“I was 18, walking alone in Paris. I saw a guy walking towards me. He started talking to me, but I walked away. About 15 mins later, I looked back and realised he was following me for 1 mile. I felt so scared and decided to go somewhere crowded. Then I felt someone pull my hand and drag me into a narrow street. A man was watching us, but he walked away. I was already crying. Finally I saw the face and it was the guy who talked to me. He whispered something in French and giggled. I can't remember exactly how I ran away. But I clearly remember how I felt. That was my first time I touched a man’s penis. And also that was my first kiss.”
“I was doing some work experience and it was only a two week placement. My supervisor began the first week by showing me his wedding photos, by the second week he was trying to touch me, cuddle or tickle me. On my last day, he got put in charge and made sure every task I had was alone with him. He tickled me again so I told him to stop. He then grabbed both my arms, pressed himself against me with my legs apart and pinned my legs down. He stayed there with his face close to mine and only got off me when someone else came into the room. I wanted to run and cry, but I just walked out in shock.”
"I was walking down a street in Manhattan when I saw a man walking towards me. His daughter was holding his hand and his young son was behind him on a scooter. As the distance between us got shorter I could tell that he was intensely staring at me, studying my legs, my sundress, my cleavage. Just as our paths crossed he lunged toward me and whispered, 'Mmmm, I’d like to taste your chocolate.' I was most horrified that his daughter was right there, watching her father verbally assault me, while his son was behind learning from his actions."
"Two summers ago I was walking to a supermarket in Marseille. A guy was getting out of his car and said to me, 'La pute c'est magnifique' as I walked past."
"When I was about 12 or 13 me and my friends used to get the bus to school and a man who must have been about 40 tried to take photos on his phone up our skirts, the police ended up getting called but said they couldn't do anything about it in the end.”
“One particular experience that’s ingrained in me, was when a drunk guy grabbed my butt on the underground on a night out. When I turned around and shouted at him, he yelled that I shouldn’t have been wearing a skirt so short. Suggesting my choice of clothing gave him permission to grope me.”
“Many years ago, I lived and worked in Bangalore, India. One evening, returning home from work with my colleague, we were walking along a pavement that had no edge. I was on the roadside and my colleague next to me. A 3-wheeler auto driven by 2 men, was approaching us and as they got close, both the drivers leant over towards me, cat-called, made kissing sounds and drove on.My colleague immediately switched places with me, putting himself on the roadside to protect me from further street harassment. We continued to walk and talk, when minutes later I heard the rumble of a 3-wheeler close up behind us. As I turned my head, in a fraction of a second, I registered the same 3- wheeler with the 2 grinning drivers, lose control of the vehicle, hitting my colleague as they sped past us and killing him instantly. It could have been me! The male gaze can kill. “
“I was verbally harassed from a young age. The most common thing was older boys who would comment constantly about how I’m the perfect height to give blow jobs, which was horrible when I was so young and has stuck in my brain ever since. They’d shout it across the playground in front of everyone. When I was walking, before needing a chair, guys would take advantage of my size. They’d slap my ass, run up behind me, grab me, pick me up and literally run with me because they thought it was funny.As an adult, I’ve experienced different scenarios. The blowjob thing still happens even now. On nights out I’m the main target for sexual harassment. I’ve been touched by guys who try to act as if it were an accident, but turns out it was their mates egging them on to do it because I’m ‘different’. I’ve had drunken old men coming up to me, trying to use my disability as a conversation starter, and for them to then tell me they’d have sex with me and I should be grateful.”
"I can’t count how many times I’ve been harassed. I don’t even remember how young I was when I had my body violated for the first time. There was a specific episode when I was 12 and on my way to school, wearing my uniform. I was walking down the street and a car approached me, shouting something I didn’t think was aimed at me. They parked and said some nasty words I didn’t know the meaning of back then. I started to walk faster, and they followed me for two blocks. I saw a guy from my school, and I begged him to walk with me. They went away when they saw me talking to someone. I was relieved, but I didn’t know how many more times I would go through that situation. And I still don’t.One thing that scares me is the fact that many girls from a very young age will experience this too. I have younger cousins back home in Brazil, and I don’t want them to have the same traumatising experiences while living their lives. I know that my country is not a safe place for girls and women. Beyond the very alarming statistics, we all have our stories to tell."
"I grew up in the East Village, so when I pass Ray’s Candy Store I’ll stop by to talk. It was around 2:00AM and unusually empty. Ray and I were talking, and then two guys came in. I didn’t think anything of it. One of the guys approached me. He asked for my number, and when I refused he squeezed my arm to the point where I couldn’t move it. Ray is close to 90, so he wouldn’t have been able to help me if something happened. I remained calm and looked him in the eye and said, ‘Please let go of my arm.’ He smiled and then slowly let go of my arm. I was a bit in shock, and when I looked at my arm as I walked outside there was a huge hand mark left there from his grip. I consider myself very lucky that night.“
“When I was 15, I was walking home alone from school. Two middle-aged men shouted at me, ‘Hello gorgeous!’ I had learned from experience at that age not to engage with men I didn’t know. I didn’t respond to them and continued down the street, trying to get away from them. ‘Oh, you think you too good to say hello? You’re going to get raped out here if you don’t start being a little more polite.’ I didn’t react, terrified and also aware that I was now a few steps away from my house. I didn’t know if they were still watching me, so I circled around the block so they wouldn’t know where I lived. I couldn’t put headphones on for months, living in fear that those men would come back.”
"I work at a bar late at night on Saturdays. This is not an easy job as a woman. The amount of times I have been harassed is unbelievable. I have been followed home twice, had sexist comments shouted at me, the owner of the bar has even been inappropriate around me, miming 'good tits' during one of my shifts. I have spoken to many friends back home and they suggest that I quit my job, find something safer, and less degrading. But I do not want to give up my job. In general I love the bar, the DJS, the regular customers, it is a prime drinking spot amongst my friendship group. I will not quit my job because certain men try to intimidate me."
“16 years in hospitality and 16 years of stories all equally traumatising, all equally horrifying.
I am a person of colour. But it means people love to play the game of ‘guess why I’m exotic looking.’ This is their way in. ‘I can’t figure you out! Is your tan real? Where are you from? Let me guess, Mexican? Latina? Portuguese? So sexy.’ The heart I added to your coffee is not a come on. I’ve had so many instances of men saying ‘you speak really good English! I’ll make sure to come back because you’re my favourite.’
When I’ve approached management or responded to the harassment, it’s usually met with ‘they’re just being friendly, and they are a valued customer. Just smile.’ I recently left a job due to the management making comments on the staff looking ‘sexy.’ It was better to be without work, than in that toxic, misogynistic environment, being harassed hourly.”
"When I was 17, a man sat next to me on the bus. I had my headphones in but he kept signalling to get my attention. I ignored him for as long as I could, but eventually I responded. He immediately made me feel bad for being rude. So we chatted a bit, but I felt on edge. I was dreaded getting to my stop. At the stop before I asked him to move, but he said he wanted to talk more. Couldn’t I get off at the next one? He said everything so reasonably and was so taken aback every time I protested I genuinely worried if somehow I was in the wrong. But I said no and started to barge past him. It was at this point he announced that this was his stop too so he let me past and followed me off the bus. I ran home, he followed me about 10 paces behind to my front door. As I frantically put my keys in the lock, he started laughing and walked away.”
“I was on my way home from work on a packed train. All of a sudden I felt something cupping my bare bottom and fingers edging over my bum cheeks and over my underwear towards the front of my vagina. I froze, then the fingers started trying to move my underwear but I was pinned to the pole by all the commuters. I wanted to scream but remembered that I’m a dark skinned, young black woman and people wouldn’t instantly help me. I’d first be seen as the loud, aggressive, irrational black woman before I would be seen as someone in need of help. I was trying to push the hands away and they were actually fighting. He whispered, ‘I know you darkies like it rough.’ Suddenly the train stopped and I managed to turn around to see that he looked like a normal white guy. He pulled his hand away just as I was finding the courage to push him, the train doors opened and he disappeared into the sea of commuters.”
“In a crowded train carriage, opposite a group of boys no older than 12. One of them asked me what the next train station was, so I looked it up for them. As soon as I engaged with them, things escalated. Suddenly they surrounded the table where I was sitting. They were saying sexist things and making crude gestures. One of them started massaging his genitals. I was scared and horrified. I tried to get past them but they slapped my ass. I pushed the kid away and moved further down the carriage. Everyone could see what was happening, but no one did anything. They followed me and continued until they got off the train. I was so shaken and upset, not just because of being sexually harassed, but because of how young these boys were. I couldn’t stop crying.”
“It was my first hospital placement and I was on my lunch break when an old man approached me. He needed directions to a ward. I pointed him the way and he thanked me, asking if I could keep him company for a few minutes. I said yes because hospitals are intimidating. He was telling innocent jokes and the next thing I know his hand slapped my inner upper thigh. It was so unexpected. I quickly stood up and he could tell I was uncomfortable when he said, ‘No need to worry love, I’m a touchy person’. I think it’s vital to remember that when working with vulnerable people, you should never feel the need to be so polite that you put yourself in danger. That situation is something I’ll remember throughout my career.”
