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I was walking to class when I reached the 12th and Jefferson bus stop. Two men were blockig the sidewalk behind the bus stop shelter, and there was a crowd of people in front of it. I walked by and they immediately started looking me up and down, whistling, making gross kissing noises, and catcalling. No one said anything. I looked at them and said “don’t talk to me.” One started to follow me to class and I called the campus public safety. I was victim-blamed for being “a beautiful woman.”
First week of college and a group of guys told me I was “looking fine” as I walked by. I said it wasn’t for them.
Drunk guy in bar harassing my friends. Friends looked at their shoes and tried to stop interaction by not responding. Drunk guy touched my friend inappropriately. I turned him around by his shoulder and grabbed his hand.
Me: Hey man, what’s your name?
Me: Nice to meet you, ___.
Him: I like you. You’re nice to me. They’re being ******.
Me: No, you’re just bothering them and they don’t like it. So you need to stop that now.
Him: Let me show you a picture.
Me: No, I don’t need to see that. You need to go away or I’m telling someone to get you out of here.
Interaction stopped! Did I have to see a cell phone picture of his junk in order to get him to go away? Yes. Did any other larger, more capable, male-gendered (therefore viewed as more threatening and worthier of respect) person in the bar – of which there were PLENTY – try and help me out? No!
But did the guy go away and stop touching my friends?
Yes he did.
As I attend school in downtown Cincinnati, I understood that it wasn’t always a pretty place. I’ll be adding more stories of things that I have experienced and witnessed, but here’s one that was my first.
It was August and still hot on the streets so I wore what was comfortable, shorts and a t-shirt. After leaving school for the day, I headed to the library to meet a friend.
Heading down the street, I noticed the occasional security guards from numerous companies and felt pretty safe. Out of nowhere, a black pickup truck pulled up next to me.
The man in the front seat leaned out and yelled, even though he was directly next to me,”How about you get in and we’ll show you why two is better than one.”
Instinctually, I took off, dashing down the street as his friend yelled,”DYKE BITCH!” out the window.
When I reached the library. I didn’t tell my friend a word of what happened. I regretted not speaking up sooner and blaming myself for the harassment. Even the school dress code told me that I was a distraction.
Street harassment should not be the norm for young girls.
While jogging, I was video tapped, cat called and followed for about 10 minutes. Infuriating!!
This is an old story. This is not new. Still, I think it is important people know what happens in a “quaint tourist town.”
I was 11 the first time I was wolf whistled at while walking in town. I didn’t even have boobs.
I was walking home from school at the age of 15, dressed in baggy clothes, when an old man kept circling the block. He later followed me and my friends to a grocery store.
I was walking home from work as a waitress at the age of 16, when I had a man in his 40s slow his car down and ask me “How much for a party?” He refused to leave me alone and refused to believe I wasn’t a prostitute until a cop car came by.
Two guys are hanging out on the corner and periodically calling out to girls passing by things like “let me take you around town tonight! I’ll wine you and dine you and take you around the city.” then they laugh about it afterwards to each other.
I and two guys I worked with were putting new recycling barrels in a dormitory. We were waiting for the elevator and when it opened it had 5 or 6 guys in it. My co-worker said we’d take the next one. One of the guys said “You two (referring to my male coworkers) can’t fit, but I’m sure we can squeeze blondie in here with us.”
I ignored them as I waited for what felt like forever for the doors to close and them to go away while they smiled and made comments. We went back downstairs to get more bins and they were all hanging out outside the building, calling “Hey blondie! Whatcha doing? Why are you working so hard? Leave the work to the guys and come hang out with us!” I ignored them. This repeated the next two times we came down for more bins, until my coworker finally told them to fuck off.
And they did, until an hour or so later when I was walking off campus to my apartment a few blocks away and the same group of guys were walking around smoking pot. They continued to catcall me and follow me home. I told them to kindly fuck off, and they laughed and said “Ooh blondie is all fired up! I like it!” I texted my roommates as I walked and luckily one was home and came outside our apartment to walk me in and once again tell these guys to fuck off.
It felt like shit to have to rely on a male friend both times to make these guys go away. I felt annoyed that I couldn’t just do my job and walk home without being bothered. It was in broad daylight and in public so I didn’t necessarily feel unsafe, just uncomfortable and annoyed.
I was just starting my job at a popular bar/restaurant in the town I was going to college in. It was my first real experience working in a fast paced resaurant setting, and I was doing my training with one of the other girls who had worked their a long time.
After a couple days, we were scheduled to work out in the outdoor section, which gets pretty hectic when its nice out. Things were going relatively well, until this large table of middle to older aged men came out. They were loud, and extremely obnoxious. They were sticking around for multiple hours ordering drink after drink, and getting noticeably louder, and increasingly drunk.
Each time I went to the table to take drink order after drink order, they kept calling me names like sweetie, sweetheart, doll, etc. and asking me questions that made me extremely uncomfortable. As the night went on, I was getting more and more shaken. There was even one point where one of them knocked me over and I spilled a tray full of drinks all over the ground, and myself.
I tried my best not to let it get to me, until I took their order again, and then suddenly, as I was taking their order, one of the older men I was standing next to took his arm and just laid it on my shoulders. I’m a really small person, just about 5’2, and so I couldn’t get away. The girl I was training with had to pull me away from him, and she told me not to worry about it.
Not long after that experience, I left the bar, because I just couldn’t handle it. I kept blaming myself, saying,”Well I should have expected that, being so small and working around a bunch of drunk men.” But after awhile, I realized I was just supporting their god awful behavior, and that I should have never excused the way those men treated me that night. Its definitely a memory that will always stick with me.
I was pumping gas at the local Chevron station when I heard someone say “Do you work out?” Then I heard someone else say, “Yeah, she works out.” I turned around and saw two men in their 30’s I’d say, leaning out of their windows staring at me and smiling and laughing.
I said, “Are you talking to me?” they said “Yes,” and I said, “Don’t talk to women like that, it’s disrespectful,” and they said, “No, it’s not,” and I said, “I’m sorry that your socialized masculinity has robbed you of your humanity,” and they said, “We’re just being guys,” and I said “I know, that’s what I said, you’re so busy being a ‘man’ you forgot to be human,” and one of the guys ACTUALLY STARTED BARKING AT ME LIKE A DOG.
I guess the point was that I was being a “bitch” by daring to question their right to harass me freely. Or that they were lusting animals. Then the other guy said, “Were just being men and you’re a women,” and I said, “I’m just being human and you’re not.” They drove off laughing. As I type this, I’m STILL SHAKING WITH RAGE. The entitlement of these men was so insulting. Even more heartbreaking is the way they slandered all males with their “boys will be boys” excuse for their bad manners and entitlement. Males like that give “men” a bad name.