Tag Archives: Harrassment

A Walk in Public

A couple times now my girlfriend and I (bi f) have been harrassed while walking down the street. Men have stopped their cars in the street to roll the window down and say ‘aweee’ and have even gone as far as taking pictures of us holding hands and asking us to ‘give eachother a kiss’. We’ve been called dykes despite not identifying as lesbian and it’s not a term that we’ve reclaimed. We are scared to travel even in Canada because of these comments that strange older men seem entitled to making. Oh and don’t forget the constant threesome offers as if our sexuality is completely about and for the display of men.

Terry O

Years ago, when I was in high school history class, we took a break every day. A boy in my class would position himself at the door, and before I walked out, he would stretch his arm out across the door frame so that I had to pass under it. As I passed, he would slowly look me up and down. I could feel my cheeks burn with anger and embarrassment. After a couple weeks of this, I could stand it no longer. When break came, I rushed to the door, and when he approached, I stretched my arm across, looked him straight in the eye, and then slowly looked him up and down. Then I let him pass. I’m sure I was blushing, but he could also see the anger flashing in my eyes. We had never exchanged a word, but he never did that to me again.

Christmas- Sexual harrassment and violence

It was the Friday before Christmas Eve and the pub was bustling with familes and friends all celebrating the approach to the Christmas weekend. I had gone out with my friends, of which im the only female. They are all great, really respectful guys which meant that what followed was a shock to the system. It was about two hours into our little Christmas meet-up when I decided to go and play pool with a good friend of mine. It was all very funny as neither of us could play to save our lives. However the atmosphere changed for the worst when a group of six, bulky men starting shouting comments at me. I was shocked. It consisted of comments about by body, especially about my arse. They proceeded to call me over repetively. Ordering me to walk over to them. I tried to ignore them but the comments got worse and worse, louder and louder. I felt very uncomfortable but attempted to ignore them, not wanting them to think I was afraid. When the game ended they were bellowing at me to come over to them. I didn’t know what they were going to do, I was afraid and felt so inferior. So powerless. I briskly walked to my friend who went and got my boyfriend. Once he got there they stopped but I was quite shaken. A few minutes later I found out they had hurt my other friend who i had asked to go and get my boyfriend. They had hurt him becuase he had helped me. I was angry and wasnt going to tolerate it. Quickly i walked back to the area they were sitting and checked they were still there. They were. I approached the desk and told the manager everything. She was shocked too. She said she was going to talk to them but I left the pub with my friends before any more trouble was caused. I am still shaken up and shocked to discover how happily people will be so sexually derogatory, demeaning and violent. If it happens, report it. Its the only way we can all make a difference.

Anon

I was 18, working at a festival selling food. A mid 40’s, male, ‘youth liaison’ police officer, with roughly seven of his peers ordered food. Whilst I was making his meal he came up to me and handed me his card, he had written his number on the back. “What are you doing after work, can I drive you home?” I looked up at him shocked, then one of his peers, also a police officer chimed in “his car is nice and spacious if you know what I mean” and winked, to which all seven of them started laughing. I was so horrified about being ganged up on by several police officers making sexually explicit comments that I mumbled something about having my own car and it being ‘plenty big enough’. When they left I found out that the one who gave me his number had asked my boss if I was ‘a legal age’ before he approached me. My boss did nothing to support me in this situation but laughed the encounter off. I didn’t know I had a right to report this sort of behavior at the time, I was quite young and needed someone to tell me that sort of behavior wasn’t okay. I wish I could go back and confront or report this man now.

hilary

There’s a particular sort of harrassment that’s usually so low level that I literally forget about it – until the next time, or until it gets just a little more intense. I’m going call them ‘Hoverers’ – men who hang around just a little too close when I’m on my own in public. They say nothing, don’t touch but you know they’re keeping an eye on you. This morning for example I went to the beach early while it was quiet, put my bag down then went for a swim. as soon as I’m in the water a guy appeared, European-looking in his 60s, wearing Speedos – he put his towel down about 20 metres from mine. He started patrolling from his towel to just beyond mine (the beach is a mile long) back and forth the entire time I was in the water. His route got progeressively shorter until he was walking about 2 metres around my stuff, then he just stopped by my stuff. I got out of the water, picked up my stuff and walked to the other end of the beach – where a different man started a similar (less aggressive surveillance). To a lesser degree I can expect some sort ‘Hovering’ behaviour whenever I go to a quiet beach or park on my own. I know from past experience that these men are seeking contact so a direct challenge just gives them permission to engage in conversation. If I acknowledge this behaviour openly I get angry, the man gets some gratification and I end up thinking about it a lot, so I refuse to even let the guy catch my eye. I am so used to this (I’m in my fifties and started noticing this behaviour when I was 13) that I can ignore it so well that usually I literally don’t notice it. How can you complain about someone standing too close to your stuff while you’re swimming on a public beach?

