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Basically I was walking down the street with a friend when I turned onto the street a guy in a car stopped in front of us on the road an lowered his window down so me an my friend knew he was probably going to cause trouble to we crossed over the road
He lowered the other window an asked ‘Have you got the time’ and I thought he was one of those people who rob your phones by asking the time an then taking your phone so I said ‘no sorry’ an carried on walking, then he shouted out to me ‘Your looking hot by the way’ an I ignored him an then he started stalking us half way down the street and stopped in front of us again an said ‘Do you want some’ *wink* an I knew he was on about sex so I said ‘urmm noo….’ he said ‘I’ll do it good, for free’ an I just got scared an speed walked off with my friend an he carried on stalking us for a bit an then he finally did a turn an went off…
Today I got followed for about 10 minutes around Birmingham city centre by a man who was trying to chat me up. He saw me as I was walking through the area by The Square Peg and tried to catch my attention by saying hi. I said ‘hi’ back and kept walking down into the city centre. Unfortunately, he then decided to walk with me and start trying to make conversation.
He walked with me down into the city centre until we got to the ramp that leads into the Pallasades. While we were walking down, he kept trying to talk to me and ask me questions, asking me if I remembered what his name was and where I was from, what I was doing in Birmingham, was I a student, where I lived etc. I kept dropping my boyfriend into the conversation because I knew what he was getting at and ‘I have a boyfriend’ generally sends the right message, but either he thought I was lying to get him to go away or he simply wasn’t paying attention because he then kept talking and walking with me.
After 5 minutes or so, it became apparent that he wasn’t going to leave me alone and I didn’t want him to follow me all the way to where I was going, because he was making me really uncomfortable. I’d been trying to think of ways to get rid of him, so once we got to the ramp by the Pallasades, I told him I had to go to the bank (the new Lloyds TSB on the corner, next door to Urban Outfitters) so I could go inside, lose him and then go to where I needed to be. However, even when I was trying to walk into the bank he wouldn’t go away – in fact, as I was trying to walk away, he asked me to get a coffee with him. I told him again that I had a boyfriend, but he didn’t listen again. At that point, I kept telling him I had a boyfriend but he kept trying to persuade me to do other things instead, like ‘Okay, we’ll go for a drink tonight instead!’ or ‘Okay well give me your number!’ and I kept telling him I had a boyfriend but either he just wasn’t listening or he thought that I was lying and if he tried long enough, I’d admit that I didn’t really have a boyfriend and go on a date with him.
Anyway, that went on for like, 5 minutes and I kept backing away trying to get into the bank and get rid of him. Then just as I was leaving, he grabbed my arm without giving any warning or asking me and proceeded to kiss my hand. It might not sound like anything, but at the time it really panicked me that someone who really wasn’t taking no for an answer was grabbing hold of my arm.
I really wish I’d said something sooner or said something when he grabbed me but at the time, I was too uncomfortable and panicked so I just left, called my boyfriend and hid in Lloyds TSB until I was sure he had gone.
I went out at around 9:30 in the evening just to buy a loaf of bread from the local Tesco Express. While I was there I wandered around the aisles for a couple of minutes, picked up and put down a few things, minding my own business. I caught the eye of one of the staff members, someone I had never seen before, and in that second we made eye contact and from the way he looked at me, I KNEW he was going to give me grief.
He went onto the checkout so I tried to waste some more time in the hope that someone else would appear on the checkout instead. No one did. So I went to pay, and the following exchange happened:
“That took you about half an hour you know.”
“It took you about half an hour to pick three items.”
“You must take forever in clothes shops.”
“…” (trying to ignore him by rummaging through my purse)
“I bet your boyfriend hates shopping with you.”
“Is that why he’s not with you tonight?”
“Where’s your boyfriend tonight?”
“Excuse me. I don’t know you and that is none of your business.”
He laughs in my face and I said he was being extremely rude. He said, “Aaaaaawww. I’m sorry love I didn’t mean to upset you. I didn’t realise you were having a bad day. Here’s your change, you have a lovely evening now.”
As I turned around to leave, I could hear him laughing as I walked out of the shop.
It makes me miserable enough that I have to deal with strangers in the street harassing me, but when someone is actually in the workplace and dealing with a customer and they STILL THINK it’s acceptable to harass women in this way, I just want to stop leaving the house full stop because it’s not worth the grief.
Statement of support from Hollaback UK
On Friday 8th March, the NUS (National Union of Students) released their research “That’s what she said, women students experiences of “lad culture in higher education”. Read the report They found that “Sexual harassment and violence were also very much related to ‘lad culture’. This included verbal harassment and ‘catcalling’, as well as physical harassment and sexual molestation. Groping in nightclubs was viewed by some as part of a ‘normal’ night out”.
