On the bus I rode every day when a man would start harassing, I would tell him “no” in every way I could possibly imagine. “I don’t date,” “no,” “I AM A NUN” (Italy, so this was not uncommon), the only effective way to get a man to stop harassing was to tell him that I was 1.) married or 2.) dating someone. If that didn’t work, I’d say I was on my way to see “my husband.” I’m not married. I bought a cheap ring and started wearing it on the bus to deter creeps.
A few days ago I went for a walk with a female friend in a public park, both of us attractive women in our 40s. We passed a man sitting on a bench who said hello and we stopped near him to admire a beautiful statue. He started to ask us ‘where are you from?’, ‘are you french?’. After initially politely saying hello back, we ignored him and kept chatting to each other but left quickly when we would have liked to stay there for longer admiring the sculpture. It feels so uncomfortable to have your space invaded by a stranger who is trying to get your attention when you’re clearly not interested. Saying ‘leave us alone’ or ‘we’re not interested in talking to you’ or ‘stop being a creep’ feels like an unwise thing to do as you never know how someone will respond to an overt rejection. There wasn’t anyone else around. Things like this happen to me all the time and I feel angry that men invade my space and my sense of safety. For what? So that they can feel powerful? Have attention from women? It’s not OK.
I was walking down a street in my neighbourhood with my sister (Im 14, she was 18) playing pokemon go, when a car beeps. We where unsure at first if the car was beeping at us or beeping at a car, but then it starts to follow us. to be safe we turned back the way, but then the car turns round (bear in mind this was a tricky corner to turn round in again.) and starts to follow us again, so we had to run for it. my sister and i where too scared to continue walking so we just went home, feeling scared and defeated. we had been going and playing pokemon go everyday until that happened and then we stopped completely. it sucks when you can’t even escape sexism in you’re own street. 🙁
I went to this fancy movie theater for a friend’s birthday, and while you watch the movie you are served drinks and food, and you just need to reserve seats a few hours ahead of time. We got there and were sitting chatting when a guy gets to his seat which is next to mine. He stares at me and says, “Oh wow! A pretty girl, lucky me!” I don’t respond; I don’t even turn to look at him. I’m staring straight ahead hoping he’ll ignore me, but he persists and says, “What no smile? Can’t you smile?” I give him a withering glare instead, but he keeps harassing me to be a “good little girl and smile.” Then he starts calling me mute and telling me to speak. He’s an older man, maybe in his 50’s, and I’m 22 but look more like an underage teenager, and one way he tries to get me to speak is by saying, “I have three iPhone in my car. I bet if I take you out to my car and show them to you I’ll get you to talk and smile”. The waiter then comes a few seconds after that, and he tells the waiter, “don’t speak to her, she’s mute. She can’t speak.” Thankfully there was another seat next to my friend away from the man, so I got up and switched seats. When the waiter came back, he asked me why I had moved away from my father, to which I responded, “He’s not my father. I’ve never met that man before in my life.” The waiter was shocked and said he was sorry. Then the waiter came back and started flirting with me while I was watching the movie and touched my face. I felt so utterly violated by both men.
I have recently turned 18 years old, but this is a problem I’ve experienced for the past 2 years. It is occasional, but still bothers me. I walk to and from sixth form everyday; my road always has at least one house under construction on it. Since I’m a sixth former, I don’t wear a uniform, just smart office-like clothes, basically I don’t look like a school girl, but I am. Walking down the street, I frequently get wolf whistled at by the builders (ages ranging from about 25-45 years) or them saying ‘hey gorgeous’ or something to that effect. I’m just innocently going to get an education, I don’t need to be worried about whether or not what I’m wearing is provocative as I leave my house each morning. This has been going on since I was 16; I’m still a child. It’s wrong.