“After leaving a nightclub with my girlfriend, we decided to get a bus. As we were waiting for the bus, a man approached me and started chatting me up. I said straight away that I'm a lesbian, and that I was with my girlfriend. He then took that as some sort of challenge, and proceeded to tell me I just needed his dick and tried to expose himself to me. Fortunately my male friend stepped in and eventually he managed to make him leave, the whole incident lasted about 20 minutes in total and was quite traumatic.“
“I started experiencing harassment when I was 12 in my school uniform. I avoided my town’s high street for years because I‘d get shouted at by middle-aged men in vans. One time I was walking home from Tesco, and a group of men outside a pub started aggressively catcalling me. I pretended not to hear and carried on walking. One of the men jumped out in front of me and started doing monkey impressions. They were all in hysterics.”
“I was riding bikes with my friend one evening in Central Park. A guy biked past us and I noticed he started leaning far to the side on his bike. As we pass, he bikes closer and has his dick pulled out. Being that we were together and adults we were like, 'Yeah okay, a penis.' But the fact he was out in the park was a worry so we biked over to a cop car down the way. We told them about it and they said, 'Ok. There are weirdos out there.' "
"I sat down on the train and one guy got on and stood right in front of me. I turned my face and body to the right. Then, I see a weird movement happening in the corner of my eye. It ended up being his penis sticking out of his zipper of his pants and he was rubbing it. I am a short girl, so anyone that stands in front of me, I'm eye level to that part. There were tons of seats open and he still chose to stand in front of me. I quickly got off at the next stop. I didn't really know what to do."
“I was walking with a girl friend, and although it wasn't late, it was a touch dark. A car with at least two men inside started driving alongside us and the men were hollering for our attention. They persisted with shouting and became increasingly aggressive in their asking us to ‘come to a party in the car.’ Next thing, they swerved the car 90 degrees ONTO the pavement in front of us to quite literally stop us in our tracks. I can't actually remember what was happening, or whether any doors had opened when an older boy we knew started shouting at them and us. He ran over to the car and knew everyone involved and although I was immediately relieved, I was definitely still scared. I can’t remember what happened next, whether the man walked us home a bit or if he stayed with them and made sure we could leave.”
"I was walking down the street holding hands with a woman; it was late, we were walking back from a wonderful date at a bar. Then we saw two men walking on the opposite side of the road. They crossed the street to be on the same pavement as us and and started walking towards us. We sped up and looked down, stepping off the pavement to let them pass around us. But they slowed down and tried to catch our eyes and said, ‘Go on then, kiss her, love’. We ignored them and walked past, at which point they got angry and shouted at us, ‘it was only a joke! f*cking lesbians’ and started laughing. What had been a really lovely and lighthearted evening was suddenly cast into shadow because of this and me and my date ended up just going our separate ways.”
“I was once walking home at night from the Tube, and after a few minutes I realised there was a man following me. I stopped walking and he did too so I turned around to ask him why he was following me, he obviously wasn't expecting me to be so direct because he mumbled something about ‘seeing me on the tube’ and ‘thought I looked nice’ so proceeded to stalk me home in the dark. I straight up told him I wasn't interested and asked him to please stop, thankfully he did, as looking back that story could have had a very different ending.”
“One evening when the days were long I was walking home in South Philly’s Italian Market and a group of young men on bikes rode up behind me and started yelling. They pulled up in front of me and I saw that one of them had grabbed a cabbage off one of the produce stands. He hurled it at me and it hit me square in the chest and then they all laughed and rode away. The cabbage made a loud thud and fell to the ground. I was stunned. I couldn’t move for what felt like forever, but eventually I just walked home."
“I recently moved to London and was out late for a friend’s birthday. I was figuring out how to get home, when some men in a car pulled up next to me and started calling me over. I just kept on walking, but they kept on following me telling me to stop walking away from them. It was past 3am and I was alone , and starting to get a bit scared. One of the men said, ‘Why are you walking away, you know the crime rate here is higher than Hackney.’ I didn’t know if that was a threat or him implying I should get in the car, but either way it worried me.”
“It was New Year’s Eve and I was on my way out with some friends. I was standing on an escalator going out of a tube station when I felt a tug on my coat. I turned around to see two men behind me lifting up the bottom of my coat and peering underneath. I asked them what they were doing and they sniggered and said that they just 'wanted to have a look.' I was so freaked out I didn’t know how to respond, so I then ran up the rest of the escalator to rejoin my friends.”
"An old man came right into my personal space at the bus stop, and started saying to me, 'You're such a beautiful girl,' He asked for my number and when I said no I don't wanna give you it, thank you though, his response was: 'You got a man then?' To which I say, 'This conversation is over, if I wanted to give you my number, you'd have it by now.' He pauses and then goes, 'Are u with a girl then?....Are you a boy or a girl? Let me see ur breasts, they look so small!' - Luckily, I am pretty comfortable with the way I look, but also fuck you! You said those things to try and hurt me because I didn't want what you were offering. And the worst part was, that you thought looking gay and androgynous and like I had small breasts was an insult. Prescribing me my sexuality, sex and gender over a rejection. Fuck that.”
“There was this one place in south London that people at my uni went to and it has a terrible reputation for the men being gross. I was at the bar trying to get a drink and there was a man a lot older than me standing very uncomfortably close behind me. He offered to buy me a drink multiple times and I repeatedly declined trying not to entertain him. He asked my name and called me pretty which I ignored. The bartender then told me they didn't take cards, so I went to walk away but the man offered to get it for me again and grabbed my arm extremely hard refusing to let me walk away. I had to twist and shake my arm to get away, and my friends noticed and shouted at him. I didn’t entertain it, I declined every advance and he still felt the need to grab me. This happens to loads of girls at my uni.”
“I had been out one night and I called a cab. My Uber was set on Uber pool and so when the cab came, we ended up picking up a man around 40 years old. After a while he started talking to me, telling me I was beautiful and edging closer to me. I remember thinking maybe if I just ignored him he would leave me alone. However he kept moving closer and began touching me on my thighs and waist and asking if he could come home with me, saying he couldn’t let himself miss this opportunity. I remember staring into the mirror and making eye contact with the driver. Completely aware of what was going on, he broke eye contact. So I asked if I could get out of the car, still about a 25 minutes from my house. I was terrified about having to walk home alone, and scared the man would get out and follow me.”
"One experience I had was when my breasts were being touched by a man purposely leaning into them on a train. He would go on tip-toes around the train, so that he could touch most women's butts. He then moved over to a girl standing in the corner and was rubbing his genitals against her. People were looking but did nothing, and just as I was about to say something, a lady told him there was space in the train and told him to hold the hand rail. She got off, and he saw me getting angry. He seemed aroused that I was mad and had a smile on his face. He then started sticking his tongue out and made hand gestures referring to a hand job. He didn't care that people were watching. The train got more crowded and he pushed through everyone to get close. He then put his hand on the hand rail and slid it as far over as he could to touch my hand. Before he did, I instinctively punched him on his jaw, and fell back to the ground. After freezing for a moment he then started smiling again. I realised he was just doing it for the reaction."
"I was at the gym and went down in the basement to lift weights. The basement is often male dominated, where I’m the only girl down there. This guy gave me several looks and asked if I wanted the squat rack after him - I said yes and thanked him politely. As I started doing my deadlifts, he kept trying to make eye contact with me. After a while he turned his head and watched me intensely. At one point he walked over and started talking, asking if I came here often. I said I was not interested. He proceeded to comment on my body and told me how gorgeous I was. Then he asked me if I wanted to go get a coffee. I looked him straight in the eyes, raised my voice and said I was not interested in talking to him or going out with him. His eyes turned from flirty to dark, he got angry and starting to yell. ‘Well if you wanna play it that way! Fuck you.’ He then started aggressively putting on his shirt. This is just one out of many encounters that have taken place at the gym.”
“It was a hot day on the tube at rush hour. I remember I was wearing a black dress. As the train moved, I felt the body of someone close to me. I looked behind to see it was a guy in his late thirties. He was looking away, so I presumed it was just an accident. The guy was now pressed against my arse with what felt like a boner. I didn't want to create a fuss so I said, ‘I'm really sorry but could you move back’. He apologised and stepped back. The train moved and there he was behind me again with a boner. I turned around shouted that there was more than enough space. He acted as though I was crazy. Everyone on the train continued to be ignorant. I was facing a group of guys, and they mouthed ‘are you okay?’ and 'if I knew the guy' and I said no. I knocked the man's head away from my shoulder and screamed, ‘Stop rubbing your boner on my arse - I do not know you!’ The man tried to defend himself but the guys grabbed hold of him. The next stop was mine, and I ran for my life.”
“I’m autistic. Walking down the street is extremely overstimulating, from the cars to people talking, the sounds of the crossing going off and then there’s the pavement, they’re not all created equal and I trip up a lot. I tend to have this emotionless face, I’ve been told I look permanently pissed off. Either way I don’t look happy, but then would you be if you’re hyper aware of your surroundings? Over the years as I’ve battled with the sights and sounds of city life, trying to keep myself as calm as possible, I’ve been catcalled, told ‘smile, it may never happen’ and my favourite, beeped at. Like most people I wear headphones when I’m walking, but for me they’re essential to dampen the sounds of the city and avoid having a panic attack. So the confidence of the men who gesture for me to remove my headphones so I can listen to them is admirable. Imagine being so confident you pressure a single female walking alone to remove her headphones because she MUST know that you think she should smile.”
