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I was walking from my apartment late one morning to get to class. It’s a 10 minute walk from my front door to my desk. That day, I was slumming really hard, I don’t care what I look like for a 10 am algebra class: black gym shorts, grubby t shirt. My apartment is on the corner of the intersection. I was about halfway through the intersection when a car suddenly turned left onto the street I am crossing. The driver stopped his car right in my path.
“Where you goin looking like that, you wanna come with me?”
When confronted, my first instinct is to become combative, and this was no different. I screamed at him: “get your f*cking car out of my way, it’s none of your business where I’m going.”
“Aw baby you ain’t got to be like that,” he said as he pulled away.
Ok, dude, you ain’t got to block my path with your whole entire CAR as I’m walking to class. I don’t CARE how short my shorts are.
And this is but a single instance. Where my neighbors were protective and kind, the men who hang out at the corner store were vocal enough about harassing my roommate and I that we began to take a different route to leave the neighborhood. Getting on my bike was impossible without some dude saying something to me. Young teenagers half my age would hit on me on the street, in this neighborhood, street harassment is par for the course.
I got to the gym every week day morning at around 6AM. I can say that I’ve never had issues before at this particular gym…I just put my headphones in, lift, run, and leave. No one has ever bothered me before. This morning, the sun was shining through the windows and I could barely see while putting away my free weights. Now, I do have blue eyes and when the sun hits them, they can look very light blue. A man lifting weights next to me said, “You’re eyes are beautiful!”
I replied with, “Thank you.” and continued to choose weights and go back to lifting. But before I could he said, “What are you doing lifting here? You know a man loves him a girl with blonde hair and blue eyes.”
I was repulsed and didn’t know what to say. So I put my headphones back in, smiled, and started to walk away.
Then he said, “You got a man?”
I replied, “Yes.”
He said, “Is he here? You lookin for a man.”
the entire time his eyes just scanning me up and down. It was SO uncomfortable.
I put my weights away and walk to the other side of the gym to get away from him. About three minutes later, he’s at the machine next to me! Still looking at me and making comments.
I decide to just go to a treadmill surrounded by people and run. I felt so uncomfortable that I left the gym after about 15 minutes of running.
You would think that would be all. There is a grocery store next to my gym that I frequent and I needed to pick up a few things. I went directly from the gym to the store to pick up coffee beans, Milk, and a protein bar. Within 5 minutes of being in the store, I see the man again in the store! I quickly grab my things and walk out.
This was absolutely inappropriate, made me feel so uncomfortable, and frankly, unsafe.
It’s not a compliment. It’s harassment.
Group of ~10 guys in the city park drinking, one of which is making a point to go out of his way to come up to women and shake hands or give high fives.
I sit down to eat my sandwich, and there he comes (I think he missed me on the way in because he was busy bothering someone else).
“Gibberish gibberish (in Dutch)”
“I don’t speak Dutch”
“Hello, will you shake my hand please?”
“No thank you”
“What? Please? Everyone else has.”
“No thank you.”
“Are you a friendly person?”
“Please leave me alone.”
Offers fist pound. “This is all I want then I’ll leave you alone.”
“You can leave me alone right now.”
He gives a look of disbelief but departs.
~15 minutes later, another member of the group comes up. He says hello and offers me some food. I say no thank you. He says “What do you want?” He says this to me. I say “I want to be left in peace to eat my lunch.”
~15 minutes later I walk past the entire group, as they are near the entrance. I hear in English “I like that one, but she’s very impolite.”
Kept on walking. Desire was to eat in peace and not be wheedled, whined, shamed, or harassed into interacting with anyone I didn’t feel like interacting with. My free will and desire is not negotiable.
I have been dealing with harassment since my teens (now late 20s), mainly by men who think honking, yelling, or directing some sort of comment at me is the way into my pants. However, I experienced the biggest violation on my way to work one day this summer.
I ride my bike through a slightly sketchy part of town in the morning to get to my job- it’s about a 10 minute ride. This particular morning I was riding and out of the corner of my eye I saw a car get close to my bike on the left side- so close that I thought it was going to hit me. As it came by, a teenage boy stuck out his hand and grabbed my butt while I was still riding and while the car was moving toward a stoplight. He even yelled out a “woo!” as it happened, to the delight of the 3 other guys in the car. Dumbfounded, I sped up trying to catch them…the crazy part is, they went through a red light and illegally went around traffic to try to get away from me. A few lights down the road, I gave them a profanity laced scolding and I took their license plate number down. I sure hope the cop that talked to me gave the groper a speech to remember later that night at his parent’s house.
