“Hey there, would you like to buy this paper for $1?”
“I really like your shirt. It accentuates your bold and beautiful breasts.”
I was riding my bike from work and as I was approaching a round about, I heard a motorcycle. I waited for it to pass me, but since it did not I rode on when all of a sudden I hear “Well, either to the left or to the right!!!” I slowed down and saw that the motorcycler was a young man and he had an aggressive attitude, so I just ignored the comment and went on my way when he started shouting: “You fat cow (actually, “gorda de mierda” in Spanish), I’ll crush you!!!” I ignored him again. But, the next morning, I was on my way to work and he passed me with his motorcycle and spat on my face. I don’t know if this is going to stop or get worse.
It’s sad to say I’ve become accustomed to being catcalled, especially on my university’s campus. I could share so many stories about how I am approached in classes or on the street when I just want to be left alone.
One of my guy friends doesn’t think it’s a big deal. He’ll always say that if I’m not wearing a ring, then I’m “fair game.”
It was my first day on campus my sophomore year. My family had just left after helping me move into my dorm room. I took my car to the parking lot closest to my building so I could unload the last of my belongings.
My university is constantly doing renovations so there are always construction workers present. The latest project was the dorm complex situated between my building and that parking lot.
As I was walking through the lot, three construction workers were coming my way.
I do what I can to minimize the chances of being catcalled. No eye contact, keep looking straight ahead. Don’t speak. Don’t smile.
Unfortunately for me, nothing I did helped. The men slowed down as I walked closer. One sort of puckered his lips and made kissing faces. “Hey, baby! How you doing?” He said.
I said hello, and then he said something lewd and invited me to go somewhere with him. After that, I started jogging back to my room. There was no way I was sticking around there any longer.
That building was under construction for the rest of the academic year. I avoided it at all costs.
I told my sister about what happened and she was outraged that men who were earning their livings through my tuition had treated me like that.
I was taking a stroll to check out an area of Geneva that I was considering living in. It was 7pm on a sunny summer day. As I was taking a stroll along the river, I passed a group of men, one of which looked pointedly at me and started to walk slowly and menacingly towards me, and trying to catch my eye, muttering what I can only guess were insults/lewd comments in a low threatening voice. He got really close to me and I turned my head away to make clear the advance was unwanted, which only served to increase the intensity of his advance. I walked on and found a group of women to walk with, and followed as if I was with them for safety. At one point the women went into a bar and I suddenly realised I may have to go back the way I had come alone – luckily I found a way not to have to do that.
This is the third time it has happened to me in the 6 days I have been in Geneva. The other times were on crowded streets. What struck me was his clear satisfaction when he got a reaction from me. I’m afraid but also of how I may respond in the future as I could nearly have screamed at him in rage. Rage that has been growing over the years as I realise that this is systemic, and not my fault.
I was unhurt physically, but it has left me scared and really really angry. I feel powerless to know how to make this change. And for a place I am moving to for work, it makes me wonder if I will just have to put up with it while I am here.
It also made me start a list of the places and times I’ve had this experience and I had the sad realisation that every place I have visited solo something like this has happened. Including my hometown Dublin.
Man staring at my backside saying “damn I like that sexy ass”
I was shopping at the supermarket for my flat and a slimy teenager told me I had a nice ass and catcalled/verbally harassed me. Not that it’s relevant but it is still worth saying I was wearing my vans, jeans and an oversized mickey mouse sweater. Even worse his parents didn’t care.
Drive by comments on my appearance and cat-calls. Was SO CLOSE to making it home today without being harassed!
I was walking outside 878 Main Street in Lafayette, Indiana around 3 PM when a man in a car drove by and screamed “put some fucking clothing on, you whore!”
Not that it matters, but I was wearing jeans and a tank top.
During my freshman year of college, I had to take one of my art classes at night, much to my mother’s dismay. This meant walking home in the dark twice a week. My boyfriend wanted me to be safer, so he would pick me up and walk me home, his broad 6’3”stature giving me instant security. He was very diligent – always on time, every day. There was only one day where he had a scheduled test and I had to walk on my own.
That was the only day I was ever verbally harassed on my way home from class. A group of guys stopped their car by me and yelled out to me, laughing as they did. It wasn’t much and they were probably just trying to be cool, but it certainly was not cool.
They didn’t realize that they terrified me that night. They didn’t realize that I felt like crying. They didn’t realize that I already had anxiety issues and didn’t need any extra prompting for a panic attack. They didn’t realize that in that moment I had to go through every self-defense technique I knew, just in case.
They didn’t know, and I think that is pathetic.
I have a “don’t mess with me” line, and this guy officially crossed it. I was waiting at the bus stop when he approached me and said “You’re pretty”. I glared and looked the other way. He stood over me and continued aggresively flirting (asserting his previous comment, saying “Wanna ride with me?”). Once he backed off, I pulled out my phone and got a picture of him when he wasn’t looking. I have absolutely zero tolerance for being directly talked down to by an adult male stranger, especially when I have not expressed any consent for such contact.