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9AM-ish. I decided not to bike because, well, it was cold.
There was only me and this young man on the platform. I was employing my usual tactics: podcasts, phone game, and of course the don’t-talk-to-me face.
The man walked up to me, stroked my arm, pulled one of my earbuds out and told me I was “beautiful” and “did anyone ever tell you that before?” asking me where I was going, if he could come too.
The train was still 6 minutes away, and I said nothing, just put my earbud back in, and focused on This American Life.
The train got there. He followed me, and sat in front of me, just staring. The next stop I hopped out and got onto another car.
He didn’t follow me onto the other car.
Lenox station is a cold and drafty place. It is comprised of a single slab of concrete with freezing marble benches and a heavy ceiling that covers the station in shadow. I commute early in the morning and in early afternoon, which makes the place seem particularly sad. I’ve experienced problems here with passengers in the past. But a few weeks ago I was harassed by a bus driver.
New to the entire Marta system, I wanted to ask a nearby bus driver if the bus that he was driving was the one I needed. There was no one inside of the bus, and he’d just parked to pick up passengers. The driver was simply relaxing in his seat, probably on a break, which is not unusual. As I asked whether this bus was the one I was looking for or not, the driver began mouthing my words in an exaggerated way, mimicking (?) my facial expressions.
I asked “What?” I couldn’t understand what has happening. I couldn’t *believe* how condescending and unkind he was being. And why? Because I was female? He proceeded to mock what must have been a cartoonishly inquisitive look on my face, judging by his interpretation. He began to get out of his bus, not saying a word. At this point I felt scared. There aren’t too many people walking about during this time of day (early afternoon, 1pm or so) there were a few people on the benches behind me (the bus was in front of me) so I began to inch backward. He then asked me to “come here”. I didn’t. He pointed at sign overhead that read “route 25″. This wasn’t my bus. He still didn’t say anything to me.
I said “okay”, and began to walk away. I thought perhaps he was simply frustrated with my ineptitude. Rude and strange, but perhaps not sexually-directed harassment?
Then I realized that he was keeping up with me, following me. He caught stride with me, and then said “Don’t worry, daddy loves you”. I looked down. I was too scared to see where he went afterward, but I made my way toward the benches far from the bus. He was gone when I looked back up.
I cannot believe a MARTA employee treated me with such disrespect. I told my friend what happened the next day, and she said “well, it is marta”. Why do we expect to be harassed by MARTA employees and passengers? What does that say about Atl? What does it mean that a young woman cannot use public transportation without worrying that *the employees* will harass and humiliate her?
Not only are people harassed in the street, but also at their own place of employment!
One afternoon while I was working at a bank, a male customer tried asking me for my phone number. I declined nicely, because I never give my number out while at work. I was getting off work shortly after I helped him and he must have seen me close my window. As I was walking out of the bank, I noticed the customer and his friend were standing in the parking lot still trying to get my attention. I politely waved them off. As I was traveling home (I only lived 4 miles away from work), I noticed they were following me. I stopped at a red light, and they pulled up next to me yelling profane things out of the window. I was really scared and couldn’t believe they were following me! I then took a different route and eventually they lost me, and I drove back to work to tell them what happened. My manager contacted our corporate security and proceeded to have the customer’s account closed.
Ladies (and gents!) — report harassment ANYWHERE: on the street, at your job, in your neighborhood, on campus, in the grocery store, in your car…. EVERYWHERE!
I don’t know if this is appropriate for Hollaback since it happened via phone, but it demonstrates the same mentality as the street harassers I encounter on an almost-daily basis on my way to work via MARTA.
Over the past few days, I have received five or six phone calls and texts, each from a different number I don’t recognize. Some are in the 404 area code; others are from California and Washington, D.C., area codes. Each call or text has been a variation on “What’s up?” or “Who is this?” I haven’t responded to any of the texts. When I’ve actually picked up a call, I’ve refused to give my name and asked who the person is trying to reach. They’ve all said they had the wrong number and hung up. I figured someone had received a new phone number similar to mine and had been giving out the wrong number by mistake. Annoying, but no big deal. Until this morning.