“I was 17 at the time, and I’d left a friend’s birthday drinks early - supposedly to avoid anything like this happening. I got off the bus, took my headphones out, put my hood up, and looked cautiously around me as I walked down past Tooting Bec Athletics Track. I saw a dark figure behind me, so I walked speedily till I got to my friend's road. As I knocked on the door, someone ran up behind me. They slammed their entire body into me, grabbing and squeezing my bum, putting their whole weight on me. In complete shock, I half-laughed half-screamed thinking it was someone I knew just playing a trick. By the time I turned around they'd ran off, and I shouted after them just as my friend opened the door. When the police came, they explained there had been similar attacks in the area, I figured to push women inside their homes and… the thought still gives me shudders. They took my skirt and my jacket for evidence, and apparently arrested someone that night whose fingerprints didn’t match.“
“I was walking home one day, with my ear-pods in my ears listening to music. As I walked down the pavement, there was a guy walking towards me, his lips were moving but I couldn’t hear him. As I walked past him, he grabbed my arm and pulls me towards him. He yelled, ‘I was talking to you. When someone compliments you, you should say thank you!’ Shocked, I wrench my arm from his grasp and indicated to my fallen ear-pods, ‘Sorry, I didn’t hear you.’ I hate that I apologised to this stranger. ‘You think that you’re so nice. You’re not even all that.’ Angrily, he turns and continues up the hill. I am left shaken and disoriented trying to make sense of what had occurred. I was a couple of steps away from my house, but I continued to walk down the hill and towards the town Centre. I didn’t want him to know where I lived, in case he decided to follow me. I kept on walking and didn’t return home until several hours had gone by.”
“When I was fifteen, I went through a phase of wearing kilts, and one time as I was walking to one of my babysitting jobs, a silver Mercedes pulled up next to me on a busy road. The man in the driver’s seat called me over with one hand and asked me where St. Mary’s church was. I didn’t know. He then asked me to look at his map. As I leaned over, he told me that he liked my skirt and that I had a lovely arse. He then asked if I would like to get in. I said no, thank you.”
"When I was 16 I was getting on a bus in the afternoon. I went up to the top deck which was empty apart from a 40 year old man sat at the front. I sat in the middle of the bus and then noticed the man moved to the seats parallel to mine. I looked over and he was looking back at me and had his dick out wanking. It took me a while to react as I was so scared, then I just ran off the bus and didn't tell anyone. For years after I couldn't go on the top deck of buses by myself.”
“I was walking home from work one day and I was on the phone, just about to cross the road. A guy stopped his car in the middle of the road and asked me to get in his car. I said no and tried to walk around it, so he drove his car to block my way. I tried to walk behind it but he did the same thing. He then shouted, 'Get in my car or I’ll run you over!' I then slammed my fists on the car bonnet and shouted at him, which I think shook him so it gave me some time to cross the road and run away.”
“When I was around 14, I went to the movies on a school day at noon with my best friend. We were both bored and just wanted to do something else, I don’t even remember what the movie was. We sat on the very back row and a man in his 35’s sat just two seats apart from me and started masturbating. I remember not knowing what was going on, I just felt uncomfortable, I didn’t know what to do.”
“I was 10 or 11, and was waiting for my mum outside my dance class. A guy walked up to me, and touched my belly saying it was sexy and he liked it. I was paralysed, and waited for my mum there. Fortunately he left right away, but I think that that was my first time experiencing sexual harassment. Also I am Italian and have lived in Italy my entire life and I think sexual harassment is sometime perceived differently from culture to culture.”
“I was walking home from work, looking down at my feet. I glanced up and noticed three men hanging around outside a shop. I thought about crossing the road just to avoid them. But then I realised how fucked it was that I should even think. As I approached, they stopped chatting to one another and went silent. I felt their eyes follow me. I could feel it coming. ‘YOU’D LOOK MUCH PRETTIER IF YOU SMILED!!’ He shouted after me as if he thought he was being helpful.”
“One night when I was 17, I went to a club in Leicester with my friends. It was super busy, I was walking upstairs and I thought I saw a flash go off behind me. I turned around and saw a couple of guys around a camera. I glanced at the screen and saw a photo that was taken up my dress. They were laughing like it was funny, even some of my girlfriends were. I was so shocked at how graphic it was. I asked them to delete it but they just laughed and shrugged it off. It was no big deal to them.”
"I was walking to a bus stop in central London on a Saturday night, and two middle aged men approached me. One of them asked where I was going, so I said I was going home and walked away. They continued to ask if I wanted to join them, and started to follow me. I asked them multiple times to leave me alone and I hoped someone would intervene, but nobody did. I walked away as quickly as I could, but they continued to follow me. I ended up running into McDonald's to avoid them, and spoke to some people in there, missed my bus and spent a fortune on an uber, because I was so worried about bumping into them."
"I was waiting for my delayed train with a massive suitcase and only one other girl on the platform. Then this weird man came up the stairs and was staring at me so much. So I moved away from him and he followed me and stood next to me. So I moved again but it kept on happening. I wanted to call someone but he was standing right there. Then the train came but I didn't know what carriage to go in because I didn't want to be near him. So I got all my stuff and when I looked up, he has his face pressed up against the window between the carriages...staring at me."
“It was the middle of the afternoon on the weekend, and I had just pulled out my book after taking a seat on the tube. When we got to the next stop, I looked up to see which station it was, and that's when I saw a man, sitting just across from me, his eyes darting between my chest and my face while masturbating. He seemed completely unfazed by me noticing him doing this. He didn't say anything and he didn't stop.I felt like I was going to be sick, and I got off the tube right there and then. When the police found the CCTV footage, they saw that he had explicitly moved seats to be close to me once I got on, to get a better view I suppose. Since then, I try to be aware of my surroundings. Reading on the tube was my favourite way to pass the time. I don't do it anymore.”
“I work as a student midwife in a maternity ward in London. My uniform was wet, so I borrowed a pair of scrubs. After 12.5 hours, I was too exhausted to change, so I threw on my hoodie and got my first bus. I got off to wait for my second bus, when a car beeped at me, which sadly I’m used to. But then it turned around, and drove up right next to the bus stop, rolled the window down and started sexually harassing me, telling me that he’d take me where I wanted to go, that I should take a ride with him, and so on. It was 9am, I was surrounded by people who stood and just watched, I felt ashamed that because I happened to be there, the children at the bus stop had been exposed to that kind of language and behaviour. I turned my headphones up and hoped he wouldn’t get out of the car. I practically ran to my bus as soon as it arrived. On my way home, a group of men wolf whistled at me, and cars beeped at me as I tried to get home. That’s when I realised that it didn’t matter if I was in scrubs, I’d still be objectified and harassed simply for being a woman.”
“On the top deck of a double decker bus, a man approached me with a compliment. I assumed from the compliment that he was solely an ignorant white man, who would ask more race/culture related questions, but no, instead he turned out to be a full blown fetishizer and serial harasser. Cornered on the top deck, alone, with downstairs full, this creepy guy asked about my heritage which was quickly followed with, ‘Are you a virgin?’ I was confused. Maybe I heard him wrong. He repeated himself as I didn’t answer the first time, ‘Are you a virgin?’ The possibility of my maintained virgin status aroused him. The conversation did not get any better beyond this point. He persisted to talk about his own sexual relations with Caribbean women. I was trapped. I couldn’t move as I would have been further from the stairs. I discretely texted my fake boyfriend to put on his cape and save me, but all he could do was call me. I waited, uneasily, for the next bus stop so I could leave.Praying he would not follow me off. I ran as he smiled. After the encounter, I questioned myself, ‘why me?’ as if I didn’t already know the answer. I am Black and I am woman.”
"I was walking behind a group of young girls, and cut through a park. There were a group of guys drinking, and one of them shouts, 'That bald ones alright though."
"I was on my way to work and had a few minutes to spare so I sat on a bench close by. There was this man a few benches away from me, he came closer and pulled his dick out and started giving himself the time of day all whilst staring dead in my eyes."
“When I was 15, I was walking home from school like I always did, in my school uniform. This time however, a man kept kissing at me from his van. I decided to ignore him since it repulsed me, but he persisted to do it and call out remarks. After walking further up the road I turned around to notice that he had stopped, parked the van, opened the doors and was coming directly at me. Luckily I was around the corner from my house, so I ran down the hill to get home and didn’t look back.”
“At high school, there was a bit of a culture of sexual harassment, especially with certain groups of boys. They would comment on the girl's boobs all the time, you would get randomly grabbed and pushed up against walls. Sexual jokes and innuendos were made. It was all seen as a bit of a joke and I felt like I had to just endure it, because that's what was normal. This behaviour amongst my peers eventually led to me being sexually assaulted.”
“I was walking through Tompkins square park one afternoon when I see two teenage guys. The moment I walk passed them, one of the guys says to me, ‘Ok keep walking fucking ho.’ I was shocked. One second I was minding my own business, the next second I was being called a ho and being told what to do. I wanted to say something to them but by the time I formulated the thought, they were already gone, not even looking back. The comment has stuck with me ever since."
