Post with 22 notes
I was introduced to this feeling of helplessness when I was 14, in the store my family owns. A man called me beautiful, grabbed my arm, and wouldn’t let go. It took a number of patrons around me to pry him off. That fear and powerlessness is still a haunting feeling, a source of a lot of discomfort.
This week I was deep in the city with a classmate for a show, mandatory for our course. I did not know that she would leave before it ended, well into the night, that sent me on the subway alone. I took off my accessories, tucked away my headphones, lowered my head and quickened my pace.
I thought I was safe when I got to the central hub, after waiting alone at dark stops and empty cars, riddled with nervousness and anxiety. I anticipated the worst. Surrounded by people I thought I would be okay, and I chose a spot on the wall close to the crowd. I felt a man staring from a distance. I felt his shift in his attention and I felt his intentions. He came up to me, put his hand against the wall behind me and pinned me in.
“Hey baby, where you going?” I did not look up, could not. I hesitated, but I took the opening and walked.
“No, baby, where you going? Hey baby. Hey, bitch. You fucking bitch.”
No one turned or looked around me. I could not look back to see if he followed. I rode the subway shaking, utterly alone, hoping my composure looked genuine. I got off wanting to run away. But another man stood from a bench as I passed, two blocks from home. “Hey girl, I got a question. No listen, don’t go. Bitch. You bitch. Don’t flatter yourself. Don’t fucking flatter yourself.”
I closed my door and broke down. I feel violated, almost like a toy. I’m uncomfortable, powerless, scared, and helpless. No security but a certainty. A bitch. What a fucking bitch.
Post with 9 notes
So this happened last night. I’m actually still upset and it’s so surprising to me how this has affected me so deeply. My normal public transportation route was redirected and cut off last night around 11pm in Brooklyn. The NYC MTA is pretty famous for that and everyone knows it’s to be expected. I Google mapped my way home and it said about a mile, so I figured I’d walk. So I’m wearing sweats, a hoodie, flip flops (obviously not the most beautiful thing or provocative). Immediately men, not homeless - regular ol dudes, out of nowhere, passing me on the street, outside of bars — start shouting at me — catcalling and it was so unsettling. Normally I’m used to some kind of catcalling 1-5 times a week, but usually it’s manageable and easy to ignore. But this was outrageous, every few paces. One guy said to me as I passed “I wanna tie you up and show how you should be treated,” and then was screaming at me down the street “I can tell by your walk that you want it” — men calling me honey, baby, boo. Not 10 feet would go by without a shout, I was actually legitimately scared. So I finally get to my corner and go into my regular bodega and I’m so shaken up at this point that I need to get water. In there are these 16yr old boys in there, couldn’t be much older, and they won’t stop talking to me and calling me baby and boo. I was just looking at the ground honestly trying not to cry. Still today, I’m scared, uncomfortable, I feel jittery. I have no idea how regular ol’ men with sisters and mothers and aunts and grandmothers can shout at women on the street the way they do. Any man who says that the things strange men say to women are “compliments” and not terrifying sexualized threats should be castrated.
Photo with 12 notes
No Cat Calls - Watercolor, Pen, & Pencil on Paper
tarynriley.com | tarynrileyart.tumblr.com
Post with 4 notes
I was fifteen and on my way home from the milk bar with a carton of eggs and a block of butter in my shopping bag. I wasn’t wearing anything anyone could deem ‘provocative’ (not that that’s even an excuse for anything) - long sleeved collared shirt buttoned up to my neck and a skirt that went down to my calves. I was waiting for the lights to change, so I could cross the road, minding my own goddamn business.
Then some hot shot idiot in his crappy car with a friend in the passenger seat pulled up beside me and both of them said something ridiculously rude and obscene related to my race (I am half Asian). This, naturally, made me really scared, humiliated and angry. When I ignored them, they were just louder and waving their arms. One of them caught my eye and I just put a totally confused look on my face and pretended I was deaf- terrible signing and everything (I had luckily just done a project on the development of Australian Sign Language).
It was literally the first thing I could think of and is probably massively offensive to hearing impaired people everywhere. I pretended I was deaf just so these dickheads would leave me alone. They drove off once the lights changed and after a sexist comment or two more. I generally don’t wish ill on people, but I really hope that they got a flat tire at an inopportune moment, or that they realised the next day that that meaningful CHINESE tattoo they got was a terrible idea. Or, even better, they realised that harassing people in the streets is a douchebag move and feel really sorry about it, but can’t find me to apologise. I doubt it, but it does make me feel a bit better.
