A couple weeks ago I was followed home in the most aggressive manner I have ever experienced. Let me first set the scene by noting that I have already been dealing with a peeping tom at my house for over a year now, and despite my numerous calls to the police, reaching out to several of my neighbors and asking them to keep an eye out for suspicious behavior, and my own personal two dog security system, I haven’t felt at ease in my own home in longer than I can remember. Nowhere is safe. But thats not the story here.
I host at a restaurant in San Francisco, and on this particular Tuesday night the restaurant was DEAD, and I was sent home at around 6. It being a sunny beautiful day I decided to walk the 30 min walk from the BART station to my house. About 5 blocks away from my home a beat up white KIA pulled up to the sidewalk just ahead of me and a strange man tried to call out an offer for a ride. I ignored his offer and kept walking, didn’t even look his way. He turned the car around, and tried again. And again. And again. He circled around three times for every block I walked, yelling more and more insensitive offers, turned forceful demands. I never once looked his way. Eyes forward I walked, but I knew just where he was at all times, he made it clear he wasn’t going away that easily.
5 blocks of this until I turned on to the street before my own street and he was still there. I started to feel panicked. I did not want to give the man the power of knowing where I lived. I was minutes away from my already unsafe house, and he showed no signs of letting up.
But now I was in my neighborhood, passing the man that I smile at nearly every day as I walk past him people watching on his porch, and just a few houses down from two other men working on their car in the driveway. I finally felt like the odds were stacked a little more in my favor. In all honesty the men probably would have done nothing to help me, but all I could tell myself was at least there were 3 other people around that could witness this part of the incident.
As the KIA pulled over for its grand finale I grabbed a large rock from the yard adjacent to me, and yelled over the man, as loud as I could. Finally there were at least people around to hear me. I screamed out to the man, told him if he turned his car around one more time, or tried to speak one more foul word to me I would hurl this rock directly through his windshield. And sure enough, he circled around one more time, only this time he never stopped. He sped right past me, and headed back to whatever shit hole it was he came from.
I was walking home from class in the afternoon. I always have to walk by the alley next to a junk and trinket store. I walked by with headphones on, and 3 guys on mopeds shouted at me. I ignored them, turned off my headphones volume to hear them. One guy shouted louder, I ignored him, and walked faster. I rounded a corner, and all three started following me, on bike and shouting at me to ‘join them for some fun’ from the road, I sped-walked toward this convenience store where I knew the owner, and they got mad, calling me every slur in the book. Eventually, I ran to get inside because the moped guys chased after me into the lot still screaming. I waited inside for a bit, cause they were still in the parking lot, shakily bought a soda when they left, and ran to my apartment, checking every street in case they came back.
Yesterday, I was sitting in Westgarth on High Street, at the 86 tram stop at around 6pm, waiting for my tram after seeing an inspirational movie at Westgarth Cinema, feeling great. There were a couple of people at the stop, but plenty of room to sit. A large, bald man, mid-forties came up to my seat and sat so close, falling so heavily next to me, he nearly sat on top of me. I flinched and moved away immediately along the seat to the side, annoyed someone was invading my space so rudely. He then noisily moved towards me again, and put a drink he was carrying down between us, lightly brushing my upper thigh. He was staring at me intently all the time and then started making low, moaning noises.
This all happened in a couple of seconds, like in slow motion. I stood up abruptly and angrily glared at him, then walked to the other end of the tram stop, very shaken and so furious someone had invaded my peaceful space to leer and moan, and make me feel so uncomfortable. I climbed onto the 86 tram and looked out for him, but thankfully did not see him at all.
On my way towards Northcote, at another tram stop, I heard a loud bang on my window. I looked up startled to see this man, standing outside the tram, staring at me through the window with his hand formed like a gun, pointing at my head, pulling the ‘trigger’. I was so shocked, and shaken and was a real mess by the time I got home – disgusted and angry. This kind of behaviour makes me feel sick. I resent being made to feel threatened and not safe inhabiting my own space, doing something as ordinary as catching a tram home after seeing a movie. Only one person on the tram asked me if I was ok, and said, ‘that guy could be dangerous, take care’.
This incident happened around 5pm on 1st September 2015. It occurred outside building 51 opposite to Dracula’s.
I was just exiting RMIT Building 51 after finishing up some coursework , and was heading to the parking lot below building 51 to get my bicycle when I witnessed a man yelling at a cab driver. Thinking it was over a fare dispute (He was making a commotion about money, punching the car window on the driver’s passenger side), I ignored the affair until the said man stopped yelling and followed me into the carpark, attempting to proposition me for sex, saying he “Would give me money”. Alarm bells went off in my head, so I did the best Death Metal yell I could muster to stall him as he already showed that he could get physical, and it worked, thanks to the acoustics of the building.
