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A stranger grabbed my crotch on the metro today. and then tried to deny it and get away from me when I started screaming at him. eventually he mumbled ‘sorry’ and walked away and i didn’t have the energy to keep following him. but i’m proud of myself for yelling: you can’t treat women like that! you are disgusting! you should be ashamed of yourself! that is unacceptable! next time i’ll be mentally prepared to take the next step and report it.
Unfortunately I’m no stranger with harassment on the streets, having lived in Sydney and small country towns before Newcastle, I mean as appearances go I don’t consider myself unattractive, I’m not by any means thin, or conventional, but I take pride in myself and am careful to dress appropriately.
However the intensity and consistency of verbal and physical attacks since living here have been unprecedented, from having drinks thrown at me in bars, creeps asking incredibly personal things, even having my hair sniffed while walking the streets.
Mostly I try not to take too much notice, my long term boyfriend having even bought me a tazer to make me feel safer when I am out, and though it does its incredibly heartbreaking that it should come to that.
But rather to the point, I only just discovered this website and felt that I should share my most recent, and probably the most hurtful of experiences, being a late Sunday night, my boyfriend and I went for a walk to the 24hr grocery store to pick up some things so I could bake him some treats before he had to head home for work (he works rather odd houred shifts)
In my year of living here I was somewhat surprised to see the local club was going and quite lively, being familiar with the rather unkind crowd we opted to keep our distance and went on to do our shopping, however on our return as we took the same back streets avoiding the drunken crowds a car drove by slowly, a man leaning out the window screaming “fat slut!” at me as I stood there right next to my boyfriend, I felt completely humiliated, and angry for being judged at such a stupid hour on a Sunday night, I felt I had a right to be a little haggard, but I couldn’t dare even express the pain to my boyfriend as he silently ignored it, walking back home all I could do was try not to cry.
All I could ask myself was, “What kind of man would insult a woman, a complete stranger, in such a way? Why should anyone ever have to put up with such a public humiliation?”
I yet to understand, but I certainly found some solace in this site, I’m glad to not feel completely alone.
Reposted from Hollaback Czech Republic
by Alicia Brooks
There are certain things in your daily life that you do without even thinking about. Things like brushing your teeth, going to work, crossing the street or waiting in the inevitable line at the Albert. They have become such a part of your life that thinking about them would be redundant. You have been putting on your shoes for years, why bother giving it a second thought?
Taking public transit in Prague has become one of those things for me. I know which trams to take, what time the bus comes and what car I should get into for optimal speed upon exit. It’s clockwork. It’s clockwork except in the case of taking the night trams.
I swore off night trams when I swore off partying downtown. I like being able to walk home – or stumble home – as the case may be. But just this past week I found myself going home at 3am on a night tram. Twice. I had conveniently forgotten about the smell of puke, the loud drunks and the way it seems to take an eternity to get home no matter where you live.
Thursday night I was waiting at Narodni Trida for the 58 with my flat-mate. We had had a fun evening full of laughter and alcohol and topped it off with an always delicious and regrettable slice of street pizza. The tram was going to take another fifteen minutes to get to us, so we took a seat on the steel benches. My friend was regaling me with a story about something when I saw him. I didn’t want her to have to see what I was seeing so I tried not to change expression in any way.
He walked by us as if he were on one of those moving platforms they have at airports – slow and sooth. He wanted me to get a good look. He had his penis in one hand shaking it rapidly in my direction and the other hand (which was somehow far more offensive than the penis) was under his mouth, fingers in a peace sign tongue lapping at the air. The international sign for “lick pussy”. He seemed to walk in slow motion.
I think I was stunned into silence. As soon as he was out of sight I turned to my friend and said, “Holy shit! Did you see that fucking guy?” It was obvious to me that she hadn’t, and for that I was glad. One less person who has that image scarred on their retina. I recounted what I had witnessed and was met with multiple “Ewws”. I quickly remembered why I don’t like to take night trams.
One of the things that I refuse to get used to is harassment – in any form. A strange man shaking his genitals, an ass grab at a bar, yelling at me from across the street how “hot” or “fuckable” I am. It’s all harassment, and it will never be second nature as long as I continue to get pissed off about it.
Walking toward my house, I made eye contact with a guy walking the opposite way on the other side of the street. I looked away. He did not. He kept staring at me, slowly turning his head a full 180 to keep staring at me as I walked up my driveway. It was completely silent, less than 30 seconds, and he was pretty far away from me, but I still felt shaken and threatened, and at the same time silly for feeling so threatened when nothing “really” happened, and angry that something so small means so much.
I had never lived in a city before this summer, and it took a while for me to get used to the unending comments I heard on the street. They always made me feel uncomfortable, and I found listening to music protected me the most on my walk to work.
My last week of summer work, I had run out of power to listen to my music so I was walking around without my usual guard up. I started to notice someone yelling, “Bitch!” at me as I was walking. At first I ignored it, but the yelling got worse when I turned around.
When I got to the cross walk and it looked like me and the man who was yelling at me would be standing together, I decided to walk off to the side and stand by a populated bus stop until he passed. As he walked across the street, he hatefully spewed, “bitch,” and “white cunt” with “privileged pussy” my way.
I didn’t know what to do; I just wanted to go home. After I crossed the street, he turned around to see me again. He stopped dead in his tracks and threatened me until I crossed the street again to walk on the other side.
I was wearing sunglasses, so no one could see me cry on my way home. I don’t let anyone talk to me like that, but he was so much bigger and filled with so much anger. I felt so powerless and so small.
Saturday night at about 8pm I parked on Little Raven street, at the far end of the mall from the Denver Library, where I was heading to drop off some books in the drop box. I made it to the library and successfully dropped off my books in about fifteen minutes. Walking back from the library to the mall (which involves walking down the street between a city park and the Denver capital lawn), a man started following me. I sped up, he did too. First, he just tried talking to me, to get me to stop. I responded, but kept walking. Then he asked me if I could sell him a bowl. I said no and kept walking. After crossing Colfax, I was passing the bus station when he angled his walking and tried to cut me off against the wall.
I ran into the bus station and went straight to the security guard. He followed me into the bus station, and the security guard made him go away for me. After I watched him go out of view, I walked out of the bus station to catch the Free Mall Ride down 16th street mall. A stop later, he got on the mall ride and started staring at me. I work on the mall at a place in which my coworkers are predominantly males, so I got off the ride and went to my work with the hope of losing him based on the intimidation factor of other males.
I waited 15 minutes, then tried to leave. I was partway down the block when he walked up next to me and said “hi”. I turned around and went back to work and waited for them to finish closing so I wouldn’t be walking alone. I didn’t get to my car till past 11pm.