Appalachian Ohio, Athens GA, Atlanta, Berkeley, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Columbia MO, Des Moines, Fredericksburgh VA, Jacksonville NC, Los Angeles, New York City, NYU, Philadelphia, Palo Alto, Portland ME, Richmond VA, Rutgers University, San Francisco
I was just getting off the subway at the Harvard stop on the Red Line around 12:40 Thursday afternoon. I walked towards the escalator heading out when a man stopped next to me as we headed up. I could see out of my peripheral that he kept looking at me. He would look away and then look again. I tried not to think too much of it, and walked past him as we stepped off the escalator and began to walk out of the station. I headed up Mass Ave and took a look behind me. The same guy from before was actually running to catch up to me. I got nervous and began to walk faster, and he kept behind me. I came to the crosswalk to cross the street and had to wait for the walk signal to turn on. He stood next to me and began yelling “HEY!” and “YO!” at me. I had my headphones on but I could still hear him. Once the walk signal came I quickly walked across but he kept close behind me. He followed me up Mass Ave, but gave up and turned around as we passed Harvard Law. I tried to remain as calm as possible, but I won’t lie, my stomach felt like it was sinking the whole time.
I checked all my belongings so I know I didn’t drop anything that he was trying to return. He followed me for about five minutes and I don’t know how I didn’t lose it in that time. I was just so scared. I’m used to cat calls and the like, but this was the first time I was followed for this long. I hope I don’t run into him again.
We were out for my friend’s bachelorette party. It was a crazy weekend with the bachelorette party Friday, the rehearsal Saturday, and the wedding sunday.
The bride to be was very very drunk- as does happen on your last night or un-wed mischief. We were taking her back to the hotel when this guy starts following us and asking her questions. “What’s your name” “Where are you staying”, etc. She’s wasted so she’s very friendly answering him back, telling him she’s getting married. She was basically at the point where me and another girl were holding her up walking.
The dude follows us all the way back to the hotel, trying to get us to let him hang out with her. I basically had to shout at all the people loitering around the door not to let the guy into the hotel. It was totally gross and unacceptable. Who tries to get with a nearly unconscious girl right before she’s about to get married?
Tuesday was beautiful and I was having one of those, “Damn, it feels good to be alive,” kind of mornings. My “lovely, lady, lesbian love” (Molly Shannon, Serendipity) and I were taking a slow stroll home after getting a morning coffee, a treat for the accomplishment of being alive on this bright, Spring day.
She stopped for a moment and I brushed the hair from her face and saw the sun hit her sweet little nose and from behind me, “I WANT TO EAT YOUR PUSSY,” was the next thing I heard. Wait, what?! I turned around to see the white, middle-aged guy driving a silver minivan across the street repeat, “I want to eat your pussy!” Wait, what!?
Before it had even registered with me what was going on, Katrina yelled, “Are you fucking serious” with enough vehemence that the people sitting at the outside patio of Starbucks and the woman walking down the street looked up to see what was happening.
“Yeah, I am,” he said.
Traffic moved and he drove away. We stood there red faced and shaking, kicking ourselves for not reacting sooner, for not shaming him back, for not getting the damn license plate number, for not chucking two delicious iced coffees straight at his face.
At least the day started off beautiful.
It was October.
I had just come from watching my friend perform in a play for her university. Shakespeare. The weather had been warm lately, but the temperatures dropped with nightfall. As she walked me to the bus stop, I had shrugged on a red sweater over my dress. I had always felt cute in this dress: neon flowered and knee-length, flaring when if I laughingly twirled around.
My friend was only gone for a few minutes when they drove up, waiting for the light. Four of them stuffed into a little compact car. I didn’t realize at first that they were talking to me.
“Hey! Playing the innocent whore tonight, aren’t we? Pretending to be all cute for us.”
I pulled out my headphones, tried to focus on the music. I heaved a sigh of relief as they made it up to the light. Imagine my surprise when they came back–they had GONE OUT OF THEIR WAY to drive around the corner to stop in front of me again.
“Slut! You’re such a little SLUT!”
I still wear the dress into the city; now it has become my act of defiance. After all, my favorite dress and I don’t deserve to be shamed into submission.
Yet I can’t fight the urge that I sometimes have to tug my dress down when I pass, alone, by a group of men. Wishing, for a moment, that it were longer.
This took place on Easter day. It was very lovely out and I decided to go for a run on Meridian street and through Maverick Square in East Boston. After a couple of miles and feeling quite great I stopped at the grocery store to pick up some fruits and vegetables. On my walk back to my apartment, I noticed flowers that were planted in a public area. I went over to admire them, and take a picture for instagram. While I was bending over I could hear men who were standing in a group 50 feet away from me start to comment on my appearance. I gave them disapproving looks, but they didn’t seem to care.