“I was at British Summertime Festival, when a group of guys started bothering me. I asked them to leave me alone but they persisted. Then to spite me, one of them stuck his hands between my legs, up my skirt, and took pictures of my crotch. He then sent the photo to his friends, who I saw looking at the picture. I snatched the phone, ran through the crowd to the police, but they said they couldn’t do anything. They then made him delete the picture, my evidence. I felt a sense of shame. ”
“Growing up in a few different places, it seems catcalling is a steady constant around the world. In LA I’d get stared at a lot and have men yell at me from their cars. In Sydney, I’d get told to smile constantly, and honked at by truck drivers on my daily walks. In NY I’ve had, ‘I’d do a redhead!’ shouted at me, or a man once blocked me from walking to ask if he could be my boyfriend. When I was 19, a friend and I were in Amsterdam, and a man began walking too close to us. He started whispering things he’d like to do to us in French, making kissing noises and gestures. We raised our voices, yelling back, my friend spat at him, but he just laughed in our faces.“
“I was on the Jubilee line with my housemates in a fairly busy carriage, so we were all separated when we got on. I was sitting down and my housemates were out of sight. A man on my left then put his hand on my thigh as the train pulled away. I didn’t say anything because I couldn’t believe what was happening. He kept his hand there for two stops, and my face was burning holding back the tears. As soon as we got off, I told my housemates what happened. They were shocked I didn’t say anything, but I couldn’t bare the thought of the man denying it on a packed train.”
“When I was 15 years old, I was walking back home when a minivan pulled over. The man driving, looked 50 years old and was well dressed, asked be for directions to a nearby mall. I gave him the directions and he said them back to me inaccurately. I repeated the directions. I was looking at his face, but I could see he was doing something with his hands in his lap. I remember looking down and realizing he was masturbating.
I just said, ‘I'm sorry, I have to go.’ and walked home wishing I had called him out or asked for help. When I got home, I told my grandmother and she said, ‘It's your fault for giving directions to a stranger.' ”
"Japan is the only country I've been to where I've never been catcalled, yet is the only country I've been groped five times. A male friend was behind me dancing and suddenly I felt someone grab my ass. I was so confused as my first instinct was to think it was him. But then I realised it couldn't have been him because he was talking to other people. It was a man who took the opportunity to use my confusion to grab my ass without having to be reprimanded for it. I was horrified to see how he slyly did it knowing full well I'd have no proof it was him. I will never forget the smug look on his face. It said, ‘what are you going to do about it?' "
“I was walking down a quiet neighborhood street and saw a man walking toward me from about a block away. I felt a strong sense that I should cross the street but ignored it, telling myself it was early, it was a safe part of town, and that I was just being paranoid. I stayed very alert and walked confidently as we got closer to each other. Just as we were about to cross he grabbed at me, either trying to grab my ass or pull me into the hedges next to us. With my car keys in my hand, I batted his hand away and yelled, ‘Don’t fucking touch me!’ Thankfully before he was able to really make contact. He ran away."
“I was 13 and with with a friend, going to Starbucks. As we were walking, I felt someone grab my bum hard. I froze for a second and stopped walking, I turned my head and saw a group of five men around 50 years old. They were smiling at me and waving their hands. I started screaming at them. It was a busy street and no one did anything. Everyone was looking at me like I was crazy. After that I tried to act like nothing was wrong for the rest of the evening, I was feeling so bad. So disgusted with myself. For weeks I could feel his hand on my bum. Even four years later, I still make sure to accelerate if someone walks to close to me.”
“I was on the tube home with my Mum and Dad, and earlier that day mum had commented on my skirt, saying, ‘You can’t wear that on the tube.’ It was a hot day, and I wanted to wear it so I did. There were two guys wearing suits who sat opposite us. Suddenly, one of them turned to the other and said, ’What the fuck are you doing? You’ve just been taking pictures up that girl’s skirt!’ There was a second of silence, and then I realised he was talking about me.”.
“About a year ago, my boyfriend and I went to a bar. I felt great, and was wearing my favourite dress. We decided to get take-away food. A random guy asked if we met that night, my boyfriend said we had been together a long time. Quickly, the guy started making disgusting comments about me, ‘I bet you f*ck her real good, I bet she likes it real dirty. Do you do her from behind? If I had a girl like that...’ He got louder and louder. A dozen people had formed around and just watched. I grabbed my boyfriend’s hand and left the situation fast. As we walked away, I could still hear him making vulgar comments. I slept at my boyfriend’s and I forgot to bring a change of clothes, I had to go to uni the next day wearing the same dress. I had never felt more self-conscious in my life, I kept replaying the comments repeatedly in my head. I’ve never worn that dress again, but those comments replay in my head regularly.”
“I was travelling by bus with a friend of mine and her boyfriend. I spotted a large man in a funny shirt travelling with us, and my gaze was fixed on him for a few minutes. As I stepped off the bus at a busy station, and tried to navigate through the sea of bodies, I felt someone firmly grip my wrist from behind. I turned around to see it was the man on the bus and he was stuffing a piece of paper into my hand. I managed to wrench my wrist free, drop the paper and run towards my friends. We walked on but noticed him and his friend were following us. We continued to walk down the road, even walking past my friend’s house. By the time they stopped following us, we had walked so far away from my friend’s place, that we had to take a Tuk-Tuk back. It was a very chilling experience for me.”
“Late one evening after school I decided to take a bus. I got on and sat right at the back. A little while later, four teenage boys got in. They saw me seated alone and came towards me. I ignored them, but before I knew it, they had surrounded me. One boy held me back by my shoulders and another ran his hand up my school-dress, whilst the other two stood over me. I completely froze until the hand started squeezing my upper thigh. I began to struggle, but they only pushed me back further. Suddenly I cried out for help. This made them pull back immediately and move away. The other passengers did nothing except glower at me. Even the bus conductor ignored me. Just then the bus stopped, and all four boys quickly got out. All I could do was sit and cry until the bus arrived at my road. I got out and ran home, but never told anyone what had happened.“
“I don't usually take public transport at night, but one day I had to. That day, a man sat next to me and started asking me questions. After some time, I saw that he was trying to get closer to touch me. I didn't react instantly because I wanted to be sure that he was harassing me, and not getting closer because of the crowd. A while later, I knew he was doing it on purpose. I told him to take his hand off and so he did and moved a little. Then he started sleeping and leaned towards my shoulders. I knew he was pretending. I told him to move, but he didn't stop. When the bus stopped for a break, I reported this to the conductor. Since it was a 9 hour journey I asked the conductor to move this man to another seat. The reply I got from the bus conductor was, 'This is a public bus. If you want to travel comfortably, use your own transport.’ After that, I stopped using public transport at night.”
"One day I was a little confused as to which bus to take, so I asked a nice looking old man. A few minutes into waiting, he got on the same bus and sat next to me. I wasn't too alarmed, and he even confirmed my bus-stop with the driver for me. When the bus moved, he began making small talk. He then fell asleep, and began to lean into me. I woke him up for his stop, but he kept sitting next to me. Suddenly, he wanted to exchange contact information. I kept saying no, but he pushed even more. He then told me that he developed feelings for me, and that he wanted to be even closer to me. He got more aggressive, and said he missed his stop for me. He also said he knew where I lived, and would follow me home. My stop finally came, and I stood up to leave. But he kept blocking me, so I jumped over him and tried to run for it. He grabbed my ankle. I shook him off and ran for my life onto another bus.”
“I was with my uncle and my aunt and I was going somewhere. They decided to take public transport because they didn’t prefer any other option. As I got into the bus, the conductor tapped my ass. I didn’t know how to feel at the time, because it was very new to me. So I told my uncle, as soon as we got in that this guy tapped my ass. He said, “Oh we don’t want to create a scene, so don’t say anything.” So I said okay, and told my aunt. Who then said, “You should just have a little pin that you use to prick the guy, and not say anything.” One thing that everyone told me, was not to say anything. I think that is something that we as a community need to overcome, because we need to say something. Otherwise its never going to change.”
“One day, I was traveling home from school with my younger brother by bus in my school uniform. A man was sitting behind me, and he tapped me. When he tapped me, I turned around and looked at him. As soon as I looked at him, he exposed a private part of his body to me. To be honest, I was very small, and I cried a lot, so I walked toward the front of the bus. An uncle saw that I was crying, and asked me why. When I told him what happened, he asked another passenger who was to getting off at the same place to take me home safely. Then that person dropped my brother and I home. At that time, I got really scared. Since I was so small, I was not sure how to react.“
“One day, I took the bus I was seated near the window, when a man came and sat next to me. He was trying to lean on me, so I moved further towards the window. But he continued to touch me. He then started to stomp on my feet. I asked him to move away because the aisle seat was empty. He said he couldn't move any further. He accused me of not letting him sit properly. I said ok you wait there and I'll stand up. When I was standing, the conductor asked me why. I told him I was standing because the man next to me was not allowing me to sit. The conductor started laughing. I was angry because the conductor who could have helped, was taking the perpetrator's side. I asked him if he had no mother or sisters, and if he would laugh like that if the victim was one of them. All the passengers in the bus were looking, but no one did anything.”
