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So, I’m coming home now after an arduous day after work and I told no one of this other than my husband until just earlier when I started processing it.
This morning, I got on the J into Broad St. as I do every day into my office. A bit later.. 9:30/40 train after a full morning of work already.
It’s packed when I get on at Myrtle/Broadway (my home stop and I love it) and it is already packed but I’m near the door and station myself there so I can check work e-mail on the above ground trip in. As soon as we get to the next stop, I naturally step into an already packed train and hold onto the bar that is far too high for me to reach onto. I feel someone come in behind me and push up against me flush against my back but I expect they’re going to turn as not to be an asshole on the train. But no. I look back to see this shit eating smile and I start to panic. I’m a strong girl. I have only older brothers, I played hockey, my stinging wit is second to none… but I only have my heart beating at the moment. What do I do? Is anybody looking? Am I alone? Will anybody back me up?
It feels like ages before the next stop over the bridge. I’m thinking of all of the things I WANT to say. We get to Essex and I want to scream. I want to tell everyone how this man has been gyrating on my back for 6 WHOLE minutes. I want to tell them how SMALL it makes me feel. How entirely useless I feel in this situation.
I finally turn around and say ALL too lightly, quietly, and quite candidly – “If you don’t move to an area without other women and wait for your stop, I will scream about how much of a creeper you are to the rest of the train.” I had something much heartier planned, including an elbow to the stomach, but I was far too scared.
I’ve set my alarm to go in far earlier so I don’t have to take a packed train and feel this humiliation again. I feel like I’m tougher than this, but it just broke me.
My friend and I were walking around taking photos of one another in the neighborhood, I noticed a man nearby watching us with his phone out but he was pretending to read a letter. He had his phone aimed toward us but when he saw me looking, he got lost.
Fast forward one hour, and we are in a store a few streets over. The man is in the store watching us. I see he has his phone out and when i walk towards him, his camera app was open. He was taking pics of us.
My friend was in the dressing room trying on outfits. I was so angered and felt soooo violated and angry at this man, and was so tired of just bowing down, not saying anything and letting this stuff happen to me. so I decided to exploit him right back, I took out my iPhone and began to film HIM.
this is what ensued:
I waited for him to exit the store and approached him, asked him why he was taking pictures of my friend and I without my permission. He freaked out, told me I was being paranoid then ran away. So far my video had 1,000 views on youtube and close to 600 tumblr notes. I want girls to know that they can safely film their harrasser, if it is safe, it can humiliate them when they least expect it.
I am a bartender living in Harlem working in Brooklyn. So every morning when I’m done with the night shift in Brooklyn I have to take the train all the way uptown. I try to cover my body as much as I can but I can’t hide my face. And honestly I’m tired of having to feel like I’m on a battlefield every time I leave the house. I just stopped being the happy smiling person I really am because people take that the wrong way. And it hurts having to put that serious mug face on all the time. Even so, I was reading a book waiting on the train and this tall long faced man comes sits next to me and offers me the cheetos he was eating. Um no, thanks.
Either way he kept talking “you’re so fuckin hot, are you single” to which I replied I am married. Because I am married. He said that doesn’t matter. Long story short, he got on the train with me, I told him I’m not interested but he sat right next to me on the train and I just stopped talking because I got scared for my safety. At which point he grabbed forcefully my face in between his palms and tried to kiss me but ended up licking my nose. That was so embarrassing and gross. I was so mad and angry and frustrated but afraid too because nobody ever went this far so I assumed he was either high or drunk. And I told him calmly you have to stop right now because this is unacceptable and I’ll call the cops if you touch me again. He stopped touching, he didn’t stop talking. I got off at the very next stop and this crazy dude got off too and started running after me. I was desperate, I ran on a red light with cars going all directions put my life in danger trying to get rid of him. Got into a cab and begged the driver to lock all doors immediately and drive. The dude caught up with the cab because it was red light and tried to open the door slamming with his fists in the Windows. The cabbie got scared too and started driving.
