Live Through This

It Happens All the Time

A private conversation about street harassment, made public.

Illustration by Emma D.

Here’s an unexciting secret: the Rookie staff has a hidden Facebook group wherein we discuss themes and ideas and assignments. We also go there to chat and gossip and joke around and blow off steam. Sometimes things get serious, as they did last month, when Jamia told us about a gross incident of street harassment that had happened to her that day. As everyone began to chime in with support and tales of similar things that had happened to them, we all got so sad, and so MAD. It dawned on us that you can take any random group of girls and women, and EVERY SINGLE ONE of them will have multiple stories of terrible things that were said to them and done to them on the street by strangers, as a matter of course. Just the normal state of affairs when you are out in public, being female. Like, we’re not special. This happens to everybody.

We’re publishing that conversation here today. If you’re not a girl, you might be surprised to learn what all your female friends go through. It might help you understand why we don’t think it’s cute or cool or flattering to be hollered at, commented on, ogled, or groped as we just try to get from one place to another. This wasn’t a conversation we had for the public—this was just what came out when we talked about this stuff in private. Any girl you know can tell you her own horror stories, if you’re willing to listen.

Warning: strong language throughout, by necessity.

April 16, 2012

Jamia: OMG nasty street-harassment moment in my lyfe… I was sitting in Grand Central’s food court today eating soup. My nose was stuck in a book, so I didn’t notice what was going on around me. When I was done eating, I turned around and saw this old man sitting two seats away from me. He looked over at me and was masturbating in his pants and talking to himself. UGH. I got up right away and tried to find a cop, to no avail. When I came back the man had moved on to rubbing his arm instead. I am still pissed off about it.

Jamie: This sucks and is gross. I am adding my own story to this. One time I was in T.J. Maxx shopping for bathing suits. I was not trying them on, just browsing the aisle, and I looked over to the novelty-lotions gifty-crap section, and there was a man staring at me and jerking off with the lotion from the tester. I was 15.

Anaheed: GOD. I am so sorry, both of you. I always wish I had the balls to YELL at those people, but I get too grossed out and freaked out.

Amy Rose: Oh my god, Jamia, I am so sorry. I’ve had strangers touching me a LOT in the past week (seriously, what the fuck is going on here?) and I flip out enough over that. I hate street harassment so much, and I have so much love and empathy for you.

Jamie: I think it has something to do with spring. All the creeps come out of hibernation. I’ve been getting “Hey…smile!” a lot more, too, from weird paternalistic men on the street.

Jamia: I’m so sorry you ladies have had similar experiences. I usually say, “Show some respect,” but I was so shocked today. Another time this guy came up to me in Washington Square Park and yelled, “I want to eat your pussy” and made this hand motion at me…it was so gross that I burst into tears and yelled at him. GROSS GROSS Gremlins.

Anaheed: When guys used to yell that at me I used to say, “Oh wow, really, that would be amazing, I have been waiting all night for some gross turd to offer to eat my pussy.” (They don’t yell that at me anymore, ’cause I’m old.)

Jamie: My plan is to yell, “Would you say that to your mother?” and see what happens.

Amy Rose: I always fuh-REAK. Even at catcallers. My method has advanced recently: now when people holler at me from cars or on the street, I go into full pretending-to-be-a-horrible-tortured-monster mode and growl and act like a lunatic. I really want to demonstrate for you guys so you can see how into it I get!!!

Jamie: Vid plz.

Amy Rose:

[Please excuse the shitty video quality; Amy Rose recorded this on Facebook, which is not known for its high-def video capabilities.]

[There followed a long string of “I love you, Amy Rose!” comments.]

Naomi: Amy Rose, be my bodyguard.

Emma D.: “Self-Defense With Amy Rose” should be a regular Rookie column.

Leanna: I’m so sorry those things happened. I like this project.

Jenny: Dang, you girls are way better at fending off street harassment than I am. When I lived in France, I had it so bad that I literally had to look down at the ground whenever I went outside, because if I even accidentally looked up for a second, some dude or a gang of dudes would go apeshit. Oftentimes I had to factor in extra time when I would walk to the train station or go outside to do errands, because guys in cars would block the crosswalk or intersection so they could harass me. Probably once a day some guy would jump out from seemingly nowhere and do some “kung fu” move that would have been hilarious if it wasn’t in service of harassing the fuck out of me, and I didn’t go a single day without 10 to 15 dudes following me and whispering every single Asian-language word they knew while trying to grab me and pull me into their disgusting arms.

Hannah: I was on the Greyhound once and noticed a guy a few seats behind me moving his hand around in his pants area and staring at me intently. I freaked and moved closer to the driver, and when I looked back he had moved closer! I texted my dad to make sure he was at my station right away to pick me up and kept my hand inside my pocket on my Swiss Army knife. Also, this one time a guy stopped his car and asked me if I wanted a ride and I said, “Only if you’ve got a toilet in the back, ’cause I’ve gotta pee.” He drove away.

Emma D.: Once I fell asleep on the public beach (full of people) in my hometown and woke up an hour later because I could tell that something was GOING ON. As it’s rather difficult to figure out what’s going on when you’re wearing a swimsuit and OMG WHERE ARE MY GLASSES, it took me about two minutes to locate an old, naked man jerking off in the bushes one meter away from me. I ran away, and promised myself I’d yell at someone like him next time. So the next time it happened I yelled at the guy making nasty comments on the street and was all woohoo female power, but he ANSWERED BACK in a vulgar but somehow CLEVER way and it left me speechless. 1:0 FOR THIS ASSHOLE. I STILL CAN’T GET OVER IT.

Naomi: I was THIRTEEN when I first got asked if I wanted a “lift.” I had no fucking idea what to do. Actually, I think I was 11 when I was in the park with my friend and this guy asked us to keep watch while he pissed in a bush. We thought he was probably a flasher, so we just ran like hell.

Tavi: I am so sorry and grossed out for everybody here. On Sunday I was having the worst day and was on the phone with my sister while I was walking home, and these guys outside the library whistled and I WISHED I’d been like ANJSJSIDNSA AMY ROSE GREMLIN or at least like NOBODY ASKED YOU but instead I just gave them a dirty look and was like “ugh” to my sister. Then you have the guilt trip you put yourself through for not saying anything even though it is totally alarming.

Emily C.: ‎Jamie, I will never shop at T.J. Maxx the same way again after reading that. That’s like the worst story I’ve ever heard in my life. The fluorescent lights, the T.J. Maxx smell…ugh. And Jamia, I’m so sorry! At least you got out of there.

Jamia: One of the creepiest street-harassment experiences happened to me in France too—what is it about France? This gang of dudes circled me and one of them picked me up and pretended he was going to carry me off somewhere. I was kicking and screaming, “Va te faire foutre!”* over and over, and my friend Sandy came over and yanked me out of this asshole’s arms.

Eleanor: One time when I was having lunch in a café, this man sat near me. I could see his hand moving around under this giant blanket. Then the other week me, my sister, and a friend were walking to a party and a guy asked to borrow a lighter from my friend. She passed it to him and he held her hand, then he was following us down the street, and then a massive dude came out of an alley and joined him, and then ANOTHER joined him until these three guys were like storming along behind us down this empty street at midnight. We were literally running at this point, and they were saying such disgusting, terrifying stuff, and thank god we got into the house before they got to us. I hate London because every time I visit I get disgusting comments thrown at me and weird guys shouting at me from car windows. I hate that I have to live in fear while on public transit and have to make sure I get off the train just before the doors close so that people don’t follow me…

Hazel: One time at Target there was this man who was yelling at me and saying VULGAR things. I told my mom, and when we left the store the parking lot was dark, but we saw him. My mom drove around him very quickly in tight circles, like almost hitting him and basically stalking him in our car while screaming at him insanely, and I swear to god he was actually scared.

Jenny: I love your mom, Hazel.

Stephanie: I have now had THREE experiences of riding the train in Chicago and seeing a man sitting nearby, leering at me and masturbating. Once it happened when I was on my way to a job interview. Seriously, how fucking unsettling was that? I’ve always been too freaked out to yell or press the train call button, except for once when I happened to be on the phone with my husband and said to him really loudly, “I’M SORRY, I HAVE TO MOVE BECAUSE THE MAN ACROSS FROM ME IS MASTURBATING.” This caused a very suburban-looking dad and son to take notice, and the dude fled the train at the next stop.

Tavi: Stephanie! The fucking El! That happened to me once. UGH. I was just reading my diary from March 2011 and it was around the time when I got contacts and started wearing more-flattering clothes, and all of the entries are like, “Can I do this all without these creeps assuming it’s for them?” Yeesh. That was when the thing on the El happened, and it was my first time on the train alone, too, which was so off-putting! The next time I took the train was on the way to SlutWalk, so I was like SYMBOL FOR PERSONAL GROWTH BLAH BLAH. Can we all have a communal hug?

Stephanie: Communal hugs for sure. And seriously, the fact that these guys think that women dress up so we can play a role in their personal porn is so annoying. I hate that it makes me self-conscious.

Hannah: I dressed very “masculine” once I hit puberty because I was the first one in my class to “develop,” and boys thought they had a right to snap my bra or touch my thighs, so I figured if I covered myself in baggy clothes and made myself look boyish no one would see my female-ness and I would feel tougher. I only really started to celebrate my femininity around 16 or so, and even then I chopped off all my hair as an act of anger toward harassing dudes.

Tavi: I always thought it was interesting that Mary-Kate and Ashley dress so baggily now when there were entire websites counting down the days till they’d turn 18 and be “legal.”

Hannah: The thing is, even when I am not dressed “attractive,” I still get car honks and hoots. I can be bundled up in a parka and rain boots, with my hair pulled back and essentially looking like a genderless blob, and still, pervs will act out.

Naomi: Exactly! I was beeped at on one rainy day—this was last week—and I was like, “I am in jeans and a raincoat and my hair is in a greasy ponytail and I have no makeup on and my face is probably screwed up trying to see through the rain,” but no, people still think it’s funny to make a girl jump out of her skin.

Hannah: But it definitely heightens on those days when you dress up and feel good about yourself, and then some jerk makes you feel like garbage and it’s just like THIS ISN’T FOR YOU, A-HOLE. THIS IS FOR **ME** I AM A QUEEN GODDESS AND YOU ARE A LOWLY WORM.

Tavi: I was complaining about this in class with some other LADIEZ and this douche dude said, “Don’t you think you’re being a little CONCEITED?” God, this isn’t about being like, “IT’S SO HARD TO BE POPULAR!”

Hannah: If a homophobic dude were hit on by men constantly he’d never shut up about it, meanwhile at least once a week from puberty onward I’ve been made to feel like someone’s personal entertainment when I’m doing something as banal as walking to the bus in the middle of the afternoon.

Anaheed: It is crazy how hard it is for most dudes to understand this. How they’re like, “I would love it if people told me how hot I was all the time.” How they tell you, “You should be flattered.” I feel like boys need to be educated about this from a young age! On what it means to be leered at and touched way before you’re even equipped to understand what’s going on, and how that makes you feel shame and guilt and finally anger for the rest of your life.

Naomi: We need some kind of an intervention for men to make them see, LOOK, THIS HAPPENS EVERY DAY. I don’t know about you gals, but I think about it EVERY time I go out. I think most men can’t really comprehend it, because they don’t have to deal with it every day of their lives. I mean, I think I got my first wolf whistle when I was 12? NOW TELL ME WE DON’T NEED FEMINISM.

Anaheed: We should just publish this whole conversation.

Jenny: Hell yeah, publish it. ♦

* Translation: “Fuck off!”

430 Comments

  • Claire May 21st, 2012 3:08 PM

    A super creative thing that random guys like to scream at me is “Nice tits,” because I rock my 32A’s and they’re being ironic, get it?! The last time it happened, I took a note from Tina Fey and yelled “Suck my dick!” while riding my bike down the street. Success.

    • Maggot May 21st, 2012 4:19 PM

      Best thing.

    • caro nation May 21st, 2012 5:07 PM

      My favorite Tina comeback occurred in 30 Rock when Jack yelled, “hello, pussycat,” at Liz and she looked in the car window and said “Oh, I bet a lot of ladies hop right in the car after that line.”

      HELL YES

    • Sterling87 May 21st, 2012 7:59 PM

      EW that’s the fucking worst, I totally get the ironic thing because of my small boobs. You go girl

    • allyishere May 22nd, 2012 4:05 AM

      I always yell “Suck my dick!” because of Tina and it ALWAYS works.

  • Susann May 21st, 2012 3:16 PM

    I’m so glad nothing as bad as that has happened to me before, but whenever some pervert tries to talk to me, I just roll my eyes and walk away. So mature, right?

    http://fashioninpepperland.blogspot.com

  • idontevenknow May 21st, 2012 3:25 PM

    my friend always gets this kinda stuff walking around where she lives in london. one time me and her where going to a sleepover and she was holding a huge blanket and this guy stuck his head out of a car window and said “can i get under there with you” she’s 13 and i’m 14 and its just fucking scary. i wanted to run but sadly she’s used to it and so she just gave him a dirty look.

  • mayaautumn May 21st, 2012 3:27 PM

    this is grossly amazing/funny! and yeah, on the way home from school today, this guy in a van beeped at me and i was in my SCHOOL UNIFORM ffs!! jeez, men these days….
    great read by the way:)

    http://cottonmixblog.blogspot.com

  • unefillecommetoi May 21st, 2012 3:30 PM

    Three weeks ago I went swimming with some friends, there was like 15 of us, guys and girls. We were the only ones in the little lake until a group of gross ass guys swimming in their underwear arrived. It wasn’t until we were getting out of the water to leave that I noticed that the guys were TAKING PICTURES OF US and VIDEOTAPING us!!!!!! And when I told a girl friend that got out of the water with me she was like “Yeah, they’ve been doing it for a while”. ARRRGHHH When we were in the car I found out that most of my friends, specially the guys, noticed, and didn’t do or say anything. I thought maybe they were scared or didn’t want to make a fuss because some of the dudes looked kind of strong. They even asked to take a picture with two french girl friends that came with us and the girls accepted. They filmed us while we changed too. Now I wish I had took their fucking camera and thrown it to the lake.

    • unefillecommetoi May 21st, 2012 3:32 PM

      Not even the guy that I was going out with at the time did anything now that I think about it!!!! I wonder how they’d feel if gross ass lady swimming in her underwear would videotape them and they knew she’ll masturbate watching them later! AAGGHHRH

    • kirsten May 22nd, 2012 12:24 AM

      what the fuck. not okay. fuck rape culture.

    • Erykaneisha June 17th, 2012 2:35 AM

      Oh lawwwd! Yes! I hate it when you’re harassed & have male friends, FRIENDS, around & don’t do anything about it. I don’t expect guys to be my heroes or anything but as friends, I know I’d say SOMETHING if they were being picked on or harassed themselves.
      I think men definitely need to be brought into a huge intervention on how to treat women right! And this starts at home, when they’re kids & learning how to eat, speak & interacting with society in general.

  • Frodoish May 21st, 2012 3:31 PM

    I feel superbly blessed I don’t have to deal with this! (yet!) Go you guys for dealing with this this crap!

  • TinaBallerina May 21st, 2012 3:38 PM

    This is so great!! I haven’t experienced this kind of shitty behavior myself, but my friend has been stalked by a flasher once. Though all the way through junior high I experienced sexual harassment by my classmates. They didn’t see me as attractive, but still they were creepy, touching, and just disgusting. One guy wrote on my Facebook wall that I should suck his dick, and there were just so many comments. The school actually reported this to the police, but when he was expelled for three days, the whole school hated me. People started following me around, saying I had ruined his life for something that I should have accepted etc. After this, I deleted a lot of people on Facebook, and changed classes for the last six months. Now I go to a different school, where guys have a lot more respect for women. :)

    • Mags May 21st, 2012 4:01 PM

      I applaud you for taking a stand. Nobody should have to put up with that stuff. That guy deserved it. I hope he learned something, but I doubt it. What a creep!

      • TinaBallerina May 22nd, 2012 5:14 AM

        As far as I know, he’s still every bit of a creep. His twin brother is just as bad, and I think they’ve inherited this attitude from their father. The morning after he wrote that comment on Facebook, all the guys in class (plus him) were laughing and making comments. Then I got a text about it, and my dad called. I never actually saw the status or the comments, but the school actually reacted. We had had problems in the class before with this kind of thing, like idiotic jokes about rape and sex. I was approached by all his friends (literally the whole school) every day when he was expelled, saying how stupid and wrong I was. I walked with a lump in my throat every day, and even suffered from Post Traumatic Stress-Disorder afterwards. I’m still angry, and get frightened when I see peple from my old class at the bus stop.

        • VictoryBelle May 22nd, 2012 7:31 PM

          Stay strong sweetheart, you totally did the right thing. Don’t let the creep or any of the idiots at your old school hold you back. You took a stand and hopefully thats going to help other girls like you xxx

    • Eliza May 25th, 2012 5:21 AM

      This is what I hate about people!!! When jerks do creepy things, nobody does anything but everybody silently supports us. But as soon as WE retaliate, they become the victim!!! Like, seriously?!

      This one guy and his friend blocked me on facebook and were commenting about what a slut I am on a photo of mine that they had taken in class. There were about 60 comments discussing stuff about me that were truly demeaning! And nobody stood up for me except two guys. The first guy did it only because he wanted to get in my pants. And the second guy gave me his password and I printed the photo along with the comments, submitted it to the principal and got their ass suspended for three sweet weeks. And then suddenly the entire class was calling me dangerous and saying that people should not even talk to me and beware.

      But you know what, Tina babe, we gotta stand up for ourselves and do what we gotta do. We owe it to us and to our self-esteem. As for the rest of the world, they can just go and fuck themselves.

  • argigle May 21st, 2012 3:43 PM

    This really is sad. I know I’ve had plenty of expierences and tried to explain to my guy friends that is scary having to wonder if you’re going to get raped or attacked or something when walking down the street, or in a store, or at a party.

  • teenager May 21st, 2012 3:47 PM

    this is AMAZING, I feel so connected to you girls and have such such such high respect for each of you. it’s a major issue that should not be brushed off like most people are guilty of doing.

    one night, when I was about 13 or maybe even 12, I was eating dinner at a restaurant with my family and this man was standing outside the window directly next to me, STARING AT ME. and when we all left he began following me (RUNNING) to the car! until I told my brother and he told him to fuck off. I was shocked he had the nerve to do something so awful in front of my own mother and siblings.

    u h g
    http://interstellarsuburbia.wordpress.com/

  • Naomi May 21st, 2012 3:53 PM

    lol at amy rose next to jon hamm on vimeo
    but seriously, i love you all <3

  • Mags May 21st, 2012 4:00 PM

    I hate when this happens. One time a man pulled over while I was walking home from school and looked at my breasts in this disgusting way and said “Can I have a hug?” I said No and walked away as quickly as possible. It was disturbing. I still remember it. There have been so many instances of stuff like that though. It really sucks and I don’t know how to make it stop. I don’t want to be prejudiced, but men (okay, some men) are really really disgusting and depraved.

  • Alienor May 21st, 2012 4:05 PM

    not too long ago, i was in the subway on my way to school. it was very very crowded and everyone was pushed against each other, but that happens all the time, and people keep to themselves so that it’s not too gross. at one stop, people got out

  • Alienor May 21st, 2012 4:09 PM

    (wow what happened here) ANYWAY
    and people got in. and this guy got behing me, and starting ‘pushing himself’ behind me. i started breathing heavy to calm down, telling myself he would stop but HE DIDNT. he kept pushing more and more , and i started crying so much, so I grabbed this girl standing next to me and told her, and she helped me get out at the next stop. i was crying until i got to school.
    Getting on the subway is now very scary to me.

    • eliza dolittle May 21st, 2012 4:58 PM

      Alienor, that’s awful, fuck that jerk, and don’t forget that we love you. Which might be weird for me to say to you on the internet, but I mean it. I hate that you and and I and my friends are essentially disenfranchised by pathetic individuals so often who, despite having far less personal values and value to the world around them, feel completely entitled to do as they please with the bodies around them.
      But they’re not, and if you have another person around or even a phone they’re easy to shame. So tell them to fuck off, get angry, have a really good cry, and then forget them and go hang out in the places with the things and the people that you love <3

    • Pashupati May 21st, 2012 5:17 PM

      I’m sorry this happened to you. Once I couldn’t go out with my camera anymore because of stuffs that happened when one person asked me about it. It’s scary at the moment but you’re really proud when you actually go out with it or to some place again.
      Yesterday I was scared of going to a place where I used to take photos because some really shitty thing happened in November.
      Then I found if you can work out things to say/do in front of you mirror or something to represent persons, it gets easier (though you can’t imagine every scenario.) Even you can bring someone with you.
      It helps thinking I have more right to go there than they do, because it’s a public space and I don’t harrass people.
      Still don’t force yourself to do something that makes you too uncomfortable when you’re not ready.

      • Alienor May 22nd, 2012 1:28 PM

        thank you both of you thank you ! <3

  • drdischord May 21st, 2012 4:16 PM

    Ugh, this crap is the scariest thing sometimes. My friend and I were walking back from school today – in our extremely unattractive uniforms – and some douche in a van pulled up to the kerb and asked us, “Do you know where the nearest brothel is?” We genuinely thought we’d misheard him and were both like, “Excuse me?” and he said, “Why don’t you FUCKING LISTEN” and drove off.

    It’s such extreme BS that we’re expected to just put up with this stuff. Like, getting a wolf-whistle is some bizarre and gross milestone nowadays. This is why I’m unsure about living in a city when I’m older.

  • charrrl May 21st, 2012 4:17 PM

    I was talking about this just the other day with a boy in my art class. I was saying how every girl has been cat called or beeped at or received inappropriate comments before. All the girls in my class agreed and he was very shocked. Oh to be a clueless male!!

  • Sphinx May 21st, 2012 4:17 PM

    I remember it was like sixth grade when the boys in my class started harrassing girls for fun. Everyday they tried to grab my friends and/or undo their bras, and no teacher said anything, ever.
    Since I had a reputation for being violent (if someone hits me, I hit back), the boys were sort of afraid of me, and I acted like a body guard for more than 2 years…
    Nowadays, the guys from school aren’t as disgusting anymore, but I hate how I can’t leave the house without meeting some creep in the street/bus/etc. Usually I just give them the middle finger, or yell “FUCK OFF”…
    But I don’t feel save at all. Last week I was waiting for my friend to give me a ride, at 6:30am, but I didn’t know what car she had. So at exactly 6:30 this car came to my street, parked right in front of me, and a guy got out gesturing to me and saying “This is the car.” I ALMOST GOT IN. I took a few steps towards the door, saw the car was full of drunk bastards and started yelling the nastiest stuff I could think of.
    5 minutes later my friend arrived. A guy got out of the car and said “This is the car.”, just like the first one did. I was so fraked out by what happened before that my friend had to get out of the car to reassure me that it really was her.

    (ps: oh yeah,and I’m working on some anti-harrasment /anti-catcalling stickers I plan to stick all over town… so far I’ve got ” I don’t want your fucking ‘compliments’ ” and “I didn’t ask for your opinion” and ” I’m a person, not an object”… does anyone have suggestions?)

    • Pashupati May 21st, 2012 5:02 PM

      “I don’t need a reason”
      (for when they ask you WHY you won’t do what they tell you)
      “Better be impolite than oppressive”
      (for when they complain about people getting all angry and impolite to them, it doesn’t apply only to street harrassment but yeah.)

    • Fortune_Goddess May 21st, 2012 5:35 PM

      I’m thinking about some Slutwalk slogans…

      “Can’t touch this” and (if you have pictures on the stickers) a silhouette arrow pointing to a silhouette bra.

      “How we dress does not mean yes”

      “My little black dress does not mean yes”

    • cematinla May 22nd, 2012 11:48 PM

      Good for you for doing this!

      Suggestions:

      I don’t dress to please you

      I am not your personal porn
      (just inspired by this amazing article!)

  • EmilyJn May 21st, 2012 4:20 PM

    Ugh I was on holiday in new York when I was 13(!) and a man in his 60s came up to me in Times Square and asked to have sex with me ugh still makes me go red

  • Cosmo Beatrix May 21st, 2012 4:25 PM

    ”Also, this one time a guy stopped his car and asked me if I wanted a ride and I said, “Only if you’ve got a toilet in the back, ’cause I’ve gotta pee.” He drove away.”

    BRILLIANCE, if such people are going to say such vulgar things come back with something they don’t ‘expect from a lady’
    URGHEFNFLDKSNVMKLNBH!!!!!!!!!

  • tea May 21st, 2012 4:25 PM

    When I was 11, I had just had a growth spurt so I was finally starting to look less like a little soft faced kid and more like a teenager. I was on the subway & a man in his mid or late 40s looked at me, patted his lap (he was sitting down), and made kissy faces at me. I just turned away and tried to ignore it. I felt violated and didn’t really know how to express it.

    Once, also on the subway, it was really crowded and a man moved up closer to me, from behind, and I felt his erection pressing against me. I said “Oh my fucking GOD, what is your DEAL?” and turned to him sharply. He just moved on. I told a woman next to me what happened, and she looked at *me* like I was the crude one.

    I’ve been followed by men from class and work, they would say things like “I really like the way you wear your clothes and how your body moves in them” or “Can I come home with you?” I would always say, “Get lost, asshole.” No smile, no anger. Just matter of fact. I have more in my life to think about.

    I’m so sorry, young girls and women, both cis- and trans-gendered have to experience this constant harrassment. I want to hug you all, my sisters.

    • missmerrikat September 10th, 2012 10:13 PM

      I really, really want to thank you for mentioning trans* women! While cis women being harassed is still a very important and relevant issue (especially to my life as a cis woman), trans* women and the trans* community in general gets a lot more harassment via random ass strangers, especially if they don’t “pass.” And they’re a lot more likely to be murdered for it–I’m pretty sure 1 in 12 trans* people will be murdered. GOOD FUCKING JOB SOCIETY!

  • Lucy23 May 21st, 2012 4:28 PM

    Ughghghgh This all makes me so mad!
    I was standing at a train station once and was texting and out of nowhere this older man came up and put his arm around my waist and said something VERY gross stuff. Luckily, someone saw and got him to leave, because I was too shocked to even move!

  • Han_Solo May 21st, 2012 4:31 PM

    When I was TEN, a boy in school deemed it acceptable to stick his hand up my skirt when I was standing on a chair putting up a wall display. What the fuck.

    • Graciexx September 15th, 2012 5:41 AM

      oh my gosh! i’m so sorry for you, i wouldn’t of been able to think if someone did that when I was f*cking 10!!!!!!!! if it happened now i would turn around and slap him on impulse

  • Dearbh May 21st, 2012 4:31 PM

    Totally agree on the whole getting harassed even when you aren’t looking your best. I don’t think it’s an issue of being “pretty” or “hot”, misogynistic assholes just get a kick out of intimidating people. It’s happened to me a lot recently so I’ve perfected my bitchface and just flip them the bird. It’s harder though when (usually) older men start leering at or talking to you on the street and it may look really innocent from an outsiders perspective but it’s not. I hate when I get leered at or I feel men’s gazes on me when I walk down the street. It’s like, “I didn’t give you permission to look at me so, STOP!!!”

  • Serena.K May 21st, 2012 4:33 PM

    SO MUCH RAGE. I don’t know what it is about street harassment, but few things get me angrier. Maybe it’s because I’ve lived in Saudi Arabia since I was 8 and because of some aspects of the culture here, I’ve had to deal with it since I was relatively young. I remember when I was 9 years old in a school bus which had stopped at an intersection, a bunch of boys in their teens were blowing kisses at me, pointing at me, laughing, and I felt so, so humiliated. On weekend nights, if you are on the road (alone in a taxi, or even worse, with girlfriends), expect to be followed by a minimum of five cars overflowing with boys throughout the night. They will open the windows, leer at you with their dumb sunglasses on EVEN THOUGH HELLO IT’S NIGHT, make a series of demeaning catcalls, and then finish it off by pressing pieces of paper with their cell phone numbers against the window, because who WOULDN’T want to call a guy after a display like that? And walking through shopping malls is the worst. Wherever you look there’s a man gawking at you, and I MEAN gawking. Once I was going down an escalator to the ground floor of a department store and I kid you not, literally every male head in that room turned up and stared at me the entire agonizingly slow way down.
    Of course none of this stuff is half as horrific as some of the things described above, but the thing is, this is the norm here. It’s a given. It’s accepted. Maybe it’s the same elsewhere, but I only go back to the States for like, a month every year so I really can’t tell.
    Anyway, communal hugs, guys.

    • Jamia May 21st, 2012 9:09 PM

      I grew up in the KSA too–in Riyadh & Jeddah from 1-9th grades and visited on breaks when I was in boarding schools–I have some intense street harassment and pub. masturbation/staring stories that I witnessed there too. Sending love and big hugs. Did you hear that there is an anti-street harassment law that has been finalized in Saudi Arabia? http://www.stopstreetharassment.org/2012/03/saudilaw/

      • Serena.K May 24th, 2012 4:59 PM

        No way! I live in Riyadh. Growing up here is a pretty unique experience. And no, I didn’t hear about that! Even if it’s not successful, at least the problem is being recognized.

    • ezingz May 22nd, 2012 5:54 PM

      I also grew up in Saudi Arabia! By the time I was 12 I would feel uncomfortable going to the malls because I was sure to be followed by gangs of leering teenage boys.
      Many people tell me that this is a direct consequence of the sexual repression of the Saudi culture, but clearly it is something that happens all over that world regardless of background or nationality.

      • Serena.K May 24th, 2012 5:14 PM

        Yeah, the more of these comments I read, the more I realize how immense and far-reaching this problem is! I don’t know when you lived here, but since I came here in 2003 there have been strict rules regarding the entry of single men/teenage boys into malls, which I’ve always been really grateful for. But about two months ago, they lifted that ban and now the malls are SWARMING with pervy d00ds wolf-whistling and leering and making lewd comments in Arabic. I’ve even been followed to the bathroom by gangs of young men on several occasions.
        I do think that the sexual repression of the Saudi culture may have a lot to do with the specific kind of street harassment found here. The kind of behavior I described above and in my previous comment is much more widespread here than anywhere else I’ve been.

  • farawayfaerie May 21st, 2012 4:35 PM

    Arggg, I hate street harassment, even cat calls make me feel shit. the worst was when I walked to my friends house and I was ringing her bell, and I saw this kid – he honestly couldn’t have been older than 11 – masturbating while staring right at me. i was so creeped out, and angry.

    I feel so insecure when people shout at me from their trucks, it makes me want to crawl into a hole, but then I get angry that they have that *power* over me, but it happens EVERY TIME AND I JUST WANT TO BE INVISIBLE.

  • Kelsey May 21st, 2012 4:37 PM

    Just this Saturday, my best friend Inga and I were walking down the street in Sacramento and this guy is singing and talking to his friends and grins at us. He says, “This is where you two start snapping and singing, ‘If you think I’m sexy, love me,’” and we shook our heads and kept walking. He yelled after us, “Ooh you little bitches!”
    She’s barely 14 and I’m almost 14.

  • VictoryBelle May 21st, 2012 4:37 PM

    On one occasion i was walking to the tube after having a meal with some friends and a man walked past me and said something i didnt really make out in this really pervy way, I was a little intimidated but just carried on and walked a little faster. At the next junction in the road, still feeling nervous, i looked behind me only to discover this guy had started following me. When he saw I’d noticed him he sped up and starting saying what he’d said before and getting louder and louder as he got closer, he was yelling big legs at me (??!!). I ran to an island in the middle of the road as soon as the opportunity came up and he got stuck on the other side of the road staring at me and yelling louder and louder. I got home and cried my eyes out.

    • VictoryBelle May 21st, 2012 4:44 PM

      and once a group of us were having a picnic in Brighton in the pavilion on a super sunny day (which means it was so busy you could barely find a square of grass to sit on). We’d just finished eating and my friend was lying back on the grass with her knees bent up and a pair of repulsive men took this as an invitation to shove their hand up her skirt. We were all just so shocked we had no idea what to do and they just stood there smirking at us. I then yelled at them and debated whether we should call the police. I did and they ran off. The thing that saddens me is that i didnt even know then whether it was serious enough to call the police or not. I’m so glad that i did because they took us really seriously and even asked my friend to look through some previous offender photos and things to see if she could recognise them. Street harassment is a serious crime, really glad you guys published your discussion. I think it’d be really helpful to have maybe some more advice of what to do in those sorts of situations? Maybe that’s one for the self defence with Amy-Rose articles! (which would be ACE btw!!)

  • Dana Susan May 21st, 2012 4:37 PM

    One time a man literally grabbed my vagina as I walked past him in a bar. I was livid and disgusted but I didn’t do anything because it happened so fast. Guys get away with murder in bars. I always try to scream “NO. You cannot do that. You cannot TOUCH someone without their consent. I DONT KNOW YOU.” It always amazes me that they always put up a fight, but I will keep repeating myself till they walk away

  • Pollyana May 21st, 2012 4:38 PM

    I live in NYC, which is notorious for its train creepers,

    Like,once when I was on a very crowded subway I sat down next to this guy, I was reading a book and from my peripheral vision I could see him put his hand in his pants IN FRONT OF ME and begin to tap me on the shoulder, I willed every muscle in my body to not turn around and Ninja Assassinate him.

