In numerous occasions when men would stare and say harassing things, I found it most effective to look them in the eyes and say Ina clear, strong voice:
“Didn’t your mama teach you not to stare?”
It was last year, my sophomore year of high school and I was 15. Class was in session and I was in my art class. I walked out during some free time I had in class and went to go ask another teacher a question. Like I said class was in session so there really wasn’t anyone in the halls. When I walked out of the class I had to go down a hallway. While I was walking down the hallway I noticed about 5 boys and a few girls sitting on the floor in the hallway doing class work. I kept on walking. Then one of the boys muttered “sexy bitch” under his breath. It was obviously directed toward me. I was wearing a nice dress but nothing revealing and even if it was, what right does he have to say that! I kept on walking but on the inside I felt really uncomfortable, and kind of ashamed. Never has anyone referred to me in this way ever! I don’t swear, and to be called that terrible word hurt. It made me feel insecure and like a bad person. Even though I know I’m not. I didn’t catch a good look at his face, so I don’t know who it is but that incident really affected me.
This incident is over 25 years ago but it is still is relevant today. Since I was 12, catcalling by random men was daily fact of life. I remember feeling so frightened and confused by the comments made. Over time, you keep your head down, make no eye contact and learn to ignore it. Then, I became a mom…my first daughter.
She was only 3 years old…still in diapers. We were at an intersection waiting for the traffic light to let us cross the street. A man walked up beside us. He asked me to smile, etc..the usual. I ignored it. Then he looked at my child. “Beautiful baby” he said. He licked his lips and remarked, “she’s gonna be delicious when she 16”.
My rage was unstoppable. After my rant, he just put up his hands. No problem babe, he said. You’re delicious too. I never felt more afraid for my and my child’s safety. My sense of security was damaged forever.
I’m 55 years old now. The catcalling doesn’t happen anymore and my family has long since moved out the area. I have grandsons and new granddaughter is on her way. I worry about her and what she will face.
My husband is the exemplar of a gentleman. He would never do that to any woman. If you did it to one his daughters, you’d risk your life.
Gentlemen, help us!
I was walking up a semi-suburban/retail area, in the early evening, on my way to meet my parents for a dinner out. I was just dressed in jeans and a sweatshirt and passed by a group of men hanging out in front of an apartment complex. I walked by, hood up, and one of them said, “Hey miss, how you doin’?” When I didn’t respond, he followed up with, “Alright then, have a nice night.” I heard the rest of his group laugh. I don’t know if it’s something that I should have been afraid of, but I was, and I can never get anyone to understand why I was afraid – they always say, “But he didn’t do anything, and he didn’t try to touch you!” But I didn’t know that. I don’t want to engage in a conversation with a group of men as I’m walking to dinner – I just wanted to go to dinner. I walked fast the rest of the way because I didn’t know if I was being followed, and I didn’t want to turn around in case that only caused things to escalate.
I’m living in Calama, Chile which is effectively the shit- center of the universe. It’s a mining town occupied by double the amount of men as it is women. I’m white, I’ve never been a minority until I came here to teach English short term. I walk 6 blocks to the school in the morning, and in that time I get stared at, kissed at, honked at, and talked to in every type of way. I absolutely hate it. I hate more that people don’t think it’s a problem, and by people I mean men and women. It’s sick.
I have had over 5 instances of people on my streeet asking me for drugs, saying “hey gorgeous” “smile baby” or “God bless dat ass” as well as someone attempting to pimp me out while I was waiting for my lunch order to be ready at a local hallal deli a block from my apartment. I am angry. This needs to stop. It is not okay to start a conversation with a woman you do not know with unwanted, unwelcome sexual intent. No you weren’t just innocently complimenting me or attempting to start a conversation. You know better.
Short and simple. Walking down the street on a hot summer day, wearing a tank top because its 95 freaking degrees, not to get cat called at. This huge built man walks by, looks straight in my eyes and says “nice titties”. I couldn’t believe my ears. I forever hate that word now.
I had gone with my girlfriends to rainey street in austin and I was waiting outside the club in line talking minding my own business, when behind me I hear screaming of someone saying OH MY GOD this ass !!! this is perfection its the perfect ass, you are beautiful girl. I was not aware this yelling was directed to me until I felt a hard slap on my ass it hurt so bad that I turned around so angry, the guy saw I was not happy and just said ” Sorry I had to” and left.
Let me point out that even if I was wearing a short skirt or dress this is not ok, but I wasn’t I was wearing pants and a long shirt. Who thinks it’s alright to slap someone ? cuz you “had to ” ?? really ?
I can’t remember the street because I was a tourist and it was 29 years ago, but it was the most blatant I’ve experienced of street harassment short of back ally.
I was six months and obviously pregnant. There was no mistaking it. I waddled. I was wearing a maternity sailors dress to my midcalf.I was not in anyway in a “come hither” fashion so any detractors can tuck that argument away. As I climbed the metro subway stairs to get to the sidewalk it was crowded but one man kept jostling me and I was afraid I would fall. He was very rough and I had to keep gripping the banister. I glanced back over my shoulder and he just looked at me and as we hit the top, he darted around me grabbing a fistful of my ass as he did so. He was gone into the crown before I could even get over my shock and humiliation. I just stood there feeling naked.
Something about being pregnant and alone made you a target for lewd behavior. I was asked to spend the night, things like, “Hey, don’t act so innocent. We know your aren’t.” and told by one guy “At least I can’t get you pregnant.” as he laughed with his friends. A drunk man at a cafe began talking to my belly and rubbing it and tried to kiss it before a Coast Guardsmen pulled him away from me.
Between these and some more personally deep history, people wonder why I believe in certain laws, or give my teen daughter pepper spray.
So recently i moved to Padova Italy to work there for a while. And since i got here i noticed that the amount of catcalling and streetharrasment is much higher than it was in my home town, which is also a big town. It made me feel very unsafe. When i go out of the house i get catcalled almost every 15minutes. And last week a man followed me for at least 10minutes. Iv never been in a situation like this where is so overwelming and so constant. The friends iv made here are experiencing the same, and even worst than me. Today I saw a short documentary about catcalling and street harrasment and it was very inspiring. I usually ignore my harasser’s but talking back seems like an empowering thing to do naturally when a man grabbed my arm on the street not half n hour later all I did was run away and try not to make eyecontact. Baby steps.