This Is Because I’m A Woman: How Sexual Harassment Invaded My Life (And Some Ways to Respond To It)

feature image via, poster made by Tatyana Fazlalizadeh

There is no way to prepare a person for how much women get hit on. Cisgender men don’t typically experience aggressive flirtation, and cisgender women seem to experience it from birth. I once had a life where I could go blocks, miles, months without a stranger standing in my way, saying,”Hey girl, where you goin’ in such a hurry?” I want to take my personal space bubble to the shop and have it re-inflated to its original size, but that chapter of my life seems to be done.

About a year and a half ago, men started flirting with me a lot. A lot a lot. And then there was the harassment. It hadn’t always been like this, though. For awhile before and after I came out and went full-time lady, I was fairly obviously in transition. The main tip-off was my voice. I didn’t work on it very hard, it was difficult to get myself up to a point that I felt comfortable changing it. I loved my old voice even when I hated most parts of me; it had gotten me acting gigs, I had given presentations to Walt Disney executives with it, I’d helped talk trauma survivors through their pain with it. We were a team. Even when our team-up got me called “he-she” or scowled at in interviews, or just at the grocery store.

To make my life a little easier, I decided to work harder towards changing my voice. Afterwards I blended in more, and then I began to understand, rather than simply “know,” what women had been telling me my whole life. It’s very frightening when, after 20+ years of being left alone when you’re walking down the street, a man comes up to you in a public place in the middle of a Thursday afternoon and says, “I just want you to know I’ve been following you for the last 30 minutes. You’re the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen, and I just want you to give me a chance,” and then tries to grab you.

There is a silent, insidious social contract at work here. Because it is so commonplace for men to do many things to women openly without repercussions of any kind. There’s no pretense, no hesitation. It just happens.

Nothing anyone could tell me in advance (though they tried) would have adequately prepared me for the cab driver who picked me up from the rape crisis center where I worked at 1AM. It was raining and as he drove me home he asked if I was gay, because I “look gay” and then asked if I “like to party? Would you like to party with me? Hey, what’s your name?” He was driving 35 mph, so I wasn’t getting out of the car. “I don’t have to tell you my name,” I said. “Oh,” he said, “it’s right here on the request form. Your name’s Morgan. Hi Morgan.” He stopped the car suddenly, turned in his seat and reached his hand out towards my chest. I pressed myself into my seat. I wasn’t thinking, just trying to melt through the back of the car. His fingertips outstretched for my right nipple, and then stopped suddenly. His seat belt had locked and he couldn’t move any farther. He smiled wide, turned his hand over palm up and said,”I just wanted to give you a high five.” My brain jumped out of its coma and I jumped out the door and ran home.

I think that, in another time in history, I would feel comfortable exploring the thin slice of my sexuality pie that is bi. It’s there, I can feel it. It has thoughts about Karl Urban and Charles Dance. It’s just that I don’t feel safe. I originally tried to write this article a year ago, and as I was about halfway through the piece, I stopped to be a good little hippie child and take the house’s compost three blocks to the community dump. It was raining again and no one was around. As I walked away from the dump a man appeared from behind a building fifty feet away, looked me up and down, lowered his head and began walking toward me very fast, saying, “Hey lady. Lady. Hey lady, hey. Hey!” He was chasing me, and again I ran.

Four weeks before that I was walking to work one morning, and I passed in between a group of guys on the sidewalk. They closed ranks around me and started chanting, “Pale white bitch!”

I was at work, and everyone but me was out of the office. A man walked in through the front doors, shirtless, carrying an eight-foot wooden pole. He backs me up against a wall and says, “The red man has come to reclaim this land, but don’t worry, I’m going to protect you.”

I was driving a co-worker to the bus stop one night, and he turned to me and said, “Women like you are thirsty for n***ers like me.”

I was walking out the door from work one night, when a man came out from behind some bushes and stood in my way. I zigged, he zigged. I zagged, he zagged. “Where are you going so fast?” He was faster than me but eventually let me go, and laughed and laughed.

I called to order a pizza and the guy on the other line says, “Your voice sure sounds pretty. Can I give you my number? I get off work at five.”

I was at a drive-thru last week and the guy leaned out the window and said,”Hey, you’re beautiful. What’s your name, girl?”