I received a “What’s up?” text from yet another unfamiliar number about 8:30 a.m. For the first time, I responded to one of the texts, saying “I think you may have the wrong number — I don’t recognize yours.”
And then I received a photo of a penis. I didn’t respond, but you can bet I called the police and filed a report.
Thanks for your site — street harassment is a huge problem in Atlanta, and I’m glad to see you’re raising awareness about it and letting women know that it’s not something we need to tolerate in our community.
I was walking to the grocery store from my boyfriend’s place, which is about half a mile. About a block away, a guy started walking next to me and asked me something. I was wearing headphones and pretended not to notice him. He persisted in trying to get my attention and it got to the point where I couldn’t pretend anymore. I took out my headphones and he asked “what time is it?” I looked at my phone and told him, but he kept following me into the store lot. I went inside and started filling up a basket with a few things. He caught up with me while I was looking at liquid plumber and started talking to me. I tried to be friendly and said something like “yeah, I clogged up my BOYFRIEND’S sink and need to get some of this.” Hoping he would get the hint. It didn’t phase him. He said something like “you’re pretty, though.” As if I would somehow be surprised to be told that. I checked out, and he was in the line next to me. He followed me out. I crossed the street and decided to go into a nearby restaurant so that other people would be around. I got to the corner and realized it was closed. He was still following me I turned around and asked “why are you following me?” He said, “I’m not following you. You are really pretty, though. And sexy.” I said, “Yeah, I heard you the first time. If you don’t leave me alone, I’ll call the police.” He finally went away, and I walked back looking over my shoulder the whole time. I have always driven there ever since. I enjoy walking, but I felt unsafe after that incident. It makes me so angry that I can’t even walk to the store in broad daylight without someone feeling he is entitled to follow me around.
I´m a young teen (18) and went to a party. Once it ended my car did not start so I had to take the subway. I was wearing a very short skirt and tight top – very sexy for the party but not for the subway.* It was about 11:30 pm and I got in a subway car that was empty. On the next station a guy came in the train. First he kept staring at me, then I moved to another train. He followed me. I decided to look away, and 2 minutes later he started sayin nasty stuff like “come and suck me,” etc. So the next station I change trains again, and he followed me. This last train stop was long, and when I looked at him he had his thing out and was jerking off looking at me. I looked away, and he mas moaning and making dirty noises. Once the train stopped I was going to get out, but he grabbed me and started touching me all over my boobs, and between my legs…then the door opened and I ran.
*Editor’s Note: It does not matter what clothing you are wearing or where you are — sexual assault is the fault of the person who commits the act, never the victim.
I use public transportation. I haven’t had a car for years, and I’m handling it pretty well, considering I live in a city where the public transportation is constantly derided for being a “train to nowhere,” among other things. It gets me around just fine, though, and I rely on it every day. And 90% of the time, my rides are completely uneventful.
That other 10%? Usually, it’s delays. There doesn’t really seem to be a set schedule — I’ve never in my life heard anyone say “the 5:00 train” or anything like that, because such a thing doesn’t exist — but most of the time you can expect a train within five, maybe ten minutes of getting to the platform. I can leave my apartment at 8:30 and get to work by 9:00 with near-complete regularity. However, my ride home today lands squarely in that eventful 10%. Let me tell you all about it.
First of all, when I arrived at the platform, it was completely packed with people. There was an announcement not too long after I got there that said the northbound trains were delayed but on their way. I pulled out my copy of John Green’s ‘An Abundance of Katherines’ (which, by the way, is really good, so far) and waited.
Meanwhile, more people crowded the platform with every passing minute. Before too long, this guy showed up and leaned against the wall right next to me. Since I like to be aware of my surroundings, I looked up momentarily from the book. This guy was probably 4’10″ with dark hair that he’d slicked back with far too much gel. When I looked up, he shot me a really unsettling look and made a kissy-face at me. I shook my head, rolled my eyes, and went back to my book. He moved away from me and I figured that was that… but I was wrong.
The train finally arrived and I got on, and since it had been delayed it was packed full of people. Each train car has luggage space at the front. This luggage space also gets utilized when all the seats are full and people need somewhere to stand without being in the way of the doors. I ended up in the luggage space, mostly due to the fact that the influx of bodies into the train pushed me in that general direction. I only had to go one stop, so I didn’t really mind… until Mr. Kissy-Face shoved himself between me and the rest of the passengers on the train, cornering me in the luggage space as the train pulled away.
