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Well I’ve put ‘verbal’ but this guy was walking towards me with his arms out as if to hug me on a dark station platform late at night with his two friends in tow and I didn’t know if he was going to grab me, lift me up or push me into the tracks! This is in an area where there has recently been very high profile sexual assaults of several women and also the rape of a young girl just down the road. I was tired after a 12 hour shift and as a reflex (why am I even explaining the reasons for my reaction?!) I said “get away from me” as he got so close his face was in mine. At this point he immediately launched into firing insults about every aspect of my physical appearance. It was constant “look at the state of you look at the state of you look at your disgusting face bla bla etc”
I responded by saying I didn’t care and that I am 36 years old where upon he said “you look 46.” I told him very calmly that I didn’t care what I looked like and that I liked to read and learn things and that’s what was important. He shouted in my face “stop talking stop talking” “you’re so ugly you should kill yourself.”
I don’t know why and I regret it a bit but I decided to say “yes yes! Oooh im incredibly ugly yes look at the terrible state of me oh it’s awful isn’t it I’m a disgusting mess etc” then the station staff man who was in the little unit box thing on the platform opened his door, I think he could see I was surrounded by these three men. At this point the guy who tried to hug me said to him “she started on me!”
I said “I was just minding my business!”
My train came and I walked far away in case they were in my carriage but they weren’t even getting in the train and it sailed past all three who looked at me as the train went by.
How unnecessary the whole thing is! I wish I’d said more, of course in retrospect I thought of a million better things to say but my heart was racing and my legs were shaking. I thought he would punch me I really did, he looked so angry.
I wish I’d said something like “one day when you’re about 54 you’ll probably be married and work in IT and gave two children one probably a girl and when this happens to her, when a man walks towards her at night you’ll hope she can stand up for herself and say “out of my way” but you punished me for doing it with the typical lazy reaction of “oh god you’re so ugly!” You’ll live your daughter and want to hurt those people but now, when you could actually make a difference to your culture you choose to be a coward.
I went home and have tried to feel strong but you know what? I’ve been looking in the mirror and thinking “yes, you are ugly!” “Yes, the time you were homeless took its toll and shows in your face” “yes, the death of your father at age 7 probably gave you a permanently sad face and his absence probably also gave you no self esteem” etc etc on and on.
I know this is because I’m programmed. I look the same as I did when I left my friend’s earlier and felt fairly ok about life. Weird thing is, I was not standing there claiming to be a great beauty. His remarks were as if he were refuting done statement if made. I admit it, I feed sadder than I did before it happened. It’s one more nail in a long long coffin of comments and shouting and being grabbed and insulted, often complimented and then insulted when I haven’t wanted to talk. I’m tired. I’m so tired of knowing that I either acquiesce or have my existence and appearance torn apart. It’s so cowardly. Bored of it. Bored and angry and sad and frustrated. I have so many stories from over the years. Always I am verbally ripped to pieces when I answer back. I’m tired that I was forced into a conversation I didn’t want, yet again. I’m sure I could have avoided all the esteem destroying remarks had I hugged him or smiled or made some kind of simmering sounds of non threatening friendliness but why should I? It would be an act and an act of fear. So, there’s the deal. I think every time we answer back we risk a personal inventory of our faults so perhaps that’s why many people do not answer back and the whole thing continues. I’m tired of this. Tired of no back up. I do not drive and work hard so I am alone on public transport a lot which I should be able to be!
The anger expressed when I do not stop to chat or smile or if I just ignore the shouts. The anger and insults. I don’t want conversations with men I don’t know in the street! Why are they angry when I speak my mind? Don’t they have mothers or sisters? Daughters?
I am baffled and as I think I said. Tired.
I’ve had a hard day. I came to your site to share my story, just one from today. When I started to fill out your submission form, I started to cry. Unsure of which box to check under “Harassment type”, I realized that I would have to make sharing my stories of harassment a full time job if I actually wanted to share my stories that have sadly become part of my life. The countless times I’ve been shouted at on the street. The several jobs that I have either been forced to quit, fired from, or kept from because a “man” can’t keep his thoughts to himself. The nights that I drove home crying from my server job because the door guy couldn’t keep his hands off of me. I just turned 37 and it doesn’t seem to end. It feels just as bad now, as it did to be harassed when I was younger. It has to stop.
I’m a college student working at a restaurant down in South Beach Miami. Today this rich asshole comes in his Lamborghini. Once he was seated, while my female coworker was trying to take his order, he said “Can I stare at your breasts?” (He actually said that) Obviously she looked shocked at then he proceeded to shove his face right into her breasts. WTF? She started yelling at him and my boss came over and asked what was going on. She told him what happened the rich guy accused her of lying. I went over to the table and told my boss that I saw what happened and to call the cops. And this prick sided with the rich guy. Everyone else there saw what happened, I don’t know why no one else was stepping up. My boss didn’t charge him for his food and took the money for his food off of our paychecks (me and the female coworker). Fucking ridiculous.
