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My 20 something friend was working in Cambridge Ma. She wanted to take a power walk at lunch. She wore an oversized hoodie as to not attract attention. She had to stop walking as she go so many verbal sexual comments that she did not feel safe.
At 58 years old, I experienced such issues in the 70’s and believe me I dressed conservative. This made me so sad that things never change.
I was walking with my friends through Digbeth, in Birmingham. We were visiting a friend and she was showing us this really cool graffiti art. There was 4 of us. So, we were starting to leave the area towards the street when we noticed a man who was just staring at us.
We could tell that he was probably drunk – even though it was around 3pm – because, he was walking really slowly and in rough short movements. He started to walk faster and faster towards us until he was directly in front of us. We had no where to go as he had cornered us (we had linked arms). Then he walked straight up to us, nose to nose to my friend as if he was trying to intimidate her. Then she pushed him away with her hand, so he left us walking away slowly, but still staring. We quickly left the area and did not have another encounter, but we could still see him back there from afar, just waiting.
That is the closest contact I have had with someone before on the street and it was easily the most frightening thing, because we had no idea what he was intending to do or what we was going to do.
I have always been a night person, and a lover of walking. My style is laid back, loose clothing – it has always been this way.
The first time I experienced sexual harassment was when I was 12 and was walking late at night maybe around 1am, in a neighborhood that is not none as ‘dangerous’. A man followed me in a van encouraging me into it, eventually he left, but I learned a lot from that experience.
Last year I was walking down Bloor street (near Dundas west) going west, I had just finished work and it was around 2am and I lived about 30min away, so I decided to walk. A man in a car stopped and started to talk to me, I said nothing, he followed me – he would drive then park up ahead then when I passed he’d do it all over again, every time asking me questions as I passed. He followed me for 20min.
One summer night for some reason the street car was taking far to long – I must of waited like 20min, till I started walking and then when the street car did arrive I’d been walking for more then 30min. Anyways I was walking from the Rogers Centre at around 3-4 in the morning – I was wearing loose fitting clothes, a hard hat, and steal toed boots, I had just got off work. The streets were alive with people (going home or whatever) I must of had 50 men, from across the street, in cars, etc, – cat call, whistle and follow me for a little. They would say “love the outfit”, “love the Halloween costume”,”Want to get a drink” , etc. Well I got pretty angry real fast, cause dame! I was not wearing a Halloween costume thank you very much! Anyways after the downtown area I got to this tunnel, and there was this older women waiting at the corner, she asked me if I would accompany her through the darkish tunnel – I did. This older women was afraid of the neighborhood, afraid of this tunnel because it was dark. We got through without incident. This was a night of many experiences.
I still walk at night even though everyone I talk to tells me I shouldn’t and that it’s because I’m walking at night that I have men harass me, or they just flat out say it’s my fault. But to me I don’t see it like that, I am always smart about walking at night, and I shouldn’t be afraid to go outside passed a certain time, for I don’t live in a war torn city, or a city full of crime, I live in the 20th century Canada.
What I’m trying to say is the solution is not to tell Girls/Women/Females (in this part of the world at least) that they should just not go out walking at night. We should not instill fear of the dark in our young females. I have never talked to a male who has been told not to walk around at night. Why not instead of instilling fear into someone you give them another solution to the problem, something they can use – if ever they get caught in a bad situation,instead of a mind numbing stillness that occurs with fear. Let us stop being afraid of the dark, for darkness is just a colour, and instead shine the light on those that use the night for ill because we’ve told them they can.
I was dressed in normal workout clothes, jogging at the country club near my house in the off season when there weren’t golfers. There’s a chain link fence that divides the golf course from the road that runs parallel.
A car that was driving beside me on the other side of the fence slowed down and a man stuck his head out of the window. I knew what was coming.
“You lookin’ good out there girl!”
I had been so fed up with street harassment and felt safe enough with a fence between us that I just flipped him off and kept running.
“Why the fuck you flippin me off?” he snapped at me. I didn’t respond. “I was giving you a compliment, why you flippin me off?” he insisted.
“You’re being disrespectful,” I shouted to him.
“You’re the one who’s flippin’ people off, you fuckin white bitch. That’s what I think is disrespectful. Suck DICK.”
And he sped off.
My heart was racing by the end of the conversation. A chain link fence couldn’t stop bullets. My husband and I moved into a house we could afford despite our the student loan debt which meant we had to move into a new area.
I know it’s wrong to be harassed, but it’s not safe to confront harassers. I came home and told my husband and male roommate what I had done. They looked at me like I was stupid. “You could have gotten yourself hurt.”
