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This story is not incredibly serious like some poor women have to put up with. The reason I like my story, is that I handled it with humor. I was driving in stop and go traffic. There was a car that I would pass, then I would have to stop, and then that car would pass me, then have to stop. We kept passing each other at a very slow speed. At one point, as the car was passing me, I saw the passenger elbow the driver heartily and I saw him mouth “check out that chick”, or something similar, and motion back toward me. It was amazing to see how excited the passenger was (I’m not that hot) and how keen he was on getting his friend to see me. So as I came back up to pass them, I knew they would both be staring to get a good look at me as I passed. So. As I drove past them again, I shoved my finger as far up my nose as I could get it and started digging, in a most unladylike fashion. I saw them both start laughing as hard as they could and elbowing each other. The passenger started clapping and waving and gave me the thumbs up.
So, I kinda holla’d back. It was uncomfortable knowing they were staring and gawking. And until I quickly thought of my plan, I wasn’t looking forward to passing them again. But I didn’t give them a horrible stare or yell at them. Instead I made us all laugh, and for a brief moment, made them regret staring at me.
When my boyfriend was away for a few days last summer I decided, since the sun was shinig, to go for a walk around my local area. I ended up cutting my walk short because as I passed three seperate groups of builders working on houses each time at least one of the men working shouted some kind of suggestive or sexual comment at me. Although I wasn’t particularly shocked as I know that is is a common occurance for most women it made me wonder whether it is impossible for a woman to walk the streets of an ordinary British town without a man accompanying them and remain unharassed.
I had the misfortune to live with a ‘hollering from car’ type of guy (he was brought into our shared house, without our consent, by a dodgy landlord). It was the worst experience of my life.
Not only would he regale us with HILARIOUS tales detailing how him and his mates harassed women on the street (usually while cruising around in his car), he spent most nights sat very close to the TV, describing in graphic detail what he wanted to do to each and every woman that appeared. And I mean graphic. I’m not particularly easily shocked, but this was way too much for me. On top of his rampant misogyny, he was also physically threatening to our lone male housemate and liked to go on and on about how he was an expert in martial arts and regularly beat people up on the street. In short, he was a psychopath. Needless to say, we moved out of there as fast as we possibly could (losing our deposits and a months rent in the process, which still makes me angry to this day).
I now am firmly of the belief that all men who holler from cars are low life scum of the earth with serious personality defects!
I live in central Nottingham and I am used to the normal chaos of the city, I get looked at on the street and ‘beeped’ at regularly. However, about six weeks ago a gang of men and children (I haven’t seen any women/mothers yet…) moved into a house at the end of the street. When I first passed the house a couple of men shouted ‘Smile!’ because it was early in the morning and I wasn’t in the best of moods! I paid them no mind. I passed again the day after and the day after that, they remembered what I looked like and kept shouting it at me, I’d just rush past with my head down. I passed one evening and the number of men seemed to have doubled and I felt intimidated when they shouted at me from the other side of the road, but they didn’t do anything but shout ‘Come on love, give us a smile!’. It was the following morning when I was heading off to college that a couple of little boys and their Dad came out of their house, the dad shouted the usual ‘Oi! Smile!’ a couple of times, when I didn’t respond he got the kids to run after me shouting ‘Smile!’ until I had turned the corner, off the street. It was equally embarrassing and scary! It’s disgusting that that man is teaching his kids to bully and intimidate women, and really hard for me knowing that they know who I am and that they could be living there for many years to come! I now walk a longer way to and from my house; it is inconvenient and makes me very, very angry!
I have been harassed in my town several times but two times specifically stood out to me. The first one was when I was in 8th grade and was walking 4 blocks away to my friends house.There was this white car passing by slowly. He passed me several times… I was panicking, I didn’t know what to do. I started walking faster and it passed around the block again. I finally made it to my friends house and I knocked my heart out while looking down the street both ways. He opened the door and I ran inside hysterical. My friend closed the door and was concerned and later walked me home. Note: this happened during day light.
The second was last year during my sophomore year. This was on the same street from the previous incident. I had gotten off the train and was walking home. There were three boys older than me walking ahead of me slowly. Even before they started calling at me I felt like something was going to happen. They were walking in front of me waiting for me to pass them so they could probably do something. They all made typical calls encouraging each rooting for each other. My heart was racing…. I hate walking slow and doing so then just made it seem like this would last forever. I made sure to keep my distance but I didn’t want to stop walking altogether or I thought they might do something. A corner came up… I thought I would detour my route because I thought they wouldn’t go out of their way to turn back to follow me. So I walked 5 blocks just to avoid them, when my destination was only 2 blocks away…. but I also didn’t want them to know where I was going.
When I was 15, my friend and I were walking along the beautiful downtown area of Hoboken, NJ in the summer of ’04. We had just left dinner and were making our way toward the train station to go home. As we walked past the McDonald’s on the corner of Washington & 3rd, two men who had been leaning against the building talking to each other approached us. They looked to be about 30. They struck up a conversation with us, and then asked if we would like to join them for dinner. We said no, thanks. Then they asked if we would go back to their apartment which was right down the road in Jersey City. They even threw in that they had an indoor pool. At this point I was way creeped out by them, so I just nudged my friend and was like, “Let’s get out of here.” But she didn’t seem too threatened. And then they asked us, “Do you girls want to make $1500 each tonight? If you come back to our apartment to hang out for a little, we’ll give you $1500 each. You can make that kind of money in a night if you start hanging around us.” Finally I grabbed my friend’s arm and pulled her away and we started walking really fast. They followed quickly behind us. I panicked and decided to make a huge scene to get everyone’s attention so that they would leave us alone. I started yelling obscenities and was like: “THESE MEN ARE TRYING TO KIDNAP US!” Passersby paused and looked at us, and the men immediately darted off. We ran to the train station and hopped on the next train home.
