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I live in Tokyo, an generally the worst thin that happens is getting your butt touched by some creepy on the subway at rush hour. It isn’t fun, but you learn to wear big heels and crush business men’s feet. Or, they will just open their wallets and ask you how much.
But the most problems you will ever get are from other foreigners. For some reason, they act like complete assholes. It scares a lot of japanese people, too, but I am from New York so when someone says something to me, I am not just going to go down without a fight. I have screamed and one one occasion smacked a man who grabbed my ass while walking by in Shinjuku.
I got out of a live at 10pm and went to grab something to drink from Starbucks, as I had just spent 5 hours at a rock concert getting the crap kicked out of me. I was wearing my usual concert gear and had gotten some rather awful stares, so I was already on edge.
As I walk up to the Starbucks, this foreign guy in a suit comes up and slides his hand along my side and says “hello”. I brush him off and, shaking, go into the store.
The sweet boy at the register gets my drink and compliments my hair, and I felt a little more human rather than a piece of meat.
I go back outside with my coffee and go to walk away and here is this guy, who once again tries to cop a feel. So, I throw my coffee on him and start screaming in English, which causes quite a commotion. The guy bolts, a bunch of Japanese people are staring at me like I have completely lost my shit (and I all truth, I had) and my hands are covered in cold coffee..
I went back into the store. The sweet boy behind the counter saw what happened and he gave me some napkins and got me a new drink, for free.
Sometimes, you really just have to throw something at them to get them to leave you be. I don’t think he will be bothering anyone for a while. I hope everyone stared at him the entire way home as he had to sit in his sticky, wet suit.
I was in the Albertson’s grocery store by myself in the middle of the day when I noticed one employee trailing me. I turned on to another aisle and saw him meet up with other employees and they all began catcalling, making weird little sounds while blatantly staring at me. I was trying to find the items I needed so that I could get out of there, and they began commenting on how I must like it since I was staying there and taking it.
I expressed my frustration on a message board that local people post on, and although there were a surprising number of men who tried to shame me for getting harassed, the response was mostly supportive. I feel that people who do this are just bullies, because this only happens to me when I am by myself.
It’s annoying enough when a man stares at you like he is trying to see through your clothes, but when that man is an uniformed officer, it almost feels worse. Aren’t you supposed to help me feel safe?
Group of boys shouting names and saying things like “oh I like your shorts” in a threatening manner
This dude on a bike who I didn’t know kept following me and saying he liked me. Ugggghhhhh. I felt creeped out enough to get my self defense keychain out.
I live in a block of units next to what seems to be an elderly couple, and more than a handful of times, I have noticed both the husband and wife have peered into my window to look at me, whether it be while I’m on the phone, to undressing.
My housemate decided to put a sign on my window saying “STOP LOOKING AT ME” when he noticed I was getting quite anxious about going into my room (even after closing my curtains, there’s still a small gap you can see through).
We got a call from the real estate, saying he complained about the sign (which proves my point that he’s been looking into my window), and said that if we don’t remove it, he will put a more vulgar, abusive sign as retaliation, so we removed the sign. I had to then explain to my real estate agent what happened, and all she said in response was empathetic, because she admitted her neighbour stalked her once, but she said “they probably have nothing better to do with their time”.
I used to be really into running but don’t do so as much any more- over the years I have had countless incidents of whistles, shouted comments about my body and yells from cars going past when I’m just trying to exercise.
Anyway one particular incident happened in my small village when I was fifteen, I’m eighteen now.
I had just finished a run and decided to check out the Abbey in my village before heading home- the entrance to which is manned by an older gentleman. As I walked in I called into his little shed if it was okay for me to go in, just in case I needed to pay. He could have just said “yes” from where he was but he walked out, looked me up and down very obviously and commented “looking like that sweetheart, you can go anywhere you want” and stared at my chest openly. I was sweaty, tired and only fifteen years old and was totally shocked and embarrassed- also acutely aware that though I was not isolated (a few steps would bring me back onto the street) I felt very intimidated and threatened. I think it was very clear that I was not even the age of consent, not that it would make it justifiable, whilst he was at least sixty and I didn’t let him away with it. He got introduced to my middle finger and told his comments were not welcome but I was very shaken by it and ran home fast. Think I started running at about thirteen and even then I got toots from cars and yells which unsettled me, especially due to my age and that where I live is mostly country lanes I run down on my own.