“One day I was travelling by bus. The seat next to me was a little shaky. Two people sat on it and we traveled comfortably. Another person came and sat next to me and he started touching me with his elbow. I pushed him with my elbow and moved away. He continued to touch, me so I kept my handbag in between us. I pushed him again. He got really angry and stood up from the seat and slapped me. There were a lot of people in the bus, but no one did anything. He just slapped me and got off the bus. This put me in a really uncomfortable situation. The sad thing is when people see these things happening, they don't intervene or tell them to stop. Everyone looks away. “
“My friend and I took the bus one day with my mother. While we were travelling, a 50 year old man started looking at us and smiling. After a while he started behaving inappropriately. He opened his zip and exposed his privates to us. My friend showed me and got so scared. When I realised what was happening I told my mother. My mother got really angry and started shouting at the man. There were so many men around us but nobody stepped in. My mother tried to chase him off the bus but nothing worked. He was there the entire time we were travelling. After that incident, I was more vigilant about my safety, and now, I always keep a small pin to prick people if they try to harass me.“
“Every day when I leave home, my mother tells me to be careful when taking the bus. Sometimes I wait for two hours for the next bus to come, if the bus is too crowded. A lot of people intentionally touch you up. Even though it consumes my time and energy, going in a crowded bus and giving chance to someone to ‘accidentally’ brushing their hand on my thigh or my back, its not a risk I’m willing to take. You always think about it, and it affects our daily routines. I usually travel alone, and my mum gets so worried that I have to call her every time I arrive somewhere. I am just one of many people, who live with fear of being harassed.“
“I was going to my friend's place in an unfamiliar area. The bus didn't quite go up to her house so I got off and walked the remaining 500m or so. While I was walking, a Tuk-Tuk stopped in front of me and the driver leaned out to ask directions to some place I had never heard of. I politely told him that I didn't know and that I wasn't familiar with this area. He then proceeded to very vulgarly say my boobs were big and I'd be nice for a good fuck. I walked off, because I was disgusted. It really impacted me, because I don’t usually get people stopping and saying those things to me. It was really a wake up call, that we really shouldn’t stay silent about this, because we cant just shut up and expect it to stop. To this day my friend doesn't know about what happened to me just on top of her road.”
“I was about 15 at the time. My mum had let me come back home alone in the bus, because it was safer than waiting for her. I got into the bus, and at the next stop two guys got in. They were hovering over me, saying things and asking me where I lived. They asked me for my number and name, and then one of them sat next to me. I kept ignoring them until the conductor walked towards us. When he did, they asked him, ‘Give us tickets for the same bus stop she is getting off at!’ I freaked out, but just stayed silent. The conductor said nothing and neither did anyone else. When my bus stop got closer I got off, and they got off behind me. I ran home. I was too afraid to tell my mum or anyone about the incident. For the next couple of weeks I felt like someone was following me when I got off the bus.”
“I was in an almost empty bus, heading home. I sat in the farthest seat. A group of five men, got in and scattered themselves across the bus. The youngest of them, sat across the rear seat of the bus next to me. The other four turned around to face me and stared shamelessly with smug looks on their faces. The incessant stare directed at me by all five of them was enough to make me feel defenceless, nervous and angry. I've never had the courage to speak up, but I stared directly at the boy next to me. Staring back seemed to excite them even more. I went on to ask him, ‘Why are you looking at me like that? Have you never seen a girl before?’ This had them look at me in surprise. I guess they did not expect a girl to confront them. Just as I said this, the boy I spoke to immediately got off the bus. The rest followed.”
“I was on my way home from a tuition class in the evening, and the bus was very crowded. There was a man seated next to me, I didn't notice him at first, and after some time, I realised his hand was on my inner thigh. I was so shocked and it took me a few seconds to realise what was happening. That was the first time I was harassed physically and I didn't know how to react. I got so angry. I asked him directly, ‘What's your problem? What are you doing?’ He said, ‘Sorry!’ Without thinking, I hit him with my water bottle. I couldn't believe that the bus conductor, driver and other passengers didn't help me."
“I was about 14 years old, and travelling in the bus with a friend after school for the first time on our own. We were approached by an elderly man. He was standing behind us and started attempting to talk to us, which we ignored. He then whispered lewd, explicit comments which led to him pushing against and rubbing his genitals on me. I froze with fear. I became completely numb. My friend realised what was happening but I knew she too was scared. This act continued and finally when a lady noticed and offered me her seat, the perpetrator got off the bus. None of the bystanders intervened, and for days I couldn't overcome my fear. I was traumatised.”
“I was on the train three years ago, traveling to Colombo. A friend was with me, and both of us had fallen asleep, as we were tired from work. A person sat behind me, and he was pretending that he was sleeping and kept putting his hand on my leg. I told him to take his hand off several times, but he kept on doing it for some time. I then got off the train at my station, and my friend phoned me. She said that after I had left, the man had showed her pornographic pictures when they arrived at Maradana station. She was scared to tell anyone. We were very afraid to travel on the train alone, and together after that incident. I feel sad when I’m reminded of that incident even today.”
"I was standing on the tube during rush hour and felt something grazing my crotch. I was reading the Metro which was covering the area and just assumed it was someone's bag or something mistakenly touching me. As we pulled into a stop I thought I'd double check and saw the hand of a disgusting old man who was standing next to me."
"I was walking past a group of guys and one tried to grab my arm to get my attention. I took my headphones out and looked at him in disgust whilst he asked me, 'Oi, where you from?'. I literally thought 'not today', so I continued on my journey. As I walked off I heard his friend say, 'She's ugly anyway' "
"I was sat waiting for someone and I heard 'Hey you, light skin, lightie, hey you lightskin' repeatedly. I refused to look towards the caller but eventually they stood right in front of me. He then continued, 'You know I was calling at you, why you ignoring me. I think you should give me your number, I really like you and I’d show you a good time.' "
"When I was in year 7, I was walking home in east London and a man stopped me and asked for directions. After I told him, he asked me, "Are your nipples big or small?" I thought I misheard so I said, "What?" He stepped closer and asked me again. - I ran all the way home."
"I was in the subway in Paris, waiting for the metro and a man in a suit came along and started talking to me. He asked for my number to give his friend, who thought I was beautiful. I said no, and he said I was arrogant. He stayed next to me, staring at me for what felt like hours. Then he spat on my shoes three times and nobody in the station moved a finger. I got in the metro and the man stayed on the platform, and went straight to another girl."
“I was walking home alone through a quiet street at about 2am, when a big car stopped beside me. There were four men in the car. The driver asked for directions to somewhere and when I told them I didn’t know, they shouted, “Come suck these balls!” I froze as I thought they were going to drag me into the car, but they just drove away.”
"I was on the subway, and I was approached by an older man who started asking me questions. We were the only ones on the platform, and he asked me if I was single, if I was a lesbian, and finally, 'Can I show you my penis?' He was cornering me between the platform and the edge, luckily the train pulled in at that moment, otherwise I don't know what he would have done."
"Between the ages of 14 and 16 I had random men masturbate whilst staring directly at me three times. Each time was at a bus stop, each time I was alone except for the men, and each time I was in my school uniform."
"At a pub I was working at, this guy who was maybe in his mid 30s constantly harassed me. Asking me out and saying he'll 'destroy me.' One of the nights we were staying after, having some drinks with some of the other staff and he was continually putting his hand up my legs. He was trying to get in my skirt and saying I was a pussy for not sleeping with him."
“I was carrying my one year old son on my back in his baby carrier, and we’d just spent a few hours at the beach by ourselves for the first time. I was feeling really proud for actually leaving the house for the first time in almost a week, and then I see a man in a van, curb crawling. He leaned out of the window and shouted, ‘Let’s have a go on those milky tits!!’ I instantly felt sick and panicked, I had never been in any confrontation with my baby present before. He followed me, shouting, ‘Come on love I’ll show you a good time.’ I told him to fuck off, he then started driving on to the curb. By this point I’m crying,I start to run towards a one way street hoping to lose him, he then yelled, ‘You’re not that fit anyway.’ and sped off. By this point my baby is crying, im crying. The whole experience was gross. Even two years later I think about that whenever I see a white van.”
"I was headed out to meet friends at Coney Island for some beers. Pride had happened recently, and so I had a lot of rainbow clothes lying around, and wore a few pieces of rainbow clothing and headed out for the day. I noticed that people were avoiding a man on a bench. He was muttering to himself. As soon as I got near, I saw him turn and face me, his words growing louder, before he got up and lunged at me, yelling the f-word, and beat me down into the sidewalk. I got away, and someone walked with me down the other side of the street. I had to go home because of a panic attack, and I had to go to the doctor. I've been called the f-word more times since then, and it sucks every time. The worst part is, every time I want to say I'm trans and gay! Get more accurate with your insults!”
“One day, after soccer practice had just ended and my teammates and I were walking to a bodega to get the usual snacks. As we approached the corner, a guy much older than me started yelling, ‘Yo ma, lightskin shorty with the long hair, your pussy looking mad fat in them shorts.’ His friends all laughed and I heard a few, ‘yeah you right.’ I froze up, tried to ignore it, ‘I know you hear me talking to you.’ His friends kept laughing. We entered the bodega swiftly, and I remember the street was packed with people. I paid for my stuff and scurried out the bodega. As soon as I thought the coast was clear I felt him running up on me with what I think was water. He then dumped the water all over me and threw the bottle at me saying, ‘Don’t you ever fucking disrespect me on my block bitch.’ “
"It was a warm evening of July on a crouded Parisian subway - about a meter away from me was a man smiling at me constantly. After a few minutes I realised he was touching himself and had a hard on, whilst staring at me. I panicked and ran out at the next stop."
