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I was waiting for my bus at Jernbanetorget. I had my earphones in and I thought he was tourist. He kept talking and told me he would accompany me home. But when we got to my bus stop in Bjerke, he got off with me. He asked me for a hug and took it without my permission, while his hand traveled over my bum and my breasts. I told him to stop and pulled away, then started home. He followed, talking about how pretty I was. I remember standing by the fire alarm in my building, telling him to leave as he kissed my neck and fondled my breasts. Every time I pulled away and said no, he became more forceful. Why would he think this is okay? I met him at a bus stop and told him that I wasn’t interested.
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When I was around 14, I was walking home while listening to my ipod, and from the corner of my eye I noticed two men looking at me from their pick-up truck (the back window had a Confederate flag in it…nothing good has ever come from white dudes and a Confederate flag). Expecting something, I immediately turned my music up to maximum as I crossed the street. Still, I could hear the guys start to yell and gesture at me, and from the words and phrases I did catch, they weren’t asking for directions. Not wanting to engage, or give them the satisfaction of ‘receiving’ their attentions, I ignored them and alternated between focusing on my ipod and looking at the neighbours’ houses.
My music was loud enough to be heard through my earbuds, and from the way they slowed down to a crawl and drove near the sidewalk to get my attention, it was clear they were frustrated that I couldn’t hear them (or so, they thought, their chants of “Bitch, look at me” and “How much?” weren’t too subtle on the quiet street).
My heart almost stopped when the truck stopped and I felt something hit my hand. I hadn’t heard the passenger door open, but as I broke out into a run I realized one of the men was urinating on me, or at least trying to. Thankfully they didn’t pursue me, instead driving off very slowly. I ran up to a neighbour’s house, losing my ipod behind me, and hid in their backyard. I was so scared, but worse than that was the degraded and angry feelings I dealt with for years later.
I can’t remember the sound of my dead mother’s voice, but I recall exactly what these guys’ laughter sounded like following me. That’s fucked up. This whole thing is fucked up.
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Since hitting 17, I’ve found myself experiencing an average of 3-4 incidents of street harassment per year. As a fairly introverted person, I don’t tend to go out all that often. But the times I do choose to go out, I’m subjected to random strangers shouting lewd comments at me as they drive by, or they wolf-whistle at me as I walk by. These incidents I find incredibly irritating but easy enough to ignore, as they usually continue on their way and/or allow me to continue on my way. It’s when my personal space bubble gets invaded that I find it hard to just simply “get over it”.
I’m 20 now and just earlier today, as I was walking with a couple of friends of mine, a man walking in the opposite direction stuck his hand out with the seeming intent to grope me in the crotch. He followed it up with a leer and, “Hey, let me touch your crack.” Mortified, my friends and I swerved around him and his group of friends, and continued on our way, ignoring him. Even though I wasn’t physically touched, I still felt rather violated and demeaned. I wasn’t wearing anything particularly provocative - just a modest sundress. This wasn’t even the first incident this week, since a few days earlier, in another city entirely (on the other side of the country), a couple of men driving by decided to whistle AND shout lewd comments at a friend and I as we were walking. My friend was terrified.
What really scared me though was an incident that happened in late May earlier this year. As I was walking home from class, a man I’d never seen before approached me from behind and said, “Excuse me.” Thinking (naively) that he needed directions or something, I paused and said, “Hi?”
He then started walking with me, and struck up (random) conversation. Finding it odd but not wanting to be rude, I nodded and answered vaguely, trying to duck out of the conversation politely. Small-talk then suddenly took a sharp turn into the “Hitting-on-me” zone, and he sped up when I tried to escape. By this point, warning signals were going off in my head. He ended up following me almost all the way home, and when we reached my street, I bid him a hasty farewell as I turned into the street. I clearly saw him continue along our original trajectory, but when I chanced a glance behind me to check, he’d backtracked a good 10-15 metres to stand there and watch me walk away. Terrified, I sped up and walked right past my house, all the way to the end of the street where I turned to get out of his sight-range, and then hid in a park for almost 15 minutes. I was shaking badly by now, because he was still standing there, and I called my brother so it’d look like I was talking to someone in case he decided to try something. Once I saw that he was gone, I sprinted right back to my house and went straight inside. I was paranoid for many, many weeks afterwards.
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One day it was cold in the morning where I live and then it was extremely hot later in the day. I was wearing leggings and a T shirt so I was pretty uncomfortable. I decided to go to this coffee shop after school just to sit down and chill and have an iced coffee after a long day, before I met one of my friends later. It was not a pleasant walk, and when I came up to the door there was this guy maybe in his 30s, sitting at a table outside with his coffee staring at me. He was still staring at me through the screen door as I had walked in and was ordering my drink, and I just tried to ignore him. Then he comes inside to order something (which I thought was weird considering he seemed to already be set up outside with his coffee and everything) and as I grab my coffee and try to go to a table on the other side of the coffee shop he stops me and says “Excuse me but, you’re very beautiful,” I took his compliment and said thank you and tried to go on my way but he kept talking to me. He asked me what my name was and after I told him he said “Mmmm, that’s a beautiful name.” I could see where this was going and I was just not having it today, so I said “Yeah I’m 15,” and went to go sit down.
I am fully aware that this was not a bad situation, compared to other encounters I’ve had with men in public. I just wanted to post this because I hate that after that whole scenario I was the one who felt ashamed and felt like I had overreacted. Its not right that just because a woman doesn’t give you her time and conversation, it means shes the one whose being rude. This expectation of women is what led me to feel so guilty and uncomfortable for the rest of the day, and its horrible.
