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I live in Harlem, the street harassment capital of the eastern sea board, so I am, unfortunately, not a stranger to it. This didn’t happen in Harlem though.
I was staying at my friends house in DC. He was at work, so I was taking the sunny day to walk to the local movie theatre. I had just had the thought of how lovely and calm, and sunny and quiet it was, and how nice it was to not be cat called as I walked when this young guy, maybe 25 *maybe*, says excuse me.
I turned around and said yes.
He said “Does your husband know you’re out looking so nice?”
I stopped walking, looked at him and said “Don’t. Stop. I don’t know you.” then started to walk away.
He said “Well, does your husband?”
I kept walking.
He started shouting “Don’t be like that. Oh, I see, you are one of those people -those negative people. I feel sorry for people like you. I hate people like you.”
and I kept walking
and I checked over my shoulder at every stop light because we were sorta going to the same place so he more or less followed me for five blocks- and I was scared. When I got to the movie theatre, I cried in the bathroom. and I hated being a woman that day.
While traveling in Malaysia with a girl friend. We were at a club trying to dance, just the 2 of us. A pack of guys surrounded us and started grabbing my ass and my tits, trying to break free from the crowd I turned around to see my girlfriend grabbing guys dicks and asking how they liked it, and just like a dog chasing a car, none of them knew what to do once they “caught” it. They all backed off an gave us our space. I have never respected one of my friends so much for dishing out what she was getting. Just goes to show how people react when put in the same situation.
I was walking downtown to my apartment — about a mile total. I was waiting at a crosswalk when a man came up right next to me and put his hand on my arm. He was very drunk and looking at me with a stare that put a chill down my spine. As soon as I could, I crossed the intersection. He kept up, walking directly to my side less than a foot away. I tried to shake him off, but he continued to follow me through the next couple of blocks, putting his hand on my arm at each crosswalk pause.
I finally went into a bank to shake him off. The three women tellers were as shaken as I was when I told them why I was there. When I couldn’t see him anymore, I went back to the street. On the next block, he jumped out at me from some bushes he had been hiding in. I walked faster, but he kept up. A maintenance man saw what was happening and stopped the guy, telling me to keep going.
That delay only worked for so long and the guy caught up with me. I called 911 and by the time I was under the underpass and across the bridge a police officer zoomed through the intersection and stopped right in front of us. As he was arresting the guy, two more police cars came up. I declined to press charges or declare myself a victim. He probably just needed to sober up.
It’s not like he hurt or threatened me, but I’m having a hard time shaking it off, given that the low level street harassment continues as it always does. Someday, I hope women and men can look back at street harassment as an unfortunate past problem.
I was grocery shopping today when a man came up to me blocked me in the bread aisle with his cart. He was smiling and asking me something so I removed my headphones to see if he needed something. He said, “Are you getting groceries to make dinner for me tonight?” I awkwardly laughed and replied, “Sorry, I am too busy making dinner for my husband and my kids,” hoping that this would send the message that I was not available or interested in his advances.
Then he started asking me what my husband would think of him showing up and stuff like that while I tried to figure out how to navigate around him and get out of the aisle. He just kept up, asking things like, “Is your husband taking good care of you? You let me know if he isn’t and I will fix things right quick.”
I eventually backed up out of the aisle and left the store without even getting everything I went there for. I hate that I didn’t just come out and say, “leave me alone.” What he did wasn’t cute or amusing. I just didn’t feel comfortable enough or safe enough to speak out. Ugh.
Today I was at an outdoor festival. There were food tents and I was holding my sisters roasted corn for her while she bought something else. An old man comes and stands between me and a friend and says “don’t hold it like that”. I was holding it vertically and assumed he thought I was going to eat it like that. I replied that it wasn’t mine I was just holding it for someone. He once again told me not to hold it like that so I asked why. He made a gesture insinuating it was a penis and gave me the creepiest look and walked away while staring at me. I’m so mad I didn’t say anything and let it anger me
As I was headed in to work at an event here in Las Vegas for children in underprivileged communities, a man offered to hold a door open for me because of all the equipment I was bringing in. He helped me through a second set of doors, for which I thanked him, and a woman came to try and open the door from the other side. She saw I already had help and said, “You’ve got her? Oh! You’ve got her. Okay!” To which the man said as he looked me up and down like meat, “Yeah I wish I got her.”
I was at Moorhead’s Kmart w my significant other when two guys were leaving the store to go to their car. One man called me “mamacita” and licked his lips. Gross.
One night I was walking home when a guy started hollaring at me, “hey, hey where are you going, you wanna party.” To which I responded I am going home and no I don’t want to party. Then he was, “you wanna go and fuck.” At which point I got angry, stopped and stared at him and said no.He stopped and left me alone.
Much closer to home a guy ran from my back grabbed my arm and a gain wanna fuck. I pulled my hand free and said no and continued to walk and third man comes asking the same thing!!!
I got into my car in front of my house one afternoon and a young man who was walking up the street in my direction stopped next to my car. I saw this in my peripheral vision as I was starting my car and looked over to see what he was doing. He had pulled his dick out and was playing with it, looking straight at me. Shocked and disgusted I pulled away quickly, but then stopped just as fast. I saw in my rear view mirror he was crossing the street. I quickly flipped it into reverse and gunned it toward him! You should have seen how fast he ran.
I was at a conference and finished early. I needed to hurry to see a pediatric patient that lived in another city. I stopped while driving thru the city to get gas. High school had finished for the day so suddenly the area and parking lot I was in was filled with highscoolers. While waking back to my car I found myself surrounded by 8 boys. These ” boys” were all taller than me. At first my thought was, these are kids! I can handle this. I asked to be let thru. They jeered at me and crowded closer. One or two groped my breasts.
There were men pumping gas at the station. When I first started to panic I looked to them for help. I kept thinking it’s broad daylight and these boys are molesting me. And no one is going to help. I kept asking them to stop. And they formed even a tighter circle around me, jeering and mocking me. The manager of the service station came running out of his store with a bat. He screamed at them to back off. By this time I was pretty shaken and had started to cry.
He asked if I wanted to call the police but I said no. I just wanted to leave. The shameful part of this is…at that time I was working as an on-call crisis counselor. All of my training flew straight out of my head. I turned into a female in crisis. What they did followed no rules I was familiar with. I kept thinking it’s daytime. Someone will stop them. But it escalated quickly.