"When I was 14, I was walking down the stairs to the train platform. This man was walking up the stairs and as he did he put his hand up my skirt. The whole thing lasted less than 20 seconds but felt like a lifetime. When I looked back at him he smiled. I don't think I have ever told that story before."
“After a night out, we got the bus home. The bus was packed and I could feel whoever behind me was extremely close. It felt like they were rubbing against me but I shrugged it off. I looked around to see if I could move down, and noticed that there was a man stood right up against me. He had no one behind him, and he had been rubbing up against me for the entire journey.”
"I was sat at a bus stop when a suited man walked over and started talking to me. He told me he liked my hair, then called me beautiful and forced his lips close to mine, for a second I froze then I pushed him away. I saw my bus and got on, he followed me onto the bus, sat next to me and tried to run his hand up my skirt. I screamed and told him to fuck off. Nobody believed I was in danger."
"I get the standard shouts and stares from builders whilst walking by. A few years ago in the summer a guy shouted at me, 'Fancy a Fuck?' Which I thought was disgusting and rude but in a weird , fucked up kinda way, I was flattered. But guys don't really heckle me as much these days. I'm not sure if is because I dress more masculine than I used to."
"I was running in the park and noticed two men watching me. I immediately felt uncomfortable and tried to ignore their stares. The men approached me and said, 'Do you want to have a threesome right now?' I told them to walk away and I continued to stretch. They didn't walk away. Instead they thought they would ask another question. 'Can you stop bending down like that? It's getting me really hard.' "
“It was my first year in London, and I was so happy. I remember walking to the bus stop on a sunny day. The bus was pretty packed, when suddenly a hand slowly caressed my forearm until it was holding my hand. I quickly pulled my hand away and don't remember if he said something. I just know that after that I learned to not smile in London, not to look too friendly. I know that that is not the answer, but it has now become my defense mechanism.”
"Once, when I was about 15, a man was following me on the street in the middle of the day. He kept asking me "why are you such a slut?", and "why are you so horny?". I was quite scared, but when I saw a young couple coming towards us I was glad there was someone who could help. I stopped dead in front of them and turned around to the man following me, saying loudly to leave me alone and to stop following me. The couple looked alarmed but did nothing, and walked right around us."
“I was coming home a club nights, when I felt the presence of a large group of men. I had never been so suddenly aware of my outfit, and how inappropriate my shoes were. They surrounded me while shouting things at me that I still can’t even repeat to my own mother, and tried to grab me. I screamed at them through tears as I tried to break away. I took my heels off and ran the whole way home trying to stave off a panic attack. I sat on the edge of my parents bed and cried and cried. I have never worn those heels again.”
“I was walking to swimming after school with 3 friends when a flasher, with an actual flasher Mac, came running down a grassy bank towards us opening his coat. We ran as fast as we could laughing until we reached the leisure centre. I didn't realise how bad it was until I happened to mention it to my mum weeks later. I wouldn't have classed it as sexual harassment at the time as I was a child, but when I think about it now, I would, especially as I was wearing my school uniform.”
"I was drifting off to sleep on a train, and I felt something brush against my arm. I opened my eyes and looked in the gap of the seat. I saw a man's foot forced through the gap, rubbing it up and down my arm. I was frozen. When I turned around to confront the owner, a perfectly normal looking man jumped out of his seat and ran down the carriage."
"I was sitting on the subway and I had my earphones in. But then my battery died so I could hear people talking. Two white guys got in and stood in front of me. They were talking about dating girls and how they were in bed and stuff. Then one guy said, 'Have you ever done it with an Asian girl?" And the other guy said, 'No, never had the chance.' Then the first guy said, 'Oh they're the best, you must fuck an Asian girl.' "
“I was standing in a fairly crowded subway car, and a middle aged man pushed up against me. I felt something pressing into me which I assumed was a bag or something. He pushed closer into me and I could feel him swaying back and forth against my back with what I then realized was clearly an erection. I gave him a nudge with my elbow to message ‘back off’ and he leaned in closer. I looked back with a dirty look and asked if he could give me some space. He did not and smiled at me in return. I squeezed past him to switch cars at the next stop and as I did he laughed at me. He followed me into a less crowded car where he sat down across from me smiling, looking directly at me, and masturbating inside his pants. I stood up waiting for the doors to open at the next stop. His eyes were locked on me and I could tell he wanted to get up and follow me again. He climaxed as I was walking out of the subway car. I rushed out of the train and waited at the end of the platform near the exit to be sure he didn’t exit the train. I walked to another station and took a different train home from there. People saw what was happening, and some people gave him dirty looks, but that was it.”
“After a night out dancing, my friend and I got takeout and sat on a bench. A black suburban with three men inside pulled up in front of us. The man sitting in the back smiled and waved at me, so I smiled back. The light turned green and the car sped off. Minutes later, the same car swung back around the corner and stopped in front of us again. This time, the man in the back seat was more persistent. He asked me my name and wanted me to give him my phone number. He took it upon himself to play my absolute least favourite game of ‘guess my ethnicity.’ ‘I’m black,’ I said. ‘Nah, you look more like Pocahontas or some mixed shit,’ he asserted. I rolled my eyes. The light turned green, the car drove away. To my dismay, the black suburban swung right back around the corner. My friend then told the man to leave me alone. ‘Shut up, darkie,’ the man hissed. ‘How dare you?’ I choked. ‘I bet your mama has dark skin. Why would you disrespect your own people like that?’ - ‘Chill, I’m just tryin’ to holla at you.’ Two trans women watching the scene escalate from the next bench then jumped in. ‘Leave these girls alone or we’re calling the cops.’ ‘Whatever, tranny,’ the man in the car sneered, spitting at us as they sped off. ‘Men,’ we all sighed in unison.”
“I had just finished a run last summer, on broadway near my apartment. I was in tights and a tank top and was sweaty, when a small group of men on the street said, ‘Ooh hey beautiful,’ and made grunting noises as I was passing them. They said, ‘Your body is sexy girl I would hit that.’ There were a few of them sort of egging each other on so it felt a little scary even though we were in broad daylight on a crowded street. My body immediately tensed up and I felt myself trying to go to a safe place internally to protect myself. But my second thought was it’s not ok and I can’t let them think so. This was an experience that I’ve had so many times in my life, and always just walked by, wanting to hide, saying nothing. But now, feeling more powerful and strong in my 40’s, I stopped and turned directly to them. I sternly said, ‘Please do not speak to me that way. It’s not ok.’ They were a little stunned but then all laughed with each other and shrugged it off like I was the crazy one. ‘Ok girl whatever.’ It was nothing to them. It felt like they thought it was their god given right to objectify me that way. Men really believe they’re doing nothing wrong, and women are trained to think it’s a compliment. Men cannot imagine what it’s like to be a woman in this world.”
“I'm a street photographer, and I was shooting signs near a quiet suburban strip mall. Some guy creeped on me, while slowly circling the block. Finally he pulled over next to me while I was packing up my gear, and asked me some photo shit before asking if I liked being in front if the camera. He then suggested I ‘take some fun pictures’ with him and a friend. As I stepped away, shocked I noticed his erect penis was exposed.”
"When I was sixteen and walking to school one morning on a quiet residential street, I saw this middle aged, rather normal looking guy up ahead of me standing in the middle of the pavement. As I got closer I realised he was having a full in wank, in broad daylight. As I walked past feeling shocked and too freaked out to even change my route and cross the road he goes, 'Yeah you want some of this?' "
“I was at a club but left early when I came across a man on the street looking distressed. I asked if he was ok, he replied that he was too drunk and needed to get home. I offered to help, but he started mumbling and I got a bad feeling, so I said sorry and continued walking. He started walking alongside me asking, ‘Where is your boyfriend, are you alone’. I ignored him and kept walking, but he stayed close by. I could see the guy I was meeting with in the distance, I just said, ‘He’s right there’ and pointed. The man got extremely angry, called me a bitch and barged me into the road. Luckily, the guy I was meeting ran to help.”
“It was a late summer evening when I was walking with my boyfriend in Bethnal Green. Whilst on my phone, I felt a hard slap on my bum. I spun around to see two boys about 12 years old, looking at me with glee, and another kid speeding away into the distance on his bike. The two boys ran away and I gave chase. I was fuming at the fact they felt it was the best prank. I yelled at them that this was unacceptable and was so angry, that a small group of young Bengali men gathered around, just to say that boys will be boys, they're just kids. I walked away only for the same boys to ride past me on their bikes shouting racist abuse. I kept thinking, they wouldn't have dared touch me if I was white.”
