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I’m prefacing this story with the fact that I’m a person of color as race unfortunately comes up in this already crappy situation.
Yesterday, I woke up late for work and as I was scrambling to get out the door, I left my headphones and book at home – my usual way of blocking out street creeps. The whole day I was noticing that guys were just staring at my chest and saying creepy things. Perhaps it was because I wasn’t distracted by music that I was noticing it so much. After the third leering fool, I said to myself, “The next comment I get, I’m going to snap.”
On my way home from work, I had to walk through that long passage from the 1,2,3 trains to the L and I noticed that a guy was walking next to me and keeping in stride with me. I tried to ignore him but then he said, “You look like you’ve had a long day…” I continued to ignore him. Then he said, “Oh, that’s how it is? That’s how you get off?” And…I snapped. I said to him, “Leave me the fuck alone, dude. I don’t know you. Just get away from me and leave me alone.” He paused and then started to scream, “You stupid bitch. You stupid fucking bitch. Look at your converse – you want to be white, you fake white bitch!” I’m still in the passage way and there is no where to go but forward or backwards. I continue to say “Leave me alone.” and try to push through the crowd of people. He is still screaming until we get to the L train platform where he attempts to get into the same car as me but I duck into another one at the last minute.
I don’t regret saying something though I have this feeling of shame and failure as well.
Submitted by ACP
I went to the local shop which was just across the street from my house. It was dark and the street was empty apart from a white transit van across the road next to the shop door. As i was crossing the road a man got out of the transit. He screamed at me ‘You see you. I’m gonna come over there and fuck you. get hold of you by the neck like a ferret’. He was furious and punching the air to point at me. I felt humiliated and frightened because of his threat and anger towards me for merely existing! I ignored him and went back home.
What was worse is how the girls I lived with didn’t believe me. They just ignored what I told them. It was a double wammy – i felt angry that someone thought they could verbal threaten me in the street and worried about what could have happened. But then that no one cared made me feel plain stupid!
Submitted by Janet
I was 17 and working as a waitress in a small local restaurant on a fairly slow afternoon. A man in his late forties came in with his two sons, the oldest of whom appeared to be 13. They were the only ones in the restaurant, so I was cleaning tables and trying to keep busy while their food was being prepared. First the dad called me over to tell me how hot his sons apparently thought I was. Then he called me over to tell me that one of them wanted my number. Finally, he called me over and asked if he could take a picture of my ass for his sons. I just responded, “That is incredibly inappropriate”, and marched off to get my manager, George, from the back. Of course, George was like a dad to everyone there and threw down his apron and stormed to the front of the store in a rage to confront them. But by then, they had ran out of the restaurant. Without paying.
Submitted by Jackie
I was first verbally harassed by a man in an SUV walking east on fulton across from Marcy. He told me to “slow down, slow down” several times before I turned around and gave him the finger. I then crossed the street and went into a store.
On my way back, I was harassed a second time by a small group of young men outside the McDonalds. The first guy showed me a large wad of cash as I passed, while the second guy asked me “Can I taste it?”, to which I replied “that’s disgusting, have some respect!”
As I crossed the street and turned onto my block, I heard another guy behind me making comments and noises under his breath. It both enrages and scares me that this amount of harassment is a typical occurrence in a ten minute round-trip walk from my home to the store and back. I am still enraged and wanted to physically hurt all of these men. The tension I’m still feeling in my stomach also comes from fear of a backlash from talking back to my harassers.
Submitted by Diane
Last week I was walking down the street and I was on my phone. A man came up to me very close and said ” you are so sexy I want to sink my teeth into your ass”.
I turned around and told him what he said was totally inappropriate.
Wish I had snapped his photo so I could post it here.
Submitted by Leah
Okay. This isn’t exactly my story but it just HAS to be told purely for its awesomeness.
My sister, aged 19, was getting home one night from her boyfriend’s place, which is only about 15 minutes away, but since it was quite late she thought it better to wait at one of the bus stops instead.
Cue the creepy guy who followed her all the way to the bus stop and proceeded to leer and ask ‘How much?’ (for sex). What did my sister do? She pulled out a bread knife from inside her pocket, aimed it straight at this guy, accompanied by a pretty vicious sounding ‘FUCK OFF’. The dude backed right off, but not before muttering ‘bitch’ under his breath, according to my sister. Oh yes. As if he was the victim in this scenario.
I know that physical confrontation isn’t always the wisest thing to do in these situations but I’d be a damn liar if I said I wasn’t proud of my younger sister for holding her own!
Submitted by Melissa Y
Oh boy, do I have loads of stories to tell. This is one of the tame ones but here’s just a taste:
Summer 2009 – Walking to a friends house. Chatted up by a sleazy guy strolling a pram. With his little kid strapped in. Definite low.
Halloween 2010 – At general store in my local shopping centre wading through the costumes in the Halloween aisle and with little luck.
