Catcalling can be a very frightening experience for women. These stories shed light on that fear, and should hopefully give men the opportunity to rethink their own behavior.
"I cried for hours after."
A guy yelled "Hey baby, can I get your number?" I ignored him and he started following me in his car. When I had to stop at a crosswalk he pulled up beside me and offered me a ride, motioning me to get in the car. I told him no, I was almost home. He said, "Don't be such a b!tch, get in the car."
I said no, please leave me alone. He got out of the car and started walking towards me telling me to not be such a c word and just talk to him. I tell him to please leave me alone and I'm hoping the cars clear or the light changes soon because I'm so scared. He starts reaching toward me and I just decide to book it. I dodge between the cars and get to the sidewalk on the other side and just run the rest of the way home. I don't think I'll ever forget that. I cried for hours after.
"Context: I was 12..."
I was walking from school to my dad's workplace. It was a 30-minute walk, and for several minutes, a car with 3 adult men were driving next to me, saying they liked my clothes, my body, telling me to get in the car with them. Asked me where I lived. Started calling me a b!tch when I ducked my head and ignored them.
We were still in the school zone. This happened in a town in Michigan, USA.
"I was so mortified..."
An adult man yelled to me very loudly "GREAT A**!" from an open car window. I was 14, and my whole family was with me. I was so mortified I wanted to cry.
"Never been more freaked out."
I was out walking my month-old baby in his stroller on a very pretty afternoon, when a strange man pulled his car to the curb and yelled at me "hey there pretty! Come in my car, I'll give you a ride. I have a baby seat in here. I won't bite!"
Never been more freaked out. Baby and I noped out of there and into a little restaurant on the street to wait it out until creepy car guy was gone.
I've had more cat calling incidents while my child is with me than not. That says a lot about the motivation behind cat calling and the men who do it.
"So, sooo many disgustingly racist ones."
So, sooo many disgustingly racist ones. I'm as basic and American as any suburban white chick but with the amount of "me love you long time"-bulls*it you'd think I was a WWII-era Japanese prostitute on a US army base. Makes me feel like I'm never going to belong here.
"They followed me for a good 5 minutes..."
I was walking my dog in my new neighborhood and these two guys in the car pulled up next to me and started to cat call me. They followed me for a good 5 minutes honking and yelling really lewd things they wanted to do to me before speeding off.
When I got back to my place I saw that they were parked outside of my neighbor's house and found out they were his grandchildren.
"I was riding my bicycle..."
I was riding my bicycle and this guy said: Ohhh, how I wish I were that seat so I could suck your pu**y (he didn't say that, it was in Spanish and he used a strong, disgusting word). I pushed my bike against his and he said I was crazy, what was wrong with me, etc. And an old lady said *I* was rude, gave ME a dirty look and said "unbelievable". Ever since then, I wear baggy, ugly clothes on top of my actual clothes when I ride my bike.
"I was 16 at the time and I didn't know what to do..."
On my mom's 50th birthday Parliment Funkadelic threw a free concert in a park downtown in my city. My whole extended family came into town and we all went and I was having a great night. Dancing is my favorite thing in the entire world and I love funk music and my family so I was totally in my happy place and I was dancing with reckless abandon. A grown man, at least 40 years old, came up behind me and squeezed my butt and leaned into my ear and said "you have
I didn't know what to do and I just froze as he continued to grope me. My 28 year old cousin sped over and told the guy to take his hands off me and then the guy left. I was mortified and shaking and I just wanted to go home. After the concert, my family wanted to go to a bar but since I was underage they told me to wait outside as they checked to see if I would be allowed in. I was leaning on a lamppost outside the bar and a different man walked past me, looked me up and down with the most perverted smirk on his face and goes "where's your man at?" it was that night that I realized that some men are going to treat me like a sex object for the rest of my life.
'It certainly didn't help with the panic."
I had "Hey baby girl, why you crying when you've got tits like that?" shouted at me as I sat on a bench in floods of tears because I'd just had a panic attack and was on the verge of a mental breakdown. It certainly didn't help with the panic. I was wearing a sweatshirt and mom jeans.
"...but we tried to ignore it and walk faster."
I was 15 and walking across the street with a friend. Guy at the red light across the street started yelling sexual sh!t at us, but we tried to ignore it and walk faster. Almost got off of the crosswalk when the guy ran the red light and swerved to hit us. Luckily we ran behind one of the thicker light poles so he couldn't actually hit us but it still terrifies me. I hate walking across that intersection but now it's the only way I can get to school. It was the first time I ever got catcalled.
