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It was a balmy summer evening, and I was walking home from the subway along Flatbush Avenue. Just ahead of me was a girl in her early twenties in a pair of shorts. Men started hooting, and one of them began following her down the street and aggressively asking for her number, her name, and a date. She kept walking, and he kept following. I came up next to her and asked if she’d like a walk home. She quickly said yes, and I slid my arm into her’s and we walked together. The hooting kept up, but the stalking stopped. After a block I asked if she was ok, and she smiled and said yes.
As upset as I was (and still am), it feels good to be able to do something.
A couple of months ago, I posted a success story on here regarding harassment near my workplace. I’ve been reading everyone’s stories since, and sadly there are so few where the victims are able to feel powerful after an incident.
I’ve decided to make it a point to share any successful experiences that I have, to hopefully inspire others to keep going, speak up, and take action. I believe that we can make a world of difference together. We really can.
The most recent experience occurred yesterday. This one was pretty hilarious. I was jogging down a main street in Hayward, California. At one point, I was running on a slight incline, enjoying the focus and pace. I heard a bicycle approaching in the street, alongside the sidewalk where I was. I always look when I hear a bike, to make sure the person is paying attention, not attempting to assault me, etc.
When I looked at the rider, he looked back at me in acknowledgement. Then he looked back again. And again. At that point, I asked, “What?” Not in a confrontational way, but as if you had spinach in your teeth and someone continued to stare. The dialogue was as follows:
Me: “I don’t know, man. You’re making me uncomfortable right now.”
Him: *laughs* “What?”
Me: “Wow, this is really awkward, the way you’re looking at me.”
Him: “I’m just looking at you, looking to see who you are. This is how I look at all the girls!”
Me: “You know I’m only 16, right?”
Him: *pauses and looks back in a double-take* “…Woooow. Woo, oh boy! Oh…” *throws both hands up and starts riding away with increasing speed*
Me: *laughing* “Yeah that’s right, buddy, you just keep on riding!”
He hauled ass out of there like you wouldn’t believe. I wish I had recorded his reaction, or even taken a picture. One of the best ones I’ve seen. I could still hear him in the distance as he was riding away, shaking his head and “woo!”-ing in fear of being caught for his predatory actions. He didn’t look back at me once after that!
I had so much positive energy after the incident, that I was able to jog home in half the time it would normally take me. I went home smiling, laughing, in good spirits. Because I took the power back in the situation.
The funny thing is, I’m actually 25. I mean, I’ll take the compliment, but when a grown man refers to all human females as “girls” regardless of age, I automatically get the vibe that they’re a predator. It’s offensive and insulting to women, but in this instance, I used it to my advantage. I dared to be a woman who stepped outside of her house without a man next to her, and I walked away with the power.
Teenage boy reached out and grabbed my vagina as he was walking past me with four of his friends and then they ran away laughing and shouted, “shut the fuck up bitch!”
Walking home from the gym, man walks behind me, shouts “I like your hair,” and I ignore him. He repeats himself, I continue ignoring so he yells, “fuck you!” This sort of thing happens every day to me in Seattle.
My phone had died at work and I had limited time so I decided to go running without it…no harm, I could manage a few miles without music.
Halfway through my run a green Subaru passed me and yelled “nice pussy” or “I want that pussy” or something to that effect. Either way, I made no reply or physical response and ran on. He then came back, passed again, and yelled further disgusting profanities.
Needless to say, I am keeping my eyes open more often as I run now… and I’m never running without music again.
I never had too much of an issue with street harassment on my campus until I lived in one of the dorms along a busier street. As soon as the weather got warm, the harassment started. I would get annoyed and tell my friends about the instances, but then didn’t think too much about exactly how frequently this was happening. After telling a friend about one particular instance, her response was “AGAIN??!” And that’s when I started keeping count.
I was harassed every day that first warm week of spring. And then several random times outside of that, including a guy in a car turning onto my campus who yelled “fa****” at my friend and I just because we were standing and chatting on a street corner.
What’s almost worse than the harassment is the fact that I want to respond (and have studied how and done research projects on street harassment), but I’m always too afraid that the guys will retaliate physically. I end up feeling so frustrated and helpless in the face of this thing I want to help stop.
I was walking alone in broad daylight along a busy street in downtown Ottawa.
“If you help me out I’ll give you free movie passes for a year.” A man appeared out of nowhere at my side with these words. I tensed up and started walking faster.
“What are you, a nervous twit?” he said.
“If you’re going to talk to me like that, I’m not going to help you,” I replied with more rationality than was necessary. I picked up my pace.
“Look at you, you nervous twit! I’m going to get my girlfriend to bang your head in!” He was walking with me now, two meters to my side.
I was horrified and veered away from him. Other pedestrians were in sight now, so he started to turn down a corner. I flipped him off as I continued walking away from him.
“You’re fucking ugly!” he yelled. I held my gesture in place for him and the oncoming pedestrians to see as I walked, and as he retreated from our incident back into the rest of the world.
I was walking home from work at around 5:45pm today. It was a beautiful day. I was on a normally busy public street near George Washington University. However, at that particular moment, there was a brief lull in foot traffic.
A teenager, no older than 13 or 14, was walking towards me. Three other teenagers were behind him. I really didn’t look twice at them.
As I pass by the first teenager who was walking by himself, he slaps my butt. Honestly, it took me a few seconds to register what had happened. I walked a few more steps and suddenly it registered. Apparently, the other three boys were with him and were laughing.
I whipped around and said, “What the fuck?” As they walked away laughing, I continued to get more incensed and said “Really, you can’t treat women like that!” They continued laughing—one of them made a point of pretty much laughing in my face— and told me to “shake that ass.”
I immediately started shaking and crying. I’ve been lucky in my life to not experience much street harassment. This was the first time someone ever felt entitled to touch my body in a public place. And I felt powerless. Since it never happened to me before–someone reaching out and grabbing me–I had no idea what to do. There were no cops around to tell. No one really saw. The kids were laughing in my face.
It’s been two and a half hours. I can still feel the echo of his hand slapping me.
Shoutout to the disgusting, spineless, flea infested neanderthal that yelled ”nice tits” at me/my coworker on June 2nd at 1:45 pm in Lakeland Ridge in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
I was babysitting a 1.5 year old and walking down the street with her in my arms when a group of boys (no older than 16) walked past. “Miss, I like your shoes.” I replied “thank you” (not seeing any malice when being complimented on my excellent taste in footwear.) As soon as he passed by (like the little cowardly thing he was), he snickered “…and your fat ass.”
I was upset because there was nothing I could do because I wasn’t about to hollaback with someone else’s child in my arms and possibly putting her in danger, so I took a deep breath and continued to walk in the opposite direction.
I remember his face and his description (sky blue headphones and all!). I work in the area, and he no doubt goes to the school right by the site of the harassment, as it happened around the time the school lets out. I will be letting the school know about my experience (along with coward’s description) so that they might educate a younger generation that street harassment is unacceptable and illegal.
I’m sure this isn’t the last I’ve seen of him if he indeed attends that school or lives in this neighborhood, and hopefully I won’t have a baby in my arms so that I might give him a nice jumbo size portion of hollaback.
“Don’t talk to me like that. It’s harassment. It’s illegal.”
Maybe next time I’ll have a photo so I can show you what a coward looks like! Stay strong! You’re not alone.