    Thankfully there were only like four stops to my station.

    The saddest thing about it is that, thats not the worst thing I have experienced in terms of street harassment.

  • rayfashionfreak May 21st, 2012 4:40 PM

    I can totally relate to this (isn’t that sad that we girls have all been objectified like this in this day and age !) And Amy Rose please can you come and protect me next time, that is the most awesome scary face ever! Anyway exactly a year ago today (funnily enough) my friends and I went on a school trip to Morocco, and we were harassed at least three times by numerous men. The first time we were at a water park and at the start of the lazy river there was a man who pushed us out into the river. Each time he pushed one of us out he felt us up and started whispering things to us, now as a 14 year old girl not even someone I liked had done this to me (and still hasn’t) and of course I felt really awkward and creeped out . We spoke to our teacher but even she said there was nothing we could do about it (that was the thing that enraged me most!) Even our tour guides, who were friendly and we felt we could trust started to try and do things with us which kind of ruined the whole experience at the end. Even back at home (in the UK) I’ve had to deal with catcalls and stupid,creepy drunken men.

  • SpencerBowie May 21st, 2012 4:47 PM

    Ok wow! I’m a dude, and really needed this article. I could not imagine being masturbated to by some insane guy at T.J. MAXX!!! How disturbing is that?!?

    But yea I really liked reading this article from y’all’s point of view because I did not know it. Thank goodness I’ve never even whistled at a girl in public, the only thing I do is politely tell a girl she looks nice today and smile, then go on about my business!

    I can also relate to this article. I live in Mississippi and the homophobia here is unreal. I’m not gay, but I dress like David Bowie-Gaga-Cindi Lauper-Madonna-Johnny Rotten-Vivienne Westwood combined. So ALL the time I get snarked at or giggled by rednecks in groups that yell fag or something and have to shrug it off. The mall gives dirty looks and the flea market is bad too! I love how I look and comments like that can REALLY ruin your day! Especially on your way to a job interview!!! I could not BELIVE that!!! But I never feel like my safety is on the line, like I imagine y’all do. This article was a great learning point and please always be safe rookie-etts, I think y’all are super! :)

    • Sphinx May 21st, 2012 5:21 PM

      yeah, I feel like every boy/man should read this, cause usually they can’t even imagine what it’s like for young girls and women.

      Anyway, this totally unrelated, but the way you dress sounds AMAZING.

      • VictoryBelle May 22nd, 2012 7:40 PM

        i was also going to say that your style combo sounds AWESOME!

    • Carneece May 23rd, 2012 7:29 PM

      YOU SOUND AMAZING. I moved to MS two years ago for college, and Jackson’s Creeper Culture scares me so badly that I barely ever leave my dorm.
      The worst part is that our school doesn’t have enough parking spaces for every girl who lives on campus, and although there are PLENTY of commuter spaces that go unused, we get fined if we park in them at night. I’ve spoken to security numerous times about it, and they tell me that I just have to park in the street and buy a taser. This is coming only months after an incident wherein a female student was held at gunpoint by three men, kidnapped in her own vehicle, and barely escaped from being gang-raped. Where did this occur? Literally feet away from her dorm, in the street where she was forced to park.
      It disappoints me that so few people want to stand up for girls or consider street harassment and danger a legitimate issue, contrary to the evidence. Hell, this comment board supplies enough!

  • Stacey May 21st, 2012 4:49 PM

    Some of these stories are horrible and I’m so sorry some you girls had to go through it! I always try to avoid eye contact with any guy, anywhere, for fear of them doing anything to me. I hate when you’re walking and you can see and feel creeps staring at you. It’s disgusting. I don’t go out too much, but on a Saturday two weeks ago, I was out shopping with my family, and I was shouted at, honked at, and whistled at, in the time span of an hour when walking from the parking lot into the stores. It made me feel horrible. Then to make it worse, my sister and I walked out to the car because she forgot something and we passed five guys, and they were staring and nodding at us. It’s gross.

    • Stacey May 21st, 2012 5:22 PM

      Just thought of the time I was at my cousins birthday party and they had hired a photographer, he was the biggest creep ever. He took more pictures of me then he did of the birthday girl. He was like 65 years old and only told me that I should have my parents drop me off at his studio on a Saturday night so he could take pictures of me. Ew. It was horrible seeing him again two months later and him ask me why I never came.

      Or the time I was at church camp and every time we would listen to the two hour messages (which was twice a day) this boy would sit next to me and stare at me the whole time. It was hard trying not to sit next to him as I hadn’t made any friends. Ugh.

  • caro nation May 21st, 2012 4:52 PM

    I was twelve when a man accosted me in his car, hollering “hey sexy!”while his friends made vulgar noises. I flicked him off, screamed, “Up yours!” And nearly kicked his tailpipe clean off. A feminist perspective is imperative when you’re growing up. But I do not recommend damaging the perpetrator’s car. They will try to run over you.

  • GlitterKitty May 21st, 2012 4:52 PM

    Thanks for posting this.

    My first encounter with such men was a year ago when I was 14. I was walking home from a book store and this guy (on a scooter of all things) asked me if I wanted a ride. I just looked away and kept walking and he rode away. I was terrified that he would see me again since I had a way to go before I got home. I actually had to go sit on my friend’s porch (which happened to be near the incident) to calm down. My friend wasn’t even home which makes it seem sort of creepy but whatever. What really bothered me was that there was a mailman across the road at the time and he didn’t even say anything to me or the guy. He obviously heard it and didn’t even turn around.

    God, these guys need to learn. We shouldn’t have to put up with this crap.

  • whodatgal May 21st, 2012 4:55 PM

    THIS IS THE BEST FRIKIN ROOKIE ARTICLE IVE EVER READ. WE LOVE ROOKIE HERE IN LONDON. And Amy Rose I loved your growl thing you got going on that was a noice touch to this super-serious conversation. A few days ago we had this discussion in class about modelling ‘encouraging bad habits’ and obviously I was seriously strong-minded about this subject and when it was ‘my turn to talk’ I blurted out this huge speech I’d been keeping in about how the people in my class were actually very uneducated and couldn’t judge people they hadn’t met like that and then I told this dude Joseph that he couldn’t say that “models wanted water from under a spring in the sea” because How da Fuq does he know that. Has he ever even MET a model? And then he said to me: “Well have you ever met a model?” and then every shouted at him: “SHE IS A MODEL” and I’m not being all ‘flicky-hairy-yeah-boi-imma-model’ but it was just a kind of proud of my self feminist moment I guess (not really related to this but whatever.)

    +This article brought out so many emotions. The people in my class (mostly boys) are total jerks and once I heard this hvdjshgdskjalnhkvj IHATEYOU boy behind me talking about raping and I turned around and said: “you know that’s not funny at all. Rape is a serious matter, not another one of your ahhhahahah jokes”
    IHATEYOUBOY: “it’s just a joke”
    ME: ahahahahhahha NO.
    AND OMIGOD ihfdjkkxsj I HATE BOYS! And I also don’t understand why everyone in my year thinks I’m a physco crazy lady just because I have an opinion. P.S hope I haven’t offended anyone I usually do some how?

    I <3 ROOKIE OX

  • Jolien May 21st, 2012 5:00 PM

    this one time a man was sitting next to me in the train when the train stopped he whispered in my ear, I wanna fuck ur brains out. he stoot up and walked away but right before he left the train i also stoot up and kicked him out of the train he fell so hard that he was crying his brains out.

  • hollyhotdog May 21st, 2012 5:01 PM

    Even when I’m pushing my son around in the buggy I still get comments and things, and it amazes me because I always thought that having a child in tow would be an instant turn-off?

    • SweetThangVintage May 21st, 2012 6:34 PM

      People use their babies to hit on my friend! She say’s they’ll be like “So uh…do you have any babies?”

  • Annie92 May 21st, 2012 5:02 PM

    This is a brilliant piece, and really sad. I’m reading Sylvia Plath’s journals at the moment and there’s a passage that says: “yes, my consuming desire to mingle with road crews, sailors and soldiers, bar room regulars- to be a part of a scene, anonymous, listening, recording- all is spoiled by the fact that I am a girl, a female always in danger of assault and battery.”
    That was written in the early 50′s and it feels as if not much has changed.

    http://www.grinandbearitzine.blogspot.com

    • Naomi May 21st, 2012 6:33 PM

      it seems like everything has a relevant sylvia quote <3

  • whodatgal May 21st, 2012 5:02 PM

    Also wanted to add: does anyone know some clever comebacks I can say to prevent swearing my head off at these total dickheads behind me, who are constantly harrassing my friend (not just stroking her back and stuff, but subtly and also really tormenting/annoying her in class.) I am really short tempered and protective of my friends and fear I soon will kill one of them.

    P.S I have soooooo many bad stories about harrasment :( Escpecially my sister’s. She is so SMART, FUNNY and pretty (+has big boobs so boys are constantly staring at her.) URGRRGRHRHRHRH. *Working on my ‘Amy-Rose’ GROWL*

    Also just wanted to say AGAIN. THIS ARTICLE WAS UBER- AWESOME. Can we have some kind of harasment chat or something every month? I don’t know something like that so we can share our thoughts and feelings? LOVE ROOKIE. Ok bye xx

    P.S Hope I haven’t offended anyone again. I usually dodon’t know how! :P

  • theaterbex May 21st, 2012 5:05 PM

    I’m living in Israel for the year. The culture here is different – for example, every price is negotiable, so when you tell a vendor you don’t want to buy what they’re selling, they think you want to haggle. I have been fenced in and forced to buy things I don’t want numerous times because male vendors won’t let me leave otherwise. But this attitude extends outside the realm of sales, and there are countless stories of men who didn’t take no as no. At one point, a rape crisis center came to talk to my program, and they pinpointed this cultural attitude as a major factor behind the rape of women in Israel.

    I was walking home from my volunteer job, and I decided to take a shortcut through a park. I was looking around as I walked, and I almost ran into a guy who was straddling a parked bike as he spoke to some of his friends. I apologized and moved on. But I soon realized he was following me. He shouted, “At ha’chee yafah b’olam.” (You’re the most beautiful girl in the world.) He was right behind me, and I felt very uncomfortable, so I ignored him and started walking faster. He then sped up to swerve in front of me, and said, “Amarti sh’at ha’chee yafah b’olam. Tagidi-li todah.” (I said you were the most beautiful girl in the world. Say thank you.) What could I do? I said thank you, and then I ran.

    Afterwards, I obsessed over how I could have avoided the situation. Maybe, after almost bumping into him, I should have avoided eye contact and just moved away instead of apologizing. Except I did nothing wrong – he made me feel trapped and unsafe, and that wasn’t my fault at all.

    • bunnyfig August 14th, 2012 4:36 AM

      @theaterbex – I experienced something incredibly similar the year I lived in Beijing.

      I’m currently editing an independent magazine, & one of the editorial sections is concerned with notions of femininity, migration and cultural norms; in particular the experiences of females living overseas. I was wondering if I could interest you in contributing a vignette that references the above encounter? I find it particularly problematic and arresting.

      Email me if you are interested to flesh this out more? [amanda@studiokaleido.net]

  • aranhuscus May 21st, 2012 5:08 PM

    One of the best moments ever was when I was telling my boyfriend that I had been proposed from a moving car and he reacted by saying “oh man, some people are plain stupid. it’s ok baby.” : )

  • lorobird May 21st, 2012 5:09 PM

    Guys I’m sure you just didn’t realise, but that comment saying “genderless blob” can be somewhat hurtful towards genderqueer and trans* people (especially those who suffer constant harassment in the streets, which is mostly all of them).

    Apart from that, it’s great you’re publishing stuff like this.

    I just remembered that when my friends and I were like 11 we were in the playground and a guy on a bike stopped on the other side of the fence (3 metres from us), took out his junk and waved it around in front of us for a while. It was gross and fascinating. We ran to tell our (woman) teacher, who was with other (women) teachers, and they all LAUGHED and told us to run along.

    This is what rape culture looks like.

    • Pashupati May 21st, 2012 6:29 PM

      I agree with that… Plus not every agender/genderless, trans* or genderqueer or what have you look the same.
      Also I was to shy to say that before your comment, but “insane” or “lunatic” are somewhat sanist words and stigmatizing, though Rookie does great with talking about mental health otherwise.
      I’m always too shy until someone else comment :o

  • Catherine M May 21st, 2012 5:10 PM

    i was coming home from a gig at 6am once (don’t ask), dressed in a totally non-revealing outfit of denim shorts, tights, converse, a hoodie etc. a forty something suited guy at a bus stop said ‘excuse me miss’ as i went past and i stopped, because i figured he was on his way to work or something and wanted to know the time or about a bus or WHATEVER. so i stopped, and he said “my name is patrick…and i like what i see, i will pay to spend time with you.” i was so SHOCKED that i just sort of shook my head and ran off. what the hell?!

    • Naomi May 21st, 2012 6:37 PM

      THAT is another thing. whenever i talk about it with others it seems we assume the best in people and think they might just inquire about the time or whatever but they have HIDDEN MOTIVES

  • erin May 21st, 2012 5:11 PM

    I am so frightened now! I live in a small town, with no subways or busy streets, so I’ve never really experienced something like this. The closest is when I was visiting Vegas with my family. We were walking along together and I glanced over and saw this creepy old man staring me down all leery and stuff. I think I was around 15.
    I read this article on Cracked about why men act the way they do with women, written by a man, and I think it goes really well with this article. Never overestimate a man! http://www.cracked.com/article_19785_5-ways-modern-men-are-trained-to-hate-women.html
    All these scary stories are enough to make me wish we could all go live in a big Amazon Warrior tribe, where we could spear any gross guys that dared to try and “win” us.
    http://keepingupwithunstuck.blogspot.com/

    • Graciexx September 15th, 2012 5:57 AM

      can i please join you, my amazonian sister?

  • JennaF May 21st, 2012 5:12 PM

    Andrew Sullivan had a really good series on this subject. Here is what I wrote:

    http://andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com/2012/03/the-terror-of-catcalling-ctd.html

    (I’m the one that starts, “It’s a conversation I’ve had with men so many times, and it’s been so hard to make a dent. Some of them do get it after a while – a lot of them don’t.”)

    There were a few infuriating responses, but the last one in this post made my week:

    http://andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com/2012/03/the-terror-of-catcalling-ctd-3.html

    • Anaheed May 21st, 2012 10:10 PM

      Thank you so much for posting these links, Jenna. Your comment on that article made me cringe in sympathy. I have known those too-long trips where you try desperately to cover your body. And I love that one guy’s comment.

      Also, the article that started Sullivan’s blogging about all of this was really great too. Recommended reading:

      http://mystreetmybodymyright.tumblr.com/post/19651731625

  • Lori May 21st, 2012 5:15 PM

    This post is exactly what I need right now – it’s weird how Rookie can read my mind! Two days ago I walked into this restaurant/bar place to inquire about summer work, and this group of like 40 year old men wolf-whistled. I’m 15! Then as I was walking out one of the guys said something like “Give us a smile”. I was so insulted, angry and creeped out. It made me feel so bad, even though I didn’t do anything wrong! Ugh!

  • Becca-jade May 21st, 2012 5:19 PM

    God, sexual harassment is the worst! How would guys feel if we stared at their crotch tried to touch them inappropriately or make rude comments. Will the only then understand how vulnerable and self-conscious we feel when stuff like this happens? WE DON’T FEEL FLATTERED OR INCLINED TO SLEEP WITH YOU!

  • firky May 21st, 2012 5:19 PM

    When I was 14 I’d walk to Country Style (local coffee and donut place) after school with my friends. There was a super creepy man that would come everyday at the same time we were there, sit down and stare at me. When I got up and left, he got up and left. This happened for about a week. I didn’t tell my parents because I wasn’t quite sure if it was just a huge coincidence that everywhere I went, he went… it wasn’t! One day I walked outside, saw him get up and wait for me to make the next move. I walked to the video store next door, he walked in too. I looked up, shaking. He was staring at me across aisles of videos. I called my mom from the store’s phone, and she freaked at him. To this day we regret now calling the police.

  • PearlFog May 21st, 2012 5:22 PM

    I don’t know if there’s something about me or what, but this pretty much never happens to me, thank goodness, and I live in a city and travel around by myself all the time. I think maybe my natural facial expression is a bit, maybe, blank and scary and I have very confident body language so that might have something to do with it. Who knows? Maybe I’ve just been lucky.

    But anyway, I’ve had so many friends who have to deal with so much crap which makes me furious. Getting harassed in the street, grabbed in bars, followed on the underground…all nice friendly looking girls with big eyes who maybe look vulnerable and easy to pick on. Big mistake. One very small friend of mine used to get it every day in Cambridge and her approach was to stop, stare the man in the eye and very loudly and clearly say, ‘STOP SEXUALLY HARASSING ME.’ My little sister was even more proactive and got thrown out of a club in Australia for punching a guy who groped her. I think she also tried to punch the bouncer who said she should have taken it as a compliment.

    http://www.etsy.com/shop/PearlFog

  • purplebabaushka May 21st, 2012 5:22 PM

    in addition, the other day Ruby and I were walking in Providence this guy in a creepy black van with tinted windows rolled up and asked us “Hey ladies ya’ know how to get to Taunton Ave?” When there were pleantly adults roaming around- NO he had to ask two fourteen year old girls. We both began running away as fast as we could without needing to look at each other or even speak. Although I guess that’s good for safety and stuff its also sort of sad at another angle that street harassment is so common and that women are so used to being constantly on the lookout for creeps, and needing to protect ourselves that everyone knows to run, and what to do in that situation automatically.

  • Longstockings May 21st, 2012 5:22 PM

    This makes me so angry I could literally scream. This needs to be addressed seriously.

    The other day I chose to shout back at a guy who yelled out of his car to ‘suck his dick’ but when I did, the girl I was with looked embarrassed and a couple across the road gave me a filthy look, as if I was somehow the one in the wrong. As if by not ignoring it I’d gone against some kind of chaste girl law.

  • ladylaurenia May 21st, 2012 5:22 PM

    I’m so glad this has never happened to me, but I’m still young so it can. I just find it really sad that alot of these girls in the comments didn’t react because they we’re so shocked. I’m sorry. My cousin, who is in her early 20s, was at the park with her two chihuahuas at night. This guy was jacking off behind her and she was also shocked and grossed out. My mom asked her why she didn’t tell the police (this was a children’s playground, my cousin was on the swings) but like I said she was shocked. I’m so sorry.

  • mariko May 21st, 2012 5:28 PM

    i can definitely relate with jenny on being the center of harassment because of being asian. one time a guy budged in front of me while i was waiting in line to buy a ticket for the train, and i didn’t say anything but i was mad nonetheless, and to make matters worse, as he was leaving he said “sorry to keep you waiting you gorgeous asian” and ogled me up and down. i was too flabbergasted to say anything so i just blushed and looked down at my feet. another time, while i was in uruguay, i was explaining to a bunch of people that i had a ‘different’ name because my mum is japanese, prompting a guy to ask me if i was a geisha.

    the fact that i’m a woman of a certain race does not give you permission to harass me, make racial assumptions, or fetishize me.

    also, i’ll now be using amy rose’s method of warding of creepy dudes from now on instead of just looking at my feet.

    • mariko May 21st, 2012 5:44 PM

      oh and the last time i was accosted by guys was when a car full of teenage boys drove by me and yelled “THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE IS COMING!!” that is the only kind of harassment i’ll allow haha

  • wrecklesserin May 21st, 2012 5:31 PM

    The neighborhood I live in is particularly troublesome for ladies, as I’m sure many of you experience in your own ‘hoods. Two stories lately have surfaced though, about strong and powerful ladies standing up for themselves in the face of harassment.

    This one is about a dude who exposed himself on the train, and the awesome lady who collared him, dragged him off the train, and called the cops: http://bostonherald.com/news/regional/view/20220421she-hulk_collars_alleged_t_creep_after_lewd_act

    This one is about a young lady and her girlfriend, and what got her so riled up that she punched a jerk on the street: http://allston.tumblr.com/post/16368559441/why-i-punched-a-stranger-via-jezebel

    I thought maybe it might be nice to hear about some girls who aren’t too afraid to stand up in the face of something that is really really hard to stand up against.

    • Leanna May 21st, 2012 11:46 PM

      It’s good to hear stories of women standing up for themselves, but I’m still so appalled by the indifferent or even hostile reactions from onlookers.

      I have the experience of fighting back against a harasser/attacker. When I was 14 I was walking to school with my best friend. A man came up behind us, grabbed my friend and tried to pull her panties down under her skirt while saying “Oh baby, I want your pussy.” Like what the fuck? He was a well dressed man in his 30s and it was in broad daylight on the same block as our school. I was frozen for a second but then I started hitting him with my lunch bag and screaming at him and calling him a fucker. He ran away. I’m still so infuriated that I couldn’t save my friend from feeling hurt and ashamed though. I told school officials and the police. There were even witnesses. But to my knowledge he was never caught.

  • ravenflamingo May 21st, 2012 5:35 PM

    These stories are terrible! All of you are so strong for enduring this kind of harassment. I guess I’m pretty lucky that I’ve never been harassed or whistled at. However, a lot of the guys at my school love to tell sexist jokes (apparently telling girls to get in the kitchen is really funny) and just knowing that there are so many strong girls out there inspires me so much. Also, thank you Amy Rose and Hannah – I love the idea of scaring the creeper away.

    http://agirlnamedraven.tumblr.com

  • Skatapus May 21st, 2012 5:40 PM

    I was on public transport a few months ago and went upstairs to sit and read. Some older guy came over and started talking to me and while I realized pretty fast that it was sketchy some kind of stupid politeness kicked in and I didn’t just leave straight away. I sat there and talked to him, told him my age, answered his questions until “girl, you’re beautiful, you should be a model”, at which point I made an excuse about it being to hot out and fled downstairs. Absolutely ruined my day, I was furious with myself for telling him information and for not just leaving straight away. I guess because he wasn’t saying anything particularly creepy for the most part, I felt like I couldn’t just get up and leave, which is terrible!

  • lilybean May 21st, 2012 5:45 PM

    http://cdn02.cdnwp.thefrisky.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/16/catcaller_form_m.jpg

    A great cat-caller form from the Riot Mag tumblr. Helped me out a lot, definitely worth checking out!

  • elise May 21st, 2012 5:49 PM

    I used to get yelled at from this house I passed walking home from school. I’ve stopped seeing them, either the timing is different or they’ve finally grown up. Once these boys actually yelled, “hey there, pork chop!” They were literally calling me a piece of meat. I was fuming.

  • I.ila May 21st, 2012 5:50 PM

    You guys, you know that any kind of harassment is illegal, even street harassment. “Sex Discrimination Harassment
    It is unlawful to harass a person because of that person’s sex. Harassment can include “sexual harassment” or unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature. Harassment does not have to be of a sexual nature, however, and can include offensive remarks about a person’s sex. For example, it is illegal to harass a woman by making offensive comments about women in general.”

  • mollywobbles May 21st, 2012 5:52 PM

    Last week I was walking from college to band practice and a guy pulled up beside me and wound down his window, I stopped because I thought he was asking for directions but instead he leered at me and said ‘Can I lick your pussy?’ I just stared at him in complete shock and said ‘No…really no.’
    And he laughed and drove off.

    I hate the fact that I was left disgusted and on the verge of tears after this episode, and I still think about it a week later, but he drove off laughing and probably forgot about it as soon as he got home.
    It isn’t fair.

  • Dearbh May 21st, 2012 5:56 PM

    Actually the more I think about it and the more stories that are here on this thread, the angrier I am getting. Like what the actual fuck makes guys think they can get away with this or that this is accepted behaviour?!! Do they actually wake up in the morning and are all like “Oh, time for some public masturbation!” or what? To everyone commenting here and everyone who has felt demeaned or embarrassed or harassed in public, I’m sorry and I hope that someday we can walk down a street anywhere in the world and not feel intimidated.

    • marimba_girl May 21st, 2012 8:48 PM

      I have no idea either. It’s like some guys feel they are entitled to make girls feel like shit. I wonder how guys would feel if they were constantly being catcalled and sexually harassed.

  • yourenotfunny May 21st, 2012 5:57 PM

    oh god, i’ve been so angry about this stuff lately. i feel so awful reading your guys’s stories. when i was 12 or so i was walking home from the store and a grown man FOLLOWED ME DOWN THE FUCKING ALLEY and asked me for my number. when i didn’t answer(thought i was gonna piss myself) he laughed at me and drove away.

  • anonymoustache May 21st, 2012 6:08 PM

    I’ve never had anything like that happen to me, but I do go to a high school that allows open campus for lunch. If that ever happens to my friends or I I’ll be sure to pull out self-defense with Amy Rose!! (probably won’t be me considering I have short hair and wear baggy clothes, but you never know, do you?)

  • Violet May 21st, 2012 6:14 PM

    Girls, what could we do about this???
    How come other men don’t defend us in the public transportation? Should we talk about this issue much, much more? Should we forward this article to at least five guys we know? Should we talk about it in schools?

    I feel so angry about this, it’s like there is no progress whatsoever generation after generation. People talk about technological progress and innovation all the time, we’re growing nanotubes and GMOs, we’ve been to the moon!!! yet so many men are barely civilized.

    • Johann7 May 24th, 2012 1:08 PM

      I’m willing to bet that most of the men who are not also part of the problem don’t realize that this happens, or that it happens with the frequency it does, or possibly don’t understand precisely how terrible it make most women feel. Sending this to male friends and acquaintances is an excellent idea: while some of them might dismiss the problem, you might very well clue some actual good guys into something they’re not aware of because they never have to face it.

      It’s only within the past year or so, and entirely because of discussions like this, that I really came to understand how widespread the problem is; I knew sexual harassment was an issue, but not really the extent or the myriad ways in which women are subjected to it on a daily basis. I think the avalanche of stories in posts and discussion threads like this is a good way to help men understand how much of a problem it is. It’s not a few isolated incidents, it’s a pattern of harassing behavior women have to constantly put up with, and it’s not acceptable.

      It’s not fair to expect (mostly) women to take the initiative to fix a problem with (mostly) men’s behavior, and I’m so sorry you have to put up with this, but please keep speaking up about it online and in person. There’s still a long way to go to even get a lot of men to acknowledge what a big problem street harassment is.

  • JennaF May 21st, 2012 6:21 PM

    Here are my own pointers, as someone who went through this, figured out some strategies, and then aged out of it (as Anaheed says, once you get old enough it usually stops):

    - Cultivate a thousand-yard stare.

    - Be ready to be loud and obnoxious in return — I found that once I steeled myself for that, the harassment tended to happen less. I think the fact that I was ready to strike back was apparent.

    - Go ahead and be loud and obnoxious if it happens (especially if it’s in a public place).

    - Whip out your cell phone and record anything that’s happening. (That idea was from the Sullivan post, I like it.)

    - Speak out! I have made it a bit of a mission to get men to understand how damaging this sort of thing can be. It’s so insidious and cumulative that sometimes it’s not as obvious as we think it is. (That is, a catcall sort of thing by itself isn’t necessarily that big of a deal — it’s when it keeps happening day after day, week after week, month after month, that it really takes a toll.) It helps a lot when the nice guys help censure the jerks.

    - And if you yourself see something happen to another girl, go ahead and say something. I’ve got a menacing stare and look tougher than I am, and when I’ve seen something that looks like it might be a harassment situation I usually go over and say “Everything OK here?” while glaring at the harasser. It’s been pretty effective. I think a lot of people want to stay out of it, but that helps create an environment in which the jerks feel like they can get away with anything — and they often do.

    • EmmaB May 22nd, 2012 10:23 AM

      These are great tips.

      When it happened to me, I tried the whole ‘ignore them, don’t provoke them, they’ll get bored approach’ but it completely backfired. The guys who were harassing me became extremely annoyed and took the novel I was distracting my self with.

      I’m looking forward to being loud and obnoxious. It was so hard to keep it in last time.

      As they graffitied (is that a word) on the bus all I wanted to yell was “WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT EVEN ACHIEVING! IT’S FUCKING ILLEGIBLE. YOU’RE NOT EVEN MAKING A DAMN STATEMENT!”

      That is all coming out next time!

  • HolyMoly May 21st, 2012 6:36 PM

    This makes me so fricking angry, not just at the disgusting, disrespectful assholes who do these things ,or the society that allows them to behave this way but also at myself. Like everyone else here, I’ve been a victim of this and usually I’m so rattled that I do nothing and just run away. I’M SO DONE WITH THAT. Every single rookie reader (actually every single female on earth ) should make a point of standing up to street harassers (where possible) and maybe eventually we can start to try and turn things around, because this shit is getting ridiculous now.

    • anonymouse May 21st, 2012 10:29 PM

      “Every single rookie reader (actually every single female on earth)” every person, male, female, inter, “should make a point of standing up to street harassers (where possible)” when safe, “and maybe eventually we can start to try and turn things around, because this shit is getting ridiculous now.
      I really liked this part, just added a few things! :]

  • Nikkita May 21st, 2012 6:37 PM

    Ugh, some people can be so disgusting! I feel for you guys. Luckily I’ve never had anything like that but there have been numerous honks from cars, catcalls, creepy looks from older men, one time I was walking back from school, I must have been about 11 or 12 and this group of guys drove passed and yelled at me. I pretty much jumped out of my skin and I could hear them laughing as they drove away. Like, do you just get a kick out of terrifying kids? Also at about the same age I was volunteering for younger girl guides and more guys in cars went passed and I was called a slut. It was mid afternoon and I was with an adult leader and a group of 5 and 6 year olds, walking the streets selling girl guide cookies. Another time this guy came up to my friend and I at McDonalds and harassed us for money for a cheeseburger. There were lots of people there and nobody did anything but gave a sympathetic look. We stood our ground but my friend actually ended up giving him money, which she later told me was because she was worried they would follow me as this was just before she was going to bus home. When we left McDs some of the guys mates made crude comments that I couldn’t quite make out, and some of the comments were coming from girls! I ended up having to call for a ride, I felt so unsafe and vulnerable the rest of the night. I talk about street harrasment a lot with my friends but most of them say “that’s just how it is, we just have to deal with it” and i’m like “it might be how it is but that doesn’t make it okay!!!”

    • carolita May 22nd, 2012 10:43 PM

      for years I thought that men were beeping their horn at me in NYC to harass me, and it turns out that it’s what livery cabs (usually black sedans) do to let you know they’re available, because they don’t have those lights on top of the car. When I finally learned this, I was like, wow, I could have felt so much LESS harassed all these years! I was still harassed a lot, but I wouldn’t have minded being spared the added paranoia on top of it all.

  • GlitterKitty May 21st, 2012 6:39 PM

    This is great! I’m going to use this as a source for my school research report on the changing attitudes towards feminism. It will be the required “very informative and legitimate website”. I’ve even sourced ALL your names in super proper format with last name, first name in alphabetical order. This is going to be great! Thank you for the wonderful article. My incredibly annoying librarian is going to look at my sources and be like, “this is silly, how did 14 people write one article?” And I’ll be like, “MAGIC!!!”

  • ToriLynne May 21st, 2012 6:43 PM

    Thank you so much ladies for publishing this. In middle school there was a guy in my class who masturbated DURING CLASS with lots of girls in there. All the girls were extremely disturbed, even though we didn’t know exactly what it was he was doing, but now that I am older I understand. Sick pervs! I love you guys!
    xo, Tori
    http://daisiesandpixiedust.blogspot.com/

    • margaret.r May 24th, 2012 1:43 AM

      There was a boy I know from my current high school who is known for doing the same thing at his middle school.

  • bedazzledbandannas May 21st, 2012 6:49 PM

    the worst part is that fact that the guys around us and at school always act so confused, as if we should be grateful for the ‘compliments’; like it’s a blessing that every time we go out, there’s a pretty good chance that some creep is going to rake us up and down with his eyes and call out to us.
    it also doesn’t help that I’m usually the only white girl in my group of friends and in most social situations; not that being white specifically is the issue, but creeps are always more likely to notice if you stand out in any way – if they’re not used to you, they think it’s fine to make disgusting, degrading comments about your race (or whatever it is that makes you stand out).
    something great would be an article talking about how to deal with this? or maybe a brief self-defence tutorial? (krista seems to have this down – her ‘how to throw a punch’ was great!) thanks, rookie!

  • Samantha May 21st, 2012 6:51 PM

    It makes me so angry to read these stories. Some of us are so young when this first happens.