"This was years ago..."Giphy
This was years ago but some guy pulled out a knife on me when I wouldn't give him my phone number and started chasing me. I'm sooo lucky that I know how to run in heels.
"I awkwardly said thanks and then rolled my window back up."
Some guy next to me at a stoplight waved his arms around until I rolled my window down so he could tell me I was "gorgeous." I awkwardly said thanks and then rolled my window back up. When the light turned green he immediately changed lanes and started following me. I was so close to home but I was alone and it was night so I circled around and sped up then parked on a side street so I could lose him. Very unnerving. Now I keep my windows up and mind my own business.
"I was 12 walking to my summer arts class."
A guy followed me in his car for several blocks early one weekday morning and kept trying to convince me to get in because I was "so pretty". I eventually went down a one way he couldn't and doubled back to lose him.
"By their third drive by..."
A pickup truck drove by and some guys leaned out and shouted "NICE TITS!" at us. They then must've drove around the block because they came by again and shouted "AND NICE ASS TOO!" By their third drive by my friend and I held hands and ran into the nearest store we could and just stood there totally terrified that they were going to pull up and follow us in. This was before cell phones were a thing, so we couldn't call either set of parents to come and pick us up. I think we stood in the store for about 20 minutes before we felt safe enough to finally leave.
"It's a tie between the time I was pumping gas..."
It's a tie between the time I was pumping gas in my car and a homeless guy shouted "I LIKE YOUR FEET" from across the parking lot at me, and the time I was walking up a flight of stairs and a old dude who was about 1-2 flights down said "nice panties."
"As I was walking..."
I was probably 11-12, already pretty tall (I'm 6'2" now, so back then I was probably somewhere over 5 feet?), and developing early. My friend and I went to the pool, and while I was just starting to really struggle with my self-esteem and body image issues, I felt really happy that day in my one-piece skirted swimsuit.
As I was walking back and forth between one part of the pool and another, two guys, I want to say in their 30s, would stare and me and talk loudly in Spanish, which I didn't know very well. I didn't know them and didn't have any reason to think they were talking to me, so I ignored them. Then they called me a whore. 11 year old me was devastated. To this day I hate going to the pool.
Combine that and the number of times older men tried to flirt with me right in front of my father, or the insinuations from many of the same men that my father was actually my boyfriend, and I grew up feeling real unsafe. It was never boys my age. It was always men much older and bigger than me.
"...it was hard to tell if he thought he was yelling an insult or a compliment."
I was walking down the street, and some guy leaned out his car window to yell, "LUSCIOUS ASS!" with what I heard as a sarcastic tone in his voice. Besides being unwelcome and rude, it was hard to tell if he thought he was yelling an insult or a compliment.
I have always been aware of what my ass looks like, and while "luscious" isn't an adjective I would choose to describe it, there are folks out there who find it acceptable or at least not objectionable.
"I'm 22 now..."
When I was in high school, my ex and I were at the mall and some dude in his 40s or 50s walked up to my ex after looking me up and down and then asked him how much to borrow me for the night. It was humiliating and gross and not even the first or last time something like that happened. I'm 22 now and I get mistaken for a 16 year old, when I was 16 I looked about 10.
"Even now I have no boobs..."
Even now I have no boobs so when I was 11 I looked young.
I still would get catcalled even around my dad. My mom and dad always took it as a compliment but I hated random strangers calling me and my mom crude things.
When I was 12 our deli guy when we were getting some stuff for my birthday said the "countdown started now" he meant till my 18th birthday. Super weird.
"I did an arms class the day before..."
My best friend and I were walking home from high school. We had our backpacks on and it was during school hours. We had to have been 16-17 We got to the bowling alley we always stopped at to get an A/C break and this guy stops his car and says "would you two want to watch me jack off for $75?" We both booked it home after that.
Now 20 I was working out at the gym and this was a situation with the personal trainer. I did an arms class the day before and I was ridiculously sore. I tell him this before we're going to do a legs class and he goes "you're sore? Well, if you need help taking your shirt off let me know!!" And another time "I hope you don't pass out on me. If you wake up to me making out with you, it'd just be mouth to mouth" UGH. Idk why I never reported him but he was fired a couple days after. So somebody must have.
You know it's not a great place to work when employees band together to walk out. Literally.
Unions were basically created for this reason, by having the working people band together to fight against being mistreated by corporations, they create power in numbers. Even without a formal union, there is still power in numbers--no company wants to be tasked with explaining themselves like that.