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I was walking back from a friend’s flat to the chippy that was not even 5 minutes away before heading home about 10 minutes the other way. I noticed a guy behind me walking the same way but thought nothing about, when I get to the chip shop I have a pleasant conversation with the guy over the counter. Leaving the chippy the guys is stood there waiting for me. He begins asking me if I wanted to share food or go to his house, I decline telling him I’m on my way home. He continues to follow me down the road tell we get passed a fairly dark alley way, while starting to demand me to go with him and asking for my number. He then grabs my hand and tried to pull me off, I totally freaked out, it was fairly busy and a lot of attention was being drawn towards us so he let me go and told me he’d see me again.
It’ really upset me because I didn’t feel confident in myself but then that day I felt really good and they ruined it for me.
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A year ago, I moved to a big city for college, previously I had lived in a small town. Since I moved I probably have gotten checked out more times than ever before in my life… almost everyday when I’m walking to and from my bus stop, guys will peer at me walking all the way down the street, or try to talk to me while I’m standing at the corner waiting for the “walk” sign to change. Sometimes this happens 2 or 3 cars in a row… it really makes you feel like a object on a runway. Other times some creep will get on the bus and try to talk to me, compliment me, tell me how beautiful I am and I just have to sit there and endure it when all I want is to be left alone.
I really can’t believe how often this happens. I haven’t experienced anything violent (thankfully), but I still get tons of comments such as “heyyyyyy”, “how you doin?”, “hey beautiful”, and “nice ass”. I’ve told my boyfriend how often this happens and he went out and bought me some pepper spray to keep in my bag. I hope I never have to use it, but it makes me feel a little more secure when I’m out alone.
How anyone can think women should take street harassment as a compliment is beyond me. It’s not flirting, which is fun and makes you feel good, it’s men trying to intimidate women because to them they’re nothing but sex objects. It’s sad that you have to dread walking home from school because you know some creep is going to make a pass at you.
I wrote a blog post about my recent experiences with street harassment. I do not know what to do. I thought I was strong, but it is doing damage.
My mom will probably tell me I shouldn’t write about something like this on my blog. But I think it is important for people to share stories like this. I have read other women’s experiences and it helps me to put things in perspective. I just want to preface this with the fact that I have never felt physically in danger (Don’t worry Dad, I am safe). It is just some strange psychological mess. I wrote this to help myself process how I feel:
Statistics say that all women get sexually harassed at some point or another. Like many women, I have been street harassed ever since I was old enough to wander around San Francisco alone. Here in Paris it happens more than I could have imagined.
After months of brushing it off every time I have gone out in public, the street harassment has finally begun to get to me. This past week, the problem has multiplied grotesquely. Maybe it is because the weather is nice and I have been outside, walking even more than usual. Or maybe it is because I have been really happy so I have had difficultly wiping the smile off of my face, which to the wrong person can be considered an invitation. Maybe it is because I am wearing brighter colors than I was a few weeks ago. Really though, maybe it it isn’t me. It shouldn’t be anything that I am doing. I should not be afraid to go outside.
I used to just laugh and walk away. Even when a man dropped his pants and masturbated while staring at me on the RER, I was shocked but I just laughed and ran away. No harm done; no trauma. Just a funny story.
But it is finally beginning to break me down.
In this week ALONE, I have been asked “voulez-vous coucher avec moi?” while walking along the Seine. I have been followed, and even touched multiple times. I have been told things like “you are so sexy, I want to take your clothes off with my teeth.” I have had to run away and hide to avoid persistent men who will not take “NO, I do NOT want to grab a drink with you” or “NO, I will NOT sleep with you” for an answer.
What the FUCK is going on?
I shudder every time I am walking and I hear a man say “bonsoir.”
I don’t even want to go in the metro. I do not want to go to the park.
I go two blocks out of the way every morning to avoid the man who parks cars on my street because every time I pass him he asks when I will cook him dinner and how many hearts I have broken this week.
It has never bothered me before, but now I feel disgusting. Maybe it is due to the onslaught yesterday afternoon of
mancreep after mancreep after mancreep. The same thing over and over.
Is it how I smell? It is how I dress? I was in a group of 4 girls but they kept targeting me.
I do not know what to do.
I never thought it would get to me. But it has. When it hurts, they win.
And this is not okay.
Question with 2 notes
krissyriniroo said: Im working on a comic raising awareness of Street Harassment. I'm going to sell it online with proceeds going towards a charity for woman's rights. Do you think people would mind if i used some of these examples people have submitted in the comic? (With a shout out back to this blog once the comic is completed?)
I would definitely send a message to anyone who has submitted whose story you would like to use. These are not my stories, they were experienced by and written about by many different people, and the permission to reproduce can only be given by those individuals.
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This happened 4 years ago but still I get scared when I think about it. I was just walking from college to my flat. It was about 5 minutes walking but I needed to walk along a few bars or along another building of the school. I already had been catcalled a few times walking along the bar so I always went the other way.
But one day I was walking alone along the other building. I heard some guy screaming ‘hey sexy’ but I didn’t pay attention. But he just kept screaming stuff like that I had nice tits and ass, how much I wanted for sex and he wanted to fuck me. I just kept walking a bit faster but he just kept following me.
I was terrified because it was late and not a lot of other students were there. He just kept following me all the way to my flat and I was shaking because I didn’t know what to do.I told him to fuck off and leave me but he just kept going. He was also getting more aggressive, telling me what a bitch I was and he was going to teach me a lesson. I was lucky that one of my housemates was going the other way and he saw that I was almost crying. He told the guy to back off and the guy just ran away.
Why do I need another guy to tell someone to leave me alone? After that I never quite felt as comfortable walking that route and I moved to another place at the new academic year.
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