Appalachian Ohio, Athens GA, Atlanta, Berkeley, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Columbia MO, Des Moines, Fredericksburgh VA, Jacksonville NC, Los Angeles, New York City, NYU, Philadelphia, Palo Alto, Portland ME, Richmond VA, Rutgers University, San Francisco
I take the green line every morning to get to school/work and today was no exception. It is around 9:30 am this morning, I am waiting for the metro to arrive at Radisson and am standing where the last cart will be (my exit has stairs directly in front of the last cart so it’s very convenient). I notice an older man staring at me from ~50 feet away, but I ignore him and try to pretend I don’t notice him walking slowly towards me.
The metro shows up and I rush on, sitting down on the first seat I see in the mostly empty cart. All of a sudden I see the same guy walk by me and sit two seats over. Getting a bit more worried now, I turn my head to face out the window, close my eyes, and try to ignore him. Throughout the metro ride I hear some heavy breathing, but again, I try to block it out. Eventually, I hear him get up and mutter something at me. Unfortunately, it was enough for me to open my eyes and see him get off at Viau metro and wipe his hand along the window right in front of my face. It was his semen.
I was so disgusted that I jerked back and felt that I was about to throw up. As the metro was pulling away I saw him smirking.
When I was very young, two older boys in the neighborhood asked me if I “wanted ice cream”. I said yes and one of the boys took me behind the bush and showed me his penis. I don’t remember exactly what happened after – I think I just ran home.
Years ago, when I was in my early 20s, I was walking up St. Laurent to meet friends at a bar. A group of guys walked past and started hollering at me. I wasn’t intimidated so I laughed it off but when they saw me smiling, they encircled me. At that point, I became very afraid that something bad was going to happen because they were beginning to grab at me. When I started yelling and pushing them off, they scattered and I was relieved that it wasn’t worse.
I was walking down the sidewalk with a friend during our lunch break, when a group of teenagers walking the other direction approached us. One of them started coming closer and shouting something, trying to get our attention. At first I didn’t quite catch what he said, as my friend and I were immersed in our own conversation, so I looked at him a bit quizzically, maybe with a half-smile because I thought maybe he needed directions or wanted a cigarette or something. (My first inclination is always to be friendly to strangers – along with using old-timey colloquialisms, it’s one of the habits of my small-town upbringing that I can’t seem to shake.) Plus, it was such a nice sunny day, one of the first warm days of spring, so I thought maybe he was just feeling happy and being loud, as teenagers are wont to do! But then he repeated himself and as it turns out he had been shouting, “Donnez moi un sourire, les filles!” (“give me a smile, girls!”) so when I realized this I gave him the stink eye instead, but too late because I had already, unwittingly, done what he asked. As he passed, he shouted, “Un vrai sourire, avec les dents” (“A real smile, with teeth!”) so I turned around and yelled back “ça c’est le harcelement!” (“This is harassment!”)
He kept walking, but didn’t seem to be laughing as hard after that. Maybe being called out as a harasser in front of his friends took a little of the wind out of his sails. I sure hope so. I am almost 30 goddamned years old…old enough to be this little fellow’s mom, and yet he has so little respect for women that he feels entitled to interrupt two adult strangers to demand us to smile for him? Like, as if we would actually be wooed by this behaviour? Or maybe it was an attempt to exert power over us? Who knows. Either way, it stinks. No, son…just no. Here’s hoping that my attempt to publicly shame this little junior harasser by naming his behaviour what it was will be enough to make him question his ways and treat women with respect in future.
I was sitting on a stoop outside a restaurant, having a cigarette while waiting for my carry out order to come up. It was around a little before midnight, and there were about five other people outside.
A man walking past me stopped in front of me, reached down, and stroked my face. I was totally shocked and froze for a second before I hit his hand away, and when he tried to touch me again, I yelled “what the fuck?” at him. He laughed at me and repeated “what the fuck?” in a mocking tone before swaggering away. I was shaken but also incredibly pissed off, so I screamed “I’m gonna cut your dick off and set it on fire” after him. That got the attention of everyone around me, finally, and a couple asked me if I knew the guy and if I was okay (no, yes sort of). I started carrying pepper spray after that.
I was assaulted three separate times during the Osheaga music festival.