Every week it’s “hey sweetie,” “hey baby girl,” “hey red.”

Why "red" is my most common cat-call.

Why “red” is my most common cat-call.

It didn’t take long before I wasn’t leaving my home much anymore. Friends I’d opened up to about it often just say, “Welcome to womanhood” or sometimes, “Wow, really? I wish guys would pay that much attention to me.” I can see what they’re saying, because some guys are just trying to tell me I look nice and they’re not going to follow me home or hurt me. (One just bicycled around me a couple times and said, “Little girl, you are the most beautiful,” and pedaled away.)

People have asked me, “Before you came out, how did you interact with women you were attracted to?” I didn’t. I hated my body way, way too much to experience anything libidinous. I was never attracted to anyone sexually until after I came out. Before then I understood my attraction to women (or anybody) like this: “That person seems interesting, I would like to spend more time with them and talk to them more.” Maybe that has made it harder for me to empathize with how the other half lives, because those first 22 years I wasn’t really living.

A few times friends have said, “I guess it’s hard being a trans woman,” to which I say “I don’t think I’m being harassed because I’m trans, I think this is because I’m a woman.” “Oh. Well, are you sure they didn’t know you were trans?”

All of this still happens, but about a year ago I received some advice that has made this part of my life easier. It’s not our responsibility to respond to street harassment a certain way or to do things to avoid it; it’s harassers’ responsibility to leave us alone. Still, sometimes it feels empowering to have specific responses at your disposal. I was teaching volunteers how to be crisis counselors, and had Marty Langelan, author of Back Off: How to Confront and Stop Sexual Harassment and Harassers, as a guest speaker. She gave the class some very simple pieces of advice.

First off, the more things happened to me, the more my posture worsened and the more I stared at the ground. Not making eye contact says to a potential assailant, “This person is not aware of their surroundings and won’t see me coming.” Stand up straight, look confident, walk with a purpose, make eye contact with people. Imagine a sphere going out ten feet in every direction around you. Know everything in that sphere at all times: how people look and how they’re dressed, places your view is obstructed, escape routes. Change up the way you walk home so people can’t learn your routines. Know your streets. Look over your shoulder to see behind you, calmly and confidently and not like a frightened animal. Acknowledge people you make eye contact with with a nod.

Back Off

Get to know the homeless people in your area, because when every neighbor is staying inside their home, the person who hangs out near your street might be your only witness or your only source of rescue. Have pepper spray already in your hand. Don’t be afraid to cross to the other side of the street if someone gives you a bad feeling; trust your instincts. And to really throw people off their game, tell them what they are doing to you — name their behavior in a public way. “Stop harassing women. I don’t like it, no one likes it, show some respect.” “When you stare at women’s breasts it’s obvious to everyone in the room. Look us in the eyes.” Or one of my own, “My name is not sweetie. It is Ma’am or Miss.” If you’re receiving this behavior from someone you run into a lot, document it (name, date, time, description, place). You may need this later for your supervisor or the authorities.

It took awhile to put these lessons into practice and make them routine, and it will take more than that to get over the fact that the way I move in public places has so changed. I’ve mostly shaken my fear of boyfolk, but the way I’ve always heard it told, a little fear is required. A friend asked me several years back: “Okay, you walk past an alley. A guy is lying there, he asks for help. What do you do?” I ask “Is the answer don’t help him?” “You absolutely help him. You stand away from him, in the street in public view, pull out your phone and say, ‘Would you like me to call 911?'”

Special Note: Autostraddle’s “First Person” column exists for individual queer ladies to tell their own personal stories and share compelling experiences. These personal essays do not necessarily reflect the ideals of Autostraddle or its editors, nor do any First Person writers intend to speak on behalf of anyone other than themselves. First Person writers are simply speaking honestly from their own hearts.

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Morgan M

Morgan is a gay ginger transgirl gamer hailing from North Carolina. She's been fortunate enough to be Autostraddle's Miss April 2013 as well as an A-Camp counselor (go Battlestars) and a writer and speaker at various outlets and events. Currently, she lives in sin in the Bay Area.

Morgan has written 7 articles for us.


