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Anti-Street Harassment Poem by Nura Rose Sala

 

Safe

I was in rush
I was late for school
I was wearing my beautiful new red heels
I was in a hurry ,but I felt good
I needed to catch that bus
I crossed the street
slowed down by the high school
there were one or two guys hanging out in the yard
but my neighborhood is safe in the morning

half a block past, I saw someone behind me
walking quickly to catch up
a young man in leather jacket,
he moved in behind me

I looked ahead walking faster

the corners of my eyes were wide open

I was walking faster
but he was catching up
easily and effortlessly
he slid right up to me,
breathing down my neck
i felt trapped, helpless
I wasn’t going to lose control
I had heels on , I wasn’t going to run

there was no one on the street
even in the distance
the morning birds were singing
my neighborhood was supposed to be safe in the morning

 

I kept walking fast

I kept scanning for a person, a policeman, anybody

where were the people heading for work?

I am strong

I grew up in the country, climbing trees

I grew up romping with three brothers

I taught my brother how to throw a baseball

 

finally two blocks down

there is a policeman

he is getting into his vehicle

he is shutting the door

I run as fast as I can

why don’t I scream?

my voice has evaporated

I am too far away

the police car pulls out

I am getting angry and desperate

I decide to turn around

I will punch him

I turn around into his flat hard face

I grabbed his collar

but something in me was paralyzed

I am a gentle person

I am just hanging on

he yells “you fuckin’ white bitch!”
and punches me right in the face

then walks away casually, triumphant

not hurrying at all

my head was spiked with razor blade stars

I reeled, I numbly continued walking to the bus stop,
only a half a block away

I was ashamed

I couldn’t defend myself
why was no one there ?
why did not one see?

what happened to my neighborhood safe in the morning?

the pressure inside suspended my tears

I had to keep going
keep moving

I was late for class.

 

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HOLLA ON THE GO: “hey sexy”

I was just coming home from a friend’s house, having had a great day, when this truck rolls by and some guy is hanging out the window yelling at me “hey, sexy!” I turned as he passed, and several yards up the road he still had his whole torso out the window, looking back at me. I flipped him off and he flipped back and shouted “Yeah, I won!” as though my “fuck you” was a real invitation. I was just trying to enjoy my walk.

I've got your back!
18+

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HOLLA ON THE GO: walking out of the gym

Someone driving in a truck whistled at me as I was walking out of the gym. I yelled, “I didn’t need that” as they drove away. I immediately felt uncomfortable and unsafe.

I've got your back!
8+

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ANTI-STREET HARASSMENT WEEK

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HOLLA ON THE GO: #bestcomebackever

I was walking down the street to my car after one of my shifts at work, straight-faced, focused on getting to my car safely with pepper spray in hand. “Why don’t you smile?” I heard it and immediately turned red with rage. His buddies laughed. I kept my paced, looked over my shoulder, yelled “that was sexist bullshit!” and spent the rest of the night angry at him, the comment, and myself becaused I wished I would have confronted him and his buddies face to face.

 

I've got your back!
12+

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HOLLA ON THE GO: Two against one.

Two men told me I smelled good.

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HOLLA ON THE GO: the “compliment”

Just the normal “compliment” not meant as a compliment. Makes me feel like shit.

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HOLLA ON THE GO: transphobia

Boston university students verbally harassed me. I am a trans girl and they were making fun if my Halloween costume calling me, “he and him.” They said I looked like Gene Simmons of KISS.

I've got your back!
23+

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HOLLA ON THE GO: #walking

Walking down the street, two men shouted “You look good, baby!” at me.

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HOLLA ON THE GO: no woman should have to worry about that.

I bartend, and one night a man entered who was chatting and flirting with me. He proceeds to offer, after I deny his offers to go out with him, fifty dollars to both my manager and the other bartender in exchange for me. Both were weirded out and decided I needed to leave. Upon leaving he decides to leave too and begins to follow me home. Thankfully my manager called me to alert me to the fact he was following me, but no woman should have to worry about that. I still see him at work sometimes.

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