Appalachian Ohio, Athens GA, Atlanta, Berkeley, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Columbia MO, Des Moines, Durham & Chapel Hill, Fredericksburgh VA, Houston, Los Angeles, Muncie IN, New York City, NYU, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Richmond VA, San Francisco, Tucson, Twin Cities
I live in central Nottingham and I am used to the normal chaos of the city, I get looked at on the street and ‘beeped’ at regularly. However, about six weeks ago a gang of men and children (I haven’t seen any women/mothers yet…) moved into a house at the end of the street. When I first passed the house a couple of men shouted ‘Smile!’ because it was early in the morning and I wasn’t in the best of moods! I paid them no mind. I passed again the day after and the day after that, they remembered what I looked like and kept shouting it at me, I’d just rush past with my head down. I passed one evening and the number of men seemed to have doubled and I felt intimidated when they shouted at me from the other side of the road, but they didn’t do anything but shout ‘Come on love, give us a smile!’. It was the following morning when I was heading off to college that a couple of little boys and their Dad came out of their house, the dad shouted the usual ‘Oi! Smile!’ a couple of times, when I didn’t respond he got the kids to run after me shouting ‘Smile!’ until I had turned the corner, off the street. It was equally embarrassing and scary! It’s disgusting that that man is teaching his kids to bully and intimidate women, and really hard for me knowing that they know who I am and that they could be living there for many years to come! I now walk a longer way to and from my house; it is inconvenient and makes me very, very angry!
I have been harassed in my town several times but two times specifically stood out to me. The first one was when I was in 8th grade and was walking 4 blocks away to my friends house.There was this white car passing by slowly. He passed me several times… I was panicking, I didn’t know what to do. I started walking faster and it passed around the block again. I finally made it to my friends house and I knocked my heart out while looking down the street both ways. He opened the door and I ran inside hysterical. My friend closed the door and was concerned and later walked me home. Note: this happened during day light.
The second was last year during my sophomore year. This was on the same street from the previous incident. I had gotten off the train and was walking home. There were three boys older than me walking ahead of me slowly. Even before they started calling at me I felt like something was going to happen. They were walking in front of me waiting for me to pass them so they could probably do something. They all made typical calls encouraging each rooting for each other. My heart was racing…. I hate walking slow and doing so then just made it seem like this would last forever. I made sure to keep my distance but I didn’t want to stop walking altogether or I thought they might do something. A corner came up… I thought I would detour my route because I thought they wouldn’t go out of their way to turn back to follow me. So I walked 5 blocks just to avoid them, when my destination was only 2 blocks away…. but I also didn’t want them to know where I was going.
When I was 15, my friend and I were walking along the beautiful downtown area of Hoboken, NJ in the summer of ’04. We had just left dinner and were making our way toward the train station to go home. As we walked past the McDonald’s on the corner of Washington & 3rd, two men who had been leaning against the building talking to each other approached us. They looked to be about 30. They struck up a conversation with us, and then asked if we would like to join them for dinner. We said no, thanks. Then they asked if we would go back to their apartment which was right down the road in Jersey City. They even threw in that they had an indoor pool. At this point I was way creeped out by them, so I just nudged my friend and was like, “Let’s get out of here.” But she didn’t seem too threatened. And then they asked us, “Do you girls want to make $1500 each tonight? If you come back to our apartment to hang out for a little, we’ll give you $1500 each. You can make that kind of money in a night if you start hanging around us.” Finally I grabbed my friend’s arm and pulled her away and we started walking really fast. They followed quickly behind us. I panicked and decided to make a huge scene to get everyone’s attention so that they would leave us alone. I started yelling obscenities and was like: “THESE MEN ARE TRYING TO KIDNAP US!” Passersby paused and looked at us, and the men immediately darted off. We ran to the train station and hopped on the next train home.
I think that what surprised me most about this experience was not that these two men were trying to take advantage of two young girls– but that nobody really seemed concerned enough to do a damn thing about it.