He didn’t say a word. He just stood there, his eyes leveled at my chest, a disgusting grin on his face. I told him to fuck off. He waggled his eyebrows at me, and didn’t budge. The few people around us looked uncomfortable, but no one helped me. Nice.
Anyway, it was a short ride, because I was getting off at the next stop. When the train pulled up, I said, “I’m getting off here,” and started to move… and he didn’t budge. He crossed his arms and made another kissy-face at me and refused to move. He was really trying my patience. I told him to get the fuck out of my way, and yet he didn’t move. I had probably another couple of seconds and the train would leave the platform, so I did what any self-respecting girl would do.
I clocked him with John Green’s ‘An Abundance of Katherines.’
He got out of my way and I got applause from the people who had been witnessing all of this — thanks again for the help, assholes — and I headed home. Lesson learned: walk softly and carry a good book.
I had just arrived in Madrid, Spain for the beginning of my semester abroad. It was early January of my junior year of college, and I was so excited to be in Spain. I arrived a day before my university’s semester abroad program started, and my dad insisted on booking me in an extremely safe, four star hotel in the “safest” part of Madrid for my one night without the group. At the time I knew practically no Spanish, and my excitement turned to anxiety when I realized that communicating with the average person in Madrid was going to be challenging, to say the least. (It took approximately 2 minutes wandering the Barajas/Madrid airport for me to realize this).
After taking a taxi that both overcharged me and dropped me off 2 blocks away from my hotel with huge suitcases, I did my best to make my way to the hotel. After walking for about two minutes, I heard a man yelling at me in Spanish. Did I understand what he was saying? No, but I could tell by his stare and rapid, aggressive strides in my direction that he was clearly talking to me. I looked ahead and kept walking, but he grabbed my arm and tried to take my suitcases for me. I grabbed them back and said, “No, gracias….no, gracias” repeatedly until I arrived at my hotel.
After checking in and settling into my room, I began to unpack. Now, in all the hotels I’ve stayed in both in the U.S and internationally, the hotel room door locks automatically. Apparently not in Spain, because 5 minutes later I heard a knock and then saw my hotel door open. It was him. I said “no, no lo entras” repeatedly, but I literally had to walk with him downstairs, out the hotel door and beg the concierge, in my broken Spanish, not to let him near me or my room in the future. Throughout the evening, night, and following morning, I received repeated calls to my hotel room originating from the front desk (now that he knew the room number) every time the concierge changed shifts. I was alone, scared, young, and certainly vulnerable, and not only did the hotel staff/concierge do nothing to help me, they repeatedly asked me, “Es tu novio? Es tu novio?” (translation: is he your boyfriend?) while I tried to tell them that I did not know him and he was stalking me.
One of my friends lived in an apartment on Georgia State campus across the street from Woodruff Park. Students avoid this park because it is just in general a place to be harassed. It is also a few blocks away from Five Points station where several people have been murdered, mugged, etc. Even during broad daylight – in between classes – I had men hollering at me as I would run through the park – “hey, big booty” “smile at me baby” “oh, hey baby.”
Growing up, I’ve always been taught to ignore harassment and keep on going. But it wasn’t until one night when I was walking to my friend’s apartment and I felt something on my neck and realized it was a man breathing on me did I realize how dangerous and serious street harassment can be. This man could have easily grabbed me. Luckily, there was a doorman at my friend’s apartment witnessing what was happening to me and made it a point to ensure the man saw him. The man behind me kept breathing on my neck whisper – whispered some lewd comment about my body and went off. I was so afraid to leave my friend’s apartment I stayed over the night.
I’m happy to see that there is a group in Atlanta forming where citizens are uniting to recognize that this is a problem and it needs to be corrected.
I was waiting at a red light and noticed a flash in the car beside me. Out of curiosity, I look over my left shoulder to see that some random guy is taking pictures of me.
Needless to say, I was not flattered.
Besides the fact that I felt completely violated, I was beyond paranoid concerning his motivation for doing such a thing.