds the book in his lap and hardly looks at it, eyes shooting from the pages to me in second intervals, figure tense and alert.
Now, I’m fucking pissed. I stop trying to pretend I’m reading the book, and when I see him staring at him again I stare back with daggers. This is a defense mechanism that usually works in my favor–as a girl in heavy boots with bright pink hair, I hold a certain amount of intimidatory power when wielded correctly. Unfortunately, this doesn’t sway him in any way. He doesn’t even avert his eyes, only continues staring.
When my dad texts me that he’s outside, it’s a godsend, and I hurriedly shove my book in my backpack and high-tail it the fuck outta there, sprint down the escalator and all.
For the rest of the week I chose to walk from a different entrance out of the school and hang out at other local businesses, just to be safe. Whatever that guy’s goddamn deal was, I did not want him to know my daily routine.
This dude on a bike who I didn’t know kept following me and saying he liked me. Ugggghhhhh. I felt creeped out enough to get my self defense keychain out.
A few weeks ago, a car full of men followed my car for 15 minutes in stop and go traffic. I didn’t think to snap a pic, so last night when the same thing happened, I got this. This car had 3 men in it with a woman driving. They stared at me while at a red light, then started screaming at me and holding up pictures of women in lingerie or less.
I have had several disturbing experiences with street harassment. My most recent experience is as follows:
Last week I was exercising at the track around the corner from my house. I noticed a man loitering around between where I was exercising and the public toilets close by me. He was there for a long while just watching. I didn’t think anything of it and walked home with my music turned up loud on my ipod. A few minutes after arriving home I decided to go to the store. Outside, I noticed a couple of police cars but didn’t think anything of that either. As I neared the store, two police men walked toward me from a side street. They stopped me, telling me they were waiting for me to pass and needed to talk to me. They asked me, “have you noticed the man following you?” I responded that I had no idea and that I had my music on really loud. They asked, “has a man approached you this morning?” and I said no, no one had. They then proceeded to tell me that I must be extremely careful and alert all my friends that the man who was following me had been reported by several people, loitering around my house, and that he had been masturbating on the street.
It is frustrating to not feel safe doing a regular, everyday things like exercising and going to the store. What’s even more frustrating is some of the reactions to my experience from some of my close guy friends. Things like, “I can’t believe the police caught me!!” or “I know I shouldn’t laugh but that’s hilarious!” or “If that were me I’d take it as a compliment” or “You must be flattered.” Are you kidding me? THERE IS NOTHING FUNNY OR FLATTERING ABOUT BEING FOLLOWED BY A FREAK!
I was walking back to work throught the skyway in downtown St. Paul. A man started walking close to me and making disgusting and perverted comments about my body. I gave him a stern look and he then became more aggressive. He said “how am I not supposed to say anything to you”. He followed me and continued to make comments. I then looked at him and said “you are being disrespectful. Leave me alone”. He continued to make comments and follow me for a short while, but then left. There were other people around and no one said anything. I then had to either get into an elevator or climb a set of stairs to get back to my office and I was afraid.