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I’m a server, at a small family owned restaurant. I love it, but the hours are so crazy sometimes. I typically get out after midnight. This night in particular I had to stop by Kroger on the way home to grab some tampons and groceries. No big deal. But as I was walking down the bread isle, some guy crosses my path and doubles back. He’s around my age. Frat guy looking. And I’m thinking “okay here we go.” So he keeps pace behind me. Doesn’t say anything. So I’m like “well maybe he’s forgotten something ahead and I’m being paranoid.” No. He follows me down several isles. He pretends to look at things as I continue to shop. He hasn’t even picked anything up. He doesn’t have a cart or a basket. So I start to get weirded out. Then I guess he musters up the courage to talk to me, so he says “having a good night, darlin?” And it’s so freaking creepy. He’s not even making eye contact with me, just staring at my body like I’m meat on the grill. So I’m like “I was, creep.” And I turn and walk away. This I guess, pisses him off. So he follows me in a huff and I can hear him muttering to him self “bitch” so I decide, ‘you know, I really need a giant box of tampons and pads.’ So I turn down the feminine hygiene isle. I guess he realizes where he is, and is disgusted, so he turns around and leaves. I made sure I had a manager walk me to my car. Thank god for tampons.
I am an avid yogi and I work hard to make it to yoga class every day with my busy schedule. I was so excited when I moved into the city within walking distance from my yoga studio. I usually walk the 5 minutes to class then walk home when it’s over, still in my yoga clothes. Apparently me wearing yoga pants is an invitation for men to comment on my most blessed attributes. Two days ago I was walking home from class when about 3 blocks from my house a white car drove up next to me, rolled down the side window and said “damn girl look at that ass”. I ignored them as I always do… the car drove down the block, turned around at the round about and rolled past me again, “ASS all day!”. He did this turn around/drive-by and yell thing about 6 times before I ended up running the last block home. I hid in the alley behind my house so that he wouldn’t be able to tell where I live and I cried. I now drive the 7 blocks to my yoga studio everyday out of fear that the same man or someone else might take it even further than that.
I was walking down a main road in my town to go to a local park. About 100 yards ahead of me sat a man on a bench. At this distance, he looked straight at me and then quickly stood up and crossed the street. I noticed his abrupt movement and thought it was a little odd, but didn’t think that much of it. I kept walking. After another five minutes or so of walking down that same street, I looked over and there was the same man, still across the street, walking in the same direction parallel to me. I tried to calm my paranoia and figured, “Maybe he’s going to the park too” or to some other nearby location. As we both kept walking, however, I noticed that he would frequently look over at me from across the street and made sure to walk at the exact same pace that I was walking. When I slowed down, he slowed down. When I sped up, he sped up. At this point, we were in a very residential part of town where there were no businesses or public places, only houses, and I was getting scared. We were the only two people on the street. Finally we passed by a church. I decided to try an experiment to see if he really was following me: in front of the church, I stopped dead in my tracks and took out my cell phone. I figured the man would keep walking without regard for my direction, and I would feel silly. To my horror, he stopped when I stopped, and turned to look at me, as if he was waiting for me to keep moving so he could continue to follow me. At this point I made direct eye contact with him from across the street, put on a serious face, and pretended to make a phone call (it could have been to 911 or the police or whatever; the point was just to let him know that I knew he was following me and I was calling someone to report it). At this point, the man turned around down a random side street and stopped following me.
It was another seven minutes of walking to the park, and I was turning around to look over my shoulder the entire time.
I’ve been getting followed and harassed by some guys in the neighborhood. I’m freaked out about it. I’m a single mom and live with my son, and the harassers live in front of us. One kinda stalked me today, watching me. Later today his buddy started shouting shit at me and then approached me because I wouldn’t respond. My guy friend was right next to me, too. I had just told him about the dude acting shady earlier, then we were outside and the guy started calling me blondie, getting mad that I didn’t respond, then approached and started trying to call me beautiful and stuff, I didn’t respond because I was uncomfortable and scared, and him and another bystander did NOTHING. It was really scary and upsetting. They live nearby and I see them daily, and they seem to watch me when I come and go. While this is bothersome, the worst is how my male friends dismiss it, invalidating my feelings just because they don’t understand the threat women feel constantly. We are taught as children that we are prey, and men can be predators. Some men just seem so ignorant of what it may be like for us women, and are not sensitive at all. With my friend, it isnt like I expected anything crazy, but I expected at least something like “Hey, you ok? That seemed scary”.
This person is stalking and harassing me.
Back again. Literally like 2 days ago, I was groped by a creeper who made no effort to deny groping me, and motioned for me to KEEP WALKING IN FRONT OF HIM so that he could grope me again! Had to chase him off with pepper spray. I already posted that story though. Today I was on the back of a motorbike taxi and the driver reached around his arm to try and molest me. Screamed on top of my lungs and ran off as soon as he let me. Within 3 days. I’m so exhausted and terrified and feeling dirty and I just really really really hate men right now. And I know it’s not all men and whatever, but for fuck’s sake this is MY body and I can’t believe how many people don’t realize that.
