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I was on my way to a bus stop when I realized there were three men crudely talking to/about me. They were doing concrete work on the sidewalk. After I realized they were talking about me, I said, “are you serious?” One of them said, “Some of the time. You do have a nice ass.” I was on the other side of the street now, so I yelled that what he said was totally inappropriate and never ok and is called street harassment. Then I got on the bus. The driver witnessed some of the encounter and told me he hoped the rest of my day was safer, which helped me feel so much better! Even though it was a small comment, it made me feel like I wasn’t alone.
These men work for a company called **** ***** ******** ****. I’m going to call them and also make a complaint with the Better Business Bureau as they are accredited with them. I was so shocked that these men felt they could talk to me this way while working! Utterly despicable!!
I work at the HSC and U of M Bannatyne Campus. I am constantly asked if I feel safe when I bike, walk or even bus to work. In the past, I have been naive (?) and would confidently say I always felt safe.
In the winter, when I had late shifts or studied late, I would have to walk in the dark to the bus stop. It was in these times that I started to feel less confident. Less confident about the safety around me and less confident in myself because of encounters I would experience. I wrote a poem about one and it was published in the FAQ at the U of M. I wanted to get the word out. To show others what is still happening all around us. I didn’t do anything then. I didn’t do anything to ask for these words (who DOES.). I didn’t do anything at the time. I did write. Hopefully someone can see these words. And we can change. And feel safety in places that it has left. Work. School. Streets. It doesn’t matter. We have the right to get home and feel warmth of kindness the whole way traveled.
Sherbrook and Notre Dame
It’s already cold and dark here.
Unfamiliar without the light of the sun.
The news talks. Everyday about the shadows and the knives, guns.
So, I feel uncomfortable here already. Waiting for the bus to take me
To my warm bed.
I’ve heard tips. About keeping my head down.
Walking with a purpose.
Walking and singing.
I was all by myself.
There was no one around. Not to hear you. But me.
And you saw. You saw me standing, waiting. You know it’s not safe down here.
Yet you still do it.
Roll down your window.
Yell out sexist words.
Things you think are so funny.
I shiver. But it’s not the cold.
It’s you. And it’s your pal beside you in your truck.
Who aren’t trying to make others safe.
Taking advantage of the smallness this world has become.
While walking to visit my friend so we could go out for a last summer night girls night, some man yelled at me ” how much, bitch” from across the street. Because I’m pretty sure his only interest was in getting a rise out if me, I said nothing and kept walking. For the life of me, I can’t figure out what provokes a man to say something like that. I would explain that I was not wearing anything that provocative, but I don’t see why I should have to. How I dress at 9:30 pm for a night out with a girlfriend is my business, not an invitation to treat me with disrespect.
At exactly 7:57 AM every weekday morning, I lock my front door to my River Heights home, march down my steps and head towards my bus stop. My route is always the same; I cross the street Warsaw Avenue to get to my bus bench on Corydon, where I wait exactly three minutes for the number 18 to come pick me up. It’s a simple, boring, early morning routine that we all experience in our daily lives.
But one day this Spring, my morning routine was interrupted. I crossed the street, on my usual route, when I hear a “yewww” from a few feet in front of me. I look up and notice a 60-something-year-old man cat calling me from his parked white mini van.
I’ve experienced street harassment before, in fact, many times while going to school downtown either waiting for the bus or walking home from work. Usually, I think nothing of it. I do the same thing every time it happens: try not to make eye contact, make no acknowledgement of the person yelling and keep walking towards my destination.
But it was something about being face-to-face with this shaggy loser shook me.
Maybe it was because I hadn’t even had my morning coffee yet, maybe it was because he was so close to me or maybe it was the interruption in my morning routine altogether. Either way, the interaction bugged me more than the usual “yeewwww”‘s and “heeyyyy”‘s I hear from passing cars.
I tried to not think much about this interaction until yesterday.
