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Caroline’s Story: ” He addressed me, with a creepy voice that I couldn’t describe”

I went out of my place to get some groceries. I heard a group of noisy men. As I crossed the corner, I saw them in the entrance of a nearby building, on the same side of the street as me.

As I approach them, one of them walks towards the street and stops on the sidewalk, looking at me and sort of in my way. He addressed me, with a creepy voice that I couldn’t describe. I answered weakly, as I was sort of scared — at this point, I was thinking I was on the way to get my first (of many, now) event of street harassment as a girl.

Then, out of the blue, came this:
“Fuck, it’s a transvestite!” (French : “Fuck, c’est une travestie!”)

I walked away. I was afraid they’d do something dangerous, or run after me, but they didn’t (I’m so glad…). I texted my friend immediately to help me get home afterwards, taking a long and circuitous road to go home. I cried a lot that evening.

It’s been many months since this event, and now I’ve gotten used to street harassment I get fairly often (just standard, sexist harassment, not the transphobic version). But I’m still afraid when I walk past that building, which is straight on my way to the metro.

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7+

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Annick’s Story: ”Hey! Nice body!”

A few weeks ago, I was working the night shift at a shop. Sometime between 11 pm and midnight, I start cleaning up the terrasse, locking up the chairs. Two drunk men walk past the terrasse and yell up at me “Hey! Nice body!”

I whirl around and, insulted, I spit out: “That’s offensive.”

They start justifying themselves and saying “Well, you’re beautiful”, “it’s a compliment”, etc. So I explain to them, wearing my best I-don’t-take-crap-from-anyone-face, “I’m not out here because I want to hear whatever some strangers think about me. I’m just doing my fucking job.” They made a lame attempt at a joke (“Well, you can tell me I’m beautiful, I don’t mind”), figured out that I was pissed, mumbled apologies and left.

They were wearing punk attire. I guess for some men, being anti-oppression doesn’t include 51% of the population.

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8+

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Marianne’s Story: ” I didn’t want to show fear, so I kept walking at the same pace, but I was prepared to sprint”

I was walking to a friend’s place in Saint-Henri for an evening chat, already feeling low. Warm mid-August night, I’m wearing my favourite dress for the *first* time this summer. I had my resting bitch face on (I mostly have it on anytime I’m walking on the street) and my earbuds plugged in. 4 guys in a car stopped at a red light yelled “Hey baby!” at me as I passed by. I gave them the finger without turning around and they just laughed. One of them then opened his door and yelled at me again, but I couldn’t make it out clearly. I got quite scared; the street was empty. I didn’t want to show fear, so I kept walking at the same pace, but I was prepared to sprint (I was glad to be wearing sneakers). Luckily, the light turned and the driver told his friend to close the door, and they left. I can’t even express how disappointed I am at human beings. I don’t even wanna wear that dress or any other dress again…

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5+

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L’histoire d’Annick: ”Je lui ai spécifiée qu’il n’y avait aucun consentement implicite au fait de servir du café à quelqu’un.”

J’attendais de commencer mon shift, vers 11h50 un samedi matin, quand un client habitué est passé derrière moi en me touchant le ventre.
Moi: “Touche moi pas s’il-te-plaît.”
Lui (riant): “Salut ça va?”
Moi (regard-poignard): “Là, moins. On ne touche pas les gens sans le leur demander.”
Il est parti sans trop enregistrer.

Ce client a un historique de commentaires déplacés. Il a déjà commenté sur les leggings d’une de mes collègues, stipulant que “Ça ne fait pas bien à tout le monde, mais toi, en tous cas…” À une autre collègue, il a demandé si elle était de bonne humeur parce qu’elle avait eu du sexe ce matin-là.

Le lendemain de l’incident,je me suis assise avec le gars.
Lui: “Je pensais que c’était réglé?” J’ai dit que ce n’était pas la première fois qu’il tenait des propos inappropriés par rapport à mes collègues. Je lui ai expliquée ce qu’il y a d’inapproprié à son geste. Je lui ai spécifiée qu’il n’y avait aucun consentement implicite au fait de servir du café à quelqu’un. Il ne semblait pas comprendre que ces comportements étaient déplacés, irrespectueux et inacceptables. Il a tenté de se justifier à plusieurs reprises en disant “Je ne veux pas de trouble, je suis un habitué ici, j’aime boire mon café ici.” Ultimement, il semble avoir compris, sans être allé jusqu’à s’excuser. J’ai conclu ainsi: “Alors est-ce qu’on s’entend à ce que tu filtres tes propos et gestes dans tes interactions avec les employées?” Il a accepté et nous nous sommes serrés la main. Je lui ai vendu son café comme geste de bonne foi.