  1. Thanks for sharing this, Morgan! One quick note from a legal stance, re this bit “Have pepper spray already in your hand”: unfortunately, pepper spray is illegal in some areas (e.g. NY) or needs to be registered with the police (DC). I recommend checking out the laws in your area, and making sure you protect yourself. A lot of women will be fine carrying around pepper spray all the time, as I do, but women who may already be vulnerable (trans* women and/or women of color) to police harassment should take extra care.

    • Wee can of hairspray is what I keep my hand on if I don’t feel safe, it’s legal and effective.

    • I bought a personal alarm for my walk to work (there’s a few blocks through a higher crime area and where I’ve been followed before) to avoid being construed as assaulting someone or getting caught in the spray by the wind. Less than $15 and it’s like putting your ear to a police siren even if it’s not near your head.

    • Thank you for adding this. I suppose I should disabuse myself of my spray first, ask questions later stance. ;)

  2. I’m transitioning the other way. I’m middle aged, and for me that complete stopping of street harassment was shocking. It was like walking in out of a screaming storm to complete silence. I don’t “pass” well enough to get into men’s bathrooms without question yet, but I do look masculine enough that I can now take the bus, walk alone, or be in public, and have nobody bother me anymore.

    The weirdest part for me was how much I took that harassment for granted. That it’s something that happened to everyone. Except, it doesn’t happen to men at all, and cis gendered women are taught from birth to accept it, don’t be mean, and smile.

    I never realized how damn unsafe I felt all the time when I presented as a very small woman. Now, even as a very tiny man, I don’t have that constant fear. It’s like my public appearances became 80% less anxiety producing.

    It’s not right that anyone should have to live with such a constant state of harassment.

  3. Thank you for writing this – it instantly took me back to the terrifying years after I hit puberty, and I was suddenly a walking target on the street after school every day. My single father constantly bewildered as to why I got in trouble for decking a boy in the face with my text books, or why I’d call him from payphones sobbing about men in trucks. It’s good to be reminded that we all have this struggle, and that we aren’t weak because of our fear. I still carry plenty of weapons with me, but thank you for the non-violent ones you’ve advised about here.

  4. This is definitely the thing about transition I was not prepared for. The fact that I just passed enough at some point in transition and like flipping on a switch it just started. The most heartbreaking part for me was the most common response from women who knew I was trans was “Welcome to being a woman, it sucks a lot”. That just completely defeated attitude of a lifetime of harassment. The idea that there is nothing to do but accept it.

    I was aware of street harassment pre-transition but actually living it day in and day out is a completely different feeling and it’s terrible.

    • I feel you. I wish there was some way I could have been more prepared for it, but there just wasn’t any equivalent from my years living on the other end of the divide. It’s just so…weird. I want to go up to these guys and shake them by their shoulders and yell “Why are you being so weird, you big weird?! Stop weirding!”

  5. Whenever one of my friends or I has been harassed, I try to imagine what goes through the aggressor’s head and it always feels like they’re living on a different planet than I am. Thank you for sharing your experience and perspective- I know that it can help and empower many womyn!

    • I know, right? I don’t understand it… I can’t imagine being in the harassers place and wanting to do that and doing it and what it might feel like. It just doesn’t make sense to me. I’ve never heard a why theory that really makes emotional sense to me.

      • perhaps sense of entitlement and overgrown ego mixed with animalistic urges may explain it. Sadly, being in 21st century does not automatically turn a human conscious and aware of their doings. There are also those people who would choose “evil” anytime; meaning they wouldn’t think twice about regretting for hurting you. Beside being an asshole is easier than being a nice human being.

    • Yeah, thanks for this post. It’s really interesting to hear about street harassment from someone who came to it later in life, without being accustomed to it from a young age.

  6. I’m not trans but I did grow up in very, very rural areas and didn’t really experience the street version of sexual harassment all that often (there wasn’t a street on which to experience said harassment. ha.) until I went off to college in an actual town. Since then, I’ve gotten harassed EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. Just today, two guys made comments about my “juicy booty” and “nice tits.” (for the record, yes they are)
    It’s frustrating because I can’t *really* do anything about it so I kind of do just have to accept it. Mostly I just pull out my phone and ignore. Sometimes that works, sometimes it makes it worse, and just last month a guy tried to pull me into his car.
    Pepper spray is actually not always a good idea because it has a really good chance of blowing back in your face and then you’re screwed. Hairspray works kind of. Obviously a taser. I’ve SERIOUSLY considered a conceal and carry license, which is what my mom has always done (although we’ve lived places where you could just conceal and carry without a license).
    I don’t know. Some parts of being a woman just suck.