Alex Freedman interviewed Jodie Layne, director of “Hollaback! Winnipeg” on the CBC morning show and Jodie put what I was thinking into words: that it’s not okay. All these years I felt ashamed for getting yelled at by passing cars. Like my outfit was too revealing or that I exuding some sort of sexual energy that welcomed men to yell at me. But in fact, that isn’t true. I’m a 25 year-old young professional who wears long skirts and cardigans to work everyday and I am certainly NOT inviting attention. It’s early, I’m tired and I just want to get to my bus stop in peace.
Jodie also gave me an idea: she said to turn it back on them. Take a picture of the harasser and upload it. So that’s what I’m going to do next time I encounter Mr. White Van. Instead of cowering with my head down, suppressing my rage to the pit of my stomach: I’m going to subject him to the feeling of shame he subjected me to.
Since the face-to-face encounter, the old scumbag has yelled at me a few times from his van. Either in passing or while he’s parked. I would like to get the chance to snap his pic, but since then, I’m much more cautious on my route to the bus stop. I carefully eye the corner where our encounters usually occur and proceed warily. I guess street harassment has a more powerful grasp on me than I thought.
I was driving around running errands a few months ago and had a terrible encounter with some jerk. I was leaving the car wash and needed to make a left turn to get to the next store on my list. At that particular intersection I find it really hard to see if there is oncoming traffic so I’m very cautious there. Apparently I was taking too long to make my turn because the guy behind me honked a few times. The light soon turned yellow so I made my turn and this jerk turns too. He stays right on my tail for the next block and just my luck stops at the same convenience store I do. We both park. He makes a few comments at me in the parking lot and goes in. I wait in my car a few seconds, I’m already flustered at this point. But I decide not to let this guy scare me. There are other people in the store so I go in to do my quick shopping. When I enter the store this guy starts telling at me again. Things like “if you we’re a guy, I’d hit you you f@&$ing c&$!. ” “I guess they don’t teach women to drive anymore” At this point he’s right in my face. To make matters even scarier this guy is over 6 feet, looks strong and seems like he is the type to punch someone in the middle of the afternoon. I’m only 5 feet tall and have never been yelled at like this in life. I yell at him to leave me alone. I am now way more than flustered I am scared and furious. This jerk is eventually asked to leave but only after he has verbally harassed and threatened me for what seemed like 5 minutes. After he leaves and I go to pay for my milk another customer asks me if I knew the guy. Thinking about it after that seemed like an odd question. I also seemed odd that clearly people stopped what they were doing to watch this guy but no one said anything. Did they think it was a domestic issue and decided not to get involved? Would someone have come to help me if he had swung a punch? After the event, I was visibly freaked out and one guy did come check on me once I got outside. But no one came to my aid during the event.
I was biking down Main Street, heading North towards Euclid. The road is in really bad condition on that stretch. A car came up close beside me the passenger hung out the window and yelled “Nice ass” and whistled. He kept staring at me as he drove away. I flipped him off and then immediately regretted it. I pulled over behind a building because I was worried they would turn around and continue to harass me (this has happened before in a different city). It ruined my ride.
I was strolling along and, ironically, listening to a feminist podcast when I saw a guy at the corner who made me nervous. Sometimes you just pick up on these things. I decided to ignore him, he said hello and I gave him a head nod as not to ignore him completely. He said, “I like what I’m seeing, baby!” I told him, “I don’t care what you think, I didn’t ask you! Shut up!” He kept shouting after me but I’m glad I didn’t hear what he said.
Riding home on a crowded bus, a man started telling graphic, violent “jokes” containing a combo of sexism and racism. Unresponsive to the eye-rolling and uncomfortable shuffling of the other passengers, he escalated to ask the question: “why do men beat women?” I told him that no one wanted to hear his answer. He gave the punch line anyway, (perhaps modified in response to my intervention) yelling in my face BECAUSE THEY DON’T KEEP THEIR *#%& MOUTHS SHUT. It made me cry (when I got home).