Appalachian Ohio, Athens GA, Atlanta, Berkeley, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Columbia MO, Columbus, Des Moines, Durham & Chapel Hill, East Lansing, Fredericksburgh VA, Houston, Los Angeles, Muncie IN, New York City, NYU, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Plattsburgh, Richmond VA, San Francisco, Tucson, Twin Cities
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 $1500 each. You can make that kind of money in a night if you start hanging around us.” Finally I grabbed my friend’s arm and pulled her away and we started walking really fast. They followed quickly behind us. I panicked and decided to make a huge scene to get everyone’s attention so that they would leave us alone. I started yelling obscenities and was like: “THESE MEN ARE TRYING TO KIDNAP US!” Passersby paused and looked at us, and the men immediately darted off. We ran to the train station and hopped on the next train home.
I think that what surprised me most about this experience was not that these two men were trying to take advantage of two young girls– but that nobody really seemed concerned enough to do a damn thing about it.
My sister was walking home alone one night in a desolate small town (where she was a high school student) and became aware of a man following her. This went on for a block or two until she spun full around, stared at him (from a short distance), and then yelled, “I have seen your face, I can identify you to the police, leave me alone and stop following me!” and ran. He did not pursue her.
I was on the bus one time in San Francisco and had to stand up as the seats were all taken. I stood right next to where an older white man was sitting, just inches away from him, and for whatever reason(?) he reached up and put his hands on my hips. I slid out his grasp and shouted (on a completely silent bus full of people), GET YOUR HANDS OFF ME! and everyone looked over. He did, but he also said “it’s just as much your fault as it is mine”. EW.
Once I was with my best friend on the streetcar (in Toronto) and this old(ish) man approached us and started talking to us. I find it very hard to simply ignore people when they do this and he just seemed like a harmless, lonely old man. Then he started asking us if we’d go to dinner with him. We politely declined. Then he started asking if he could pay us 1000$ each to just have dinner with him. We kept declining, and his offers just kept escalating until he was offering 2500$ each to bring us up to his apartment so we could meet his female friend Kitty.
Since we had just been taking the streetcar for fun we decided to get off. He followed.
He kept walking beside us and talking, not being overly threatening, but I was sure to keep myself in between him and my friend (she’s two years younger, and I have a black belt in karate so I know I could handle myself).
She then bumped into something and said “ow” to which he responded “oh don’t worry girls, I won’t hurt you” – then he grabbed my arm and continued “well, I might”.
At this I just knew we had to get away from him. I tried to mouth the word “HELP” to passers by. I made eye contact with numerous people (including three guys who looked like they could have been College football players) but none took notice. I even thought about running up to one of these guys and pretending that I knew them. I didn’t though.
We were in a somewhat chic neighbourhood, and the only places around were expensive lunch restaurants, and our misplaced sense of decency made us not want to disturb people’s meals.
Then we passed by this upscale salon and someone was handing out flyers at the front door. We walked over and each took one and tried to strike up a conversation. Then the old man started talking to this flyer guy. This was our out we thought! We snuck behind him and walked briskly to a corner store just up the street.
Once in the corner store we both looked shook up and the owner of the store asked us if anything was wrong. I quickly told him to call 911 (which he did not) and that a man had followed us off the streetcar and we were trying to get away, but before I could finish the old man walked in and walked straight towards us.
He turned to the owner and said “these are my daughters! This one’s a pilot” – he said pointing to me “and this one’s a nurse” – he said pointing to my friend.
-let me just say that my name is Amelia, like Amelia Earhart, which I hadn’t told him. As well my mom wanted to be a pilot when she went to military college but being a woman she wasn’t allowed. And my friend’s mother is a nurse. Just a really weird coincidence… anyway…
Since he was situated in front of us we were both shaking our heads vigorously to let this store owner know that this was not the truth (plus we were both obviously in our teens, so being a pilot and a nurse was a little out there).
He distracted the man enough that his son could sneak us out of the back of the store. The son escorted us to Bathurst, and from there we walked quite briskly down to Queen street. I don’t know if the police were ever called, but this guy was definitely creepy. At certain points I was sure that if he had found the chance he would have tried something horrible.
Submitted by Amelia
I was walking out of work one night. It was around 9 pm on a Sunday. As I started down the street towards the subway, I saw a group of guys come out of a club next the my work’s building. I didn’t really think much of it, because it is New York City.
When I got a little closer, they started hollering at me, and one guy came up to me and started saying things like “Listen, all these brothers want to fuck you right now, right here, okay? They want to fuck you so hard…”
I told the guy to screw off, and I crossed the street. They they followed me. This was a group of about 15 guys, and I am one 125 lb girl, and I don’t get scared that easily, but I felt like it was time to run. When they started trying to grab at me, it was absolutely time to leave. So I took off in the other direction, and ran into the Trader Joe’s on 6th Ave. They didn’t follow me.
Now here’s my question. There were three clubs on that street with bouncers standing outside of them- including the club that these guys had come out of. Where were the bouncers, and why didn’t they help me?
Submitted by Alex
I was followed for about 30 minutes by a man while walking alone midday in downtown Port of Spain, Trinidad. At first, I thought I was being paranoid, but as he recognized that his following me was making me nervous, I could see he was enjoying scaring me and he made more of a show of following me. I finally ran into a church and hid for another 45 minutes until he went away.
Submitted by Naomi