Taken aback, he begun to avoid me, but decided to showcase his machismo by trying to confront and follow me again, this time raising his voice and shouting.
Frustrated, as I thought he would leave me alone like other creeps I experienced in the past, I turned around to have a good look at him while formulating an exit plan, and reached into my pocket for my student i.d that would unlock the bicycle cage. I intended to lock myself in the bike cage until he left, and considered using my bike lock (A U-lock) as a weapon if needed.
Fortunately, after having a good look at him and memorising his physical traits, he avoided me and took to an unlit corner of the parking lot and stayed there, allowing me to get safely into the bike cage without being locked in with him.
A short while later, two other cyclists showed up and I notified them of the man and what he did. The man left quickly.
Sadly, I do not have a picture of the man as I thought it was unsafe to retrieve my phone, due the constant state of vigilance I needed to exercise in the situation.
Many thanks for reading this, and I hope it will help you stay safe.
I was walking to the 2 train to go visit a friend when a guy who walked pass me did a 180 and started following me. And by following, I mean was on top of me. His body was literally touching mine as I was walking, asking for my phone number and if I would be his girlfriend. In that moment I went into “fight or flight” mentality that so many of us women find ourselves in. Do I just stay quiet and keep walking, hoping he goes away? Or do I turn around and face my potential attacker? At first I quietly declined his advances, although his body was pushing me to walk faster. I was quickly looking for people who were close by or open businesses that I might be able to walk in to. Then I increased my request for him to leave me alone by simply stating I would call the police if he didn’t leave me alone. This persisted for several blocks, so I finally stopped in my tracks, looked him in the eye and yelled at the top of my lungs “Leave me the fuck alone or I swear to God I will fucking choke the shit out of you!” He laughed and finally walked away.
A man snuck up behind me when I was putting some vegetables in my cart. He was probably in his 50s. Goes “You know how to make those taste real good, girly?” Very close to me and blocking my cart. I said, “What?” Trying to figure out what to say next. He repeated himself without the “girly”, so I told him I roast them. He tried to keep talking so I politely told him I needed to finish shopping so I could go back to work, and backed up when he didn’t move out of my way. He followed me and continued to talk, and I only lost him when he wanted me to follow him down one aisle and I went the other way without saying anything. I left immediately and kept looking over my shoulder because I was afraid he would come up behind me again. I was in a public place so I was probably fine, but still not fun to feel like you’re being followed.
After opening with “hey, are you afraid of Black guys?” I should’ve seen it coming – the man kept talking to me even after clear signals that I wasn’t interested. He opted to follow me across the Hopscotch bridge instead of going up North Capitol like which is where he said he was headed. He kept saying “C’mon” as though I was following him. Finally I turned to him and said, “look, I’m tired and I don’t want to talk to you. I’ve had a long day at work and I’m angry that you don’t understand that I don’t want to talk to you. Leave me alone.” Maybe the twinge of hysteria in my voice is what made him give up and finally leave. I was so shaky that I called a friend in my way across the bridge.
Two men approached me from across the street while I was walking. They followed me for half a block, commenting on my looks, and asking if I was married or had a boyfriend. I ignored them and they stopped as soon as I was near other pedestrians.
I experience incidents everyday during my commute to the city. Some are “smaller” incidents like a man breathing in my face or holding his phone in an unusual position to photograph me and some are more serious incidents like being touched inappropriately. A few years ago, I experienced one of the more serious incidents. I was sitting on the train and reading something and didn’t notice that a man was standing in front of me. After I looked up from what I was reading, I noticed that his pants were unzipped and he was flashing me. I was shocked; I had never experienced anything like that and I thought I must have been mistaken. But when I looked again, I saw that I wasn’t wrong. At that point, the other people sitting next to me, including a middle aged man and a young woman, got up from their seats and began to move away. I wasn’t just shocked that I was being harassed, I was shocked that no one thought to help. Not one person who got up thought to tell me that someone was harassing me and not one of them tried to help. When I noticed that everyone had stood up, I stood up too and moved away. But he followed and I was too shocked to move to a different car. I still remember what he looks like and what he was wearing.
One evening I was walking in downtown and I noticed this car was going straight, then turned and a man got out- he clearly was following me and I yelled “Are you following me?!” he said that he just wanted to talk to me. I yelled at him to stop following me and he kept walking after me once he saw that I got on my phone he stopped and went back. The fact that this man went completely out of his way to follow me was scary!