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Was looking at a menu on the side of a building and two men walked by and they appeared drunk (it was 4 o’clock) and one preceded to say something inaudible and I managed to pick out the words “you look nice and tight” and they walked away. I’m fourteen and was with my parents although they weren’t directly next to me at the time so they didn’t overhear.
A car kept verbally harassing me while I was waiting for the bus. They kept asking me if I wanted a ride in a really sleazy way. They wouldn’t stop asking me until I started taking photos of his car.
“You got a boyfriend?”
“I’ll turn you straight”
whistling and jeering as I reverse park my car.
While walking down my block next to a bar, I noticed a tall man coming towards me. He then abruptly blocked my path and mumbled something to me. I ignored him and tried to go around him. He then pushed me hard against the building. I screamed and yelled, “What the hell! I didn’t do anything to you!” He then backed away and started running away. I was shocked but I dialed 911 right away. The cops took 15 minutes to get there but he was gone. There were bystanders all around (this was around noon) and they didn’t do anything. Only later, when I walked home did someone stop me to ask what had happened.
I wish I would have known what to do. It was broad daylight and I didn’t have my pepper spray with me.
This has been my last 24 hours in New Orleans:
Yesterday, it was over 95 degrees and I dared to wear shorts to a gas station. A man walked up behind me while I was in line, rubbed his hand on my butt and said quietly in my ear, “look at that ass.” I said “Please don’t touch me” and he yelled back “I didn’t touch you” and then stared at me intimidatingly until he left the store. I was so shaken up I waited inside the store for a few seconds after he left so I could be sure that he wouldn’t attack me again in the parking lot as I walked to my car.
Today, I had to walk to the UPS store from my office. On the 3 block walk, while wearing my business casual work clothes, I received two beeps from cars passing by. On the walk back, a car with two men in it slowly drove next to me and commented on my appearance for a block and a half.
I feel powerless against these men. I’m too afraid to confront them because I worry their sexual aggression will turn physical.
I was walking my dog down my block and there was a group of men working on my neighbors driveway. I could see one of them staring at me and I watched him move behind a vehicle parked in the road. I watched his feet under the car…he was waiting for me to walk up to him. But he was hiding. When I came up on the vehicle, he stepped right in front of me, sort of blocking my path. He asked what kind of dog I had so I told him. Then he asked me if my husband was home. Even though Im married to a woman, I just said “Yes, yes he is”. I didnt want him to think I was single or home alone. He then said, “Can I ask you a question, can I have a hug?”. My dog began to growl at him, and my dog has NEVER done this before. Mind you, it was almost 95 degrees, hot and humid. I said “No dude and you better back off or my dog will bite you”. He asked again, making it sound like he wasn’t asking for much. I quickly walked away. He stared at me the whole time. My dog kept stopping to look back at him, thats how I caught him staring. Now he knows where I live, as he was working there all day and I live two houses down. I locked myself in the house all day yesterday and today Im afraid to walk my dog because hes there again. I think Ill go out with a pocket knife, just in case. It might not sound very threatening to some of you, but Im scared of this guy. Im scared that he knows where I live. And theres not much I can do about this other then continue to be hypervigilant.
Was walking past a Toys R Us when a middle aged man in a truck yelled, “You definitely look like you’re going into the wrong toy store.”
I ran up to the corner store to grab a couple things. When I left the store it started raining a little bit so I was getting ready to start my jog home. As I left the corner store a man opened the door for me. So I thanked him for the kind gesture. I started to jog away when he shouted “Uh huh get it nice and wet for me!”
I’ve been sitting in a park, crying on a bench under a tree, for the good part of an hour. A young man a few blocks away did something that shouldn’t evoke this level of response in me. He made dog yapping noises at me. He was good, at first I thought it was actually an annoying Pomeranian. When I start to frown he said, “Come on, at least I got a smile out of you.”
I immeditately responded by telling him he didn’t, that he should never do that to anyone ever again, and how what he was doing wasn’t nice. It felt weak against his and his friends’ laughter. “Yeah but it was funny!” It was to them. “Hey babe I’m a bad boy!” – he shouted to me as I kept walking.
I was so irritated that a few moment later I walked back, to tell them how horrible it felt to have someone do that to you. I honestly didn’t think he knew. He had walked off, so I continued on a few blocks. What happened next I didn’t really understand. I began crying, stomach tense and short of breath. It was as if years of being called at and put into situations I really didn’t want to be in with my body were pouring out of me. My body, at times, had not felt like it was for me. It was for others to look at, to judge critically or to enjoy. They knew nothing of how it gave me scarlet fever once for a month, or how I was so grateful that it stayed strong as I led a rock climb for the first time in ages, just a week earlier. They didn’t know that I can dance, or hate running, or how yoga can be painful if you don’t do it regularly. They like the shape, the size, the color… These are such meaningless things to me, unless something’s out of reach.
I don’t know the best way to stop this invasive behavior. I feel very weak against it. I think slowly, personally, by responding as best I can to demoralize any street caller’s actions is the best route for me. The next time you find yourself commenting on an actresses’s weight or appearance when the situation really calls for her skill, remember the last time you were cat-called. The next time you wear something you don’t want to wear, to please others, remember to keep your own power. Your body is for you. It is for no one else.