*I* could have gotten *myself* hurt. If something had happened. It would have been MY fault.
It’s hard for me to have the courage to stand up for myself.
I went into a Walgreens last week to pick up a calendar I had made in the photo department. There were two young men in the section, one that worked there, and another who was trying to print something next to me. The man at the counter was helping me while I examined the calendar when all the sudden I heard the second man say, “Hey, I’m talking to you. You probably didn’t realize it but I am.” I just looked at him with a confused look on my face. He said, “I just wanted to tell you that you look very nice. Your outfit is really nice. I don’t mean any disrespect by that, I just wanted to tell you.” It was awkward but I just said thank you and looked back at my calendar. The man just kept talking though. He said, “I don’t want you to think I’m disrespecting you, I just wanted to give you a compliment.” The guy behind the counter shook his head like he thought the man was ridiculous but said nothing. In the end, the only way I could get the man to stop talking to me was to assure him that I took it as a compliment and that I wasn’t offended. Now that I think about it though, I shouldn’t have to assure someone that being creepy and weird is ok. Even if it is a compliment, I don’t owe you anything for saying it to me and I certainly shouldn’t have to reassure you that bothering me is ok.
21 years old and walking at 6pm in the Oxford Circus area of London wearing a big baggy jumper and dark tights, a man blocks my path and tells me he’d like to give me ‘an hour long orgasm’. When I tell him to leave me alone he calls me stuck up and arrogant. I experience verbal harassment in London on an almost daily basis and it’s disgusting.
I had on a short sleeved button up blouse and some black pants that are tight up top and then get wider from the thigh down. I had a bike helmet on, digging through my backpack, and some nasty guy walks by and says “dang!” So I whip around and he is watching me as he’s walking. I call him a weirdo, while giving him a dirty look. He looks away and keeps walking.
I’m technically male but am more comfortable by dressing to look androginous and/or more female. I wasn’t dressed as a girl exactly, but while walking to my flat a guy who was perhaps in his mid 60’s, who was just standing there doing nothing, grabbed me and felt my private parts through my trousers quite thoroughly. As I looked at him in horror, he nodded, grinned and said “just checking.” I ran and called the Police. They came down and interviewed me. They then asked me what I was “expecting them to do about it.” I was very upset but I managed to ask them to press charges. They refused and just left. They weren’t rude to me,but he was still out there later. I just feel so vulnerable and powerless as if the Police won’t help me, what can I do? I’m still trying to work out who I am and how I feel and this has really set me back and hurt me. Why did he feel to need to check me like that?
I have been experiencing this type of “street harassment” and “catcalling” most of my life. Being a woman in my mid 30’s now, I have learned to deal with it and not take it so personally when it happens. Unfortunately, I can say that it has effected me in a negative way over the years. Here are some of the thoughts, behaviors, and ways of thinking that have come out of decades of enduring this harassment; My overall opinion of men has diminished because of the behavior of the offenders. I generally try not to stereotype, but after so many accounts from so many different types of men (old, young, professional, etc.), it’s hard not too. I keep my style of dress more conservative because when I wear more “sexy” or “girly” type clothing (including skirts, dresses and heels) it attracts unwanted attention. I avoid walking on busy streets, someone always honks, yells or whistles.
I’ve been “eye-f@%&ed” countless times, been told to “Smile, you’ll look prettier if you do” and asked “You got a boyfriend?” The most vulgar thing that I can remember being yelled at me was “Damn girl, wanna F@#k!”, and that was in my own suburban neighborhood.
I am so glad to hear that someone is finally speaking up about this and it’s nice to know that I’m not alone in my experiences. Having to deal with this on such a frequent basis really can start to wear on a person’s soul. I wish the yellers and catcallers of the world could feel what it feels like to be on the other side. Would they want someone to do it to their Mom or their sister? What do they expect to get out of catcalling someone, what is their intention behind it? Is it some kind of primal urge to look tough by degrading others in public? It’s frustrating as a woman to be pushed to feel uncomfortable walking around in public at times. I praise Hollaback and support you 100%. Thank you and keep up the good work by spreading awareness!
I stopped at the gas station midday this past summer and as I was walking back to my car an older man (probably well into his 70’s) had backed into the spot beside my car and was directly beside my drivers side door. Well as I’m getting into my car he asks me how much? I said excuse me and he had the nerve to actually say how much for that pu$$y and said he needed some young white lady in his life. Said he needed what I could give him and I should stop looking at him like I’m disgusted. I was floored, never have I had someone speak to me that way! I wasn’t in revealing clothing at all either, I had on jeans and a regular t shirt (work attire).