This summer, I decided to make a commitment to be a bit more fitter in my lifestyle. As a result, I have been running about 5 times a week at a large park near my town. On this particular day, I was exhausted and decided walk the entire loop of the park. As I strolled the pathway with headphones in, a tall man yelled something to me while walking towards my direction. I proceeded to take out my headphones and must have looked startled because he asked the question again with his unintelligible thick accent. He then pointed to his ring finger and asked if I was married. He kept following me as I walked the long path and stated that he has seen me run several times. During our conversation, he not only pressured me to come live with him in Jamaica, he asked me to marry him and exchange phone numbers. To be honest, I have never thought of myself as attractive and was never really given attention if I walked down a street. I never thought I would ever be harassed in such a place only because I had this preconception that Americans generally were not interested in Asians like me. This interaction, however, made me very scared and opened my eyes to the harrassment women have to endure on a daily basis.
I have lived on the same block from 5 years. I have walked passed all my neighbors (many of which I know) with and without my husband, said “Hi”, “Have a good day” and all other niceties that neighbors do. Yes, I have experienced the occasional cat calls and harassment, usually not on my block, usually not worth noting. However, while walking passed a stoop on my block a few weeks ago, I stopped dead in my tracks at an absolutely vulgar, disgusting comment. What started as “Hey Sexy” quickly turned into “I could rip that white pussy wide open.” I couldn’t ignore that comment. I stopped, turned back and said “excuse me?” When I commented that I heard what they said and it was unacceptable and disgusting, “keep walking white b****” was yelled at me many times over. I exclaimed that I lived here and it was not okay. Yes, I am white. But as a woman, I should not be made to feel so uncomfortable walking down my own block. Later my husband decided to confront the men, which was not a smart move and I felt too provoking. The group of men was doubled from 2 to 4 and quickly escalated into threats towards my husband. It was all dissolved peacefully eventually. But what stuck with me, is that I was told in the heat of it that I should have “just kept walking”. It is not acceptable to talk to any woman or girl this way. Somewhere along the way, men have learned or decided that these comments are deserved and acceptable because they are men and we are sexualized beings. I still avoid that side of the street and always try to see if that stoop has anyone sitting on it before approaching.
Harassed again from across the street at my bus top. The harassment this time was in drunk, slurred Spanish so I don’t know what was said, but by the pointing, ‘thumbs upping’ and sleazy grin I got, I know whatever he said wasn’t cool. I yelled across the street and asked him to repeat himself, which he did! Then kept grinning and walking away. Wish he’d come over a little closer to say what he had to say so that I could kick his little ass.
I live in Virginia and I can’t walk to my job downtown without being cat called at least twice a day. It’s often an older man asking “How’s it going?” I get mad and uncomfortable every time. Sometimes I think I’m overreacting, after all they’re just asking how I’m doing and that’s supposed to be a friendly question. But then I remind myself it’s the tone they use and the way they look at me like I’m an object for their amusement. So I made a vow to say something the next time.
Sure enough, later that day a group of four young teenage boys called out to me “How you doing?” I almost didn’t hear the first time but they called out two more times so I couldn’t ignore it. Finally I turn and look at them and say “Are you talking to me?” They all grin and say yea. So I respond with “Honestly not so well, because I can’t walk down the street without having guys like you call out to me. And it makes me feel uncomfortable and it’s ridiculous that it happens. You boys need to learn to respect women!” And the four of them scramble and run away. Literally run away from me.
I felt like I was not only standing up for myself but every woman on the street. I hope I taught those boys a lesson and they will think before doing it next time. I will no longer take the harassment. My voice will be heard.
Yesterday I was waiting at a bus stop. I was approached by a white man who started mocking me and talking to me as if I were a very young child. He started using derogatory terms such as nigga and saying he came from Africa, to further mock me. I’m from India. I’m also only 15, and it’s the first time I’ve ever been harassed like this. When I simply wasn’t responding, he began yelling at me, and called me a bitch several times, and started saying extremely rude and dirty things, and finally said “this bloody immigrant thinks she’s the sh**,” and that all he wanted to do was “pick up chicks.” I began crying and wishing I could’ve done something about it, and shout back at him. I’m not sure how long this incident will haunt me for.