I was waiting for the “walk” sign so I could cross Houston Street in New York City. A man, likely 30 years older than me, stood next to me and said, “Hi, how are you?” I looked up and quickly nodded while giving a faint smile. He then started to tell me about himself to which I showed little interest except for occasionally saying, “Ohh.” He then began to ask me where I lived and where I was going none of which I responded to. He pulled out his cell phone and asked me to put in my number, I said “no”, turned around and went down the stairs of the nearby subway. I did not actually need to use the subway, because I lived nearby, but figured I could hide out there until the light changed and he crossed the street. However, he followed me down the subway stairs and said he needed to use the subway too. At this point I was very scared and started saying, “Please leave me alone. Please leave me alone,” expecting someone in the subway station to step in, but instead on-lookers dispersed, and I was left alone with him. I was scared to run up the stairs in case he continued to follow me or tried to pull me towards him, so I walked right up to the turnstile and fumbled with my wallet, pretending to get out my subway metrocard. He went to the turnstile next to me and put his metrocard in and crossed to the other side. I then immediately backed away as he yelled angrily at me, “Hey! Come back here! Come back here! Give me your number!” I was so scared and in shock that I just stared at him for a bit as he yelled at me, before turning around and sprinting up the stairs and down the street for the next four blocks.
I work downtown and will either take the bus home or walk. A few months ago, probably in February or March, I noticed a man hit on a woman as I left work around 8pm. She brushed him off and he tried to talk to me, but I ignored him and kept walking. I had to run some errands so I stopped by Target, and was talking on the phone to my mom when he tapped me on the shoulder. He said he knew I was in the middle of a conversation but he really “liked [my] look” and wanted to talk to me. I told him to wait until I was finished talking if he wanted to speak with me, and walked away.
A month or two later, I was waiting at my usual bus stop when the same man came up to me. He struck up a conversation with me, and not wanting to be rude, I talked to him for a bit. When he asked me if I was an artist, I told him I had designed the image on my t-shirt. He laughed and said “Well, now I’m looking directly at your chest.” Thankfully that was the moment my bus came, and when he asked me out for coffee I told him I wasn’t interested, and had to leave.
Those were both downtown. Tonight, I was walking home from work again and was stopped at an intersection closer to my neighborhood. I turned to look at something and saw the same man behind me, so I quickly turned away obviously not wanting to be engaged in conversation. He walked all the way around me until he was right in front of my face and couldn’t be ignored and said “Hello, you know you look really cute.” I felt like this guy needed to be put in his place, so I told him that I saw through his act and he had done this to me several times before. Rather than being ashamed, he was delighted, and said “Really! Wow! I thought you looked familiar!” I forcefully told him that I was not interested in talking to him and that I was trying to make my way home in peace. He said “Well I just thought someone should tell you you looked cute.” I walked away from him without a word.
I’ve not only had uncomfortable interactions with this particular man in the last few months, but have had multiple notable sexist interactions with men in the last week alone, all while simply trying to commute home from work. I feel uncomfortable to even walk out my door or wear something that shows a bit more skin. It is not acceptable to be made to feel this way simply trying to get to and from work.
I was walking my dog down my block and there was a group of men working on my neighbors driveway. I could see one of them staring at me and I watched him move behind a vehicle parked in the road. I watched his feet under the car…he was waiting for me to walk up to him. But he was hiding. When I came up on the vehicle, he stepped right in front of me, sort of blocking my path. He asked what kind of dog I had so I told him. Then he asked me if my husband was home. Even though Im married to a woman, I just said “Yes, yes he is”. I didnt want him to think I was single or home alone. He then said, “Can I ask you a question, can I have a hug?”. My dog began to growl at him, and my dog has NEVER done this before. Mind you, it was almost 95 degrees, hot and humid. I said “No dude and you better back off or my dog will bite you”. He asked again, making it sound like he wasn’t asking for much. I quickly walked away. He stared at me the whole time. My dog kept stopping to look back at him, thats how I caught him staring. Now he knows where I live, as he was working there all day and I live two houses down. I locked myself in the house all day yesterday and today Im afraid to walk my dog because hes there again. I think Ill go out with a pocket knife, just in case. It might not sound very threatening to some of you, but Im scared of this guy. Im scared that he knows where I live. And theres not much I can do about this other then continue to be hypervigilant.
The graduation presents my father bought me and my sister when we went out on our own we’re powerful Tazers. I remember him looking at them before we left, trying to find the most practical ones. He messages each of us constantly to assure that we are carrying them, they also work as flashlights, one night I was terrified when I was pressed to use it on another individual.