    • Check out my reply to the first comment- a personal alarm. Just pull the pin and get a loud siren noise to repel assailants and attract attention while you run. Silence it by putting the pin back.

  7. It’s interesting how much men just don’t get it… Having spent up until my mid 20s presenting fairly Femme I remember being surprised that the harassment didn’t go away when I started presenting more Butch. It just changed, namely into something far more violent. Random body checks whilst walking down the street, dudes trying to start fights with me or telling me that rape will cure my ‘need to act like such a man’… men telling me “how to woman” (gah men, really you make each other look so bad.) NO Woman no matter how she presents should have to censor themselves in order to feel safe. FUCK their morals.

    • Ugh, I’m so sorry you’ve had those experiences. It’s still amazing to me that people can be so threatened by someone else’s way of being in the world that they turn to violence.

  8. I find it very interesting and scary that street harassment seems to be so blatant and out in the open where you are (the US?). I have experienced a bit of street harassment but explicit catcalls or times I’ve felt unsafe only seem to happen about once every six months and are memorable, significant events. Which is totally lucky. On a day-to-day basis I get unwanted flirtations from customers or giggling from groups of teenage boys but nothing as bad as anything in this article. Do I just live in a comparatively nice city/country (Wellington, NZ)? Or is it just that I’m not being personally targeted for whatever reason and other women have it just as bad as I always read about?

    Thinking of moving to the US in a year and really, I just want to know if I should be worried for my safety.

    • I think some of that depends on location. Like some place I am sure, are less likely to have it occur than others.

    • I think it varies. I seem to get harassed less than some of my friends for whatever reason (might be because I tend to project a “leave me alone” vibe whether I want to or not?). I live in Brooklyn currently and I while I get “hey babe”, “hey beautiful, what you doing tonight” and the like fairly regularly I can count on one hand the number of times someone has gotten more aggressive with me (e.g. followed me, touched me without my consent, etc.). Thankfully I have never been assaulted. My most alarming experience with street harassment was a few years ago when a man reached out and actually grabbed my hand when I refused to talk to him. I pulled away quickly and ran home. There were enough other people around that I didn’t truly fear for my safety, but it was definitely unnerving.

      • I think I project a “leave me alone” vibe too. I’ve definitely had men make comments or say hello as I pass by, but generally nothing scary happens. The potentially creepiest time was when I was standing with a friend at night waiting for a bus and a couple guys slowed down and pulled up in a car and asked if we wanted a ride, or wanted to get in the car, or whatever, but it was definitely sketchy. Luckily, the bus arrived just at that moment.

    • I’m Australian, and I get the impression that the culture of harassment is worse in the states. Back home you’d only get problems during the holidays, when you might get a bunch of guys in a silly mood in a car together. I also habitually lower my gaze and walk faster when passing a construction site, but I’ve never been bothered by workers. I’m studying in France at the moment and it’s worse here, although the worst perpatrators seem to be men from France’s old colonies in north Africa, suggesting that it is their culture, rather than French culture, to blame. I suspect this is due to cultural differences in how women are supposed to behave, and I’m pretty sure that as an Australian who is accustomed to a good deal more familiarity on the streets I’m behaving differently to French women. I’ve been stalked twice here, once for a disturbingly long period (from a Paris metro station to the Palace of Versaille, a journey of 45 minutes which cost him at least 15€), the other time I dealt with it better and got rid of him with a fake phone number. A friend had her arse physically grabbed last weekend in Grenoble after a group of men blocked their path and turned around to follow them.

      • HI. I actually created an account just so I could reply to you. I’m French and live in France, and I experience a lot of street harassment, just maybe not as much as some who posted here.

        I’ve also lived for short periods (up to 6 weeks) in Morocco several times for work. I didn’t feel “not harassed” there, but it was a different form of harassment. The boys / men who harass me in the streets in France (and I’m gonna go ahead and “assume” that they are the same kind who harass you), even if they “look African” are ABSOLUTELY integrated into French culture, and their identity, while probably a mix of French and foreign, belongs to French culture.