    It’s funny, but moving to LA, despite it’s superficial reputation, was so refreshing. Street harassment is less common than it was in Chicago. But what really gets me is when I’m hiking or biking or working out – I should feel good and powerful and strong, and it’s amazing how a work or a whistle can just cut me right down. UGH! Lately, I’ve started retaliating – I’ll ask “Is that really appropriate?” I wish I were brave enough to chase them down or give them a taste of their own medicine, but I know it’s a terrible, and terribly unsafe, idea.

    It’s sad, too, because not all guys are like that. However, when I do get approached by someone just asking directions or about my bike or my hiking route or my five-fingers shoes, I am immediately wary.

    • NotReallyChristian May 21st, 2012 9:48 PM

      I feel really vulnerable when I’m out jogging, because if someone started chasing me at the end of a jog I’d never be able to outrun them! It’s also a time when I feel most selfconscious, not least because I’m a really shitty runner and one of those unfortunate people who go BRIGHT RED when exercising. My boyfriend spent months trying to build up my confidence enough that I’d go running more (he’s a health nut) but people kept shouting stuff at me or beeping their car horns at me and freaking me out. And so my troubled relationship with exercise continues!

  • kittenmix May 21st, 2012 6:54 PM

    Ugh, this. I walk down a busy road on the way back from the gym and the amount of gross truckies that beep is astounding. I’m anxious by nature anyway and every beep just works me into a bigger know of stress.

  • MaggietheCat May 21st, 2012 6:58 PM

    I’ve had all manner of these kids of things happen to me (except someone masturbating at me like that, so gross!) since I was about 11 (25 now). It really is amazing that guys are so oblivious. A male friend walked me to work once and couldn’t believe the kind of attention I got, even with him around.

    I live in a really crappy neighborhood, full of crackheads and homeless people, so I walk quickly and carry mace everywhere. It’s attached to my keys and in my pocket, not in my purse. Between that and my stellar bitchface, I feel pretty safe.

    reposting this on facebook, btw. Hopefully it will enlighten some folks.

  • R. May 21st, 2012 7:07 PM

    I have a lot of these gross stories, to the point where I used to think there was something wrong with ME, or that I was under some serious bad luck, which in a way was true. When I was 11 a man with a camera took pictures of me in the street. I didn’t think it was a big deal until I randomly told my parents, who freaked out and went to the police, pressed charges and found out he had done that sort of thing before, he was a “known” perv. We only got half of the roll (early 2000s what up) back.
    When I was 16, two teenage boys followed me home and tried to touch me when I got in front of my door. They tried to take off my jacket, then pushed me against the door. Luckily I had already opened it so when they did, I got in and shut it really fast. It doesn’t open from outside. We had to press charges again.
    Last summer I was apartment-sitting for my sister, I was still up at 4 am and dying under the heat so I opened the balcony window. It’s a big window, like a door. This neighbour from across the street started following my every movement, so I got scared and shut the curtains. When I opened it back a few hours later, there he was again, only completely naked on a chair. When he saw me, he stood up, came out on the balcony and started masturbating. I freaked out and… surprise surprise, called the police who came “undercover” and made me go to the balcony once again as a “bait” so they could see what he would do. His apartment was very close to mine, so he was really near me. It was terrifying. Once they saw it, they arrested the guy. I felt awful for the rest of the summer.

    • starsinyourheart May 21st, 2012 8:25 PM

      I always felt like there was something wrong with me. Like I brought out the worst in people, it’s kind of a hard feeling to shift huh? xx

      • missmadness May 24th, 2012 11:25 AM

        I used to feel that way too, but my friend explained it this way:
        Good, sweet, kindhearted guys think you’re gorgeous or beautiful or sexy or whatever too, they just have the common decency not to scream it at you or they realize saying such things could make you uncomfortable. Thus, you hear it from most often from the creeps, who have no regard whatsoever for your feelings.

  • LizzieS May 21st, 2012 7:34 PM

    I think the worst thing for me happened six years ago when I was about 12. A boy my age took my photo (without my permission) on the school bus. His friend later told me they’d uploaded it onto a porn website. It obviously wasn’t physical harrassment (though I’ve had that too) and I’m sure they’ve forgotten now, but I still feel sick whenever I remember.
    This article is exactly what the world needs!

  • lilylaughs May 21st, 2012 7:47 PM

    oh my god these stories are awful i can’t believe that these creepos think that this is okay. there should actually be some sort of program that educates boys about how gross this stuff is so that they don’t grow up and think it’s cool. has anyone read bossypants by tina fey? cause she has this great part where she talks about how most girls realize that they are a “woman” when some creepy guy yells at them from a car and how this is not okay

  • meels May 21st, 2012 8:01 PM

    there have been too many occasions where this has happened to me and i could literally speak about it for years. all i’m gonna say is ‘AMEN to this whole article and every comment’ and that something needs to be done, i just can’t figure out a way to get people to notice since the majority of people that run our countries are men.

  • Rae0320 May 21st, 2012 8:13 PM

    Ahhhh this happened to me like, last week, I live in quite a shitty area (as a student) and I had just got off the bus (drunk and late at night) and this group of assholes drives up and start begging me to get in their car. At the time I’m like, FUCK OFF YOU FUCKING PRICKS then I realise I’m standing bang outside of my house and now they know where I fucking live and I have to let myself in while they stare at me.

    I couldn’t even tell you how many stories like this I have/my friends have

  • starsinyourheart May 21st, 2012 8:19 PM

    it makes me so sad to read all peoples experiences :(

    two weeks after i turned 15, i went to the park by myself around lunch time and on the way home, some random 40 year old followed me hom. i kept telling myself to stop being paranoid and that he wasn’t following me, but he ended up pushing me down an alleyway up against a wall, kissing me and forcing his hand up my skirt.

    i mean what the fck?! i felt so ashamed and awful and dirty, like a whore for so long, always showering and stuff. now i’ve just turned 18 and i look back and it makes me so mad someone did that to essentially a little kid! x

  • arabellasfireflies May 21st, 2012 8:31 PM

    I think it is absolutely disgusting what women have to go through. I was once sitting on the edge, in the three person seat on the train, and some guy decides to sit between me and the other passenger. His right elbow was bent because he was holding onto his backpack which was on his lap. I didn’t notice until maybe a stop or two that his elbow was really touching my left breast. He turned and looked and asked if i was okay, to which i said yes because i though he was only doing it because the train was so crowded. But then i realized he seemed to be looking at me way to creepily and i saw other women looking at me, so i knew it was totally wrong. At the next stop I got up and moved to the other side of the train and took a seat by myself. I will avoid sitting in the three person seat again if I have to.

  • Ruby B. May 21st, 2012 8:39 PM

    Ugh. I’m 14 and things like this have happened to me a few times.

    I remember that I was out somewhere with my mom (in public) and this random guy started staring at me and masturbating. It was SO CREEPY and I didn’t know what to do, so I just ignored him.
    A few weeks ago, my friend and I were just walking around and this guy pulled up in his truck, rolled down his window, and said in this creepy voice, “Hello, ladies.” We just RAN.

    I hate how this isn’t even recognized as an issue most of the time.

  • kaylafay May 21st, 2012 8:47 PM

    even though i think it is equally important for females to stand up to street harassers, this video makes me really happy and gives me hope for men on the street
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5P4eVjwVd_U

  • TopazOwl May 21st, 2012 8:53 PM

    I live in a pretty small town, but even so I still have gotten yelled at from cars as I walk home. It’s residential streets at like 3:30 pm, and it infuriates me when people assume that harassment only happens late at night on empty streets. Even if that were the case, it still wouldn’t be ok!

    • meghang May 22nd, 2012 10:11 AM

      same here – my town is pretty small, but even walking around with my friends (as early as 12/13) i’ve had nasty catcalls, beeping, and yelling from passing cars. ugh i feel you girl.
      i lived in nyc for a few weeks last summer and surprisingly, i only experienced harassment once – walking literally one block to another building on campus, i was followed by two homeless guys who kept jeering and yelling at me. it was like 9 in the morning and there were plenty of people outside, but nobody said anything to them. i was sixteen (seventeen now) but i look a lot younger. it makes me so mad that all the people i passed could just walk by and not say anything to the two 40 year old men harassing a 5 foot tall teenager.
      much love to the writers and commenters<3

  • meabh May 21st, 2012 9:02 PM

    The absolute love I have for this article! Some of those stories are so despicable. All of them. The worst one for me happened when I was walking down the street holding hands with my boyfriend when this guy walking past just stuck his hand down my bra. My boyfriend was so shocked he had no idea how to react (he had never experienced anything like that before.) I managed to shout some curses after him(and a bit of my own growly Amy Rose impression!), but he just kept walking. The tidal wave of powerlessness and humiliation, resulting from one guy’s disrespect and crazy urges…I was so angry and disgusted I felt sick but there was absolutely nothing I could have done. I’m so glad someone is talking about anyways. M x

  • Moxx May 21st, 2012 9:13 PM

    Thank you so much for talking about this!
    I can’t believe you all had this happen to you too! It’s so horrible!
    I hate it so much. It’s just so difficult to think that some people think this is ok!
    It happens fairly often to me, sadly (when of course it should never happen!). I wish I had the guts to say things back, but really I’m just always terrified when it happens, because I’m fairly small and I don’t want them to hurt me. Someone tried to carry me away once… Not nice to know how easy it is to take me away like that.
    And Hazel, I love your mom.
    I tell my mom, but I guess she doesn’t really know what to do. Like actually just this past Friday, I went to the Yankees game with my family and in the subway on the way there there was a guy staring at me and my mom said “you shouldn’t wear that top if you’re using public transportation”. I felt so gross! It was horrible! It made me never want to wear that shirt again. And it wasn’t even that low cut or anything. And I always use public transportation!! I told her how gross I felt about that and she just sort of did the “oh well it happens it’s not a big deal boys will be boys” thing. I know she doesn’t do it on purpose, but it still feels terrible.
    And sometimes boys in my class just make comments. Most apologize after I explain to them that it makes me feel uncomfortable to have people commenting on my breasts and that I don’t tell them my opinions on them like that, but still.
    What is it with people? I hate this thing. I want to grow 3 feet in the next year so I can do the Amy Rose gremlin thing and scare everyone off.

    • Moxx May 21st, 2012 9:26 PM

      Thank you everyone who shared stories, by the way!
      It just feels good to post here. This sort of thing was one of the reasons why I used to bind/hide my breasts when they were bigger.
      It feels strange to say this, but thankfully I lost a fair amount of weight becaus of stress and such and they’ve gotten smaller.
      Ugh. It’s kind of messed up that having smaller breasts makes me feel safe(r).

  • May 21st, 2012 9:17 PM

    Fortunetlly nothing this awful has ever happened to me, but I feel teriblle for all of you who it has happened to. I’m not going to pretend that I know how any of you feel but I do feel really strongly that there should be education about street harassment since it is a very real thing! BTW I love your video Amy Rose<3

  • hannahna May 21st, 2012 9:18 PM

    I’m an old and therefore should have a stockpile of brilliant comebacks ready to hurl at any and all who pelt me with their nastiness but alas, I have still yet to find that perfect deterrent. Mostly I just hang my head in shame and avoid eye contact.

    I’ve had all sorts of unappealing encounters since moving to NY so much so that there was a period where I was unwilling to leave the house without my husband or other company. I’ve gotten better but it’s still a mental workout being out and about alone.

  • josiehodson May 21st, 2012 9:18 PM

    The worst are comments like “girl, I hope you’re eighteen.” I’ve gotten that more than once, and it’s just like—you hope I’m eighteen so that… what? I’m not going to be any more inclined to get in a car with a random guy if I’m over eighteen. And the implication of that statement is that we’re GOING to have sex, as though I’ve already agreed to having sex with him. When does a girl get a say in the matter? So mad just thinking about it.

  • maddzwx May 21st, 2012 9:18 PM

    Once a man outside a movie theater offered me $50 to suck his dick before I was old enough to have gotten my first period. Gross.

  • media.darling May 21st, 2012 9:24 PM

    When I was 12 or so I went out on the train with bare legs because it was really hot. That sounds pretty normal, but I had been going through some body image stuff, and so going out in shorts felt scary, but also good. For a few minutes, I felt awesome, and then I got whistled at, and I felt uncomfortable and wary the entire ride to and from my destination.
    Also, a few months ago, my friend and I were waiting for a train. It came up, but was totally full, so we stepped forward to assess the situation and then stepped back, not wanting to deal. This random guy grabbed her ass from behind, saying, “Ay, mama, you can fit on that bus.” We got really grossed out and walked as far as we could away from him. Luckily he just got on the bus and left.
    And last week I was walking home from school and this guy asked me how I was doing, which at first seemed polite and then immediately after seemed suspicious. Then he, crossing the street in the same direction as me, asked me, addressing me as “Mama,” if I went to City College (hello, high school freshman!) I was luckily on the block of my house, but I don’t know what I would have done if I had to walk across from him for a long time. He just kept looking at me. It sucks that no one can just ask how you are anymore.

    • media.darling May 21st, 2012 9:26 PM

      One more horrifying story about street harassment, where the harassment is not nearly as bad as the circumstance:
      One day, in sixth grade, I was at my friend’s house and she decided to put on a push-up bra, short shorts, and a low cut tank top and play a game, presumably one she’d played before, where she went around the block and saw how many whistles she could get.
      I don’t really no what more to stay about that, just that the more I think about it the more I know how wrong it was.

  • ali v May 21st, 2012 9:34 PM

    The only (and by far the CREEPIEST) time this has happened to me was when I was eleven. ELEVEN. NO development or puberty at all at that point.
    Anyway, I was just putting some stuff in my mom’s car parked outside (at night) and a really creepy neighbor across the street wolf-whistled at me! I was so creeped out since it was dark out and I couldn’t see who it was I couldn’t even reply. I just sat in my room being angry for the rest of the night.

  • Caden May 21st, 2012 9:36 PM

    Thank you for posting your conversation. This is something that girls always seem to have to deal with. I agree that France is the worst. I went to France when I was 16 and was constantly harassed/whistled at/hit on/grabbed by men of all ages. On one of the last days, a group of around five men literally chased me down the street screaming vulgar things after me. I ended up with bruises all over my arms and I wouldn’t leave the hotel again until we left. Sadly it happens in Australia too but not as bad.

    Stay strong!

    Caden x
    http://www.etsy.com/shop/pinkpoppies1991

    Ps love the growling video!

  • NotReallyChristian May 21st, 2012 9:38 PM

    Not the worst but the most disturbing street harassment I’ve had was when I was staying in Italy for a few months, and while walking home from a friend’s house at night (yes I know, I shouldn’t have been by myself, but it was a 5-minute walk) I was catcalled by POLICEMEN IN THEIR POLICECAR. How was I ever supposed to feel safe?!? My Italian friends don’t understand why anyone would ever be offended (‘but it’s so flattering!’) but I never felt flattered by the guys who followed me home at night, or randomly hit on me when I was in the supermarket in my trackies.

  • hannachronism May 21st, 2012 9:39 PM

    :( This makes me feel really awkward, because I never get harassed on the street in a way that makes me feel uncomfortable (mostly black gay guys complimenting my hair or the one hobo that called me honeybuns and it made my day because I’d been working on my butt) But I also never get approached in clubs (like to a creepy degree, it’s like I’m a leper, the level of avoidance by everyone) or on the street.

    Which is weird because I’m slim, with a 38DD rack and I wear short skirts and go out alone a lot and am conventionally attractive in the face. But apparently I give off a psycho killer vibe? I seriously never ever get hit on, because according to people I’ve talked to, I give off the impression that if you touch me against my will, I will make it look like a suicide when the cops find your body.

    So um. Walk really tall, confidently and try your hardest to give off the vibe of, Do not fuck with me or I will fuck you up.
    Failing that, sing the Freddy rhyme over and over again so you look super creepy.

    And never make eye contact or acknowledge them in anyway, getting called a deaf bitch is great.

    I might just be super oblivious.

    • Rachael May 21st, 2012 10:47 PM

      I’ve never been harassed either. I’m very glad, but these conversations always make me feel awkward because I feel like I’m not living in the same world as everyone else!

  • Abby May 21st, 2012 9:46 PM

    Thank you. Just… Thank you.

  • junebug May 21st, 2012 9:48 PM

    Great article. It sucks so much that we all have to deal with this crap. I remember when I was 13 a college guy working at Starbucks said he would give me a free coffee if I showed him my tits, and I remember telling him I didn’t know what tits were. And I didn’t. I hate that these anonymous men somehow own our bodies/sexuality before we ourselves do. Since then, you know, I’ve grown up with the wolf whistles and stuff, especially when I used to walk home from my old job. I’ve never dealt with anything too bad–nothing a middle finger and a calm but pissed “fuck you” doesn’t fix.

    • Phoebe May 21st, 2012 11:48 PM

      asdfghjkl;’

      Basically I totally agree with you “all these anonymous men somehow own our bodies/sexuality before we ourselves do.” Well put.

  • aud85220 May 21st, 2012 9:56 PM

    First of all, I am completely obsessed with Rookie and I love every single one of you so much because you’re all so funny and wonderful and GOSH let’s just all have one huge hangout on Google+, shall we?

    I’m only 13, but I’ve had my fair share of freaky perverted looks from guys. (guys who are in their 50s mind you) Today I was in the car with my mom at the bank pulling out, I was wearing no make up, it was 85 outside so I was sweating, and this dude saw me, and started walking after our car. (and the look on his face showed that he was *ahem* turned on)

    Last year (when I was 12 and my friend was 11), we were walking down the street after going to a festival, there were people everywhere and even police officers. These two teenagers drove past us in a car and screamed “HAVE SEX!”, laughed and then drove away. I almost threw up. Nobody around us seemed to care or even notice. (even though they SCREAMED it)

    My friend just told me how when she was 10, she was at a market and this 50 year old guy came up to her and asked her for her number. ._.

    Street harassment is NOT okay, it’s frankly sickening. And lucky for me, the next time something like that happens, I know to scream “Suck my dick!” and make Amy Rose’s amazing monster face and then, kick them in the nuts so hard they blow up into a billion little perverted pieces! <3

  • dreamyj May 21st, 2012 10:02 PM

    This article both made me sad to hear that so many of you have encountered these experiences, but also immensely comforted to hear I am not the only one. Like many I experience this sort of thing on a regular basis, and when it happens I feel so powerless and alone.

    Last week it was a hot day, so I decided not to wear tights with my skirt. I was walking through a park, and some guys started yelling to pull down my skirt. I didn’t realise at first they were talking to me, and I thought I must have had it tucked into my underwear or something, so I tugged down on it a little, and they started yelling “Thank god, that’s better, your legs are f***ing disgusting!” Funny thing was, this was about 11 o’clock, and there were loads of families and children around, and not one person batted an eyelid. Ironically, later on I went through a food market, and this guy blocked my path and asked if I wanted to buy a taco. I declined, and as I walked away, he leered at me and said I had sexy legs, and told me to hitch my skirt up.
    This is by far not the worst of the stories here (or what I have experienced personally) but it infuriates me how acceptable it is for men to pass comments on women, (or worse) and it is seen as harmless and ‘part of life.’ These actions and words are powerful, especially if sentiment is confirmed over and over again. Even more so when (as seen from these comments) this begins from a very young age. It is obvious from this article and the many comments that more needs to be done, so thank you so much for this article Rookie, you are awesome as always. =]

  • extraflamey May 21st, 2012 10:12 PM

    Having large breasts I am sadly accustomed to this. I’ve had the cat calls, the jeering, the jerking off, and the staring. If I can meet their eye I try and stare them down with the meanest glare I can muster. Most of them have backed right down. I really hate how this isn’t made a bigger issue and is just chalked up to “oh men will be men”

  • Madisyn May 21st, 2012 10:13 PM

    How lovely it would be to go to the park to jump rope with out the intensely unpleasant anticipation of those aholes who inevitably feel their presence is at all welcomed.

  • fairy_grrrl May 21st, 2012 10:29 PM

    My Spanish teacher (who is a woman, by the way) was talking about her experience with street harassment when she went to study abroad in Mexico. She described how these guys would cat call her and her friend, and how she turned it around by making a joke out of it and cat calling them when they went by one morning. It stopped from then on, apparently. At the end of her description she was like, “boys will be boys” or some shit like that.
    It pissed me off so much. Just because you got rid of your problem that way doesn’t mean everyone else will, and things much MUCH worse happen to girls every day. Attitudes like that feed the fire. We need to educate EVERYONE.

  • Mayabett May 21st, 2012 10:32 PM

    Honestly I’m so happy you did another article on street harassment. I agree that boys need to be more aware of these things, because it will only continue because so many males think it’s OKAY WHEN IT ISN’T.

    I still remember when my babysitter and I (I was 6) were walking from school (I live in NYC) and some dude kept following us…we walked around the block three times and he kept doing it. PEOPLE ARE SUCH CREEPS.

    And guys always smile at me and check me out and say “Hi” or make a comment about what I’m wearing. And a lot of times I’m wearing a huge man sweater and sneakers…. I’m still waiting for the opportunity where I can recover my senses to make a comeback in the form of profanity or something…

  • lyrarose May 21st, 2012 10:49 PM

    I’m glad that none of this has ever happened to me before, but it’s still sickening to read how often this happens.

    On another note, I have this weird fantasy (meaning, I don’t own a gun, and probably never will, and also this is maybe illegal on many levels) about someone honking their horn at me, and me not jumping out of my skin, but instead pulling a gun out of my bag/pocket/jacket and shooting their car’s wheel. Even weirder, my motive for this sort of thing is because only a reaction that big (or so it seems) would begin to get the attention needed to maybe make things better.

  • back2thepast May 21st, 2012 10:57 PM

    about a month ago a couple girl friends, my best male friend and I were walking down the street to meet up with some people and a car full of creeps drove by and yelled some disgusting cat calls and my guy friend totally freaked out and flipped em the bird. None of the girls were that shocked about it cuz it happens to them so often, but him and I were appalled it was just so inappropriate. My guy friend started going off about how that is NOT okay and it’s NOT normal, I really appreciated that girls aren’t the only ones seeing this. Great article

  • escalier May 21st, 2012 11:10 PM

    I love this article! This relates to me so much more now because I just moved from a very small town outside of NYC, where everyone knew each other and the only people who really harassed me were people in cars coming from out of town, to a slightly-grittier part of Manhattan. I can’t even take the dog out without getting harassed. Whenever I walk home from school, someone starts hitting on me, once I had to walk into a smoothie store to get away from him and I told him he couldn’t follow me in, but he just said “cmon baby!” and followed me. I hate that I can’t walk around my own neighborhood without men staring at me and hollering. This has been happening since I was 11, it’s only gotten worse as time has gone by. Guys will start hitting on me in the street because I look like I’m 18-20, but then the moment they realize I’m 15 they usually leave. It was the worst in Israel. 60 year old men will shamelessly flirt/harass 14 year old girls. I just hate the fact that I am on display where ever I walk.

  • bhaus May 21st, 2012 11:12 PM

    One time my friend and I were walking home in the wee hours of the morning having just left a zombie fest. We were in our best zombie punk clothes with really realistic makeup. These two guys walking towards us were like “Hey ladies” ready to harass us, but just then we stepped into the light. They saw our faces, said “Oh shit!” and recoiled in horror. Heh heh.

    So what I’m saying is we should all wear zombie makeup all the time to teach those perverts a lesson.

    • kitterfly May 22nd, 2012 12:42 AM

      you are my favorite.

      all of the stories that end with the girls getting the upper hand and either scaring or shaming the assholes bothering ‘em are really inspirational.

      i feel like i should get up an hour early and do zombie makeup for tomorrow.

      and, like, this should become a movement. “zombie day: don’t mess with us, because we are emulating diseased, flesh-eating monsters”

  • Sage May 21st, 2012 11:13 PM

    Once, when I was 9 or 10 years old, I was taking swim at the Y. I had forgotten my towel and goggles and whatnot at home, so my dad ran into the nearest walmart to pick me up my things. Well, we were running late and had my baby sister with us, so he went in alone, leaving my sister and I parked in the first spot nearest the door. Suddenly, a red truck pulled up in the stripped “no parking” zone and just sat there for a while. I was like “what the heck is this guy doing?” and took a closer look. He was masturbating. Did I mention, I was 9/10? Who does that? Scarred for life. I was disgusted and felt guilty and I couldn’t stop crying. Worst day ever

  • Maialuna May 21st, 2012 11:19 PM

    Wow. All of a sudden I love Minneapolis. I’ve never had anything like any of this happen to me. There’s a guy at my school who referred to me as “girlfriend” and put his arm around me. And I know him, and he was joking. Wow am I privileged. Neither me or most of my friends have ever had to deal with anything like this.

  • KinuKinu May 21st, 2012 11:25 PM

    This is awesome and I really appreciate all of my fellow ROOKIES’ stories. My mom and dad let me see The Avengers by myself and basically if anyone was to mess with me I would SCREAM STRRRRRANGER DANGERRRRRR!!!!!! And start acting all weird, like I have serious problem. AKA Amy Rose’s demonstration. It works. I have never been harassed, thankfully. If I was out with my dad or mom and somebody (oh god) was masturbating while looking at me, my DAD would go crazy. He would be so mad. I am trying no to think of that person’s consequences. My dad is very protective and he would not let that pass. I am very appreciative of this story ♥ Thank you

  • Phoebe May 21st, 2012 11:40 PM

    First off I just want to say that I’m glad we’re talking about this. In a lot of these situations we have no power so our power comes from talking about it and hoping that someday someone will have the ability to save themselves from this.

    It’s shocking though how many incidents we go through in our young lives. I’m 21 and every time I think remembered every one of my incidents there is always another. Here are just a few:

    My first week of university I was just settling down on the train for the hour and a half journey home. A thirty-something man walked down the steps. He sat on the other side of the aisle and proceeded to ask me how old I was, tell me that I didn’t have a phone number, but I could give him mine and that he liked the bigger girls. Now I was a fat eighteen year old virgin and I did not know how to respond to this. I had my headphones in, I was trying not to engage, but he was persistent. He said he was going to the bathroom and gave me a look that said I should join him.

    I have been grinded up against on packed buses in Rome, last year on the train back from Sydney I woke up with a drunk mans hand between my legs. I still regret not standing up and saying “I’m sorry to interrupt but this man keeps trying to molest me, would anyone mind swapping seats?” I slapped him and he got off the train though. In London last year I actually paid money for a tube ticket (even though I was already at my station) just to escape the guy who wanted to be my “special friend”. At twelve, an eight year old slapped my ass and followed me home.

    You are not alone in this.

    • Phoebe O June 7th, 2012 2:29 PM

      We have the same name!

      Sorry, I just got really excited when I saw that.

  • TessAnnesley May 21st, 2012 11:46 PM

    This is why I love this article: I’ve actually never experienced street harassment myself – but I’m well aware that that means I’m a member of a minority here. So whenever I’m trying to explain to any male person that street harassment is NOT rare/NOT a compliment etc etc, they always say “It hasn’t even happened to you, GOD” as though the non-experience of one tiny person like me totally negates the harassment of so many others. Now when they say that, I will say “No, it hasn’t technically happened to me, but LOOK AT THIS ARTICLE DICKHEAD.”

  • pearlrose86 May 21st, 2012 11:47 PM

    I remember one time, I was 17 and by myself, running in to grab some fast food during the half-hour or so I had between working at my part-time job and club practice.

    I’d just gotten my food and gone to sit down, when this sketchy, sketchy guy comes up to me at my table and SITS DOWN RIGHT NEXT TO ME.

    I tried to tell him to go away, but it was all like “pretty girl why won’t you talk to me, why you so shy, tell me your name, etc. etc.” I pretty much ate as fast as I could before going to sit out in my hot car for the rest of my break.

    I felt so violated afterward–I should have said no, I should have told him to fuck off, I should have left.

    To this day, I get extremely paranoid whenever I eat alone in restaurants because of that one creepy dude. It’s been almost ten years.

  • zozo May 21st, 2012 11:53 PM

    Reading about all your experiences makes me feel really sick. Nobody should have to put up with all that shit, and it’s sad that how a lot of people just don’t see it as a big ISSUE.

    The first time I got harassed was when I was 10 or 11, and we were on a school trip to Austria. We were at a restaurant, and me and my friends went for a bathroom break. On our way back to our table, these older boys, that were probably on holiday or something started to shout things at us in a sort of made up Chinese/Japanese/Korean language. They blocked our path, so we just turned around and walked the other way, and when we looked back, they were taking pictures of us on their phones, ugh.

    When I was in London, me and my mum were on a bus, and this creepy old guy started staring at me, and saying “Nice, nice…nice..”. I got really freaked out, so I held on to my mum’s arm, but she didn’t notice anything. We finally got off the bus, but the guy got off at the same stop too, following us. My mum stopped to look at the map, so she wasn’t really concentrating, and I just kinda stood there, but the creepy guy was still staring at me, so I went and hid behind the bus stop shelter seats thing, and when i peeked out again, the guy was right there and he went “BOO!” and I gave a little yelp, and just grabbed my mum and dragged her away, whilst the guy was just laughing.

  • Ireallylikepandas May 22nd, 2012 12:07 AM

    Reading this article totally made me angry and recall all the times stuff like this has ever happened to me. Like, the first time I ever got this type of attention was on my 13th birthday and I decided to wear a skirt and a band tee and I felt really good and pretty, y’know, so I was walking with confidence and all. Anyways, I went to wal-mart with my mom and there were these guys in their twenties, dressed like some rocker wannabes, walking behind us making these weird groans and exchanging lewd comments about me. All the while, I had no idea what to do so I kept quiet until they finally went another way.
    It’s just remembering that and reading all these stories and becoming more aware of it all makes me want to do something…I’m just not sure what that something is yet. Hah.

    By the way, this is probably the best website I’ve recently come across.

  • kitterfly May 22nd, 2012 12:26 AM

    i have to take a pretty sketchy bus every morning, because i live in a pretty sketchy neighborhood, and every day i have to deal with some form of harassment, whether it’s just catcalls or “hey, gorgeous”s or, like a few weeks ago, a gigantic guy singling me out on the bus and jacking off whilst repeating “oh, yeah, baby, you want it, baby”. usually, i stare them down and they back off, because in shoes i’m over six feet and therefore taller than 90% of the guys (and people in general) in my neighborhood, but this guy was massive. i was running late, though, so i had no choice but to stay in my seat (fucking idiots on the bus wouldn’t let me move. bystanders are the worst… they help perpetuate because they’re the reason people think it’s okay to behave like that. and then, if an event where they just watched ever comes up, they’re written off as innocent because they didn’t do anything. THAT’S THE PROBLEM. YOU CANNOT JUST WITNESS TERRIBLE THINGS AND “NOT DO ANYTHING”) for a good five minutes while he continued.
    that was one of the worse occasions, but it’s all so bad. “smile, beautiful!” is probably my least favorite– i live in a society where i have to don a battle-death-glare every time i’m out alone, and that one minuscule comment trivializes the harassment and objectifies me at the same time.

    what the fuck is wrong with our world? and why the hell is it a laughing matter? the recurring theme of most of the comments is the casual, joking manner assumed by the guilty parties. a girl defends herself, and it’s silly and cute. it’s awful, you’ve just experienced something

  • kirsten May 22nd, 2012 12:27 AM

    fuck rape culture.

  • kitterfly May 22nd, 2012 12:29 AM

    that makes you utterly sick to your stomach, and you know that there is nothing you can do to protect yourself, to stop it, and to let them know that it is not okay to touch or holler at a girl (or a boy, for that matter. y’all being all high and mighty about how some of the terms used IN A CASUAL CONVERSATION THEY LATER DECIDED TO PUBLISH sure are good at sexism. while most victims of THIS KIND of harassment are female, it’s unfair to accuse all males or dismiss males who have had to deal with this kind of abuse).

    i never feel more powerless.

    • Anaheed May 22nd, 2012 12:55 AM

      Hi, kitterfly. We know that this happens to boys, too, and genderqueer people — it happens to genderqueer and queer and trans people as much as it happens to all women and girls, and often much more violently — but we were talking as a group of girls and women, and you have to acknowledge that street harassment happens to us daily and systematically, in a way that I don’t think most cisgendered men experience or quite understand. Street harassment is by its nature an abuse of power — ignoring the gender politics at play doesn’t really serve anyone, and pretending this isn’t a feminist issue is actually damaging. We didn’t mean to act “high and mighty” or to dismiss males who have had this happen; as feminists, we are in solidarity with everyone who gets treated this way.

      • kitterfly May 22nd, 2012 1:23 AM

        i was more targeting those correcting each other in the comments, mocking ‘em a little bit…
        it’s totally great to discuss this topic and not be completely pc, because no one is all the time. it feels forced.
        i was just pointing out how ridiculous it is to criticize y’all for using terms like “insane” in an article presented so casually… it was a peek into real, genuine, spur of the moment thoughts, it wasn’t a formal piece.

        • Anaheed May 22nd, 2012 1:31 AM

          Ah, OK! I totally misread. Forgive me, for it is late, and I have been staring at a computer screen alllllll day.