I think that what surprised me most about this experience was not that these two men were trying to take advantage of two young girls– but that nobody really seemed concerned enough to do a damn thing about it.
This man is a regular at my pub, and at first he seemed a nice bloke, albeit, a bit weird. But soon he would male inappropriate comments, and ask the barmaids for their numbers. One girl left her phone on the bar, and he grabbed it and phoned himself from it, so he had her number. Up until a certain incident, he would phone her 2 times a month to make sure she had kept the number. I came into work on a Sunday, in a very nice top, black, lowcut and pirate-esk. I turned around to find him holding his phone up, licking his lips and clearly taking a picture. I called him on it, and to show me he’d deleted it. When he made to put the phone back in his pocket, and ignore me, I grabbed it off him, and threw it on the floor and smashed it. He left, and neither of us had mentioned it since. But 3 days ago, an ex-barmaid told me he had been caught taking pictures of female customers and barmaids he’s terrorized in the past. So I decided to take his picture and post it on Hollaback. He’s a pervert, but he’s far from harmless. Creep. So if you live in the chew valley, and you like a pint, you will recognise this old pervert.
Once when I was 12, I was standing outside of our public library, waiting for my mother to pick me up, when I saw a man walk by. I’d seen him before, and he’d always sort of looked at me funny, so I just sort of ignored him and made sure to stay where I was. He was tall, dark haired, had a bit of a beard, and wore black clothes, as if he thought he was trying to be Johnny Cash with the color scheme he had going. That day, however, when he walked by he gave me this strange grin and winked at me, and made a sort of kissing noise at me. I don’t know if he thought he was being funny, impressive, or obnoxious, or perhaps something else altogether. But, he certainly was being inappropriate. I was a child, and he was a middle-aged man. I was too afraid to tell my mother what happened, but I made sure never to be alone when I saw that man around town, again.
When I was a very little girl, probably around 7 or 8, I remember going over to play with my friend M. Her street wasn’t the nicest street, nor the nicest neighborhood, and so we stayed in her yard. But, there was a group of teenage boys, perhaps closer to men than boys, who kept hollering at us. M and I totally ignored them, although we did sort of keep an eye on them to know where they were. They were acting very aggressive. Later that day, when my mother and grandmother came to pick me up, those men were so brazen that they started yelling again when my mother, grandmother, and I went by in the truck! One of them, a tall and lean man with dark hair, said quite clearly, “Come here a minute, I wanna moon ya!” I remember that clearly to this day. Especially since my mother said later that, when used in that particular context, it didn’t mean mooning someone like you’d moon them from your car. It meant that they wanted to make a baby with you. It disturbed me greatly, but I was glad to have the information. Not realizing what that had meant, when they said it to me once before that day, I had almost thought of going over to them to give them a piece of my mind. Knowing what they really meant by the phrase, I was a lot more aware of the need to stay away from strangers, especially loud and obnoxious ones.
Once I was with my best friend on the streetcar (in Toronto) and this old(ish) man approached us and started talking to us. I find it very hard to simply ignore people when they do this and he just seemed like a harmless, lonely old man. Then he started asking us if we’d go to dinner with him. We politely declined. Then he started asking if he could pay us 1000$ each to just have dinner with him. We kept declining, and his offers just kept escalating until he was offering 2500$ each to bring us up to his apartment so we could meet his female friend Kitty.
Since we had just been taking the streetcar for fun we decided to get off. He followed.
He kept walking beside us and talking, not being overly threatening, but I was sure to keep myself in between him and my friend (she’s two years younger, and I have a black belt in karate so I know I could handle myself).
She then bumped into something and said “ow” to which he responded “oh don’t worry girls, I won’t hurt you” – then he grabbed my arm and continued “well, I might”.
At this I just knew we had to get away from him. I tried to mouth the word “HELP” to passers by. I made eye contact with numerous people (including three guys who looked like they could have been College football players) but none took notice. I even thought about running up to one of these guys and pretending that I knew them. I didn’t though.
We were in a somewhat chic neighbourhood, and the only places around were expensive lunch restaurants, and our misplaced sense of decency made us not want to disturb people’s meals.
Then we passed by this upscale salon and someone was handing out flyers at the front door. We walked over and each took one and tried to strike up a conversation. Then the old man started talking to this flyer guy. This was our out we thought! We snuck behind him and walked briskly to a corner store just up the street.
Once in the corner store we both looked shook up and the owner of the store asked us if anything was wrong. I quickly told him to call 911 (which he did not) and that a man had followed us off the streetcar and we were trying to get away, but before I could finish the old man walked in and walked straight towards us.
He turned to the owner and said “these are my daughters! This one’s a pilot” – he said pointing to me “and this one’s a nurse” – he said pointing to my friend.
-let me just say that my name is Amelia, like Amelia Earhart, which I hadn’t told him. As well my mom wanted to be a pilot when she went to military college but being a woman she wasn’t allowed. And my friend’s mother is a nurse. Just a really weird coincidence… anyway…
Since he was situated in front of us we were both shaking our heads vigorously to let this store owner know that this was not the truth (plus we were both obviously in our teens, so being a pilot and a nurse was a little out there).
He distracted the man enough that his son could sneak us out of the back of the store. The son escorted us to Bathurst, and from there we walked quite briskly down to Queen street. I don’t know if the police were ever called, but this guy was definitely creepy. At certain points I was sure that if he had found the chance he would have tried something horrible.
Submitted by Amelia