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My name is Lara, I’m 15 years old. All of the cases of street harassment have been while I was running, and this time was no exception. I was out on a rather long run, and I had stopped at an intersection to catch my breath and wait for traffic to clear. Suddenly, I was approached by a group of young teenage boys that couldn’t have been any older than 13 years old. They asked me if my side hurt from running, as well as another question I didn’t quite hear. As I jogged away they yelled, “She got an ass though!” at me. I didn’t really feel threatened by this, but these kids were so young, and they were already perpetrating street harassment. I found that sad.
I just experienced sexism in the workplace, and I stomped it out. Success!
I work in the upstairs area of a building with several other co-workers. Most of my colleagues upstairs are male (this will be relevant).
There is only one printer upstairs, with approximately thirteen people using it on a daily basis. As a result, the paper in the machine runs out fairly quickly. I refill the machine about twice per month. In order to do so, I must retrieve the paper from a supply closet downstairs. In my two years of working where I do, only once has another person retrieved more paper for the printer. Twice, if you count another person who only needed more paper for their own print job.
I usually hear at least one comment from someone as I’m going back upstairs with the box of paper. It’s heavy, but I’m able to carry it for the short time it takes. The comments are mostly about how a man should be carrying it, a man should be helping me, etc. These comments come from both men and women, who have been conditioned to believe that women are fragile and weak. Brainwashing is a scary thing, folks!
I normally respond to these comments with a sarcastic laugh, a “Riiight,” or something light. But today, I didn’t! Because sexism is a load of crap. It really is.
Whenever I go into the supply closet, I usually need to tell one of my co-workers downstairs that I’m taking a box of paper, so that they can then inform the person who is responsible for replenishing the closet. This person is a man (this will also be relevant).
Well, today this person was going into the closet, so I went directly to him to ask if I could get in and take a box of paper. He warmly obliged, and unlocked the door for me.
Here’s how the dialogue proceeded:
Him: “You just need some paper?”
Me: “Yeah, just one box of 8.5″ x 11″. Ah, here it is.” *crouches down to pick it up*
Him: “Whoa, you’re going to take that whole box upstairs? Can’t you get one of the guys up there to get it?”
Me: *pauses mid-crouch without making eye-contact* “What, am I not worthy or something?”
Him: “Nah, it’s just… What are you, 135, 130?”
Me: “Hell if I know, man.”
Him: “And that box is about 45 pounds, so-”
Me: *cuts him off* “Yeah, I got it. I do this all the time.”
Him: “Well why don’t you just take the reams up separately?”
Me: *laughs* “Nah, I got it.”
Him: “You can just take half of the paper up today, and then come back for the rest tomorrow. How about that?”
Me: “Nah, I’m good. I need the paper today.” *picks up the box and starts walking out*
Him: “Okay… Well I’ll close the door behind you.”
His tone was incredibly infantilizing when he was asking me to take half of the paper today, and half tomorrow. It was like he was trying to negotiate with a child. Too funny.
It did shut him up, though. The ratio of a person’s stature to the weight of an object is not a valid argument. It was strange how he continued to come up with anything to deter me.
The funny thing is, everybody wants to be the hero when it comes to seeing a woman carry something heavy, especially up stairs. They all want to be saviors and help the damsel in distress, but they can’t be bothered to get off their asses and do it when it needs to be done in the first place. They could be the ones going downstairs for the paper initially, but it’s better for their ego to be a white knight instead.
NOT WITH ME. Don’t ever believe anyone who tells you that you can’t do something because you’re a woman or girl. Trust in yourself enough to know that if you need help, you will ask for it. But otherwise, YOU CAN DO ANYTHING YOU WANT TO DO.
So I was walking to an ice cream store in a cute town in Massachusetts with my parents, my aunt, uncle, and cousin. I see a pickup truck driving in our direction with some guy in a snapback sticking his head out the window. He actually yelled “nice legs” out of his car while looking at me while I was with my family. Disgusting.
I remember the first time this happened to me. I was in 7th grade coming home on the bus near the end of the school year. I usually sat with my best friend (a guy) and there had never been any problem with the three older boys who sat behind us all the time. That day my friend wasn’t there, and a sat alone with another girl across from me. Also that day, it happened to be getting pretty hot, but because of the dress code, I had to wear a jacket over my dress. Like any normal human being would, I took of my jacket on the bus.