Where to start!
1.When I was 13, a friend of mine and I decided to take a walk around the block. The sun was starting to set so we cut through the back parking lot of a strip mall by my dad’s house (the quickest way home). We passed a stationary blue car, not noticing there was someone in it. When we were about ten feet away, a man in the car started yelling at us to come touch his penis. We turned back around and kept walking. My friend looked back, and a second later grabbed me by the arm and dragged me into the trees lining my street. When I looked back, the guy’s car was right where we had been walking about 3 seconds before, and he was still yelling at us.
2. Fast forward 1 year. I was out walking my dog in the same neighborhood in the middle of the afternoon. A car with a group of three or four 20-something-year old guys pulls up beside me on the road. The driver asks if I want a ride and his friends sit winking at me in the back seat. I tell him no thank you and he moves right along. He comes back around a few minutes later and asks again. I keep walking, ignoring him, and he follows me in his car for a few minutes before finally taking off.
3. My freshman year of high school, I was a skinny, flat-chested, frizzy-haired, obviously underage girl walking home from school one afternoon. I pass by the same parking lot I had almost been run over in (though I didn’t go through it-I’d learned my lesson on that one.) Nevertheless, a man who was no less than 35 years old comes out FROM BEHIND A TREE to ask me if I’m 18 and single. He kept talking to me and wouldn’t let me leave for about ten minutes, and I was looking over my shoulder the whole way home.
4. My junior year of high school, walking home from my boyfriend’s house after dark (around 8:30): again, a man pulls up and says, “Would you like a ride? I think it’s going to rain soon.” I told him, “No thanks, I’m almost home.” “Are you sure? I don’t mind…” “No, it’s okay.” He drove off. I kept walking. AGAIN, several minutes later he comes back from the SAME direction (meaning he had circled around on a side street in order to talk to me again) and pulled up and said, “I thought you were almost home. So how ’bout that ride?”
5. I have been pulled aside at work SEVERAL times by women telling me that a man is watching me from behind a rack, or following me around.
6. When working at the fitting room at Walmart I had a guy come up to me no less than 4 or 5 times in one hour, pestering me to add him on facebook, give him my number, go out with him, ect. There was a woman whose daughter was trying a lot of things on (and who was therefore present each time he came back) who asked if I’d like her to stay there and walk me out to my car that night. The last time the guy came back to ask me one last time (and get one last no), he told me as he walked away, “That’s okay. I know where to find you when you change your mind.” Not IF I change it. WHEN I change it. As if it’s inevitable. I got security to follow him around the rest of the time he was in the store. The same guy used to follow me around apparel whenever he came in after that (thankfully, I think he finally gave up or doesn’t remember me-I got pretty good at avoiding him).
7. At a concert with a friend of mine, I was wearing shorts because it was an all-day, outdoor concert in mid-July. I got fingered (in both holes) several times by random men in the crowd. I don’t even know who did it because it was so crowded. I got hands up my pants everywhere I went, it didn’t matter if I moved somewhere else. I have never worn shorts/skirts to a concert since, regardless of heat.
8. My freshmen year of college I had a class that went from 7:00pm-9:45pm. The class usually walked out as a group because we all parked in the same lot. On this night, however, I had forgotten my laptop and had to double back to get it before the doors were locked. By the time I got back out to the parking lot, everyone was gone-except for about 15 huge basketball players that were all being rowdy and drunk on someone’s tailgate. They had been loud and laughing before they saw me. As I came into view, they got dead silent, just staring me down all the way to my car. I knew I’d never be able to outrun them or fight them off and there was no one to hear me scream. They didn’t do anything but stare. But it was the longest 100 feet I have ever walked in my life.
9. I’ve had people slap my ass or pinch my nipples while out in public, buying groceries or just walking down the street. They always hurry off before I can even process what happened.
10. (My favorite): Back when I had red hair, I used to get random guys come up to me to ask “Hey sexy, does the carpet match the drapes?” I mean, seriously??? Are you REALLY asking me what color my pubes are??? REALLY?!?!?
