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Was lucky enough to encounter this character on 16th between 5th and 6th who so kindly inquired about how I was doing.
Submitted by V.
I live in the South Bronx, and I am harassed by men almost every day as I make the 10-minute schlep from my apartment to the subway, or vice versa; as I walk the five blocks to the grocery store; and even as I walk the one block to the laundromat. I literally cannot step outside my apartment without getting some kind of unwanted comment or stare. It makes living in a down-trodden neighborhood that much worse.
I used to ignore the harassers, but lately I’m just so enraged by this behavior that I’ve been trying to confront them, in an attempt to make them think about what they’re doing. My past attempts have thus far failed–the harassers just don’t get it, and the fact that I’m talking to them at all seems to make them feel even more self-satisfied.
But yesterday morning, as I reached East 160th Street and Courtlandt Avenue, I think my approach worked. I was walking back to my apartment from the grocery store when a man called out, in an very cheerful tone, “Good morning, gorgeous!” I said, in the same tone of voice as his, “Good morning, asshole!” He said, “Awww, that’s not nice. I called you gorgeous.” I said, “I don’t need you to call me that. I’m not an animal. I’m not a prostitute. I’m just walking home from the grocery store, minding my own business. I don’t need you to call me anything.” He said, “Well, I’m sorry. Most women like it.” I said, “Actually, most women don’t like it, and the ones who do like it only feel that way because they don’t know the difference.” To my complete surprise, he seemed very sincere and apologetic. He said, “OK. You’re probably right.” I said, “I AM right. Don’t talk to women like that. We don’t need it.” As I was walking away, he said, “Alright, have a nice day.”
I am quite confident that this man did not have any ill intentions towards me–he just didn’t understand the implications of what he was doing. Obviously I will never know whether or not he continues to cat-call, but my hunch is that he will stop. If one conversation can change one man’s mind, then I think we’ve accomplished something. Maybe that man will one day have a son, and maybe he will teach his son how to treat women with respect. Or maybe I’m being naive–but the experience gave me a little bit of hope, and I’m going to continue spreading this message however I can: ALL human beings have the right to be let alone. Women are human beings. Unless I ask you to talk to me, don’t.
Submitted by R.B.
(Flushing Avenue G stop, Brooklyn)
Now, here is where it really pisses me off. I saw some cops, a male and female, on the other side of the street where they were heading (but not on the opposite or same side of the street where the crime took place.) When I went to report what had happened, the male cop – an indignant chauvinist – asked what happened. I said it was a case of sexual harassment, with the punk getting upset since I wouldn’t meet his demands. He then belligerently asked exactly what did I say. When I told him that I told the guy what the fuck was he staring at, the cop, a Hispanic man, said, “Well, that set him off,” effectively blaming me for what happened. That comment set me off. To blame me for that attack simply because of what I said is an insult to my humanity and character. I feel that that statement typifies what most cops feel towards women, especially women on color, in circumstances like that. We are just supposed to grin, smile, and put up with it and not challenge their male authority/ entitlement. Esp. being a woman of color, I feel that statement basically shows what the cops think of us as women of color; that we are animals to be subject to animalistic behavior and we are not worthy of being treated like human beings. I told the cop that I knew a guy who justified rape who said the SAME exact thing he said. Then, when I informed him that my area is a place where a lot of pimps troll for vulnerable women and girls and that does who DON ‘T say anything and are docile get treated the worst, he went on to state that the are is FULL of prostitution, not PIMPS, but prostitutes. Basically, this chauvinist piece of shit thinks that it is more of a crime for a woman to charge for her own body rather than a guy who attacks a woman simply for rejecting his compliment. Then he asked what did I DO for a living, so as to justify treating me like trash! What a sick fuck. My dad was a cop and it is a fucking shame when you have someone like that on the police department who harbors such views. I will report him. As to what good that will do, I don’t know. But hopefully that file along with other complaints will take his ass off the force. His badge number is 34473 and his name is Lopez.
Reprinted from our friends at Stop Street Harassment:
I was walking home from graduate school at around 2 am, on 9th Ave and 54th St, wearing a large sweater, leggings and rain boots. Then, a middle-aged white man in business attire, who was standing outside a bar said, “excuse me.”
I thought he was going to ask for directions, so I replied politely, “Yes?”
Instead, the pervert said, “Can I squeeze your little titties?”
I was so shocked that all I could say was, “You are disgusting,” and walked away. I looked back to see if he was following me, but thankfully he just kept standing there like a creep.
Submitted by LD
Submitted by Jill
I am a Bisexual Asian male who has experienced extreme harassment. My neighbor, the elderly man next door– Slandered, harassed and sexually harassed me for 2 years since I moved here from California. At first, when I got here, I was really thin and looked like a girl to most people. He told me he wanted to give me a sex change operation and rape me. For the next several months he slandered me, spread rumors I was a rapist, sex offender, child molester and people called me that in the neighborhood and on the train a few times. He was angry that I was a guy and not a girl and that I was making him gay. When I joined meetup.com and come home late at night, he would wait in front of my house every night ‘til I stop going. I saw him half naked filming me twice from his 3rd floor window a few months ago when I opened my blinds in the morning and I dare not to open my blinds in the morning anymore. People gossiped about seeing videos of me naked or me sleeping, etc in my bedroom on some pervert website. I overheard people talking in Chinatown and on the set of Fordham University during my filming of the “adjustment bureau” a Matt Damon movie where I worked as an extra.
Recently, He and his friends were yelling they want to castrate me, rape me. They called me a queer, fag and chink 2 weeks ago outside my house, heckling me.