        • kitterfly May 22nd, 2012 1:40 AM

          (it doesn’t seem to be allowing me to reply to your comment, and IT IS LATE so i’m just going to reply here)

          all is forgiven!
          just a bit of a panic, there xD
          being replied to by staff is quite exciting, then horrifying when it’s something bad, and then there’s worrying about meeting them in person someday, and having them recall you posting something that was misinterpreted and/or totally unlike what you actually mean because you’re terrible at proofreading and haven’t yet realized that sarcasm doesn’t work over the internet, and that they will think you’re THE WORST PERSON EVER because you’re mildly self-centered and a bit too fangirly for comfort.

          • Anaheed May 22nd, 2012 1:43 AM

            I had a moment of panic and horror when I realized I’d misread your comment and accused you of IGNORING GENDER POLITICS, so we’re even!

        • Pashupati May 22nd, 2012 5:09 AM

          Oh, me.
          When people talk about how it is PC and “free speech!” to ask them not to catcall… or on a more similar level use words like “slut” or “bitch” in casual conversations about women people care about it. I never use words like “insane” (or equivalent) in casual conv, it actually hurts and perpetuate bad things.
          Well, yeah, maybe you could try not to use words like “insane” in comments or “lunatic” in your casual conversations? How is it more forced than not using other slurs? “Lunatic” isn’t even an everyday word like “insane”.
          I know it helps to vent by comparing these assholes to, hmm, disgusting “insane” creatures, but by doing this you’re also doing the reverse and it’s such a put down (and if they are such uncontrollable “crazies” with all it usually implies as a slur, then you’re also implying they can’t change their minds and stop being assholes.)
          It’s not like people were only hypothetical and it was just some sort of PC “look cool” game.
          Yes I understand it was spur of the moment, but I don’t care. Other websites would admit somewhere that it was problematic, it’s sufficient and how does it hurt realness?
          It’s *published* even if it’s spur of the moment!
          What if they didn’t know it was problematic and in the future did like that association (coincidentally working against deletion of sexual harrassment law)’s representative who used both racial and sanist slurs to “include” people they do not represent at all? (in any other less casual context) They don’t make those targeted feel safe, those who read or in casual IRL/online conversations.

        • Anaheed May 22nd, 2012 12:17 PM

          Thanks, Pashupati. We’ll keep this in mind.

        • Johann7 May 24th, 2012 3:38 PM

          I go back and forth on the issue of both “stupid” and variants and “crazy” and variants being used as generalized slurs. I’d be all for doing away with them, like “gay”, except… we’re not really left with anything which to call stuff that’s bad except “bad”, which often fails to express the connotation of the intent. (For example, you, Pashupati, use “asshole” as a slur, which is body-shaming, much like “pussy” or “cunt”, though not gendered like those. Words like “fucker” are sex-negative and slut-shaming.)

          A lot of our speech works by analogy, and most of our slurs work by analogy to thinks that are undesirable. The problem in my mind with using words like “gay” or “pussy” as slurs is that the things to which they’re comparing something to make it seem bad or undesirable aren’t actually themselves bad: there’s nothing wrong with being gay, a cat, or a vulva.

          That’s different with things like “crazy”; all other things being equal, suffering from mental illness is an undesirable state, and can manifest as unreasonable and harmful thoughts and behaviors (as someone with type 2 bipolar disorder, I’m quite familiar with the problems mental illness can present to oneself and others). I’d prefer not to make people feel marginalized, and I’d like to be able to express intense venom; I don’t know what the answer is. It might be the case that if we want to be able to shame or marginalize people who deserve it – people who treat others badly – we can’t do so without some implicit marginalization of some people who don’t deserve it.

        • Johann7 May 24th, 2012 3:57 PM

          Another example: “perv” and “pervert” are being thrown around a lot. This is marginalizing to kinky people/anyone with a non-normative sexuality. Gay people, for example, were often and sometimes still are considered “perverts” (by some), and the same is true of people with any number of fetishes – their sexuality is not normative, but they’re not hurting anyone, and don’t deserve to be marginalized any more or less than “insane” people by way of comparison with something undesirable.

          I definitely recognize your point, and I think it’s valid, I’m just not sure the matter is as simple as removing a few words from our vocabularies.

  • willow May 22nd, 2012 12:34 AM

    I’ve had tons of run ins with disgusting cat calling misogynist pervs since puberty (and even a little before then…), but the one instance that always sticks out in my mind as the scariest was when I was about 14 or 15. I was sitting on a bench waiting for a bus, and this dude rolls up right to the curb in his car and starts saying the most disgusting, sleazy things an inviting me to get into his car and go somewhere to “have fun”. I shot him the dirtiest look I could and then ignored him, but he didn’t go away and literally sat there in his car for like 10 MINUTES. After a while he kinda stopped talking but he just sat there staring at me, and I remember shaking because I was so scared that he was gonna get out of the car and try to grab me or something. Eventually this elderly woman who probably realized what was going on walked quickly over and started SCREAMING at the guy, who seemed to get freaked out and embarrassed by the attention she was drawing to him because he quickly drove away. I’m getting so grossed out writing about this but it’s so important to talk about, and I’m sorry that I and all you girls here and so many girls everywhere have to put up with harrassment and assault and rape and I’m just SO MAD that this is still happening and that our society teaches men and boys that this is ok and teaches us women to just deal with it

  • firky May 22nd, 2012 12:41 AM

    yes.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iIlObKYwUyI

  • courtneyloveskurt May 22nd, 2012 1:03 AM

    I live in a small town, so this kind of stuff isn’t a common occurrence, but once when I was in the Walmart parking lot at night, I got catcalled by some guy just sitting on the hood of his car. It was way over on the edge of the lot and no one was near, so I hurried up to get to my car and on the way I glared at him and flipped him off. And while I was glaring I noticed that there was a girl beside him AND SHE WAS JUST LAUGHING AND POINTING. I never ever expected that from a girl. We’re supposed to look out for each other and feminism and stuff. It was even worse than if it had just been him because I realized there were actually girls out there who thought this kind of stuff was funny and it made me sick.

  • Llama May 22nd, 2012 1:12 AM

    I dye my hair unnatural colors, my favorite of which being turquoise. As someone with weird hair, it isn’t unusual to be made fun of in public, or to have random strangers of all walks of life taking pictures on their cell phones and giggling.

    But the worst part is the desperate men.

    “Green hair, huh?” A complete stranger asked me in the campus Dining Hall. But it wasn’t to compliment my hair. He said it in the most leering, “I bet that means you must be crazy-bananas in bed” sort of way. I had no earthly idea what to say, so I stood there with my plate in my hand, just staring for a second or so. I think I must’ve said something like “What of it?” and walked off.

    Later I was on an escalator in the mall, and I was having a pretty crummy day. This group of teenage boys with their girlfriends were going the opposite way, and the looks they gave me made me seethe. Its like their eyes were saying “Hey fatty, does the carpet match the drapes?” and I swear to God I was ready to lurch back at them with a “No, but it matches your mother’s chest hair, assbag!”

    Later, when I was talking to my mother about this sort of thing, she was disappointed in how angry I was. “He didn’t even say that and you were planning to retaliate. There are children everywhere in that mall, what is wrong with you?”

    I was hurt. “Okay, what should I have done, had someone actually said that to me?”

    “Just be better than them and smile. Vulgarity just makes you look bad, too.”

    And when she said that, I raged a little inside. Why do I owe these men kindness, in order to be considered a “better woman?”

    • missjewely May 22nd, 2012 11:21 AM

      i must admit, i am guilty of what your mom has done– i used to be all “why are you getting so offended, maybe he didn’t MEAN it like that, get your panties out of a bunch” because i wanted to be considered cool, chill, WHATEVER.

      i have since then realized that THAT is the mentality that charges rape culture and makes men think it is okay for them to look down on women, and makes women think it is okay for them to be looked down upon.

      never again. they don’t have to say what they’re thinking, those condescending looks are more than enough, thank you.

  • megantron May 22nd, 2012 2:03 AM

    Another great Rookie article. I want to send this to every dude I know. I always just flip off the catcallers and when guys come up to me to make racially-charged sexual advances, I just tell them to fuck off. But it is scary –if I’m in a place I don’t know that well, I think it’s just smarter to keep quiet and keep moving. This kind of thing really does happen to every woman, and it’s just so shitty.

  • firky May 22nd, 2012 2:08 AM

    aaaand on a not-so-different noteL

    http://www.retronaut.co/2012/04/girl-watcher-magazine-1959/

    • Llama May 22nd, 2012 2:32 AM

      A comment from this page: “Can we perhaps acknowledge that as well as being a hint of amusing retro nonsense, this is vile dehumanising stalker fodder? Just me?”

      My feelings exactly. You can tell it started out as a joke that got way too serious and creepy in later contexts.

      • firky May 22nd, 2012 4:49 PM

        I wonder how it was received in the 50s.

        • Llama May 22nd, 2012 9:02 PM

          Probably as harmless raunchy humor for me. Something sold in gag/comic-type shops that most average, everyday people weren’t aware of, you know?

          “Let’s go down to Corby’s Malt Bin and be whistled at.” – says one girl to another in an illustration. It’s so ludicrous. No wonder men think this stuff is a compliment, with all of the “50′s vixen walking down the street getting whistled at” tropes that we’ve grown up with in cartoons, movies, etc.

  • suze_me May 22nd, 2012 2:18 AM

    This happens EVERYDAY. Its like there’s no escape. Once, when I was alone at home, this old dude came over (nearly my dad’s age). He was getting our passports made so I asked him to wait till my parents got home. He started talking to me, general stuff, so I just chatted for five minutes and glued my eyes to the computer.
    He continues talking and suddenly, just like that, he started talking about female body parts and how he thinks I have pretty hair and nice hands and started to touch my nails and stuff. I freaked out completely. I ran away to a room inside, and locked myself till he went away. He knocked and called out my name but I ignored him. Once, he was gone, I grabbed a knife and closed the main door. I didn’t let him in till my parents came home. I didn’t tell them about this incident even though I should have. I don’t know, there have been SO MANY similar and worse instances, that I just don’t tell them stuff anymore. It sucks and makes me sick.

  • Nikkita May 22nd, 2012 2:34 AM

    also here’s another tumblr that shares peoples’ street harassment stories:
    http://howmanywomen.tumblr.com

  • cocolarue May 22nd, 2012 2:37 AM

    I can probably recall more incidents than I can count. I know once as a freshman I was laying out on a patch of grass near my school reading, wearing jeans, a t-shirt and a big leather jacket and I got honked at. At school! Men try to talk to me on the street all the time when I am walking. I live near Portland, Oregon and the downtown area has a lot of homelessness and mental illness, so that’s scary. I always try to walk with friends downtown at night because I never know who’s out there. It’s profoundly sad and wrong that women can’t feel safe doing everyday things. I know every single one of my lady friends and family (and possibly some dudes too) have stories. She doesn’t like to talk about it, but I know my mom was threatened by some men at knife-point in Italy when she toured Europe with some girlfriends in college. And I have friends who frequent the bus (I’m lucky enough to have regular access to a car) who get hit on and bothered constantly.

  • Kate B May 22nd, 2012 2:48 AM

    I went to SlutWalk this past September, and I was NOT prepared for the immense number of creeps who were taking pictures of my tits. Retrospectively, I’m not surprised, but I went into it all excited to have duct-taped my nipples and by all risque and support the cause etc., and I was so freaked out by it that I cried. And the thing was, these guys were on the sides of the road but they also got in on the march, and when all the feminists were hugging each other afterwards they were there too, saying things like “move your arms down to your sides, honey”. All I wanted was a safe space.
    Also, recently I’ve been getting a lot of shrugs and “old enough”s from middle aged men when I tell them I’m 17. HOW IS THAT OKAY.

  • lolr May 22nd, 2012 3:33 AM

    I signed up just so that I could tell this story. Today I stopped in a parking lot to make a phone call like a good, law-abiding person. I parked, turned down my music, and took off my sunglasses, when a man came up and knocked on my window. I pretended to ignore him for a while but he kept knocking, so I rolled down the window a tiny bit just to hear him, and found myself the recipient of a stream of insults that went something like this: “YOUR FUCKIN’ 15 YEAR OLD LOOKIN ASS WHAT ARE YOU DOIN HERE YOU CANT DRIVE FUCK YOU YOU FAGGOTS SHOULDN’T LIVE LOOK AT YOUR FAGGOT-ASS GLASSES WHO TOLD YOU YOU WERE ALLOWED TO DO THAT FUCK YOU AND YOUR PUSSY-ASS ONLY ROLL DOWN THE WINDOW A CRACK WHAT YOU SCARED OF FAGGOT”

    I was shocked and scared, but I wasn’t going to let him know that, so I rolled up the window, turned my music back up, put the car into drive and hit the gas, spun around and laid on my horn for about 20 seconds while giving this guy the finger, and drove off.

    I still feel disgusted with myself though. I don’t know what I did to deserve it; all I did was park my car.

  • julalondon May 22nd, 2012 3:58 AM

    Jeez, HOW SAD IS IT that EVERY SINGLE female here has at least one horrible story to tell?!?!?! There is seriously something WRONG in our f***** up society and that makes me so GODDAMN ANGRY!!!!

  • Astoria May 22nd, 2012 4:02 AM

    If someone ever asks me why I am a feminist again I’ll link them this. God why are men such assholes.

  • lylsoy May 22nd, 2012 4:10 AM

    These 169 comments just say everything! I am getting harassed all the time, because we live in an ok but a little dodgy area. ANYWAY, the fact that we as girls and women are getting harassed is somehow so common, that some people just accept it! BUT THAT IS WRONG! There should be campaigns about it, just like about so many other things that are getting attention. I’d love to see ”STOP LOOKING AT HER” in a tram instead of the usual ”fare evasion is a sin-bla” Infact, we should all start making posters, in our schools, at home with friends etc. and put them all over the city/town/ area we live in, just like kony!

  • ivoire May 22nd, 2012 4:18 AM

    AMY ROSE YOU AMAZING GIRL. I should have tried that when my friends and I were going door to door asking for donations for the Salvos, and a bunch of guys tooted at us. I just held up both fingers.

  • Narnie May 22nd, 2012 4:20 AM

    Ugh people are so disgusting. One time I was with a friend AT THE LIBRARY in SCHOOL UNIFORM and we were just doing work on the floor when I looked up and sitting across from us was this guy who just had his penis hanging out of his shorts and was masturbating at us and making gross faces. It was so awful.

  • chantemoi May 22nd, 2012 4:28 AM

    The thing is.. when this kind of shitty things happens to us, we freak out. It’s only after the freaking out/panicking fades that we get angry. We are almost paralyzed and our protective instinct (which I strongly believe is stronger than with men) kicks in and we opt to get away from the danger. This is of course the wise thing to do. But when you think that those jerks will do the same thing to a million other girls, you know you should have done something to teach them a memorable lesson. I felt guilty many times for having done nothing. But we should be more forgiving of ourselves. That’s the first thing that I think we should acknowledge. Only after should we learn to take actions – but only if the circumstances permit. I have seen so many psychos out there (notably in Paris and London – interesting how these cities keep popping up in this post and comments). It’s never worth putting ourselves in danger.

    The one story I have of a brave woman is that of my friend’s mother’s. In Paris, myself, my friend and she were in a very crowded subway – as in can’t move or breathe, body stuck to body, urgh disgusting. When the doors opened, the perv standing behind my friend’s mother took the opportunity to move his arm and place his hand on her butt. At the next station, as soon as the door opened, my friend’s mother grabbed that guy’s hand, put it up so everyone can see (she was 5’9 tall) and yelled “this hand was grabbing my ass. whom does it belong to?” I swear everybody looked, the guy turned red and ran off.

    • missjewely May 22nd, 2012 11:43 AM

      OH MY GOD. I LOVE THIS. many kudos to that mother!!! genius, ahaha.

  • peanutbutter May 22nd, 2012 4:42 AM

    The biggest problem with street harassment, is the fact that it is so insidious. It’s hard to pin down, and often the victim may not even realise that what happened was unacceptable. It makes it hard to really tackle it and try to stop it

    It wasn’t even until I had read through most of the article that I began to realise that it had happened to me, too. Numerous times, in many different ways, starting as early as when I was 10 or 11. What bothers me most though, is the fact that my knee-jerk reaction to these memories resurfacing was to make excuses for the perpetrators. He was drunk, he was just a teenager, he was clearly mentally incapacitated. Part of it is me not wanting to admit that a normal, rational adult would do these things, but it’s also the fact that we are geared to think ‘Oh, it’s not a big deal, I’m weak if I let it get to me, and annoying if I speak out about it’

  • marj0 May 22nd, 2012 4:52 AM

    Almost two years a young man honks at me when i bike to school. Which doesn’t seem very weird because i have to bike along a road where drive a lot of vans.

    But what really freaks me out is the fact he does it for almost 2 years and I’m the only girl who he honks at but I’m not the only girl who bikes there and I’m not the girl who wears the sexiest clothes or something…

    A couple of weeks ago I came across him at a risky crossing and he stopped his little van which was really scary and weird. Because if he just drove on I could cross too. (I hope someone understands this sentence, I’m Dutch ;)) When I bike along his little van he turned (?) the windows down and said something like ‘Hi’. However i felt very intimidated.

    At the moment I’m not sure what to do. It feels like he stalks me a bit, but it’s just the way I feel… My dad only wants to call the cops/his boss (the name of the company is on his van) when he make offending/vulgar comments or gesture. But I really want to stop feeling uncomfortable when I bike to school…

  • Sugar paper May 22nd, 2012 5:17 AM

    Last year me and a few friends went to Paris for a few days to get tattooed by Sunny Buick and experienced so much street harrassment in such a short space of time, Sunny had some great advice, she said ‘even if they don’t speak English, just shout GET AWAY FROM ME YOU C***SUCKER!!’

  • hillary May 22nd, 2012 7:08 AM

    THIS POST! YES!
    ugh rookie reminds me why i love them every day

    also, i know this is stupid, but when reading this article part of me did feel, like…unworthy? or something? just because i’ve never had an experience like that. i’m kicking myself for it because i know that street harassment is a horrible, horrible thing that shouldn’t happen to anyone, but i can’t help but read this and go, “wow, this is so incredibly common…i must be REALLY ugly huh?”
    :/

    • missjewely May 22nd, 2012 11:40 AM

      while i disagree with you, i think i can understand where you’re coming from. i felt the same way once– but as others have stated, the fact that people think being harassed on the street is a “compliment” rather than harassment is why it is so widely accepted. you shouldn’t need some strange man to catcall you to feel like you are worth something or pretty.

      • hillary May 23rd, 2012 5:19 AM

        i know – it’s the perception that it’s a compliment that contributes most to rape culture, but i just can’t help it :(

        so many girls (unfortunately, myself included) will take any attention they can get, good or bad, because they just want to be noticed, and that sucks more than anything.

        thanks, though :)

    • Llama May 22nd, 2012 2:14 PM

      Never, ever feel like this is something to compliment how pretty a woman is. I kind of cringed when I came across a comment here that was obviously a younger reader exaggerating her story–it felt like I was in middle school again, and my friends were trying to one-up each other’s stories. I love you guys. Please, -please- don’t feel like you have to do that here.

      But then again, I understand how you feel. I’m from a suburban town in Texas and this sort of thing isn’t as much of an obvious problem where I’m from, you know? I’ve only ever been on public transportation a handful of times since I started college, and it’s a whole different animal here. My mom drove me to school on a daily basis when I was a kid. I can’t speak as if I relate. The self-conscious preteen voice in me wants to go, “well obviously, it’s because I’m 5’11″ and pudgy,” but then I snap back to reality and say “Wait a goddamned second, this isn’t even something that I want!”

      It’s like what Tavi said about the boy in her class thinking she was boasting about all of the attention she gets. Because there are still people that see catcalling and street harassment in terms of “attention” instead of disrespect, and that’s where the real problem lies.

      • hillary May 23rd, 2012 5:20 AM

        yeah, i totally get what you mean and i completely agree.

        thanks :)

    • Johann7 May 24th, 2012 4:38 PM

      Harassment also has NOTHING to do with how pretty or ugly someone thinks you are. It ONLY has to do with (mostly) men exercising power over (mostly) women. How do I know? I get some directed my way every once in a while, and I’m an overweight guy. However, I have long hair, and might thus be mistakenly identified as a woman from far away, behind, in a moving car, when really drunk, etc. It’s not about what you’re wearing, how big or small various body parts are, or anything else about how you look, except that you’re being identified as female. If you’re not getting harassed, it’s not because you’re ugly, it’s really only because you’re lucky.

  • Sorcha M May 22nd, 2012 7:37 AM

    Since I started developing at like, 12 or something, I’ve had to try and cope with disgusting comments, being groped and followed. Until fairly recently, I didn’t even know it counted as harassment because whenever I tried to complain about it, a boy would pop up and be like, ‘You should be flattered people find you attractive!’ What, like I’m meant to be HAPPY a middle-aged man gets turned on by a 14 year old girl in her school uniform? I’m still mad at myself for never retaliating, but I live in London and I often feel like it’s never that safe to say something back.

  • charlottesophiaaustralia May 22nd, 2012 8:09 AM

    Oh my goodness, I was at Central Station last month with my boy (in Sydney, Australia) and I was walking along George street and my boyfriend was about 2 metres ahead of me, I was dawdling because my feet hurt from walking all around uni when my boyfriend turned around and growled “come here right now” at me.

    I wanted to go all feminist “oh no one talks to me like that” on him but he looked so angry so I sped up to silently be angry and not make a scene when he simply said “babe, you were just walking so slowly past a guy eyeing you off and masterbating”.

    I thought he was joking so I spun around to see, and sure enough there was some jerk with his… member…. out for everyone to see staring straight at me.

    I was so shocked and had no idea what to do, tears welled up and I just grabbed my boyfriend and got on the next bus, called the police and apparently he was still there about an hour later doing the same thing when my friend saw him get taken away by police.

    So disgusting.

  • Stefania May 22nd, 2012 8:40 AM

    When I lived in downtown Toronto I would get harassed every single day. It was even worse when my girlfriend was with me, because if we held hands for a moment, we would be bombarded with all kinds of disgusting remarks. A few weeks ago we were on a walk on a Sunday afternoon, in a really clean cut neighborhood. We were looking at movie posters outside a theatre, when some young creep asked if we wanted to see a movie. This guy was seriously messed up on drugs, his eyes were dead. We said “no”, and as he walked away, he ran his fingers through my hair. That’s when I jumped around and started yelling at the fucker to not touch me. My girlfriend joined in, and he pushed her against the wall. I ran over and hit him, and he grabbed me by the hair and forced me to the ground. My left hand and right elbow were totally mangled from the fall, and he ripped out a chunk of my hair. My girlfriend came over and punched him, and when I got up, she was kneeing him in the gut. Somehow he got up, and they both fell onto the hood of a car. I was running over at this point, and he was trying to push her down to the ground. I was screaming at him to stop, and punched him in the back of the head. That’s when some young man came running over and chased this guy away. Thank god there are some decent men out there! It was all so startling. I just wanted to tell the guy off for touching me, neither of us had expected him to get physical. But I don’t think he expected us to fight back. I could have ignored him, but I would have been left with the guilt of not defending myself.

    • Llama May 22nd, 2012 2:22 PM

      Holy shit! I am so sorry that happened to you I’m always so scared that telling some fucker off will result in this, and it must’ve been terrifying for you.

      “I could have ignored him, but I would have been left with the guilt of not defending myself.” Exactly. It’s a huge dilemma and you never have enough time to think things through, you know?. I’m proud of you for sticking up for yourself, though.

  • tarjeidengrusomme May 22nd, 2012 9:03 AM

    Wow, this is the kind of stuff I honestly thought only happened in movies:/ Sincere apologies on behalf of the male population (at least the percentage of us who have the decency to view women as human beings)

    regards,
    male closet rookie-reader

    • TheGreatandPowerfulRandini May 22nd, 2012 8:01 PM

      Are you Scandinavian?

  • Whimsy May 22nd, 2012 9:09 AM

    On a balmy June afternoon a few years ago, myself and a few female friends were waiting in line together outside an outdoor recreational centre, when my gaze was drawn to a couple in the queue adjacent to us. The girl in questioned appeared little over the age of fifteen, and was wearing an expression of muted distress whilst, what was presumably her boyfriend – a weasly-featured man, who I estimated as approaching thirty – groped and forced himself against her in a way that seemed unnervingly violent in intent.

    I discreetly alerted my friends to this, and was unsettled by the apathy of the rest of the queue, who despite the assumption that the two were together, might have perhaps realised that the scene was more than slightly ‘off’. As I glanced across at them, I witnessed the girl struggle somewhat and murmur something that seemed to particularly rile him, as with incredible duress, he grabbed her by her pony-tail and proceeded to drag her away from the crowd despite her hysteric protests. When we acknowledged that the many onlookers present were adamant to disassociate themselves from this scene, me and my friends started towards him, screaming in a frenzy of manic panic.

    His response was that he was her boyfriend, but refusing this statement, we proceeded to crowd about him, eventually pinning him to the concrete and sitting on him so as to prevent a struggle. A woman with her children had thankfully noticed, and contacted the police to collect the offender. Once he had gone, alarmingly, the girl divulged that the man was not her boyfriend and that he had [c]

  • Whimsy May 22nd, 2012 9:11 AM

    [c] randomly begun harassing her outside the park and muttering all sorts of horrendous sexual expletives until she had become numb with an intense fear for her safety. She was fourteen. For me, one of the worst aspects of the entire ghastly situation was that nobody in the area seemed to give the slightest fuck about what was happening to this young, vulnerable girl, as though the fact that he claimed to be her boyfriend rendered the whole thing acceptable; dismissed as a case of domestic violence that was simply ‘no-one’s business’. I dread to imagine what might have occurred had we not intervened. We were all quite shook-up afterwards but proud that we had acted in such a way and prevented any further sexual offence. As girls ourselves who have all been subject to varying degrees of sexual harassment throughout our short lives, from crude classroom cajoling, to explicit propositions in public after simply being polite to a man far beyond my years after he tripped over my shoes – so we knew that the unmistakable expression on that girl’s face was not one of consent: it was one of desperate terror. [c]

    • alix May 22nd, 2012 12:51 PM

      I can’t belive this. It’s horrible to think that people were witnessing that and did nothing. I hope that something like that never happens to me because I doubt anyone would help after reading this. It’s really scary to think what might have happened to that girl had you and your friends not been there.

    • Llama May 22nd, 2012 2:26 PM

      Oh my GOD. Even the thought that people wrote it off as “couples’ business” makes me sick to my stomach. I mean, what the hell, society?

    • RedRaconteur July 8th, 2012 11:05 PM

      My boyfriend and I witnessed something similar once. We were walking home fairly late at night and in front of us was a very short girl and a very big guy had his arm around her. At first we thought they were a couple but as we got closer we realized the girl didn’t know the guy and was trying to get away from him. He was trying to convince her to come with him and was tugging at her arm. My boyfriend and I looked at each other and then swooped in beside the girl. We pretended that she was in a class with us and started talking to her about our homework and she rolled with it beautifully. The guy took off and got in a car with another guy before we could get the license plate number, but the girl thanked us profusely and we walked her home.

      Moral of these stories: We (not just we as women, but we as people) need to look out for each other.

  • Whimsy May 22nd, 2012 9:11 AM

    [c] Apologies for the length of this message, but I had such a desire to share this story, and this is a subject that evidently makes so many of us passionate. Although, yes, from personal experience, wearing short-short’s and walking alone in the desolate part of a city beside a busy road may receive more car-honk’s than usual, this is not an issue that can be simply deduced to a woman’s appearance. The cause of this, as we all know, is ‘power’. The establishment of power, the exertion of power, and the fortification of power. And one of the most potent reasons a man may establish, exert or fortify power in any of these situations, is because the power that they cling to is not genuine, justifiable or deserved. Some men do it just because they can.

    We seriously need to find a way to continue moving forth and spreading this awareness. I don’t want to be a slave to my pepper spray for all of eternity.

    Truly, so much adoration and love to you all,
    Ophelia~

    [APOLOGIES FOR THE HUGE MESSAGE, ROOKIES!]

    • Naomi May 22nd, 2012 6:46 PM

      no worries ophelia. p.s you have the best name EVER

  • ShockHorror May 22nd, 2012 9:23 AM

    I love Rookie – and with the street harrassment things it’s kinda come full circle as i first found out about you to do with a sortof to do with street harrassment article.

    I was wondering if any fellow rookie reader could help me out though?

    I go to a girls’ school, and tehre is neighbouring boys’ school you have to go though to get to music or Dt or some sciences. Anyway point is a good few of them have decided that at age 12 they need to be training themselves up to be creeps when they’re older.

    I want ot make posters explainig IT’S NOT OKAY.

    Any ideas as to what to put?

    I wanted to head it with “Oi, Darlin’!” and then proper information underneath but I’m not sure what to put.

    I was laso considering making a one for the girls’ school with some hins on what to shout back.

    BECAUSE THEY ARE 12 mand a girl 4 YEARS older than them I should NOT feel scared walking past them because they’re creeps (:

    Anyway – srry for the essay, thanks if anyone has any suggestions!

    • VictoryBelle May 22nd, 2012 11:54 PM

      http://www.ihollaback.org/ has some good stuff and i spotted an comment earlier up that was looking for similar stuff and a few people commented with some good ideas. I know it takes ages to trawl through THIS many comments but some of them were good, like “the way i dress does not mean yes” and some others.

  • Betbet May 22nd, 2012 9:44 AM

    So my standard response is a dirty look and saying something like ‘would you want your sister/girlfriend/mother to hear that?’, so the most shocking time this ever happened to me was when i was with a group of girl friends on the beach and a man offered to take a photo of the group, we pointedly gave him our camera, and thought that if a bit weird it was averted, (he had been going to take it with his).
    Then, a bit later, i sat up from sun bathing and saw he was taking photos of us from behind a rock. His partner and two daughters were sitting nearby! This makes me so incensed. How could he have so little respect not only for women in general but even his own family! We were all so shocked that we started doubting ourselves, ‘did that really happen?’, ‘are you sure?’. But we can’t do that, because it’s not our problem, wearing a bikini does not make it our fault.

  • saltwater May 22nd, 2012 9:57 AM

    SO GLAD YOU POSTED THIS CONVERSATION. my worst street harassment experience: when i was fifteen years old, some asshole took an upskirt photo of me. i was just waiting outside a shop in a busy city centre, and didn’t fully realise what had happened until a very distressed woman who happened to spot him told me. i was angry and upset but also a little guilty. that day, i’d been wearing knee-high socks and a pleated mini-skirt and i felt like i couldn’t complain about that sort of attention when i was dressed in a way that could be interpreted as this “sexy schoolgirl” trope. and i think this guilt is such a good example of how rape culture influences the way women perceive themselves. there’s also this whole other problem about how often young girls are targeted by street harassment, because our culture sexualises youth so much (so many of my friends and i have recieved abuse when we are wearing school uniforms and it’s like WHY, CAN YOU NOT SEE THAT I AM A CHILD?!)

    • TheGreatandPowerfulRandini May 22nd, 2012 8:04 PM

      I suggest shorts. I wear short skirts and dresses all the time, but always with shorts underneath.

  • sully-bean May 22nd, 2012 10:18 AM

    This made me so mad. Oh my gosh. Shit.

  • KaitdelPetunia May 22nd, 2012 10:43 AM

    Ugh, this really is the fucking worst. I suppose I attracted the “quirky” creepers because I’ve gotten things like “Good morning. . .flower” and “Best dressed of the evening!” In cases like these I usually give them a “you are an idiot” glare and scoff, but more often than not, I just resort to flipping them off. It makes me feel kind of powerful. In a, “I don’t even give enough of a shit about you to look at you, but also fuck you” kind of way. The best/worst experience I’ve ever had was at a party in college. I was standing out on a second floor porch and I saw this guy harassing a girl on the street. She was trying to get away from him but he kept yelling at her and grabbing her arm and holding her back. I starting flipping out on him yelling “DON’T FUCKING TOUCH HER. GET THE FUCK AWAY.” and he had the audacity to tell me to mind my own business, but I kept yelling which attracted all of my girlfriends in the party and some girls we didn’t even know and we all screamed at him until he gave up and she was able to get away from him. We felt like the Feminist Avengers.

  • missjewely May 22nd, 2012 11:10 AM

    I wish i could show how much i like this.

    Luckily I haven’t had as bad of experiences as some have shared here, but probably one of the most terrifying ones I’ve had thus far was last summer. I was on a cruise with my family and it was our last night on the ship. I woke up really early- like 4 o’clock?- and couldn’t go back to sleep so i decided to go to the top deck an try to see the sunrise before we had to leave for home. when i get up there, ii hear the door close behind me (i had to walk up a flight of stairs, etc) and i turn to see an older man who i passed on my way up the stairs. he says

    “i couldn’t help but notice you as you were walking up, i just think you’re so beautiful”

    ii was already 18 but again, it was FOUR IN THE MORNING. we were still in international water i think so my phone had no service, there was literally NO ONE AROUND ME. so i just said thank you, and inched away from him. he follows me, asks where i’m from, what i’m doing, how old i am. i answer everything because i figure maybe as long as we’re having a conversation he won’t do anything. but when i tell him i am 18, i ask how old he is, and he says he’s 28. i’m even more weirded out now and when he asks for my number i tell him i have a boyfriend and he says– and i get this so much, nit’s infuriating– “i don’t wanna be your boyfriend, i just want to be your friend.” he then proceeded to grab me by the shoulder and pull me against him and hug me and try to touch my chest.

