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While walking through the downtown arts district, on my way to get a sandwich, a man started walking very close to me. He asked me if he could follow me. I ignored him. He asked if I was afraid of him and said that most girls are. He continued to follow me for a few more blocks, asking if he could touch my dimples. Ew. Finally he gave up and walked away. This is only one experience of dozens I’ve had with street harassment on this block.
I’ve been in Morocco for 3.5 days now, traveling with my 60-year-old godparents and usually a Moroccan guide walking through these cities. Even with this group around me, I could not possibly count the number of times men have blatantly (and creepily) stared at me, called me “beautiful,” muttered “nice” under their breath as I walked past, yelled from a passing motorcycle, etc. One man standing outside a restaurant called over to me as I got out of a car, “I was born for you!” Today in Meknes a guy outside a restaurant whispered to me “ich liebe dich,” which means “I love you” in German. This one, like many of them, was a restaurant worker trying to get customers to come in and eat and I’d like to think my refusing them service is an act of fighting back, but it’s not much. At least I’m not positively reinforcing their behavior. I wish I could single-handedly change the culture of street harassment in Morocco, but I guess I’ll settle for trying to at least make the occasional man feel uncomfortable after harassing me. I just have to start trying to say something when it happens.
Men along the sidewalk lined up, drinking in public. Said obnoxious things- compliments meant to intimidate, not flatter.
Harassment also happens to older women who walk. This has happened more than once in Rockville. I have been out walking because I do not drive and I choose not to take the bus. People driving by yell at me because I am walking (and wearing a hat). They yell “hey, I like your hat” and the like. It makes me angry because I am just going about my business. Once it even happened right by my workplace. I don’t know what to do.
When I was thirteen, I was taking the city’s metro back home. A man, far older than me, came and sat by me. He started to talk to me and told me I was too “sexy” to be that young. As I stood up to get off at my stop, he tried to block my path and trap me in the seat. Another passenger pulled him out of my way. I was so scared I ran all the way home, and didn’t tell my parents because I blamed myself for dressing a certain way. Without that man pulling him out of my way, who knows what could have happened?
The first time I was harassed, I was seven, sitting in a movie theater, watching a kids’ movie. A man came and sat-down next to me. He put his hand on my seat and spread his fingers open, trying to touch me as I squeezed over as far to my left as I could get without leaving my seat. (Changing seats never occurred to me; I was a shy child.) Maybe the creepiest part of the whole creepy thing is that as he left, he dropped three dollars into my popcorn, which was quite a bit for a kid in 1958. I was so innocent, I was totally bewildered.
An interesting footnote is that I was groped again in a movie theater, in Denver, CO, when I was in my late twenties. The man behind me put his hand through the space between the chairs and touched me on the breast. I chased him out of the theater but gave it up when he ran out the door.
I was fourteen, waiting with a friend by the school crossing. The streets were not so crowded, and there were other students from my high school there. A man came up to me, grabbed my hand and tried to kiss me. He was a stranger, and old and I was so embarrassed. Needless to say, I just shoved him and ran like there was no tomorrow. The worst part about it though, was that I felt like it had been my fault. I was standing in the wrong place, at the wrong time. That maybe, I should’ve just gone home instead of talk to my friend.
I’m happy I don’t feel like that any more.
Gentleman in a black Dodge Charger with the white racing stripes sits across from the Turnberry apartments condos. Sat in his car for hours and hours watching the place. Vandalism and stalking in the area. Picture shows headlights. These headlights are parking lights on
Stalking from CVS and Sleepys parking lot overlooking Turnberry. Black or dark blue Jetta, 4 door, New York license plate. Young male with glasses. Got behind and took a picture of his license plate. He took off soon as I got near him texting someone else. Stalking and vandalism in the area Queensbury, New York, the corner of Bay Street and Quaker Road
It was about 11 pm and my sister and I were about to carpool to go visit my mom since she had just been in the hospital. My sister was about to get in my car when I heard a few whistles coming from the porch of someone’s house. I told them they were being disrespectful and to stop. As soon as I got back in my car they started up again.