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I don’t have a car, so I spend a lot of time walking or riding the bus. My first memories of being honked at or yelled at while walking down the street go back to middle school, walking home in my own neighborhood. Now, I live about two blocks from a bus route I take regularly, and nearly every day I get honked at. I can’t even walk two blocks without harassment. Not as often, thank god, but often enough, men pull up next to me and want to know my name, my number, where I live, if they can give me a ride…. And every time I think, “does this ever work for you? who in their right mind would answer those kind of questions truthfully to this creepy man that pulled up next to them while they’re walking to school??” I don’t even know how many times I’ve heard “you want a ride, baby?” or “you got a boyfriend” or literally, “can I get yo numba?” from sketchy men of all ages and races trying to get in my pants.
I generally just say no to everything, and fortunately I’ve never had to really fight anyone off–some are more persistent than others but at least eventually give up. But what I’d really like to say is “f*** off” every time, but I’m afraid of inviting more trouble. I hate that I have to think about what I’m going to wear every time I have to ride the bus. I’ll get honked at anyway but it’s worse/more often when I’m wearing a dress or shorts. My economic situation and that I can’t afford a car does not give you license to sexually harass me. F*** off.
Just yesterday, I went to a little corner store near my apartment, where I often pick up a few groceries. It was fairly empty, and I had to go into the back, which is around a corner and well out of sight of the front, where the lady at the cash register was. A man came and stood very close to me, and I walked away a bit. He came very close again, and asked me if I was married. I laughed nervously and said no. He then asked if I was over 18 and what my name was. I accidentally said that I was over 18 but then pushed past him and left the store pretty fast (Also, he had been blocking my way). I wish I hadn’t answered any of his questions, and hope that in future I’ll move away as soon as I feel uncomfortable. I was back there today and saw him, and felt really unsafe. It sucks that now I will have to walk a bit farther to get food somewhere else.
For years now I have been deeply concerned by a yearly ritual verbal assault on women by a fraternity at Yale in my home town of New Haven. Every year the new pledges are gathered in front of the Women’s Center and told to chant phrases like, “No means yes, yes means anal”, “We love Yale sluts.” Imagine if you were visiting the center that day and were greeted by this. This went on for years with no repercussions for the offenders while the outrage of the Yale and local community was met with silence from the university’s administration and hostility and claims of entitlement from the offenders. You can look these instances up in the archives of The Yale Daily News as well as the New Haven Register. Though this year the university made some attempt at curtailing these behaviors, it is really too little too late. I hope this drives the point home that women are being attacked on every front. Not just in certain types of communities. In EVERY community. Please sisters… speak up and share your stories for the good of us all.
Yesterday, I was on the N Line going uptown a little before 3PM today (2:50-2:58?). I boarded on 57th and 7th. Right when I walked in I heard yelling. I had no idea what was going on, everyone in the car (it was a reasonably full car) was staring at a group of 6-7 african american teenage girls in the middle of the car.
I soon realized what was happening– after the victims that they had been yelling at had exited the car, they turned and came back in because a few of the girls were cussing them out (profanely). I saw the victims were a 20-something year old couple: an african american male and his asian girlfriend. It became evident that not only these teenagers were racist— but they saw this mixed-race couple and started an altercation, calling them names and insulting them (BOTH)– especially making fun of the asian girl’s accent.
It was a completely verbal argument, but one that could’ve easily turned physical in any other situation (example, like if the teens were boys, the victimized man may have tried physical retaliation). The victims turned back in after they taunted them after they had exited– but they couldn’t really do anything– they were visibly upset, but they did not/could not reciprocate appropriately.
I assume it was because these girls were all underage, and there was a large gang of them, even though they were just teenagers. Also, of course, there are no cops around and there’s no videocamera. There’s no accountability. Meanwhile, everyone was just staring. The girls yelled at them to get out of the car again, and as they left again, one of the girls wanted to get in the last word, she actually (opened?) the subway window and yelled the couple, “Don’t eat that Chinese p***y!!!!”. But the most terrible thing is that these teenagers liked the fight, they were laughing about the whole thing. My heart just ached for them.
When the doors closed again I realized I had walked into a bad situation– as I am acutally asian myself and I had walked to stand on the car just several feet away from them. I am pretty new to the NYC subway system (I only come in about once a month), so I had no idea what to do. Does each car have an intercom? I felt that if it did, someone on the car should’ve reported it. If the car didn’t have an intercom, it SHOULD. People need to be held accountable for their actions— especially ones of a racist nature. The only way to do that is either have a policeman/security stationed at each platform OR have live video feed OR have an intercom.
THIS was a case of second degree aggravated assault– a crime! But nothing could be done about it. The bystander effect was well in place— everyone (20 people, different races) were anxious and alert, but no one did anything. And once the aggravators have left the subway car, who knows where they will go?? And soon, all the witnesses will slowly disappear as well.
It was one of the saddest, most disturbing experiences– a car full of young racist children taunting and cussing out an older interracial couple, surrounded by passive adults. It disturbed me on such a deep level and I wondered if anyone else felt the same way. So many questions arise– how is it that 6 young girls could have so much hatred for not only another minority, but one of their own race? NYC is the most culturally diverse city in the world, isn’t it?
