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A great video from Columbus’ own Olivia K. James.
You can visit her website here
While walking through the hallway at a public education institution I work at, I saw a female student approaching me and walking in the direction of the restroom, from where I had just come. The power had been out for several hours and the water in the restroom sinks was not working. I inferred the student may be on the way to the restroom so as polite gesture I let her know the water was out and she may want to bring hand sanitizer. She stopped and said “Actually, I came out here to tell you you’ve got a nice ass,” as she suggestively looked me up and down. At a loss for words, I just nodded and walked quickly back to my office. I will admit that I was taken by surprise being hit on by a girl. As a cisgender, hetero female I have misguided myself to believe that harassment is something in which only men participate. Wrong! Harassment comes in many forms. I am a young employee and am often mistaken as a student, but regardless of my role, the student’s actions could qualify as a violation of our student code of conduct. I wish I had taken time to tell this person that their compliment made me uncomfortable but I was so surprised that my mind shut down. Bottom line: not all harassers are male!
Walking home late one night from school, pretending to talk on my cell phone for safety, I turned the corner from High St onto E Oakland. Exhausted, and a bit out of it, I didn’t initially notice the man ahead of me. Continuing down the street, I began to wonder why he was just standing there, staring at me. I was about 8 feet away when realized he was masturbating and quietly chuckling. I ran across the street and all the way home. Shaken up and scared, I couldn’t sleep. I debated reporting the incident but couldn’t remember any details of his appearance beyond that he was wearing silver.
Over the next few days I mentioned the incident to friends, and THREE OTHER WOMEN I knew had an encounter with the same man!
The Silver Creeper was apparently arrested after the incident with the third friend, and hopefully stays away.
I’ve been a big bike commuter in Columbus for about five years now. Rain or shine, I bike A LOT and unfortunately I deal with a good share of verbal street-harassment.
About a year ago, I made one of my favorite purchases of all time, a pink and purple helmet…. WITH CAT EARS! The helmet was an immediate hit! I got complements on the helmet on the bike path from friendly bikers, and my friends and family LOVE IT. Unfortunately, the helmet also attracted a lot of negative attention as well.
I found that at red lights some men would whistle at me, “Here kitty kitty” or make meow at me. I refused to stop wearing the helmet and began to yell back at my harassers. Some of my favorite comebacks included:
A middle finger
“Pervert, this is one pussy you’ll never get”
“I’m not a person, NOT your pet back off creep”
On October 7, 2013, I was biking home on High Street from North Campus. It was about 3pm and I got stopped at the light on Lane and High. A white SUV ford pulled up next to me and the window rolled down. The man inside (potentially an OSU student, looked to be in his 20s) told me that he wanted to pet me. I retorted with my usual “I’m not a person, NOT your pet back off creep” and turned right on to the sidewalk to get away from the situation.
The man in the car followed me and began throwing trash from inside his car at me while I biked as fast as I could away from the situation. I’m pretty sure that he was throwing fist-fulls of spare change at me while I was biking because some of the things REALLY hurt, but I’m not entirely sure. I escaped the situation by pulling a sudden right hand turn and calling a friend to take me home.
I didn’t bike for about two weeks after the incident, and when I did, I wore my old black helmet. It wasn’t until a month or so later that I began wearing the cat helmet again. I love the helmet and it fits my personality. I refuse to let any person to keep me from wearing it, and I WILL keep confronting my harassers. Cats against catcalls!
10:30 pm, Saturday May 31, 2014.
Myself and three female friends were deep in conversation outside a local bar. A white male approached: around 30y.o., maybe 6’2″, large and muscular, wearing a baseball cap,otherwise nondescript. He opened with “I hate to do this,” and I cut him off with, “then don’t.”
He continued to interrupt us to ask if we would accompany him up the street to the ATM. We asked incredulously why he’d even bother to ask such an inane question. He gestured to some guys behind him and said, “because these pussy ass motherfuckers won’t come with me.” We continued firmly telling him to leave us alone.
I made a sarcastic remark as we continued to turn him down: “be careful though, I hear these streets are pretty dangerous.” He mistook my remark as serious and replied, “I made it through Fallujah, I think I’ll be okay here.” As if we needed another red flag, clearly he wasn’t scared to walk alone. We went inside and he did not follow.
MOST IMPORTANTLY: Maybe three hours later I was talking with another female friend who’d arrived later than us. I mentioned our experience on the way in and my friend HAD THE SAME EXPERIENCE. The same guy asked her to walk up the street with him to an ATM. Textbook predator. I’m alerting the business to the situation but unfortunately don’t have a strong memory of his appearance.
Share your story from when you were harassed, or witnessed harassment and tried to help. You can submit stories via our APP or web FORM. Sharing your story is important–it helps raise awareness and ensures that our team, community and leaders are both listening and taking action!
Hollaback is not just for white women! Everyone is affected by street harassment. We want YOUR stories. We need to hear your story of when you were harassed, witnessed street harassment or stepped in as a bystander. We want to know how your identity as a gay man or woman of color is intersecting with the harassment you face on the streets of Columbus. We want to hear about how your body type, disability, gender presentation or age are used as openings for objectification and harassing behaviour.
Hollaback! Columbus is dedicated to publishing every post we receive. We do not pass judgment on any circumstance because we feel if a person feels harassed, regardless of the context, it is very important to offer a public platform to share your story to educate and receive support from your community. We do reserve the right to edit your submission for clarity and to remove potentially offensive language that addresses race, class or other characteristics that perpetuate stereotypes about street harassment and marginalized people. We also will not include specific references to businesses, but we WILL reach out to the named businesses with your story to ask them to address the issue.
WE’VE GOT YOUR BACK, SHARE YOUR STORY!