Athens GA, Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Cleveland, Columbia MO, Columbus, Denver, Des Moines, Duke University, NC, Durham & Chapel Hill, East Lansing, Flagstaff, AZ, Houston, Iowa City, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Lubbock TX, Manhattan KS, Muncie IN, New Orleans, New York City, Oneonta, Pittsburgh, Plattsburgh, Providence, Richmond VA, San Fernando Valley, San Francisco, Twin Cities, West Georgia (University)
So recently i moved to Padova Italy to work there for a while. And since i got here i noticed that the amount of catcalling and streetharrasment is much higher than it was in my home town, which is also a big town. It made me feel very unsafe. When i go out of the house i get catcalled almost every 15minutes. And last week a man followed me for at least 10minutes. Iv never been in a situation like this where is so overwelming and so constant. The friends iv made here are experiencing the same, and even worst than me. Today I saw a short documentary about catcalling and street harrasment and it was very inspiring. I usually ignore my harasser’s but talking back seems like an empowering thing to do naturally when a man grabbed my arm on the street not half n hour later all I did was run away and try not to make eyecontact. Baby steps.
Not very recent at all, but still relevant. Once when I was 11 or 12 years old, I was out with my mom when a man came up to me and asked me if I wanted to go out for drinks. The man was probably 40 years older than me. He followed us up the block before giving up. My mother didn’t try to defend me or get rid of the man, nor did she talk to me about it later. Because my mom blamed me and never tried to protect me from bullying in school, I assumed that street harassment was also my fault.
Was walking downtown on a Sunday afternoon when I noticed someone close behind me and getting closer. I quickened my pace and moved to the side of the sidewalk when he groped my ass. He apologized and I told him to fuck off. 20 minutes later I saw him again, I took his picture and yelled at him, he told me not to take his picture and I told him not to grope women. He looked terrified. I reported it to the police and they did not even want to look at the picture.
At the time i was 15-16 i was alone going to a bus stop and this guy followed me there and asked me where the streetcar is and if i can show him, i said there is none here… Then he walks away and comes back and asks me to bring him to the subway i said no and he’s just staring at my boobs then he left and i called my friend crying and he came running back and i screamed “leave me the fuck alone or I’ll kill u!!” And he just came so close to me in the bus shelter staring at my boobs and my crotch and i told him to leave and he just stood there, slowly walking away. I was screaming cry cause i was alone then these couple came to the bus stop and i felt relived and he asked me whats wrong, i told him , and he said the same guy did the same thing to his gf across the street and said if he came back he would kick his ass so i felt safe. The next morning i woke up to go pick up my phone from a store and the same dude was infront of my condo and tried to hug me i dodged it and ran as fast as i could to a school and called the cops, when i was talking to the police they got a message that they arrested him half way through the interview. I also went downtown to hand out resumes and i needed to push a button to get into this one store, and the guy let me in and he was the only one working, he was like 60 and called me beautiful and was rubbing my leg asking if i was a virgin and he tried raping me.. I was 15!! I ran as fast as i could out of the store hoping i didnt need him to open the door for me to leave, i ran across to the grass and started crying and called the police. Other then that I’ve had about enough of this shit feeling unsafe going anywhere. I’ve had men on subways stalk me i have seen men just stare at me or down my shirt, I’ve also seen a guy masturbate on the subway and laughed about it thinking it was hilarious everyone saw and there were kids there… Like wtf?
I was walking alone around the Cascade Station outdoor mall in Portland, OR. Behind me and to my right I hear a male voice.
“You walk really fast.”
Not sure and hoping it’s not directed at me I continue.
“You walk really fast.”
The voice and comment make me more uncomfortable.
I’m Asian so I know this is for me. I look over and glare.
He is a man wearing yellow glasses and a camo jacket. He yells, “Why are you so stuck up!”
I hurry into the nearest store.
I’d gone to the store and found myself going out of my way for half an hour to avoid a man that had been following close behind me. He still waited until I had to walk home, then attempted to follow me there. It wasn’t until I looked him in the face and asked if I could help him that he finally stopped.
