Appalachian Ohio, Athens GA, Atlanta, Berkeley, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Columbia MO, Columbus, Des Moines, Durham & Chapel Hill, East Lansing, Fredericksburgh VA, Houston, Los Angeles, Muncie IN, New York City, NYU, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Plattsburgh, Richmond VA, San Francisco, Tucson, Twin Cities
This incident of public harassment is not the only one I have experienced, but it was the catalyst for change, already! In 1990, I was riding in a streetcar with my 3-year-old son. A large, inebriated man (LIM) and his female companion (FC) boarded and sat across the aisle from me. There were also quite a number of other passengers. The LIM started telling his FC exactly what he planned to do to me, ie. sexual assault, even though I hadn’t given them any attention, whatsoever. After a while of hearing him give explicit details of his planned attack, the way his FC urgently hissed at him, “Now, don’t start anything here!”, led me to believe that he’d attacked other women. Alarming, to say the least! Because I had my innocent little boy with me and knew nothing about self-defense, I was beyond terrified! How was I going to protect him if he started to physically attack? And the worst of the worst, creepiest creeps would traumatize a small child, (at least) by harming his/her mother. I don’t know if it’s because I wasn’t shaking or crying or showing other signs of distress, or if it’s because to everyone else on the streetcar it didn’t look that scary because they were not the target of LIM’s threats, but what was even more bewildering to me is that no one took any actions on my behalf nor showed they cared in any way. That made me feel very alone and very vulnerable. As I sat, I was first thinking, “I must not scare my son”, so I tried to appear calm and strong to him, and, “I will not leave the safety of this streetcar as long as LIM is on board. I will have the driver call the police and insist on an escort home, if necessary”. But, I also could not help but think, what if I had met this LIM (and his FC) out on the street? What might have happened? My mind came up with some terrifying scenarios.
And that’s what I think lots of targets of unwanted harassment fear, the “what if’s,” the “what will happen next time?’s”. These are part of the lasting effects of these frightening encounters.
Anyway, as I stated at the beginning, this incident was the catalyst for change for me. I have been training for over 20 years in martial arts, to actually become a strong Mama who knows what to do, even on the street.
Location: Bathurst Streetcar
Submitted by: Pamela
I told some creep to stop bothering this girl the other day while we were waiting for the streetcar. He kept asking if she was cold, maybe she should cover up more, why isn’t she smiling, can he touch her hair, etc…(creep…creep…creep). Then when I intervened he said, “I’m just trying to be friendly.” It’s not like she was being threatened, but she was visibly uncomfortable. He even asked if she wanted him to wipe her nose. Dude, take a hint. When I told him to leave her alone he just moved on to me. Luckily the streetcar arrived then and it was packed, he seemed less comfortable bothering people then.
Location: College and Spadina
Submitted by: Judy
I was walking home after going dancing with friends. Some creeps outside a convenience store said, “Aren’t you cold?” We walked by and said, “Not really,” and they replied with, “Well we could warm you up … hehehe.” I just scowled and walked away tired and annoyed. I’d like to have said,” the only warmth you’re getting is your d*** in your mouth!” … but we just walked away…ugh
Submitted by: Anonymous
Location: Queen Street West
I was reading my book on the Yonge subway when a man with a big smile on his face sat down beside me. I knew right away he was trouble by the way he was staring and smiling. It was so creepy. I lifted my head from my book and glared at him, giving him the “don’t you even start with me buddy it’s the wrong f***ing day” look. He got the message and stood up. He got off at the next stop. Even though nothing was said, I’m glad I stood up for myself.
Submitted by: Emma
Location: Yonge subway
During frosh week, I was approached by a group of guys who were making rude comments and asking me if I wanted to go back to their room with them. I am white, and they were not. When I said “no,” they called me a racist bitch. Assuming that the only reason I would say “no” to them is because of racism made me feel horrible, especially since all I said was no to their absurd comments.
Location: McMaster University
Submitted by: Justine
Was heading to the subway after picking up groceries on my way home after work when a guy stopped me in the street. I thought he was asking for directions at first until he started suggesting we go somewhere. I politely refused and tried to walk on, but he kept after me saying, ‘Don’t you get horny? Don’t you like sex? I’ll eat out your p****y real good.’ I told him to f*ck off and very quickly kept walking away.
Really disgusting and disturbing.
Submitted by: Ali
Location: Dufferin Street
I was walking with my friend at 11:30pm New Years Eve. A group of 4 men were walking the opposite way, and one of them said, “You’re super hot, wanna come party with us?” Upon ignoring them, he aggressively said “I’MMA SHOVE MY DICK UP YOUR ASS.”
I was silent then, but I was not silent as I posted about it on facebook thinking I would get support there. Little did I know that this was hilarious or “the best thing I’ve read hahaha.”
So I rung in the New Year, without agency of my body, and humiliated by having friends and family think that having a rape threat yelled at me is funny or harmless.
Location: Yonge and Eglington
Submitted by: Nisha
I was walking to work this morning and a man on a bike made eye contact with me and then hurled a wad of spit at my face. It was right in front of a busy bus stop and no one showed any signs shock or sympathy, which added to my feelings of helplessness. I felt very violated.
This is probably the same man in one of the reports below. What a scummy man. I didn’t get a good look at him, but what I remember is a male wearing a hood with shabby, medium length, sandy brown hair.
Location: Queen and Dufferin
Submitted by: Erin