As I turned my back to leave for my stop near 60th & Park, one of the girls tried to throw a piece of garbage at the back of my head (completely unprovoked by me– which is why I say they must’ve provoked the prior incident). She missed, and I ignored it and I kicked it to the side. I left the car quickly, and they followed. They followed me up the stairs laughing and giggling and egging each other on to try to throw the garbage at my head again. This second time they succeeded. As my back was already turned to them, I ignored them. I keep wondering what else I could have done. What could I have said or done, if anything? As a bystander, or as a victim?
I can’t get this incident out of my head. It’s shaken me, no doubt. The MTA needs to get their act together. MTA + police need to establish rules of conduct for both victims and bystanders and a real system with subway car intercoms/live video feed/policemen at each station– an interception system for effectively catching perpetrators of crimes before leaving the subway station.
I was at the Halloween Parade in 2007 walking to my dorm alone among a large crowd of people. A man walked next to me and began eyeing my chest and making cat calls noises. He was right next to me, and since the crowd was tightly packed, he followed me until I got to my street. I ignored him and went into a store near my apartment and waited for him to go away. I was prepared to call 311 to ask an officer to drive by while I walked into my apartment building, but the man left before I got a chance to. If this happens again, I will definitely call 311. Please do the same! It is an incredibly powerful tool that costs nothing!
I live in Mexico in the state of Morelos, I studied a computer science degree and my colleagues always bothered me for that, they would say that women can not understand anything about computers. To his misfortune I was much more, they would bother me continuously every day. Sometimes I would answer and say” I’m tired ” but I stayed strong and did not stooped to their level. What’s worse is that some teachers are equal and have come to throw me down and classifieds us as “ containers” because they believe that women have the babies and only serve containers and not anything else. Well then I hope that this site is helpful. Greetings to all and thank you very much!
Me and my little sister (21 and 18) were walking through town on our way to a night out. As we walked up the corner, her slightly ahead of me, some “lads” started shouting at me from their taxi…”nice arse” etc. I ignored them and we carried on walking, as the taxi pulled round the corner, the boys leaned out the window and now seeing both me and my sister for the first time, shouted at me “not you love, you’re ugly! but the other one, you’re fit! i’d shag you.”
Not only was i embarrassed and angered that they’d even shout this kind of thing from a taxi on a busy street on a saturday night, but it also left me feeling insecure and upset – more upset that as a 21 year old woman I could even let something like that get to me. It also made me worry for my sister, attracting people like that. What do people say to her when I’m not around? So cheers guys, totally ruined my night for a couple of seconds that has probably never crossed your minds since.
Also, taxi drivers should not let this happen!
This story is not incredibly serious like some poor women have to put up with. The reason I like my story, is that I handled it with humor. I was driving in stop and go traffic. There was a car that I would pass, then I would have to stop, and then that car would pass me, then have to stop. We kept passing each other at a very slow speed. At one point, as the car was passing me, I saw the passenger elbow the driver heartily and I saw him mouth “check out that chick”, or something similar, and motion back toward me. It was amazing to see how excited the passenger was (I’m not that hot) and how keen he was on getting his friend to see me. So as I came back up to pass them, I knew they would both be staring to get a good look at me as I passed. So. As I drove past them again, I shoved my finger as far up my nose as I could get it and started digging, in a most unladylike fashion. I saw them both start laughing as hard as they could and elbowing each other. The passenger started clapping and waving and gave me the thumbs up.
So, I kinda holla’d back. It was uncomfortable knowing they were staring and gawking. And until I quickly thought of my plan, I wasn’t looking forward to passing them again. But I didn’t give them a horrible stare or yell at them. Instead I made us all laugh, and for a brief moment, made them regret staring at me.
When my boyfriend was away for a few days last summer I decided, since the sun was shinig, to go for a walk around my local area. I ended up cutting my walk short because as I passed three seperate groups of builders working on houses each time at least one of the men working shouted some kind of suggestive or sexual comment at me. Although I wasn’t particularly shocked as I know that is is a common occurance for most women it made me wonder whether it is impossible for a woman to walk the streets of an ordinary British town without a man accompanying them and remain unharassed.
I had the misfortune to live with a ‘hollering from car’ type of guy (he was brought into our shared house, without our consent, by a dodgy landlord). It was the worst experience of my life.
Not only would he regale us with HILARIOUS tales detailing how him and his mates harassed women on the street (usually while cruising around in his car), he spent most nights sat very close to the TV, describing in graphic detail what he wanted to do to each and every woman that appeared. And I mean graphic. I’m not particularly easily shocked, but this was way too much for me. On top of his rampant misogyny, he was also physically threatening to our lone male housemate and liked to go on and on about how he was an expert in martial arts and regularly beat people up on the street. In short, he was a psychopath. Needless to say, we moved out of there as fast as we possibly could (losing our deposits and a months rent in the process, which still makes me angry to this day).
I now am firmly of the belief that all men who holler from cars are low life scum of the earth with serious personality defects!