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I was just walking home by myself from having lunch with a friend near Unit 2 when some older man was taking pictures/doing something with a device on a tripod facing the sidewalk. As I was walking he was shouting at me to stop. He didn’t look like he worked for the city or anything, there were no barricades up so I was just like whatever I’m a pedestrian I have a right to walk here. Then as I kept walking he kept shouting at me then came up to me and grabbed my shoulder to move me and started yelling at me for being stupid and not knowing English. I just pulled away and told him I’m a pedestrian and I have a right to walk and got out of there as he kept shouting at me. I don’t even understand what just happened. I was upset afterwards for not being more aggressive and emphasizing that he had zero business putting his hands on me. I would have taken a picture but of course my phone was dead.
I used to believe I was the one with the problem. However, thanks to Hollaback, I realize I’m not the only one. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been harrassed by men off all races and ages. This has happened not only in the streets, but at school, social reunions, even at my church. I even left my job last summer because of I was constantly being harrassed by male customers. Since then, I have a hard time trusting me on the streets. However, enough is enough. No matter what I wear, men still keep on approaching me in a certain way that’s NOT okay. Like today, I was walking alone down the street wearing a nice, bright blue bussiness shirt to a graduate forum. When I’m walking, I see this fat, sweaty-ass older man who parks his motorcycle on the sidewalk a few feet in front of me. When this creep sees me, he gives me this nasty leer (by then, I was doing my best to avoid eye contact, looking straight ahead). All of sudden, he shouts at me, “Hey!” then he whistles and shouts again, “Excuse me! Excuse me! I got a question! Ma’am! MA’AM!!!!!!!!” The whole time, I ignored him. But I have to admit, I was scared as hell that he would run up to me an try to grab me or something. It was over, thankfully, but it still made me upset for the rest of the day.
I mean, just because I walk alone in the streets, that does NOT mean I’m an approachable person. Just because I wear a nice blouse or shirt, that does NOT mean that I’ll be nice to you. And just because I’m young, that does NOT mean I am naive or that I can be easily manipulated. I’m not sure if I did the right think by ignoring this guy; I’ve been taught by my mom and friends that I should just “brush it off” because men do it just to bother you. But I don’t think by constantly ignoring what men say will make the problem or situation go away. To be honest, I wish I could’ve said something like, “Excuse me! I don’t want to talk to you. So leave me alone.” But then again, I don’t know if my responce would have been an ‘invitation’ for him to keep on talking to me…I usually dress “ugly”(baggy jeans and a heavy hoodie) so men would leave me alone. But I realized that it doesn’t work. Whatever I wear has nothing to do with how men treat me. But it’s sad that when I do dress nice guys still come at me. I just wish I can have more support, but I’m glad for this website. Here, I do feel safe.
Since I discovered Hollaback I have been so happy women finally have a place to share stories. I have been harassed so many times during my life I can’t even count them all. I remember two specific cases like it was yesterday even though it was a long time ago.
First one, I was 10 years old at school on Saturday in the afternoon. We had to come dressed as our role models from history. I was with my mom and my grandma. I dressed as Mother Theresa because even though I’m not Catholic I thought she was so kind and caring. I walked from one classroom to another to get to my mom and grandma and on my way a father said to his son “Oh, look at the sister here, work it sister.” Let me put this in perspective for you. I was 10…10 YEARS OLD!! His kid was maybe 11. I promptly turned around and yelled “Pigs” and went on my way while the other parents stared at them. The thought that crossed through my 10 year old mind was why in Gods name does that guy have a child and I felt sad at the fact he was raising him wrong (Yes, I had those thoughts at 10 being raised by a feminist).
Second one, I was 5 years old walking home from ballet which was not far from my house. Back then, parents seemed more trusting in letting kids walk home short distances. My mom worked a lot to support us. We also lived in a safe neighborhood. Two teenage boys started following me and started with the verbal BS commenting on my ballet clothes. I was 5 YEARS OLD! They probably thought they would get a good laugh by teasing me. They proceeded to chase me and were both on bikes which didn’t help me any. They ran me up a tall wooden fence because they threatened to run me down with their bikes. There I was, clinging to the top of a huge fence crying and terrified for about an hour. They eventually left and I climbed down when I thought the coast was clear. I then ran home and told my older brother who couldn’t find them after searching. The next day, I quit ballet and my instructor never understood why.
Just recounting these stories makes me sick to my stomach. No wonder I am so cynical.
I went into the city for a interview. I was outside the building for a good 15 minutes looking up information on my phone that I needed for the interview. I was not wearing anything showy. Just a pencil skirt down past my knees (not even tight), a long sleeve shirt covering my breasts, a suit jacket and small/short heels. Then, I went into the building where I had to check in with security (like every office in SF). The guard says “Have you been here before?”. “No” I replied. He says “Because I was wondering who that fine woman was out there, you are beautiful, sexy.” I got a little uncomfortable. I mean, I am here for a interview. Even my attire shows that (I also said that when I walked in) and even if it didn’t, WTF? I really didn’t know what to say.
I guess some could say he was just complimenting me but he kept going and I was trying to waive my hand in front of my face to show I am married. Then, he says “Oh, I bet your husband is so happy.” All I could think was thank God he finally saw the ring. But what if I wasn’t married, how do I get out of something like that? Er, um thanks I guess?
He told me what floor to go to and I went to my interview. I told my husband about it later and he freaked out. I had to stop him from confronting the guy.
A few friends and I were headed back from a trip to Pinkberry. A few of us were holding hands with our girlfriends and walking along the sidewalk towards Crest Rd. when an SUV full of young men pulled up alongside of us and shouted “Hey, ladies!”. When we made it clear we wanted nothing to do with them they continued shouting rude things at us. One very astute passenger yelled “You’re all GAY!” at us as we kept walking. Fortunately we were headed in the opposite direction and they did not decide to pursue us down the road.
I just walked into Montgomery Street BART station and within moments a man snuck up on me and grabbed my arm and said “hey” with a suggestive face and tone.
I was still walking as he grabbed my arm, and I immediately withdrew from his grip and yelled as loud as I could “WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING?!” and kept walking. He ran off immediately.
Randomly grabbing someone’s arm is NOT ok, ever. Especially if you don’t know the person.
It’s especially saddening that my friend dropped me off at Montgomery Street BART rather than Civic Center BART because we thought it’d be safer.
Walking down the street on my way to the store and a guy in a truck actually stopped in the street to shout at me about my “great” legs, kept shouting until I looked over before finally moving along.
I was waiting for the restroom at the Union St. La Boulange
location Friday, June 15, 2012, at 11:15 a.m. While I was waiting, someone in their kitchen whistled at me (cat call whistle). There was only one other person in the hallway, a male employee, who heard the whistle (I know because I mentioned it to him). This incident was extremely offensive, and it is sexual harassment. I am a woman, not an object to be whistled at, especially not at a place of business.
I e-mailed La Boulange, describing the incident. They replied immediately and jumped on the issue to penalize the offender. I really appreciated their response, and the fact that they didn’t make light of the issue.