    • missjewely May 22nd, 2012 11:12 AM

      i told him i thought my cousin may need me so i left in a hurry, but not before he invited me to go down to his room to “have some fun.”

      i wish i had more courage to say something about it. i didn’t report it to anyone because i thought they would think i was being silly/trivial. when i told my boyfriend, he actually refused to text me back once i told him i didn’t report it. but that’s the thing, i didn’t think it was a BIG ENOUGH DEAL TO REPORT. i felt unsafe and violated and i still thought no one would care. i even told myself it wasn’t a big deal.

      i wish i could go back now and tell him to fuck off. i feel guilty thinking about it.

      sorry for the long post y’all.

  • Minnah May 22nd, 2012 11:27 AM

    THANKYOU FOR THIS ARTICLE!
    street harassment happens to me so often I can’t be bothered to count it, and essentially we do nothing about it as a society. like, what is up with that? I’m a huge fan of hollaback, but oddly, they don’t have any groups in Australia?
    The worst part it I know lots of ladies who just don’t *get* why street harassment is such a big deal. It is, and i’ll be damned if i’m not going to be angry about it every single day. This article ought to be required reading because we really don’t talk about this issue enough out in the open. I’m going to go link to this on facebook right this instant, I think.

  • missjewely May 22nd, 2012 11:30 AM

    also, you all may like this video– i loved it. gives me hope, seriously http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5P4eVjwVd_U

  • gloomyflamingo May 22nd, 2012 12:24 PM

    Omg guys, where do you live? o.O Nothing like this has happened to me, I only noticed a few guys that stared a bit too long.

  • alix May 22nd, 2012 12:31 PM

    one time I was walking home from school (In a big ugly skirt and boxy blazer – totally unflattering) and these guys from my school the year above me drove past, open the door of their moving car and shouted something at me a didn’t quite hear (I had earphones in) and started laughing. I actually laughed for a second cause it was so shocked, but then I got angry.
    I’ve had people toot their horn at me (that sounded like double entendre but its not).
    And also people stare at me all the time when I go out anywhere, just random men, and I mean all the time.

  • RockHatesMiriam May 22nd, 2012 12:43 PM

    Don’t you just HATE it when (usually older) women are like, “take it as a compliment” or “oh, but its flattering!”. URGH.

    http://www.pompandceremony.blogspot.com

    • Llama May 22nd, 2012 2:29 PM

      “Any attention is good attention.” HA HA, FUCK THAT, SERIOUSLY. Teach your children to respect people, I mean, /damn/.

      • Violet May 22nd, 2012 4:55 PM

        Yeah. And what makes me angry most, is that probably a lot of these creeps were raised by women.

  • pazonada May 22nd, 2012 12:47 PM

    a few months ago i was on the subway in NYC. it was crowded, and i started feeling something rub against my butt. i thought it was a briefcase this woman was holding, but after it happened a third time i turned around and realized the woman was gone and there was a man there instead, holding nothing, so it had to be his hand. this entire time, i was standing up hugging my boyfriend. neither he nor i saw the gross guy touching me, but i finally whispered to my bf but said it was probably an accident because i wanted to believe that, and i didn’t want to cause a scene (ugh). but afterwards, i was visibly upset. a few days later, my bf happened to see this guy again in the subway. he confronted the man and asked him to come upstairs to the street so they could call me and the man could apologize. of course, the man told him to fuck off, mumbled a derogatory comment about how women deserve it (along with anti-interracial stuff; i’m white and my bf is not) and threw a punch. my bf is a boxer and ended up breaking the guy’s hand and nose. he felt ashamed about being violent, but then the cops discovered the man had a long record for sexual assault. i still don’t condone violence but i’m happy that, for the first time, i’m with a guy who will help defend women against perverts. he’s a proud feminist who will always say something when some idiot is intimidating or threatening women. there are good guys out there.

  • Sarah Ivy May 22nd, 2012 1:06 PM

    It seem like all of the boys in my class/year/school seem to find sexual or rape related jokes really funny and feel that everyone nearby should find them funny too. This reaaaaaaally annoys me and my friend so now when someone makes an inappropriate joke near us we use the ‘would you say that to your mother?’ line and they shut up quicker than you can say ‘ i thought not’.

    Side note: Saddening yet beautifully uniting article Rookie. Such a shame how out of 200+ comments, 90% involve personal stories of harassment.

  • MissusTufnel May 22nd, 2012 1:42 PM

    I find just as insidious the guys we all know by face and name who think it’s okay to say things that are insensitive. Like, the guys who don’t listen or the guys who tell you how to dress.

    My friends and I were out and this guy walked up and said “That dress looks really good on you.” then came back a few minutes later and said “you look good in that dress, but your shoes are fucked.”

    He wasn’t threatening or abusive, but he told us very clearly that he thinks that we are here FOR HIM and to LOOK NICE for him. We need to pay the Pretty toll or he is going to say something.

    I got SO PISSED and was like “EXCUSE ME? You need to leave RIGHT NOW and go reconsider YOUR LIFE.” and he looked really confused and like grouchily walked away.

    Thanks for this article ladies.

  • zoeah May 22nd, 2012 2:01 PM

    oh shitttt, I’m a 17 year old small-town English girl, going to NYC with just my best friend this summer, and also staying alone in London for a week… and now im terrified U GUYZ IM SCARED

  • _sophie May 22nd, 2012 2:02 PM

    Omg, this happened to me today. I was walking home from school bearing in mind today was really hot so I had my school trousers on with just my white shirt on, and this guy was obviously doing some DIY or whatever behind this hedge. He had no shirt on and i was like ‘okay, i’ll ignore you if you ignore me’ but he whistled that freaky whistle at me. there was also a guy standing on the other side of the road who looked up and thankfully he didn’t say anything. i just glared at the shirtless dude and carried on, but it really freaked me out!
    Also I had another incident a couple of weeks ago where these two ‘rough’ boys from my school were down this alleyway which i walk through twice a day and have never had a problem with. and they were listening to music and as i walked past them, they eyed me up and one of them had the cheek to start singing the song to me and i was like ‘not cool’ but i didn’t say anything. i mean, what exactly do you say in these situations? but now i’m scared every time i go down that alleyway!
    i really want to do the london slutwalk because this is something that i feel so strongly about!

  • Lauren_ May 22nd, 2012 2:50 PM

    I’m so sorry to hear about all your experiences. I haven’t had anything directed at me, however I do remember one evening last Summer I was walking with my mum, and she was pushing my little sister in a pushchair/pram, and she was wearing her running gear because she’d was going to go for a run but she’d changed her mind (it was like a tank top and 3/4 length trousers, nothing revealling or anything). And loads of idiots driving past rolled down their windows and shouted comments and wolf whistled at her even though she was walking with a 13 year old girl and pushing a TODDLER in a pram. I remember feeling really intimidated and sick even though it wasn’t directed at me, so I can only imagine how many of you felt. It’s really sickening.

  • Jean May 22nd, 2012 3:04 PM

    This isn’t street harassment per se, but harassment. Literally right this second I was harassed online by some guy wanting to know where I lived and what I looked like, saying I was the “prettiest girl”. This is OBVIOUSLY nothing to do with looks and just due to the mere fact that I am a girl.

    This is pissing me off now.

    Fantastic post and horrific stories throughout the comments. Hugs to EVERYONE <3

  • twinklecup May 22nd, 2012 3:14 PM

    One time when I was 15 I was getting off the subway on the way home from visiting my girlfriend. This dude with a full beard starts harassing me to give him my phone number. I tell him I’m only 15 and he says “that’s ok, I’m 16!” Dude was clearly in his late 20s or older. At the time I thought it was hilarious that he thought I’d buy that but now it really creeps me out when I think about it.

    I think the scariest thing that ever happened to me along those lines was this one time in a hotel in Jakarta. I had just checked in after a really, really long flight and I was ready to get some rest. Some random guy said hi to me, so I said hi back to be friendly… then he kept loitering around the lobby while I ate in the restaurant, and eventually fucking FOLLOWED ME TO MY HOTEL ROOM. I just laughed nervously and yelled GOODNIGHT and closed the door behind me and padlocked it. I’m just glad he didn’t try to come in after me before I could close the door.

    I’m lucky enough that no one has started masturbating at me in public before, but I’ve been followed, leered at, hollered at, approached in dark alleys, and groped. Shit happens whether I’m dressed up in a short skirt and heels or wearing jeans and a tshirt and no makeup. When my boyfriend is around I still get comments but no one has been deliberately threatening yet. He gets upset enough when someone random calls me pretty, I can only imagine how he’d react if he witnessed some of the stuff people say/do when he’s not there.

  • rangerbagel May 22nd, 2012 3:52 PM

    It upsets me to hear from my fellow women and transgendered folks that idiots harass and scare them. It’s unacceptable.

    I carry a switchblade and a screamin’ pair of lungs. I find that screaming a the top of your loudest, “LEAVE ME ALONE” over any harassment is pretty effective. There’s a street guy who hangs out on Shattuck Ave in Berkeley who harasses and catcalls women. It’s obvious he’s doing it strictly for the pleasure of making women uncomfortable.

    Finally one day as I walked by he leered at my chest and said, “That’s a nice shirt on you.”

    I lost it: “I’M NOT FLATTERED! LEAVE ME ALONE!”

    “I WAS PAYING YOU A COMPLIMENT! SAY THANK YOU!”

    “DON’T TELL ME WHAT TO DO. IN FACT, DON’T SAY ANYTHING TO ME EVER AGAIN!”

    I pass by him at least 3 days a week. He hasn’t said a word.

    So there’s a moment of triumph. And here’s another!

    I went to Cal, and one day I was walking back to my apartment to get my friends together for a football game against Oregon State. As I walked a car sped up behind me and a giant big gulp flew through the air. They’d tried to hit me with it! At first I thought it was strictly because they were OSU kids and I was in Cal gear.

    But then they shouted vulgar things, including jokes about anally raping me.

    However, in my fury, I noticed a nice rock on the ground. I chucked it, expecting to miss. But then the back window went opaque with a loud crash. I’d completely shattered it.

    Ladies, I encourage you to scream at all harassers. It singles them out and scares them, which is what they wanted to do to you.

  • missmadness May 22nd, 2012 4:23 PM

    the worst EVER was I was working in a bookstore and this creep kept looming over me while I was restocking (in the children’s fiction section, no less!) I went out for a smoke break and hoped he’d lost interest, but in under five minutes he was standing over me again. I tried to ignore him but looked up and he had his dick out and HE WAS MASTURBATING OVER MY HEAD. I got up and casually found my manager (I didn’t run because I wanted him to get caught) and we called the police. he left before they got there. fucking AWFUL.

    BUT, a few notes:
    1) for you girls wondering if you should call the police, the answer is ALWAYS YES. believe me (at least in the states) my boyfriend works as a reporter and cops respond to calls about way less important shit all day, every day. sexual harassment is scary, dangerous and ILLEGAL, and the cops will come. even if the creep is gone, you can still give a description, and that way when he harasses someone else, the cops have a record of him doing it more than once.

    2) for you girls in school who say boys are grabbing you or making lewd comments, tell your teacher, your guidance counselor, tell SOMEONE. I’m in the education department so I do a lot of work in schools, and honestly we can’t see everything that goes on (especially in the hallways…) but sexual harassment is not okay, and when we find out about it we are LEGALLY required to report it. this means the fuckface who keeps grabbing your ass can have a CRIMINAL record as a result. Also, we will try to make sure you’re not on his bus/in classes with him, etc.

  • Ilona May 22nd, 2012 5:04 PM

    Omg you guys are awesome!

    I can totally relate to this!
    One time I was in the park having a picnic with my friends (we were about 13/14 then) and this guy started masturbating in full view. It was just gross

    And even worse is when you go to festivals- last year when I was 14 these 35 year old guys were following us around and trying to get us to go on piggy backs with them…

    I really do think that guys should be taught about how to treat women- FEMINISM ROCKS

  • reidmcc May 22nd, 2012 5:07 PM

    I am a straight man. I find the type of harassment described in the posted conversation disgusting.

    What I’m surprised by is that, despite wholeheartedly rejecting this sort of behavior, in a sense I really don’t comprehend. When I read these articles like this which describe such extreme frequency of harassment, I find myself automatically thinking ‘really? that often?’

    It’s not that I believe that any of these reports aren’t true, or that the more harassment doesn’t happen. It’s the idea of the frequency that baffles me. I think part of it is because the perpetrators are in my demographic category, and the idea that I’m part of a group that is so often horrible is not something I like to believe. Perhaps it’s also because it conflicts with my ideas about most people being decent.

    I suppose what I’m trying to say is that when I hear ‘most guys don’t comprehend…’, I don’t want to believe that. I especially don’t want to be one of those ‘most guys’. But despite not being a harasser and being a firm feminist ally, I have to admit a lack of comprehension.

    How can it be this bad? How can so many men do these things?

    • Anaheed May 22nd, 2012 5:19 PM

      I like this comment so much. Thank you for reading this and actually trying to understand, and asking questions! To answer your main question: I promise you that it is this bad. I live in a big city, and I cross the street probably every other day because of men who are leering, whistling, catcalling, or making gross kissy noises. I do not make eye contact with any men when I’m walking down the street. Just today, I walked my dog to his daycare place (two blocks away) and back and on the way a guy said “Good afternoon, beautiful” and I didn’t look at him or respond so he got RIGHT IN MY FACE and repeated it. It scared me AND my dog! I am in my 40s, and I dress like a nerdy 15-year-old boy — so it happens to me less than to women and girls younger than me. In fact that’s more my experience nowadays, is watching it happen to younger girls all around me. EVERY DAY. On the subway, on the street, on the bus.

    • Anaheed May 22nd, 2012 5:25 PM

      As for your question “how can so many men do these things?” — I wish I knew the answer! Unfortunately it’s not like dudes who do that read articles like this one and thoughtfully explain their actions in the comments!

  • mon aimee May 22nd, 2012 5:16 PM

    I’m a small girl from a small town, but my mom put me through karate classes from age 4-17, and once I moved to the city I was so thankful that she did…

    I’ve never had anyone actually try to touch me, but reading about what some of you girls have experienced makes me so glad I know self defense.

    I’m really glad I know martial arts, but I wish I didn’t have to. I’m buddhist so I don’t like violence as a rule, but I really wish I could hang out with all of you so I could beat up all the jerks who can’t even act like human beings.

    • mon aimee May 22nd, 2012 5:24 PM

      oh yeah! word of advice for when wearing skirts; SAFETY SHORTS

      • Mirae May 22nd, 2012 5:31 PM

        SAFETY SHORTS are a must-need. My friend had a horrible incident when she wore a cute mini dress without the shorts…

  • Mirae May 22nd, 2012 5:29 PM

    Few days ago, I was waiting at my bus stop to go to the library and some random brown van stopped in front me. The bus stop was right where the traffic lights were so I thought the van just stopped because of the red light. But No, the window slowly rolled down and some really creepy “innocent-looking” old guy stuck his ugly head out and said, “Hey, I’m going to ____ street. Do you need a ride?” I quickly turned my head and ignored him. “I could give you a ride, you know.” Then I stared right at him with a dirty look and said, “No, it’s fine. I’ll take the bus.”

    But that man kept his window open until the red turned into a green light. That was my first street harassment of my life and I hope it never EVER happens again.

  • crabapple May 22nd, 2012 5:31 PM

    I almost forgot about the time when I was on the metro one night in St. Louis with ~15 of my male friends and a guy started offering me money because “[I] look[ed] so beautiful it isn’t fair not to pay [me]“. First he offered me $1 and when I said absolutely not he offered me $5. I told him to please go away. My friend next to me put his arm around me and said he was my boyfriend and the man asked me if he took good care of me. I ignored him. When we all finally got to our stop I sprinted out the door and made two of my guy friends walk with their arms around me.

    I was very grateful to have my friends with me but in utter disbelief that this sort of thing can happen when I am LITERALLY with 15 men.

    Some of my guy friends took it very seriously, but many of them made jokes that I should have taken the money because it would have bought us almost two pitchers of beer.

  • Ginny May 22nd, 2012 5:38 PM

    I’ve only had one experience of street harassment that was really scary, but I get a lot of douchey comments from teen boys. I usually give them a bitchface and the finger.

    It sucks that this is so universally experienced. Street harrassment needs to END.

  • HeatherM May 22nd, 2012 5:39 PM

    Something happened to me a while ago when I went into Jessops to get my photos developed. I went in wearing my work uniform, which is a sweetie shop, and the two men who worked there cornered me and told me I was too slim to work in a sweet shop and started stroking my stomach. My work logo on my t-shirt happens to be on my boob and they started pulling at it asking me questions. I’ve never been back there to develop photos. :(

  • Just Sammthing May 22nd, 2012 5:43 PM

    I never would have expected to be ‘one of those clueless guys’ but obviously I am. I find these things really shocking and disgusting, but what I find weird is that I hardly heard anything like this before. Most of my closest friends are girls and actually we tell everything and anything to each other. Whether it’s about love, sex, family or personal issues, we share it all. Maybe because I’m straight, harrassment is the one topic they won’t talk about with me or maybe they have never experienced something like all the things described here before.

    I feel sorry for all of you to go through all of this and wish this would all stop.

    • Anaheed May 22nd, 2012 5:57 PM

      I dunno — I don’t talk to my male friends about it, but I’m not sure why? It just doesn’t really come up, I guess. But a lot of girls don’t talk about it with one another, either, just because you get so used to it that it doesn’t feel like a HOT TOPIC, you know what I mean?

      • Naomi May 22nd, 2012 6:19 PM

        sadly, i think it becomes something we are used to. unless it really affects you that day, and then i think you are more likely to share it with people who also have first hand experience like jamia did. maybe we should tell guys more but i think unfortunately, the reaction isn’t always as understanding as yours.

    • JennaF May 23rd, 2012 11:30 AM

      I think I was lucky that the very first time I spoke to a guy about it he was understanding and supportive, and that (plus a certain stubbornness) kept me talking about this through the many other clueless and unsupportive reactions I got. (And wow there have been a lot.)

      I was on my way to school and a guy stopped to ask me for directions, I went up to the car, he was masturbating. I ran. I got to school and was furious, kicking lockers and stuff. My friend asked me what happened and was furious on my behalf.

      My dad’s clueless reaction, though (link in my 1st post here) set me on a path of trying to get guys to understand this stuff. And many of them really, really don’t. A lot of it is defensiveness, I think — guys look at pretty women, and don’t want that to be pathologized. I get that. It’s easy to give up when you’re met with that kind of lack of comprehension though, and there’s also a hefty shame factor: If only I had worn something different today. If only I hadn’t realized that the guy was too creepy to actually want directions. Etc.

      So it’s hard to talk about, on several levels.

      It also doesn’t happen to everyone. I’d say that public transportation is the biggest variable, with large cities being a close second.

      I think there is also often pushback when you get this attention because you’re attractive. Sometimes it’s actually youth or vulnerability that gets the attention/harassment, but there’s a certain element of “I’m so pretty that everyone’s harassing me” that can easily make you reluctant to say anything. You don’t want to be That Person.

  • Rykt88 May 22nd, 2012 5:55 PM

    I was on the tube in London and I was reading a tell all memoir of a prostitute. At the time it was a very popular book and there was a popular television series based on it. It was about 5pm and very busy and crowded. My car was completely full. An older gentleman saw what I was reading, sat down across from me and pulled three graphic porn magazines from his briefcase. There were people sitting next to both of us and he just sat there grinning looking at me and his magazines. I totally froze having no clue what to do. No one said anything about it and I just kept my head down waiting for the next stop. Thankfully he excited right away.
    I was 19 and didn’t have the courage to properly give him a piece of my mind. I’m still stunned that a man feels like he can view my reading material as an open invitation to sexually harass me. Thanks for sharing your stories. I’ve never realized how commen there experiences are.

  • jagosaurus May 22nd, 2012 5:59 PM

    Oh man, this thread. I’m (relatively) old now so I am becoming increasingly invisible to (most) creeps, but in my teens, 20s, and 30s, it was rough. I wish I had had not only this community available to me but also the Schrödinger’s Rapist post to help me explain the problem to the men (and sometimes to the other women) in my life:

    http://kateharding.net/2009/10/08/guest-blogger-starling-schrodinger%E2%80%99s-rapist-or-a-guy%E2%80%99s-guide-to-approaching-strange-women-without-being-maced/

  • killerteeth May 22nd, 2012 6:30 PM

    Why do (some) guys think it’s ok to cat call and do all that other gross stuff to/towards us ladies? Is it cultural? All of these stories made me remember my own. It was about 2 years ago, on a Saturday night, I was dropped off about a half a block away from my apartment (I live in Queens, NYC and traffic is stupid– i was making things easier on my friend who kindly drove me out there). There were two guys walking down the street and as I walked past them, one told me something in Spanish (I don’t speak Spanish so i don’t know what he said) and brushed his hand against my lady parts through my skirt!! This all happened in a span of 3 seconds, but it was like slow motion. I yelled at him as he walked away, and he laughed! What sucks is1. that that’s probably not the 1st time he’s done that 2. it would be pointless to report it because the guy fit the description of almost every guy in my hood out on a Saturday night.
    Rookie Team– It would be awesome if one/all of you wrote a piece on how to react to/handle these jerks that make us feel like shit.

    • carolita May 22nd, 2012 10:33 PM

      When someone did that to me one night, I was burned for weeks. Every time I walked past a guy, if he so much as moved his hand or walked towards me, I’d panic and move away quickly. It was total PTSD. I remember I was housesitting at the time for a guy I knew, and I called him to tell him I needed to wear a pair of his pajamas in an attempt to neutralize that awful act of aggression, thinking if a man who cared about me was nice to me, that awful feeling of violation might go away. It kind of helped. But I was still pretty traumatized.

  • glitter and gold May 22nd, 2012 7:06 PM

    When I was in the sixth grade, I went out to dinner with my babysitter (who was like in her late twenties) and one of her friends. We were at this Brazilian restaurant where you just go up and get whatever food you want (so yeah, like a buffet) and while we were waiting in line, I noticed this guy looking at me. He must have been in his thirties, and he was behind this section of the restaurant that was sort-of closed off. And when he noticed that I had noticed him, he gave me this lecherous grin and then waved, and then did a couple of lewd hand gestures. I had no idea what to do, but the whole rest of the night I was completely freaked out that he would come over and try to talk to me, or something worse.

  • TheGreatandPowerfulRandini May 22nd, 2012 7:19 PM

    I am so sorry that all of these things have happened to you. I can’t even imagine being sexually harassed every day.
    For scaring them away, I suggest twisting your face into something inhuman and jump around like a gorilla. It’s really fun, and works most of the time. Also, you could try bursting into song, or start tapping.
    Once a guy came uncomfortably close to me at a bus stop, and I started singing/screaming The Lonely Goatherd and doing elephant moves.
    Cat-calling really do still occur even when you’re wearing a huge winter coat and jeans. I just don’t get this, I mean, how can you even tell my gender?

    • carolita May 22nd, 2012 10:36 PM

      My super-goodlooking little brother (who’s always looked older), before he liked girls, got constantly harassed by teenage girls on the bus to school, and you know what he’d do to make them go away? He’d pick his nose. He said it worked every time. I bet it’d work on men, too.

  • Miss Erin May 22nd, 2012 8:00 PM

    “Then you have the guilt trip you put yourself through for not saying anything even though it is totally alarming.” <–THIS.

    Plus, to be honest, I get scared cause it's like, will they get mad if I yell at them or flip them off and then want to hurt me? Will they get motivated if I ignore them and then want to hurt me? Either way I feel like I'm screwed. FUCK.

  • VintageAddict May 22nd, 2012 8:07 PM

    Ok I hate sexual harrassment! Not that long ago, a guy im my grade made a “fuck list” of “girls he would fuck by 9th grade”. It was seriously disgusting. I was on the list. Then, another guy proceded to talk about the “roundness” of my boobs. I’m in 7th grade! I heard this from my friends, who later LAUGHED about it. Fuck douchebags.

  • VintageAddict May 22nd, 2012 8:11 PM

    OMG, also, one time my mom was in the train station with my bro and his friend, and she noticed this creepy looking old white guy in a suit REALLY close to a young girl and saying stuff like “just come home with me” and shit. So, she walks up to the girl, starts hugging her and being like “OMG STEPHANIE! I HAVENT SEEN YOU IN SO LONG SINCE YOU BABYSAT FOR ME!!”. she kept in up till the D-bag got on his train. I love my mom!

  • okchickadee May 22nd, 2012 8:34 PM

    I was talking with my dude BFF about this, because I’ve been harassed a lot on the street in a lot of gross and infuriating ways, and he was really surprised at first at how common it was when I’m out by myself, and then we realized it’s because… you don’t get harassed as much when you’re walking with a guy, so they have no idea! Which isn’t to say that cluelessness is all right, but a lot of dudes never see this stuff happen because it doesn’t happen when they’re around, because these other dudes are a bunch of chickenshits as well as gross human beings. :/

  • okchickadee May 22nd, 2012 8:37 PM

    Er, which is to say–the gropers and harassers are chickenshits and gross human beings, not the dudes you’re walking with.

  • lelelikeukulele May 22nd, 2012 9:01 PM

    Thank you for this article.

    I hate that this is the way it is, that whenever I go downtown by myself I am constantly scanning the streets for any threatening looking guys, and whenever someone so much as touches my arm I just about jump out of my skin. We shouldn’t have to be afraid like that. Fuck these douches.

  • carolita May 22nd, 2012 10:17 PM

    I get a lot of this, maybe because I’m old and should be grateful? It’s what happened to me practically every day in my old neighborhood:
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/carolita-johnson/a-woman-walks-down-the-st_b_272684.html

    And I have been grabbed by the breast in Paris, as well as verbally harrassed, but it hasn’t been any less outrageous in New York City. Just different. It all depends on your neighborhood. In Hamilton Heights, NYC, I got harassed for 2 years by the guys that stood outside on the stoops all day, mostly because I work freelance, and come and go all day, which attracted a lot of attention. It was like they thought I was parading before them or something. One time a guy followed me into the Chinese take-out where I would go for dinner, and tried to ask me out. When I told him I had a boyfriend, he demanded, “WHERE? Where is your boyfriend? SHOW him to me.” It made me feel like I was living under Sharia law or something, where you’re not allowed to walk around without a male relative. It made me feel really really bad. And then another guy, thinking he was going to be Sir Galahad or something, tells the guy, “Leave her alone, she has a boyfriend” (because I’d told HIM the same thing the last time I was at the Chinese take-out). And the guy goes, “Stay out of it, I know her, she’s with me.” And I was like, “NO WAY! I’m NOT with you.” And you know what? I moved. I actually went looking for a new place to live because I just couldn’t take it anymore. They all knew where I lived, and I began to think one day one of these creeps would follow me home.

    PATHETIC.

  • carolita May 22nd, 2012 10:27 PM

    You know what else? I stopped wearing dresses while I lived alone in that neighborhood, just because I felt too vulnerable. I noticed that none of the other women in my neighborhood wore dresses, either. How sad is it when a woman doesn’t want to look pretty because she thinks it’ll just get her harassed every time she goes out? I waited years to get a dog, for the same reason: who wants to go out three or four MORE times a day to be harassed by aggressive males who are there all the time? Now, even though we live in a safer neighborhood, I make my BF pick me up at the subway when I come home from work. When I’m alone, I walk like I’m packing lead and know karate. I glare at everyone as if I were only too glad to kill them if they gave me an excuse. It’s sad because it’s like I’m living in a third world country where women have no right to walk alone. I had a friend from Norway who was shocked by the way men act in Europe and America: she says in Norway people respect women. I dream of living in Norway…

    • Erykaneisha June 17th, 2012 4:22 AM

      I know exactly what you mean by the whole avoidance of trying to look pretty or dressing up in hopes of not being harassed.

      I grew up in a conservative Christan household where showing a bit of cleavage was unacceptable. While this is up to people’s opinions & seemingly impossible for me to hide because of my large breasts, I’ve always felt extremely comfortable showing a bit of skin because of this harassment I’ve received from disgusting guys. Although the belief of cleavage being of the devil isn’t my own, I still try to hide mine for other reasons. I shouldn’t have to but it has been an accumulation of traumatizing experiences that have led me to continue to do so.

      It’s something that we all should take a stand against & stop living in fear.

  • Dresscapades May 22nd, 2012 11:48 PM

    I was harassed a lot when I went to school in DC. On one of several occasions a cvs manager would say annoying things about my body. I stopped going to that cvs and even til this day regret not reporting him.

    When me and my friend go out now we put on the “bitch” face. She told me there was a time, also in dc, when she actually screamed at someone who out their hands on her. Lets remember to make a big deal about it next time it happens to us. If we make serious noise maybe we’ll make some kind of difference

  • OMGitsclara May 23rd, 2012 12:05 AM

    So, I look much older for my age. I’m currently sixteen but often get mistaken for nineteen or twenty. I also have really large breasts. I get harassed by men several times a week, but I never really understood that it was harassment.

    I’ve encountered harassment so many times since I was eleven. Then, I’d get really scared and have a panic attack. Now, I just ignore them and give them the dirtiest look I can manage and strut away. I am a women, not a toy doll and I need to be treated with respect and class.

  • SaraD May 23rd, 2012 12:32 AM

    One of the most uncomfortable nights I have ever spent was on a sleeper train from Paris to Barcelona. To start off with, the ticket salesperson didn’t tell the three of us girls traveling together that it was a coed compartment, and we didn’t know to ask for a women’s only, so we were quite unpleasantly surprised to find that we were spending the night with three strange men in the same compartment. I almost didn’t sleep because the guy above and across from me was staring at me really intently.

    Also got propositioned in Florence because, obviously, all American women go to Italy to have ‘it just take 15 minutes and then we have coffee’ sex with short Italian men with enough grease in their hair to cook fries with.

    We also got ‘Ciao bella!’ed all throughout Italy, especially since one of the girls on the trip was built like a model.

  • justinev May 23rd, 2012 12:53 AM

    It makes me so sad and angry that such a huge amount of girls relate to this so well, and have their own terrible stories. I developed really early, and ended up being a 12 year old with a SUPER baby face and a D cup. That combo is irresistible to pervs. It is/was the WORST. I still have a baby face, so even tough I’m 23, I get mistaken for a high school student all the time, and get some seriously gross comments. The worst part is working in customer service, where dudes hit on me, and I can’t just go Amy Rose on them. (I work in lingerie at a department store, and was totally creeped on by the FATHER OF THIS POOR PRETEEN I WAS FITTING FOR A BRA!!! just a few days ago.)

    And I want to hug everyone else here please. I’ll bake some brownies too, guys.

  • Kalina May 23rd, 2012 12:59 AM

    I guess I’ve been extremely lucky that all I’ve ever experienced is cat-calling. I’ll never understand what would possess a guy to masturbate in public! At least now I’ll be prepared if I ever do run into it – I’ll to take a picture of them and say “I hope you enjoy becoming a registered sex offender.” Hopefully that at least scares them a bit…

  • sarabigail May 23rd, 2012 1:19 AM

    I’m so sorry ladies that you all go through that so frequently. It really does suck and it’s disgusting.

    I remember in elementary school, we were running laps in gym class, and this boy went around slapping all the girls butts. When I witnessed that all the girls weren’t saying anything back to the guy or to a teacher, I told the teacher myself. They ALL hated me. They said how I was a snitch and everything. My point is that these things happen even at a young age and it is not right.

    Flash forward, I was on a fieldtrip in high school, and this guy came up to me and slapped my ass. I was left speechless and to this day I hate how I didn’t yell at him. I cringe at the thought of letting him get away with that.

    I know sometimes I’ve also double thought what I was wearing because I didn’t want to receive any inappropriate comments from people. Shit gets old.

    Anyways, thank you for posting this conversation <3

  • ChinaGuy May 23rd, 2012 2:12 AM

    I can not even fathom this, quite shocking really. I know there are a lot of guys out there that cat call/whistle/physically harass but I didn’t know it was to such a MASSIVE EXTENT. It’s disgusting really.

    My best friend is female and she has told me about guys that cat call or tried to hit on her and I always thought it was just so STUPID that guys would even try. Like really, a girl is going to hook up with you if you go “EY BABEH BABEH, HOLLA BACK”?

