Today on the tube I confronted a man who was sexually harassing a woman. The woman either didn’t know it was happening or was trying to ignore it (I’ve been there). She had her back to him. He was pressing himself up against her unnecessarily and I noticed when he moved to get out of someone’s way at a stop, he had boner. I thought, ‘oh dear, that poor guy got a boner from all this jostling around and the heat and pressing together of bodies etc.’ thinking he’d go press himself against the tube door to try to conceal it ’til it went down. But no, he went right back up against the woman, even adjusting his penis on the way, and pressed it right in to her ass. This was happening right in front of me, I just had to say something. I said to him I didn’t think he needed to stand so close to her. He acted all clueless and took out his headphones and started asking me what I was talking about. I said things like, ‘I think you know what I’m talking about and why I’m saying this’. I asked the girl did she know him, and she said ‘no’. Almost immediately, the guy to my left, who wasn’t with the other guy and I don’t think could have seen what happened, started bearing down on me telling me I was mental. And challenging me over and over, not letting me say anything. They were both much taller than me, I was in the middle of them, and they both just kept talking, saying things like ‘what are you on about?’, ‘what are you trying to say?’, ‘you’re mental’. I started to feel very intimidated by then and really lost my nerve. I didn’t want to embarrass the girl, I didn’t want to embarrass myself either to be honest by spelling it out. But I know now what I should have said. I should have said nice and loud and clear: YOU CANNOT RUB YOUR PENIS UP AGAINST PEOPLE WITHOUT THEIR PRIOR CONSENT, WHAT YOU DID IS SEXUAL HARASSMENT, AND DENYING IT AND TRYING TO INTIMIDATE ME SHOWS YOU FOR THE COWARD YOU ARE, KEEP YOUR PENIS TO YOURSELF! I didn’t say this of course, just went over it and over it in my head ’til I got home and logged on here. I feel like I need training of some sort to be able to stand my ground and find the right words in a situation like that. I was expecting him to deny it and maybe turn away from me, but not for the other guy out of nowhere to defend him, which just emboldened the perpetrator. Nobody else saw this, and the girl didn’t say anything. I was a packed rush hour Jubilee between London Bridge and Canada Water where I was glad to get off. A nice guy caught up with me afterwards and asked what happened, which I really appreciate as I was feeling quite rattled. He was horrified and had no idea what had gone on, but was just concerned for me as he saw those two guys bearing down on me. Not a nice experience, but I’m glad I spoke up. I’d like to be more resilient in the same situation in future. And find the right thing to say. I’m going to work on that.
I had JUST been reading “Men Explain Things to Me” and feeling like I could start to make a difference and stand up for myself. I went for a bike ride in my neighborhood and surrounding area. Immediately a moving truck full of men gawked at me as they passed by. Not 5 minutes later, a yard worker muttered something under his breath in Spanish about kissing me. I was feeling mad at myself for not saying/doing anything when confronted in real life. About 15 minutes later, I was at a stop sign waiting for the oncoming traffic to pass so I could cross the street. I’m waiting for the cars to pass and I start to hear this horn honking continuously as it is getting closer to me. It’s one of those moments you tell yourself, that’s not intended for me, it’s something traffic related. It wasn’t. It was honking at me on my bike, in athletic shorts, muscle tee, and no makeup. Fuming that this is the 3rd time I’ve been catcalled within the past 20 minutes on my peaceful bike ride, as they pass, I barely take my hand off of my right handlebar and give the truck the finger. I was nervous, but proud of doing SOMETHING. The traffic clears and I cross the street. I continue with my headphones in down the quaint neighborhood street, checking behind me every now and then because of my headphones being in and I don’t want to get hit by a car. That’s when I see the truck that had been blaring its horn at me coming down the street towards me. I immediately take my headphones out and start riding my bike on the side walk so I can put distance between the truck and me. It slows down and they roll down the windows and start cussing me out and screaming at me. “You stupid fucking slut, what the fuck is the matter with you, bitch? Fuck you bitch. Fuck you and the whore mother that spawned you.” Obviously I can’t remember everything these two, African-American, 40-ish men were yelling at me because I was trying to deescalate and was absolutely terrified. They kept on me for half a block screaming obscenities at me, and their closing remark was, “Just you remember who’s in charge. The Blacks.” I don’t know why they made it about race, but they did. I hadn’t even been able to see who was in the truck in the first place because the windows were tinted. We reached a stop sign and I waited for them to turn so that I could wait and go the opposite way. They turned left, I turned right and immediately went into a stranger’s carport and parked my bike. I hid in there, shaking uncontrollably, and trying to figure out what to do. I hadn’t seen the plate and I knew I wouldn’t be able to ID them. I kept peeking back out to see if they were circling the house or anything. I ended up rushing to my friend’s house, who luckily lived a couple streets over. She wasn’t home, but two of my best friends were by her pool, and I sobbed and told them what had happened. Only a couple people know this story, and I haven’t told my parents because I know they’ll tell me that it was my fault because I gave the guys in the truck the finger. I had been wanting to stand up to catcallers more, but this makes me overthink doing so. It makes me overthink it more than women already do.
I was approached by a man I hadn’t met before at the gym, he came over and said hello. I politely smiled back and went down into my class. He proceeded to watch the entire class from an upper level. When I re-entered the main gym he came over again, asked me lots questions. He then offered me sex. When I moved to the other side of the room he continued to watch me until I felt so uncomfortable I had to leave. As I left he blocked my path and whispered “See you later sexy” in my ear. I mentioned it to a male member of staff a few days later, who laughed and agreed it was ‘creepy’, but did not take any action until another girl had the same experience. When I asked the member of staff about it he said ‘I’m not sure what Im meant to do about it’
I had a man I didn’t know follow me while I walked my dog. Somehow, he found out my name and whenever he saw me in our small town. He’d run at me yelling my name. I was ducking into bathrooms and stores to hide. I didn’t even feel safe getting gas or going to the grocery. I changed markets, no longer walked my dog, and eventually moved. My life was controlled by this one man. When I’d mention this to people, they’d laugh and say he had a crush on me. No one really took it seriously.