This man is a regular at my pub, and at first he seemed a nice bloke, albeit, a bit weird. But soon he would male inappropriate comments, and ask the barmaids for their numbers. One girl left her phone on the bar, and he grabbed it and phoned himself from it, so he had her number. Up until a certain incident, he would phone her 2 times a month to make sure she had kept the number. I came into work on a Sunday, in a very nice top, black, lowcut and pirate-esk. I turned around to find him holding his phone up, licking his lips and clearly taking a picture. I called him on it, and to show me he’d deleted it. When he made to put the phone back in his pocket, and ignore me, I grabbed it off him, and threw it on the floor and smashed it. He left, and neither of us had mentioned it since. But 3 days ago, an ex-barmaid told me he had been caught taking pictures of female customers and barmaids he’s terrorized in the past. So I decided to take his picture and post it on Hollaback. He’s a pervert, but he’s far from harmless. Creep. So if you live in the chew valley, and you like a pint, you will recognise this old pervert.
Once when I was 12, I was standing outside of our public library, waiting for my mother to pick me up, when I saw a man walk by. I’d seen him before, and he’d always sort of looked at me funny, so I just sort of ignored him and made sure to stay where I was. He was tall, dark haired, had a bit of a beard, and wore black clothes, as if he thought he was trying to be Johnny Cash with the color scheme he had going. That day, however, when he walked by he gave me this strange grin and winked at me, and made a sort of kissing noise at me. I don’t know if he thought he was being funny, impressive, or obnoxious, or perhaps something else altogether. But, he certainly was being inappropriate. I was a child, and he was a middle-aged man. I was too afraid to tell my mother what happened, but I made sure never to be alone when I saw that man around town, again.
When I was a very little girl, probably around 7 or 8, I remember going over to play with my friend M. Her street wasn’t the nicest street, nor the nicest neighborhood, and so we stayed in her yard. But, there was a group of teenage boys, perhaps closer to men than boys, who kept hollering at us. M and I totally ignored them, although we did sort of keep an eye on them to know where they were. They were acting very aggressive. Later that day, when my mother and grandmother came to pick me up, those men were so brazen that they started yelling again when my mother, grandmother, and I went by in the truck! One of them, a tall and lean man with dark hair, said quite clearly, “Come here a minute, I wanna moon ya!” I remember that clearly to this day. Especially since my mother said later that, when used in that particular context, it didn’t mean mooning someone like you’d moon them from your car. It meant that they wanted to make a baby with you. It disturbed me greatly, but I was glad to have the information. Not realizing what that had meant, when they said it to me once before that day, I had almost thought of going over to them to give them a piece of my mind. Knowing what they really meant by the phrase, I was a lot more aware of the need to stay away from strangers, especially loud and obnoxious ones.
Once I was with my best friend on the streetcar (in Toronto) and this old(ish) man approached us and started talking to us. I find it very hard to simply ignore people when they do this and he just seemed like a harmless, lonely old man. Then he started asking us if we’d go to dinner with him. We politely declined. Then he started asking if he could pay us 1000$ each to just have dinner with him. We kept declining, and his offers just kept escalating until he was offering 2500$ each to bring us up to his apartment so we could meet his female friend Kitty.
Since we had just been taking the streetcar for fun we decided to get off. He followed.
He kept walking beside us and talking, not being overly threatening, but I was sure to keep myself in between him and my friend (she’s two years younger, and I have a black belt in karate so I know I could handle myself).
She then bumped into something and said “ow” to which he responded “oh don’t worry girls, I won’t hurt you” – then he grabbed my arm and continued “well, I might”.
At this I just knew we had to get away from him. I tried to mouth the word “HELP” to passers by. I made eye contact with numerous people (including three guys who looked like they could have been College football players) but none took notice. I even thought about running up to one of these guys and pretending that I knew them. I didn’t though.
We were in a somewhat chic neighbourhood, and the only places around were expensive lunch restaurants, and our misplaced sense of decency made us not want to disturb people’s meals.
Then we passed by this upscale salon and someone was handing out flyers at the front door. We walked over and each took one and tried to strike up a conversation. Then the old man started talking to this flyer guy. This was our out we thought! We snuck behind him and walked briskly to a corner store just up the street.
