groping, Stalking, Verbal

Rachel’s Story: “I Hate Feeling Afraid and Having No Allies Near Me to Help Me in This Situation”

I am a 20-something living and working abroad.I live in a small village and must travel to a neighboring city to shop for food. Every time I go to this city I am hollered at in multiple languages and men make kissy noises at me. I have been followed on numerous occasions and grabbed by strange men a few times. I am in public areas during the day where other people see this happen, and no one does anything. No one says a word when I am running down the street from a man who keeps grabbing me and “wants to just talk.” Locals laugh it off as “well of course, you are foreign and they want to get papers.”

The organization I work for tells me not to travel alone and to just ignore it. I hate feeling afraid and having no allies near me to help me in this situation. I hate that I cannot have any kind of relationship or even a simple conversation with a man without him thinking I want to have sex with him. I have a male friend who lives a few hours from me and has offered to come shopping with me to hopefully reduce the amount of harassment, but I do not want to have to have a man with me for other men to leave me alone. I just want to be able to get food and go places on my own and not be afraid.

I've got your back!
18+

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Stalking, Verbal

Gabby’s Story: “I Didn’t Feel Safe Walking to the Bookstore, and I Don’t Think That’s Right at All”

I decided I wanted to go to a nearby mall to visit the bookstore, so I decided to walk to be healthy and save some money. On my way I first got stared at by a man in a large truck who even stared back at me once he passed me. After someone from their car called at me to get off my phone and pay attention to him, I called a friend to talk to on the way since I got a little scared. Finally someone whistled at me, and on top of this I saw the same bumblebee car four times in the short twenty minute walk. I became very scared and called a friend to meet me, and she gave me a ride home. I didn’t feel safe walking to the bookstore, and I don’t think that’s right at all.

I've got your back!
15+

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Stalking, Verbal

Louise’s Story: “Since Then I Carry Pepper Spray Everywhere I Go”

I got on the Fraser bus to go home from school and as soon as I sat down there was this man sitting in front of me, late 30′s early 40′s maybe. Anyways, I could tell right away from the way he was looking at me that he was bad news (I’ve had to deal with lots of creeps before, but he was the worst), as he kept staring at me incessantly with a very strange glare in his eyes. As soon as I could, I moved seats on the bus but he kept following me. When I reached my stop, he got off as well, he even stood up right when I did. Then he started following me home, and I decided it was better not to lead him there, so I took a different route, all the while this creep is following only 3 feet behind me.

I turned into an alley and grabbed the only thing in my bag I could find to defend myself, then I confronted him and asked if he was following me. Then he started to say things like, “Please, don’t do this, I love you, please.” I have never met this man before in my life. I’ve taken self defense courses before and at this point I decided to get aggresive to scare him. I picked up some rocks, started screaming for him to get the f*** away from me but he wouldn’t so I picked up more rocks and he started to walk back slowly, but with this demented smile that made me feel really nervous. I then turned and ran when he was far enough away and ran into some more a**holes who pulled up next to me in a car and asked me if I wanted to party (I mean seriously, where do all these jerks come from), but I ignored them and kept walking. Luckily I ran into my brother shortly after, and he walked me home. Then I called the police to report the stalker but I don’t think they ever found out who he is. Since then I carry pepper spray everywhere I go.

I've got your back!
25+

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Stalking, transphobic, Verbal

Not Your Girl’s Story: “This Could Have Turned Out Much Worse”

Walking my dog at night while talking to a friend on the phone, I heard someone behind me getting closer. He kept saying “girl, girl slow down” and “common don’t be that way.”

I didn’t think he was talking to me because I am a post transition trans man with facial hair, and I was in deep conversation. My dog stopped to smell something and I saw the shadow of his hand reaching toward my ass. He was only a foot away. I turned around, looked him in the eye, and said loudly, “Hey!” He pulled his hand back, and I started walking away quickly trying to get to the well-lit 300 N.

I informed my friend on the phone of the situation, where I was, and gave a description of the dude…He continued following me shouting, “Hey it, hey he-she, I got something for your mouth.”

He followed me for 8 blocks turning where I turned and ducking behind bushes so I couldn’t see him then popping out and cat calling again. I kept my friend on the phone with location updates until I turned a sharp corner and hid in an apartment complex until he went by so I could get home.