Post with 27 notes
I’m twenty-one years old and I work in a public space in my city. I see tons of people each and every day. Some strange, some polite, some your run of the mill characters of the city. Yet it is not until I leave my place of work to go to the bus station that I experience harassment. For the past month and a half, I have been harassed by the same person every Thursday. You see, on Thursdays I get off at 2:30 and that’s when the nearby high school lets out. This guy is seventeen. So not only is he barking up the wrong tree (I’m a lesbian), he’s underage. I have waited around work for fifteen minutes to a half hour. I’ve left early a few times. Yet every Thursday this kid is WAITING for me.
When it first began, I was wearing the universal sign of “don’t talk to me” aka headphones. He tapped my shoulder and I thought at first he was just going to ask what time the bus was coming. A lot of people who rarely ride the bus or who have never taken a bus are usually fidgety about it. I asked him if I could help him and he just said hello and asked for my name. I immediately gave him my go-to fake name because even such an “innocent” question, I’m sure as so many women know, can be followed by more intrusive questions from men. As soon as I gave him my alias, he starts chatting me up. Mind you, he is clearly a high schooler. He asks me where I work, if I go to school, etc. I gave him fake information and I made sure to include that I was definitely older. “That’s cool, I like girls who are a little older than me. Mature and sexier that way.” Normally I would have no problem dishing this kid a world of verbal hurt, but as he was saying this stuff to me, a dozen people were watching us and some were laughing. They thought it was cute that he was so ‘precocious’ or whatever the fuck you want to call it. I instantly shut down conversation. I answered in monosyllabic responses and I even put my headphones back on as soon as the bus rolled up. I made the mistake of sitting alone though because he followed me on and forced me into the window seat. I was effectively trapped on this full bus of people. He “playfully” pulled off my headphones and continued to talk to me. “Do you have a boyfriend? Does he treat you well? You look nice today.” At this point I was feeling a bit bolder because I was tired of his shit. I finally just said “Yes, but I have a GIRLFRIEND.” He got quiet for two seconds. He then began to ask about our sex life, how he would like to join in, etc. People around me were still silent or laughing. Finally after two stops on the bus I pulled the cord and told him to move. He had the fucking nerve to ask me, “Could I get a hug before you go?” That was the first time I ever yelled in a public place. I told him to get the fuck out of my way and to never touch me again. People laughed. He laughed. I got off the bus and walked ten blocks to my actual stop.
Like I said, I see this kid every Thursday. He’s tried to talk to me a few more times, but now he’s going after these other girls and women who ride the same route as me. There hasn’t been one positive response to him yet. I’ve finally gotten the courage to start inviting these women to sit next to me. We say hi and thank you to one another as he’s forced to sit farther back on the bus. We sit in silence but I feel this wordless connection to these other harassed women. Why are we the ones who look “crazy” or “ungrateful” whenever this seventeen year old kid harasses us? I’ve told transit security about him but they just laugh. “Boys will be boys.” Why is this the excuse?
Post with 5 notes
I was on the bus one morning, coming back from a friend’s dorm where I’d slept over, and unfortunately the party’s theme the previous night was beach theme, even though it was January (sigh). Anyways I was in shorts, and I was sitting in one of the seats reserved for strollers etc, and a woman with a stroller came on and I didn’t notice/see, and the male bus driver said “Will the young lady with the nice legs please move to a different seat?”. When I automatically displayed repulsion the driver jokingly said to me, “Well what else was I supposed to say?” Hmm, I don’t know….lady with the shorts? You don’t need to comment on my fucking body parts.
Post with 6 notes
When I was fourteen we moved into a house only a mile away from the library. I would walk there on weekends to get out of the house and pick up new books. It was a pretty safe neighborhood and broad daylight, so I was allowed to walk there by myself.
On three separate occasions older men would drive by and attempt to solicit sex. They’d yell “How much, cutie?” or “I’ll give you something if you get in the car!” as they slowed down to drive next to me. I was embarrassed and frightened.
I was worried that them harassing me was my fault, and that if I told my parent’s they would assume I had been doing something inappropriate. I was always wearing modest clothing, and couldn’t understand why I was being targeted.
Once while walking, a guy slowed his car down to follow me while yelling that I looked “tasty”. I was so creeped out that I ran home. Eventually I stopped walking around the neighborhood by myself.