Hollaback UK welcomes the report, and believes that by making these experiences visible, we can begin to do something about it. We believe that everyone has the right to be treated with dignity and respect, and that our streets, universities, clubs, bars, bus stops and nightclubs should be free from sexual harassment.
We’re working hard to change some of the attitudes that underpin these behaviours. In our work, we often hear that street harassment is just “banter” and that it doesn’t mean anything. But it does. It means that women and members of the LGBTQI community are made to feel scared, intimidated, undermined and threatened. It means that for many people their right to freedom of movement is restricted, their bodies are under constant surveillance and sexual assault is passed off as regular part of life. This isn’t ok.
Whether we’re working with clubs, like Hollaback London, with students, like Hollaback Edinburgh, or with universities like Hollaback Birmingham and Hollaback Sheffield, building networks with institutions like West Yorkshire Hollaback, we’re fighting against sexual harassment in public spaces everyday.
We know that street harassment isn’t banter; it’s not normal, it’s not ok. Hollaback UK has the power to end street harassment, join us today. We’ve got your back.
My friend and I were leaving a club, we were walking down Broad Street to get a taxi. My friend found what we thought was a taxi, but it already had guys sat down so we went to exit, but they pulled us onto their laps.
We asked if they were going to the same destination as us, and they said they were.
The boys were then touching us and saying how ‘gorgeous’ we were, they then forced our hands down their trousers and kept trying to kiss us.
We noticed they were not driving to our area, so we kept screaming until the driver turned around. He stopped and we tried to leave, the boys said we had to pay or give them oral sex…obviously we said no, and the boy in the front seat turned around to me to squeeze my breasts.
We got out of the car without much of a fight, so I appreciate it could have been much worse but I would definitely never want to go through that again. Looking back, it was clearly not a taxi and so it’s quite hard not to blame myself.
Walking along the street in the middle of the day with my mum, a male walked past in the opposite direction, pushed against my shoulder and muttered ‘nice tits’. With my mum! Honestly, what was going through his mind? I would dearly like to know.
This kind of thing used to happen to me all the time when out alone, even in the daytime. I’ve moved away but it has happened everywhere I’ve lived – in Rome I’ve been followed through a park by a man on a moped who wanted me to ‘meet his mama’ and grabbed at from a passing car.
I do often tell them to get lost (not in those words), but it has sometimes resulted in abuse being hurled at me: ‘who do you think you are’ etc – and I don’t feel safe responding if nobody else is around.
The thing I’ve found most useful is looking pityingly at them and shaking my head!
I was walking from my house to the gym a walk of about two minutes. To do this I have to walk past a pub on the corner of the road, when I got there, there were two men standing outside smoking. On of them immediately stubbed out his cigarette and followed me across the road on to the campus following my direct line of travel(which he didn’t need to as when I got to the gym he exited the university campus immediately). When I got to the gym he walked down and passed the door looking at me ask got to the desk. When I told the men working at the gym that I had been followed, they proceeded to ask me if I was sure that I was being followed and laughed at me. I then asked them to call security immediately, the matter was not dealt with as when I came out of the gym I asked them what happened and they said “we had a look around”. The next time I went to the gym I was asked if “my friend was with me this time”. I was so angry!!
Hollaback! Birmingham has joined forces with the University of Birmingham’s Zero Tolerance campaign against harassment and bullying.
Last year the Guild adopted Zero Tolerance policy in regards to harassment in all Guild venues and events, the Guild has now been accredited as a Zero Tolerance Union by the National Union of Students (NUS).
The Guild & Hollaback! Birmingham, alongside the University of Birmingham has chosen to expand upon the NUS campaign, ensuring the whole of campus takes a Zero Tolerance approach towards not only sexual harassment but all forms of harassment.
The Guild believes all harassment whether based on gender, sexual orientation, race, religion, disability, medical condition, ethnicity, age, or any other characteristic perceived or actual should be challenged and not tolerated.
This Tuesday the 5th February we are running an Zero Tolerance campaign day where we’ll be raising awareness of street harassment and collecting stories.
Where: Marquee outside the main library & law building
When: Between 12:00pm – 2:00pm
Sharing experiences of street Harassment is what Hollaback! is all about. Come and have your say and add your experiences. We will have a large map depicting places where harassment has taken place, you can add your own, learn about street harassment and share your story.
What does harassment mean to you?
Whatever your experiences of Street Harassment we want to hear about them.
Lets raise awareness and show that it will not be tolerated.