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I was at the mall, browsing for Christmas gifts and killing time before meeting a friend for lunch. In Goldsboro, the mall is pretty deserted during the weekday. I was walking, texting my husband, minding my own business, and it shouldn’t matter, but I was wearing a jacket and a crew neck t-shirt, and looseish jeans, when I heard…
“Mmmmmmmmmmmmm-MMM”. I realized that the sound came from a group of three males walking in the other direction. At first I felt vaguely gratified, because I’ve been trying to lose weight. Then I felt dirty, horrible, and ashamed, because I realized that it sounded like he was looking at a plate of brownies or a steak.
I turned around, and realized all three were walking backwards to keep their gaze on my backside. It would have been comical if I wasn’t so offended by having treated like a side of bacon.
I saw red, and informed this group of men that I was a person, not a slab of meat, and the next time they wanted to treat a woman that way, they should keep their goddamn mouths shut. They started laughing, and then one said, “Fucking cracker cunts” and walked off.
I have never felt so angered and humiliated in my life.
On Saturday night, I went to a beautiful concert downtown Seattle with six of my closest friends. The gorgeous venue and music made me feel alive and free and full. On our way back to the car a couple of blocks away, we were verbally harassed by a car full of men catcalling to us out the window, talking about our body parts, etc. This went on for an entire block. The evening had been so perfect. I was pissed that even a small portion of the evening with my dear friends was ruined by being forced to endure a verbal sexual assault at the end of our night.
Was cycling on the road in Glasgow and a car full of four men went by me too fast and too close while they all hollered at me from the car. The one in the front passenger seat was leaning right out the window and whooping at me.
In my country, verbal harassment is, unfortunately, very common. For me, it started when I was 11 or 12. At that age, I was terrified of walking in front of construction works, because I knew that the cat-calls, the whistling and the shouts wouldn’t stop. I felt like an object every time someone call me like that, and now, as the 16 years old I am, it has only became worse. I was walking to buy some chips and a soda, in a not-at-all revealing outfit (like, jeans and a sweater) and in that really short walk, 5 men stared at my ass, some even try to talk to me, asking me if I was single or something like that. Some of them could have been my grandparents! I mean, they don’t have sisters, wife or daughters? They would like that some creepy man would shout something about her boobs or ass, like it was the weather? It’s so unfair that we had to change clothes twice or thrice times, not because we want to look better or something like that, but because we know that if we wear shorts or a tank top, some perv would take that as an invitation to shout how “good they would feel in bed” or “better you would look naked”. How I wish I have made up those lines, but they are true. My friends, cousins, mother, aunts, sister and every woman I know has experienced that and we’re tired of all these. Government, authorities and media can’t talk about equality until this stops. It’s not like we’re asking for impossible. It’s not like harassment is a right that man have to feel manlier. Machismo starts at winking, and it can end in worse things.
I got harassed twice this morning, walking to my new favorite local coffee shop before catching the bus to work. I was not even dressed or acting sexually provocatively. Given I am a transgender woman, I personally feel I get a different type of street harassment.
Today, as I was approaching an intersection, a car stopped. He had his window rolled down and just waited for me to approach. He wasn’t on his phone (as in responding to a text message) or anything and there wasn’t any cars around. He started flirting with me and asking how I was doing. Thankfully, a car came up and he had to proceed. I didn’t say anything, as I usually do.
The second incident happened after the coffee shop visit. I was waiting at another intersection, an intersection with a traffic light, and this guy slows down with his window rolled down, and started to whistle at me and said, “I’d like to f— your tranny ass.”
While I am going to accept that I am very bothered by what happened, I am not going to let it stop me from being who I am or walking in my own neighborhood. I am not going to let them win. I am a strong woman.
watching the video reminds me of what I go through everyday of my life since I was 13 years old. I have had men grab my arm, one man crashed his car just to say vulgar things or try to talk to me. I have had notes left on my car that I was being followed, I even got attacked by a cable guy installing cable once who then decided to move into my complex to watch me everyday. I am 40 now and even as I write this story by 8:30 am today I already got 3 cat calls from the gas station to walking into my building at work. It’s literally everyday. I hate to see what the count is when I go out at lunch. I had a scary incident recently where I had a stalker and he actually came up to me and said “hey during sex do you like to be tied up and choked?” I mean really!!! everyday he was in my parking lot at work, security had to get involved. I lost a good girlfriend because of her husband’s advances. I try my best to ignore it and watching that video just makes me see I am not the only one that goes through this everyday of my life!
Was told to “smile pretty girl” while walking down the street.
I was dressed in normal workout clothes, jogging at the country club near my house in the off season when there weren’t golfers. There’s a chain link fence that divides the golf course from the road that runs parallel.
A car that was driving beside me on the other side of the fence slowed down and a man stuck his head out of the window. I knew what was coming.
“You lookin’ good out there girl!”
I had been so fed up with street harassment and felt safe enough with a fence between us that I just flipped him off and kept running.
“Why the fuck you flippin me off?” he snapped at me. I didn’t respond. “I was giving you a compliment, why you flippin me off?” he insisted.
“You’re being disrespectful,” I shouted to him.
“You’re the one who’s flippin’ people off, you fuckin white bitch. That’s what I think is disrespectful. Suck DICK.”
And he sped off.
My heart was racing by the end of the conversation. A chain link fence couldn’t stop bullets. My husband and I moved into a house we could afford despite our the student loan debt which meant we had to move into a new area.
I know it’s wrong to be harassed, but it’s not safe to confront harassers. I came home and told my husband and male roommate what I had done. They looked at me like I was stupid. “You could have gotten yourself hurt.”
*I* could have gotten *myself* hurt. If something had happened. It would have been MY fault.
It’s hard for me to have the courage to stand up for myself.
I went into a Walgreens last week to pick up a calendar I had made in the photo department. There were two young men in the section, one that worked there, and another who was trying to print something next to me. The man at the counter was helping me while I examined the calendar when all the sudden I heard the second man say, “Hey, I’m talking to you. You probably didn’t realize it but I am.” I just looked at him with a confused look on my face. He said, “I just wanted to tell you that you look very nice. Your outfit is really nice. I don’t mean any disrespect by that, I just wanted to tell you.” It was awkward but I just said thank you and looked back at my calendar. The man just kept talking though. He said, “I don’t want you to think I’m disrespecting you, I just wanted to give you a compliment.” The guy behind the counter shook his head like he thought the man was ridiculous but said nothing. In the end, the only way I could get the man to stop talking to me was to assure him that I took it as a compliment and that I wasn’t offended. Now that I think about it though, I shouldn’t have to assure someone that being creepy and weird is ok. Even if it is a compliment, I don’t owe you anything for saying it to me and I certainly shouldn’t have to reassure you that bothering me is ok.
Yesterday afternoon, two construction workers took a long stare at my rear end when I walked by and one exclaimed to the other “Wow. That’s nice.”
I get this ALL the time. If I could walk by men on the street without them seeing my rear somehow, I would. Unfortunately, that’s impossible.
This time I was so angry after having learned about a friend who was raped by a massage therapist, that I turned to the men and said “Are you talking to me?” At first they replied “Yeah! Yes!”, very pleased with themselves. Then I loudly said “I do NOT appreciate that!” They looked shocked and were pretty much speechless. Then they tried to backpedal as if they hadn’t said something offensive to me, claiming “Oh no, I was just saying ‘Oh my god'”, as if it was just a passing comment not even related to me. I gave them a good long scolding and angry stare, and then went on my way.
I’m sure my scolding won’t stop these men’s behavior, but maybe it will make them think just a bit more about what effect their misogynistic comments might have on women. I hope so.