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It happend one day I left work, when I was walking back home.
I was waiting for the subway, when I realized that one weird man was looking at me.
I had this strange feeling with that man and I forbide myself to look at him. I decided to ignore him.
Then came the subway, I came in and I saw the same man sitting next to me. I had two stations until my place.
At the next station I decided to get out of the subway and wait an other one. What I realized when I was waiting for the subway is that the weird man get out too and he was waiting like me.
I was pretty sure the guy followed me. Another subway arrived and I went in. I get out at my station (the same guy behind me). I was scared. Right outside the subway station, I saw three persons who seem to be my age, I ran to them and I asked them to pretend to be people I knew. To feel safe with a group. I looked at the weird guy and he saw that I was with people, he smiled at me and he went back into the subway station.
I was walking to class when I reached the 12th and Jefferson bus stop. Two men were blockig the sidewalk behind the bus stop shelter, and there was a crowd of people in front of it. I walked by and they immediately started looking me up and down, whistling, making gross kissing noises, and catcalling. No one said anything. I looked at them and said “don’t talk to me.” One started to follow me to class and I called the campus public safety. I was victim-blamed for being “a beautiful woman.”
Drunk guy in bar harassing my friends. Friends looked at their shoes and tried to stop interaction by not responding. Drunk guy touched my friend inappropriately. I turned him around by his shoulder and grabbed his hand.
Me: Hey man, what’s your name?
Me: Nice to meet you, ___.
Him: I like you. You’re nice to me. They’re being ******.
Me: No, you’re just bothering them and they don’t like it. So you need to stop that now.
Him: Let me show you a picture.
Me: No, I don’t need to see that. You need to go away or I’m telling someone to get you out of here.
Interaction stopped! Did I have to see a cell phone picture of his junk in order to get him to go away? Yes. Did any other larger, more capable, male-gendered (therefore viewed as more threatening and worthier of respect) person in the bar – of which there were PLENTY – try and help me out? No!
But did the guy go away and stop touching my friends?
Yes he did.
As I attend school in downtown Cincinnati, I understood that it wasn’t always a pretty place. I’ll be adding more stories of things that I have experienced and witnessed, but here’s one that was my first.
It was August and still hot on the streets so I wore what was comfortable, shorts and a t-shirt. After leaving school for the day, I headed to the library to meet a friend.
Heading down the street, I noticed the occasional security guards from numerous companies and felt pretty safe. Out of nowhere, a black pickup truck pulled up next to me.
The man in the front seat leaned out and yelled, even though he was directly next to me,”How about you get in and we’ll show you why two is better than one.”
Instinctually, I took off, dashing down the street as his friend yelled,”DYKE BITCH!” out the window.
When I reached the library. I didn’t tell my friend a word of what happened. I regretted not speaking up sooner and blaming myself for the harassment. Even the school dress code told me that I was a distraction.
Street harassment should not be the norm for young girls.
While jogging, I was video tapped, cat called and followed for about 10 minutes. Infuriating!!
This is an old story. This is not new. Still, I think it is important people know what happens in a “quaint tourist town.”
I was 11 the first time I was wolf whistled at while walking in town. I didn’t even have boobs.
I was walking home from school at the age of 15, dressed in baggy clothes, when an old man kept circling the block. He later followed me and my friends to a grocery store.
I was walking home from work as a waitress at the age of 16, when I had a man in his 40s slow his car down and ask me “How much for a party?” He refused to leave me alone and refused to believe I wasn’t a prostitute until a cop car came by.
Not sure if this counts as street harassment as I was in my house when I happened… At about 11pm one night I heard this unnerving shuffling outside my lounge window…And when I turned on the outside light I saw a shadow on the curtains.
Lucky I still live at home and my brother was still up… I looked out my bedroom window to find some guy standing in the street… Fiddling away… Cops were called but he was gone long before they arrived. Can’t even feel safe in my own house.
Two guys are hanging out on the corner and periodically calling out to girls passing by things like “let me take you around town tonight! I’ll wine you and dine you and take you around the city.” then they laugh about it afterwards to each other.
I and two guys I worked with were putting new recycling barrels in a dormitory. We were waiting for the elevator and when it opened it had 5 or 6 guys in it. My co-worker said we’d take the next one. One of the guys said “You two (referring to my male coworkers) can’t fit, but I’m sure we can squeeze blondie in here with us.”
I ignored them as I waited for what felt like forever for the doors to close and them to go away while they smiled and made comments. We went back downstairs to get more bins and they were all hanging out outside the building, calling “Hey blondie! Whatcha doing? Why are you working so hard? Leave the work to the guys and come hang out with us!” I ignored them. This repeated the next two times we came down for more bins, until my coworker finally told them to fuck off.
And they did, until an hour or so later when I was walking off campus to my apartment a few blocks away and the same group of guys were walking around smoking pot. They continued to catcall me and follow me home. I told them to kindly fuck off, and they laughed and said “Ooh blondie is all fired up! I like it!” I texted my roommates as I walked and luckily one was home and came outside our apartment to walk me in and once again tell these guys to fuck off.
It felt like shit to have to rely on a male friend both times to make these guys go away. I felt annoyed that I couldn’t just do my job and walk home without being bothered. It was in broad daylight and in public so I didn’t necessarily feel unsafe, just uncomfortable and annoyed.
My best friend and I loved getting pedicures together. It was an easy way to get to spend time together since she just had a baby and I was newly married.
We always went to Royal Essence at the St. Johns Town Center in Jacksonville, FL. They had the best pedicures. It included a short massage while your nails dried, a hot stone massage and a paraffin wax treatment for a great price.
This particular day, as maybe once before, I had a male pedicurist. I didn’t think too much of it, just tried to act normal as it’s always a little awkward to have a male you don’t know rubbing your feet/legs.
What I didn’t know was that this particular pedicurist waited until a young girl came to the salon then would step up to work, otherwise, he’d just wait in the back.
while rubbing my legs with lotion (a normal part of a pedicure) I found myself trying to force my legs together (I was wearing a summer dress). He was trying to rub up to my knees and slightly more but I politely resisted, not thinking too much of it.
At the end of the pedicure I sat down to get my nails dried. Another part of the pedicure at this particular salon was a short back massage while your nails dry from your pedicurist. Something I normally enjoyed. But this time, with this particular pedicurist, it went too far. He began rubbing my shoulders, then went down my back. I was just talking to my friend sitting next to me, trying to act normal, and then he started rubbing my lower back, too low.
We left without me saying anything. My friend and I kind of laughed as if it was just an awkward situation.
The next day at work I told a co-worker about it and she encouraged me to speak up about it. I was too nervous to call the salon because I didn’t want to cause a commotion and put myself in any danger so I called my mom.
My mom called the salon, explained the situation to the owners. We found out that the guy was already reprimanded because the owner saw how low he massaged my back, and said not to do that. But it didn’t stop there. They said that they knew he would wait around in the back until a smaller/younger girl would come in.
Basically, they decided to call the cops and have them present while they fired him (he was kind of a big guy) and when they fired him he spoke some threatening words to the owners.
I had to file a police report about what happened (they called it ‘light battery’) and later received a notification that he was arrested for battery.
It was a scary situation but in the long run I’m very glad I spoke up. The cop filling my report said the same thing, mentioning that if he’s bold enough to do that in public, who knows the things he’s doing in private.
I hope my speaking up helped someone else stay safe from worse harm.