Was leaving the Bronx Zoo with my then boyfriend. Broad daylight, about 5pm, four young kids all under 18 walk past us. As we pass, one turns around and smacks my ass so hard I fell to the ground. Boyfriend confronts them; they spit in his face and call me a “yummy piece of ass” and “we’re gonna gang bang your bitch while you watch and then we’r gonna cut her up.” We run to the subway stop and tell the booth clerk to call the police. Luckily there is a FEMALE police officer on duty, on her break. She immediately called a squad car. We drove around in the squad car for a while trying to find the guys, but never did. I got lucky that there was a female police officer. I have never been back to the Bronx. I’m honestly afraid to go.
Hi. Since I started reading the stories and advice on this website I have become much bolder about confronting unwanted stares in my gym. This used to be a BIG problem for me. A few weeks ago I began making nasty faces to men who would not stop staring. I am happy to report that in the last week or so I have not had ANY inappropriate stares!!! I am so relieved as this was extremely annoying, and interfered with my concentration. If anyone reads this who loves working out and has this problem, I highly encourage you to try this! I feel SO much more comfortable now. I’m so glad I found this website and I hope my post encourages others to do what I did.
I live in East Harlem and am harassed every single day. Today, after walking a few blocks with a few of the “usual” cat calls, while waiting to cross the street, a man in a truck stops and honks. Out of instinct, I looked. The man winked at me and stuck out his tongue. I flipped him off and he continued to honk at me and blow me kisses. I turned to the other direction to avoid looking at him and he CONTINUED to honk while yelling out of the window as he drove away.
Three words: get a life.
So lately my response to catcallers has been to hiss at them.
A couple of weeks ago, walking with three girlfriends to go have dinner at one of their apartments. We’re actually in the middle of having a conversation about how much we loathe street harassment when we turn the corner to go into my friend’s apartment and there’s a group of 5-7 men standing on the corner. Immediately, they all turn to give the three of us the once-over. Right as we pass them, right in my ear, one of them goes, “Hey beautiful ladies…”
I looked right in his stupid face and hissed as loudly as I could. I hope some of my spit got on his face.
“Whoah, why you gotta be like that?”
Without missing a beat, I proclaim loudly to my friends “And THAT is what I do when I get catcalls!”
When our husbands came around the corner five minutes later, they were completely ignored.
Fast forward to a couple of days ago. Walking to the grocery store, shoulders back, head held high, I’m feeling awesome today. A construction worker comes down the sidewalk towards me. And just like they all do, he waits until he’s right in my ear to say, “Pretty, pretty girl…”
For a second, I consider doing nothing. But as I turn my head slightly, I can see that he’s turned around and staring at my butt. So I hissed at him.
“That’s mean. Why you gotta do that? I was just telling you you’re beautiful. That’s so mean,” he says, sulking like a baby. I almost felt sorry for him. That is, until I remembered that what’s actually mean is feeling that you’re entitled to make comments about my body without my permission and with complete disregard for my own feelings.
I hope his day was ruined. Thinking that it was fills me with glee.
I’m riding the 2 train from Manhattan to Brooklyn during the usual post-work commute. The subway is crowded-ish as it generally is at this lovely time in underground NYC. I feel someone shift behind me, press into my back. I inch forward a bit, trying to give them more space as more people get on the train. One stop later, I feel slight press on my lower back again, a graze on my thigh. Again, I move forward, slightly annoyed at this person’s seeming obliviousness. This “press – inch forward, brush – step to the side” continues as we get into Brooklyn.
And now I’m wondering, “Do I say something to this guy?” “I don’t want to make a scene out of this.” “Ugh, I just want to get home.” Finally as the train stops at Nevins, a woman near me catches my eye and mouths “Move away from him!” I instantly dart forward and the guy behind me proceeds to book it off the train.
I feel my entire body flush, a panic flare in my stomach, and I just start endlessly thanking this woman for saying something to me. “I saw you trying to inch away from him, but he just kept moving against you. And then I saw him leering down at you from behind and I had to say something.” she told me. “I thought it was just in my own head or that I was crazy,” I said. “No, it’s never just in your own head. And no subway is ever that crowded.”
While I am disgusted and horrified to encounter people in the world who actively seek to grope, harass and claim some sort of power over women, I also am so relieved, appreciative and thankful that there are people in the world who will stand up and say something against it. I will never forget that woman or the power of what she did in that moment for me.
The power of bystander intervention is that it tells victims that they are not crazy, that they’re not making it up or overreacting, that they’re not alone.