Before I knew it, one of the boys behind me started to say things like, ¨Damn, nice tits¨ and ¨Glad your boyfriend isn’t here,” which in my position was pretty scary. I turned around and told them to fuck off, which got me the response, ¨Wow, that pretty little bitch has a vocabulary.¨ Not only was this happening, but one of the other boys sat down next to me. He didn’t do anything, but he was a little too close for comfort. After all of that, I told no one but the male principle, whose response was pretty much ¨boys will be boys.¨
I decided to take a walk to this 24-hour coffee shop down the street from my apartment to visit a friend who was working. It was late at night, so I was of course being careful and paying attention, but the walk is only about 2 blocks. I don’t want to be too scared to walk two blocks. But apparently, I ought to be, because on my way there some men driving by leaned out their windows and yelled, “Damn!!” while leering at me. I glared at them, and thankfully they kept driving, but I didn’t feel safe enough at that point to keep going to the coffee shop and then have to walk back later, so I just turned right around and went home.
I don’t understand the need of some people to assert the way they feel like that. Do they not get that it is an intimidation tactic? Or do they get it, and they think I need to be frightened? Are they just curious as to what the reaction will be? I really don’t understand why, because I’m a woman, I ought to be scared to walk two blocks down my own street.
My cousin is getting married next month, and I am unable to attend due to distance and money issues. I decided to go to the drug store on the way home from running errands to pick up a nice card for her and her fiancée.
On the way home I heard a voice shouting “Hey! Hey!” I turned to see a man in his mid 70s walking towards me. I figured he was going to ask for directions and waited for him.
He gave me a smile and said “Your summer outfit makes my heart beat fast and I want to f*** you!”
I frowned and shook my head “no.” When I turned to go he repeated it and began to follow me.
I flat out lied saying I had a boyfriend and he was waiting for me.
Even then he did not give up! He demanded proof of this boyfriend and asked why I didn’t have an engagement ring on? He wanted to know where I lived among other things.
Finally I said I had to leave as I had people waiting for me and got out of there. When I told the police about what happened they said there was nothing that they could do. They said it’s not illegal to talk to people on the street.
It makes me want to never leave my home. I’ve been harassed by men many, many times in this town. If I had the money I’d leave. I don’t feel safe here.
I experienced cat calling and construction workers making lewd comments towards me.
I’m 19 years old, out of school and looking for a job. I had made plans to go to several local businesses–a clothing store and a couple art shops–to look for a job. To show to potential employers that I’m a creative and unique person while still looking somewhat professional, I wore a white blouse with a steampunk-esque corset over it, skinny jeans and heels. I was feeling pretty confident and fashionable, but that didn’t last long.
Not even five minutes after leaving the house, I get a few wolf whistles. The further into the city I went, the worse it got. The catcalling began, with “hey shawty”, “hey baby” and “sup sexy.” This was coming from men between 20 and 60, mind you, and even a little 10 year old boy (if that) whistled at me. I was so disgusted, especially that it is so acceptable in our society to do that to women that even children that young are doing it. At one point, I passed these three dirty old men sitting on their doorstep, and each one of them made a comment, with the first calling me sexy, that second calling me beautiful, and by that point I was so upset that I didn’t even hear the third. Did they think they were actually complimenting me?
Then came the scary part. I’m always afraid that people in the city have guns that they might use to shoot people over the littlest things, because I see incidents like that on TV. Still, I took a chance. As I was heading back home, a silver car pulled up next to me and cruised along as I walked. My heart began to race and all I could think was, “Uh-oh, one wrong move and I could end up dead.” They said something I couldn’t understand, but I got the gist of it. I told them to fuck off, and the driver said, “Oh, you said you want me to fuck off? Feisty one.” I told them, “Not even in another lifetime,” and continued to walk. They lingered for a moment and then drove away, and I darted down the next corner, trying to distance myself from them as much as I could. I have never been so uncomfortable and frightened in my life. I can never feel safe in this city.
During the afternoon at Sydney Central Station, I was walking past the exit when a man said to me “hey do you want to watch me masturbate?” It shocked me at first, and I walked a couple steps forward before I turned back and saying, “Excuse me?!” in a disgusted tone. I was only able to glare at him for a couple of seconds before I kept walking. But I felt so angry and powerless that I couldn’t retaliate anymore because I didn’t have much time to react and respond. The place was busy and there were people all around us. I couldn’t believe this man could just blatantly say something like that.
I was walking back home, and a young man was standing in a corner with some headphones. As I walked past him, I heard him yell “Bonjour!” I looked back (I wasn’t sure he was talking to me because of the headphones he had, and it’s not the first time some tourist stops me to ask for directions on that street), even though his figure and tone made me uncomfortable. He looked at me and asked if “it was free of charge.”
I usually don’t react to street harassment and catcalling, and I don’t know where I got the courage from this time, but I just turned away, and kept walking while I gave him the finger. He started yelling at me, calling me crazy, a whore and all that. I kept my head (and finger) high until arriving at my place, which was just down the street. I’m really proud of myself for finding the courage to react, but I’m also very afraid. He has seen where I live. I’m too scared to leave the house now.