As told by Emaelia:
Me too. I’ve been hurt by men I trusted. I’ve been terrified by complete strangers. It has never had to do with how I was dressed or where I was. It usually happens in public places in broad daylight, when I’m doing something on my own like reading or waiting for a bus.
I was sexually harassed online by a man ten years my senior for over a year when I was fifteen and sixteen. The man groomed me. He made me think he cared about me, and then spent months wearing me down until I gave in to participate in his sick fantasies. It took me years to untangle myself from the confusion he caused me. Facebook recently recommended that man as a friend. I almost vomited.
A stranger put his hand on my leg while I sat reading in a park in the afternoon, asking me what my plans were for the evening.
While stopped at a crosswalk on my way to class, a man put his arm around me and asked several times for my number.
At the train station an old man caressed my arm, followed me to the bathroom, and insisted on kissing me before I boarded the train.
Another man pretended to fall while on the bus so he could “catch himself” on my breasts.
A man pinched my butt three times in a row while on a crowded metro, only stopping when I turned around and audibly growled at him, making everyone else stare.
Once, while on the train, riding home one night, a man started to harass me. I had accidentally made eye-contact, which he took as an invitation to talk to me. I tried to be polite. He was a large man and the train was nearly empty. For what seemed like ages but was only about two minutes, this man stood over me and tried to flirt. I tried to oblige, visibly terrified. The only other person on the car was another man. He noticed my distress and intervened. He starting chatting up this other man just as the train pulled into a stop. Relieved, I jumped off. I don’t know that the larger man would have hurt me. I will never know that. But I do know that I felt much more at ease knowing that another person had my back. That other man saw my distress and helped in a way that put no one in danger.
Men like that give me hope. It was a small act of kindness, but it helped.
As told by Justin:
Me too, and I'm complicit, and I've joined in. All three.
When I was 5, there was the rich white boy in class whose mom wanted him to have some Black Friends. I was nominated. One day, my clothes got soaked (nearly drowned - different story), and his mom gave me some of his clothes to wear. He kept watching me change, which made me uncomfortable, but she wouldn't do anything about it. My options were to change in front of him, or to change in the dark closet.
In middle school, some boys were chanting something about one of the girls in a day camp I was at, and I was halfheartedly going along with it because I was afraid.
When I was in high school, one of the guys called me over to him and asked me to turn around. "See ladies," he said, "that is a Black butt." I was shocked and confused and didn't say anything.
In high school, same boy was showing pictures of girls, friends of his, in their underwear around without their permission. I didn't tell him that it was wrong, though I felt uncomfortable.
In high school, someone slapped my butt without my consent. I told him that if he ever did that again that I would report him. He did it again, and so I reported him.
Me too - but this time I also had enough energy to stand up, and enough fortune to be believed.
In my twenties, friends of mine were dancing, and strange men started getting close to them. I did not recognize what was happening until other friends intervened.