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I haven’t been outside for the last three days.
I didn’t experience a lot of harassment through the winter, but now that the temperature has started to warm up I’ve been getting a lot more catcalls, people grunting in my ears as I go by, etc. Experiencing all of that again after not dealing with it that much over the winter… I don’t know why, but it’s really gotten to me. A few weeks ago I was really excited to get to wear my beautiful summer dresses, skirts, and heels again but now the thought of going outside without a thick black coat to protect me…
I had someplace I needed to be today but I procrastinated getting dressed. By the time I was ready to go, I was already late so I just decided I would stay home. It looks beautiful out there, but I just can’t.
The worst part is, when my husband comes home from being out of town for the weekend he’ll ask why I’ve stayed inside for the last few days. Why didn’t I deposit my paycheck? Why didn’t I go grocery shopping? Why didn’t I go visit my friends, or go to that art exhibit like I had planned on doing? But he won’t get it. He doesn’t understand what it’s like. After I was harassed a few weeks ago, he thought it was because I had been wearing a jacket instead of a peacoat. When I tried to explain why saying that was hurtful he told me I should just talk about it with some of my girlfriends, because he didn’t understand how I could be so upset.
I’m scared to go outside. And I hate that.
While walking back to my apartment with my aunt after buying some delicious pastries from a nearby bakery, an older man, visibly drunk, approached us. “You are SO beautiful,” he said, to which I gave a tense “Thank you” in response. He followed me and reached out, his hand on my arm. “Please do NOT touch me,” I said, starting to feel fury bubble up inside of me. At which point he said, “Hey, you shut up. Shut up.” My aunt started quickly walking me away, telling me “Don’t look back, just move.” I was flushed, shaking and so angry that he would tell me to “shut up” as if I should just let him touch my arm and be grateful for his so-called compliment. And then, to feel like he was following me towards Flatbush was completely terrifying as well. We ducked into a Dunkin’ Donuts to be safe.
A man approached me as I walked past him and a group of men and said “aye mamacita how you doing.”
I was at the grocery store when a grimy man comes up to me in the aisle, says something weird and stands right in front of me. He said something like,”when am I going to see you again?” and just kept looking at me creepily saying,”soon, soon.” I quickly ran to another aisle. Unfortunately, he was checking out at the same time I was, so I hid from him as I was paying and then ran home to make sure he wouldn’t see me outside the store. I live nearby so I hope I never have to see him again.
Nearly every day, as I walk down from 172nd st to the 168 station, I hear comments like “Hey, baby,” “Hey, pretty,” “God bless you, sweetheart” and various phrases in different languages I don’t catch because I’m not fluent, but I can clearly understand the nature of what they’re conveying. I feel uncomfortable walking down my street in the middle of the day, and that is not something anyone should ever feel.
While stopped at a light in Paterson, NJ on my way home from my job as a professor, a scumbag banged on the trunk of my car. When I turned around to look, he was licking his lips and blowing kisses at me. All I could do was shoot him a dirty look and yell “fucking pig” at him before traffic started moving again. He was already moving on by the time I yelled, so I doubt he even heard. I can’t believe how violated I felt, even though my doors were locked and windows were shut.
I’ve been the victim of groping and witnessing public masturbation since I started riding the NYC Subway system alone at age 11 (to get to my new middle school). For some reason I’ve had several of these subway incidences well into my late 20s. I’m 41 now and I no longer have these incidences because I maintain the “don’t mess with me” face whenever I’m in the subway.
What: The rally against street harassment is part of international anti-street harassment week (March 30-April 5). The event will be hosted by La Roka and will include 20 speakers, mini-workshops on self-defense, wheat-pasting, bystander intervention, and a chalk walk. We’ll also being unveiling a new public art project: a 12 foot tall “cat against catcalls,” that will be placed in high density harassment areas following the rally.
Who: The event is co-hosted by 44 organizations including Hollaback!, an international movement working to end street harassment (www.ihollaback.org), Arab American Association of New York, BABE, Betty’s Daughter Arts Collaborative, bklyn boihood, Bronx AIDS Services (DBA-BOOM!) Health, Center Against Domestic Violence Center for Anti-Violence Education, Community Driven Solutions, CONNECT, Don’t Harass Me, Bro, Feminist Dialogue, GEMS, Girl Be Heard, Let Your Voice Be Heard! Radio, Mount Sinai SAVI Program, National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum, Price of Silence, Sakhi, Sayfty, Soapbox, Inc: Speakers Who Speak Out, Sydnie L. Mosley Dances, The Feminist Society at NYU, Trans Women of Color Collective of Greater NY, Violence Intervention program, Women In Media & News, Young Feminists & Allies, Virtual NOW Chapter, YWCA of Brooklyn, STEPS to End Family Violence, New York City Anti-Violence Project, NYAWC, Brooklyn-Queens NOW, Gotham Girls Roller Derby, Safe Horizon, Councilmember Lander, Councilmember Palma, Girls for Gender Equity, Move the Fuck Over Bro, NOW-NYC, NYC Alliance Against Sexual Assault, Stop Street Harassment, Stop Telling Women to Smile, Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls, Women’s Institute for Freedom of the Press, The Applied Theatre Collective, and Councilmember Levin.
Where: New York City, Washington Square Park, Garibaldi Square (east of the fountain).
When: April 5th, 2014, from 1-2pm. Speakers (1-2pm), mini-workshops (2-2:30), and chalk walk (2:30-3).
Live tweet the event: #endSHnyc
We can’t wait to see you there! RVSP on Facebook for updates!
On a particularly beautiful autumn afternoon I was sitting in Fort Tryon park admiring the Hudson river and writing. I glance around and admire the scenery. I see a man standing to my left. I don’t think anything of it and return to writing. I glance around again. The man is still there and staring right at me. I’m uncomfortable. Do I have bird poop on my shirt? Maybe he’s just zoning out, I hope. I go back to writing. I glance around a third time and find he has moved closer and is still staring at me.
He’s huge- tall, large, bald head, middle aged but clearly strong. I start to feel threatened. This time I look at him head on and realize he’s watching me and masturbating. In a public park. In the middle of the afternoon.While other people are passing by.
My first instinct is to run away but then I’m worried he’ll pursue or follow. I wait, completely paralyzed, until another group of people pass by. I get up and follow them so that I can get away with a group of people and not alone. I feel ashamed, violated and angry but most of all I feel unwelcome in Fort Tryon itself, which sucks because it’s one of my favorite parks in the city. So to the creep who made my favorite park a less safe space for me; I see you, you suck and I hope you get cursed with explosive diarrhea somewhere very very public.
I was walking back to my office from the deli after picking up my lunch when some cretin walked by me in the opposite direction, leered and me and yelled, “Me love you long time.” (Obviously a racist and sexually harassing comment which also indicates that he watches way too much pornography objectifying Asian women).
He was wearing a red sweatshirt that had a Business logo on the back, which indicates that he is part of a local street crew here. (He should have thrown himself out with the garbage).
I was going to turn around and follow him to take photos but then I realized I had left my phone in my office. I really wish I had my phone on me to take photos because I would have gotten him reprimanded or fired from his job.
And last week, I had two incidents. One guy yelled, “Wow, I never seen a Chinese girl looking like that!”
And another yelled, “Hi China! Shake that thang!”
Not enough people take action on this type of despicable behavior, which is why it persists. Enough is enough.