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I was jogging on a beautiful day when a car sped by and a man hung out the window of the passenger seat and yelled degrading things about my body.
I get street harassed way too often as a woman city cyclist. Often I flip the harasser off and file the incident away in an embodied drawer, that — like many other women — I’ve had to build, to hold the gender-based violence we experience, though – of course- we never should’ve had to build such a place within us. Sometimes though a harassment experience sticks with me longer- it is harder to shake or file away. Yesterday evening was in that vein. I was biking to a space I feel safe at, for a public workshop on self-care, and when I was nearing my destination- I heard this presence right on my heels. I turned my head and it was another biker, right behind me. He started saying things like, “keep on biking, girlie”, “you look good biking”, “aren’t you pretty”. My heart sped up. It’s different being harassed by another cyclist than a pedestrian. I know that I’m faster than pedestrians, so I do feel a sense of protection when I’m street harassed by pedestrians, while I’m on my bike. Being harassed by someone else on a bike strips that away– he was probably twice my size — and probably a lot faster than me in a bike race. Thankfully I was right near my destination when this happened. I pulled onto the sidewalk- jumped off- and started locking up my bike. I didn’t think about It- I just did it. He stopped and watched me and said some things that I don’t remember, as well as kept saying “you’re such a pretty thing.” I finally looked up, my voice shaking and said, “stop.” He said “stop what? All I said is how pretty you are.” I said, “stop harassing me.” That’s when he started yelling things- I only vividly remember him saying, “you said stop harassing you? I haven’t even started harassing you! I’ll show you harassing”. And I remember him yelling that I was a “dumb bitch”. My senses were firing. I had already turned on my heel and walked towards/then into the space I was heading to. I didn’t look back. Not that I should have to shake my harassment experiences off, but I normally do. And once I got inside the space, I immediately felt safer/my senses eased, and I was able to continue on with my evening. But, a day later, I keep thinking about it. Haven’t been able to forget this one. It wasn’t just annoying and distasteful- I genuinely felt afraid. I thought it was in order to share via Hollaback! Thank you for having the space for me to do so.
I was walking home home with my sisters from an ice cream store. We walked past a group of teens, couldn’t have been older than 15, minding our own business as we always do. My sisters and I have walked past these people before with no problem, tensity, or catcalling, but never at night. Once we were about two houses down, a few of the boys started calling out vaguely disrespectful comments like “hey, white girls, come here.” When we ignored them, they began calling out crude comments like “hey girls, come eat this dick.” Shaken up, we ignored them, which became more difficult when one of them got up and started following us. The boy called out to us to stop, to come here, to turn around, to which I calmly responded with “please go home.” He kept following us, and although I live in a safe, suburban neighborhood, I immediately felt unsafe. Finally, I worked up the nerve to turn around and say “I want you to go home and think about if this is how you’d want someone to treat your mother.” The boy backed off, and I’m considering going to my neighbors house tomorrow to let the parents know.
A man on a bike came up behind me, slowed to my pace, and gestured towards the headphones I was wearing. I kept them on and looked away and kept walking, but this creep slowed to my pace and followed next to me for two blocks until ignoring him made him ride away.
I was getting ready to climb on to the Charm City Circulator, on my way to work, when a male individual passed by me, making comments that I was “sexy”, etc. I gave him a look, which meant to express, “Why? Why do you have to make those comments? I clearly don’t like them,” but outwardly, I just looked disgusted. He then had a change of heart, and proceed to continually call me a “nappy headed bitch”. I tried not to laugh, gave him a thumbs up, and got on the bus.
A man in a brown van shouted at me for about a block. He turned as I crossed the street, and caught up with me just as I was approaching my office. Rather than let him see my building, I walked further. He kept asking if I was married and if I’d come over and talk to him.
A few weeks ago, as I walking down Charles Street I witnessed the tail end of a verbal altercation between a Baltimore City Police Officer and a transgender woman. The woman had clearly been angered by something the officer did, and was shouting at him. In order to shut the woman down, the officer pointedly and dismissively repeated “Have a nice day, SIR!” with clear emphasis on the word “sir”. I was so flabbergasted watching this, I didn’t know what to do, but when I happened to make eye contact with the offending officer, I simply shouted “That’s not nice!” I know I should have done more, but I was very taken aback. As someone who is gradually embracing a genderfluid identity, this was a very discouraging thing to witness.
I was just walking to [art store] in Mid-Town Belvedere when I got hit on twice in a row. There’s this little alleyway off of Tyson St that I walked through to get to Chase St and [art store]. There’s a small, empty warehouse there and today I noticed the door was open. As I am walking past and about to turn onto Chase, there’s also an open window in the warehouse that I glance at as I pass. Then a man’s voice comes from inside the building and says “I love you”. I speed up and as I turn the corner I can hear that he’s following me from inside the building because he keeps saying “I love you” and knocking on the glass. [Art store] is right there so I kept going and just hoping that he wont come out of the building (and already planning on leaving in the opposite direction to avoid him on my way back). About 1 minute later, right as I arrive at [art store], this other guy passes me and says “damn, you so sexy!”. I stayed in [art store] for what I hoped was a long enough time and took a longer way back to avoid the guy in the warehouse… so creepy!!!