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Not 20 steps away from my stoop and this guy walking past asks me “who are you voting for?” I don’t say anything and keep walking and he says “you look so sexy. I want to rape you.”
From inside the cafe, I could see a man across the street under the Strand awning. He masturbated until completion and then used that hand to wave to me.
As I came off the Sutter Avenue subway stop on the 3 line, a few men on the street saw me in my dress and heels and starting shouting phrases at me like “Why do you look like that?” “What’s wrong with you?” And other harassing statements. I continued walking and did my best to ignore them. This happened about two months ago.
For months now I have had cat calls and lewd comments when walking by the construction site here. I now walk across the street. It’s not that they are that bad — I mean it’s not assault — but it makes me scared about what they do to other women in a less public space. There’s such obvious power play and disrespect. It’s disturbing and makes me feel powerless.
After shopping at the electronics store, I was at the 14 Street station waiting for the 5 train. Then right in front of me I saw this short man go up to this woman who was taller than him and was groping her buttocks while she was wearing her business skirt. While she had a startling look, he was actually smiling at her by the way she was dressed. I rushed over to help and then he let go of her, walked over to get away and she started walking for the train. I kept trying to consult about the incident and she walked on to the 4 train. While she was on the train, she look at me through and gave a look that she was GROPED.
I was walking home from work and the post office with a giant package in my hands. I crossed the (empty) street and halfway across realized this man was standing on the other side staring at me. He said “Hello-ohh!!”. I knew it wasn’t going to be good, but I figured I’d give him the benefit of the doubt and said “hello” back. Then, right as I passed him he said “Do you like chocolate?”. I’m sure he saw my spine stiffen. When I didn’t respond he said “Aw, come on, becky, be nice.” As I walked away he just kept going, saying “Just look at how beautiful you are. Chocolate is good for you! Come on!”. I thought about saying something but I was caught off guard and no one else was around so I didn’t feel safe. Now I just feel enraged and helpless.
I get cat called and lewd comments walking by this construction site. I now walk across the street which I shouldn’t have to do. It’s not like assault of course but it’s endless and makes me scared for what they do to women in less public settings. Very disturbing and makes me feel powerless.
One morning (this was last summer) I woke up and threw on whatever clothes were lying on my chair to go to the deli across the street to get coffee – a big grey sweater, shorts, and boots. As I left my apartment, I passed the same two older men who are always sitting there in the same spot on their folding chairs outside a refrigerator repair shop, leering at women as they pass, saying this or that under their breath with a half cocked smile and a glance to their friends as they smugly chuckle. I felt their eyes on my that morning and I thought so help me god, EVERY time I leave my home – I’m so sick of this.
Lo and behold, one of them called “Hey mama, you look like Brooke Shields.”
I turned around and overtly rolled my eyes at him, continuing to walk down the sidewalk and about the cross the street.
He yelled back at me, “Hey! You say thank you when I give you a compliment!”
I felt myself snapping and I whipped back around and yelled “No! I don’t have to say anything to you!” I turned back and realized the light was red so there was nowhere I could go. I felt them both staring at me, their lips curling with anger, especially because a few other people on the sidewalk had heard me and were sort of watching out of the corner of their eye.
“Get the fuck out of here,” the other one yelled. “Go back to Iowa, bitch.” (I guess because I was wearing boots…? Good one…)
Eventually the light turned green and I went to the deli. But all I could think was, why did I do that? These people know where I live, they know who I am, it’s not that hard to just enter my walkup building after someone else who has a key is going in, now I’m going to see them every day until I move and what if they decide to show me I shouldn’t have talked back?
I still do see them every day and they give me these bone chilling looks of scathing disgust. All of the guys in my building think that they’re such great characters, out there in their wife beaters smoking cigarettes and feeding the birds and welding refrigerators in the middle of the sidewalk while Spanish ballads blast from the basement of their shop, and it strikes me to what extent we live in such a different world.
It was about 3 PM. I was walking west on Lincoln place towards Classon Ave. I noticed about 10 men in reflective safety vests that were shoveling some snow around the sidewalks and in the intersection. As I approached I prepared myself to be catcalled. It makes me mad that I even have to think that. Then I walk through a group of about 5 of them standing and shoveling at the corner. I said, “Excuse me,” politely to one of the workers in the process of shoveling since we were about to cross paths. I got a couple stares from some guys. I made normal eye contact as I was walking by. I made it a few steps passed them and then I heard one of the guys from the group loudly say, “Nice nice nice nice.” I assume he was directing that at me. I can’t be sure and I’d love to think he was just complimenting his fellow worker on his nice shoveling job, but I’m not optimistic that was the case. I didn’t turn around or react. I just kept walking. I wanted to scream that that’s no way to flatter a woman. If you want to tell someone they look nice, then say it to their face before they walk passed and say it respectfully. As a person approaches say to their face, “Hello, you look very nice today.” That’s all it takes. Then the person is complimented or at least they aren’t creeped out. There is a polite way to compliment a stranger. These men definitely were not out to make me feel good. They wanted to make me feel like an object that they approved of. Granted this is far from the worst experience, obviously, but it still boils my blood that I even have to tolerate these minor offenses. These are supposed to be expected and accepted. It’s wrong.
On top of all of that, they are city workers. My taxes pay their salaries. I indirectly paid to get catcalled. Fun stuff NYC. Fun stuff.
This girl was sitting next to me on the four train in Brooklyn heading to Manhattan. Then some guy comes over to her and said “I saw you looking at me.” She took off her headphones and said “No I was not looking at you.” Then he got closer to her and said “I saw you.” By this time, I had removed MY headphones and was ready for anything. I wasn’t going to let this jerk upset this girl, or who knows what! So he put out his hand and said “hi, my name is (whatever). She looked at him and said “no.” He looked let down and finally walked away to the other end of the car. I smiled at her and said “I’ve got your back.” She was happy, and we chatted a bit about how annoying and creepy men can be.It really felt great that I was going to help her, and I felt strong and really good about myself. So, we said our goodbyes when it was her stop, and we both happened to notice that he was talking to yet ANOTHER girl! We saw him putting out his hand for her to shake…and she did.