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I have been staying in Atlanta for the past few weeks from Ireland. The first incident of harassment happened while waiting for my bus. I noticed that alot of men driving by would stare at me and it made me feel uncomfortable. Within the space of ten minutes I had two men say something crude to me ( one said hey pretty girl how you doing). That might not seem like much but for a 19 year old girl in a new city it is unnerving. I even had a man driving his company van wave at me and blow a kiss at me. It sickened me to the pit of my stomach.
When waiting for my connecting bus, the harassment is worse. Men blatantly stare me up and down, saying something to their friends and pointing at me.
Just today I had a taxi driver lean out his window, as I stood waiting for the traffic lights to change , and shout “oh hey girl, hey pretty”. He then laughed and waved.
For some reason in Atlanta this is ok. I have spoken to other women and they say it just happens. One girl said after one incident “oh he thinks we are hookers.” Not one women at that bus stop was dressed inappropriately. THIS IS NOT OK. I want to feel safe and secure and not feel like a piece of meat. The men of Atlanta seem to think it is ok to do this, to shout things or make crude gestures, to make women feel like meat. There are days when I don’t want to wait for my bus because I don’t want to feel like people stare at me. Something needs to be done.
It was about 5pm on a Sunday and I went for a run on my usual route. I was stopped by a man in his car asking for directions. As I was helping him I looked down and realized he was masturbating. When I asked him if he was serious he told me not to worry about it. I quickly grabbed my phone and took his picture. He drove away and I got another one of his car.
I felt so stupid and embarrassed. I ran home crying.
I’m 15. Growing up I’ve always been more physically developed than girls my age, making me look older.
I was on my way to a friend’s birthday party at the bus stop. A man came to the stop and started staring at me for a while. After about five minutes he asks if I have a boyfriend and I say yes to shut him up but he didn’t stop. He got closer and asked where I live and where I’m going. He made gestures that were crude and offensive, the bus finally came and by then I was angry, sad, and annoyed.
I was watching the Super Bowl at my older brother’s house, a few of his friends were over. After the game, most of his friends left and he was putting his daughter to bed, I was on the couch next to his roommate, he started telling me “show me your tits, c’mon, show me your tits, just real quick”, he started trying to pull my shirt down. He stopped once I shoved his hands away and moved away, but he kept trying to convince me to do it myself. When my brother came back in the room, he stopped and I got up and went home. I never said anything because I didn’t want to cause trouble.
Back in middle school I used to walk home with my friend and some of hers that I didn’t know as well. This newly transferred boy would walk home as well, and we used to make fun of each other(dumb middle school things like he called me a vampire and I called him a nerd) well eventually things started to turn harsh. He began to call me cold and emotionless and heartless and the insults got worse. I tried to insult him back but they were meaningless words that had no effect on him while his were starting to get to me. The worst was when he insinuated that my dad raped me. And that I liked it. At this point I threw my water bottle at him and ran away so he couldn’t see me cry. My friend wasn’t there but her friends treated me like I overreacted. I still see him in the halls at school almost everyday.
Spring break, 3 other girls and I, decided to go to the beach and stay at a condo that was owned by family, on a nice safe beach. We are all 19 year old girls, capable of being alone and taking care of ourselves. So we get there late afternoon and decide to go walking on the beach, we walk out and feel how cold it is and decide to go get a sweater on. When we come back out we notice that there is a camouflage Bronco sitting at the end of our private boardwalk, but because its a public beach where cars can drive up, we just ignore it and turn to walk down the beach. So, we’re all walking having fun looking around, and I look behind us and notice the bronco is slowly following us down the beach. I say, guys, that car is following us, don’t turn to look just start making your way to the Ritz Hotel so we can get some help, But they all turn to look. Of course, the man in the car notices and starts to accelerate in order to keep us from escaping. We run towards the boardwalk to the hotel but he is cutting us off from getting off the beach. At the same time, we split up and go different directions back to our boardwalk. I get really close to the car, probably the closest out of all of us, and at that moment I was dialing 911 on my phone and proceeding to run the opposite way. We run and safely get back in the condo, and he seems to turn the car like he’s going to come back for us, but he doesn’t. I think he saw me on my phone and knew he was in trouble. We lock up the condo, turn off the lights, even though we know he saw which condo we came out of earlier. We grab umbrellas, bats, wooden pelican decorations, anything we can defend ourselves, and I’m on the phone with the police. The police arrive, and a man comes who is the sheriff or whatever. He says there’s nothing to worry about, that description is of a local who likes to harass women who come for vacation. I was baffled, HOW IS THAT OKAY? The sheriff said he’d go talk to him, and we all felt safe. But I still to this day cannot get it out of my head that some men are so dangerous, and its just a “normal” thing.
Some dude made some inappropriate gestures from his car while I was walking to Starbucks. Without even thinking, my middle finger came up. I wanted to tell him that I don’t walk out in public for the sole purpose of his amusement/pleasure, and I would like to be able to walk two blocks without feeling objectified. As badly as i wanted to tell him this, I didn’t really want to talk to a man who would do something like that. Me thinks my very own retaliatory obscene gesture was effective enough…
While standing at redbox looking for movies with my small children, a 30ish man walked out of the grocery store and said “Hey, mommy, can I get some of that?” while eyeing me like a perv. RIGHT IN FRONT OF MY DAUGHTERS. I typically ignore, but at that moment, the mother lion came out. I chose to respond. “What in the world makes you think it is okay to, one, talk to me like that, and two, in front of my daughters. Do you have children? How would you feel if someone harassed them in the street the way you just did to me? Does this even work for you? Has any woman ever responded by saying, oh, sure, you can have some of this. Keep walking jerk.” When I looked around, the entire parking lot was staring and the troop leader of the girl scouts selling cookies outside started applauding.