I’m still angry at myself for letting those creeps scare and embarrass me out of walking to the library.
Post with 5 notes
I am 16 and last year I was on a train to visit my friends after their school finished. My school had a day off due to exams and my friends from another school had a half day. It was the middle of the day and I was sitting in the first carriage. My carriage wasn’t very populated, but there were two women facing the other way further up.
At one of the station, a man walked on and although there were plenty of seats, sat right across from me. He stunk of cigarette smoke and alcohol. I was very clearly immersed in my book, but he tried talking to me anyway, repeatedly calling me ‘darl’ and ‘sweetheart’. He would compliment me on my clothing then say “I’ll let you get back to your book,” then place his hand on my knee. I was so uncomfortable and scared, I didn’t know what to do so I froze.
At that moment, a ticket inspector/officer got on the carriage and walked over to us. She asked to see his ticket and he fumbled about his wallet, mumbling excuses. She told him to stand up and told him off for his lack of tickets. She never asked me for my ticket, and I got off safely at the next stop. Although it wasn’t too traumatic like some of the experiences I have read about here, I was still left with a very uncomfortable feeling for hours afterwards. It definitely was NOT flattering and I’m always wary of catching the train in the middle of the day without many people on my carriage.
Post with 6 notes
Last year, I was lucky enough to be able to go on a school trip to Italy! I go to an all-girls school, and we were staying in a small town close to the historical sites we were visiting, and since it was such a small town, we were allowed to wander around for about two hours after dinner. I was together with a group of four friends, aged between 15 and 18, just looking at different shops and talking and laughing. We noticed this same group of about six guys, probably in their early 20s, kept popping up where we were, but we shrugged it off since we figured, hey, it’s a small town. It wasn’t until we had been walking around for awhile that we realised they were definitely following us. It was a bit scary, so we started to head back towards the town centre in the hope we’d run into a teacher or a larger group of people from our school.
As we were walking, they started to speed up, and before I realised what was happening they had circled around me and cut me off from my friends. I was obviously fucking terrified at this point, but I shoved past them (while they all laughed their heads off) and my friend grabbed my arm and we all ran as quickly as we could to the town centre.
But wait, there’s more! After that ordeal we figured we deserved some gelato, but while we were in the gelato shop, the same group of guys saw us inside and stopped and waited for us outside the shop, and we ended up being late to meet up with our school group because we were too scared to leave. And then a male teacher had the audacity to berate us even after we explained the situation, which drove my girlfriend to tears (but luckily one of the female teachers yelled at him and he apologised to us the next morning).
On top of that, one of my friends had her bum slapped by a guy from another group, and another man made a rude gesture at her. And when we were coming out of Pompeii, a large group of guys lined up on either side of the path and whistled and cheered at us in Italian. I’m pretty sure someone yelled at them to fuck off (in English, I imagine it would’ve been more effective in Italian) and the female teacher closed to me sighed and said, “Welcome to being a woman.” It was a weird experience.
But apart from that, the trip was great!
(and before you want to blame what we were wearing, we were all wearing jeans or long skirts, and bulky coats)
Post with 8 notes
When I was about sixteen, I had two incidents happen on the same night. The first incident happened at a movie theater with two friends, J and V. While waiting to buy tickets, we ran into an acquaintance of J’s, a guy in his early 20’s, and he seemed polite. We sat together, and when the trailers started, the guy began to feel up J. J alerted V to this by nudging her, and V nudged me too. We just stared at the guy, and he just smiled at us and kept touching J. We were creeped out, so J, V, and I just left the theater then and there. He didn’t follow us.
The second incident happened a few hours later. J and I were walking home from a convenience store (V went home), located near a park that had a small, heavily-wooded area. It was dark, and while walking, we noticed a truck was following us. It would drive by us, turn around, and drive by us again. This happened a few times. Finally the truck pulled into a parking lot that we would eventually walk by, and waited there. Freaked out, J and I crossed the street and went through the park. The truck peeled out of the parking lot and drove around the park, to try and follow us. J and I cut through the trees to get to her house. We hid in the backyard for a few minutes to calm down, and walked in like nothing happened.
As much as we were scared, we just kept quiet about both incidents. If we had said anything to our parents (fathers in particular), we would have listened to some variation of “What were you doing with an older guy?” or “Well, what did you expect? You were walking outside at night!” It’s been five years since this happened, and they still don’t know.
Page 1 of 19