    Actually I remember this disgusting story. I invited my female friend to my cousin’s wedding dinner, and we were all chatting outside the restaurant (like a shit ton of us). I noticed my friend’s face just went blank and by the time I asked her what was wrong it was too late to apprehend the guy. Apparently some guy just walked by and brushed the inside of her thigh and kept walking… This was in Chinatown NYC.

    I was upset at first that she didn’t say anything because I could have done something to help… but then I realized it isn’t always that easy. When it happens so quick and you go into shock.

  • rambolina May 23rd, 2012 2:48 AM

    I’m in my 30s now and have developed a pretty tough auto response to this type of shit now, but don’t get me wrong, it still gets to me and makes me physically sweat. Once, just in the past month, I had driven out to a smaller city outside New Orleans with my boyfriend, who was meeting with a guy about a new band, and I was killing time so I went to a local gas station to buy a soda cuz it’s fucking hot here. So I’m reading a paper sitting on a curb, and then on the hood of my car, enjoying my refreshing beverage in the sun, but NOOOooooooOOOO! Can’t do THAT! Two times in under five minutes, one guy pulls up in an SUV and says “What’s a pretty lady like you doing out here alone?” and I’m like “Killing time waiting for my boyfriend!” Not two minutes later, a group of toothless, shirtless hooligan thugs walks right up to me, across the parking lot, and starts (yes, they are one entity, a blob of ugly men) asking what I’m reading and do I wanna be with them, crap like that. One’s like “Can I get a light?” so I gave him a light, because I’m friendly but tough, which apparently entitled him to run his hands all over my back, and one said “I wish you didn’t have a boyfriend,” not knowing if I did or didn’t, to which I yelled “I DON’T!!”

  • rambolina May 23rd, 2012 2:54 AM

    The true crowing glory, perhaps, happened about ten years ago or so, when I was on my way downtown to see a rock show in a major city, and was wearing, at that time, my signature “don’t notice i’m female” outfit, baggy Levi’s, a baggy janitor jacket, t-shirt and probably sneakers or work boots. I’m smoking a cigarette while biking, because i’m bad ass like that. Some jerk cat called me “hey baby” or whatever, which is ridiculous, again, because I basically look like a dude, and before I even thought about it, I gave him the finger – which is weird, because I would usually ignore stuff like that, it happens so often – but the time I choose to respond, I fail to notice he is also on a bike. So maybe four, five blocks later, I slow down to observe the intersection at a red light, and out of nowhere, this dude catches up to me and SHOVES me with all his force off my bike, while I’m still in motion! I went flying over the handlebars, into the curb, and luckily didn’t hit my head, only everything else. I don’t think I’ve ever screamed so loud “WHAT IS YOUR FUCKING PROBLEM YOU FUCKING ASSHOLE????” as he rode off. I could’ve been killed, all for not wanting to be harrassed.

  • emklumpen May 23rd, 2012 3:07 AM

    Wow, most of the stories i have read make my heart ache for you girls, its awful what most of you have gone through. my stories run along the same lines though. when i was in grade 1 or 2(so i was 7 years old), my friend and i were walking to my house from the park which was a block away, and this old guy rides up beside us on his bike and says “I’ll pay you 10 cents to see me naked”. we ran to my house (thank goodness we were only a few houses away) and told my parent right away. the called the cops, and they shows up but i don’t think anything was done about it because we had different accounts of what this guy looked like. Another time i was waiting for a train and, again, an old guy starts speaking to me in a language i didn’t understand, made sexual hand gestures, then tried to take my hand out of my pocket. i smacked his hand away but i was on the verge of tears the whole way home. my mom was awesome enough to pick my up at the next train station and i cried telling her about it. then there is the usual (sadly) honking, calling from moving cars, guys making kissy noises, guys asking gross questions. one guy grabbed my wrist in a bar WHILE i was arm-in-arm with my boyfriend, ridiculous.

  • CreneeB May 23rd, 2012 5:09 AM

    I’m really self conscious about what I look like and what I wear. So on this strange sunny day for Seattle I decided to wear this really nice white sundress that just barely goes below my knees. Perfectly fine right? Well apparently not while walking over to my boyfriends on a residential street out of nowhere this creepy old guy in a red cadillac slowed down and leaned almost completely out his window and yelled ” market?” at me like I was for sell or somthing this freaked me out so I looked down and kept walking not paying attention to him, sadly this just made him follow for another four blocks honking and hollering things at me :/ start to a horrible day. Its miserable to think how many other girls have dealt or experienced things like this whats wrong with people today?

  • ampkiss May 23rd, 2012 5:32 AM

    Once riding the train, this guy seemed to pick me to fixate on- it started simply enough, with him telling me how great I looked, so I laughed awkwardly and left it at that but then he wouldn’t stop commenting on my appearance and started going off about every other person on the train, basically some sort of paranoid rant and how I was totally special because I wasn’t like any of those people. He was drinking and multiple people on the train were noticing how he was being TOTALLY creepy at me and I kept backing away from him. A woman who had been standing near me finally asked me in a quiet voice if this next stop was mine, walked off with me two stops early, and made sure that he didn’t follow me before I got on the next train.

    The other worst recent occasion I was waiting for a bus- what is it with public transportation anyway???- and wearing a kinda low-cut top, and a guy started talking to me and WOULD NOT STOP. He got on the bus with me and harassed me for half an hour. I told him I wasn’t interested in men, so the second half of the bus ride was him telling me I just hadn’t met the right guy and had I ever even had sex with a guy because how would I know what I wanted. By the time he got off the bus, I’d changed seats twice and I was upset for hours after.

    I don’t look the way I do for anyone but myself and select people of MY choosing. Like Robyn says, “I’m only sexy when I say it’s okay.” I don’t know what makes some men think that’s not the case and I hope my kids don’t have to deal with it the way we have.

  • MinaM8 May 23rd, 2012 6:24 AM

    This is terrible and I consider myself lucky for not dealing with too much of this bullshit (I’m not “fully developed” . The occasional disgusting perv will stare at me on the subway but i just give them a nasty stare and they usually stop. You guys are so strong for this. Keep being awesome, girls :)

    –M

  • pat May 23rd, 2012 7:14 AM

    This kind of stuff has happened to me before, too. But maybe it’s because it started happening to me when I was a little older than most girls (in the 18 range, not 13-16) I have a different reaction. What works for me?

    When a guy comes up and says something, or screams it across the street, or tries to approach me I laugh.

    I LAUGH. I laugh as hard as I can. Because they are just trying to intimidate me with their absolutely ridiculous comments and ludicrous suggestions. And I laugh to show them that I think they’re stupid, and I’m not afraid of them, and they will NOT win.

    And you know what? By the time I’m on my second burst of laughter most of them have walked away, embarrassed or nervous. Anyone with friends looks stupid in front of them. Any young man learns that doing this will not make him cool, it will make him the subject of humiliation.

    And then I forget about it. Because I didn’t feel intimidated, and they didn’t win.

    Try it. Laugh your freaking head off.

  • Motherfunker May 23rd, 2012 7:34 AM

    so glad this was on here, you are all amazing kick ass girls! i’ve had similar incidents (also on a train when i was FOURTEEN! yuk) and the regular hand gestures and comments about my ass~ next time i am definitely trying mary rose’s technique~ she is so amazing, i love you all!

  • Brienne May 23rd, 2012 8:33 AM

    I remember taking the NYC subway home from work one evening this guy kept staring at me. I ignored him and went to get off at my stop when he grabbed my arm and tried to keep me on the train.

    I let him pull me close enough so I could deck him right in his nose. I screamed out “Go fuck your mother!” for good measure as I ran out the car and up the stairs.

    I’m so thankful that I had a no nonsense mom and a Marine dad. They enrolled my sister and I in self defense classes as soon as we turned 7 and gave us some serious talks about perverts in the street and how to handle ourselves. I think all parents need to do that for their children.

  • ChristyA May 23rd, 2012 8:53 AM

    Since I gained weight, I find more men feel they can say things to me. The other night I’d gone to a pub with friends and went to visit the Ladies’ room. To get in there I had to walk past a group of young men.

    Then they started. “There’s your challenge”, “What a challenge!” “Get in there” “Even I couldn’t get it up”, etc, etc, etc. Not even trying to be quiet. I just kept walking, but then coming out I had to walk past them again and they started again. When I looked at them, they started with “Got a problem, bitch?”. I said something along the lines of “Well apparently you do” only for them to come up with various versions of “Shouldn’t be so fucking ugly” and “Stay in the fucking house”.

    Okay, so I’m overweight. I know that. But I don’t see why that made it okay to openly treat me that way – not even sly sniggering between themselves, but doing it openly.

    • followthesound May 24th, 2012 12:46 AM

      Wow, fuck those guys. That is absolutely disgusting.
      Wear your weight with confidence (I know I’m trying my best to do so). Hopefully one day assholes like that will realize that not every big girl has self-confidence issues that make her susceptible to that kind of abuse and that fat most certainly does not mean ugly.

  • ToriRo May 23rd, 2012 9:24 AM

    These stories are all horrible to read, but men don’t limit themselves to calling attention to the desirability of a woman’s body. I’ve been pretty overweight for most of my life and have been steadily chipping away at it for the past year. It was a huge accomplishment to hit the 85 pound loss mark and to finally be considered “overweight” and not “obese” by my BMI. Riding high on the confidence of my accomplishment, I went for a run outside in my workout clothes (loose capris, 2 sports bras to keep the goods from jostling and a t-shirt) . Some guy decided to yell from his truck as he drove past me “Keep running to the McDonald’s, fatty!” It completely destroyed my self-esteem, and now I refuse to work out outside of my apartment complex’s shitty gym because I don’t want other people to see me.

    Why do men feel they have the right to comment on women’s bodies to their faces? Like we don’t know our own imperfections? Do they think we forgot that we dressed the way we did? These kinds of guys are so wrapped up in their own little world they can’t even conceive of women as actual people outside of the man’s experience.

    • lelelikeukulele May 26th, 2012 4:21 AM

      I’m so, so sorry this happened to you. I’ve been “chipping away at it” too, and I know how hard it is, and how amazing the sense of accomplishment is when you gradually get yourself healthier.

      You are so much better than this creep. I hope you keep running outside :)

    • Mikaela May 27th, 2012 12:51 PM

      Such a good point. When I was around twelve, I was overweight and went for a cycle with two of my friends who happened to be very skinny. While cycling past a man in his forties he yelled out “That’ll melt the fat off you, curly head!”
      It was so embarrassing.

    • GhostGirl August 10th, 2012 9:15 AM

      I’m feeling so much for you. Damn Assholes!
      Does any of you also feel a difference between that “catcalling” ~ whistle ~ hey, baby stuff and negative comments about your look? I know it’s both disgusting, but I guess it’s even more smashing when you’re being judged as ugly rather than hot.

  • sunshineshoegaze May 23rd, 2012 9:39 AM

    I’m not sure it is only “something about france” though, but as a French person living in France, i can tell there’s a lot more street harrasment there as anywhere else i’ve been. Especially to strangers. This is absolutely gross and pathetic and i’m totally sorry about it. however not all french people are disgusting old folks trying to touch your butt ;)
    street harrasment should never be considered as not a big deal, where ever the hell it happens. I remember once I was in a park with my best friend and this really ugly old guy was staring at us and yelling some stuff that weren’t nice to hear, we went to the park police, which was only composed of male officers, and one answered “well you can only blame yourself of wearing such a short skirt. besides, he did not do anything to you.”
    i thought i was going to slap the hell out of him.

  • fanky May 23rd, 2012 11:27 AM

    just once i’d like to hear a girl complain about a really good looking guy harrassing her.

    i have a friend who’s really good looking, he does stuff like what you all are talking about to girls in the street all the time.

    and they eat it up. they love it. he usually pulls a number.

    i’m talking leg humping, licking in between his fingers, etc…

    sexual harrassment is just another word for being a less than good looking guy, and having the audacity to approach a woman when you should just go home and open up your wrists for the sin of not having six pack abs

    • Anaheed May 25th, 2012 4:13 AM

      You want to hear that just once? Here you go: being harassed by a “good-looking” guy is just as terrible as being harassed by any other kind of person. Did you even read this article? Did you read the comments? This kind of “attention” is not welcome, and to feel sorry for yourself because women don’t love to be victimized by you is not gonna get any sympathy here.

  • beckyr003 May 23rd, 2012 11:56 AM

    I wish every man on earth would read this article. I think a lot of them just don’t realize how often this happens to women (except when they’re the perpetrators, of course). Every woman I know (including myself) has at least one street harassment story. The other night a creep followed me home shouting that I “couldn’t dress that way and not be any fun.” It was horrifying. Everyone should check out Hollaback!, an organization that aims to end street harassment. http://www.ihollaback.org/

    http://pretendingtoknowyou.blogspot.com

  • KatGirl May 23rd, 2012 1:05 PM

    Ugh, I hate people like that. Once I was on a bus and this guy started to say really weird things to the woman next to me. She told him to stop, but he kept on doing it, and he took out his phone and took her picture. She shouted at him to stop, but he didn’t, and he started to tell her stuff like “You’re sooo hot, will you marry me?” and other grosser stuff. She told him to stop again. But he didn’t. He just told her to smile for the camera and he took more pictures. She went up to the bus driver and the man had to get off the bus.

  • josephine May 23rd, 2012 1:58 PM

    This is what makes me the most angry about living in a patriarchal society: Not even having the freedom to walk down the street without being worried about men bothering you. It’s ABSURD. I want to explode but never do because I’m 1) scared, 2) shy, 3) encultured in never claiming any space in society like all other girls.

    I’m active in an organisation in sweden where we teach feminist self defence, which is awesome (!) and teaches you, not only how to fight if you have to, but how to claim the space that society denies you. And the guys have classes in feminism too, so they get why an equal society is something they have to strive for as well. I wish it was mandatory in school for everyone!

  • maaari May 23rd, 2012 2:39 PM

    The worst thing is: we get these harassment situations so frequently that we just get used to think EVERY SINGLE GUY is a jerk. Once I was eating subway in my city, and some guy came over and I just rolled my eyes and said to him to get the fuck out, because I remembered situations that started off like this and just got terribly bad. In the end, he was from another city and just wanted to ask where he could find a street, because was lost. What I’m saying here is that harassment is not only disgusting and embarassing to women, but also creates tension and bitterness and hatred towards men.

    I keep asking myself is these guys ever gotten anything for being assholes, because I can’t believe anyone gets flattered by a ‘you have a delicious pussy’ from some random dude you don’t know.

  • Schaly May 23rd, 2012 2:52 PM

    It got so bad for me during my teenage years that it was one of a few factors that caused me to develop strong social anxiety and agoraphobia from it.
    Nowadays I don’t leave my house because I’m afraid of strangers approaching me. I’ve had 2 instances of public sexual assault, and been stalked and followed home more times than I can count. That’s aside from the constant lewd comments and public displays of “self love” men give to themselves while watching me.
    I go NOWHERE alone now, and NEVER take any form of public transit. I’m 29 years old and this kind of behaviour from men has impacted my life so severely that it distrupts my day to day life.

  • zsoup May 23rd, 2012 3:37 PM

    YES. On everything! Especially on the blobby slob outfit. The harassment incidence is the same regardless of whether I wear nice clothes or a trash bag and rain boots. It’s bizarre! And it’s almost even more unpleasant/alarming than when I’m dressed nicely because it shows just how much this is about attacking women rather than expressing attraction. And a great example of how street harassment is NOT flattering, and no, I will NOT be grateful someone called out to me in the street. Ugh all over.

    And more importantly:

    I noticed some women commenting on how they would walk looking down or somehow minimize their presence in the street in order to avoid this. Do not do this! You are:
    A) giving in to the whole culture of it, becoming the victim these comments aim to make you (whether directly or not).
    B) Making yourself even more of a target! From experience, I noticed assholes are far less inclined to comment when I dress myself in monumental confidence, hold my head high, and look straight ahead to where I’m heading. No shuffling, looking vulnerable and glancing around and risking unwanted eye contact. Men who do things like that tend to prey, making women who look vulnerable a likelier target (also, a Professor McGonegall -esque expression is a lovely perv turnoff device).

  • m_malcontent May 23rd, 2012 4:00 PM

    I am male, 320lbs and not at all conventionally attractive. I get (sarcastic) wolf whistles, lewd comments etc. (mostly from teenage girls) any time I walk anywhere (no one walks anywhere in Texas if they have the means to drive).

    So don’t pretend this is exclusively a male/Patriarchy trait, because it is not.

    • airplanes.books May 23rd, 2012 7:17 PM

      I don’t think anyone is ‘pretending’ that this is an exclusively male/patriarchal trait.

      I don’t think you are effectively getting the point of this dialogue.

    • t00ts May 24th, 2012 2:24 PM

      well understand that this writing is coming from females, so obviously it’s predominantly men doing this unto women., which is why it might seem that we’re saying it’s a male trait.
      I’m sorry that you get these comments though, that is not fair at all :(

    • Serena.K May 24th, 2012 4:51 PM

      No. Just no. The difference between the conversation we’re having here and your experience is that for us, our *actual* safety is at *actual* risk. I’m not saying that your hurt is unfounded, but, well…you know what, I shouldn’t have to explain this.

  • Throughtheheart May 23rd, 2012 4:00 PM

    This makes me so angry!! I literally tense up walking by construction sites bracing myself for the inevitable.

    I used to work at a clothing store and we had MULTIPLE incidents where 30-50yr old men would completely undress in the changerooms, open the curtains slightly to one side and start masturbating in front of the other people in the changeroom – usually teenage or preteen girls. I caught one of the guys swinging his penis towards a young girl. So angry. The sales girls would have to grab a male from the back room to come kick the guy out – we always feel vulnerable as women in these situations.

    One time I was walking along a busy street, dressed totally unsexy, and this minivan of about 6 dudes pulled up beside me and started following me. They yelled the most horrific things and all I could do was keep screaming “fuck off”. Lucky my boyfriend at the time was a couple blocks back on his bike and caught up to me and scared them away.

    There never seems to be anything that you can say or do that truly feels like you have the power back. The angrier you get, the more they laugh.

  • Appleheart May 23rd, 2012 4:45 PM

    Your conversation rocks! I have to admit that I’m a lucky one; it’s quite rare that guys shout something stupid at you in Finland. At least they don’t shout at me. However, if someone tries to say something nasty I’ll do like Amy Rose. Thanks for the tip, lady! C:

  • margaret.r May 23rd, 2012 4:51 PM

    A few weeks ago, during our pickup rehearsal for my high school musical “Pippin”, one of my guy “friends” started grinding on me during a free dance scene. At curtain call he wrapped his legs around me. It wasn’t huge, but I felt so disgusting afterwards. I did yell at him a little and told him that wasn’t okay, so hopefully it won’t happen again.

  • Calaban May 23rd, 2012 5:54 PM

    I’m a guy, and I was really shocked and saddened to read this. It’s horrible that so many women endure this, and also horrible that so many men have no idea it even goes on to anywhere near this extent. I certainly didn’t.

    I’m gonna throw this out there, because it seems like a lot of the commenters (understandably!) feel victimized and powerless in the face of this behavior. I can’t personally fully understand how it feels to be in your situation because I’m not female, but if I were in your shoes, I would buy a pistol.

    Obviously no one’s saying you can just open fire when some moron catcalls you, but like every fourth comment here ends with “and then he followed me home, and I cried and shook for hours afterwards.” PLEASE consider learning to shoot! It’s not just the provenance of straight men, despite stereotypes, and it’s actually fun. Buy a handgun and learn to use it.

    If you can’t / won’t buy a gun, get the nastiest Mace money can buy, and whip it out if you feel the need. Not only will it strongly discourage the guy who’s masturbating at you, but it’ll make the cops’ job easier as he’ll be the guy screaming in agony and frantically wiping at his face when they come looking.

    Don’t let guys get away with this. I would beat wholesale ass if a guy did this to my wife or one of my friends, and thanks to modern self-defense weaponry, you DO NOT have to be at a physical disadvantage against a larger, stronger man. The point isn’t to kill or Mace everyone who harasses you, it’s to know that if the absolute worst happens, you’re not left defenseless.

  • candymountain135 May 23rd, 2012 6:32 PM

    Once, a friend of mine had a birthday party at a country-club sort of place and reserved a big party room for us to use. All of the girls at the party were anywhere from 11-14 years old, but every single one of us was harassed by these idiot guys who were using a different room at the building. They were middle and high schoolers, maybe freshmen/sophomores, and they were harassing us by running through the party room or the courtyard that was also reserved for the party, and catcalling when we had to walk past the door to their room. But I think the worst incident was when one of the girls tried to tell them to shut up and leave us alone, and a few minutes later, they walked out into the hallway with their pants down. It was disgusting and demoralizing. We talked to the staff of the country club and they talked to the boys, but they said it was all in good fun and they were allowed to stay. And of course, throughout the night, they continued to act like jerks, although not as obscenely after they knew we could get them kicked out. And this was happening to 11-14 year olds! And these guys were all so young, too…and they were okay with doing all that stuff. It was disgusting.

  • sarahhaviland May 23rd, 2012 6:42 PM

    i’m so happy this conversation was posted! I’ve been living in Italy for a year, and walking home late at night is one of the scariest experiences. I have really big boobs and long blonde hair (and no one in this town has blonde hair but the american girls) so whenever i walk i put my hair in a really tight bun and button my shirt or sweater as high as possible, but that still doesn’t work most of the time. my friend has seen multiple men peeing or masturbating in the middle of the street when she walks home, and two different men have threatened to rape my other friend, and then one threatened to kill her when she didn’t want to have sex with him. it was an awful experience for her, because for the next couple months she had to walk around knowing that there was a certifiably insane drug dealer in our small town that wanted to rape and kill her.

  • Lena May 23rd, 2012 10:48 PM

    wow that guy was definitely not a maxxinista

  • Hedwig May 23rd, 2012 11:08 PM

    Enfer oui!!!

  • robizio May 24th, 2012 12:34 AM

    I’m taken aback by how many comments there are here. In hindsight, not surprising givent the prevelence of this problem. I had no idea this happened so often. I want to say – reach out to others around you, but it sounds like pretty often there are no others around or the others are no help. I’m amazed at the combination of how often this is happening and how rarely guys like myself who would intervene rather than joining in are witness to this. How can it be happening so often but somehow be unknown to most of those not experiencing it?

    • Anaheed May 24th, 2012 1:43 AM

      robizio, nothing touches my heart more than reading comments from guys like you who are willing to admit that they weren’t aware of this, but are becoming aware and reacting. Thank you for thinking about it!

  • followthesound May 24th, 2012 12:40 AM

    It’s really sad and disgusting that this kind of harassment has become the rule rather than the exception for women. I don’t think a single one of my friends has never been catcalled… and I’m only in high school.

    I’m pretty sure the first time I dealt with street harassment was when I was 11. I had just started junior high school at one of the two schools in the city that had uniforms, which I eventually learned attracted a lot of unwanted attention. I was on my way from school to the library when these men, who looked like they were in their mid-20s, started shouting obscene things at me. Being so young, I didn’t even understand some of the things they were saying. Six years later, I now understand completely what horrible things they were yelling at me.

    I swear, next time some douchebag decides he wants to catcall at me, he will feel my angry feminist wrath to its full extent.

  • radiofireworks May 24th, 2012 10:20 AM

    I think the most depressing thing about this article is how unsurprised I was by any of it :/

    I live in East London, and I swear it’s like a MAGNET for pervy assholes – you get drunken City boys who think the world was created for their entertainment, crazy drunken hobo types, dumbass hormonal teenage hipster idiots, and just plain assholes, all intersecting in the same few streets. When I first moved here I got harassed CONSTANTLY – at one point I started keeping count, my “record” was six times in one day, mostly whilst being a total BRAZEN HUSSY and SITTING AT A BUS STOP in FULL VIEW like a WHORE. Nowadays I have more confidence and know my way around more, and I seem to get harassed less?

    It just makes me so fucking angry that even walking down the street can be a traumatic experience. I’m 23 and it still really upsets me, I can’t imagine how it must feel when it happens to 13 year olds. Ugh.

  • overthemoon May 24th, 2012 12:11 PM

    I’m both happy to see that I’m not alone and disgusted by the behavior all of you have been subjected to. These guys have no clue (or maybe they do and they enjoy it) how traumatizing it is to be publicly humiliated like that with their insensitivity and abhorring conduct.

    My own personal experience was just a few months ago. I was out walking with my goddaughter in her stroller, she’s about two and a half now, and you wouldn’t believe the comments I’d get! I was dressed in jeans and a t-shirt, hair thrown up to get it out of my face, and men would be hanging out of their cars yelling obscenities and how they’d “Love to make some babies” with me, all in front of this little two year old girl. This happens a lot to my best friend, my goddaughter’s mother, when she goes out with her. One man even started following her and made her so uncomfortable.

    To this day I get so enraged thinking about it.

  • t00ts May 24th, 2012 1:54 PM

    I was in tears reading this, I got so angry and frustrated!! It really bothered me knowing that you had to go through all of this :(
    It reminded me of a few things that happened though. When I was about 13 we went on a school trip to France, and in the evenings we always ate at the same restaurant, but we had to go up to the bar to get our drinks. However, there was always a few creepy old men sitting there and leering at the girls who we’re all 13 or 12! My teacher just told all of us to get the boys to get our drinks instead of us going up there… He was a good teacher on that trip in that respect, we went to Asterixland and a young-adult male was coming onto this girl in my class and basically cornering her, and my teacher shouted at him “SHES ONLY 13 LEAVE HER ALONE YOU’RE DISGUSTING” etc etc. People at school spread around that he was a paedophile but he treated us like adults and obviously from seeing how he saved that girl from the dude showed that he wasn’t AT ALL. He was a good man and he still inspires me today!
    And one thing that still creeps me out is that I was in Camden (UK) for my birthday last year and this man in a bar LUNGED himself at me and tried to kiss my neck. I was so angry I pushed him away (but I had had so so many drinks by then haha) and luckily my boyfriend was there to see and deal with him. I was so angry I was screaming at him and flipping him off all ova the place haha! and this random girl had the AUDACITY to come up to me and be like “chill out he’s a nice guy he’s not done anything wrong” I was like “HE FORCED HIMSELF ON ME!!!”

  • unsafebet May 24th, 2012 4:17 PM

    I never really had to deal with harassment until I moved to Houston. I used to get hit on so much at my old bus stop that I started wearing a fake wedding band to try and get men to leave me alone!

    The worst was when I guy followed me for two blocks kept yelling at me how my ‘ass was the fucking 8th world wonder’. When he tried to give me his number I told him that I didn’t think my girlfriend would be very happy about that!

    He then flipped and started screaming at me for being a ‘fag dyke’, but luckily my bus finally pulled up and the driver called the metro police and refused to let him on the bus.

    I started catching my bus at a stop that was further away from my house because I always saw him at the one stop. Ugh, glad to be out of that neighborhood now.

  • quinnie May 24th, 2012 5:14 PM

    I just had an experience that reminded me of this post today. So I was getting off at my train stop (I live in Chicago so I take public transportation to and from school) and as I approached the stairs, this older guy was already about a quarter up and was trailing behind a woman and her friend who were about halfway up. Suddenly, he grabs one of the butt of one of the women and starts talking about how much he wants her to be his girlfriend, how hot she is, etc etc. The woman and her friend rush up the rest of the stairs and the guy follows. He proceeds to then CHASE them around the entrance to the train because it’s underground (might I add that this particular stop is about 2 feet away from a super busy street). Finally they get away and he stops chasing them, but not before he yells stuff like, “where are you going? Are you going to get some dick?”. After I saw this, I sprinted to the gate for my building and slammed the door when I was in. As this way happening, all the women in the proximity just looked on with disgust and empathy for the women who he wouldn’t leave alone. I’m still really shaken up, just because being young, smaller than him, and really close to everything happening (I was like 8 feet away from this) I know that things could of potentially turned out worse. It was also really surprising because I’ve never experienced that sort of thing on my train or at my stop.

  • alliaj2010 May 24th, 2012 7:51 PM

    I was probably about twelve when my cousin, my younger sister, and I were trying on clothes in a Khols dressing room. We had gone into one of the family dressing rooms because our mom’s told us not to separate from each other. Good thing too because a few seconds after my sister changed back into her clothes a man came into the girls dressing room and entered the dressing room next to us. We tried to leave but as we opened our door his opened as well. We tried to pretend my sister was still trying on clothes so as not to attract his attention. My cousin and I noticed a minute later when he had stripped and had squatted down enough to watch us from under the door with everything in full view. We were both on the verge of tears when a family friend who was sent by our parents to try and play a joke on us scared him. He tried to take off but a woman and her six year old daughter were coming in. He went back into the stall and It was one of the scariest things I can remember happening. The people at Khols didn’t even catch him. Now I’m not so much scared as I am pissed that something kike that happened.

  • mjade97 May 24th, 2012 8:57 PM

    Uhggg!! This is so horrible but it makes me proud that everyone here sees how wrong street harassment is. Luckily I haven’t had this happen to me that much. However, there is an amazing class I took this year that opened my eyes called Impact: Self Defense for Women. Every start of the class we talk about attitudes towards women in the media. We learn ways to defend ourselves, be it verbals towards people we know, to waking up with someone on top of you, trying to rape you. It makes me so much more comfortable and confident. Now I know that if I were being harassed or picked up or grabbed, i could beat the guy up and get to safety! It is the most empowering class in the world and I would recommend for everyone to take it.

  • BigKagi May 25th, 2012 12:20 AM

    I’m so, so sorry to hear all these stories. I want to join with the other men here who say that boys and men need to be taught how much they can hurt other people. Nobody deserves to feel abused and demeaned.

    Here’s the thing, though: boys really do need to be taught how to be decent men. It’s very hard for us to learn how girls and women feel — it’s a situation where the golden rule really doesn’t apply. It does not come naturally, and while today’s culture certainly doesn’t help, I think a good part of the difference really is hormonal. One book I can’t recommend highly enough is Max Wolf Valerio’s _The Testosterone Files_. As a transgendered man who started injecting testosterone as a adult, Valerio is one of the few people who can really understand both points of view and explain what it’s like to have male brain chemistry for those who’ve never experienced it. It’s not easy, and as he points out, the process of growing up as a man is the process of learning to control the impulses that your brain is throwing at you 24/7.

    So, while I feel for all the girls and women who have been threatened by boys and men, and I understand why you’re angry, I do hope you’ll maybe try a little bit to get some human dialogue going, too. Because when you just tell boys and men that they’re bad and disgusting, they’ll actually believe you. And when they think they’re bad and disgusting, then they’ll really behave badly. As Zachary Nicolazzo puts it, “Do Not Let Men Off the Hook, But Do Not Bad-dog Them Either.” (Great article: http://community.afa1976.org/PrinterFriendly.aspx )

  • naiadoreiad May 25th, 2012 2:15 AM

    It wasn’t until I lived in Amsterdam that men would sidle up and say things about me being pretty or trying to sell hard drugs while leering at my chest. I would always respond as if their presence simply bored me. They would always back off after a second or two. I started walking with my head high and a deliberate step (as if I knew where I had to be, even if I was just going out for an aimless walk), and no one messed with me.

    The worst harassment I have had to deal with was last year. I was working at a shopette on a military base here in germany. A day didn’t go by where I wasn’t approached by young soldiers. My manager (a bitter woman) refused to do anything about it. One came up behind me when I was cleaning a hotdog grill and grab my hips . I turned around and was too shocked to do anything. All that came out of my mouth was “I don’t know you. Don’t fucking touch me” and he LAUGHED. Another time I was stocking shelves and looked down the aisle to see a man taking pictures of me bent over , then he ran away. The scariest thing was one night, I got on my bike to ride home at 11pm. A car was in the parking lot nearby and slowly cruised by as I was unlocking my bike and getting my panniers ready. The car slowly followed me all the way to the po box mailroom and then followed me to the gate of the base. I angled my handlebars like I was turning left and let him pass, then turned right and pedalled like a bat out of hell as soon as it was out of sight. I had to ride the next 5 miles through the dark farm roads (no streetlights) terrified that he would be chasing me. (c)

  • naiadoreiad May 25th, 2012 2:31 AM

    (c) Being harassed at work is the worst, because the perpetrators know where you will be everyday and they can wait for you.

    I developed ways to go from customer friendly to cold bitch in 2 seconds. Say things like “Ugh no, I have standards” Make them feel like they don’t deserve your attention. keep your head high, keep eye contact. Speak clearly and let them see how much they can’t control you.

    I am 25, with a stereotypical “playboy” body. I have large breasts and a petite figure with long legs. My face is beautiful too. I was a victim of sexual assault when I was 18. But I walk with my chin up, my eyes alert, my footsteps deliberate. I try to exude confidence and strength wherever I go.