11. When I was working at the jewelry counter in Walmart, I had a guy come over and ask me if I’d marry him if he bought me a certain ring in the case. I told him (politely-he said it flirtatiously, not harassingly)no, I was already engaged (even showed him the ring). He kept at it for over ten minutes, trying to get me to go out with him, telling me how pretty I was, insinuating that my fiance was probably a loser anyway, and why won’t I give him a shot?
12. I’ve had random men ask me if I’m pregnant if they’re within earshot when I say I’m tired or don’t feel good (as if that’s the only plausible explanation for a woman not feeling good).
13. I’ve been honked, whistled, and shouted at more times than I could possible count from men in gas stations, grocery stores, or driving by on the road.
14. On my graduation night (high school), I had to go to the CVS pharmacy down the street to get a prescription for my fiance’s mother who had cancer. In line, I got into a friendly conversation with the man behind me, who was probably in his mid-fifties. After checking out, I got into my car. At a red light, the man pulled up next to me and signaled at me to roll my window down. Thinking I must have forgotten something at the counter, I obliged, only to have him start hitting on me now that we were out of earshot of the cashier on a deserted road at 10 o’clock at night. The light turned green before I could respond and I gratefully turned left. A minute later, however, I saw the guy’s car following behind me. I sped up-so did he. I turned-so did he. When I finally thought I had lost him, I sped home as fast as I could. As soon as I pulled into the driveway, he pulled up on the street. He eyed me for a minute and drove away. Watching from the window when I entered the house, I saw his car drive by again about 6 times within the hour.
IT IS NOT FLATTERING. IT IS NOT OKAY.
When men do this type of thing to women, or yell crude comments about their breasts or ass or legs or thighs, it is not a compliment in our eyes. YOUR INTENTION IS IRRELEVANT. The woman you are “conversing” with does not know what your intentions are. But I can guaran-goddamn-tee you that she knows what they MIGHT be. And THAT is what matters.
I have been groped, touched, insulted, intimidated, followed, and propositioned more times than I can count, in more places than I can name. I have been harassed in broad daylight and at night. It’s happened in busy stores and on deserted streets. It’s happened when I’ve looked my best, hair straightened and form-fitting clothes, and when I’ve looked my worst, hair a mess, in jeans and a baggy sweater with no make-up. It happens so often that I sometimes get upset even when someone is trying to pay me a genuine compliment. A LOT of men do these things, thinking that they are flattering a woman, when in reality, you are probably just scaring her or pissing her off. If you want to flatter a girl, smile, tell her she’s beautiful (NOTE: not “nice tits!” “Wanna fuck?” or “DAMN, girl!”) and move on.
Some d-bag walked by me (I had headphones on) and he said “I wanna eat your p*ssy”. Guess he didn’t think I could hear him but don’t worry, I did. And I. Lit. Him. Up. I shouted a large array of expletives at the guy, flipped him off, generally tried to cause him to suffer incredible embarrassment. It pisses me off when people tell me I shouldn’t have said anything and that I compromised my safety (even though it was noon on a Tuesday). My safety was already compromised by the fact that a loser piece of sh*t thought he could TRY to intimidate me. I don’t think so, bub.
Every year my college has an event where students go to the beach and build elaborate sand sculptures. I have macromastia so unfortunately I get a lot of unwanted attention whenever I wear a bathing suit. There were a few very uncomfortable instances.
1) While my team and I were building our sandcastle a guy came up and started snapping pictures with a cellphone camera. At that point I had been working on a minor detail and was away from the main piece. He kept pointing his camera in my direction so I used the sand mound I had built to hide my chest. He finally gives up and leaves.
2) There was another creepy photographer who was also trying to take photos of me when I was trying to fly a kite and enjoy the ocean. I turned away from him (hopefully in time). I’ve seen albums and photos on flickr and reddit where people have snapped photos of other people and included them in their “personal collection.” I’m scared that someone did take a photo of me.
3) When I had gotten out of the water numerous men and women openly stared at my breasts and made me feel very uncomfortable.
4) One woman said “I don’t envy you.” I suppose this comment was made in regards to my breasts, but I don’t even know. I hadn’t gestured to her or made any sort of indication that I thought she envied me. I wasn’t being show off-y or anything. Even if I was, what gives her the right to comment on my body?
TL;DR: My day at the beach was ruined because people are creepy assholes and believe that they are entitled to take photos of or make rude comments about people’s bodies.