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Walking near Dupont Circle, Washington, DC USA yesterday. Passed some men who were packing a moving truck. They ogle me and one mutters “good lord! Gotta tuck it in!” Presumably, he was referring to his penis. I felt unsafe, disrespected.
I was in the local store and a young woman came into the store hurriedly like she was trying to avoid someone. She was wearing yoga pants and a tank top like she had just come from a workout. Not five seconds after she came through the door two men came in after her, screaming and being quite loud about how they “appreciate that” and how the young woman was “doing them a service.” It was disgusting, and made everyone around them uncomfortable, the girl ended up leaving.
Walking home from work one evening on a busy dual carriageway, two men were walking on the opposite side of the road from me. One called out ‘oi love, my mate wants to rape you’ I was pretty rattled by this and upped my pace with mobile phone in hand. His friend shouted back ‘I’m sorry about him’. That’s all very well but your mate needs a kick in the groin. It still bothers me that men think it’s a joke to threaten rape.
I was walking home from work one day, it takes me about 20 minutes and I have to go through a small neighborhood to my job. I was a little over ten feet from my work, dressed in regular work clothes. Just slacks and a polo. I also have straight across bangs. A group of five guys in a car decided to yell at me saying they “like my fortune cookies” and as they drove past, say I have a sexy ass and hoot at me. I sped walk, heart racing… Two feet away from my job.
I was walking back from my lunch break. It was very hot and bright out and I forgot my sunglasses and was squinting. Two men in business clothes exited a building as I was walking by and one of them said to me “fix your face.” I was so stunned! My resting/thinking face is often frowny so I often her men asking me to “smile” but I have never been told to “fix my face.” I wish women never had to hear comments like this.
I am harassed daily because I take a bus and a train to work which is in the downtown area of Chicago; all sorts of people wandering. I work for a cosmetic line which encourages individual style and creative appearance. Because I am heavily tattooed and dress like I’m going to a trendy gathering for work (complete opposite of how I dress not working) I am approached, stared at, cat called, insulted, chased and treated like a tear in a magazine or an object to touch.
Daily, I am feeling angry and frustrated and filled with hate. It interrupts my work sometimes because I am in the public’s view. I was once told to tattoo “stupid whore” on my forehead because I declined communication with an older man in his 50s. I’ve been called “bitch” because I confront men who stare at me like I am oblivious to their eyes. I’ve been insulted for ignoring when I walk to my train or bus. I’ve been chased and followed by men who think I’m “easy”. I’ve been grabbed and pulled like an object because of my completely covered tattooed arms and legs. Then they get angry with me because I snap back. Because this happens literally on a daily basis, I’ve grown to hate living in Chicago. I grew up in Texas and never had this heavy amount of street harassment. I am a human and I just want to walk peacefully.
Always when guys whistle at me or call out stuff such as “babygirl” etc, I never ever look at them, especially not the whistles. I’m not a fucking dog.
I had plans to meet a male friend at a restaurant for dinner. When I pulled into the restaurant parking lot, I saw my friend in his car waiting for me, waved, and continued on to park my car. I parked right in front of the door to the restaurant, and as I pulled in, a middle-aged man walked out and stood right in front of the aisle between my car and the one next to me, blocking the restaurant and smiling at me creepily. I was dressed nice, and when I got out and began to lock my car, he started saying, “Hey, you’re pretty cute…”, and began to approach me. There was absolutely no need for him to walk down the aisle between the cars, so I can only assume it was to get closer to me.
I immediately turned and walked away from him and toward my friend, who had gotten out of his car but did not know what was going on. The man followed me until he saw that I was not alone, but with a male, and then went away. It is unfathomable to me that in this century, there are still people that will not respect a woman’s own right to exist and go where she pleases without being harassed by random strangers, until she is accompanied by another man. The man at this restaurant respected more the fact that my male friend knew me than the fact that I am a person. Women are humans, and humans should not need the presence of another human to be treated as such.
When I was in highschool, there was a guy who was constantly harassing me. He was friends with a friend of mine, and our school wasn’t so big, so he was always around it seemed and even in a few of my classes. He always commented on my breasts (I have fairly large ones), would say I had “the perfect BJ mouth”, and wouldn’t let up when I asked him to stop. I had one class with him where he sat right next to me, and during the class he would suddenly grab my breast and grin at me when I would look at him in shock. This happened almost every day, and when I would confront him he would laugh and say, “it was a ghost!” It really bugs me that, not only did he get away with it, but my teacher never seemed to care. We sat in front of his desk, and I knew he was aware. It made me so uncomfortable because the guy was popular and I would most likely get harassed more if I went to the principle. I felt powerless.
I lived in the NY/NJ area for 7 years – and over that time, I had men expose themselves to me on the subway, call to me on the street and then masturbate, and one time I wasn’t even off of the steps to my building when a guy said “nice tits”. But the worst experience I had was when I was living in Jersey City, NJ and working in Manhattan.
I often took the bus in and out of Port Authority. One night, I was out in NY with friends, and was going home about 11 PM so the terminal was pretty empty and quiet. It was summer, and I was wearing a white sundress that fell just below my knees. As I was standing on the escalator going up to the next floor, I felt my skirt brush my leg. It was odd because the escalator wasn’t crowded, and when I turned to see what caused it, I discovered a man lying on the escalator behind me, peering up my skirt. I immediately started shouting, “Stop it! Get away from me!” and I ran to my bus platform as quickly as possible, because I knew there would be other people waiting there as well. The man followed me. As I neared the platform, I continued shouting, “That man is following me – he just looked up my skirt” By this point I was crying and very upset. The worst part of it, however, was the indifference of the people waiting. Someone actually said, “what do you expect?” and everyone literally avoided me, as if I was crazy.
When I got on the bus, I was sobbing uncontrollably, and no one wanted to sit next to me (which was fine with me). Then one man politely and respectfully asked if he could sit next to me. After he sat down, he apologized for the behavior of everyone else. He asked me if I wanted to talk about it, and I told him what happened. He again apologized for my experience. And then he started asking me random, small talk questions in an effort to divert my attention and make me feel better. He was the only person in a bus load of people that didn’t treat me like a leper. He even offered to walk me to my door, but there was no way I was going to trust him just because he was nice to me. I don’t know if he was trying to take advantage of my being in a vulnerable state, but I like to think that he was just a good guy in a sea of creeps.