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A man walked by me and mutters, just loud enough for me to hear and making eye contact “I want to fuck you in the ass.” I was so shaken I couldn’t respond, and his smug face while he said it is still imprinted in my mind.
I was most affected when I was harassed by some men when I was a fifth grade cheerleader. Although I’ve been dealing with this for nearly 10 years, I didn’t realize how scared I was until college orientation. I went to the date rape seminar at school and I couldn’t even sit though the discussion. I felt uncomfortable during the skits and I cried so much. I was embarrassed and felt like I was the one who was wrong for making this a big deal. I’m glad to know that other people live with this too.
It was about 10 o’clock and I just left the IFC Center and was walking to sushi samba a few blocks away to meet my friends when about half way there, two men were standing near the entrance of a shady apartment building when I began to notice one of the men was staring me down as I approached them. As I passed, he said “where you goin’ beautiful? MHM Mmmm!” I didnt even acknowledge his presence and kept walking. I’m 17 and used to this kind of stuff but considering he was at least in his thirties, and it was late, it startled me to say the least.
Walking on a rainy night on 42 St a guy reached his arm out brushed his hand across my chest and kept walking. He reached thru people to touch me. I turned around and yelled you’re disgusting and he turned around smiled and took off.
I was driving in my car and was stopped at a light in New Haven, which is where I actually live. A police officer was stationed right next to where my car stopped. He looked me right in the eye and made a very exaggerated jerking off motion until I drove away. I was just far enough to be unable to read his badge. Then the light changed.
A few years ago I was working in Mt. Vernon. I had to take two buses and a train. Unfortunately I was doing so bad financially the first month I worked there that I would take the bus and the train and I would walk the route of the second bus. One morning was pouring and a man offered to give me a ride I turned him down and he drove off. He circled around five times trying to get me go into his car before I hid in a bodega for ten minutes. I walked rest of the way to work on my phone.
I was at a neighborhood 99¢ store on Webster and fordham road one afternoon. I was heavily pregnant and had head phones on (specifically so that no one would bother me). When an older man stopped me. I took off my head phones and tells me, “you’re beautiful. Pregnant pussy is the best pussycat.” In front of numerous other shoppers.
On my lunch break a man in his forties (estimate) wearing a sloppy tank and shorts and a fedora kept following me and shouting pick up lines/and general harassment. I kept moving away, and asked him to leave me alone several times but he persisted until I returned to work.
I was walking up 3rd Ave crossing 16th street when a man on a bike whistled and made sound effects toward me. I confronted him saying that wasn’t appropriate and realized he is a delivery guy for Mariella’s pizza (as advertised on his bike with the phone #). So I called the restaurant and asked to speak to the manager to inform him of how his delivery man treats woman walking on the street! It felt good!
A guy in his 20’s pointed at the grown as to indicate that I dropped something so I took out my ear buds and asked “what?” and he laughed and said “got you!” I told him “I’m not interested” and then he proceeded to sexually harass me for 10 minutes on the platform taking breaks in between to high-five his two idiot friends. He didn’t just comment, he got very close to my face and every time I moved away he followed me. He went back and forth between what he considered to be “charming” saying things like “ooh girl you so sexy” to angry “bitch thinks she’s too good, I like Latin bitches anyways. You ain’t Latin”. When the downtown R train arrived I got on and he and his friends did not, I was happy to be “safe.” But then, just as the doors were about to close he put his arm in between the doors and got on the train and yelled “there she is!!” And then continued to yell things at me for 3 more stops.
Normally I yell at people when I am being bothered but this was different, when I unfortunately made eye-contact with this creep he had blank eyes, the kind of eyes that have no remorse or concern for others, he scared me. And he had two friends with him, I was alone. Not only was I alone in the sense of I was a commuter by myself, I was alone in that not one person on the platform helped me. Not one person on that R train said something or even gave me a look of “don’t worry, it’s ok.” I think that hurt the most, that no one had my back. I’ve lived in and out of NYC for 10 years and I have stood up for countless strangers when I saw them being bullied or bothered, and yesterday I was completely alone. I should mention this all occurred around 8:30pm on a Monday, so it wasn’t some late night empty train shit. This all occurred in a very busy and full of people subway station and subway car. Then the thoughts started to rise up in me “are my shorts too short?” “did I do something to deserve this?” “You are weak if you don’t fight back.” “You are stupid if you fight back.” “Did I do something wrong?” Those thoughts are not mine, but when a monster is verbally assaulting you and no one helps you, its hard not to wonder if you should blame yourself.
I wanted to scream at this guy and his friends “how would you feel if someone did this to your mother? Your sister?” But instead I just kept pretending to listen to my iPod with the volume low so I could keep an ear out for anything they would say that would indicate they would actually do me harm. I was worried they would get off at the same stop as me and follow me into a dark alley and hurt me and based on the ignorance of my fellow passengers, I was scared no one would help me should they lay hands on me.
Thankfully they remained on the subway after I got off at Prospect. As I exited the creep announced “I love that girl and her curly hair and her fine ass! Everyone look at that ass!” It was the first time in a long time that I felt sincerely threatened in New York City. I have been cat-called and encountered lewd behavior plenty of times in my life, but usually the moments are quick and painless (painless in that I’m so used to it now I almost feel numb, the experiences still make me angry and sad but not shocked). Often the harassment I encounter is a guy driving by and yelling something so it’s over in seconds. Also my street sense has gotten good enough where I usually know when to cross a street because I know that pack of wolves outside the auto shop will say something. Basically I have learned how to manage it (writing that just felt so nuts, why are women the ones managing harassment?! It’s the harassers that need to learn how to manage their stupid fucking mouths) and I usually don’t feel real danger. Yesterday I felt danger, I felt helpless, and I felt really disappointed in both in these “men” and the onlookers. (Photo: guy in the striped shirt was the main harasser and the two guys to the left are the “bros” he kept high-fiving)