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Around 5:30p.m on Saint Patrick’s Day, I was on the 5 train to meet up with my sister after work. The train was pretty empty but had (mostly men) around 10 people spread out, sitting down. These two boys get on, I say ‘boys’ because they seemed to be around the ages 16-19, both had hoodies on, both were African American with short black hair. They sit across from me and immediately say loudly, “Why do you have green nails for?” (my nails were painted a dark green), I ignore them and mess with my phone. This obviously pissed them off because then they start saying, “Why she wearing so much makeup? That’s too much makeup.” Well then, mascara and concealer must make me a whore. At this point, my whorish self, couldn’t take it anymore and I said, “I’m not deaf and I don’t like to be disrespected.” This seemed to shut them up for about 10 seconds, that’s when the insults started pouring out. I was called a, “white bitch”, “racist”, “ugly bitch”, etc. I ignored these while trying to swallow my increasing anger. The one guy then thought it would be fun to rap about me and how I should, “suck big black dicks.” They both laughed, but one of the boys got up, walked towards me and tried to touch me. Good thing I saw this coming and was able to push him away before he laid a finger on me. This was the last straw, so I took out my phone to take a picture of them. That’s when the big, tough boys showed their true colors…they cowered behind their hoodies. While doing this they proceeded to call me a ‘bitch’ and tell me to, ‘fuck off’. I got some words in by saying, “What’s the matter? Are you scared of having your picture taken? You sure didn’t seem scared of harassing me?” Both of the boys got up, while covering their faces, to get off the train and I kept my phone pointing towards them. But, before getting off the train one of them spit at me and they both ran off. Luckily, it missed me by 10 miles.
What really upsets me about the situation is that no one on the train did or said anything. And most of the people on the train were older males. They literally just stared at me as I felt anger, sad, and humiliated. These boys didn’t know me nor did I do anything to deserve such treatment. I wanted to cry after what happened and felt so ashamed that I got off of my train so I can switch to another 5, just so the people who witnessed what happened wouldn’t see me anymore.
Submitted by Kat
It was a hot and sticky day and my best friend couldn’t get out of the house so I decided to go to her house and chill. I’m about a block away from her house when I notice a car driving alongside of me. I look over, and there is a man with sunglasses on flashing a huge smile. Now, I’m already on the defensive because his approach is so creepy. So now he has my attention.
I stopped walking and asked him why he was following me. He says “I just want to tell you how beautiful you are”. So I thank him for the compliment and resume walking. But he didn’t stop following me. He then asks me for my name. I didn’t answer. At this point I’m turning the block and I realize he is also. I start to speed walk because I am getting a little frightened and I don’t know what he is trying to pull. This is where it gets aggressive. The man puts his car in park, gets out of the car, and says loudly “I JUST WANTED TO KNOW YOUR NAME!”.
Submitted by Mahasiah
I don’t have a picture, mostly because it happens almost every night. I work the night shift at a relatively nice, but small hotel, so I am by myself at the front desk three nights a week from 11pm to 7am. For some reason every sloppy drunk (and even some of the sober ones) think its ok to hit on me, smell me (yes, I had someone lean over the desk and audibly sniff me), and ask me to go back to their room with them. In fact tonight I had couple of brothers basically beg me to get naked in the pool with them…when I told them the pool was closed they invited me to their room along with the, supposedly, 8,000 women that were supposed to meet them here. I don’t understand why guys think that just because I’m working at night that I’m a whore…I’ve even had a few offer me money to sleep with them. Don’t they realize that just because they’re drunk, horny and bored that I’m not? I guess I just have “I would love to sleep with you” stamped on my forehead…or actually across my breasts since they can’t seem to keep their eyes off them.
Submitted by Sarah
Was lucky enough to encounter this character on 16th between 5th and 6th who so kindly inquired about how I was doing.
Submitted by V.
I live in the South Bronx, and I am harassed by men almost every day as I make the 10-minute schlep from my apartment to the subway, or vice versa; as I walk the five blocks to the grocery store; and even as I walk the one block to the laundromat. I literally cannot step outside my apartment without getting some kind of unwanted comment or stare. It makes living in a down-trodden neighborhood that much worse.
I used to ignore the harassers, but lately I’m just so enraged by this behavior that I’ve been trying to confront them, in an attempt to make them think about what they’re doing. My past attempts have thus far failed–the harassers just don’t get it, and the fact that I’m talking to them at all seems to make them feel even more self-satisfied.
But yesterday morning, as I reached East 160th Street and Courtlandt Avenue, I think my approach worked. I was walking back to my apartment from the grocery store when a man called out, in an very cheerful tone, “Good morning, gorgeous!” I said, in the same tone of voice as his, “Good morning, asshole!” He said, “Awww, that’s not nice. I called you gorgeous.” I said, “I don’t need you to call me that. I’m not an animal. I’m not a prostitute. I’m just walking home from the grocery store, minding my own business. I don’t need you to call me anything.” He said, “Well, I’m sorry. Most women like it.” I said, “Actually, most women don’t like it, and the ones who do like it only feel that way because they don’t know the difference.” To my complete surprise, he seemed very sincere and apologetic. He said, “OK. You’re probably right.” I said, “I AM right. Don’t talk to women like that. We don’t need it.” As I was walking away, he said, “Alright, have a nice day.”
