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One of the most frustrating things about living in a big city is the feeling that I can’t walk outside without being harassed on the street at least once a day. When I first started experiencing this I found it annoying, but as the years pass I become increasingly furious. Not a day goes by that I don’t experience one or more of the following: cat-calling, whistling, kissing noises, intensely seductive stares, or pointed glances up and down my body. Contrary to what many men think, this attention is not appreciated and not flattering, and I’m sure most women agree with me. This kind of attention is not like being given a complement …it’s not like being told, “you are beautiful.” It actually feels horrible; it makes me feel degraded and violated, but most of all, it makes me feel utterly powerless. I feel as if my body doesn’t belong to me, and this infuriates me more than anything I’ve ever experienced.
I have tried a variety of things to deal with this situation: I’ve tried saying things like, “what are you looking at?”, I’ve tried using my worst glares, evil eyes, and disgusted faces, I’ve tried looking through men to make them feel invisible, and I’ve tried ignoring them and staring straight ahead. When I talk back to men in a nasty tone of voice, they either pretend that they weren’t cat calling me (as if I was making it up and I should be so lucky to get their attention), or they get equally mad back at me. Glaring, staring through them, and ignoring them doesn’t prevent the harassment either, and it doesn’t make me feel better. No matter what I do, I never feel in control of the situation. I feel imprisoned—I am overly self-conscious about what I wear, and I dread the hot days when I have no choice but to wear semi-revealing clothing.
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I was walking to the Smith/9th street train station at 6.30 (wayyy to early to deal with this, not that I ever want to deal with it). The guy with the scooter and ponytail came up behind me and said “Good morning beautiful” in a “sexy voice.” Hmm how can you even tell if I’m beautiful or not when you haven’t seen my face? Obviously I’m only a pair of legs and an ass to you. I gave him my new standard response, which is a straightforward and directly said “Leave Me Alone.” As I was taking his picture his moronic friends (facing the camera) were begging me to take more!
(The guy on the left is just a by-stander so I cropped him out).
Submitted by Anne Marie
Submitted by Grace
While riding my bike at 6:40am on 4/14/10, I was passed by a gigantic silver SUV, license plate #*******. I heard kissy noises directed out the window at me from the passenger’s seat. The SUV stopped at a light and I passed them again, and again, I heard kissing/teeth sucking noises at me. This was riding north on Franklin St. in Greenpoint, between Greenpoint Ave. & Green St.
Submitted by Audrey
Today I was walking to the park about 10 blocks from my house. I had on shorts and a t-shirt and some flops…nothing fancy. I had a guy slow down in his car next to me and start honking and whistling at me. Sad part was he had his 2 young sons in the car. A few blocks later these two guys on a bike start saying damn nice legs. Unfortunately all 3 creepers were moving too quickly for me to get a decent photograph. As i continued on my walk I said to myself I’m never wearing shorts again…but the more I thought about it, why not. Its not me thats the problem its them. And although I may get harassed again wearing them I’m not changing myself for any creep. I really believe in Hollaback and the movement that it has started and believe that things will soon be changing. So I’m going to keep wearing my shorts and am going to stand tall.
Submitted by Sarah
Yesterday, I decided to wear a dress. The weather was beautiful and I was going to see Sandra Day O’Connor speak after work. Last night around 5:30 I was walking to the 175th St station on the A train when this man came up next to me and started walking along side me. I had my ipod on, but the volume was low enough that I could hear him saying that he thought I was beautiful and that he wanted to talk to me. I ignored him, tried to walk fast, but he kept along my side. When I realized I couldn’t walk faster, I stopped and let him keep going, getting a safe distance between us. However, when I got to the subway turnstiles, he was waiting for me. Again he told me I was beautiful and whatever and I yelled “GET THE FUCK AWAY FROM ME!” He called me a bitch and followed me on to the platform. I tried to stay close to groups of people and slowly sneak farther down the platform, but he kept following. When the train finally came, i ran down to another car, but he followed me again. As we approached 145th St, he walked down to where I was sitting and started staring at me. I had my cell phone out and started taking his picture. He saw me doing it, but didn’t try to hide. He exited the train at 145th, mumbling on his way out, and I finally felt relieved. Checked the photos I took and started taking notes of everything that happened.
I ran to the closest ticket booth when I got off the A at 42nd. I didn’t see the creep anywhere but I wanted to report what happened to the police. The station agent wasn’t helpful at first. She told me to wander around to find a police officer and didn’t make the call until I yelled that I wasn’t going anywhere until a police officer arrived. As I waited for the police, the creep came up to me. He was maybe 5 feet away, but he hid behind a column so the station agent couldn’t see him. He had taken off his t shirt and was just wearing a black tank top. Told me he was sorry, that he wanted to apologize, that he just wanted to talk to me but I was a bitch and an asshole and wouldn’t talk to him. He left after about a minute, and less than a minute later the police arrived.
