Appalachian Ohio, Athens GA, Atlanta, Berkeley, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Columbia MO, Des Moines, Fredericksburgh VA, Jacksonville NC, Los Angeles, New York City, NYU, Philadelphia, Palo Alto, Portland ME, Richmond VA, Rutgers University, San Francisco
“Hey girl, tell your boyfriend he’s lucky.”
“Women always need to show off.”
“Yo girl I like that light.”
“Is it safe for you to ride that bike as a woman?”
I Stopped at a red light on my bike and this big guy in a big black SUV pulled up next to me. He rolled down his window and said “Nice bike!” I wanted to believe he was just being friendly so I said, “Thanks.” He then asked, “Does a girl like you ever date gorillas?” It took me a second to register that he’d just used a very racist slur in reference to himself, and I was so shocked I didn’t know how to respond so I just mumbled something about “I have a boyfriend” which was false, and sat there fuming till the light changed.
Guy on 7th ave in car: “Hey, wana race”
Me: “No, please leave”
Him: “Heey, just sayin hey”
Me: “I feel uncomfortable when you talk to me”
Him: “You make me feel all kinds of uncomfortable”
I stopped and got on the sidewalk for 5 min till he left. But that felt scary because, what if he’d stopped?
My stories are countless to tell. Harassment happens every day, every block, every avenue to me-multiple times per block/avenue. I’m so used to it, I can spot which guys are going to harass me from over a block away. It’s gotten that bad.
Two stories in particular I will never forget, however, as they stood out as the most shocking, offensive, and disgusting.
1) When I was a freshman in college (I am now twenty-two), I was riding the subway with a bunch of girlfriends ready to go out to a club. We were young and we didn’t know that dressing the way we did was dangerous to our well-being. I was holding on to a railing and some man with his “buddies” proceeded to ask me how old I was, did I have a boyfriend etc… The usual questions creeps ask. I have since learned to lie and fabricate stories to these types, but in my naïveté I told him how old I was.
“How old are you? I’d say…twenty-seven.”
“WOO my dic* just rolled an inch!”
Not only was I freaked out by his comment, I was freaked out that it was BETTER for him that I was younger than twenty-one. I was also ashamed at the lack of responses or defenses from those other people on the subway. Chivalry is officially dead.
2) Last fall (2012), I was walking to my friend’s apartment on 10th and 35th. I was wearing a t-shirt that was up to my neckline and just regular leggings and flats. As I passed a bar, this guy came out of nowhere and followed me. He then said, “DAAAMMMMMMNNNNNNN, you should see what you look like from the BACK!”
He proceeded to follow me, telling me that he wasn’t looking for anything serious-just a one night stand (as if that made it BETTER!) Covering my body from head to toe must’ve somehow signaled “I’M A SLUT, HAVE SEX WITH ME” to him. Even though I told him I had a fiancé (I DON’T but I always wear a wedding band as a defense mechanism) he didn’t care. He asked to walk me to my fiancé’s, “complimenting” me the entire time. He even had the nerve to ask me out…AGAIN. He followed me for THREE AVENUE BLOCKS. I was texting my friend to come downstairs and meet me so he could be my “fiancé”. As soon as I turned the corner and ran into my friend’s arms, the guy just backed off and disappeared into the shadows again. God forbid if I wasn’t meeting anyone. I was entirely fearful of my safety and freedom. I was shocked at his audacity and lack of class. People like that don’t even deserve to LOOK at pretty/successful women like me and like most of you reading this.
Ladies, this kind of behavior is disgusting. One time, I saw a woman getting harassed on the street and she reacted much like I used to-ignoring them. I stood up for her and stopped the man, told him his behavior was appalling, and that he would never be happy in life because no one would ever love him and his heinous personality. I said this LOUDLY so everyone could hear and so that he was embarrassed. THIS IS HOW YOU HANDLE HARASSMENT. Do not swear at them, do not act pissed off-instead, admonish them for their embarrassing treatment of women…of HUMAN BEINGS.
We are people, we have rights, and we deserve to be treated with every ounce of respect and then some. The street harassment in NYC has since forced me to relocate and commute two hours every day for work. If you SEE someone getting harassed, SAY something. Help them out! The more, the merrier.
I was standing on a street corner in Soho, at noon on a Tuesday, talking on the phone to my friend and trying to direct him to where I was. It was 80 degrees outside, so I took my cardigan off. As I was doing so, a guy that was walking by said, “Yeah baby, take it off, take it all off.” I didn’t even have time to respond before he continued on his way.
I was on the 6 train visiting New York and a short man ran onto my car right as the doors were closing. The train was very crowded and he pressed himself behind me which I thought was an accident. I felt something touching my butt and I thought maybe it was someone’s bag. When I moved the man moved with me and the touching did not stop. I then thought the man was pressing his hand against my butt and started to panic because I have never experienced any harassment and did not know what to do. I tried to move around again but there was no room and he kept saying “Sorry, sorry.” At the next stop he quickly ran off the train and I turned to my mom and said “was that man touching my butt?” She responded saying that she could see his hands but he was pressing up against me strangely and moving when I moved. When we got off and started to walk my mom told me that it looked like my tampon had leaked and it was on my dress so I went to the bathroom to change my tampon and looked at the mark closer only to realize that there was semen on my dress and I man was not touching me with his hand but his penis. I did not know what to do and I am still shocked, confused and horrified.
This amazing woman I met on the subway spoke of an unbelievable situation she endured. She was at a club and a man was going around sticking his hand up women’s skirts – grabbing their butts and cooters. When he stuck his hand up this gutsy woman’s skirt, she punched him square in the face! The nasty pervert flew backwards and landed on the floor, howling in pain. Did the club bouncers bother to find out why this woman exerted herself? No. They kicked her out of the club for violent behavior. When she demanded to be let back in because her actions were for self-defense, they refused. So she called the cops. Good idea, right? Well… when she told the cops what happened, their main concern: Have you been drinking? In the end, the cops did not bother to retrieve the man who had been sexually violating women, but sent our heroine home. I asked her how she managed to find the courage to act like she did. She told me she works with emotionally disturbed teens in Manhattan. I hope this story inspires women to defend themselves, because even if the police don’t believe you, we will
I was walking down 5th ave in Union Square with my girlfriend at 1pm on a Sunday, and we were harassed TWO times within three blocks. These were separate incidents, as I’m pretty certain the two men didn’t see each other. We were holding hands while walking and were completely absorbed in a conversation, so we weren’t looking around. Also, while this happens pretty often at night, I didn’t expect it in broad daylight on the weekend in one of the most crowded places in Manhattan. I suddenly noticed a man a few feet ahead of us who was staring very intensely and was following us with his eyes. I turned away for a second and then when I looked back he suddenly jumped towards us just as we were passing him. He didn’t say anything, but he came close enough to hitting me that my girlfriend had to pull me away. We were both so shocked that we didn’t have a chance to respond. Plus, my girlfriend’s immediate reaction was just to get us away as quickly as possible. A block later, when we were still in shock over the fact that someone had just leapt at me, another man screamed, “two hos together…that’s bullshit!” from just a few feet away. Again, I was too surprised (and scared) to respond. I am so angry that these men thought they could get away with harassing us like that, and even angrier that I didn’t think fast enough to respond and make them realize how inappropriate they were.