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6+

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Vero’s Story: “You got a pretty face too”

In NDG, Wilson near Sherbrooke on Weds Aug 20 around 10 pm, a guy gets out of his car and says something about my ass as I walk by. I ignore him, he continues. I whirl around “What did you say to me?” He replies “Damn girl, you got it going on!” I tell him I didn’t ask for his f’n opinion about my body, to which he replies “You got a pretty face too”. He continues to follow me and badger me with questions and comments until I start shouting at him to leave me the f— alone. He laughs and hoots as he walks away.

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6+

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Simone’s Story: ”Hey sweetheart, don’t trip over your bag!”

After missing the bus I was walking from Vendome, down De Maisonneuve, dragging a heavy, wheeled grocery bag behind me. There was a group of men gathered outside an auto shop (Automotion Collision Centre) that I was passing, as I walked by one of them yelled “Hey sweetheart don’t trip over your bag!”. I told him that I wasn’t named sweetheart, he waited for me to pass him before yelling “ok darling!”. Coward.

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7+

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L’Histoire d’Éliane: ”T’es chaude! J’vais te prendre par derrière, si t’embarques! Salope.”

Un soir de semaine, j’avais une date avec un gars. Vers la fin de la soirée, bien que je ne lui ai donné aucun signe d’encouragement, il était collant physiquement malgré les distances que j’essayais de garder avec lui. Je me sentais mal à l’aise, j’ai décidé de partir. Il insistait absolument pour me raccompagner. Il m’a suivi dans le métro, habitant dans le même quartier que moi. Au lieu de descendre à ma station, j’ai décidé de sortir plus tôt à Frontenac. Ça l’a pris par surprise, il ne m’a pas suivi.

Et bien, grave erreur. En me dirigeant vers la sortie, deux gars en vélo sont passés près de moi. L’un d’eux m’a demandé si je voulais un lift. Je l’ai simplement ignoré. Il a continué en me disant “T’es chaude! J’vais te prendre par derrière, si t’embarques! Salope.” Encore une fois, je l’ai ignoré. Il était deux, j’étais seule et fatiguée, je n’ai pas osé les envoyer promener, ce que je fais habituellement. En montant les escaliers roulants, j’ai pris de la distance, ils étaient devant moi. Le gars me dévisageait de la tête au pied avec un regard pervers, comme si j’étais un morceau de viande. J’arrivais près de la porte de sortie quand j’ai aperçu qu’ils attendaient à l’extérieur, fixant dans ma direction. C’est à ce moment que je me suis dit “C’est pas vrai que j’vais me faire agresser ce soir!”. J’ai pilé sur mon orgueil et je suis retournée de bord. J’ai attendu le prochain métro en jasant avec la madame au guichet. Tout le long en rentrant chez moi, j’ai eu cette peur d’être agressée, je tremblais des jambes, je lançais un regard sans arrêt derrière moi. Et j’étais enragée de n’avoir pas répondu.

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9+

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Sophie’s Story: ”Some teenagers started to ‘oink’ and ‘moo’… I was in tears and had to take the afternoon off”

At my job, in lieu of vending machines, we have a shelf with candy bars and chips bought 2/1$ at Dollarama that are re-sold from 1$ to 1,50$. The profits are use to finance activities such as the Christmas party. The guy who is usually in charge of the purchases was on vacation, and I heard many people were disappointed to see the shelf empty, so a couple days ago I offer to go to Dollarama on my lunch hour. The social comitee gives me 60$, and they tell me to buy half chips and half chocolates. The candy bar aisle at this specific store happens to also be the one where people wait in line. That means I had an “audience” watching me fill my cart with 60$ worth of chips and chocolate. Some women started to giggle, whisper and point at me. I heard things like “tsssk” and “gross” and “I can’t believe it”. For the record, I am only slightly overweight, I’m built a lot like Lena Dunham (from ‘Girls’), just to give you an idea. I said, loud enough for the whole line to hear: “This is for selling at work!” and one woman replied: “Yeah right!” Then, probably because I had reacted instead being a good doormat and remained silent, some young teenagers started to “oink” and “moo”. Paying for all that stuff was holding up the line, and I had to do it in front of all those people who food-shamed and fat-shamed me. I was in tears and had to take the afternoon off as sick leave, in addition to the humiliation of crying on work premises. Of course, my tall, lanky male co-workers who usually do those very same purchases never had such thing happen to them.

I've got your back!
10+

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