Verbal

“It felt empowering to be able to respond” – Mel’s story

I was just walking into work (around 8:50AM) — we enter our offices through a back alley that usually has people coming and going from other businesses. I saw someone walking down the alley towards me and gave a small smile and was about to say “good morning” as I sometimes do when I see people in the alley. I’ve never had a problem with anyone here before. He looked at me and then said “mmm I bet you have a fat ass pussy on you” sort of under his breathe but loud enough for me to hear. We were passing by each other (walking in opposite directions) and it made me pause and I turned around (he was already pretty far at this point) and yelled back “Really? You talk to random women like that? Fuck you!” He was glancing back at me but I swear he started walking away a little faster. I was actually happy I responded because usually harassment catches me so off guard that I can’t think of anything to say until later and feel bad about not speaking up in the moment. It felt empowering to be able to respond, even though I’m still shaking a little from being so pissed off.

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Leering, Verbal

“Walked up too close to me and, looking me up and down” – Kiva’s Story

I went to a few restaurants/bars in this area on a Sunday afternoon. I was approached on the street by a man who walked up too close to me and, looking me up and down, said, “I wouldn’t mind walking with you.” I declined, and told him I was headed in somewhere up ahead. He grumbled his disappointment.

Later, I was walking back to my car when a man called across the parking lot, “Hey, you! Pretty feet! Yeah, you! You got pretty feet!” I was the only person in the area I could see, though I didn’t look behind me to see him. When I didn’t respond, he said “Hey, I’m talking to you! Why you don’t wanna talk to me? Hey!!”

I quickly got in my car and left. I can’t decide if I was right to not look back and see what he looked like (same guy/would that matter?), or if it was best I provide the least possible response.

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Leering, Verbal

“If it happens again and I feel it’s safe enough, I’m going to speak out.” – Kiva’s story

There are often men hanging out at this gas station, and it’s not uncommon for someone to catcall even in the middle of the day when people are around.

These are generally hard to respond to, because they will say things like, “Hey ma, you got pretty pretty eyes” or “ooh, lookin good.” These are said in such a way that they are no longer compliments. You know, the usual: slow steps in your direction, looking you up and down, licking their lips, using a voice that says they wish they could take you behind the building.

I avoid the gas station. But if I end up there, and it happens again and I feel it’s safe enough, I’m going to speak out.

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Groping, Stalking

“he had followed me for the last block trying to get my attention” – New story

I was walking from the [coffee store] nearby the Metro station on New York Ave & 9th street headed to work in the morning. I had headphones on listening to music minding my own business. This man touched me to stop me as I was walking into the office building where I work. I freaked because I didn’t know why he was touching me. He claimed he had followed me for the last block trying to get my attention and was wondering if he could talk to me for a minute. I firmly said no and started to walk away but he persisted trying to talk to me. The security officer at the entrance of my job then had to ask him to leave and asked if I was okay.

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Verbal

“I’m still watching you baby!” – Li’s story

I had parked my car and was on my way to meet a friend by Westminster Hall. As I was walking past the bus stop a man yells at me “Miss! Hey Miss! You need to stop walking like that because you’re turning me on!” I ignored him and waited to cross the street and he continued to yell at me. As I crossed the street he yelled “I’m still watching you! Hey! Look at me! I know you can heard me. I’m still watching you baby!” and continued until I was out of sight.

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Verbal

“this incident is a normal occurrence and i wish it wasn’t” – Kristen’s story

As I was walking to the grocery store in broad daylight in the middle of the day on 5/16/16 a man in a white van with very dark tinted windows, (including driver and front passenger windows), passed me as I walked along Old York Road and stopped slightly ahead of me. He rolled his driver side window down partially as I passed him on the passenger side and made it clear that he expected me to get in. When I kept walking and would not, he yelled “Forget You!”. A car had pulled up closely behind him waiting for him to keep driving and several people had approached the area on a cross street which made me feel safer than if I had been alone. I’m not posting this because this is an out of the ordinary occurrence for walking a few blocks to the grocery store. I’m posting this because this incident is a normal occurrence and i wish it wasn’t.

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Stalking, Verbal

“He called me a ‘bitch’ because I told him to stop following me” – Eilish’s story

I was walking passed the Visitors Center at the Inner Harbor when I saw a guy in head to toe camo and under my breath I said, ” isn’t the war over already, allegedly?” Then suddenly the guy was instantly following me so closely that he might as well have been walking on top of me. I tried to walk away from him calmly and silently. But he followed my every move. Finally I made eye contact with him as I turned around and I took out my ear buds that I had been listening to music with quite loudly and told him to stop following me or else I would beat him in the ass. Then he said, “you’re a bitch!” and ran off like a scared mouse from a cat. I called after him, “your mother should have used birth control you useless piece of scum!” He continued to run away. I don’t regret anything that I said or did and if I see him again I will take a picture of him and since this is twice in two days in this area that I will now be carrying pepper spray so that I can blind creepers like him.

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Verbal

“I am sick of not being able to just leave my apartment … without being harassed” – LWG’s story

We live on a busy thoroughfare so getting verbally harassed when I leave the house has become expected.

This morning, I was already running late for work, had spilled my coffee, had to change, etc. I usually just ignore the jerks who hang out of their car windows trying to get my attention when I leave my apartment and walk quietly to my car (also parked on the main street.)

But this morning, I had had it. I left the house and some dude in one of those blue sedan service/taxi cars is literally hanging out of his window flagging me down, yelling “Hey sexy! Hey sexy! Hey beautiful, where you goin” and without thinking I yelled back “Shut the Fuck up!”

And of course that set off the “bitch this” and “bitch that.” He said “I know your (either “face” or “place”) now” and indicated I would be sorry for not accepting his “complement.”

I was scared but kept walking and I suppose he drove off (he was driving on the other side of the road.) But still, he has seen me apartment and car now. I am pretty sure nothing will happen, but still, I am sick of not being able to just leave my apartment to go to work without being harassed and, now, threatened.

And the worst part? I find myself thinking things like “But I am dressed in a blazer and work pants,” and that is so sick because I should be able to leave the house wearing a f-ing bikini and not have someone hollering at me. The fact that I have internalized this victim-blaming is sick.

So that is why I’m sharing my relatively story–so that I, and other women–don’t ever feel like they brought any of this upon themselves. I wish I had taken a picture of him, and next time I will. I am so grateful for this project.

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