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I tried walking on a public street to the stores within a four mile radius of my house on three separate occasions recently, but every time I did, at least one person yelled out of car windows, honked at me, or both. I am not pretty, I am just average. I wore ordinary clothing, either t-shirt and jeans or t-shirt and running pants. No make-up. Hair in a ponytail. It didn’t matter. They honked and yelled anyway. I hated it. Every time I was startled and afraid someone would actually stop and get out of the car. So now I dress as a male when I walk on public roads. I wear men’s cargo pants and a loose button-up man’s shirt and a ball-cap. I even bought a chest binder and I usually wear it, too. No one honks or yells at me now. I think we should all start a yearly Dress Like a Man Day as a protest against harassment. If men want to appreciate feminine beauty on the street, let them do it quietly and politely! If some men won’t be civilized, maybe it’s time to take away their scenery.
I live in one of my university dorms and was leaving for class in the middle of the day. Often, men, never women for some reason, hang around the corner by my building. Normally I don’t experience issues with the ones that are regularly there and have had some good conversations with them. One day there was a man I didn’t recognize standing at the corner. While I was waiting at the light he asked me if I had any change, which I did not as I rarely carry cash or change. When I said no he responded that it was ok, that my beautiful smile made up for it. Which was innocent enough and kind. As the light changed though he then remarked to his friend that “[he] would do [me]” and then commented to me that “[he] would f*** [me] given the chance.” I said nothing and crossed the street to get to my class and hoped that walking away would be enough to end the crude comments. Rather, he followed me for a couple of blocks until I reached my class. I was very glad he didn’t do anything but his remarks sent chills through my body and left me feeling very violated as he followed me to my class.
I was leaving my school studio one evening (8-8:30) on campus to go back to my room. I am very slim (not busty, no butt to speak of). I had on bootcut jeans, red reeboks, a long sleeve button-up shirt and (just to be “safe”) an undershirt. I was carrying a huge portfolio and had a backpack.
As I left the studio and walked maybe 5 steps a young, big, chubby guy in a car pulls by and slows down. He immediately starts with the usual chatter “hey, baby”, “damn”, “oh, what’s your name” etc. It’s night time, I am alone and don’t typically appreciate strangers talking to me like that. It’s scary. He could have looked like a young Clive Owen, I would have still been very uncomfortable.
I didn’t acknowledge him or look in his direction. He continued to follow me and talking but he didn’t appreciate me not acknowledging him so he started to say: “oh you think you’re to good for me?” “you bitch” “I’m going to fucking kill you”. Verbatim, he said he was going to kill me for not acknowledging his “compliments”. I dropped my stuff and started to run, he followed me into the adjacent parking lot. I used to do track and I’m a good runner. I hauled it to the security call box (it was broken, I’m not kidding!!). He got the idea though and stopped the car. I thought he was going to get out of his car to grab me so I left the call box and ran to IT services across the campus lawn. He didn’t pursue. I was sure glad to get the flattering attention though. Is that why my heart was racing like a hunted animal?
So, in a nut shell, I don’t like cat calling. I find it really inappropriate. Men don’t realize how vulnerable women feel. Almost any man can easily physically overpower me. I think that type of behavior is about control, not about heart-felt compliments.
I was 9 months pregnant, and sitting in my parked car at the side of the road preparing to heave my huge baby belly out of the seat and into my home. A car drive past and someone yelled ‘fat bitch!’ at me. I got really upset, due in part to the hormones but also I’ve always been sensitive about my weight even outside of pregnancy. I couldn’t help welling up with tears and to make it worse, my boyfriend who was in the car with me just got annoyed and told me not to be so stupid and sensitive. Even now, 5 years later (during which I’ve not been catcalled once) that memory still gets to me.
At around 5:45 yesterday I stopped to pick up some cleaning supplies and dinner about 4 blocks from my apartment on my way home from work. I decided to take the bus home and waited with a mixed group of about 8 people. A man approached me and offered to “keep me warm” and I ignored him. He watched me for about 5 minutes and then grabbed my arm, insisting it was too cold for me outside. I said “Please don’t touch me. I don’t know you.” He started screaming at me, saying things like “As big as you are? You’re lucky anyone is touching you!” I kept ignoring it. He walked up to the young man next to me and said loudly “I’m gonna go with her and show her not to disrespect men like that!” No one said anything so I went inside a nearby shop and asked to speak with a manager. Only then did I learn that a policeman had seen the entire thing and decided not to intervene. Instead, the cop just told me I did everything right and should take the next bus home. I left my food on the sidewalk and took the next bus home. I’m 22, 5 feet tall, and was wearing a medical boot for a broken ankle. I needed help and I still feel vulnerable.
