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No one knows this, but I was verbally harassed so many times on a daily basis that I actually became terrified of the city and withdrew from my University because of it. I wouldn’t leave my dorm room except to go to class and avoided parties because I wouldn’t walk around outside after dark. It was hard for my friends to understand because they weren’t being followed around with the generic “Hey beautiful”s and “Sexy”s. There was one time where a man on the street stopped and proposed to me. It’s crazy that people call me paranoid because of it. People need to become aware of street harassment!
So about two months ago, while walking home late, a man was yelled to me ” yo shorty let me holla at you” I ignored him. He continued ” yo, you hear me? I’m talking to you” I replied “no I’m cool”. As I got further down the street he proceeds to throw a can at me. The can missed me, but I was terrified. I didn’t know what to do and to honest I was afraid to call the cops cause I’d been drinking and felt they’d nothing anyway. Street harassment is a terrible reality but to stop it we [have to speak out.]
PECO subcontractors (from some company named something like InterSource or something), about 10 or 15 of them. I was walking back from kayaking on the river. I hear a whistle and ignore it. Then I hear “what, you’re whistling at her?” Real classy PECO, real classy. I went back and complained to one of the men who had not caught up to the others yet, and was told I could not possibly have heard what I thought I heard. Because I’m what, making it up in my head? I called and complained and was told a supervisor would call back to take the complaint in 24 hours, but they never did.
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While walking from home to the El, I crossed paths with a man. He had been walking with a friend, who he ditched to walk with me for an entire block in an attempt to pick me up. He asked if I had a boyfriend, but continued to ask me out and for me to take his number after I told him I was married and showed him my ring.
He revealed little of himself, but asked a lot of me, even inquiring as to whether I’ve dated black men before (he’s black and I’m white) and why those relationships ended. He even claimed that Jamaican men like him treat their women like queens, without a hint of realization at the irony of his kidnapping my time for the ransom of my attention while ignoring my kind but clear rejections.
Entering the station, I expected to escape, but he followed me up the escalator. I lost him at the turnstyle since he didn’t have busfare. Just another clueless “nice guy” I couldn’t have educated without further compromising myself.
I’m in the Walgreen’s on a late afternoon in Center City. I’ve had a rough week and am not in the best mood, but I try to keep my public face on and smile at other customers, including one overweight white man probably 10+ years older than me wearing a crisp white suit and red/white polka dot bowtie.
He responds to my smile with a verbal hello and I reply in kind. We continue to shop on our own and end up in line together at the registers.
He says “you look sad” and I reply “I’m not having the best day” figuring my mood would likely discourage him from continuing the conversation. Instead, he tells me his name and shakes my hand.
He still hasn’t let go of my hand and has started stroking the other side of it before asking what I do for a living. Without answering his question, I pull my hand away saying “I’d like my hand back.” He holds on at first but then relents, saying “but I like it” and before I can think of what to say/do the cashier calls me to the register.
The man continues and says he’d like to take me out. I say “I’m married” and flash my ring. He says I don’t look married, and that I look like a free agent…” I leave the store after telling him to take care, even if only to model appropriate behavior for this man who obviously does not pick up on social cues from women he finds attractive.
Now I’m feeling gross because I can still sense the pressure of his hand having touched mine for so long and with such ignorant intent.
I was walking down Girard avenue towards front street to catch the train when a guy in a black shirt started yelling ” looks like you could use some help with those bags”, ” can I walk you home ?”. My hands were filled with bags as I had just stopped by the Superfresh. I thought his comments were innocent enough so I responded with a ” thanks, but no “. I had made my way to the corner when the light turned red so I had to stop. The guy in the black shirt made his way to me as I waited for the light and just started staring at me. He started saying how beautiful I was and again just stared at me. I was confused wondering why he was so close to me and looking so strange. He then asked if I had a boyfriend which I quickly replied yes. He said ” I hope he’s taking care of you” and then proceeded to grab me tightly and kissed me on the forehead. As soon as the light turned I just walked away. I was stunned that a stranger thought it ok to touch and kiss me. I was also amazed at how uncomfortable and unsafe I could feel in a public place.
When I was 14 I was taking the bus home from school a teenage boy say next to me and after we made eye contact he asked my name which I refused to tell him, afterwards he asked questions such as where I lived and if I had a boyfriend, I thought if I told him yes he would leave me alone , he took out his phone and coaxed me into putting my number into his phone, he wouldn’t leave me alone so I entered a fake number and that’s when he left me alone
A man sitting on his porch yelled “how you doing baby?” over and over while I walked by. Because I ignored him he yelled “well excuse me. I didn’t realize you were too good.”
I was grocery shopping when a man approached me in the aisle. He said, “wow you are pretty! can i talk to you for a minute?” and i said, “sir i am in a rush to get some food, i don’t have time now, thank you!” and he said, “now wait a second, you will have time for a man like me.” then he proceeded, as i walked away, to follow me, aisle by aisle, asking why i won’t talk to him. I turned around and said, “you are too old for me (he was at least 50, i am 30), and I am not interested.” this turned into negativity and he wouldn’t let me get away. I finally decided to leave early, without getting the food i needed. I waited in the checkout line, he followed. he shouted after me as i drove away, i was only able to get about 5 things.
Waiting to cross the street after running 4 miles, I was on the phone with my significant other seeing when he would be home. As I was waiting for the light to turn so I could cross I hear someone make kissing sounds. I turn around and two older gentlemen are standing behind me and one mutters that I have a “fuckable pussy”. I just gave him this look like I was going to kill him and walked away, I was afraid they would follow me.