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lynn’s Story: he masturbates next to her on the Trenton Regional Rail

I was taking the train to New Jersey which involves taking 2 trains. About half way through the first ride, this man sits across from me in the aisle seat of a 3 seater. He is looking right at me. I turn my head and meet his gaze to let him know I am not afraid of him. He continues for a few moments and then averts. I go back to reading. After several minutes, he turns to face the window with one leg up on the seats. After a while, he switches to regular posture and switches back when the conductor comes around. It’s on this next pivet that I see his hand touching his dick through his pants. I look right at him, take his picture, and say ‘Are you really doing that?’. He feigns confusion. I look to his crotch and say ‘Do we have a problem? Do I need to get the conductor?”. He says that he is doing nothing and moves to cover his lap with his backpack. I reply, “then continue to do nothing”. I take his picture again and go get the conductor down the car. At this point I’m shaking. He goes to talk with him and stands with him while the car pulls into the last station. The man is the first to get off and I don’t know what was said. I wait until the car empties out to leave and keep checking my back until my connection arrives.

 

 

 

 

 

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May’s Story: She didn’t want to dance with a VIP guest, so he asked the bouncer to kick her out.

I had went out for a “night on the town” with one of my friends and we ended up at Whisper (night club). Sometime during the night we were invited into the VIP section on the bottom floor by a group of people. A guy from a different group in VIP approached me and wanted to dance. I shook my head and moved away from him. Apparently you can’t say no in VIP and a bouncer called me over and told me I had to leave the area. I was confused so I asked the bouncer why I was being forced out. He replied to me that one of the VIP guests had asked that I be removed. The bouncer continued to tell me how I didn’t want to dance with the guy so he can choose to kick me out. I asked to speak to a manager. I asked the manager if he had daughters or sisters who if they didn’t dance with someone they didn’t want to dance with, should be punished. The manager apologized and gave us free passes back to Whisper and said we could go back into VIP but that generally that their policy is to do what VIP guests ask. I didn’t go back into VIP and I won’t be returning to Whisper.

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Marissa’s Story: He charged at her and then groped her on the Market-Frankford subway line

So, I was walking from 69th to get onto the Norristown High Speed Line when this guy, looked to be in his 40’s, came charging at me. I tore to move out of his way but he kept moving closer. When we were very close he went down and touched my vagina and said, “wish I was in there!” Please be careful on the L.

 

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Emily’s Story: “If a woman tells you that they don’t want to be touched by you, then you have to respect that.”

Well, hey rando drunk guy at the bar. When you touched my butt the first time without my consent, I excused it as you just being drunk. But when I specifically engaged in a conversation with you about consent and coercion and then you chose to touch my butt and inner thigh when I literally told you it wasn’t okay with me, it became 100% unacceptable. Then when I told you to leave and then had to ask my friend to tell you to leave, you still didn’t understand because you had nieces and sisters who you’d never treat that way. If a woman tells you that they don’t want to be touched by you, then you have to respect that. If they seem a little drunk and you assume their friendliness is an invitation to whatever-the-fuck-else, guess what! It’s not. Especially when they specifically say it’s not.

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Mae’s Story: “Are there no safe spaces for women?”

I usually stop at some benches to stretch after a run and two guys wandered over to watch. I stopped then and there and headed upstairs to grab my stuff and wait for my husband to pick me up. I sat inside for a while but it was a nice day so I headed back outside and soon I heard “ooh she’s looking fit ain’t she” from the other side of the street. Were they looking for me after the first time I went inside? I tried to ignore them but soon they came closer so that they could harass me from up close. The last thing I heard before going back inside was “your customers are satisfied”. I reported them to building management but I’m so pissed that I had to start my weekend that way. I probably did the right thing ignoring them but it freaks me out that they came back a second time and that they now know I’m connected to that building in some way. Are there no safe public spaces for women?

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J B’s Story: Rape jokes are never funny.

I was out in Manayunk at the Bayou talking to the owner outside about crazy drunk people. He said he’d buy my friend and me a drink because he appreciated how we handled ourselves. My friend went inside to use the bathroom and the owner put his arm around me and said “just don’t be angry if I take advantage of you later” while he was on the phone with his wife. I told him that would never happen and that I’ll pass on the drink. He claimed it was a joke but I don’t find that kind of talk funny.

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Ralex’s Story: She calls him out, he gets defensive and dismissive

I was riding my bike and decided to pull over on the sidewalk to catch my breath and drink some water. While I was doing that, a man passed me and said something about hitching a ride on my bike. I ignored the comment, as I didn’t think it was funny, and I was trying to maintain my personal space.

He then said, “Have a good day, MISS!,” and adds an emphasis on the “miss” as though I didn’t hear him when he made the stupid joke.

I continue to ignore him because I feel my personal space is intruded on. All I wanted to do was catch my breath and find a place to lock my bike. His joke was stupid and turned me off to even wanting to talk to him. I didn’t even want to return a “hello” because of how ridiculous he was.

As he walked farther away, he said, “Not everything I say is a pick up.”

Maybe that is true, but he is still giving me attention that makes me feel uncomfortable. It sounded like he wanted me to acknowledge him in some way. Maybe asking to hitch a ride on my bike was a euphemism for sex. I don’t know what went on in his mind.

I’ve encountered this man once or twice before in my neighborhood. He probably says this to all the women he sees riding bikes.

Whether his comment was of a sexual/flirtatious nature or not, his reaction still represents a power dynamic that makes some men see public spaces as “men’s spaces” and women are just extensions of those spaces. In their eyes, we inhabit the world for their amusement. That man, and all the men harassing women, feel entitled to our attention.

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Kristen’s Story: Bystander support after witnessing groping

I was walking behind a woman and saw a man pause behind her. He woman turned around and looked upset, so I asked her if everything was ok. She said the man had just grabbed her breast. I asked if she wanted to do anything or report it, but she said she was ok.

I can’t believe how blatant he was.

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