I am a victim of racism and sexual harassment. I filed a harassment report by calling 911 on December 10, 2009 Thursday around 9:45PM when 2 female police officers drove to my house and alerted me to come outside to talk to them. The two female police officers is a female Black woman and a Spanish woman. I was told to call 718-627-6611 for Precinct 61 for the status of my complaint. I called again on December 15, 2009 and the officer who answered the phone said the complaint is closed and is on record and no arrests was made because my neighbor harassed me but didn’t assault me. I wrote to NBC news but to no avail. I don’t know who to turn to for help. I am a victim of sexual harassment and video voyeurism and slander and I think he is trying to get me killed because I look feminine and because of my sexual orientation. If this happened to a woman he work be arrested by now, but I am a guy, a bisexual guy and no one cares. I want the harassment to stop.
Submitted by Michael
Just want to share my recent episode of street harassment there are so many to share. I was walking down the street (of course) and a gypsy taxi driver ask me if I needed a taxi. I said no thank you. Of course he took this opportunity to make a slick remark about how sexy I was to him. I ignored like I didn’t here anything.
Then I went into the store. He watch for me to come out. and I purposely avoided going back in his direction. he then started yell things like “sexy” and then he yelled “champion” I kept walking like I didn’t hear him I guess he got angry any then yelled out “Big Draws.” I maintained my composure although I wanted to say some thing back.
Then to add on more embarrassment I called 311 to complain about the gypsy taxi drivers and their constant street harassment. They then referred me to 911 and told me they would have to send a police officer to my home in order to make a complaint.
Submitted by Teisha
Living in New York CIty, I’ve dealt with so much street harassment that I’ve come to feel it’s not even worth the effort to say or do anything in response… I just continue walking and hope that a terrible tragedy befalls the catcaller/hisser/groper/leerer/perv as soon as he’s out of my line of vision. Still, I’ve never really felt unsafe because I stick to populous, well-lit areas.
That all changed about a week ago when I was walking near the corner of 34th St. and 2nd Ave. around 2 pm on a Saturday. As I turned the corner from 2nd Ave. onto 34th Street, the creepiest-looking toothless man started yelling and cussing at me as he walked towards me, aggressively calling me a bitch and making a scene. No one who was walking by did a thing or even looked our way. Anyway, I just sneered at him, and then he really got in my face, yelling “BITCH! BITCH! BITCH!” over and over again. I flipped him off and kept walking because this guy seemed pretty unstable and I didn’t want to get into a physical confrontation with him.
As he passed me (he was walking in the opposite direction), I heard him continue to yell increasingly obscene slurs. I turned around and saw him making repulsive gestures with his hands that obviously simulated rape. Then he yelled, “I’M GONNA STICK MY DICK IN YOUR ASS AND PUT IT IN YOUR MOUTH,” along with other absolutely repulsive things.
A few seconds later, after he was a bit farther down the block, the shock of this harassment had worn off and I was just plain furious. I backtracked and, because he was walking slowly, turned around to see him him turn the corner onto 2nd Ave (the corner I originally came from). I walked really slowly and kept my eye on him until he took a seat on a planter near the corner. As I walked toward him, I kept my eyes on my cell phone, pretending I was texting. Then I stopped, and when he noticed me there (I was about 30 feet away), he started yelling “BITCH!” over and over again at him.
I glared at him, and the only thing I could think to say to him that wouldn’t gratify him was just to say calmly and very condescendingly, “You are so, so sad.” Then I walked away, hearing him yell maniacally at me as I walked away. It was gratifying to have the last word, and to keep my cool and show him that no matter what he yelled, I would neither stoop to his level nor give him any indication that his behavior was acceptable.
I think the worst part of this incident, however, was that I felt completely humiliated, as if my old gray sweatpants and faded windbreaker had somehow invited this harassment. It was degrading just to repeat to my boyfriend the things this guy had said to me. Unfortunately, I didn’t hear about HollaBack until after the incident (I saw the New York Times article that mentioned it) so I didn’t take a pic… but I wish I had. I would’ve taken an entire photo album (joking… kind of) especially to warn other women in the Murray Hill area who might come across this jerk.
Looking back on it, I’m not sure if I would approach anyone like that again simply because I don’t want to risk putting my life in danger. Even now, as I write about what happened, my pulse is racing, both out of anger and from a feeling of being threatened by this loser.
I also didn’t know until a few days ago that calling 911 to report disorderly conduct could’ve resulted in a ticket for the perv. I’ve resolved to call 911 in the future when I’m harassed, because let’s face it: seeing one of the multitude of pervs in NYC being accosted by the police would be infinitely more rewarding than saying anything to men like the one I faced that Saturday.
Submitted by Allison
Not only does street harassment make you feel degraded. It is embarrassing, particularly when everyone around you is simply ignoring the situation. None of us should be alone in this, let Allison know that you have her back by donating here!
i was parking in the parking structure at work at university of Michigan hospital. as i turned around the corner i saw 3 men walking up the ramp towards the door of the hospital. as i drove by one of them yelled something about showing him my titties. i stopped my car and yelled “are you talking to me?” and he says “show us your titties, cigarette girl.” i told them to go fuck themselves and then i went inside and told security. they sent an officer out to talk to them and also kicked them out as they didn’t have any reason to be there. the officer asked if i wanted to press charges but i said no. i didn’t want to deal with the “justice” system. although after reading this site i wish i would have since so many women don’t really have this opportunity.
Submitted by Chelsea