I am quite confident that this man did not have any ill intentions towards me–he just didn’t understand the implications of what he was doing. Obviously I will never know whether or not he continues to cat-call, but my hunch is that he will stop. If one conversation can change one man’s mind, then I think we’ve accomplished something. Maybe that man will one day have a son, and maybe he will teach his son how to treat women with respect. Or maybe I’m being naive–but the experience gave me a little bit of hope, and I’m going to continue spreading this message however I can: ALL human beings have the right to be let alone. Women are human beings. Unless I ask you to talk to me, don’t.
Submitted by R.B.
(Flushing Avenue G stop, Brooklyn)
Now, here is where it really pisses me off. I saw some cops, a male and female, on the other side of the street where they were heading (but not on the opposite or same side of the street where the crime took place.) When I went to report what had happened, the male cop – an indignant chauvinist – asked what happened. I said it was a case of sexual harassment, with the punk getting upset since I wouldn’t meet his demands. He then belligerently asked exactly what did I say. When I told him that I told the guy what the fuck was he staring at, the cop, a Hispanic man, said, “Well, that set him off,” effectively blaming me for what happened. That comment set me off. To blame me for that attack simply because of what I said is an insult to my humanity and character. I feel that that statement typifies what most cops feel towards women, especially women on color, in circumstances like that. We are just supposed to grin, smile, and put up with it and not challenge their male authority/ entitlement. Esp. being a woman of color, I feel that statement basically shows what the cops think of us as women of color; that we are animals to be subject to animalistic behavior and we are not worthy of being treated like human beings. I told the cop that I knew a guy who justified rape who said the SAME exact thing he said. Then, when I informed him that my area is a place where a lot of pimps troll for vulnerable women and girls and that does who DON ‘T say anything and are docile get treated the worst, he went on to state that the are is FULL of prostitution, not PIMPS, but prostitutes. Basically, this chauvinist piece of shit thinks that it is more of a crime for a woman to charge for her own body rather than a guy who attacks a woman simply for rejecting his compliment. Then he asked what did I DO for a living, so as to justify treating me like trash! What a sick fuck. My dad was a cop and it is a fucking shame when you have someone like that on the police department who harbors such views. I will report him. As to what good that will do, I don’t know. But hopefully that file along with other complaints will take his ass off the force. His badge number is 34473 and his name is Lopez.
Reprinted from our friends at Stop Street Harassment:
I was walking home from graduate school at around 2 am, on 9th Ave and 54th St, wearing a large sweater, leggings and rain boots. Then, a middle-aged white man in business attire, who was standing outside a bar said, “excuse me.”
I thought he was going to ask for directions, so I replied politely, “Yes?”
Instead, the pervert said, “Can I squeeze your little titties?”
I was so shocked that all I could say was, “You are disgusting,” and walked away. I looked back to see if he was following me, but thankfully he just kept standing there like a creep.
Submitted by LD
Submitted by Jill
I am a Bisexual Asian male who has experienced extreme harassment. My neighbor, the elderly man next door– Slandered, harassed and sexually harassed me for 2 years since I moved here from California. At first, when I got here, I was really thin and looked like a girl to most people. He told me he wanted to give me a sex change operation and rape me. For the next several months he slandered me, spread rumors I was a rapist, sex offender, child molester and people called me that in the neighborhood and on the train a few times. He was angry that I was a guy and not a girl and that I was making him gay. When I joined meetup.com and come home late at night, he would wait in front of my house every night ‘til I stop going. I saw him half naked filming me twice from his 3rd floor window a few months ago when I opened my blinds in the morning and I dare not to open my blinds in the morning anymore. People gossiped about seeing videos of me naked or me sleeping, etc in my bedroom on some pervert website. I overheard people talking in Chinatown and on the set of Fordham University during my filming of the “adjustment bureau” a Matt Damon movie where I worked as an extra.
Recently, He and his friends were yelling they want to castrate me, rape me. They called me a queer, fag and chink 2 weeks ago outside my house, heckling me.
I am a victim of racism and sexual harassment. I filed a harassment report by calling 911 on December 10, 2009 Thursday around 9:45PM when 2 female police officers drove to my house and alerted me to come outside to talk to them. The two female police officers is a female Black woman and a Spanish woman. I was told to call 718-627-6611 for Precinct 61 for the status of my complaint. I called again on December 15, 2009 and the officer who answered the phone said the complaint is closed and is on record and no arrests was made because my neighbor harassed me but didn’t assault me. I wrote to NBC news but to no avail. I don’t know who to turn to for help. I am a victim of sexual harassment and video voyeurism and slander and I think he is trying to get me killed because I look feminine and because of my sexual orientation. If this happened to a woman he work be arrested by now, but I am a guy, a bisexual guy and no one cares. I want the harassment to stop.
Submitted by Michael