Walking alone on the phone at 8pm and a tall man quite young and I think with women walking in other direction. He looks at me. I look back and he walks past my left, close, making a ‘woof’ noise that shocked me, I shout ‘why would you do that?’ and he says it’s tourettes…so probably a sexist who wants to interrupt and make women jump for a laugh…doubt he’d do it to a man…except maybe a disabled man.
I have been harassed 4 times this week by some men on scaffolding. Something I have come to accept in daily life as the norm. My male friends seem not to know or understand this is happening and my female friends don’t talk about it. After having these men shout again today at me more sexual profanities I decided to call the police once I took the long way home avoiding these men.
Once I was though to the police ( a woman) I was really happy to be talking to a woman. But not for long. The police woman seemed to think I was blowing everything out of proportion and suggested I go up to these men in the street and tell them how it was making me feel and that they should stop. Any woman who knows what type of situation this is will know that this will not only fan the flames and encourage but will bring the spotlight on me more. This will cause a scene and they will most likely laugh and shout more. I wouldn’t want them to see my face more and give them any kind of satisfaction of communicating with them. Plus since they are only a few houses away, they will know where I live.
After I told the police woman this, she then stated against me. “What are you even expecting them to do” she said to me. I held on the phone in science and in my mind felt like shouting ” Rape me” “Follow me” “Harass me more” isn’t it bad enough that they are already verbally abusing me everyday? I said “Sorry I don’t understand, why are you not taking me seriously?” I think she then was worried as she said should be then look up the address and try and call residents and tell them the police have had a complaint.
Since I was around 11 I have noticed and experienced this sort of abuse from men. Since I have been brought up only by my mother I had grown to think men and woman are equal. After hearing a woman police officer sympathise with these men I even questioned it myself. Maybe I was being too much of a wimp or that I need to be stronger… but NO! its not right, and it never is. I say complain every time, tell people what happened, educate friends about what you have gone through and MAKE IT KNOWN.
I walk everywhere, shopping, for exercise, or just to enjoy nature. There is a building under construction in the lot across from my home, and the men working there catcall when I walk by everyday.
I’ve heard whistles, shouts, “Hey Baby”, and rude questions about if I’m cold in my shorts. I’m doing my best to ignore them, and I dress how I like, go out when I like, and I haven’t let them stop me. I probably wont be shopping in whatever kind of business it is when it finishes construction, however.
My roommate and I have lived in Nashville for about a year now. It was 9 am and we were walking to get breakfast pastries at a place downtown that had been recommended to us. I was wearing shorts and a t-shirt because it was already 80 degrees out (southern weather is no joke). We were almost to the door of the bakery when we passed two guys on the street. I didn’t look at them or interact with them in any way, but as we were passing them, one called out to me and said, “Damn, look at those legs. Your parents did something right.”
I’ve heard comments before, especially since I’ve lived in Chicago my whole life, so I didn’t think much of it. But when we got inside, my roommate and I talked about it and realized that it’s NOT okay to THINK it’s okay. Women shouldn’t have to be subjected to comments like these and think it’s a form of flattery. I hope more people read these stories and share them so that society will stop objectifying women and instead, learn how to respect us.
In middle school I rode the bus like many kids my age, but unlike most kids I inherited my fathers bright red hair, so I stood out. Upon puberty I started getting asked by the boys on my bus whether the “drapes matched the carpet” I refused to answer. Problems like this occured several times through school, even once or twice women would ask me with a smirk, or call me names like “fire crotch”. My hair color, a gift from my father at birth, has made me into an object for men. Many times I have been told “I have a thing for redheads” by complete strangers. I have been fetishized by the male population, to the point that for 4 years during my highschool years I would cover it up with a hat or hood, or just keep it chopped off to avoid that kind of attention. I have grown stronger and have accepted that it is one of my best assets, but it does not define me as a woman, I am not “great in bed” just because of my appearance. I am not “easy” because my appearance dictates it. I am a woman with a happy bf who loves every part of her, looks and mind.
This is only one of the many problems I have faced as a woman, I have an interest in machines and that has gotten me harassed in other ways, but that is for another story