Hissed and grabbed in the pouring rain

April 21, 2011

It was pouring rain in New York yesterday and freezing cold. I was unprepared and left my umbrella and rain jacket at home, so I was already soaking when a strange man started making hissing sounds at me across the street from the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

I glance in his direction to see what the noise was and then continued walking when I saw it was some gross man. He then continued the hissing sounds and approached me, really quickly, it seemed, and said something like, “I got what you need” or some shit. I was extremely upset with just being hissed at and followed, and said “Don’t talk to me!”

But then he started grabbing at my hip. I was so shocked to have my physical privacy violated a stranger that I again screamed in his face, “Don’t talk to me!! Are you fucking kidding me??” and ran down the block, where I saw a crosstown bus waiting, and got on. I didn’t look back.

The worst part was that I noticed other people around me from the corners of my eyes and no one did anything to help.

– Anonymous

Location: 5th and 79th, New York City, New York

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Harassed, followed, assaulted on Oxford Street in Liverpool

April 15, 2011

[Trigger Warning — Sexual Assault]

I was walking home from a club late at night, having become separated from my friend earlier on in the night. I stopped on the steps of a cathedral close to my house to have a cigarette and look at the view, and as I came down the steps, a man came out of a side street and began to follow me.

He tried to talk to me and I politely told him that I needed to get home, and said goodnight to him. At that point, he began grabbing me by the waist, holding onto me tighter every time I slipped away from him. I turned around and screamed at him to leave me alone, by this point scared and beginning to cry.

As I walked behind the bus stop next to my home, he grabbed me again, this time refusing to let me go. He pushed his hand into my underwear, and sexually assaulted me.

Several cars drove past less than two metres away from where I was being attacked, in full view of the road, and as I can remember it was the fifth or sixth passer by who eventually stopped to help me.

– Anonymous

Location: Oxford Street, Liverpool, UK

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“Suddenly he had my foot in his hand and was squeezing it in different places”

January 5, 2011

My partner and I were on vacation in New Orleans the week after Christmas. Having left snowstorms behind us at home, we were enjoying the sunshine and wearing jeans and t-shirts.

One morning, we were sitting waiting for the street car at the stop by the French Market when a man approached me and very cordially asked me, “What type of shoes are those?”

He was about middle aged, looked clean enough, and seemed friendly. I was wearing plain black leather loafers, but the brand name escaped me. I guess I assumed he was looking for something similar for his wife or daughter. I smiled, slipped off my shoe and read him the brand. He asked if the leather was soft. Alarm bells should’ve gone off when he knelt at my side and took the shoe from my hand, but he just seemed so genuine. He noted the padded insert and asked if I had high arches.

Suddenly he had my foot in his hand and was squeezing it in different places. I was starting to get nervous, but he was calmly going on about being a reflexologist and I was caught between stunned silence and naive belief. It wasn’t until he painfully pressed down on a bone in my foot I’ve broken twice in the past that I was jolted back to my senses. With his hands still on my foot, he started asking my girlfriend about her feet. I pulled my foot away, still smiling and trying to be polite.

Then, without either of us even saying anything to him to end the encounter, he was just gone. I suppose he’s done this enough times to know when the game is over, because he completely disappeared the instant before either of us became confrontational.

In retrospect, I’m upset with myself for doing nothing. I’ve told cat-callers to fuck off more times than I can count, called supervisors of men who’ve harassed me while they were on the job, and I read blogs like this one regularly. I KNOW better. I stick up for myself and others when I see or experience street harassment. But here was a man TOUCHING me and trying to touch my girlfriend, and I smiled and nodded while it went on for several minutes. The whole experience left me feeling disgusting and was really triggering for me as a sexual assault survivor.

– mbc

Location: New Orleans, LA, near the French Market

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“I was crying too hard to drive”

December 2, 2010

Today I was in my favorite chain of gas stations in town. They are always well lit, clean and have 5 attendants on the clock at all times.

I went to the ATM,and got out my money (hovering close to the screen to block the view) and walked to the counter. Some guy got into a spat with a woman behind him because she would not buy something he wanted, she said “Son, we don’t have the money for that” and turned to go get into the far line away from me.

As I walked this dirty looking guy walked up behind me, and stood in line. I only noticed him because he was watching me closely, and he was the guy that snapped at his apparent mother.

My first thought was he might think of taking my money he looked at me so intensely, so I tucked my purse under my arm and zipped it up.

As the clerk came to me and I started counting the money, I felt the guy behind me get very close to me, close enough to feel his breath on the back of my neck. He finally bumped my ass, and I could actually feel his hand through my slacks!

I turned around abruptly and screamed at him, “Do not touch me! I don’t know you! You have plenty of room to stand here, you do not have to be so close to me!”

He jumped back and started calling me names and saying, “That guy behind me pushed me.”

I yelled back, “I don’t fucking care you have no right to touch me, back up right now!”

He looked about my age (early 20’s). I looked around the store at this point everyone was staring like I was a crazy woman. I even saw his mother and she was looking at him like…I don’t know like she expected it? Kind of a “Oh my god not again.” I turned back around, because now I knew everyone was staring at him. He kept calling me names, under his breath and i finished paying for my money order, and left.

I was so humiliated! I even stood up for myself, but by the time I was out of the store and driving home I actually had to pull over in another gas station and have a panic attack there locked in my car because I was crying too hard to drive.

– BME

Location: Tulsa, OK

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DC metro assault

May 27, 2010

I live in Washington, DC and got on the metro at Farragut North and was headed to Gallery Place/Chinatown. I saw a man staring at me in the metro station and it was extremely crowded. He would not take his eyes off me and I started to feel really uncomfortable. When I reached Gallery Place/Chinatown Metro Stop he saw me getting off and decided to get off the train as well. I was pretty certain that was not his stop.

He grabbed my right arm tightly and flung me against the wall as soon as I got off the metro. He started saying very inappropriate things about what he wanted to do to me, how gorgeous he thought I was, and how he could help me with my career. He told me to get out my phone and save his phone number and he was still grabbing my arm very tightly. Finally he let me go and just stared at me as I ran up the escalator. I couldn’t believe that among all of the hundreds of people in the metro station, not one person stopped to see if I was o kay, when I clearly looked uncomfortable, upset, and scared.

I never reported it and then about a week later I was in Starbucks and I hear a man behind me say, “SURPRISE!” It was the same man that harassed me in the metro station and I cannot even explain to you how startled I was. He said, “Look, I want to apologize, I think we got off on the wrong foot last time we met.”

Every emotion flew through my body at that very moment and I screamed at him and told him how inappropriate he was and how he should know better than to grab a woman like that. I told him he had no right to do what he did and he had no business following me into Starbucks. I told him I had no interest in speaking with him and I think every person getting coffee that morning heard as well. He tried to explain that he was a “professional” and why couldn’t we just have a “professional” conversation. He said he was offended that I thought so poorly of him.

Honestly, the whole situation was unbelievable. You always have to be careful because you never know who can be watching you or following you. That man clearly knew my route to work and followed me into the Starbucks that I go to every morning. Don’t be afraid to speak out and let people know when they do something that violates you and is absolutely UNACCEPTABLE.

– ZK

Location: Washington, DC

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