I am so grateful for my friends at Hollaback! Baltimore who taught me things to do in these situations because this could have turned out much worse. I’m still shaken but I decided to post on here right away so others in Salt Lake City could be aware in this part of town at 11pm.

Dude description: white dude ,skinny , guessing 5’8 ish, patchy mustache and chin hair, buzzed head and a neck tat of words.

I've got your back!
14+

no comments 
public masturbation, Stalking

HOLLA ON THE GO: “I Was Terrified”

I have been followed from train car to train car on the NYC subway. When the train was in motion, he would sit there, stare at me, and openly masturbate. I eventually pretended like I was going to stay in my seat at a stop but jumped up and ran to another car at the last second. He tried to follow me but did to make it in time. He pounded on the train windows as we pulled away. I was terrified.

I've got your back!
21+

no comments 
Nonverbal Harassment, Stalking

Chloe’s Story: “My Sister and I Can’t Take on 5 Men”

So yesterday me and my sister when on a bike ride to go check out a couple houses we had seen for rent. Once we got to the first house on our list we hopped off our bikes and looked around real quick. As we were about to hop back on our bikes, a car crept up to the side of us, and the people in it rolled down their windows. Inside were 5 men gawking at us… my first thought was to grab my pepper spray, but then I thought 5 big men…who knows if they have a gun or something more effective than my little can of pepper spray, and clearly my sister and I can’t take on 5 men. All we could do was try and keep walking and hope they would leave. Finally once we reached the end of the street, the guys realized they weren’t getting anything. They slowly turned and drove off. I was so scared thank God my sister was with me. I could only imagine how much worse I would have felt if I were alone.

I've got your back!
9+

no comments 
Stalking, Verbal

Karina’s Story: “How Will I Ever Feel Safe Walking Alone?”

Scared of walking to catch the bus and walking home!

Hello there…

I am a 21 year old independently going to work via public transportation. As I was walking back home from work, this guy in his twenties stopped his white van in the middle of an intersection. As I was listening to music, he was try to flirt with me and leering at me. I got pissed off and told him to go fuck off and he said why do you have to be so mean and left. I felt so scared and uncomfortable.. I told my mom and she said all guys are like that! That made feel worse!

It happened a second time!

I was waiting for the bus to go to work and I saw that same guy pass by. He decided to turn around. As he turned around and stopped at the other side of the bus, he tried to flirt with me again, so I stuck out my middle finger at him. He said why you do you have to be so mean and left. Again I got so uncomfortable and scared…I felt like he wanted to do something to me like rape me…I was now scared to go walking alone.

The third time, I was walking home after getting off the bus. That same guy showed up again, this time on a bike.. he was trying to flirt with me again, and I screamed FUCK OFF ASSHOLE I’M NOT ASKING FOR IT! He said why do you have to be so mean. I was so pissed off, scared, and uncomfortable. It seems like women like me don’t feel safe! No one will care if a woman gets raped… thanks to this, how will I ever feel safe walking alone?

I've got your back!
22+

no comments 
Stalking, Verbal

Danielle’s Story: “The Female Human in Public”

At approximately 6pm, a car honked and pulled over while I was out for a walk in a “nice” tree-lined neighborhood. Now, I’ve already had the experience of a man stalking me in his car in this area (demanding that I drive him home, which I’ve since interpreted to be an attempted abduction), but I thought, well, maybe he’s lost or — well, basically anything other than what happened next. Here is the exchange in full:

HIM, sitting in his car: You wanna make some extra money?
ME: No.
HIM: You sure?
ME: [wtf] No. [turning to walk away]
HIM: Sex?
ME: … [walking away]
HIM: You’re beautiful!

Fortunately he drove away, but he could have had any number of violent reactions to me turning him down, which is very scary. But guess what? My day of harassment was not over!

I was still outside, and had to get back…on the way, I was honked at twice. Also, a guy hanging out the window of his friend’s car shouted, “heyyyyy” at me as they drove by. I shouted back my crass thoughts, but who knows if he heard. It was particularly frustrating because after the “heyyyy” guy passed by, an older man walked by with his dog and gave me the usual nod of acknowledgment you give passers-by. ALL WAS NORMAL. Women pushing babies in strollers, men jogging. But all I can think about is how terrible my experience out in that same exact public space was…it seemed like everyone was having a lovely time except me, the Female Human in Public.

