Appalachian Ohio, Athens GA, Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Cleveland, Columbia MO, Columbus, Denver, Des Moines, Durham & Chapel Hill, East Lansing, Fredericksburgh VA, Houston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Lubbock TX, Manhattan KS, Muncie IN, New Orleans, New York City, NYU, Pittsburgh, Plattsburgh, Richmond VA, San Fernando Valley, San Francisco, SUNY Oneonta, Tucson, Twin Cities
I was recently sitting and waiting for the bus with no one else near me at midday, although the street was very busy. What appeared to be four young men, maybe late teens early twenties, sporting baseball caps, pulled up by the bus stop in their car and began yelling and laughing at me. I had my headphones in and did not remove them. I gave them a stern look, to show I acknowledged and was rejecting their harassment, then turned to look at my phone again. They continued yelling things at me (and I mean yelling) for a few minutes before finally driving off. I was spared from hearing what they were saying because I turned my music up so that I couldn’t hear it. I’m harassed too often and will avoid hearing the vulgar comments if I can. I wish I’d caught the plate numbers. I had no idea a resource like this for harassment existed, and my city should certainly get involved.
Since January, these two boys from my grade (6th!), who walk home the same route I do, have been making comments about my “fat, juicy ass.” And in April it got even worse. They started having loud conversations about how they were going to rape me or how they were gonna put there “spout up my c**t” I’m no longer the cheerful girl I once was. Thanks to two 12 year old douchebags who love to street harass.
Last night, while I was going back home with my best friend (who’s also a woman), some guy asked us if we’d like to come party with them. My best friend said no, yet they kept on insisting, so I told them simply “no thank you.” Right after I said the guy told me to shut the fuck up, that I was probably some fucking racist, and that I looked ugly. When I asked him what was the point of disrespecting me this way while I did nothing but remain polite he started calling me a slut, a bitch, a whore, a loser etc. And then he started threatening to beat me and spill his glass of beer on me, saying that I deserved to have his glass of beer thrown at my face and that he wanted to spit on me. Luckily my best friend didn’t get scared and managed to calm him down. Now I’m scared to walk out at night alone and get attacked, beaten for no reason.
I was walking at Northgate Mall to meet a friend for lunch. A guy stepped close to me and said, “Hey, be easy!” I stopped him and asked him to repeat himself. He did. I said, “Don’t approach women like that, you don’t know what’s going on in my life, don’t do that”. He apologized and I thanked him.
So I am a 13 year old girl and have had to walk 1.6 miles to my middle school all year. I had people honking at me and shouting out of their cars every day, and it made me feel absolutely disgusting. A little while ago a man on the sidewalk asked me where I lived, and when I ignored him, he tried to grab me. I ran to my house and called the police who, after picking him up, dropped him back off saying he was just drunk and “didn’t cause any actual harm.” However, I am now extremely paranoid and petrified that he knows which house I ran in to.
I was biking to yoga at 5:30 am and was closely trailed for a long block by a male cyclist who was verbally harassing me.
I was 7 months pregnant and jogging to the corner store to get a snack. A man on the street said: “Damn girl, you in shape.”
I ignored him and kept jogging.
“You pregnant?” he asked.
I responded, “Yup!” mainly because I thought that once he realized I was pregnant, he might leave me alone.
“Is this your first baby?” he asked.
I said, “Yup!”
“Want to have another one later?”
I was standing on the corner waiting for a cab with my boyfriend and 5 of our friends. It was near several bars, and the streets were crowded. A woman was on the same corner saying goodnight to the man she was out with. He hopped in a cab and kept leaning out the window trying to persuade her to get in the cab, but she said no many times. As the cab sat at the stop sign, another man stopped in the middle of the street and started whistling and hollering at the woman. He made it clear that he was trying to provoke the man in the cab, who wasn’t paying attention. I watched and even said to my friends, “Hey look, that guy is so gross, I hate when that happens,” but I never said anything to her and the man.
After a few seconds the whistler got bored and walked on. She waved at the man in the cab and said never mind I’ll go with you. It took me a few minutes to get it, and then I felt terrible. I know what it is like to leave with someone you are uncomfortable with because it seems like the safer option. I backed away from my friends and sat down on a bench a few feet away. Immediately a large, intoxicated man sat down next to me.
I scooted to the edge of the bench. He scooted close enough that our legs and thighs were touching and began asking me all the usual questions. The only response I gave was “I’m waiting for a cab with my friends, my friends are right there.” He did the usual “That’s not your name, you’re pretty, smoke this cigarette, why are you being a bitch?” I didn’t get up, I didn’t call over my friend or boyfriend who had their backs turned. I think part of me didn’t want them to make a scene and embarrass me or make it worse. I just looked at my phone and at his friends staring at us. Finally I stood up. I hate that I didn’t think fast enough to stick up for that girl. I hate that I was too shy to stick up for myself. I hate that this happens every freaking day and it has taken me so many years to want to work on it. I’m working on it. Let’s all work on it for each other.
A man in his late 50’s was on his bicycle and asked “hey you got a license for that ass?” while we were waiting for the same red light.
I called him on his shit and told him how rude he was. I told him he was being disrespectful and did not accept his apology. He called me something under his breath and rode off as the light turned green.
Last night, I joined a friend at a quintessential Alaskan bar to listen to and dance to live music. Around 12:30 AM, I had given up on dancing in an overly crowded space and was instead content to listen from the back of the room. At some point, I found myself sitting nearly alone, with a beer, as my date chatted with a number of mutual friends, like one does.
As I was sitting by myself, a man in his late 20’s walked by me, turning to say “you have nice legs.” When I immediately replied that he was being sexist and harassing me, he became aggressive and argued that he couldn’t help but notice them because “you put them in my face.” When I critiqued that statement, he became more and more agitated, pacing back and forth, and shrieking that I was “a crazy lady” and that he “owned the bar” and could say and do whatever he wanted. As he searched for his missing black hoodie, apparently the reason why he wouldn’t leave the space near me, he kept returning to my table, practically frothing at the mouth with anger.
As he alternated between erratic behavior–like apologizing and saying that he didn’t mean to offend me and then stepping into my face and cursing me out–I couldn’t help but notice a group of people sitting just a few feet away, watching his aggression, whispering about it, and saying absolutely nothing.
At some point, I made up my mind that I wasn’t going to move from where I was sitting, that I was so pissed off about the harassment that I refused to cede one seat at the back of the bar to him. Instead, I proceeded to ignore the belligerent man, after verbally asking him to back off and demanding that he not touch me (after he tried to shake my hand). It wasn’t until my male date noticed the harassment and returned to my side that my aggressor finally left me alone, intimidated by another man’s presence.
There is so much that upsets me about this incident, but here’s the short-list: I hate that listening to music in a public space makes me vulnerable to harassment. I hate that being alone makes me seem like an easy target. I hate that a group of people near me didn’t intervene. I hate that I wanted them to. I hate that I was called “crazy,” an ableist slur. I hate that my clothing choice was, and will continue to be, a justification for aggression. I hate that the only thing that would make this guy leave was the presence of another man. I hate that I have to choose between being independent and being safe. And I really fucking hate that this will happen again and again and again and that it’s happened before.