    Since changing my walk and my attitude while I am in public, I don’t get harassed on the street. Men stare but they are too afraid to say anything. When they stare I usually look them straight in the eye and something like “HEY CREEPY” or “WHAT THE FUCK STARE BEAR???” and give them a really nasty exasperated look. This shames them into looking away. Everybody, we need to stand up and OWN our place on the street. We have every right to dress how we want without being bothered. Don’t ignore them. ACKNOWLEDGE THEIR BEHAVIOR! If there are other people around, call attention to them. If you are alone in the dark, outsmart them, pull out your phone and call someone to tell them where you are and what is happening. Harassers think they own you and the space you occupy, have the tools to fight for your right to exist where you want!!

    Big love to everyone who posted and rookie mag too!

  • keavy May 25th, 2012 4:05 AM

    I was harassed a lot in middle school for having short hair — I lived in a southern state, so I got a lot of homophobic nonsense tossed at me. I was prepared to deal with that kind of harassment, and had reported it to several teachers, and had moderately good results.

    Then, when I was in the 7th grade, a kid who I was uncomfortable around anyway (mostly because I had seen and heard him harassing other girls, but been too afraid to say anything) talked to me at a rehearsal for a show. He said things like “You cut your hair short, are you a dyke?” “Do you got blonde pussy hair?” “You shave your pussy hair?” It quickly went from harassment to assault when he stuck his hands up my skirt and pushed me up against a wall using his pelvis against my face.

    I never told my parents or any teachers about it because I felt like it was my fault, like I had been stupid for going into the hallway with him and my then best friend (who watched the entire incident and laughed), despite the fact that that’s what we’d been TOLD to do by our chaperones. He assaulted 2 other girls that year, and nobody did a damn thing about it. Nobody told any teachers or administrators; we all felt like it was our faults.

    That was almost 10 years ago and I still wake up in the middle of the night thinking about it, still regret not reporting it, still fear being left alone with any male person who I have even a shadow of a doubt about. If the system actually dealt with this shit as HARASSMENT instead of “boys will be boys” bullshit, maybe every woman could live without fear of harassment/assault.

  • Vienna355 May 25th, 2012 10:43 AM

    I got yodelled at recently, but the odd thing is, I look nothing like you’re stereotypical austrian milk maid, or someone from the sound of music, except for the braids that were in my hair. People can be weird!

  • anneke May 25th, 2012 11:37 AM

    I read this article and the comments and I’m quite shocked… I’ve had stuff like this happen to me as well but I had no idea it really happened that often.

    During my teens I looked super awkward and very uncomfortable with myself, and people around me really didn’t help. People on the street would just burst out laughing when they saw me, or whisper behind my back, and a few times people just started shouting ‘UGLY! YOU’RE SO UGLY!’ at me for no reason. Other students in school tried to spit on the back of my coat or stuff junk down the hood of my sweaters every day. I’ve actually spent years convinced that I was a hideous creature, mostly because of these people.

    I feel a lot better about myself now and it shows in how I walk and dress, but people won’t leave me alone. Guys don’t even try to hide staring at my breasts, and last summer a guy followed me around for quite some time, mumblng ‘compliments’ behind my back. No one’s ever touched me, but the absolute worst thing happened in my own house. My stepfather had hired a few guys to paint my brother’s bedroom, and I was going to take a shower in the bathroom next door. Just as I was starting to take off my clothes, I had that feeling you get when someone’s looking at you so I instinctively looked through the keyhole, right into the painter’s eye. I screamed and he disappeared, but I was too scared to get out so I locked the door, covered the keyhole and waited for my mother to come home. The worst part? When I told her, she just laughed and said it wasn’t a big deal. The same guy still comes around here to work.

  • LilyinSuper8 May 25th, 2012 1:19 PM

    I applaud all of you brave ladies that deal with this on a daily basis and strive to not let it affect your lives and how you feel about yourselves. I think it’s really important to realise that unfortunately this kind of shit happens a LOT, regardless of how a girl looks, dresses or carries herself and that the onus is on men to understand that behaviour like everything mentioned here is totally unacceptable.

    I live in London and when I was 18 on my gap year, I was working for a charity. We had an event and I travelled back on the underground with two older women I worked with who were EPIC LAYDEEZ. It was rush hour and everyone was jammed in like sardines. I looked down and a man’s hand, complete with wedding ring, was resting on my boob. Obviously I was horrified and moved so it fell off then tried to work out where it came from but to no avail, there was just this sea of densely packed people. This happened twice more and eventually I was so flustered that I pointed it out to one of my co-workers. Quick as lightening she picked up the guy’s hand, lifted it above her had and screamed out ‘COULD THE PERSON THAT THIS HAND BELONGS TO KINDLY REMOVE IT FROM MY FRIEND’S BREAST?’ The whole carriage started craning their necks to try and get a look at the guy and twenty seconds later when the train stopped, this man, a besuited, very respectable looking gent SHOT off the train to a volley of catcalls and abuse. It made me realise that when you make these things known, people really do come to your aid because they know that it’s not ok. Speak up, girls!

  • yell May 25th, 2012 1:23 PM

    I got a guy sent to jail for jerking off on the subway. True story. This is what you do. Stand up, point, and yell at the top of your lungs and don’t stop until a cop comes. Follow the guy and keep yelling if you have to and he will be arrested. People will get the cop for you. Nobody knows what to do but if you yell, and tell people to get a cop, they very surely will.

    Don’t let them get away with it. Don’t run away from it. Stand up and yell, “This guy has his dick out! hey, everybody, this guy right here has his dick out!” Keep yelling. IT WORKS. Also, juries love it.

    They WANT you to be ashamed and run away. Don’t give them what they want. They bank on women and girls being shameable. Send them to jail.

  • rosehx May 25th, 2012 2:01 PM

    Ugh, I can’t believe so many of you have had experiences like this, especially with people masturbating.. The worst I’ve had is some guy feeling up my leg on the tube (I’m sixteen and look even younger). I just ignored him and got off at the next stop and ran, wish I’d had the guts to confront him.

  • katiedyd May 25th, 2012 4:42 PM

    When I was 15 I was taking a commuter train by myself from Hartford to NYC and I was sitting against the wall and there was this sweet old lady sitting next to me. She got off at her stop and then this guy in his late 20s sat down. Which was fine until he started moving his leg closer to mine, and then closer again when I moved away. I was really uncomfortable and then he got up to leave and I was like YAY until he GRABBED MY BOOB. On a train full of people WHO SAID NOTHING TO STOP HIM, HE GRABBED MY BOOB AND SMILED IN THIS GROSS WAY. And then he left and I really wish I would have kicked him in the balls or something because that was not okay in the slightest. And no one around me told him to fuck off. I was scared and surprised and I couldn’t think until I got off the train at my stop. What a dick.

  • keavy May 25th, 2012 4:43 PM

    Not even twenty four hours after reading this I got harassed on my way home from driving school today. Twice in the course of five minutes by two different men.

    UGH

  • Sal May 25th, 2012 5:12 PM

    This is such a great article! I get whistles and cat calls on an almost weekily basis and it makes you feel like worthless shit. The really sad thing is, I tell my best friend (who is incidentally one of the smartest girls in the school and awesome) about it and she can’t understand why I don’t like it, saying that its a ‘compliment’. But its not exactly like they’re shouting “YOU’RE WELL PRETTY!” is it.

  • Lili Pad May 25th, 2012 7:22 PM

    I’m french, parisian and I feel you every day.

    A friend actually posted this page on my facebook wall because I’m complaining about it all the time.
    Yesterday again a guy just pinched my thigh in the subway (first day of spring, bare legs in shorts. Like what? I’m gonna wear a burka while it’s 90° so that you men don’t get too excited? Behave yourself for christ sake.)

    This never happened to me while leaving in NYC or in visiting cities like Berlin.
    It’s one of the factor I don’t want to live in Paris anymore cause to me it’s the worse city for that.
    I think mostly people seem to think I’m over feminist and it’s not that bad. But yeah it is that bad.
    And like how many time do I hear from my female friends that by responding like I do most of the time I’m gonna get hit some day.
    Way to go girls…
    I don’t want anything happening to me of course but shutting the hell up is not helping all those men realizing how bad/pervy/scary/inappropriate/I can keep going like that with a long list their behaviour is.

    But I’m hopeless about this. Women seem to still be in some men’s mind a piece of meat.
    Men that do’nt do that should also realise how bad it is to us and start fighting along with us….

  • Cee May 25th, 2012 7:23 PM

    Yes and yes. I could add a ton of my own stories, but you already have so many. I just wanted to add another voice and say I’m sorry this happens and let you know that it happens to me too- in all these variations.

    One thing makes me the most angry. It’s when a guy acts like you are obligated to talk to him or that there is something wrong with you when you ignore him. Some perv freak masturbating is gross and scary and some aggressive guy shouting stuff and following- totally scary. But at least with those guys, they are up front about what screwed up freaks they are. What makes me sooo sooo sooo mad are the guys that say something sort of innocent sounding like “You are the most beautiful girl in the world” or “Smile girl, you’re gorgeous” or whatever. You are just out walking- that doesn’t mean you are obligated to talk to them. If you smile and respond, they think they can flirt with you so it’s better to ignore. But when you ignore, they yell at you and call you a snob or a bitch or ask you if you are gay or ask why you are in a hurry, and suddenly they get MEAN. That’s the big bad wolf sort of creep. Acting all nice and then they turn around and show their teeth. Bastards- they are the ones that really make me mad. Like I’m REQUIRED to stop and talk to you just because we are on the same street? Leave me alone, jerk, I’m just walking down the road.

    That and when they do that creepy thing where they feel up your hand when giving you cash back at a store. Does that happen everywhere or just in Mexico? So gross- I always feel like I need to shower.

  • Patty May 25th, 2012 7:46 PM

    I’ve had catcalls hollered at me on the street before, nothing much more terrible than that. Usually I just keep walking and ignore them like the irrelevant sons of bitches they are.

    My theory is if I’m ever on the subway – notorious for its creepers – and some guy wants to start rubbing himself off to the sight of me, I’m gonna start picking my nose and flick it at him.

  • bridiebird May 25th, 2012 9:58 PM

    i hate it when guys write on girl’s facbeook photos like ‘nice tits’ or something stupid like that, just because they’re wearing a slightly revealing dress or low cut top. i just want to comment NO ONE ASKED FOR YOUR OPINION, KEEP IT TO YOURSELF! but i guess it’s different, because when you put photos on facebook you’re sort of ASKING for opinions. i don’t know, maybe those girls want that sort of feedback or they just don’t understand who can see the photos (like, you have 1000 friends, that can do anything with those photos…). but still, they should be able to stand up for themselves rather than just letting it blow over. i just can’t work out whether they are wearing revealing things because they want to attract the attention of guys or just because they WANT TO WEAR THE CLOTHES. i hope it’s because they WANT TO. it’s such a tricky subject.

  • lula May 26th, 2012 12:06 AM

    this is perfect, you guys, the comments and the article, and amy rose, especially, and i think it’s great that we’re talking about this because it is a fucking SERIOUS ISSUE. i mean, there’s this boy at school who’s always grabbing my butt, and when i tell him to stop he says “it’s just a joke, chill,” BUT YOU’RE NOT SUPPOSED TO JOKE THAT WAY. i think boys/men have a completely different mindset about sexual harassment than we do and i’d really love to publish this (the comments and all) in, like, a men’s magazine to show them what fucking assholes they are. HOW THE FUCK IS IT OKAY TO TELL AN ELEVEN YEAR OLD GIRL THAT YOU WANT HER PUSSY? what the fuck is wrong with you? anyways, onward with my story. one day, i was PMSing and i was, honestly, fed up with this boy touching my butt, so i turned around and i stared at the penis-area (oh god) and then i winked at him (I REALIZE THIS WAS WRONG ON MY PART OK) and he called me a “perverted crazy bitch.” WHAT THE FUCK. i don’t know, i’m mad and i’m not making any sense anymore but i can’t even eat frozen yogurt anymore because i went to the only froyo shop in town and when i turned around the pay, the owner was taking pictures of my butt on his phone! i still payed for the yogurt, though i wish i’d thrown it on his face. it freaked me out and i wanted to cry. i don’t know, i have plenty more stories but i feel like if i say a word more i will explode in anger.

  • Charlotte M. May 26th, 2012 6:26 AM

    Ugh, all of these ‘men jerking off at me in public’ stories remind me of the time I was walking home late one night alone a couple of years ago (I felt very safe walking home in my suburban, ‘affluent’ neighbourhood) and I was masturbated at THREE times whilst walking the length of my street before I got home. Three times, three different men, standing in three different driveways, just standing there with their hands on their dicks.

    This is why I believe this was a planned thing, it was far too bizarre to not be. So these three assholes actually planned this, “Oh hey guys, how ’bout we really fuck some random girl’s night up by harassing her in the most obscene way possible…yeah, high five!!”.

    I felt like shit and was in a rage by the time I got home, too angry to cry. I was so angry actually, that I got into my mum’s car, drove back up the street armed with a bucket of white paint (thanks dad), looking for these guys ready to confront them. No surprise, they had disappeared, instead I went to the driveway of Wanker #1 and tipped paint everywhere, wrote ‘FUCK YOU’ in massive letters on the wall of the house, and finally, tipped an outdoor chair and table/umbrella set over.

    I was so ANGRY. It felt good. I then realised later on that it could’ve been some innocent person’s house I just tipped paint all over and that guy just used that driveway as his ‘harassment point’. But then I thought what if it WAS his house?

    I have since moved but every time I go down that street I still think of those 3 men who did that. Someone has since scrubbed the paint off the driveway.

  • Razzer May 26th, 2012 6:14 PM

    Im a male and i get this, but in a different way. Since I am a gay, everyday people look as me as if am a large peacock. I could be wearing an all black casual outfit and every day someone looks at me as if to say “what the hell are you wearing?”. Its really hard because they don’t say anything, so its not like I can come out with some amazing bitch quote to throw them (which I have in my head). It’s worst when adults do it, as youths my age, fair enough are immature about what classifiers somebody dressing “different”. But when an adult gives me a filthy look, I just feel when the hell are you going to grow up!

    • Mrs.Floyd May 27th, 2012 12:33 AM

      People are way to quick to judge each other. Keep your head up!

  • Mrs.Floyd May 27th, 2012 12:31 AM

    The first time I got hollered at I was 13. I was wearing shorts, and I was riding my bike on my way to an end of the year party. I stopped at the light, and some creep pulls up next to me and says, ‘Is it legal for a girl your age to have legs that sexy?’ and then proceeded to drive of whilst chuckling. Makes me nauseous. I was so scared I would see him again I took a different route home the next day.

  • Emanon May 27th, 2012 9:00 AM

    Another boy here.. Thank you so much for making this public and all the great links to eg this; http://stopstreetharassment.com/ Raising awareness and changing peoples attitudes is crucial to stop all this.

    This is so painful to read and I wish I could avenge every single one of you. I’ve endured years of varying degrees of bullying as a kid where sexual harassment sometimes was part of the “fun” and being touched inappropiately by adults (but being to young to understand why it feels wrong) is also something I can relate to. The feeling of shame and discomfort and to wish you were invisible. All of it.

    But I guess I had it easy compared to some of these stories..
    I’m not sure if other guys feel this way, but personally I’m always terrified when walking alone in a big city. I rarely get comments like “nice ass” or “hey baby”, and when I do it’s always drenched in sarcasm and mockery (from guys fyi). Mostly I’m more worried about getting a knife in my stomach. Someone mentioned trying to look scary and I try that too; shoulders back, chin up, angry glare and a fast pace. Works sometimes right?

    I’m a coward, but I try to muster up courage so that when some creep makes a girl feel uncomfortable in any way, he’ll be sorry. And for all these public masturbaters and rapists: castration on site! I’m so sorry you had to experience these horrible things.
    Finally a message to all boys out there: Never be a creep and never forgive them.

  • Mikaela May 27th, 2012 12:33 PM

    God this is all so relatable. Just last year I was in college and I frequented a cafe for lunch with a friend and two men who had to be in their sixties would follow us to the cafe and offer to buy us coffee or lunch or try to get us to come home with them, the older repeatedly asked me to marry him, or to come home with him.
    I’m hearing impaired and have an anxiety disorder so I was never able to snap anything quick out at him, but I still feel violated when I think about it. I was seventeen.

  • Romane May 28th, 2012 3:28 PM

    It’s horrible to say it but just like some of you all, it’s only by reading this that I realised I had been harassed too. It never occurred to me that it was real harassment, because I’ve always found myself quite unattractive and I only ever wear jeans and ill-fitting clothes, so I kinda always thought they were mocking me or something. But there was that time when I was coming home from a party at midnight, in a very safe kind of village in the Alpes (I’m French), and I crossed path with two boys a bit older than me (I was 15 at the time). Now understand me, I might like girls more, but I’ve had bad experiences with men and I know I have to look down to avoid trouble, so I did. We crossed and nothing happened. When I finally began to relax I heard one of them yell “t’es bonne, j’te baise !” (You’re hot, I’m gonna fuck you!) behind me and I felt so, so horrible and scared I ran all the way home crying. I texted a friend to explain what had happened and she laughed it out and said “that’s the mountain guys for you.” I was wearing a skirt for the first time in years at the time. It took me two years to dare wear one again. I still feel horrible over how I let that single, mocking dirty line frighten me so much. It makes me so angry. I wish I’d snapped back and frightened THEM instead. There have been other unpleasant things — even I get to feel objectified from time to time, and I hate it. I wish I could be a boy and oblivious about it all. I wish I didn’t feel so afraid I can’t even wear dresses anymore.

  • eyeofthewhitewolf May 28th, 2012 8:03 PM

    OMG!….It’s not that I didn’t think this happened to other women, I just didn’t think it happened SO MUCH! That’s so disgusting & disturbing!!!
    It’s really sad. Us women aren’t taken seriously when we express how uncomfortable we feel when it comes to street harassment. People (usually men) just brush it off and say we’re overreacting. It’s like we can never win! I’ve had a few street harassment happenings that still haunt me. & tbh, I’m not that pretty!!! So it’s embarrassing telling guys my stories because they either don’t believe me or they think I’m conceited or something. -_-
    When a guy harasses me, it’s always SOO SCARY! At first, sometimes I don’t even know they’re harassing me! Sometimes they just say random things, so I think they’re just trying to start up a friendly conversation, so I’m nice to them, you know? Then things get creepy, like they start talking about my body, sex, or they start touching me. Then I try to ignore them, but they don’t go away! I always want to say something! But Ican’t! Because what if they get really mad? what if they have a gun or a knife or something that they’ll use if I make them mad? It’s just something NO WOMAN should have to go through. Having that fear, confusion, and that disgusting, violated feel they leave you with.
    (part 1)

    • eyeofthewhitewolf May 28th, 2012 8:08 PM

      (part 2) Because of this, I am SO UNCOMFORTABLE and self conscious around ALL MEN! & it sucks because it makes me look like a “bitch” when I don’t smile back at a guy who smiles at me, or I don’t say thank you to guys who compliment me. Because you never know if they’re just a nice guy, or if they’re a creeper…who will take your smile or “thank you” as an invitation to say and do whatever they want to you.
      It makes me SO MAD!
      Why can’t (these kind of) men see that we don’t take it as a compliment! Why can’t men see that it makes us feel like sh*t rather than making us feel good? Why wont men leave us alone when OBVIOUSLY we’re not interested? Why wont men keep their comments to themselves? Why wont men get that us women are humans! Who deserve respect and have the right to say no!? Why wont men see that THIS IS NOT OKAY!?!?!?!?! I really hope more guys see’s this whole post…even if they’re not one of the creepers, maybe they’ll take us girls more seriously next time. Maybe they’ll stand up for a random girl he see’s getting harassed. Idk. It just makes me all so sick!!!

  • eyeofthewhitewolf May 28th, 2012 8:22 PM

    Sorry for all the comments (I always say I’m a quiet girl who has a lot to say lol) but I remember when I was younger (like 12, and my brother just turned 16) My brother was picking me up from my friend’s house and was with a few of his friends. We were driving downtown and his friends rolled down the window and started yelling very degrading “compliments” to some girls standing outside of a bar. My brother joined them. I felt so uncomfortable, and I wasn’t even the one being harassed! And my brother was/is a nice guy! So I was very shocked! Now my brother is grown up & has a daughter & serious girlfriend. But it still makes me think….what if the guy I fall in love with, used to be a street harasser?
    It scares me. I mean…why do guys do this? Do they really think they have a chance when they say/do these things to girls? Do they REALLY think they’re making us feel good? A lot of these comments say something along the lines of “I cried”…so how can a guy justify “I was just giving her a compliment” when a lot of girls end up in tears? smh.

  • delicatewhimsy May 28th, 2012 9:37 PM

    This is so incredibly disgusting! I hate how this is so common, and the saddest part about it is that people think that women initiate it by the way they dress! It makes me so angry that any women has to be afraid of being harassed all the time. No woman asks for it, it’s a problem with the man, and the way he thinks. A creepy lecher is going to be a creepy lecher no matter what you’re wearing. Women shouldn’t have to be afraid of this. It seems like just being a women in itself is inviting unwanted sexual attention. It’s so not okay. The cultural mentality today needs to change. Being a women makes me scared sometimes because I know that it’s generally unsafe to go anywhere alone around where I live, for fear of being harassed, and there’s something very wrong about that. I shouldn’t have to closely monitor everything I wear for fear that it’s going to attract unwanted attention. I went to a party and had to leave because I was wearing shorts and all the guys were sizing me up like a piece of meat and my boyfriend got really angry. I dress modestly too!! WHAT IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE?

    • eyeofthewhitewolf May 28th, 2012 10:30 PM

      it’s like, even if we just show our collarbone! we’re “asking for it” smh. Why wont guys realize that if it’s 90 degrees, of course we’re not going to be wearing sweatshirts & pants! We dress the way we dress because 1) we want to 2) the weather (less clothes if it’s really hot) & 3) it’s comfortable. We NEVER think “hmmm this outfit is going to cause lots of guys to make degrading comments towards me that will make me cry….yay! I’ll wear this!”

  • Katherine May 28th, 2012 10:32 PM

    I have a Doberman-Rottweiler puppy and I avoid street harassment by hinting that she’ll rip the throat out of anyone who tries to mess with me. She’s actually perfectly sweet, but they don’t have to know that!

  • Nicci May 29th, 2012 1:52 AM

    This article is wonderful because so many people are like “its a complement” but its not. I also find myself very naive to the world and reading such things enrages me, i do not think anyone should be subject of such things. When walking with friends, because i rarely walk alone, we have been cat called and people have even stopped! It scares me beyond words. The most invasive incident that has happened to me happened last year. I was walking the two block, TWO BLOCKS to my bus stop for school, and my friend whom normally waits for me at the one block mark had gone ahead this time because i was running late. So i was walking (and acutely having a nice morning despite the delay) and I see this car driving down the road towards me so i moved over more by instinct, but i thought it was weird because the car was closer to me than it should have been. and slower than it should have been. I got creeped out on sight of it. And alas, the guy pulls up a bit a head of me and as i pass (i had moved even farther to the side as i could) and is leaning out his window and calls “hey mami!” and i keep walking and he calls out “come here” but i keep walking. So he finally drives away. BUT! Two or less blocks away is my friend and her boyfriend and their friend are walking to the bus stop too. And this creeper tried to pick up my friend too! the audacity! I was shaking by the time i got on the bus because i never thought this would happen to me, let alone 6:35 in the morning.
    Phew, sorry that story is long, feels good to write it out :) i haven’t actually talked about it.

  • finsburygrrl May 29th, 2012 8:43 AM

    This article is both life-affirming and soul-destroying at the same time. Fantastic to hear about the ways in which everyone deals with this nonsense, but depressing that it’s such a common experience for women everywhere.

    My own personal nadir of this kind of behaviour was on the London Underground last year, when a creep pressed himself against my back on a crowded train. Turning round to glare at him, I realised that he had actually taken his penis out of his pants/trousers to perform this charming service. In the middle of a crowded train, in the morning rush hour.

    I reported the incident to the police, and after a mildly exciting stake-out, during which I managed to spot him in the crowd, they arrested him. They weren’t able to charge him, as he claimed diplomatic immunity (infuriating!). However, he was eventually re-located by his embassy back to Egypt, his country of origin.

    So all in all, I was pleased that I went to the bother of reporting it, despite the stress and upset of reliving the incident through having to provide numerous statements. Cos even though he didn’t get any criminal charges, he had to deal with the consequences of his actions.

  • annamareee May 30th, 2012 12:37 PM

    some guys whistled at my friends and i while we were out one night and as we walked past them i yelled a made-up cell phone number at them very quickly and also “cash or credit only please”

  • RuthyRainbow May 30th, 2012 5:38 PM

    It upsets me that so many women have had to deal with this. It upsets me even more that people act like we should be flattered to get this kind of attention.

    One of the worst things to happen to me, wasn’t in the streets or in school it was online. Someone made a profile of me using my photos, and my bio from my Myspace on a website to find sex partners. I have no idea who did it, but a friend found it and showed me. I wrote to them to have it taken down and never got a reply. It terrified me for a while, the pictures that were on it were from before I was even 18. I made everything private after that.

    I remember when I was 10, I was very well developed, I was eating at a pizza place with my parents. This 40 something fellow kept hitting on me, touching my arms, getting close to touching my chest, and telling me how beautiful I was even after we informed him that I was just a child. My dad laughed it off.

    My body belongs to me, I am tired of men attempting to lay some claim on it because I have a vagina.

  • Annebelle June 1st, 2012 6:47 AM

    Gosh, reading all of these comments have made me sad to live in a world where misogyny is common place. I have had this happen to me since I was 11 or 12, I get it lots in my school uniform, but the beach is pretty bad too. When I was 12 I was to scared to do anything, but when I was 13 or 14 I’d just scream FUCK OFF I AM THIRTEEN BITCHES, that’d make them stop. I swear a guy followed me home from the gym one time too, its pretty creepy, I just hate it

  • Czeckerz June 1st, 2012 5:27 PM

    Ughhh this completely disgusts me. What’s worse is though when other girls don’t even consider the consequences of this kind of stuff. My friend was telling me last year how in gym class she was playing against two kids in her class, a guy and a girl, and how they kept on yelling stuff like “oh, we’re o gonna rape you” or “we rape you at this” and how she felt so uncomfortable because of it and started telling them off. At first they got offended and confused but later began to assume that the only reason she was uncomfortable with it was because she got raped which only made things more awkward because they started talking about it in front of others and apologizing for it and stuff and she just felt so uncomfortable about it.

  • AliceRoared June 3rd, 2012 3:44 AM

    I like to think that I live in a relatively safe and quiet suburb, but even in those you still get harassed.

    A few experiences of mine include being honked at whilst walking along a busy highway, being slowly trailed by a guy in a ute shouting, “Hey! Hey! HEY!”, being called out to and jeered at by a car full of teenage boys as well as being scared out of my wits by a loud car honk behind me and having the driver LAUGH when he sees how the loud honk scared me.

    I’m 17 and this has been going on since about the time I hit fifteen.

  • meowool June 3rd, 2012 10:42 AM

    At the time I didn’t really realise it as assault, on both occasions. Once was in Paris (what a suprise!) on a school trip watching a memorial thingy that I can’t remember the name of it (it’s around the area of Lille in France) and another in Maths class not that long ago. He was asking for stuff like hugs and that, then he stroked my leg and his guy’s justification was that “you can’t back down from a bottle challenge” I emailed the teacher and asked to be moved, eventually he pissed everyone off so he just went out side and did ‘work’ on the computers there instead. If he had carried on, I think I would have just walked out of the classroom, and I was thinking of that. Also when I was in Paris we had loads of people being inappropriate, we were 13/14 years old at the time. Before that I was on a trip in the Lake District and we were asked ‘do you want to come and have some tea’ and every night guys were there at the loos by our camp to feel up the girls. (thankfully I wasn’t, as I went to the loo before sleeping) But I remember being very parinoid (we were 11/12 on this trip and the guys were around….20 I’m guessing) but my friend said that she’d knock them out, so I didn’t have to be parinoid! But luckily I live in a rural area, so there aren’t regular buses, and the school has to organise travel for us. (next year I’ll have to go on public buses as I’m out of county for my school next year, yay such fun but I’m sure there’ll be others going to my school on that bus!)

  • Jellyfiissh June 3rd, 2012 11:45 AM

    I am so glad I am not alone on the creep factor here. I just wanted to say though I am disappointed to hear so many woman afraid to speak out and call out these horrible people for their actions. I feel a lot of the time I get treated the way I do by these men because at one point or another they have gotten away with it. No one confronted them, told them it was wrong, objected to their objectification!
    I had one incedent where a guy walked toward me and tried to put his hand up my top while I was smoking outside my apartment complex, he didn’t even know me. I screamed Rapist! Punched him and walked away. Another time in SF I had a homeless man come up behind me while putting money in the meter and pulled up my bra strap, then proceeded to “mmmhhhhhhmm” the whole time I was finding money, so I screamed “Get away! You have no right to touch me just because I am a female, Get away or I will cut you.” Then moved my car a few blocks away.
    Please ladies be empowered by yourself! Stand up for your rights and others, any time I see a lady in distress or someone cat calling, I imedeatly tell them to fuck off. I don’t care if they shout at me or try to say mean things to make me feel stupid. I would rather have my words hit their stupid brains, then my voice go unheard. The more we fight the more they will stop. There are times I admit, where running is the best option especially if things could get violent, but always be alert. Never walk/run with both head phones in, carry a knife in your pocket and one in your shoe or around your thigh. Know your alternate routes home. <3

  • boringbrick June 3rd, 2012 1:10 PM

    Oh my god, that is real bullshiz. This kind of thing never happened to me (I’m from Brazil) – except for the car honks and stuff.
    Anyways, I think the trick in this kind of situation is making the guy (s) embarrassed. They bother us because they “know” that we won’t do/ say anything. But when you say that they have small dicks, are virgins or simply are losers, they get humiliated and think twice before doing this kind of thing.
    And Amy Rose, you are an example! lol
    xx

  • betsy June 3rd, 2012 8:04 PM

    Ugh, so many disgusting people in this world. When I was 15 or 16 I was working at a fast food restaurant… I handed this man his order out the window, and he was sitting in his car staring intently at me while flipping through the porn magazine in his passenger seat, which was CLEARLY placed so that I could see it. Uh, okay? WHAT IS YOUR GOAL IN THIS BESIDES TO FREAK OUT A TEENAGE GIRL, YOU DISGUSTING PUTRID WORM? Have also gotten so many disgusting comments while out biking – even had a smoke bomb thrown at me once. WHY?

  • krisba June 6th, 2012 5:14 PM

    When I was in kindergarten, one of the boys on my school bus slapped my butt every time I walked past him. This was in the early 90′s, and I don’t think sexual harrassment in schools was looked at as seriously as it (hopefully) is (starting to) now.

    My mother wound up putting up a fight on my behalf and the boy, I believe, was kicked off the bus for a month or two and his parents had to drive him.

    I was cursed with an early puberty (no really, I got my first period when I was 10) and I had boobs soon after that. Let me tell you, it was not fun.

    Guys really don’t understand. Even if we ladies took a day and decided to catcall vulgar things at men, they still wouldn’t understand – because it’d be only a day, and we have to put up with it all of our lives.

  • lizzie.ruth June 8th, 2012 7:39 AM

    Thank you for a great post! It’s horrible that guys can get away with this sort of harassment.

    I think the creepiest thing is (like you all say) it starts when you’re so young – it’s just wrong. I wonder if as well as being a power thing, guys just know that younger girls aren’t going to react or call them out.

    I feel like as I’ve gotten older I get less catcalls – although that might just be ‘cos I’m walking less.

    I drive a scooter and at least twice a week I get stupid ass comments or wolf whistles from cars full of guys. Not only is it totally demeaning (and its pretty hard to shout back through a helmet) but it is really really off-putting when I’m driving. I’ve swerved twice now because a car has “snuck” up behind me and peeped as guys lean out the window and yell obscenities. I’ve also been followed in cars, so that when I zip into a car park to pull over, they’ve pulled over next to me and continued being jerks.

    And I agree that its not just when you’re wearing your ‘friday-night-best’ – When I’m on my bike then I’m usually wearing a gigantic american-football-esque armoured jacket and my full face helmet. The only way you can even tell I’m a girl is my Jean covered legs and small feet!

    I think this post – http://hoppypoppy.tumblr.com/post/3901895398/robbery-and-rape
    is quite relevant. Its about rape but the same applies to catcalling and general creepiness. Just because my legs are out doesn’t mean I give you permission to comment!

  • little_seahorse June 9th, 2012 7:50 AM

    Thanks for sharing! First time something like this happened to me was at eleven years of age, walking home from primary school, in uniform. Sleazebag pulled over, pretended to be asking for directions, actually asked me to suck him. Swore my head off and ran home. Here’s hoping those disgusting pigs get their asses handed to them sooner or later.

  • eloiseh June 10th, 2012 12:30 PM

    best solution to street harassment: do something weird

    I was walking with my friends once to one of their houses and these guys across the street in a car yelled something like “OHH DAMN, COME OVER HERE, WE’LL GIVE YOU A GOOD TIME” (i dont know) and i was carrying a carton of milk so i held it high in the air and yelled “MILK!”.. they didn’t say anything back, probably had to ponder over that one

  • emiklio June 12th, 2012 2:18 PM

    I’m moving to a big city in the fall, and these comments are making me very wary about going out by myself… I’m going to definitely be as careful as I can.