The same sleazy guy with the kid (now a toddler) is shopping in the same aisle. Doesn’t recognize me. Picks up “sexy” cat ears and tells me that I should wear this because it’s sexy and will suit me. Once again, whilst shopping for halloween costumes with his kid. Once again, in a very slimy tone.
There you have it. Both sleazy and forgetful. I only wish I’d taken a picture but hey who knows – he might forget me again and repeat his utter douchery.
Submitted by Melissa
I work at a little gas station down the street from my house, and all of these incidents took place while I was working.
1) A customer that we regularly had trouble with trying to get free beer and cigarettes from one of the other employees came in and not seeing my coworker there started harassing me to give him free stuff. I had been told by my manager that this was not acceptable, and to tell him to leave if it happened again. I did as I was told and the customer started smiling to me. He told me I was cute when I was angry and asked if I was married. I told him that I was, and he told me that he was going to break into my house and steal me away from my husband. I told him again to get out, and he asked to take my hand. I refused, staying back from the counter. He set something on the counter, covering it with his hand, and assured me it was money for his purchase. Since my coworker had not come out of the back room (where the camera equipment was, he was watching the entire exchange from the office) and I had been assured several times that this particular customer, a regular in the store, was “harmless” I moved towards the counter to take the money and ring up the purchase. At that point he grabbed me by the hand and started pulling me over the counter. Finally, my coworker came out of the office and told the customer to leave. I was horribly shaken up by the experience, and told my manager and the owner that I was not comfortable with this kind of behavior, and asked specifically that this particular customer be barred from the property (a common practice when customers get out of hand). I was told that he was to be prevented from entering the store, but when he came back in a few weeks later and I told him to leave repeatedly, my coworker (the same one who’d been hiding in the back room during the actual event) waved him over and continued ringing him up several times in the same day, each time after I had asked the customer to leave. When I discussed this with the owner of the store, I was told that the individual was a “good customer” who came in often, so he was to be allowed into the store again. I expressed concern over having to serve him and the possibility of a similar incident, but the only answer I got was that my coworker wasn’t allowed to give him free beer and cigarettes anymore, but I am still expected to serve him when he comes into the store. This individual comes to the store several times a day, so I have to wait on him at least two or three times a shift, and my discomfort with him is constantly shrugged off.
2) At the same store, another regular who comes in several times a day has a habit of thrusting his hand over the counter towards me as I’m leaning over and handing him his change in attempt to grope at my chest. It’s another issue that I’ve brought up to superiors, and been shrugged off as “that’s just how he is, ignore it”. Apparently this is something he does to all of the female cashiers where I work, and is apparently just accepted as part of the job. Ick.
3) Another regular customer that comes in, and again, I have to wait on him several times each shift, regularly asks me if I’m married. When I tell him that I am, he appears to get angry at the information, insisting that I should leave my husband to be with him, asking for my phone number, etc, and once when I flat out told him I wasn’t interested he yelled at me, called me a stuck up bitch, and again insisted that I should leave my husband for him. Honestly, of the three, this is the one that most often appears to be truly a matter of a man deciding that women are all just property to be claimed with no rights or voice of their own, and the one that makes me the most uncomfortable (the other two, when stared at for the duration of their time in the store back down fairly quickly). Again though, when bringing it up to my superiors, it’s shrugged off as just something that “comes with the territory”, and something that I’ll just have to get used to. I’d rather not. I’m looking for another job already.
Submitted by Equalist
I was an exchange student in Spain for 9 months and toward the end of those 9 months I went to spend a week on the beach at Salou with a group of friends.
One afternoon I was walking the 2 blocks from our hotel to the beach by myself when I heard a man calling out to me. I glanced at him, then looked away. I noticed him running after me. I sped up. He grabbed me and attempted to kiss me. I twisted out of his arms, looked him dead in the eye, and said firmly, in English, “I don’t understand any Spanish.” Which, by the way, was an utter lie. But I assumed that he would be put off by a person who spoke no Spanish.
I walked swiftly and decidedly on toward the beach. Thankfully, he left me alone, although behind me I heard him say, in Spanish, something like, “You don’t have to know any Spanish!”
Submitted by Olivia
11/27/2010, around 1pm. I was walking with my friend V. on Broadway in uptown Manhattan (just past Nagle Avenue, along the wall of Fort Tryon Park) when we encountered four young men, around 13 or 14, perched on the wall and benches hanging out. One kid yelled out at us, saying “your girlfriend’s cute!” The others laughed and chimed in, yelling at V., and started asking “is she your sister or girlfriend?”
Feeling a bit defensive and reckless (I honestly wanted to answer “both” just to see their reactions) I lied and said yes, and they all started hooting “tap that ass!” and “kiss, kiss, kiss.” They shouted at us down the rest of the block; it was awkward, but we both took it in good humor. I would hope that they’re just being reckless young kids and they’ll grow out of that kind of behavior soon.
Submitted by Ronan