Kelly

I recently moved to a new city and was walking to pick up takeout at 6pm. It was a rainy day and I was wearing a raincoat and jeans. The takeout place is on a busy, industrial type street. Out of nowhere a young man (20’s) came up to me and said, “I’m sorry I just have to ask you.. I’ll give you $20”. I looked at him with a confused expression. Then he went on, “My friend wanted me to ask you if you’d spend the night with him, all night, until 4am. He’ll give you $1000.” I am not good at being put on the spot. I simply said, “No thank you.” He said, “I’ll get you $20”, I said, “Not necessary”. I looked at the light begging for it to turn green so I could cross. When I turned to see if he was coming back, he was gone. Vanished. It looked around uncomfortably for another long two minutes before the light changed. The entire way home I was livid and scared. Where had he gone? Were they in a car? Were they following me? What kind of response did he expect? I mean seriously? Did he think I’d actually say yes or was that just their way of entertaining themselves? Could they catch up to me? I wish so badly I had gotten the satisfaction of telling him to fuck off. But I know better than to escalate situations like that. It doesn’t usually end well. I walked home, paying special attention to what cars passed me. Were any turning around? Did any pass me more than once? I was honestly afraid they were following me. Later that day, I was talking to a guy on the dating app Bumble. The guy was a real grade – A misogynist. I was trying to explain what situations women face. I told him about this one. He said, “Okay now what are you going to do so that it doesn’t happen again?” I was shocked. Excuse me? Me: Not walk around outside? Not wear a fucking rain jacket and jeans because apparently that screams call girl. I’m sorry did I do something wrong? I have to change my actions? It’s not enough for men to just not act like creepers? Him: You didn’t do anything wrong but in order to fix things the only way to do it is to take responsibility and own the situation in order to change the variables and not have it happen again. Me: A woman gets raped at a party and it’s her fault for wearing something “suggestive”. Best sit her down and ask her how she can avoid the situation in the future. Him: So you want that to happen again? Me: Why don’t you tell me how I can avoid that situation in the future Him: If everyone took responsibility for themselves, the world wouldn’t have any problems. So, as usual, no responsibility or fault lies on the men in these situations. No, it’s women who have to turn our lives inside out to “avoid” harassment from men. Well guess what? We’d have to “avoid” walking down streets, going to school, church, work, the doctor, and even in some cases to our own family’s house to avoid harassment. Because if everydaysexism.com is any proof, harassment happens to women everyday, everywhere, ALL the time. Needless to say I have no intention of dating that guy, or any others that hear about harassment and ask me how I’ll be changing MY actions next time to avoid mistreatment.

Elena Jones

When on my lunch break, I went to my Costa for my usual americano. I was second in the queue behind a man, who had already ordered and was waiting for his drink. Whilst the barista was making my drink, I spotted some flapjacks by the till point. I went to pick up one of the flapjacks to see how much it was, and the man standing in front of me said, ‘Ooo they’re fattening. They’ll ruin your figure.’ I was completely taken aback. The worst part about this was that he himself was overweight! He had a beer belly that was practically resting on the Costa counter. Had I not been working, I would have pointed this out to him. Instead, I asked him to not make such comments to me and I purchased the flapjack to prove a point. The reason this annoyed me so much is because even though we were strangers, he felt it was his right to point out what I, as a woman, should and should not be eating! (I just know that if I was a man he wouldn’t have made the comment!) In making the comment he had also clearly checked out my figure, and seen it as his responsibility to make sure I maintained it. Like it’s his business! I didn’t check out his beer belly and say, ‘you better have skimmed milk in that mate. Try the salad.’ He didn’t look too pleased when I corrected him either. I really wish I’d have told him I was eating out at Nando’s that evening!

Grace

I am currently doing a project on Catcalling for the final year of my BA degree that is greatly inspired by the work of Everyday Feminism, Hollaback and similar sites. As I walked out of my university building after a productive meeting with lecturers and tutors on the direction of my work, a man smoking outside of the doors startled me by shouting “Hey Sexy” then proceeded to follow me around the corner to where my bike was parked in a gated lot. I stood at the gate with two choices, either open and risk him following me into the dark corner where no one would be able to help if he followed me in, or to turn around and confront him. I chose the latter and asked him why he felt inclined to follow me and if he studied at the university, to which he replied – ‘not really’ as he relentlessly asked for my number and for me to go out with him. I gave him my number and said that I’d love to get in touch with him and have an interview on why he thought it was acceptable to refer to me as sexy and follow me into a dark alley. He took my number and said ‘I’m going to call you and make sure you didn’t give me a fake number’, (this part of our conversation has really stuck with me as I always wonder what he would have done had I changed the number) so he called and insisted on small talk until I said I had to leave. Disgruntled, he wandered off to finish his cigarette so I was finally able to retrieve my bike, as I walked out back into the alley to join the road he had hid behind a pillar and jumped out in an effort to startle me once again as I walked past. This time I took no chances and jumped straight on my bike and have never cycled so fast in my life. In reflection the situation seems ironic considering my efforts to tackle Catcalling, however the most striking observation I have made both in my personal and academic experiences is that their are no two situations that are the same and it is so hard to produce a response when you genuinely fear for your safety. So the idea that women either enjoy being catcalled or are unaffected by it is reinforced once again in this vicious cycle. There was a point while we were speaking that I almost felt guilty for being so standoffish with him however I know that is because this world has taught me to constantly stroke the masculine ego and be the subject of their dominating gaze, this was another physical reminder that the world is built by men, for men.

Eleanor

Today I was walking the dog and and I stopped to pick up his poo. A man that looked 50-something walked passed me and said “Ran out of bags there, honey?” It made me feel really uncomfortable and I’m 14.