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I was at Walgreens when two men in the aisle made a comment about the size of my “buns” as I walked away. They also called, “Hey sexy,” at me as they saw me drive out of the parking lot. I felt disgusted and completely humiliated.
I was walking on a crowded street in midtown Manhattan when a man blocked my path. He said, “how you doin’, gorgeous?” I responded, “that’s street harassment! You should be ashamed of yourself” and then walked away without giving him a chance to engage further. Hollaback has taught me that I should call street harassment what it is since many people don’t realize that what they are doing is perpetrating violence against women.
I come from NYC where cat calls are bad, my comfort was there are people everywhere. Now I’m in Pittsburgh and I feel so vulnerable I don’t like to even leave my apt. I am always nervous walking, at bus stations, and on the bus.
Yesterday, when I was walking towards the train after a meeting in a gentrified and generally considered safe neighborhood in Brooklyn, a young white construction worker started harassing me. He was walking right toward me, arms outstretched, asking me where I was going looking so beautiful. This made me feel threatened and irritated–I was already in a bad mood.
“Women are not just objects to be ogled at.”
“Who’s ogling you? No one’s ogling you! I don’t even like white chicks! I don’t even like white chicks, you ugly bitch!”
“It’s mutual. Get a life! Get a life!”
Of course, those last two transcribed lines were largely yelled at almost the same time, but he did walk away defeated. I don’t care if I’m called ugly right after being called beautiful by a racist sexist construction worker. I felt empowered, and I hope that he doesn’t just assume one can harass any girl walking down the street–she might be a “crazy bitch” like me!
Construction men working on Jared Jewelers in the Target shopping center on Putty Hill whistling and waving at me and a number of other women walking to and from their cars.
I had parked a bit farther away from them and they still proceeded to call attention to themselves. Ridiculous grown men.
I am running with the gang – the rest of my university’s women’s cross-country running team. We’re warming up, heading along a downtown street toward the track for our workout. We pass a group of boys who look like fellow students. No one in our group acknowledges them.
They would have been just a few random strangers among the hundreds I pass every day, except then I hear some noise – garbled talking that I can’t make out, and what might have been a whistle.
And then I can make it out, can tell exactly what it is, and I’m furious but we’re past them and it’s too late to say anything without getting left behind.
I resign myself to doing nothing and moving on. But these guys aren’t done yet. The vocal one and his “pack” follow us around the corner, and I hear him shout “can I get a number ladies?”
Because clearly those of us on the VARSITY WOMEN’S CROSS-COUNTRY RUNNING TEAM have NOTHING better to do than stop to exchange contact info with some stranger in the middle of our workout. Clearly.
I keep running, afraid of what might happen if I stop – for whatever reason. And I don’t yell back, unwilling to start something and involve the whole team. But I refuse to roll over completely. Without even looking back, I raise my hand high and I give him the finger.
I don’t know if he sees, or knows what I’m trying to convey, but I feel better after taking some action. I doubt I changed anything today, but it’s not about that – it’s about there being a record of someone having said: this is not okay.
I was walking to campus from Walgreens when some guy with his hands shoved in his sweatpants pockets started following me. He followed me almost to the park, at which point I was basically running, yelling about how big his dick was and how much I’d like it. When he stopped following, he started calling me a bitch and an assortment of other great names. I’m just glad he didn’t follow me any further.
I was groped by a man on a bicycle two days in a row in Astoria. Considering I have lived here for 3 years and have felt very safe, this is really shocking and difficult to comprehend.
The first incident happened on the corner of 43rd Street and 30th Avenue around 3:30 while I was walking to the gym. A man on a bike was riding on the sidewalk towards me. He stopped directly behind me while I was waiting for the light and smacked my butt. I was so shocked that I did nothing as he sped away. No one else on the street seemed to noticed what had happened. I daydreamed all of the obscenities I could shout at this perv if I could go back in time, thinking that that this was a fluke and would never happen again.
Oh no, the very next day I was walking down 46th street around 6:30 pm and a guy on bike sneaked up behind me, whispered “nice ass” and grabbed me. He then sped away. I screamed “Asshole!” but really, does this affect a person like this? I got a better look at him and assume he’s probably the same guy.
I called the local precinct and the cop who I spoke to said that other women in Astoria have complained about this guy, near the locations I was at. He told me I could file a report if I wanted to. I went but a different cop said that it would be a waste of time. “These things happen,” he told me. Thanks buddy, that sure makes me feel safer.
I was loading my car with boxes, moving out of my apartment. While I was bent over trying to stack a box near the front, a young man in a red not-quite-sports car drove by and catcalled. I ignored it. Maybe fifteen minutes later, a guy in his forties was walking by and stopped to comment on my ass. I got out of the back of my car, looking him straight in the eye and said “Your comments aren’t helpful and you’re sexually harassing me. Leave me alone.” He called me a bitch and strutted away. This is not my first time being harassed in my college town of Bowling Green. I’ve gotten stared at and ‘spoken about’ among groups of men just walking down Main street. One time, I was riding home on my bike on the street (it’s illegal to ride on the sidewalk), and two young guys nearly ran me off the road in their car and shouted “Get off the road slut!” to me as they drove by. In Cleveland when I was in eighth grade, I was walking home from the bus stop and a group of construction workers- on my home street, just three or four doors down- started catcalling me and asking me where I was going. Now that I’ve got both experience and education on my side, I’m going to the neighbor in the red car (I know who he is, idiot) and leaving a nice note on his car.
Two young guys on a train in Boston, MA. They’re probably drunk, we’re probably heading from the same baseball game. They’ve been hitting on/sexually harassing some college-age girls on the same train car as me without getting any responses.
Next they start glancing over towards me, a butch woman with short hair, and I overhear one of them mutter about my haircut. The other speculates whether I’m a man or a woman. Then the first starts asking “are you a lesbian” first quietly, then a little louder and again, a little louder. Like he’s trying to poke me, force me to react.
I stay silent and plan what to do or say next. I estimate how drunk they are, how heavy they look, and whether I could shove one enough to knock him down if I needed to. My heart’s pounding and I realize this is the third time in as many weeks I’ve faced harassment or derogatory speech for being visibly gay. At the next stop, the guys get off the train and I am relieved, but still angry. I decide that when I get home, I will post this on Hollaback and hopefully my story might help others, or at least make me feel less helpless.