Walking my dog at night while talking to a friend on the phone, I heard someone behind me getting closer. He kept saying “girl, girl slow down” and “common don’t be that way.”
I didn’t think he was talking to me because I am a post transition trans man with facial hair, and I was in deep conversation. My dog stopped to smell something and I saw the shadow of his hand reaching toward my ass. He was only a foot away. I turned around, looked him in the eye, and said loudly, “Hey!” He pulled his hand back, and I started walking away quickly trying to get to the well-lit 300 N.
I informed my friend on the phone of the situation, where I was, and gave a description of the dude…He continued following me shouting, “Hey it, hey he-she, I got something for your mouth.”
He followed me for 8 blocks turning where I turned and ducking behind bushes so I couldn’t see him then popping out and cat calling again. I kept my friend on the phone with location updates until I turned a sharp corner and hid in an apartment complex until he went by so I could get home.
I am so grateful for my friends at Hollaback! Baltimore who taught me things to do in these situations because this could have turned out much worse. I’m still shaken but I decided to post on here right away so others in Salt Lake City could be aware in this part of town at 11pm.
Dude description: white dude ,skinny , guessing 5’8 ish, patchy mustache and chin hair, buzzed head and a neck tat of words.
I have experienced two encounters of verbal harassment at this same spot. It is right around the corner from my apartment building, and I always walk down that block to go to the nail salon. Today, I was honked at by a significantly older male as he was waiting at the red light and I was crossing the street. He continued to honk at me as he drove down the block. Luckily he didn’t follow me. The other encounter happened just last week. A group of boys around my age (17) were riding their skateboards down my block. I have never seen them before, so I figured they were just passing by. Then one of them starting calling out, “Hey girl can I get your number” and “You’re really hot,” among other things. One of his friends rode up to me and told his friend to stop. However, I was already so nervous that I ran home. I should not have to feel like this when walking home.
About a month ago (06-02-14) I was walking back from one of my friends’ houses in the flats of Southside. While I was walking on the backstreets I noticed a strange man about half a block behind me. Since I didn’t feel comfortable, I walked to Carson Street in the hopes of being in a more public place. Since it was rather late (about 1 AM), not many people were around, and as a result, it was just me and this man walking. As I noticed him getting closer to me I turned around to possibly confront him. When he passed me he said, “I was gonna rob you, but you look tougher than I thought,” and continued to walk away. The main moral of this story is to watch out for people in the Southside of Pittsburgh late at night. This is not the first story I have heard or experienced like this!
TALKING TO THEM “WORKED”
As I was leaving a grueling and wonderful dance class, a group of four construction workers nearby whistled and catcalled. I was dripping sweat and still in my leotard and jazz pants. I decided to challenge their ignorance, and said, “Listen, I’m an athlete; I’ve been knocking myself out for almost 2 hours perfecting something that’s really difficult. Show some respect and stop that!”. They applauded and one guy said “Right on”, and shook my hand.
To this day, I don’t know if it was the right thing to do, or if it made them think seriously about their behavior, but I was glad I’d done it.
The institute where I study is about ten minutes away from my house. I’ve been attending that institute for two months with no problems until two weeks ago. A couple of weeks ago a building started to be constructed near by my house and institute, so every morning when I leave (about 7:45am) I meet with the men that are working in the site. The harassment started with a man calling me beautiful, it may not be offensive, but I was alone and they were in a group, he is a man in his late forties and I’m a nineteen-year-old girl. I started seeing the men every morning, and it went from being an uncomfortable situation to me becoming frightened when this same guy came close to my face one day and whispered ”she is so beautiful”. I felt scared and disgusted and couldn’t concentrate in my classes for the rest of the day. I told my mom about it, trying not to make it sound like a big deal and said that I was simply going to change routes. She agreed and asked me to text her when I arrived. The day that I changed routes, I thought I had finally found the solution and as I was entering the institute, someone from across the street yelled at me ”Hey Beautiful”, it was him again. I texted my mom, and after she talked with my father, he drives me every day to school now. My parents said they wanted me to and could tell the police I was being harassed daily by the same guy. The problem is I never had the guts to look at his face.
I pulled up to the gas station on the corner of Dundonald and Smythe streets in Fredericton, NB, Canada. I realized that the pump I was at was debit-only, so I returned to my car. While I was bent down looking for my debit card, I heard a man yell from a passing car “Yeah bitch you bend over!” It happened so fast I have no idea what the man looked like.