While on the phone with a friend outside a bar, a man who was a complete stranger grabbed me around my waist proceeding to ask me a question.. I responded with, “don’t fucking touch me.” He responded by yelling and calling me a fucking psycho. I don’t know if not wanting to be grabbed by a complete stranger makes me a psycho.. But that’s just me.
i was walking in pioneer square around 11am
On November 3rd I was told to smile by one guy (no one owes you shit especially when you’re a creeper) and lousily hit on and stared at by another creeper when I was just walking to the office fully clothed in my winter attire. Next time if I feel safe I’ll take their photos
I’ve only had two particularly bad instances of street harassment. There was one time I was walking to the charity shop I worked at at the weekend (bear in mind this was at around 9 in the morning) and one man who looked about 50 got all up in my personal space and said “hey sexy what’s your name” – I ignored him and tried to get past him but he kept blocking my way and leering at me. When I eventually got past he grabbed my arm and pulled me back to him so I had to physically shove him off me, which he responded to by hurling slurs and derogatory comments at me and spitting as I speed walked as fast as I could away from him. There was also another instance where I was doing this crappy minimum wage morning job handing out flyers for a pasta place in town and as I was working these two men decided that it would be an appropriate time for them to try it on with me. Again, they both looked old enough to be my dad. They said things like “hey gorgeous is your number on this flyer?” and “you’re too pretty to be doing this – you should be modelling” but when I ignored them and kept working they switched to more sexually explicit comments about my body and what they’d like to do to it, and they started trying to touch my face and my bum. When I told them to get the f away from me I got in trouble with my manager for being rude to potential customers. I actually quit that job because of the amount of harassment I received. Both times were in broad daylight on busy streets and I was under 18.
So I was walking back from one of my classes that I take about 5 minutes away from the dorm I live in. I rode my bike that day and was wearing a nice white dress. It had started raining so I was walking my bike so I didn’t get mud all over my dress. As I was walking my bike a man standing outside smoking said “You should get a wheel guard for your bike, wouldn’t want to get mud up that pretty white dress” I felt like this was more than just an innocent friendly suggestion. I was very embarrassed and just kept walking. As I approached the bus stop I met the eyes of an older man. I smiled politely only to be met with “Nice legs, and the rest of your body is good too.” I was so shocked. I told him “You can’t just say that to me.” to which he replied “Yes I can.” I was so afraid I got on my bike and quickly rode back not caring if I got mud all over my dress. At first I felt guilty but then I realized what I wear is not an invitation to talk to me especially if it will make me uncomfortable or feel unsafe.
I was running errands in town, and because parking is limited was doing most of it on foot. as I was nearing the bank, a man was saying terrible things to his young female child and using the situation to intimidate the women who looked up in dismay. He shouted at the toddler to intimidate the crowd. “don’t even bother looking at them, they ain’t going to help you, they don’t care about you,” was how he addressed the crowd and made eye contact with the crowd inbetween saying awful sexiest things to a baby girl who could not be older than 4.
people were staring, and I was disgusted. So I said to him very politely and sternly that is inappropriate to act that way in public or at home would you please stop.
the man, who was very tall, proceded to describe how he was going to follow me home and kill me. he used very derogatory terms toward me, hinted that he was going to rape me and in a very short time frame did everything he could to frighten intimidate me.
so I whipped out my cell phone press record and held it right up in the air. And I said something along the lines of “what an interesting conversation why don’t we share it with the local police department.”
at that point I said “I believe you just threatened me and I need to respond in some way,” but then he grabbed his little girl and was running away.
before I moved away from Binghamton, New York, I saw that pattern a lot. Where men who were caretakers of little girls would say awful things to the little girls in public and look around challenging people to do something about it. It was one of the sickest things I think a person can do, using a little child to try to show how tough they are by emotionally destroying that child in public.
each time I had those interactions I would always whip out my cell phone and the guy who was threatening to kill me, rape me, sodomize me, f*** my skull, etc, would immediately get silent and either run away or walk away very quickly.
I think it is important to point out that street harassment occurs to little girls who don’t know what it is and have no voice within this discussion. instead of strangers, children get it from family members and friends who use the public venue to power trip on harming little children.