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Leaving woody’s I spent Tulsa and me and one other friend got four catcalls walking from the corner of woody’s to the parking lot behind McNellie’s. Three were in passing cars, one threatening to “fuck us hard,” and the fourth were other pedestrians. A walk of one block, both of us wearing jeans and hoodies, and we were sexually harassed four times in less than five minutes. I no longer feel comfortable walking in downtown Tulsa due to this. We have frequented this area in the past often, but have NEVER been treated like this.
After opening with “hey, are you afraid of Black guys?” I should’ve seen it coming – the man kept talking to me even after clear signals that I wasn’t interested. He opted to follow me across the Hopscotch bridge instead of going up North Capitol like which is where he said he was headed. He kept saying “C’mon” as though I was following him. Finally I turned to him and said, “look, I’m tired and I don’t want to talk to you. I’ve had a long day at work and I’m angry that you don’t understand that I don’t want to talk to you. Leave me alone.” Maybe the twinge of hysteria in my voice is what made him give up and finally leave. I was so shaky that I called a friend in my way across the bridge.
I was crossing the street to my dorm building after an exam when some guys (most likely students) started yelling “huevos” at me and whistling at me like for a dog when I didn’t respond. I asked “Didn’t your mother teach you better?”, they asked “what?” then the light changed. By then I was across and they started hollering as they drove away.
While I was walking up the street, men got really close to my face and told me I was “seriously beautiful” and I “look like a model”. I ignored them but they continued comments until I was out of earshot.
Two men approached me from across the street while I was walking. They followed me for half a block, commenting on my looks, and asking if I was married or had a boyfriend. I ignored them and they stopped as soon as I was near other pedestrians.
As someone who has been taking public transport / works as a cashier, and is in public a lot, I’ve dealt with cat calling and being bothered by strangers for awhile now. I get the usual honking, unsolicited compliments, long-winded conversations, begging for a phone number, and occasionally an ask for sexual favors. Yesterday though it reached a level I really didn’t expect and I’m still in shock over it.
I was sitting on the bus and there was a man who had been drinking (he was acting drunk and had a bottle of beer in hand), sitting across from me. There were three other people nearby me. I ignored him but as he continued to get louder and talked to other people on the bus, I snapped a few pictures of him (I think as a precaution, although I was likely just going to delete them later). At one point he tried to talk to me and he said, “Go to Hollywood and become a movie star.” Eventually, one of my ex friends boarded the bus (we’ll call him Josh), and Josh came and sat across from me. Although we are ex friends, Josh and I are still friendly and on talking terms. So I tapped Josh’s leg with my foot and whispered for him to sit next to me, although I thought I was being kind of silly/paranoid at the time. He obliged and sat next to me.
At one point this drunk person turned to me and said “you’re sexy”. I gave him polite eye contact but said nothing, and then looked away. He stood up and moved to another part of the bus. I made small talk with Josh, starting to feel a little safer, before this man came back. He approached me directly, wrapped his arms around my neck/shoulders, and kissed the top of my head. He then let go and looked to Josh as if non-verbally proving his masculinity to him (or from what Josh told me, I didn’t see this happen myself because my face was in the drunk guy’s chest).
He moved to a different part of the bus again and Josh put an arm around me trying to comfort me, and told me that if the guy approaches again he’ll do something. I was mostly in shock and couldn’t speak. Nobody on the bus did anything. The drunk guy eventually got off the bus and the story pretty much ends here.
I’m still in shock as this happened last night and I don’t know what a proper response or reaction to this is. I don’t even know if this counts as harassment or what. But there you go. I think because of this and many other instances women just can’t feel safe in public. While I do have his picture I am not sure if I will be sharing it for privacy’s sake. But I guess my initial paranoia wasn’t unreasonable.
This morning it was very rainy and cold in NYC so I had my winter coat on with the hood up and buttoned and happened to see my superintendent of my apartment building walking towards me. I waved at him not realizing he didn’t recognize me all bundled up and he responded with, “Fuck yea, baby. I love those legs.” I ripped my hood off and screamed, “I live in your building, you work with my boyfriend who is the real estate agent of said building, and you need to learn how to respect women.” He walked right past me and ignored me as if we don’t see each other every day and say Hello, as if we don’t give him a Christmas present each year, as if I didn’t know he has a girlfriend and a baby to provide for. What do I do now when I see him every morning? When will a female be able to feel safe walking on her own street and wave to someone she knows?
I wish I could say the story I’m about to tell is my only ever experience of unwanted attention from men in the street. It’s not, by a long long way, but it’s by far the worst. Two weeks ago I was walking to my office when a white van pulled up alongside me and the man inside wound the window down. I assumed he was going to ask for directions but instead said ‘look at you, so sexy, I’d love some hard sex with you right now.’ I was stunned – this was totally unprovoked in broad daylight and I couldn’t have looked less sexy in my winter coat. Always far too polite, I said I wasn’t interested as I’m married. At this point the guy lost his temper completely, calling me a retard and a bitch, asking me if I was ‘too backward’ to understand that he wasn’t interested in whether I was married, he was only interested in sex. A male colleague also walking to the office came past and told me to ‘leave it’ and we walked away. I was shaken for days afterwards and thought about going to the police but was worried I’d be wasting their time, and felt too foolish to ask my colleague to be a witness – even though I’d done nothing to attract this attention. The next day I was wolf whistled at by another guy in a car as I walked home, and ever since I’ve been looking for something like Hollaback, because I’m sick of being made to feel small and uncomfortable just for being female.
This happened to me today, as I was leaving the train station (like I do every day). I had been waiting in the station for a good 10 minutes with my friend, who was picked up before my mother got to the station to pick me up (I’m 16, I can’t drive). It’s a pretty big station, with escalators and little shops. My mom got to the station and I walked to the exit (it’s in a secluded area), but some guy was standing there (half-blocking the escalator) and began asking me a question. I pulled out one of my earbuds to listen, and he said “Do you know where the colleges are?” Umm…what? I literally had no idea what to respond to his bullshit question, but very politely responded “No, I don’t, sorry.” Before I could keep walking, he proceeded to ask me another question: “Do you know a guy, named horny?” This was when I turned around and RAN down the escalator. Then he yelled after me, “Miss, do you know the guy?!” I didn’t look back, I thought he was going to run after me. I could have fallen and broken my neck while running down that escalator with my heavy backpack, but I was so freaked out it didn’t matter. My face felt like it was melting and my heart was in my throat. I got into my mom’s car and pretended like everything was fine. This was the first incident of street harassment that I’ve experienced and, I fear, the first of many.
Walking near Washington University at St. Louis when a white pickup truck drives past. The man on the passenger side leans out the window and shouts “Nice butt!” Having no clue what to do, I go with “pretend I can’t hear him and try not to give him the satisfaction of a reaction” and keep walking. Proceed to feel self-conscious and upset all the way home.