“When I was 12 years old in Mexico City, a man leaned his body against mine in the subway. I did not understand what was happening. When we left the carriage, the guy waited for the person looking after me to look away, then he cornered me against the wall, put his hand behind my backpack and grabbed my buttock. I felt disgusted, and I didn’t understand why this had happened. No one had warned me about this type of situation. Nobody warned me that public transport was one of the places with there is the most sexual violence against women. People assured me that rapists were ‘weird’ types of men, ‘sick’ or called them ‘monsters’. But the guy that touched me was young and he looked normal, like anyone else."
“I have ridden a bike in London for ten years. The worst part isn't the traffic fumes, or the dodgy road surface, or the even the threat of being crushed by a bus. It's the harassment. Despite some of my friends never having endured this, I seemed to always attract this low-key gross unsolicited attention. Generic comments like, ‘Alright darl’, ‘Pretty bike for a pretty girl,’ and sometimes, ‘Give us a ride love,’ and my favourite, ‘Ooh, I wish I was your saddle.’ Whistles and catcalls which quickly sour to, ‘Fuck off then you fucking slag!’ When you give them the finger and cycle past. Twice, a man leaning out of the passenger side to slap my bum. The second time this happened, it was a car full of boys and they just laughed.”
"I was at the beach in Brighton with my friends when a man began walking back and forth past us, making comments and stopping to stare each time. We had watched different men follow girls along the beach, sexually harassing them and making them feel uncomfortable as they walked from the sea back to their belongings. The final time this man came over to us, he made a slapping gesture and said, 'How much? How much to slap that arse?' – We were all fully clothed."
“I occupy a place that is known to objectifiy women. You need to look overly feminine and to behave softly. So my life is populated with the condescending sentences, ‘You should smile more, be softer, be more feminine.’ This is the hard reality of being a woman in a man’s world. You are only accepted if you are in a dependent position. You need to look beautiful, be skinny, smile all the time, be in an amazing mood, be smooth, laugh every time they joke or touch you or think that you are very stressed so you need an unsolicited massage.“
"Catcalling started when I was 11. It was when I had just moved to Israel, a grey pick up truck with four workers was honking at me from behind. I was turning the corner and they slowed down along side me saying things I couldn't hear because I was so frightened. I started walking faster and one of the men reached out of the window, so I started to run home. As I was running home someone spat out the window at me."
“I was walking home a few weeks ago and some guy started talking to me asking where I was going. I faked a phone call but clearly not convincing enough and he sort of grabbed me by the waist and tried to lift and pull me into this alley where we live. I elbowed him and heeled him in the groin, which I knew how to do because I spent some time in self defense classes after I was date raped at Uni. I was pretty shocked by the whole experience because of my past, and him calling me a slut when I fought him off, the whole thing was hugely triggering and damaging in ways I wish I could describe.“
“It happened on a bus in August 2017. I was sitting in the window seat when he sat down, and started asking questions. I answered them, trying to be polite. As the conversation went on, his leg came close to mine, and his whole hand was on my thigh. I told him to back off and he did. He offered to change seat but I said it was fine. After a while he put his hand in his pants. I got off as soon as I could. No one in the bus noticed. I reported him to security and told him to never do that again. He pretended that he had done nothing wrong. I called the police who didn’t do anything, except say that the man was a piece of shit.”
“I was waiting at a bus stop when a man approached me holding a baby. He told me that the baby said, 'Who is that girl she's so beautiful'. I love young children so I tried talking to her and engaging with her, but I quickly started to realise that she couldn't talk. After he gave the child to the parent who was leaving on a bus, he came back and wouldn't leave me alone. I said multiple times that im not interested in what he was offering. He tried to hug me a few times, touching around my hips and waist. He literally didn't leave me alone until my male friend came over to me.”
“Going out of my house is something that I give second thoughts to even if I drive. The second you get out of the car you get those awful looks. Catcalling is very common here in Mexico, sadly it’s often brushed off like, ‘Agh whatever, just let it be.’ Because you can’t challenge them, not always, and you don’t know how far will he go. There have been a couple of times when I have been with friends, and men have catcalled us; I usually ask them to repeat it straight to my face, but they never do. Maybe they don’t expect a woman to face them. But women here in Mexico are getting tired of it now.”
“I was 14 years old, and wearing a blouse and hot pants. Showing my legs has been a challenge for me since my knee surgery some years before. I have big scars on my knees, and at that time they weren’t as faded as today. I was taking the train, and it was almost empty. I took a seat across from a man in his twenties. He started staring at my bare knees. I tried to ignore it, but he came closer and started swinging his hands towards them. ‘May I touch them?’ I shook my head and froze. I got up and stood by the doors for the rest of the journey. That day I decided I would never show my knees again in public.”
“I was walking my children to school early one morning, when a group of men in a building site started whistling and making sexual noises. One of them shouted, ‘Come on turn around love, don't be shy we don't bite.’ I was horrified that certain men think that this behaviour is acceptable. My children had to witness the filth that was said to me. These individuals choose a time when they know a woman is vulnerable and won't be able to fight back. To make matters worse, when I explained to a friend, she replied saying, 'Oh don't worry babe, it's because your pretty, don't take no notice of it.' ”
"A van with two guys in drove up from behind me and shouted, 'Oi! Nice arse!' I ignored it and carried on walking, but traffic slowed and they were right next to me, glaring out the window continuing their cat calling. I crossed to go down a different street, but they followed. I was getting a bit scared because they werent leaving me alone. I crossed over again to be on the opposite side of the road to them, but they were able to pull up next to me. Eventually I got to a pedestrianised road and I quickly turned down it to escape them. It was daylight but the experience still really shook me. "
"I was sitting on a coach travelling through Croatia, and four guys sat in the row of seats in front of me. One of them sat next to be uninvited and started making conversation. Over the next two hours he kept moving closer and closer to me, even trying to touch and stroke me. He tried to put his hand under my romper and each time I would tell him to leave me alone. There was a couple who was sitting across from us but they did nothing the whole time. When the coach stopped, I tried to move past him and he touched my bum."
"I was on an overnight train in a cabin filled with men. Every hour or so I was awoken by a man rubbing up against me insisting that I smile. It's always a precarious balancing act being a female solo traveler because without familiar refuge you have to constantly temper your outrage and fear while appeasing men to protect yourself."
"I was walking down the street with the dog, and a man shouts at me, 'Oi, show us your tits!' "
"One time I was getting money out of a cash point, and these boys leant out of their car window and shouted, 'FAGGOT!' At me."
"I spend my time working with a wide variety of people, often seeing the same people for days or weeks on end. One person, every time I saw them would say, 'Give us a smile love'. "
"The amount of times a guy won't leave me alone in a bar or a club is countless. Or I've been beeped at by a car driving past. That's the worst because then they can just drive off and you feel pissed off and helpless but can't even do anything. Actually just recently I was out dancing and a guy behind me decided to take that as an invitation to grab me on the hips and grind on me."
"I was at a bar in LA and I began to walk across the deck towards the stairs leading to the grass. It was cramped out there so I squeezed by the people standing against the wall, then I felt a tap on my shoulder. I turn around and this guy leans forward, stretching himself just centimetres from my face and tried to force a kiss on me. I told him to fuck off and asked what his problem was to which he replied, 'Ugh, fucking bitch.' "
"After spending an evening accepting tips from a drunken customer at a bar I worked at, I walked through the bar with a bucket of ice, and he tore open my top and plunged a hand of ice down it. When I complained he said he wanted his money back "
“I was working at a bar, when my boss's son in-law took over management. The two of us were in the small kitchen when he said, ‘You smell delicious, I'd love to eat you.’ There was no one around and I knew I couldn't speak up because my boss' reaction would have been to cover him and potentially fire me. This is how the boss had dealt with things in the past so I knew he wouldn't stand up for me.”
“I was walking home one night, and noticed a guy walking towards me. He reached out his arm, just as we crossed paths, and grazed his hand against my breast. I was furious and yelled out, ‘What the fuck?!’ but he kept walking so I continued on my journey home I immediately messaged a friend who responded saying, That shit happens to me all the time. "
"I was cycling up a residential street one evening going pretty slowly. There was no one on the street apart from a teenage guy at a bus stop. He saw me and waited until I was cycling past, then said, 'Bitch!' "
“I was standing on the bus, and there was a man sitting down next to me on his phone. I saw that he had angled his phone up at me, and then I saw a flash go off. I looked down at his phone and I saw he had taken a picture up my skirt.”
"I was publicly harassed far more when I was a young girl. But that just shows what kind of a person these people are, deliberately praying on the vulnerable and unassertive."
"One time walking to get lunch off campus with friends, a group of about five 40 year old men blocked the sidewalk and asked us, 'So, are you the good type or schoolgirls, or the naughty kind?' "
"During lockdown, I was returning home from a late shift at work when I was physically attacked by a stranger. I heard somebody shouting out of view from around the corner. A man appeared - he seemed high and was swigging from a can of cider. He clocked me standing on the pavement with my bike and lurched towards my face. Before I could think of what to do, the words 'STAY AWAY FROM ME' had already left my mouth, reverberating around the empty street. He laughed and moved towards me again. He admitted defeat and walked on. But as I went to get back onto my bike, he was behind me. He hit me hard on the bum and said ‘stupid bitch’ in my face before walking away. When I got home I immediately called the police. I was disappointed when they refused to do a search of the area or come and visit me at home to take a statement. I was raped in 2015 and had experience with reporting assault to the police. But I felt that my case wasn’t taken seriously this time, despite the effect it had had on me. Over two months ago, I made a formal complaint to the police about how my 999 call was handled that night. I’m still waiting for the outcome."