The first time was during the Black Lips set, which had a pretty rambunctious crowd. I was right at the front,dancing, against the gate when someone behind me fully squeezed my ass. As I immediately turned around and yelled “Fuck off” I was met with three young men who all had their hands in the air gesturing that they were not the person who touched me. Because it was pretty chaotic and loud (I could hardly hear myself yell when I did, and my friends were unaware of this entire confrontation) I know by their reactions that they at least witnessed what happened to me because they didn’t seemed confused-they seemed to already know why I was so angry. I’ll never know who did it. I was talking to some of the people behind me before the show started and for some reason it makes me feel more violated to think that a chatty, friendly stranger could assault me publicly.
The second and third times I was assaulted were when I was crowd-surfing.
Because of the nature of crowd surfing- having strangers hold you up by your body- I will be clear about the type of contact I had with these people.
First, someone, again, groped my ass. I have no idea who it was, I was being passed forward. This hand did not support my body weight at all, just a quick, aggressive grab and then it was gone. It seemed pretty obvious that it was not by mistake, or by necessity (to hold me up), but because it was my ass, and there was nothing I could do about them touching it while I crowd surfed.
The third time was really perplexing to me. I had stopped being passed along in the crowd in a way that my legs were being held far apart. I felt someone’s fist rap against my pubic bone at least three times and when I sat up the guy who did it and his friends were laughing. I sat there in shock for a moment and then was then moved away in the crowd.
After each of these assaults I felt extremely powerless, and frustrated that there was little for me, or anyone really, to do to prevent this type of shit from happening to them. I especially regretted not being able to address the people who assaulted me, and not being able to understand why they did it. In all of these situations it seemed more like they did it as a show of power, just “because they could” rather than sexual satisfaction.
I chose to upload this photo of the crowd during the Black Lips because it was at the same time as I was assaulted. I’m not fully visible in it because of the angle (I’m the one in the blue and yellow top), but my friends are and they look like they’re having the time of their lives- which is what I expect to be doing when I go to a music festival. Even though I felt frustrated and powerless after I was assaulted I pushed the incident out of my head and this set was my favorite of the entire festival.
It was around 1:30am on a Thursday night and I was downtown on Bishop Street. While I usually like to walk home, I knew the downtown was going to be filled with drunken partiers so I thought: why not play it safe and take a cab, right?
There was a cab right outside the bar I was at (Grumpy’s) so I jumped in the backseat and gave the cabbie my address. He was super friendly and, after learning that I’m anglophone, fairly new to the city, and trying to learn French, he said “come sit in the front with me, I’ll speak to you in French, you can answer me back in English.” I thought, “hey, why not?”
So, under the pretense of friendliness, we start chatting, except that every time he makes a joke or laughs (because suddenly everything I say is hilarious) he starts putting his arm around me. At first, it’s kind of a friendly hand patting my back, but it soon crossed the line into full-on groping.
I have a feeling that this guy has done this kind of thing before. He was very manipulative. By the time I could make sense of what was happening, we were basically at my house and my body had gone into “just try to endure this and try to get out of this moving vehicle as safely as possible” mode.
Be on the lookout for a [identity signifiers removed - see our anti-discrimination policy] cab driver who is extremely friendly. If he invites you into the front seat, do not go! Just get out of the car. And, if you have the presence of mind to get a license plate number, please report him.
I was riding the metro (orange line from Namur to Lionel Groulx) talking to a coworker and a guy got on at Plamondon and physically got inbetween us, not letting us continue our conversation, and staring at me. Everytime one of us would move he would make sure he was still between us. At one point I was able to move across to the other side of the car. I knew he was going to follow me when I got off at my stop and I could feel him staring at me the whole time. He never said anything though even when he first got on and my coworker asked if he wanted to sit down. He got off and so did my friend and we ran to security and he was still following us. Security called the police but he was gone by the time they got there.
Ladies be on the look out for this guy — red hair, googly eyes, glasses.
Living happily in montreal now, but was assaulted and groped by a pedophile in an ottawa park when I was 12. He pinned me down and ripped my (red gingham) shirt while he took advantage of me. Since then I have not been able to wear red gingham, and whenever I see it, it reminds me of my vulnerability.
I was walking down Crescent street on Canada Day with one of my friends. This creepy dude in a car looks at us, up and down, makes a yum noise and mumbles “hey ladies…” He for sure thought nothing of it, or thought he was giving us a compliment, but it just made me feel dirty.
Ugh, thanks for making me feel uncomfortable, creep.