A coworker of mine, we’ll say her name is Stacy, had told me about a weird man who came into our retail store one Saturday night, he came in when she was trying to close and was asking her odd questions. We didn’t think much of it and, subsequently, brushed it off. That following Wednesday, I got a call from a man who was looking to speak to her. He mentioned that he had been in that weekend and was supposed to call her back to discuss a few things.
When I brought this up to my coworker, she said that she didn’t talk to anyone at that length but the man and that they didn’t agree to speak again.
Just at that moment, with both of us looking confused at the phone, he called. I answered and attempted to prove him for information. What gave him the assumption that she wanted him to call? He simply kept insisting that they had ‘important’ things to discuss. According to Stacy, they had nothing to discuss. I hung up the phone on him and thought that would be the end of it.
The week after that, I was closing on a Saturday night by myself as we often do. I was cleaning something, in the front of the store which is just a wall of windows. It was only ten minutes before I had to lock the door when I saw a car pull slowly by my store. There was a man, driving alone in a car marked with Colorado license plates. He crept by, his eyes searching for something or someone. As he walked slowly up to the windows in the store, I didn’t have that tazer in my work apron and, even if I had, I would have felt fear-stricken regardless. He didn’t enter the store. He started from one end of the windows and slowly worked his way down to me. I knew at that point that something was going on. So, when he made eye-contact with me and smiled I felt like I was going to cry. I was absolutely paralyzed.
He looked similar in appearance to the man Stacy saw just a couple weeks before. I didn’t feel safe enough to take out my phone for a picture, however. I stood and hoped that he wouldn’t enter the store. I couldn’t lock the door either, I was afraid that it also may be someone important, like a health inspector. He man walked away from my store like he had been caught and just stood in front of the store next to mine. He stood there like he was thinking of his next plan of action.
Now, I was watching him very closely. So, when he quickly turned towards me and walked briskly to the still unlocked door, I physically jumped. The man opened the door, and spoke to me as if our whole exchange wasn’t filled with his off putting actions.
“So, where is a good place to get some food around here?” He spoke to me as if we had been talking before. I told him the first restaurant that I could think of, to get him out of there. The whole time he was looking at me, I felt violated and defensive, ready to pick up any object and defend myself. He also looked oddly disappointed. He left out the door after I gave him a recommendation. The man then proceeded to walk to his car, the only one in the parking lot, and entered through his passenger door. I continued to work. I swept and mopped and counted my drawer all in the period of which he was sitting in his car, alone. I. The seat closest to me.
When I went into our employee area to grab my things, I held my electrical flashlight in my hand, ready once again. The man’s car was not in front anymore and there seemed to be no other humans in sight. I walked frantically to my car and didn’t feel safe even when I reached my home.
I called Stacy and explained to her what the man looked like. She was positive that it was the same man, even down to his tie-die shirt labeled with a festival that happens in the area.
I told my boyfriend of my concerns about what happened. He starting asking me so many questions. “Why didn’t you call security? Why didn’t you lock the door when you saw him? Is she sure that it is the same guy?” The answer to all of his questions was silence form me. I realized that because we had no physical proof, people brushed it off on us being paranoid.
Now, the next week, this week, is when I had another Saturday closing shift. I locked the door early that night when no one was in the lot, just to be safe. As I was sweeping, I heard the roar of a motorcycle. I lifted my head only to see a similar looking man creeping by my store’s giant windows. His plates were also from Colorado. He made eye contact with me again and smiled. From what I could see, the only differences in the men were his face was shaven and the other man, from the Saturday before, sported a thick beard. He turned his cycle in my direction and drifted to the curb right in front of the door. He parked his cycle in front of the door. At this point, I was done feeling so terrified. I stood in front of the door as he was trying to open it, making sure he didn’t look away from my eyes. He seemed confused when I didn’t unlock the door to let him in. I didn’t care, I stood and gazed out at him, challenging him. After several failed attempts at getting the door opened by smiling at me like we were old friends, he got on his motorcycle and left. I work in a mall setting, there are many store surrounding me but, he drove up to mine intentionally and left without seeing any other stores.
I called my father on my way out of the store, in hopes that he would help me calm down. I was so scared and exposed. Yet, I still knew that I had things to do in my personal life. I drove over to my local Wal-Mart to pick up a few things. I grabbed my purse, the home of my tazer, and started to walk in to the store. i could see the door form the place I was standing and had to stop to wait on crossing the road.
I heard a rumbling just to the left of me, I looked up. To my disbelief, the same man that had been at the store earlier, was stopped at the stop sign, waiting for me to cross. I practically ran away from him and my car as I heard some sort of whooping noise behind me, no doubt coming from the man.
I live close to that store so, I didn’t go home that night, in fear that he was following me. I am not sure where or who he is but, I am scared. I am so terrified. And, this isn’t even the first time I have felt scared because of a similar encounter. Next Saturday, I am scheduled to work again.