    Thank you all for sharing your stories, too, this is a really empowering website!

    I have a couple stories too, not nearly as bad as most of yours, but traumatizing nonetheless. When I was 14, I was walking home from school and a guy in a white car pulled up next to me and said, “Need a ride?” I didn’t see his face because I just shook my head and kept walking. To get away from him, I crossed the street, which was a busy 5-lane road. He pulled off into a driveway, turned around, and drove up next to me again on the other side of the road, slowly following me. It was f-ing creepy. I called my mom and walked quickly to a familiar store so I could wait for her to pick me up, and thankfully he drove away after I called her.

    Also, when I was 14, we had a substitute teacher and he came over to help me and my friend with our work. He was talking about something and standing behind me and all of a sudden he grabbed my side, on my bra, and kind of scratched at it, like he was petting a dog. I was too shocked and confused to say anything, and he walked away.

  • Sonhadora June 13th, 2012 3:01 PM

    I’m so thankful that I don’t have to face this on a day-to-day. I grew up in a city on the coast of South Carolina and most people were polite and self-contained. There were, of course, exceptions to this rule, but they were much less frequent than they seem to be in other areas. Probably a lack of public transportation helps, too.

    One of the things I loved about the university that I attended was its sexual and verbal harassment consciousness. As part of training to become a manager of a floor in one of the co-ed dorms, we had to take part in activities that showed harassment from both sides. Most of the females knew what to expect when their turn came. The guys were in for a shock- they stood in a circle and the girls walked around them, cat-calling at them, brushing up against them, touching them without permission. Most of them were bright red, looking at the ground in shame. When asked if they had ever done something like that to a female, several raised their hands. They looked shocked, ashamed, and frightened. I don’t think they had any idea what it felt like. When we did something similar with the students we were in charge of, it had essentially the same effect. I give major props to this program on the campus because I’m quite certain that it helps prevent many potential cases of harassment/rape simply by giving the men a taste of their own medicine (disclaimer: not saying all men do this, but it was certainly an eye-opener for any that do, as well as helping those that don’t to understand better what we experience).

  • irtabby June 14th, 2012 2:18 PM

    Living in a lower income part of NYC I deal with the cat calls every day. However the worst recent experience I had was when I went upstate to work on a film (Im an actress).

    There were only 2 other actors in it, both male and both of whom I played the love interest for. They were both older then me and not very attractive (not that it matters). The older of the two played my main love interest and crossed the line all the time. After a scene was done he would continue to try and keep me on his lap and rub on my arms and legs and shirt. He made several inappropriate comments such as “we should take that scene further back at the hotel”.

    Initially I didnt want to bring it up to the director because he was just totally in awe of this actor, but when I finally did he told me he had been made aware of the situation by two separate people but didnt feel the need to say anything unless I brought it up to him!!!

    Then the other actor was nearly as bad. I had a makeout scene with him and and he kept using tongue even though in movies you fake it. Then when discussing a scene they wanted to be suggestive he said it should be a shower scene where he sneaks in and watches me. I said thats creepy. And he straight up said he didnt think it was creepy, that any normal horny man would take the opportunity to spy on a hot girl naked. That their was nothing creepy about it. Um hello there’s a law against it for a reason!!!

    I cant stand these men. We are just their playthings, not people. They are disgusting!

  • Tania June 16th, 2012 8:29 PM

    I had an experience on the bus about a month ago that was violating and horrible and disgusting, but the worst part was how angry and on edge I felt about the whole thing in the weeks that followed. It was the most emotionally draining experience of my life. It temporarily turned me into this on-edge and pessimistic person, and THAT made me MORE angry, because I never thought of myself as somebody who could be semi-permanently scarred by one disgusting guy. I’m still coming to terms with the whole thing, but all sexual harassment is about power, so I’m determined not to let it take hold of me anymore. It doesn’t. Despite that guy’s efforts, I live a happy life and feel more empowered and determined to speak out about this kind of BS than I did before. So next time instead of just getting off the bus as fast as possible I think I’ll try out the ol’ public shaming.

    It’s good that this is being talked about. I don’t really know what to do to change how things are, but this seems like a good step.

  • evalavendar June 17th, 2012 5:34 AM

    I’m 16, and I’ve honestly never really thought about this stuff before, which kind of makes me feel ashamed, but like… Idk. I’ve just never noticed this stuff happen to me or my friends before, so clearly I’m just super fucking scary/intimidating, or I’m just super clueless, and just don’t notice when it happens. If it actually happens hella, and I’m just completely delirious, I’m kind of glad. Because all these teen hormones have been really getting to me lately, and I’ve been having these dreamlike fantasies about beating up ass holes, so I’d probably inflict some intense verbal abuse on anyone who DARED to street harass me. I’m the fucking bomb and those douches CANNOT FUCKING MESS WITH ME BECAUSE MY BONY FISTS OF STEEL WILL MAKE THEIR BODIES BLEED.

    Suck my dick.

  • pigeongirl June 19th, 2012 4:44 PM

    I’m really glad that people are talking about these issues more. I just read all 300+ comments, and was upset to the point of tears. Society should be past this shit by now.
    It was also reassuring how many people acknowledge that the way you dress is not the causing factor. I was sexually abused as a kid, so I feel much more comfortable in large, shapeless, unsexy clothes, and I deal with street harassment in NYC all the time.
    When I was working at a fast food place a few blocks away and walking in my gross, oversized uniform, there was one guy who would catcall me all the time. I was uncomfortable, but I felt like I was overreacting because mostly he kept it pg & just called me”pretty eyes.” But then he started following me to work and yelling at me over the counter & following me home & getting upset that I wouldn’t respond or go out with him (because, why wouldn’t I want to date this creep, right?). His comments were among the most tame I’ve received, but it still made my skin crawl and made me feel so unsafe walking out of my apartment every day.
    Also I’ve had guys verbally berate me and proposition me for prostitution try to approach me & then fall over drunk in the middle of the intersection. I’ve had to consider whether to help out these people who make me feel unsafe (so I don’t have to deal with the guilt of watching them die) or leave them there because they deserve it & I don’t want to touch them. It’s dehumanizing.
    I hope that this issue keeps getting more attention & eventually it’s the street harassers who are made to feel ashamed.

  • Nikilodeon June 21st, 2012 2:17 AM

    “But it definitely heightens on those days when you dress up and feel good about yourself, and then some jerk makes you feel like garbage and it’s just like THIS ISN’T FOR YOU, A-HOLE. THIS IS FOR **ME** I AM A QUEEN GODDESS AND YOU ARE A LOWLY WORM.”

    OMG I SO AGREE. Once I went out wearing a dress, cardigan, and wedges – I was really covered up, though, the dress was under the knees and it was a regular NOT cleavage-showing neckline – and a bunch of construction workers from across the street were staring and following me with their eyes! It was creepy!

    I totally sympathize with you guys because I know how this feels. I’ve had an old guy in the supermarket hit on me before and I couldn’t get over it for the longest time. You guys are an awesome example of how to deal with it and turn this negative thing into a positive thing, by the form of this very empowering article. :) Thanks for posting this. I used to think there was only street harassment in my country, because for some reason whenever I’d go to Europe or Hong Kong with my family I wouldn’t be treated like that if I wanted to dress up nicely. Pretty ignorant of me, and I was enlightened to find that in every single country, women have to deal with the same thing. I really wish street harassment would just stop! It makes people feel so insecure. I don’t even get why men feel the need to do it… do they think it’s, like, appealing, or something?

  • StyleRookieReader June 22nd, 2012 6:53 AM

    I doubt Tavi will see this but there is that small chance.
    The comment she said about the Olsens becoming 18 well thats happening to Chloe Moretz, Elle Fanning and Hailee Stienfeld (I do know that Elle was interviewed by Tavi and that Tavi is also good friends with Hailee)!
    I like to look up their photoshoots (because i wish i could have thier job (exspecially to be in a Miu Miu ad campign shot by Bruce webber or a marc jacobs add or to wear the cutest dresses from Proenza!!!!) then I go look at the comments on YouTube and they are either populated with sweet comments about their acting skills or how much that creep wants to ef them when they turn 18.
    Taylor Swift even mentioned the reason she has bodyguards is to keep away the creeps!

  • gibsonsg June 23rd, 2012 12:53 PM

    This illustrates another huge difference between men and women. I was on my patio having a smoke and, out of the corner of my eye noticed a neighbor staring intently at me. When I shifted focus to look directly at him, I noticed he was masturbating furiously while ogling me. My response wasn’t to call the police or run away and cry. I immediately started yelling at the top of my lungs, “WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’RE DOING?!?!” He immediately ran inside and I never saw him again. I would periodically buy poster board and make signs to hang on his patio to alert the neighbors to the sick freak in the apartment. While I still felt violated, I had some comfort in knowing I was making this guys life hell and bringing as much public scorn to him as I could.

  • Beccah June 24th, 2012 1:11 AM

    Yes! I feel such a connection to this conversation. I’ve been having it with a lot of my female-bodied friends lately, unfortunately. It does happen All.The.Time. I recently wrote an open letter to every dude who’s ever harassed me on the street and posted it to my blog. It’s really really long and full of expletives, so I’ll just post the link for anyone who’s interested: http://beccahsartblog.blogspot.com/2012/05/street-harassment-it-angers-me.html

    P.S. I am in love the monster-convulsion response. I’m totally gonna use that

  • Smam-egg-and-spam June 25th, 2012 9:01 AM

    I’m 34 and this *still* happens all the damn time.
    It gets so I’m not even sure whether I can smile politely at an old man on the street without him thinking I’m coming on to him.

    I have a question: as a single mom to a 9-year-old son, how do I explain this to him? How do I explain why the guy who did that gross tongue thing at me on the sidewalk the other day made me so mad? I mean, he did that *in front of my kid.*

    It makes me want to put on ball-kicking boots and go Tank Girl on any man who ever tries that again. Ever.

    I wish I was a superhero.

  • iniziaguarire July 8th, 2012 10:35 AM

    I’ve definitely dealt this my entire life. It is really powerful reading this article and all of the comments, because I never realized how many other women out there went through the same things I go through. Mostly, my female friends have not been victims of intense sexual harassment, and they find it hard to understand why catcalls and guys grabbing my ass upset me. It is never appropriate; for instance, my going dancing at a club is not permission for a man to grab me, and stick his hand down my shorts and undergarments and start playing around.

    Even when I was a little girl people would say things to me, guys would pick me up in grocery stores and tell me I should be a model or put me on their lap and say they wanted to take me home; my parents never did anything. I didn’t understand why it made me so uncomfortable back then, but I think that my parents didn’t think of that as a form of harassment and I didn’t know that I could have personal boundaries/space.

    And on top of years of “regular” (can’t think of a better word for that) sexual harassment, I’ve also been raped. I was wearing jeans and a tshirt, I was sober, and I thought the guy was my friend – I was wrong, and I never reported it because I was convinced that it was in some way my fault. I should have known. When I refused to talk to my rapist afterwards, and wouldn’t hang out with him on Valentine’s? He called our mutual friends to bash me & say I had cheated on my boyfriend and that I was a bitch and a slut, and that I had said terrible things to him and we’d no longer be associating. No one believed me.

  • katie-the-squirrel July 8th, 2012 5:06 PM

    Ugh, I know! During the school year (16 year old here) I walk home from school and I had to change the route I took to walk home because there was a group of guys who really freaked me out. They would hang out in the parking lot of this little convenience store and on the sidewalk, and everytime I walked by on my home, they would all turn and stare at me. It really didn’t help that with the way they stood, the only way for me to get home walking that way was by walking through their group (fortunately, none of them ever touched me). I never wore ~super sexeh~ clothes, either – everything I wear to school has to meet the dress code, so no short shorts, super low cut tops, shirts that show bellybutton, etc. Actually, during the time I went home that way, I never once wore either makeup or a skirt!

    Additionally, though this didn’t happen to me, thank the Lord, it happened to one of my friends: she was at the local fair, when a man came up to her and offered to pay her twenty dollars if she would let him watch her eat one of those chocolate-covered frozen bananas they sell at ice cream places. She was in middle school at the time (I can’t remember what grade).

  • RedRaconteur July 8th, 2012 10:44 PM

    I’m so glad we’re talking about this. So many people don’t understand that things that seem so little can actually be very frightening and that repeated instances can scar us for life.

    I’ve had my share of street harassment, both “positive” and negative. Just last night a guy honked at me as he drove up from behind me and then gave me a thumbs up, as though I needed his approval on my whether or not my ass looked good in my shorts. While this is not as scary as some other encounters it still makes me feel demeaned, as though I’m only a decorative vase.

    In college I had drunk frat guys accost me on my way home from work asking if I wanted to suck their dicks. Yes, after a 12 hour shift where I’m getting home at midnight I want nothing more than to put a strange guy’s cock in my mouth. And of course when I told them they were disgusting I all of a sudden became a “bitch” or a “slut”, because my consent doesn’t matter.

    When I was younger a guy came up to me on the street and said, “Hey pretty lady”. I totally ignored him and kept walking and his response was to push me against a wall and say, “I SAID HELLO” in a very aggressive tone. Since when is it ok to physically intimidate ANYONE, let alone a girl who is half your size and wants nothing but to get to school on time?

    Then there have been times when I was walking home and guys have shouted out their car windows how ugly I was. One time a group of drunk frat boys threw beer bottles at me while telling me I should go home and hide my face. I wonder if those same guys would physically assault a guy they thought was ugly?

  • magnoliat July 9th, 2012 12:34 AM

    Making an account just to add my own experience here.
    At first I thought that I couldn’t relate, but the more I read, the more I realized I can. I haven’t been cat-called specifically, but I have been put in really uncomfortable situations a number of times.
    Several of my friends and I (ranging in age from 10-12) were standing outside my dad’s apartment at night, just talking. All of us saw a car drive by slowly, turn around, and slowly drive by again. Nothing happened, but it was enough to creep all of us out.
    All throughout high school and middle there were instances with male friends that thought it would be funny to touch me inappropriately, but it wasn’t so funny when I got pissed off and made it VERY clear that it was not okay.
    I stopped into a local Y for a swim one time and the lifeguard, someone I went to school with briefly, thought it was totally okay to ask me really personal questions about my sex life and tell me about his. I had to work with him months later, in a situation where I was his boss, and he again felt it was okay to comment on the attractiveness of very young girls, moms, whomever. Apparently he also thought it was a good time to talk about his sex life (again). Another employee reported him before I had the chance to.
    And something that didn’t happen to me, but my mom. While making small talk with some guy at a bar, my mom (in her 40′s at the time) looked away from him presumably to end the conversation and talk to someone else. I guess he saw that as invitation to lick her from her collarbone to her cheek.
    Who even does that.

    • magnoliat July 9th, 2012 12:36 AM

      Not to mention other incidents that have happened at other jobs and just being out with friends, male and female alike.

  • AliceRoared July 9th, 2012 10:59 AM

    Just had another encounter. I was walking to work today (in jeans and a t-shirt) and I walk along a busy highway, so cars are always driving by. I was crossing a street and was halfway across when a car drives by and honks at me and the guys inside whistle super loudly.

    Who does that to a girl CROSSING THE STREET? What if a car had been driving along and I hadn’t seen it because I was too busy being startled by some idiots honking at me? What if I’d been hit or hurt? That possibility scares me quite a bit!

  • PeachSlime July 17th, 2012 6:33 PM

    I was at a Quinceañera (mexican 15th bday bash)when I was 13. I was with my best friends at this party of a girl we kinda knew frm school her family was there too of course so anyway there was a group of three men acting strange they were on the dance floor but not dancing. Then I saw one had a camera and was flashing photos of girls dancing and UNDER their dresses! I imagine going up up to him and yanking the camera and smashing it then letting everyone know what he was doing and we all make him leave like an angry mob! But what happened was I was not strong enough to yank the camera and he laughed while taking pictures of me yelling at him everyone looked at me like I was crazy and I went home early with a bunch of cake to go

  • snowbunnie July 19th, 2012 12:51 PM

    The most memorable encounter for me was when I attended a concert with my girl friend. A tall guy was being a jerk and kept nudging us roughly with his shoulder and side while ‘bopping along to the music.’ After a while, he got more and more aggressive and he hit me really hard with his shoulder.

    I stared him down and asked him what was his problem. He stopped moving for a moment, then started laughing at me. He immediately resumed his bumping and nudging with increased aggression, pushing his way in front of me to block my view, hitting me with his elbow and shoulders all the while. Then I just snapped and grabbed him by the shoulders and shoved him really hard until he fell down (I don’t normally advocate violence but I really lost my temper, and besides, he provoked me!)

    He was furious. He got up and looked like he was ready to hit me when two of his female friends stepped in (only now!) and forced him to swap places with them so he couldn’t touch me. Near the end of the concert, he re-emerged and grabbed me by the shoulders, got right in my face, grinned and said ‘I like you!’ and then gave me two thumbs up.

    I was terrified and angry at the same time. When I told my mom and my cousin what happened, they said I was stupid to do so,
    and it’s better to have done nothing because ‘I won’t know when someone will REALLY hit me.’ So when he was roughing me and my friend up he ‘wasn’t really hitting us?’ It just pisses me off so much!

  • stolenthieves July 24th, 2012 3:30 PM

    The first time a guy said something completely vulgar to me was when I was 11, and I was hell of a lot more developed than every other girl (C, I think). But we were going on a school trip and I was wearing a shirt that, I admit, was quite tight but I didn’t think much of it because, hello, I was 11, and it was my favourite shirt because it had a cartoon on it. Anyway, while we were waiting to leave, a guy who was 16/17 and helping out on the trip thought it would be oh-so-great to say, “Nice tits.” He proceeded to say horrible things like this throughout the whole trip. First of all, I was ELEVEN YEARS OLD and this guy was a full-on creep for harassing a kid who was 5 years younger than him. Secondly, most of the guys in my year and the year above me looked up to this guy and thought of him as a role model, so basically, I was harassed by way too many guys until I was 13 and everyone got used to boobs.

  • aud85220 July 27th, 2012 12:43 PM

    I was listening to a morning radio talk show a month ago, and they were asking if anyone had ever gotten away with this kinda stuff, and one guy called in and said that catcalling is “classy”, and everyone agreed with him. WHAT. THE. CHUZZLE MUFFINS. SERIOUSLY.

  • aud85220 July 27th, 2012 12:45 PM

    Oh, and by ‘getting away with’ it, I meant that they were asking if anyone had ever gotten a positive response to their catcalling. One guy said that he met his wife by cat calling her. ._.

  • MaryO July 28th, 2012 8:01 PM

    Many years ago I remember running along the river with a friend who was a slow jogger, and all of a sudden she started sprinting. It was because there was a guy masturbating in the bushes by the running path. I joked with her afterwards that if more perverts started hanging out by the trail she was going to really improve her running speed. But she stopped running instead.

    Some years back a subway groper in Boston got caught because someone took an iPhone picture of him and publicized it. He was identified and charges were filed against him. He was someone with a white collar job — but modern technology got the better of him and his gross behavior didn’t stay anonymous.

  • RebeccaLouise July 29th, 2012 4:09 PM

    Four days ago I was walking through the city to the river in Bristol, UK and a guy drove up to me, pointed at a guy behind me (who may have been homeless) and shouted “He’s going to rape you” then pointed at me and drove off. I didn’t even have time to respond.

    Annoyingly the potential rapist just laughed.

  • Maggles August 2nd, 2012 2:41 AM

    Wow, I’ve had some cases of street harassement. But even though I feel uncomfortable, my friends think it’s nothing to worry about. When I was 12 I was at a cafe with my family. My mom and lil brother were getting drinks and my dad was sitting at another table (they only had 2 person tables) and I was sitting by myself reading. I didn’t even find this out until about July of that year, but there were some 16-17 year old guys looking at me and such things and my dad noticed and got PISSED. It wasn’t even “bad” but he informed them “She is 13, buzz off.” They left after that.
    Also, earlier this year, I was in Florida visiting my grandma. We were walking down the street near the beach and I was 10 feet behind her and maye 20 feet in front of my mom, so I looked alone. A convertable full of highschool boys pulled up beside me at a red light and they hollered “Hey girl, I see you!” I’m not used to that kind of attention and froze. They drove off laughing when the light changed. I called my friend to tell her about it and she asked me why I didn’t say anything back. she said “You should have said, ‘Hey I see you too!” I was 13.
    I can’t believe that my younger friend thought it was perfectly okay for 5 guys to give me creepy looks and yell something at me (even if it wasnt that vulgar). Another friend of mine has some guy friends who have admitted to having her as the main character of their sex fantasies and she thinks it’s creepy, but okay! I just don’t understand that.

  • anitamarion August 5th, 2012 6:25 AM

    In relation to seeing a guy masturbating in public, if you can physically see his penis. The best comment I’ve ever heard called in retaliation is “My boyfriend’s is bigger than that!”

  • thebigmeow August 10th, 2012 1:59 AM

    I was in primary school when the kids in my class started teasing me about having a sex change.

    When I was 14 I was waiting for my sister at the bus station and a 24-year-old guy hit on me and wanted my number.

    When I was 18 I was walking home on a Sunday morning after spending the night out with friends and a taxi driver saw me and started driving laps around the block, following me and repeatedly asking me if I wanted a ride.

    I grew up in a Christian cult and it was full of ‘creepy old men’ who insisted it was rude if you didn’t hug somebody when you greeted them, and that it was ok to tickle a young girl until she cried.

    My ‘creepy old man’ radar is very effective (and age actually has little to do with it).

  • GhostGirl August 10th, 2012 8:57 AM

    You know what’s weird – some girls consider it a compliment to be whisteled or looked after (not the gross, very offending stuff of course).
    As someone said above – if you never get that kind of “attention” (even if it’s negative) it can make you feel invisible, ugly, and not even worth THAT.

    :(

    Is there ANYONE that could see it like that, too? (Strangely enough, I know it’s the outcome of brainwash?!?!)

    • Ballet25 August 13th, 2012 9:29 AM

      My friend since prep school is a really lovely girl, but she genuinely takes harassment as a compliment. It makes me so frightened for her safety, and also slightly incredulous that she can’t tell the difference. She has an enormous bosom and long blonde hair and a baby face, and baby innocence to match, which is such a bad combination. Plus our school was a really tight knit community of touchy feely people with no personal space issues who were all mutually supportive and trustworthy, so she never developed any natural suspicion. But the fact that she will take the number of some creep at the gym really disturbs me, and I make sure I go with her all the time just to protect her. I shouldn’t have to.

  • petra89 August 11th, 2012 4:40 AM

    Where I live, sexual harassment is almost a part of the culture (but that is for a much bigger, longer rant).

    While I have come up with some good hollabacks from time to time, I never felt that fulfilled by them: I don’t like letting anyone see me affected by their disgusting actions.

    I like playing them at their own game. I think they get their kicks from “shocking” us (they have the power, etc.). Why not shock back? (Sorta Amy Rose style)

    Here’s an example:

    A few months ago, I was walking home in the middle of a Saturday afternoon. There were two guys in front of me who kept turning around and looking at me . I’d seen them about ten minutes earlier leering at me on another street so I began to think they were following me. I did a few little tests that confirmed my suspicion. I allowed them to stay in front of me and I did not make any comment because I had a plan :). As we approached my street (which starts at a steep incline) I slowed to make sure that they would pass my street. Just as I thought: they passed it and I turned and quickly made my way up the hill. I knew that there was this little wall just at the top of the slope. I hid behind it and waited. A minute later, the two men came up the street and I jumped out and screamed at them like a mad banshee woman and hurling every possible curse and insult I could conjure up. They were so startled they ran off.

  • Ballet25 August 13th, 2012 9:44 AM

    One further thing, on a more positive note a male friend and I were taking part in a drama festival, now, our piece was quite raunchy, but we were totally comfortable with each other as we has been friends for yonks and neither of us was the least bit attracted to each other, though we had quite a cuddly way of interacting. We stayed late at school to rehearse every evening for a week, and I was in the habit of just throwing my blazer over my catsuit before hopping on the 10 o clock bus home. I’d never had any issues before, but one night my friend asked me to put my uniform back on, I thought he was being patriarchal and ignored him, when we were on the bus his posture was so overbearing that I snapped and asked him what the hell was wrong. He said the same guy was staring as had been the night before and he was right. He saw us looking and my friend told him to fuck off, and hugged me. Some guys do know this shit goes on and can be really supportive. However my friend should not have to worry about what I’m wearing, society needs HELP!

  • M.ika C August 19th, 2012 5:28 PM

    I came to think of something; Why does nobody say “It’s so tiny!” when men pulls down their pants?

  • erinaudrey August 25th, 2012 11:48 PM

    My freshmen year of high school, I had one of the most popular guys in my history class, the sort of boy that’s confident and aware of his body. It makes me feel so vunerable and disgusted just typing this, but he enjoyed staring at my (then 34C) breasts and touching/rubbing his junk under the desk. He’s not the only guy at my high school to have done this and I always feel so angry and violated after looking over and seeing one of my male peers doing this. This is one of the major reasons I quit playing the flute in the school band- too many of the guys enjoyed staring at me rather than playing their music. This disgusting behavior doesn’t happen when I wear something low cut. (Which sometimes I do; I love my body and if I know I’m going to have a terrible long, day I like to wear clothes that I feel comfortable and good about myself in.) I could wear a T-shirt and this business would still happen. Usually I deal with this behavior by fixing the onlooker with a hard, disgusted stare until they realized they’ve been caught.

  • baptisms August 27th, 2012 9:09 AM

    Everyone, not just girls, needs to read this article.

    When I came across reading this I was both horrified and heartbroken that so many of us, as people and not just women or any other gender identity, have to suffer through this.

    Street harassment goes far beyond the idea of a woman walking past a group of men cat calling. It comes in different forms, all of which are sickening.

    I used to jog in 8th grade and would be beeped at relentlessly by pigs in pick up trucks. My usual response was a dirty look and a rude gesture.

    I’ve under gone plenty of sexual harassment, most troubling being told that this 4chan scumbag who had been telling everyone I was his girlfriend wanted to rape me in the bathroom.

    Now, going off to college in Boston in less than a week, it’s inevitable that I’m going to find myself the victim of street harassment at some point. And of course, it scares the shit out of me. But if we make sure people out there know that street harassment is not acceptable in and form, maybe we can improve as a society and not have to live with the fear of stranger danger.

    So thanks Rookie! This is your best piece ever.

  • ali-christiana September 4th, 2012 7:47 AM

    I had something happen once at a concert I went to with my dad and little brother. A man came up close behind me and started oggling my chest and making lewd gestures, I didn’t notice as I was watching the concert.
    At the time my dad and brother were messing around bumping into each other, then they noticed the creep.
    They carried on being rough with each other, but my brother picked up my dad and threw him at the creep! As he landed on top of him, my dad made sure to elbow him in the groin.

    There have been plenty of occasions where I have had to put up with very creepy old men while working in a grocery store too. One of them made a lewd comment as I turned my back, I was getting fed up of him doing this every day, and he clearly thought he was being funny.
    He didn’t realise that day that I could see his reflection in the back of the display, I caught him making boob-grabbing hand gestures behind my back. I turned around to him, gave him a massive fake smile, and said in the loudest, most childlike voice I could “Your Creepy!”
    He stopped being so gross after that.

  • decemberflower April 5th, 2013 5:32 PM

    It’s odd for me to read this article… these stories are horrible, but I can’t say I really relate. I’m 15 and I don’t think I have ever experienced this. The only explanations I can come up with are that a) I live in a pretty quiet suburb and b)maybe I’m just lucky. Some of my friends have experienced somewhat threatening harassment from people in cars, but I’ve never had anything worse than some drunk teenagers yelling unintelligible gibberish while speeding by.
    One time this guy came up to me in a train station and started asking me whether I thought it was rude to approach a girl in New York City and tell them you think they’re cute. I told him it could go either way. I still haven’t determined whether he was trying to subliminally hit on me. It’s funny, because I hadn’t started reading Rookie back then, and in retrospect I think I would have a different response if he asked me now. At the time, it didn’t necessarily occur to me that what he was describing would probably be considered harassment… unless he was really, really, really polite about it.
    I guess there have been times when my guyfriends have made rude comments about my girlfriends’ or my appearances, but I think that would fall more under the category of bullying or teasing than street harrassment. And we usually give it right back to them, anyway ;)

  • jiyoon April 15th, 2013 7:00 PM

    Oh my goodness. Earlier today I was on the bus, and I was sitting near the front since my stop was next. But then this old man who couldn’t really walk well sat beside me and started chatting it up, and I thought he was just a friendly old man so I tried to be friendly as well. And THEN, he asked what my ethnicity was and starting rubbing my thigh, so I inched closer to the window (I was sitting on the window seat, unfortunately). Then when my stop came, he couldn’t move his legs to get up or whatever and that’s understandable, but he wouldn’t budge at ALL so i had to squish through the tiny space and he fucking SLID HIS SAGGY FINGERS OVER MY BUTT. WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH THIS WORLD i was honestly so flabbergasted I just got off, ran away and screamed the F word out loud multiple times. UGH.

  • I W May 4th, 2013 7:30 AM

    I was in a bookshop once with a friend (in school uniform) when this fairly large and intimidating boy came up to us and asked if he could help us, as if he worked there. Please note that he wasn’t wearing the shop’s uniform. We said no thanks, but he didn’t go away and kept talking to us, trying to hit on us and claiming that he was on work experience in the shop. When it transpired that we had done our work experience last year, and were therefore a year older than him, he just said ‘Oh’ and walked straight out of the shop, so he clearly didn’t work there! It was really surreal.

    Also, there was another time when I was with the same friend and this creepy man started following us. We went into a bookshop (a different one) and when I went to look at a different section to her he came right up behind me and started breathing down my neck, and then started trying to chat me up. I went over to my friend and was like ‘we’re leaving’ but I then had to walk home alone in the dark, and he followed me most of the way.
    Ugh, people like that just really creep me out.

  • francespatricia May 22nd, 2013 6:38 AM

    “1 in 4 women will be raped in their life time. Will it be your mother, daughter, sister, or your wife?”

    It’s so disgusting how often this happens. How is it that men (and sometimes women) are led to believe it is okay for them to behave in this way?

    Once I was at a FAMILY gathering and an old man (the only one there I didn’t know) asked if I was the midnight entertainment. I told my aunt and she said I shouldn’t say anything because “he was drunk anyway” as if that made it okay, and also “it will just cause trouble”.

    Disgusting disgusting disgusting.

  • Rolo June 1st, 2013 6:23 PM

    *shudders*

    all kinds of ugh whilst reading this article.

    Last year, I went to London with my sister, and we decided to take a trip on a boat up the thames. I was sat sort of at the top of the boat, looking over the water, and when i turned around this greasy old slimeball was stood really super close to me, blocking me in… I wish I’d just said ‘move dick’ and shoved past him, but I didn’t want to cause he had an obviously erect penis through some dirty ass jeans that I didn’t want to brush against. Luckily my sister came to the rescue and called him all sorts of names, but it was a super scary experience! Its really sad that so many of us have been through things like this :(

  • ThePianoGirl June 3rd, 2013 6:17 PM

    I HAAAAATE how this stuff makes me feel.

    I was shopping with my family once and some guy yelled “Nice tits!” out his truck window while we were all walking. My little brother was pretty young and so he didn’t know what the guy meant. I felt so bad that he had to learn it that way. :(

    But I don’t ever know how to respond to harassment. I feel like getting angry at them almost gives them power!

  • pubertyblues June 19th, 2013 8:27 PM

    stuff like this happens to me all the time, especially because ive been told i look 20 ever since ive turned 14. you guys should tweet your experiences @everydaysexism or tag them with #shoutingback. and check out this video that explain the movement

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PBeNfSoMqjY

    http://pvbertyblues.tumblr.com

  • Willow G. June 20th, 2013 10:52 PM

    I was on my own street literally 8 houses from my house, i had just gotten off my school bus, and this guy decided it was OKAY to say “Hey sweetie” and literally bark at me like a dog. That was two days ago. Another time, it was summer and I was jogging in soccer shorts and a t-shirt, these guys yelled something like “hey sexy legs” and laughed. I flipped them the finger and they drove away. It makes me so mad that people believe that they have this right to comment on my body. I did NOT give ANYONE permission to do that. I feel so awful that anyone else would have to experience something like that, or something worse, and the fact that none of the boys or many of the girls in my life don’t even realize this is such a problem. One of my friends and I actually had a debate about this today, then when I got home I showed her the comments in “Rookie: Yearbook One” and she just said, “Wow. I had absolutely no idea it was so much of a problem. I thought it was only adults who got that kind of treatment. Some of those girls were only seven! They were harassed, raped, and people said such vulgar things.”