As I gathered my bags to leave one of them approached me. I wish I just walked away because I knew what was coming, but trying to be optimistic and positive I stood my ground.
He asked me “My friend and I have a bet going on, we are saying you can’t be more than 22.”
I glared at him.
“How old are you?” as he looked me up and down and licked his lips.
“I’m not interested in talking to you” I said as a stared down at my phone. Feeling completely violated and enraged by the idea that he is trying to flatter me by telling me I look young. Gross.
“Well, how old are you?!”
Silence. More glaring.
“You can’t be any older than 22, right? RIGHT!?” He yells. His face turns angry and annoyed as he walks away and talks shit about me to his group of friends.
I storm off, and vent to my boyfriend about how I can’t go for a walk and look at some flowers without being harassed.
He ruined my day.
It’s Friday and this has been A WEEK to say the least. Wearing the comfiest clothes I dare to work: brown jeans, tan “fancy” sweatshirt, sneakers, rain jacket, bangs pulled back but hair down, and glasses.
I have had MORE men slow down and/or honk than normal in the 0.25 mi walk to my bus stop, including the creep who drives the “School Bus” van who ALWAYS gives me the side-eye stare.
Like wtf, really? This is what makes you wanna “hit that” or whatever? I need a coffee.
During the summer between my Freshmen and Sophomore year of college I was nineteen and I was taking a summer class at WSU and I wanted to stay around Worcester and study after my class. The campus library was undergoing construction over the summer, so I decided to go to the public library for a quieter environment. I was always told to be careful being out by myself in Worcester but I thought a library would be fine. I got to the library and managed to find a table by myself despite how busy it was. A young man approached me and asked if I minded sharing a table because he couldn’t find one. I let him sit with me and immediately regretted it. He kept trying to talk to me despite my repeated reminders that I was studying, I even put in my headphones and turned my music up to drown him out. I just thought he was being rude, but because nothing he said was lewd so I tried to calmly ignore him awhile. After reading the same sentence for the 5th time I had enough and I got up to leave. He grabbed my hand and asked me to stay, but I pulled my hand away and told not to fucking touch me so naturally he immediately grabbed my boobs instead. I slapped his hands away and pushed him away from me. I grabbed my bags and walked away to him yelling about what a pyscho bitch I am, how I shouldn’t be playing hard to get, and how he was never into me anyway. Mind you this was a crowded library and not one person intervened or even looked up during this exchange.
I walked out of school and began to walk to the t station when a man began yelling. I turned to see what was going on and saw a man hanging out of the driver’s side window of a car filled with men. The man was pointing a smart phone at me while he was staring and yelling at me. This continued for almost three blocks. The man repeatedly yelled “smile for the camera” among other things. It was rush hour and traffic was moving at almost the same speed as I was, so the car was practically driving alongside me as I walked. At one point the car had gotten a bit further ahead of me but then stopped moving ahead in the line for the next stoplight until I walked past again. Maybe I froze a bit in the beginning, but after nearly three blocks I decided to get a picture of their license plate, which I’m attaching. The group of men inside the car screamed “ohhh she’s getting the license plate.” I was planning to call the police to report their plate number then realized the police don’t usually do anything about street harassment. I’m not sure why but after they saw I was trying to get their plate number they finally took advantage of all the space they left between their car and the one in front of them and sped away just in time to make the green light. It’s hard to feel safe when instances like this happen.
Sometimes I can totally deal with people on the sidewalk talking to me and sometimes I want to pull out a sword, stab them in the gut and say “Do I still ‘look like fun’?”
Today, I was running my usual route along the Greenway in East Boston. The weather was considerably warmer today than it has been, which meant I got to shed my winter layers. As you might expect, there were a lot of people outside today — walking, playing with their kids, just hanging out.
I shit you not when I say that almost every middle-aged man (either alone, with their children, with other men, with women) I ran past purposefully STOPPED WHAT THEY WERE DOING and stared at me. Their heads literally turned as I ran past them. ONE PERSON EVEN PUSHED HIS SUNGLASSES FURTHER DOWN HIS NOSE TO LOOK AT ME.
I do my best to stay out of people’s way when I’m running, so it’s not like they were all staring at me because I was about to run into them or made them divert from their paths.
It’s infuriating because I loathe gyms and don’t want to feel like I can’t fucking run outside because someone’s going to be staring at my ass. Makes me reluctant to take my underarmour pants off once it really starts to get warm. One of the worst bits about this is I almost wrote an entire paragraph justifying what I was wearing – as if it should make a difference what I choose to wear when I go for *my* run.