Empowerment

Inappropriate vs Appropriate Catcalling

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Artwork courtesy of Séamus Gallagher

 

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Following/Stalking, Verbal

Katie’s* story: He followed me into the tunnel and grabbed my hand

I was walking under the tunnels that lead from Stapleton Road to the Eastgate centre, and noticed a man hanging around, staring at me. I kept an eye on him and he followed me into the tunnel. He asked me if I was his friend, and I tried to laugh it off, at which point he grabbed my hand and tried to kiss it. I pulled it away and said no, and walked away as quickly as I could.
A few days later I was at a bus stop on Muller Road when I noticed the same man. I accidentally caught his eye and he just smiled. The bus turned up and he didn’t get on, and I’m convinced he was simply waiting around at the stop to hit on women, because the other bus went past a few minutes before and he didn’t get on that either.
A week after this, I saw the same man loitering around near my street on a bike, staring at women passing by. I wonder if he’s a regular in the Eastville area.

 

*Name changed for anonymity

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4+

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Uncategorized

Mia’s* story: crowd of drunk men being aggressive towards a couple

I was waiting for a bus at Broadmead on a Friday night, and noticed a group of drunk, loud men following a couple down past the Lanes towards the centre. They were extremely unpleasant, physically crowding around the couple and shouting that they were going to rape the woman, and getting aggressive with her boyfriend who they were trying to goad into a fight – which, bearing in mind that there were around ten of them, would have been very dangerous. There weren’t many people about and I didn’t feel safe intervening by myself, but I found a police officer and reported the incident. Unfortunately it seems the group ran off and we weren’t able to track them down.

*Name changed for anonymity

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2+

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Following/Stalking, Verbal

Alex’s story: Drunk man being creepy towards me and another girl

This happened about six months ago, when I had a part-time bar job that meant I had to get a night bus from the centre to Easton. I was waiting for the 48 when I saw a very drunk man staggering towards the bus stop. Somewhat disconcertingly, he had cheesy chips and mayo smeared down his chin. He was too drunk to do anything other than stand there, swaying, and stare directly at me, but it was late and we were the only people around so I didn’t feel particularly comfortable. Luckily I was waiting near a student housing block with a little alcove at the door, so I just stepped into it, and I think he was too drunk to notice. I kept a discrete eye on him and then noticed another woman walking up to the bus stop. She obviously noticed him but tried to ignore him, but he started to ask her what she was doing, where she was going and then asked for her house number. At this point I stepped out and pretended I knew the woman, who played along. The man started getting irritable and asked why he couldn’t join in the conversation, at which point I said it was secret, and he told me we were being rude.
I’m not stupid and I know that drunk people are hardly subtle but it was the asking for the house number that made me think this man was creepier than the run of the mill Friday night casualty.

I've got your back!
4+

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Verbal

Harri’s* story: Man shouts and asks what I’m ‘selling’

Walking through town in a leopard print pencil skirt, man shouts asking what I’m selling. I tell him to f*** off, and that I wouldn’t sell anything to a dirty creep like him. Realise I made it sound like I would sell it to the right person, but it was too late to go back.

 

*Name changed for anonymity 

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4+

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Verbal

Amelia’s* story: I got harassed on the train to Bristol

I was on the train from Newcastle to Bristol, and we were about half an hour from Temple Meads when a group of drunk men got on in rugby shirts. I was reading and didn’t really pay attention when they got on, until one sat next to me and started attempting a conversation. All quite banal until he snatched the book from me. I snatched it back, and he then asked me if I could pull my skirt down because it was turning him on. I told him no I couldn’t, and he could control himself. At this point some of the men around him started telling him ‘not to get rapey’ because there were police in the other carriage. The man then told me I looked like the sort of girl who knew what I wanted, at which point I told him I did, and it was to be left in peace to read. He left, and although a few of them shouted that I was a bitch, they didn’t speak to me again.
When recounting the event afterwards, there were a lot of comments made by male friends about how I should have got up and left to find the police. I should probably mention that I was on the inside seat and got the distinct impression that had I tried to climb over the man, I would have been groped.

 

*name changed for anonymity purposes

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4+

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Groping

Lucy’s Story: It happened at school when I was 15.

It happened at school when I was 15. Walking down the corridor, a guy came up behind me and pinched my bum. I was a very naive 15 year old so this was quite scary. Few weeks later this guys two best friends were walking behind me when they shoved their fingers up me. I was wearing trousers at the time and it was through them but I still felt it and it was terrifying. The school did nothing as they were smart students with good grades. Police did nothing.

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8+

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