I've got your back!
18+

no comments 
Stalking, Verbal

S.J.’s Story: Not Taking “No” for an Answer

I’m in my early 20s and a student at a community college. It was late in the evening a month or so ago, and I was on campus walking to class and passed by a group of young men who were talking and joking around with each other. As I proceeded to walk one of them started to loudly make comments like “Hey, you. Can I get your number?” I knew he was talking to me, but I ignored him hoping that wasn’t the case.

I realized that the group was now walking behind me, and I didn’t know what to do. I had never been harassed in public before. I ignored them and kept walking, not indicating that I had heard them at all, but they continued to follow me saying, “Hey, I like girls with square backpacks.” That one almost made me laugh at how ridiculous it was before he said, “Hey, you in the green shirt, I’m talking to you.” I started to get really afraid that they’d try to follow me into the parking structure that I usually cut through and began to walk faster, taking an alternate route where there were more people. Eventually I stopped hearing them behind me. The whole time I could hear the guy laughing with his friends.

A couple of weeks afterwards I was waiting for the city bus and a guy looking to be in his fifties came up to me to ask me what time the bus usually came. I answered him and he walked away. He ended up getting on my bus, and sat a few seats away. As we got closer to campus, he switched seats to sit closer to me, and after asking if I was on my way to school, to which I replied yes, he out of nowhere turned and asked me, “Hey, do you want to go out with me?” I was startled, but I calmly and clearly replied, “No.” He then asked if I was over eighteen to which I replied, without thinking, yes. He continued to try to convince me, asking if I was sure because he had “a Starbucks gift card.” I again replied no. I didn’t feel threatened at the time, just because it seemed so random and he didn’t act upset or threatening; I just thought he was weird/creepy.

However, the next week as I was boarding the bus to go home, I heard someone say hi to me. I began to say hello before I realized it was the same guy. I immediately went to a seat far away from him, but as soon as I sat down he got up and took the seat behind me. It scared me that I couldn’t see him. I immediately took out my phone and dialed the first person I thought would answer. I was really freaked out and didn’t want him to try and talk to me. I talked on the phone about anything I could think of for the entire trip. After I got off, I kept looking behind me, afraid he’d follow me. When I told my sister she told me I should just take one of the metro buses instead, but I was reluctant because the city bus drops me off much closer to home, and I thought that surely he couldn’t be on the bus at all times of the day, as I had never seen him prior to this and I had been taking that bus for years.

Even so, I took the metro bus for a few days, before the weather turned especially warm and I decided to try the city bus one more time. The bus was unusually full, and I took a seat in the front where there were no available seats around me, I thought I was in the clear before the same creep came up beside me in the aisle and presented me with a flower asking me if I wanted it. I said no, and he asked again, I again said no. He left, and I got off early at one of the busier bus stops afraid he’d try to bother me off the bus. That was over a month ago and I haven’t taken that bus since.

Before these incidents I had heard about street harassment and recognized it as an issue, but I had never experienced it myself. I wasn’t prepared for how afraid and insecure it made me feel, I wish I would have said something at the time, but I don’t know if it would have mattered. I feel like it was so obvious both guys were bothering me, and in the second case it freaked me out even more that he didn’t seem to take my answer at face value. It made me afraid that he didn’t seem to have a clear sense of what the word “no” meant. I mean I repeatedly rejected him with my words and body language. Why should I have to bluntly and loudly confront him? Ugh, it happened weeks ago and I’m still thinking I should have told him off.

I've got your back!
12+

no comments 
Stalking, Verbal

Alexis’ Story: Being a Badass Bystander

It was a balmy summer evening, and I was walking home from the subway along Flatbush Avenue. Just ahead of me was a girl in her early twenties in a pair of shorts. Men started hooting, and one of them began following her down the street and aggressively asking for her number, her name, and a date. She kept walking, and he kept following. I came up next to her and asked if she’d like a walk home. She quickly said yes, and I slid my arm into her’s and we walked together. The hooting kept up, but the stalking stopped. After a block I asked if she was ok, and she smiled and said yes.

As upset as I was (and still am), it feels good to be able to do something.

I've got your back!
29+

no comments 
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