“On a Hinge date last year, I was shocked by my date’s behaviour. The date started as all dates do, with awkward body language and cliched questions. After an hour or so, he asked me when I last had sex and I replied, feeling a bit confused. He then asked what sort of sexual kinks I was into and I said, ‘Ermm, none?’ In a fragile state, I excused myself to go to the toilet. On the toilet door, I saw a sign that stated, ‘If you’re feeling threatened on a date, go to the bar and ask for Angela.’ Did I go to the bar and ask for Angela? No. Should have I done? Yes, but when you’re on a vulnerable position, you don’t know what the right decision is. My final straw was when I returned to the table and he asked me if I could handle a big dick. I got up and left. As I got into my Uber, he messaged me saying this wasn’t going to work and take care. In a blind rage and in the safety of my Uber, I texted him what I thought of his predatory behaviour and to my surprise, he seemed to be taking it onboard. When my phone started to ring and I saw his number pop up, I thought he was calling to apologise. I decided to pick up and was shocked when he was in bed, naked and masturbating.”
“I was headed to my last walk of the day, when a man on a bike turned the corner in front of me and said, ‘Why hello gorgeous,’ I rolled my eyes and muttered, ‘God leave me alone.’ He immediately started yelling, got off his bike and proceeded to follow me on foot getting more and more aggressive. I told him to back off, and actually put my hand in my bag to reach for pepper spray. He did back off but unfortunately I saw him again about 10 minutes later and he just started screaming at me and following me again. Calling me a dumb bitch, telling me I need to learn respect etc etc. He threatened to choke me, kill the dog I was walking and followed me even when I crossed the street. There were so many people around and no one stepped in except my local bodega guy who just tried to get him to go home. Thankfully after a minute or two, two women came over to me and one of them threatened to call the police so he backed off. However, this happened right near where my client lives, and a block from my building, so I have seen him several times since. I’m still terrified of him.
"An old man came up to me and my friend at a bus stop and said we were beautiful. We explained that we didnt care what he thought of our appearance, but he cut us off and said, 'I'm going to walk over there now, and when I do, I'm going to turn around and look at your bottoms!' As we turned to glare at him, laughing he said, 'See, you're scared now.' And carried on laughing."
"I was walking home, and a car started driving slowly next to me. Two guys were calling me sexy and asking me to climb in, when I said no they started pestering so I walked into a shop and heard one of them say, 'she's not that pretty anyway.' "
"I was 19, and in a crowded train. There was a guy pressed against my back, moving against me. I first thought he was trying to get off the train, but then he whispered in my ear. I turned around to face him, trying to look angry, but then he put his hands on my hips and started grinding on me. So I stepped on his toes hard, and stormed out of the train."
"My uber driver dropped me off at a nearby street, and a young guy came up to me and started calling me beautiful and asking my name. He began following me home, trying to put his arm around me and asking for a kiss. He asked if I had a boyfriend and kept pulling me towards him to kiss him. I kept on telling him to stop, and then he grabbed and slapped my bum, and ran away laughing, looking back at me. I should have reported him but I was just so relieved to get home."
“I went to a club with my friends, and as I was walking to the bar, a security guard approached me and said, ‘That ass is dangerous.’ Then proceeded to rub my bum. I immediately pushed him away and shouted. He looked at me as if I was crazy, like he was entitled to touch me. Another security guard saw the commotion and I told him what happened, but the one who had touched me made it sound as if I was drunk and crazy. The security guard defended him so I reported the incident to a higher guard and then left early to go home. ”
"When I was about 13, I was taking the train in the middle of the day. A drunk guy got on and was shouting about bitches up and down the carriage. He came, sat next to me, touched my leg and asked me why I was no fun, about an inch from my face. Everyone was watching but no one said anything."
"I was walking and a man in a car tried to grab my attention, so I pretended not to hear and walked on. He got out of his car and grabbed me from behind and said, 'Can I have your number?' I said no, and he called me an, anti social bitch."
“When I was walking home from working as a bartender in a nightclub, sober and alone, a man cycled up behind me, smacked my bum with his hand, so loudly, the sound alone terrified me. He cycled off so I didn’t get the chance to see his face or report what he looked like. The experience left me shaken, confused and unconfident in walking home alone again.”
"One time in high school, wearing my school girl plaid uniform, some guy tried to take a picture up my skirt"
“The most recent harassment I had to deal with was when I was on my way home from town, and I crossed paths with this middle-aged man. He clocked me from the other side of the road, crossed over to where I was walking and started following me. I didn’t immediately notice he was actually following me and not just coincidentally walking in the same direction. At one point I turned around to check if he was still behind me, and he just smirked at me. I decided to walk in loops around the main roads and called my friends to come meet me near the local park so that I wouldn’t be alone. I stayed on the phone with them the whole time and by the time I reached my friends, he had already been following me around for over half an hour. He only stopped when I got to them. What upsets me more about this whole ordeal is knowing that every single woman in my friendship group has dealt with their own version of this story too. Sexual harassment should not be this normalised. But I think the worst part about dealing with harassment as a woman, is realising that I got it more when I was a young teen than I do now as an adult.”
"When I moved to Paris, I didn't know my way around the city and stopped to ask a man for directions back to my flat. The man told me where to go and then proceeded to follow me home, begging me to kiss him. By the time I reached my door, I was pretty scared and didn't know what to do. I opened the door, walked through and tried to close it before he could get in. But he wedged his foot in the door frame so I couldn't shut it! The only thing that I could do was to pull him in as if to kiss him then shove him really hard so he fell out the building and I was able to slam the door on his face."
“In my first year of uni, I would always go to the weekly jazz night at the local student bar. One night, I noticed a guy staring at me from across the room. After a while, he came up to me and told me that I was beautiful, that he had seen me there before, and always looked at me from across the bar. I didn't think much of this at first, he seemed pretty harmless and it was even kind of flattering. However, as the weeks went on this gradually escalated, making me feel increasingly uncomfortable. Almost every week he would come up to me, profusely compliment me, try to touch me, follow me about, or just stare at me from the other side of the room. Once, I went to the bathroom alone, and when I came out, he was waiting for me outside. He cornered me and tried to kiss me. On another occasion, after he had come up to me at the bar, I went out into the smoking area with a friend in the hopes of avoiding him. He followed us outside however, and proceeded to touch my hair, then grabbed my hand and started caressing it. I'm an extremely anxious person, and really didn't know how to handle the situation. I didn't want to directly confront him, so just tried to make it clear that I wasn't interested , but he didn't stop, even after I lied and told him that I was already in a relationship with someone. One night, I felt so uncomfortable that I just left the bar early by myself. Every time I went back I felt on edge, as though I had to be constantly on the lookout in case he was there.”
“At the start of term last year, I used to get the train into University for a 9am lecture. Naturally, the train was full of commuters and would always be super crowded, but as I only had to ride 3 stops it never bothered me particularly. After living in London for 2 years, crowded public transport was something I was used to. However, about 3 weeks into my term, whilst I was on the train with my headphones in, a man probably not much older than I was grabbed my headphones and yanked them out, asking if he could ‘have a listen’ before proceeding to press his face against my ear and whisper sexually explicit comments to me. I grabbed my headphones, but because the carriage was so crowded I wasn't able to move away from him. Waiting for my stop felt excruciatingly long, as he kept staring at me until I eventually got off. I remember feeling nauseous for the rest of the day and after that I never got on the rush hour train again.“
“I was in this dive bar in my local town, Maidstone, with a friend and her boyfriend dancing and drinking. Then a huge young guy came out of nowhere, he was easily over 6 foot. The guy kept speaking to my friend’s boyfriend as if getting permission, and before I even knew what was happening, he was kissing me and I had no idea what to do. He picked me up and threw me over his shoulder as I tried to reach for my friend’s hand. He walked out of the bar with me like that but luckily I caught a bouncer’s attention. The guy was then stopped and pepper sprayed whilst I was dropped on the ground. Once the guy had left, the bouncers acted like nothing weird had happened, stating it was a good thing I hadn’t gone home with him, as he’d ‘tried it on with all the girls in there’. I remember being terrified and in disbelief that no one around me seemed to care that I had almost been abducted after being forcibly kissed”
“I was 13 and on a school trip in Germany. I found myself alone in a shop and was casually browsing when I suddenly felt two hands roughly grab my right arm. A 30-something man in a white T-shirt was standing right beside me and I heard him say: come with me. I froze. Time stood still. Terror filled my body and one thought went through my head: I’m dead. Just at that moment I heard my name - a friend trying to find me in the shop - and instinctively I whipped my head around. Realising I wasn’t alone, the man disappeared. I was no longer being abducted. Afterwards, I deliberated whether or not to tell anyone but I didn’t have the language to convey what had happened. Instead I normalised the impact it had on my life: intrusive memories, a constant state of fear when outside, and nightmares for a decade.It would be seven years before I felt able to share this experience, and even today it's something I find hard to talk about.”
All photographs taken by Eliza Hatch© . Photographs date between 2017-present day. All photographs taken on Kodak Colour 35mm / 120mm film
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