Once in the corner store we both looked shook up and the owner of the store asked us if anything was wrong. I quickly told him to call 911 (which he did not) and that a man had followed us off the streetcar and we were trying to get away, but before I could finish the old man walked in and walked straight towards us.
He turned to the owner and said “these are my daughters! This one’s a pilot” – he said pointing to me “and this one’s a nurse” – he said pointing to my friend.
-let me just say that my name is Amelia, like Amelia Earhart, which I hadn’t told him. As well my mom wanted to be a pilot when she went to military college but being a woman she wasn’t allowed. And my friend’s mother is a nurse. Just a really weird coincidence… anyway…
Since he was situated in front of us we were both shaking our heads vigorously to let this store owner know that this was not the truth (plus we were both obviously in our teens, so being a pilot and a nurse was a little out there).
He distracted the man enough that his son could sneak us out of the back of the store. The son escorted us to Bathurst, and from there we walked quite briskly down to Queen street. I don’t know if the police were ever called, but this guy was definitely creepy. At certain points I was sure that if he had found the chance he would have tried something horrible.
Submitted by Amelia
Twice within Thirty
1) Well-dressed, well groomed. I was waiting for a cashier at Big Coffee Franchise when the man to my left lunged to his right and wrapped his arms around me quickly, laughed, and then leapt back to where he’d been. I glared, made sure I had my wallet still, and went to find a seat. Within two minutes the manager burst through the kitchen door yelling at him to get out of the store, pulling his grocery bag out of his hands, revealing a bunch of their packaged proprietary coffee blend. So he was kicked out.
2) Unkempt. About thirty minutes later, I am reading and working on my laptop at my seat, and someone comes into the store, marches past my back to the restroom, curses loudly that it is locked, hits the door, [meanwhile I close my laptop, slide it under the table into my lap, and resume reading] . . . and then I don’t hear or notice him back in my peripheral vision. I look over my shoulder, and there he is, standing so I cannot push my chair out or leave, making kissy faces and kissing at me.
Me: “Leave me alone.”
Me: “Leave me alone!”
Man: kiss-kiss. “What?”
Me: “Go! Leave me a-lone!”
Man: “I’m just admiring the pretty girl”
Me: “No, go.” (pointing)
Me: Looking around for anyone for back-up, including the young man sitting next to me and the female law student sitting in the next chair… the manager bursts through the kitchen door again and gets the guy kicked out and told off about harassing customers.
Submitted by CR
I was walking home from work in the dead of winter, and I came to an intersection. The guy driving the pick up truck stopped at the stop sign, and waved me through. As I crossed in front of him, he beeped his truck horn, and I looked at him to see him making a tongue-pass at me. I kept walking, and he rolled down the window and yelled “what’s the matter, bitch? just trying to keep the neighborhood friendly!”
Submitted by Teenie
I would like to keep this story general, but I have had several men working at a car dealership make inappropriate comments towards me when I walk by. This dealership happens to be on the route I enjoy walking, and I refuse to deviate my path just because they are so inclined to comment on my attire. A couple of years ago they used to ask me if I would like to exchange my heels for wheels, but eventually stopped when I complained to their manager. I may be walking by the car dealership, but that does not mean I want to buy a car there. I walk by several other car dealerships, and I have never had anyone at those scream at me.
The behavior went away for two years, and then re-emerged a few months ago. Once one of the men told me how he noticed I had new shoes, which made me feel a little uncomfortable. Women walking by a place of business do not usually feel comfortable having men comment on their shoes. A few weeks ago I had two of them screaming they liked my socks, and my hat. They also mentioned they liked my gloves and umbrella.
I suppose I could tell their supervisor, but I really do not feel like wasting my time. Lately I have just been ignoring them, but I would imagine somebody realized what was going on because the last two weeks the behavior died down. I do not respond when one or two of the men screaming hi at me from the car dealership because people do not enjoy being screamed at. I am simply walking by on a public sidewalk, and I would appreciate being left in peace. I do not scream hi at people I do not know, and I would never make comments about what they are wearing. Some things are just not appropriate.
Submitted by J.E.