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One day after work, I got off the bus, and went to the store to buy a few things. When I entered the store, I heard a whistle. Then I heard an elderly woman who worked there told the guy “[his name] that wasn’t nice.”
I walked towards the aisle that I wanted to purchase food from. While I was walking, I thought to myself what was that? why did he whistle? Did he whistle at me or was there something else? Then I realized I was the only one that came in through the door, nothing else was going on there. It must have been towards me. When I returned to the payment area, I was not sure which guy whistled, because I really wanted to go and talk to that person. This was the first time that something like that happened to me, and I could not believe that such guys/men could behave like that. At the time I was taking a women and politics course; I had watched videos and listened to stories, but I had never been through such an experience myself.
As far as I am aware, such behaviour and other verbal comments are not criminalized in Canada. I hope, it will be considered a crime and dealt with by the law. Because, If I see something like this again, I will react and make sure they remember it.
On an almost empty train, a man walked the length of the car to sit across from me. I took my book and began reading it. He said something about how it was embarrassing that I was reading just as he sat down. I said my choices had nothing to do with him. He started asking me personal questions and leaning towards me. I told him “I don’t want to talk” three times, and he got off the train.
I didn’t want to share myself with him by smiling, apologizing, engaging or answering his questions. It frustrated me that he had control, and could have stayed or followed me, but I’m glad I was assertive.
A few weekends ago I was on Jasper ave around 9pm. I had just gotten off at the Corona LRT station and I was walking to my friends apartment about 5 minutes away. As soon as I walked up to the street, there were a few men standing around. I kept walking and didn’t pay any attention to them. One of them, who was carrying a large bag, started walking behind me. I kept walking faster. He then started to yell at me. “Hey! What are you doing tonight? You free tonight? Damn baby you look good?” I didn’t look back and kept walking as fast as I could, hoping he would get the message that I was not interested. I came to a cross walk and had to stop because of traffic. The man caught up to me, so as soon as there were no more cars, I crossed the street. The man caught up to me just as I was stepping onto the curb and he grabbed my arm and I tripped. My tights were ripped and my knee was dripping with blood. I told him to F off! He then asked me if I needed any of his polysporin… He crossed the street and I ran into the nearest store and called my friend to come meet me and walk me back to his place. About an hour later, me and my friend were walking back that same way and the man was still out there. He said “Hey baby, make sure you don’t fall again!” I was lucky that he didn’t seriously hurt me. The picture is what my knee looked like the next day. Not very cute.
In a recent video, local Edmonton musician and total badass Marlaena Moore released a video excitedly explaining her response to an incident of street harassment she experienced in Edmonton, AB. Marlaena calls for people to call out their catcallers, emphasizing when it is safe to do so. Also note that Marlaena confronted her harassers in a way she was most comfortable. Calling out or confronting a harasser can take many forms and it is important to make sure that you are safe if you chose to do so. That being said, it can be incredibly empowering to flip the power dynamic and have a harasser reflect on their actions. The following video is a great example of this:
At around 11:45pm last night, I was crossing the street & a car didn’t slow down for me. If I hadn’t stopped in the middle of the road, it probably would have hit me. I gave a sarcastic wave and continued on my way- my house was less than a block away. As I walked up to my front door, I heard someone yell, “hey!” I turned around and a dude in a car yelled, “Sorry for cutting you off back there.” Even though he was apologizing, I was really uncomfortable with the fact that he had circled around and followed me home to do so. I felt super weird and all I could stammer out was, “Oh, it happens.” I appreciate that he felt the need to say sorry, but the way it happened did not make me feel any better.
I was coming home from school one day and I was waiting for the train. When I entered the train station there was a group of 15 men, they all stopped their conversation and stared at me. Creeped out I just kept walked away from them, I had a rough day and wanted to be alone so I walked out onto the platform where very few others were because it was so cold. A man approached me alone (one of the guys from the group) and said “I’d offer you a smoke or something else but you’re too athletic and beautiful to do drugs.” I gave him a tight lip smile and looked away because I felt uncomfortable with the comment. He was agitated that I didn’t respond. He aggressively said “Come on baby. Smile!” With a stern look. I still ignored him, at this point 5-7 of the other guys he was with before walked up. One of them said “If it wasn’t so f*ckin cold, I’d f*ck the sh*t out of that b*tch. right here. right. now.” he gave me a very serious death stare and kept strong eye contact, his friends laughed and agreed. The rest of them also gave me a death stare, They tried to get me to get on the train headed to downtown with them. I didn’t know what to do so I just nodded. I pretended I was getting on the same train, but instead when they all were on I quickly hid behind a sign until the train left, less than a minuet later my train came and I headed home. I’ve never been so grateful for -25C weather. I am mortified of taking public transport, but I take it to and from school everyday. I miss a day of school a week because I’m too scared to take transit.
Surprisingly as they threatened me I didn’t freak out, I was unnervingly calm. I just gave them the death stare back, I was so befuddled and shocked that those things actually left someones mouth I had no clue how to respond.
Student blogger Immaterial Grrl raised their voice and posted their views on stalking for a class project. Check out their post here: Immaterial Grrl: Funny You Should Mention Stalking
Recently I was away in America, but I’ve had very similar situations happen here at home in Calgary.
I was waiting for my male friend in the hallway outside the restrooms. I was amusing myself by looking at some very interesting old photographs that had been framed along the halls. Almost subconsciously (because it’s happened so often) I was ignoring another young male who was very clearly intoxicated and was trying to get my attention. I continued to wander looking at the pictures continuing to ignore his cat calls, when finally he decided to get up off his stool and approach me.
As he approached (again this happen so often that I was not alarmed) my male companion had come out of the bathroom and join me in the hall. Well, it was the exact moment that this cat caller had made the adventure all the way to me. At that point the cat caller realized I was with a man (this was not a boy friend, just a male friend).
The very drunk cat caller then proceeded to apologize to my male friend for approaching me. This included fist bumps and jeering, a lot of “Sorry, Man”… and laughs…. I was not laughing.
Initially I didn’t think too much of this because it’s such a common occurrence but the fact is is the man was apologizing to the other man for approaching me, harassing me and what ever else he had in mind.
This was offensive on many levels.