I was walking home from a friends house, I was 15. A car pulled up alongside me and a middle-aged man got out and said ‘Hey, can I touch you for a few minutes?’ I stopped and looked at him, and kept walking, completely ignoring him until I saw him drive away. Later on the same walk two men (teenagers? Maybe 20?) started following me and yelling ‘hey baby, come here.’ I ignored both of them, too, and they got angry and started yelling ‘what are you deaf? get over here.’ Luckily there was a fence between us and they gave up after following me for a couple of blocks. These are just two of the many, many times I’ve been harassed.
As I approached my bus stop and waited for my bus to work, two incidents of sexual harassment occurred within seconds of each other. First, a group of young men in a car, waiting in traffic beside the bus stop, waved, smirked, and shouted at me. Then, as I reached the bus stop, an older man who was also waiting at the stop approached me. We were the only two people around, but the stop is beside a high traffic road and it was in broad daylight. The older man, a stranger, began a conversation with me that started out innocently enough as we talked about the weather. He then told me that I looked very nice and I was very well dressed, and asked if I was a model. He kept telling me how great I looked and that I should be a model, and when the bus finally arrived at our stop he said he felt flattered and honored to be riding the bus with a model. He also asked questions about my personal life, how old I was, where I work, etc. I did begin to feel uncomfortable, because we were the only people around the bus stop and I could not leave because I needed to use the bus to get to work on time.
I had know him since I was baby his wife was my mums best friend, he was my fathers. I had just turned 16 he was 54 I was working for him, he owned a small spray painting business, it was only ever me and him there.
At the begging everything was fine we were just getting work done, but after a couple of shifts he would stand really close to me and put his hand on my bum, when ever he stood next to me or talked to me he would always be touching me. I just brushed it off as just friendly affection since I had know him all my life. I told my mum thought just for precaution. The next shift he kept on talking about if how I ever got chemicals on me I would have to remove all my cloths and he would have to wash it off me. I found that creepy. The next shift I had to work I sat on paint thinners that were on the seat I only sit on and which he told me to sit on. It was burning my skin but I was to scared to tell him so I just dealt with it. He asked me to help him paint somthing, he looked at me and said I was about to do somthing inappropriate I just laughed, it’s what I do when I’m uncomfortable, he placed the hose witch vibrates between my legs so it was against my vagina, I just laughed. He then continually made jokes about it “don’t have to much fun with that” “I know when you do that you are having way to much fun at work” I had never been so uncomfortable in my life. I went home and told my mum everything and that no matter what I was not going back. She wanted to take it to the police and talk to his wife about it but I made her swear to serequcy I don’t like dealing with things so the less drama we let it cause the easier it would be for me. I hate myself for just laughing but I just didn’t know what else to do. I’m still 16 and I still think about it all the time.
There is a man who works as a cleaner in my apartment block. Since I moved here, I’ve had a couple of interactions with him; held the door open for him a couple of times, greeted him when I saw him, helped him pick up a load of paper after somebody had trashed the complex’s lobby. Basically, I treated him with basic decency. Not excessive kindness or flirtation; just basic decency. When I took the lift the other day to the ground floor, I saw he was in there and greeted him briefly. As the door closed, he began stroking my arm, and told me that there was a girl who looked very like me in a shop he goes to. He then started touching the ‘beauty spot’ (mole tbh) above my lip with his thumb, and said that she had that too. He was standing very close to me, and as we were in a lift, I was pretty scared. I am on the 10th floor in my apartment block, but have taken the stairs ever since.
One day I was waiting in the bus stop that I usually waited at and while I was waiting I was standing in front of a shop. A man that I did not know kept on staring at me. At first I thought he wanted to go to the shop so I moved but then he still kept staring at me and moved closer to me , at that point I was getting really scared he was not smiling or anything like that just looking at me constantly. The clothes I was wearing were not revealing just some jeans and a long sleeve shirt with a jacket over. I did not know what to do I just walked away and he started stalking me when i noticed this I ran and didn’t stop until he was out of sight and walked all the way home.
A van full of boys passed by me and the driver yelled “wanna bang us?” out the window at me. He was going at least 10mph above the speed limit. No, I don’t want to bang you, and you don’t look cool driving your Mom’s minivan.
I was coming out of a large chain gas station, and there was a group of men hanging around an SUV who started to make sexual comments about my body. I ignored them and kept walking to my car. As I passed, I heard one of them say, “Oh, look at her get that power-walk on.”
Then another of them began to follow me and call after me. At this point, I was alarmed. So I turned around and told him to “Get away from me.” He kept walking toward me.
“You get away from me now,” I shouted. “Or I’m calling the police.”
I was safely on the road as I pulled around and from my vantage point could see there was actually a large group of them hanging around that SUV and neither going in nor coming out of the store. I pulled over, looked up the number of the store chain, and called their manager who promised to have the cops come and get rid of them. I wish I could have done the report myself, but at least the message was sent.