Appalachian Ohio, Athens GA, Atlanta, Berkeley, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Columbia MO, Columbus, Des Moines, Durham & Chapel Hill, East Lansing, Fredericksburgh VA, Houston, Los Angeles, Muncie IN, New York City, NYU, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Plattsburgh, Richmond VA, San Francisco, Tucson, Twin Cities
August 9, 2014
I was walking with a female friend of mine towards the City Centre when a group of men, who were filling up the entire sidewalk and made little to no effort to make room for us to pass, made a few remarks like ‘They look like they do porn’, etc. combined with ogling us like pieces of meat.
Whilst walking back from the gym alone, a man followed me down the street, veered into my path, and held out his hand as if to try and shake hands, and wouldn’t move out the way, forcing me to veer almost into the street to avoid walking into him.
This is far the from the first time I’ve been harassed outside the Mardyke.
A big thank you to Autostraddle for these street harassment self-care tips.
“Unfortunately, the micro-aggression of street harassment takes a different kind of detox than, say, free radicals. The repetitive trauma of being out in the world as a person who isn’t considered to be an actual person (i.e.: women, people of color, queers, folks with disabilities, poor folks, fat folks, etc.) works its way into muscles (tense shoulders, stiffened backs, tightened jaws) and patterns of being (taking different routes home, constantly checking surroundings, etc).”
“It’s important to remember that nothing you did caused your harassment. You are worthy of walking around in a world that loves and appreciates you in ways you want to be loved and appreciated.”
Art courtesy of http://www.mattbors.com
I was waiting for someone at Old Market and they were running late. A man was waiting at a bus nearby and came over to tell me that I was stunning. Usually I would have made some curt remark and walked past, but it struck me that I had to hang around for my friend, and couldn’t really walk off and risk missing them. I tried to laugh it off, but he seemed to take this as false modesty and continued to emphasise how no, really, I did look great. Eventually I felt uncomfortable and did walk away, saying I had to meet my boyfriend. Again, the man wasn’t aggressive, but it’s a clear example of how even supposedly positive attention is actually often unwelcome and really does impact on how I conduct myself in public and where I feel safe.
*Name changed for anonymity
I was shopping in the supermarket, I noticed a man looking at me but didn’t think much of it (everyday experience right?). When walking back up the road to go home, I noticed the same man was walking behind me. I thought I was being ridiculous to feel the fear begin to creep in, surely he was just going home the same way as me, right? It was the middle of the day, surely he wouldn’t be trying to follow me anyway? I was wrong, as he seemed to get closer I sped up. Suddenly I felt two hands grabbing my bum, my heart almost stopped. When I turned around he stood there, I said “what the hell are you doing?” His reply: “You just have a sexy ass that I want”. Then walked away. Helpless and humiliated I quickly got to my house. This is one of the many times I have experienced sexual harassment, something has to change.
Artwork courtesy of Séamus Gallagher