Both officers were very good. They listened to me, they looked at the pictures, one of them did a sweep of the area, and when they couldn’t locate him they took me to their base and took my complaint. I made sure to mention to them that I am an attorney, so that may have had something to do with the excellent treatment I received. When they were done taking my statement, one of the officers escorted me to my transfer. I’m currently waiting for the detective to call. I’m really scared that I’m going to run into him again tonight.
On my way home last night, another man approached me in Times Square station. He said “Nice” as I walked past him and then he followed me to the platform. When he tried to talk to me and tell me he thought I was beautiful, I screamed and waved my arms and told him to get the fuck away. There were so many people and police around that he ran off. I didn’t make another complaint, but it scared the shit out of me.
I know that I’m not to blame. I’m proud that I had the wherewithall to remain calm, to take pictures, to make a complaint to the police. I know that I have the right to wear a modest, work appropriate dress and heels, and have my hair looking nice and wear lipstick and not be bothered by creeps. But today I dressed pretty frumpy and I don’t know if I’ll wear that dress again anytime soon.
Leaving work in union square Sunday night (I manage a restaurant), I overheard this guy shouting from up there at girls covering their heads with bags in the rain. “Hey you look good with that bag on your head. Just like an antelope.” and other random and potentially mildly offensive things to several woman walking by. Noted they were on the job for Titan360 and have decided to contact them requesting what steps they will take given the observation of said conduct in uniform.
Submitted by a male friend of this cause
Walking home from my car at 430pm on a Thursday, and I see these two men. Both wearing these “sweat attire” and chains that I have grown to dread, as that is usually what my street callers are wearing- or the more scary ones. The “friend” did nothing. The main guy says “what’sss upppp” as he is walking towards me (we were walking opposite directions on the sidewalk). He is like ten feet in front of me but like three feet to the side. THEN, he bee lines right for me, smiles this disgusting shit eating smile, undressing me with his eyes, and does this head jerk/kiss/bite at my face, like inches from my fucking face on the sidewalk! I usually ignore these people bc it slows my stride and forces me to engage with them if i do anything else, and its not like i think that they dont know i dont like that, i give them a pretty evil glare. but THIS! And from someone who looked like they were 18!?!?! (im 23). I screamed at him in my meanest and loudest voice “Don’t Fucking Do That!!!!!!!!” and everyone else on the street stared at him and knew what a fucking scumbag this guy was, and he gave me a very scary face that really seemed to say “watch your back”. I was thrilled I said something, but terrified at the same time too bc this guy outweighed me by over 100Ibs and if he’d bite at a strangers face, umm, what the hell else would he do?
I didnt take a picture bc it happened too quickly and he scared me. In retrospect I wish had bc i could have filed charges against him for assault.
Assault is if he puts u in imminent fear of being attacked, battery is if he attacks u.
Also, if the police laugh at u, or dont take the report, or mock u, etc… as I have read here, file a complaint against them and even sue them in small claims court. The police are not allowed to do half of the things ive read on here. In some of the stories Ive read here, I would even sue the Police Department for sexual harrasment, intentional infliction of emotion distress, … The law is actually quite pliable to the female pedestrian’s plight against street harrassers, even if the police are not.
And even though in this case I didn’t, I would strongly urge anyone who wanted to, to pursue these matters bc they dont just pick “you.” The person who “bit” at me will do the same thing to another woman, and another, and another… And the police officer who mocks you, etc…
Submitted by “Law Student”
I live in a not so great part of Brooklyn AKA Canarsie. I was walking home from the hair salon since it’s only 10 blocks from my house. I’m only 2 blocks from home when I hear some creep yell “Ay!” from his car. I ignore them (I’m a professional ignorer) and continued walking. They stop at the red light and had to walk past them and heard they say ” Hey sexy!” ” Yo, she’s got a nice ass”. I never looked to see who was yelling but I’m pretty sure it was two guys in a car. Mind you, I’m wearing t-shirt,jeans and flip flops. It seems like the moment I leave my house I have some creeper yelling come-ons, undressing me with their eyes, winking at me or telling me how beautiful and lovely I am. I never power walked so fast in my entire life. I’m just glad they didn’t follow me home. Then what would of happen? Run to my neighbors house? I wish men will realize their behavior is ignorant, sexist, demeaning and guess what?–it never gets you the girl.
Submitted by pissed off in brooklyn
Sexual Harassment can come from women too. I was walking up 7th ave directly in front of the post office near Varick. I had my head covered with a scarf to protect me from the sun and wore a dress past my knees. I walked past a group of women who were speaking spanish I did not notice them, but thought I recognized a male friend sitting on the corner, About 15 ft past them, I turned around, never making eye contact. One of them said “ho, f u and your arab people”. What struck me was that I never saw them and they were still so obsessed with me way down the street, it was only by chance I turned to see if it was my friend. I got angry and gave them the finger. They started screaming F U FU FU FU go back to your FG country.
Submitted by L.