Four years ago, I was working as a “valeter” for a BMW Dealer in a small town in county Wexford. I had been working for them for four months when a manager started to call me “honey”. As I found it rather inappropriate in a work place, I asked him to call me by my name. Soon, a very arrogant, stuck-up person (another manager) showed up, and started to explain that here, in this country ladies are called like “Hon”, “Sweetheart” or whatever men want to call them, so he started to call me “Darling”. From that day on, this manager visited me regularly at work until he managed to got me to understand that it would have been much better for me to become his “Friend with benefits”, if I had wanted to keep my -otherwise- underpaid and hard physical job. I relied on this income as I was married and had a family, however, he (or the company who was backing him in his filthy blackmailing, and was covering his acts in every possible way) was never interested in my being married. They never accepted this as an excuse for not being a “Friend with benefits” of anyone. I just wanted to work, earn money and spend it on my family. I did not want any trouble. They were extremely happy with my work, so I calmed down a bit when a 20-year-old girl arrived to the company (I was 39) to participate in a 9-month Internship as a receptionist, and this manager had found another amusement for himself in the person of that girl. (Literally, they spent the whole day together, the company supplied them with enough time, car and fuel to travel to the next town where the girl lived so that they could have sex instead of being at work. I was happy with that because I thought, at least, I would be left alone.) The only thing I was not happy with was that when this girl went on holiday this manager came and started the harassment over again as he needed someone for sex. As I could observe it, he was literally “bathing” in the fame that he was a “fashionable womanizer” who could bother anyone unpunished as he was completely a beneficiary of nepotism at the company I worked for. Being famous for having more than one “Friend with benefits” simultaneously was his real enjoyment, rather than having sex with them. So, he often came and pretended in front of my colleagues that I was one of his “Friends with benefits”. I was warned for the second time that it was better not to fall out with that manager, so to save my job AND ONLY TO SAVE MY JOB!!! I slept with him for the second time. When his girlfriend returned from holiday, she was not even jealous of me when she heard the story of how his boyfriend had compensated himself when she was gone – which showed me the fact that how high expectations she might have had regarding being the girlfriend of an accomplished 40-year-old businessman. Probably, a job or a marriage had been promised to her. To make this story short, I could not take the harassment and humiliation anymore as he and the whole company objectified me as his spare sex-toy, so I quit my job. The most interesting part of it is that my reputation has been ruined, I could not get a job ever since I left them. No one will give me job here because nobody wants to piss them off by employing me. I am the one who lives with “stigma”, my life is broken, and I needed 4 years to recover and tell this story. I think this is some “form ” of rape when someone is blackmailed with their job. And the person, that committed it on me, had spent two years stalking me afterwards. I did not do anything wrong except I did not report his threatening messages like ” (I quote)…believe me you don`t want to fuck with me, or you will be sorry!…” to police at all. Thank you for reading my story, and …LADIES, LEARN YOUR LESSON OF IT!!!
I have my dog who I love dearly, and I walk him around my block every day because my mom thinks it’s “safe.” I usually wear sweatpants and a t shirt. Nothing fits me tight or is revealing. But every time I go to walk them I get catcalled at least once. It never got farther than that, until a few weeks ago. I was walking my dog and we stopped because this man has a dog about the same age and they both seemed to get along. He seemed friendly and we just stood there when we started talking about the dogs. They were simple things like the breed, the dog food they eat, their age, and so on. He was slowly coming closer to me, and I soon became uncomfortable. So I called my dog and told him it was time to go, and we started walking home. We were walking down the sidewalk when he caught up to me and told me that he was going the same way, and I knew he was lying because we were going in opposite directions. I just nodded my head and continued walking when his hand reached for my butt. He grabbed it like it was nothing. That was when I told him to back off. He told me that I was making a fuss out of nothing and he went to grab my breasts. I tried to run, but I couldn’t get away seeing as he was much bigger than I was. My dog saw that I was trying to get away, and he started to bark. The people who lived in the house we were by looked out the window and saw what was going on and came out as well. Thankfully it was a woman and she told him to back off or she was going to call the cops. She asked me of I was okay and offered to walk me home. She walked me home, and luckily didn’t tell my parents what happened. Ever since then I have refused to walk him anymore. My brother is the one who walks him now. I’m only 13 years old.
When I was 15, I spent a lot of time at my high school boyfriend’s house because I liked him, his mom was nice to me, and I hated my own house. Over time I started to feel more and more uncomfortable, for a reason I didn’t even understand at first. It wasn’t my boyfriend who was a year older than me… it was his LITTLE brother. The brother might have been 10 years old when my boyfriend and I first got together. This kid wasn’t an angel to begin (huge Grand Theft Auto fan and swore more in a week than I had in my life) with, but over the next two years he became a total creep. This kid would pretend to jerk off towards me. A quick hand thrusting, followed by a hand explosion. He did this thing, towards me, nearly EVERYDAY. It wasn’t even like a secret thing. It was just thing he did, like the way some people use a lot of hand expressions when they talk. And there could be 3 other people in the room and he would still do it. He would walk by, stop, do it, and walk away. Or end a conversation that way. At first I ignored it. Or laughed it off. After all, he was just a kid. But he got older, and I got older, and I started to understand how gross and wrong it was. Eventually, after at least a whole year of this, I called up my boyfriend and tried to explain to him my feelings. At first he tried to say it was nothing. Then I burst into tears, told him it was sexual harassment, and I would breakup with him if he didn’t make is brother stop. He did make his brother stop, who proceeded to be more of a jerk in less offensive ways. I’m 27 years old now, and I still can’t forget how disturbing it was.
I grew up in Cyprus and sexism is extremely common there. Cases of sexual harassment often go unnoticed, and even if reported, not much will be done. My boss is a top architect in the country and he would blow kisses at me when I was leaving the office, call me darling and ask me to pick up his kids from school. I’m a qualified architect. His wife said I look like a “russian” (Cypriot for slut) and said I make easy money. In such a sexist environment you see, women often target women, since the man is never to blame.
When I was at secondary school, around 13-14, there was a group of boys who used to tease me in class by telling me that I was beautiful, making kissing gestures and noises, and even went so far as to write a song about me and get it played on local radio (thanks, DJ). I understood that this was because I was so disgusting to them as to be funny. One time, they waited for me after school, grabbed me, and took it in terms to rub themselves against me, while singing the song they had written. I told nobody, because, as I say, I’d internalised the blame (but I did land some punches). Something reminded me of this the other day, and I Googled the one name that I remember. Turns out he’s been put on the UK sex offenders register. So much for “just a bit of fun”.