Two of my roommates and I went to a party in our college town. I saw one of my friends and while trying to talk to her, this guy kept dancing with her and tried to get me to join in. We were in the middle of the dance floor so I casually danced while talking to her. He kept trying to grab my hand and make me dance with him. I kept telling him no and shaking him off me. He told me I was rude and that if I didn’t want to have a good time I could just go somewhere else.
So I started talking to other friends. While hanging around and dancing I noticed that these girls were trying to talk to their friend who was pinned against a wall by this guy. I approached the friends and found that they were trying to leave and the guy wouldn’t let their friend go anywhere with anyone. I approached him and told him that I needed her to come with me. He pushed her aside and got into my face saying that he caught her trying to hook up with his cousin and that she wasn’t going anywhere without him. I grabbed the girls hand and put myself in between them. I told him that she wasn’t going to stay with him nor hang out with anyone else for that matter because she was leaving. He told me that I better keep her out. As he left I ushered her to her own friends.
At this same party while I at attempted to find my own friends, I heard yelling at the staircase. I walk up hoping not to find the same offended. But it was worse. There was a group of guys yelling at this one girl. She was crying and yelling. All sorts of names were being thrown at her. I grabbed her hand, and pulled her towards the door, amazed at what a disaster this party was and all the harassment. She sobbed that he said he had loved her “but he didn’t really mean it,” she cried, clinging to my arm. I was at a lose for words and pushed her towards the door and remember telling them to stop and that we were leaving. I hear my own friends across the house. I turn to see if I can see them, when someone grabs my arm, telling me that this girl was never allowed to come back because SHE created a scene. I turned towards the door. I can’t find this girl I just ushered out. I turn to one of the guys outside asking if he saw a girl. He “informed” me that two of his friends escorted her off the property. Luckily for me they hadn’t made it very far and I found her friends to take her home.
By this point I was over this exasperating party so I get my friends to leave. While we were walking back across town through Main street I notice there surprisingly wasn’t as many people walking about as I expected. Behind us there was a man on his phone. He was around his age and I’m talking to my friends minding my own, but then I hear him say “these asses though, bro. It’s like watching a porno.” I feel my gut drop realizing nobody else is around and this guy has been following us. I turn around.
“Excuse me?! My friends and I are walking home. We just came back from a party we are not dressed up like this for you! Don’t EVER compare anyone to a PORNO. This is my body and it’s not here for your entertainment.” At this point the guy reaches towards me as if to COMFORT ME. I push his hand away from me and tell him “And do NOT try to touch me ever again. Leave us alone” and we turn to go on our way. He stops following us though.
I think it is disgusting how girls who go out are expected to be there to entertain the men. This is not our purpose. We have our own rules to our bodies and we should not be expected to be intimidated and pushed around when we go out.
I was walking home this morning from running errands downtown when a man walked up to me while waiting at an intersection. He proceeded to blatantly lick his lips and look me up and down numerous times. I briefly glared at him then proceeded to ignore and avoid eye contact with him. He then continued to stare at me and speak to me in Spanish. He continued to follow me down the street walking right next to me, blatantly checking me out and saying things I couldn’t understand and laughing to himself. Walking as fast as I could, I could not get away from him. Finally, when I could make out that he was asking if I was going to the library, (which was just ahead), I said, “Are you talking to me?!” to which he replied with something in Spanish. “I don’t speak Spanish!” to which he just laughed and continued to give lewd looks. Finally I was able to walk quickly away from him! I’m used to street harassment and can’t stand it. I generally just avoid eye contact and speak up when I need to. He made me feel extremely uncomfortable and violated. Plus the fact he continued to walk with me and be so blatantly inappropriate made me feel scared! No one should put up with street harassment—we are not things to be gawked at!
I was walking up onto Oxford St when this scruffy creepy guy tried several times to intentionally step right into my path and block my way. After sidestepping twice the third time I physically shoved past him hard with my massive shoulderbag, he shouted something unintelligent but left me alone as it was really busy about. He went on his way hopefully to take a bath.
I was waiting at the light rail station on Tukwila International Boulevard, a very troubled stretch of road near Sea-Tac Airport where there’s been a rash of seedy motel activity in recent years. On my way home from work, I had just gotten off the train and just missed my bus home, so I had to wait half an hour. I used to walk home from there because I love walking and it’s only two miles, but walking there by myself proved extremely dangerous and stressful. There is literally CONSTANT harassment, not a moment’s peace. And not just harassment but stalking and following.
A man in his 20’s approached me, and welcomed himself to sit right next to me in a plaza full of empty seats. He had one of those fake gold teeth, pants belted around his mid-thighs with his flannel boxers on proud display. I have never, ever, ever understood the appeal of this.
“Hey girl”, he said (of course). “Hi”, I said (sheepishly and making a point to appear busy with my phone). He asked me if I would join him on the 128 to the Admiral District. I cringed. That was my bus. I told him, politely, that I was engaged (at the time), flashing my ring for added credibility. He smugly declared “Girl, that’s not real! I’d get you a real one!”.
I was a little fed up with his ego. I said “Really.” flat and sarcastic. Not that it’s anyone’s business, but after doing my research, I directly asked my now-husband to get me a stainless steel, cubic zirconia ring, because it’s still very durable and I can’t make sense of spending thousands of dollars that at the time we didn’t have for something that’s value should be largely sentimental anyway.
Mr. Underpants kept going on, about how my fiance must have been a cheapskate, how a fine-ass bitch like me deserved diamonds, and how if I had a brain I would leave my husband and get with Boxersface (you can see that the underwear thing is a hangup for me).
While I do realize that the reason we women must reveal our relationship statuses because the only way to nullify strange mens’ “ownership” of us is to already be “owned” by a man, my relationship has very serious, significant meaning to me. I have only been with one man (which was not a religious decision), and, ever since, I have never had one iota of interest in going out with anyone else. The thought doesn’t even occur to me, whatsoever. Men=not interesting. So having a man, not to mention one who belongs to a subculture I’m PARTICULARLY turned off by, tell me that my relationship is meaningless to him and if I don’t let him destroy it, I’m “stupid” is in actuality a personal attack on my independent life decisions as a woman.
So I told him, “Gross, you’re gross, leave me alone”. And he said “Bitch, you’re just such a fine bitch, I just wanna show you how a bitch like you is supposed to be treated”. So by now, I’ve been called a “bitch” about sixteen times in my entire life and every last one was by this guy. I don’t think I want this guy to teach me how I’m “supposed” to be treated.
Thinking I was finally going to tell one of these losers off, I took a deep breath, and was interrupted by “Hey, what’s going here? Leave her alone, she doesn’t have to put up with this.”
I looked up and saw an older man, maybe in his 30’s, with a lovely wife holding a lovely little girl with might I add, the most adorable little afro. Think Blue Ivy =) Never you mind how he was dressed because his character is more the issue here, though I feel compelled to share that he was apparently confident that people would know he was wearing underwear whether they saw it or not. I thought, there, look at that, THAT’S a man. Of course, Pantyman mouthed off to him, told him to “Stay out my business.” Funny. Staying out of other people’s business is a virtue for wannabe homewreckers, I guess.
I thanked the family man. He offered to trade seats with me (at this point all the seats were now full). I was so grateful that I gave his family the leftover cookies that I had baked for my coworkers that day. He gave the seat to his wife and child, though, and stood right next to them (what a guy). From across the way, I could see and hear the man lecturing (insert underpants-related nickname I can’t think of any more of here). I was completely sold.
And finally, the bus came and the jerk thought we could reconnect or something. He was saying, “C’mon, c’mon, just go home with me one time, your fiance doesn’t have to know!”. I said “Are you kidding me?”. He said “What? What? You can’t have your own life? Your fiance doesn’t let you kick it with other dudes? What are you, his pet?”. I said… “Are you kidding me…?”…
And then, suddenly, everyone in line to get on the bus started putting him in his place, telling him to give up, leave me alone… He kept trying to bother me on the bus and the driver made him sit in the back. He raised some civil rights argument, and had the nerve to compare his lowly self to Rosa Parks (fighting for his right to harass women is totally the same thing as fighting for equality, not like, the opposite or anything), and I’ll admit it was a tad awkward, but no one else seemed to be offended.
Ultimately, it was both an exhausting and wonderful experience. Having so many people come to my aid was amazing. So often this kind of harassment goes totally unnoticed. In fact, in areas like Tukwila, you can be so surrounded by jerks that they’ll all just cheer a harasser on. It was great to see that there are people on that street who are willing to say it’s not okay.