        I don’t think it’s a question of “their culture” being different. These are French men. The difference I think is that they usually come from the same class (“quartiers populaires”) and that their behavior is an expression of the norm for their gender/class. It’s about showing you’re “alpha”. More often than not, when I’m harassed in the street, it’s by men in a group and not men on their own, like they’re challenging each other to “go talk to me/her”.

        I’ve been a bit “harassed” in Morocco too (though I feel harassed is too strong a word for what I’ve experienced there)and it was very different. I felt that as a foreigner (lighter skin, short hair, tall person) I stood out, which made me an easier target. But it wasn’t the same. It was smiles, or young boys (maybe 16?) trying to talk to me in French, rather than men “catcalling”.

    • I’m an Aussie, and I personally rarely received any street harassment here even at my prettiest. However I have had female friends visit the USA and been absolutely appalled (and scared) at the blatant pick ups and shouting. Not saying it doesn’t happen here, but from my experience your average Aussie bloke needs some dutch courage before they start. And then they are just as likely to get a torrent of abuse as a welcome response. Aussie men can be incredibly sexist, so this is odd.

    • I’m another Kiwi and I was just thinking this has never ever happened to me. I’ve been flirted at while working, but when I don’t flirt back I’m left alone. I’ve been to cities all over the country and nothing’s changed. I’m terrified to visit the US tbh.

      • Street harassment is unpleasant, worth fighting against, and can be frightening, but it’s worth remembering that most actual sexual assaults in the US are perpetrated by acquaintances, not creepy strangers who shout harassing comments.

    • I lived in the States for five years, and experienced far, far more harassment of this type there than in Canada. In general I don’t get harassed much anywhere (I’m tall and apparently I look intimidating?) but there was still a quite notable difference between the two countries.

  9. This article was great. I especially appreciated your inclusion of a couple of basic safety tips, and also the lines to throw back at harassers. I am usually walking with a purpose and I usually have no problem flipping harassers the bird or ignoring/scowling, but when men do that bizarre, “You’re the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen/How do I get a girl like you to date a guy like me/puke,” I’m usually too taken aback to have much of a response.

  10. I love walking a really big dog in areas that I’d normally feel nervous in. I did dog-walking for money for a while and I had two dogs in the same general neighborhood. One a small silly mop dog, and one a rottweiler mixed with something huge. Walking the mop dog I got “hey baby, what’re you doing later?” and “Hey, want to get to know me better?” shit. Walking the huge rottweiler mix (which was actually the most docile creature ever) I got “That’s a big dog, ma’am.” Damn right it is! Somehow I feel like a big dog is an extension of myself, and I walk with a stride, head up, feeling like a badass.

    Thank you for writing this! I hate street harassment and unwanted attention and I have far too many stories about it. It’s far too accepted and tolerated and I get so frustrated at how some people act like “oh come on, it’s not a big deal…” (usually guys.) It needs to be more talked about

  11. Great article, Morgan. I second the pepper spray. At the gym I started experiencing a lot of these cis guys going ‘hey we’re hosting the ufc fight at the house next week, you wanna come? bring your bf/date whatever if you even have one.’ And when I actually tell them I’m a lesbian they go ‘are you sure? I mean maybe you haven’t found the right man yet.’ I’ve had to resort to wearing my wedding ring and risking it breaking if I hold quite a bit of weight in the hands to show I’m committed.

    • Oh my gosh, I’m always so amazed when guys are that forward, going up to girls they don’t know in random places and asking them to parties and shit. I live in a college town, and my freshman and sophomore years, I had a best friend who was a huge partier and was a really attractive fashion major, and we’d go to Walmart at eight or nine in the evening for junk food or whatever, and frat boys would come up to us in the parking lot. It was the stupidest thing! Sometimes she actually up and went with them (not without me freaking out on her every time). I just don’t understand that logic, theirs or hers.
      It only sometimes happens to me like that when I’m by myself. I think usually my bitch face keeps guys from asking me to go to places with them haha

  12. I would walk everywhere when I was younger(we didn’t have a car, public transport in LA sucks, well, at least it did back then). Sometimes, guys would stop me in the street asking me if I had a boyfriend and or if they could walk me home.

    I remember one night, my mom’s friend didn’t want to drive me home (she didn’t like me because she thought I was trying to convert her unbeknownst to her, already queer daughter, but, whatever…) so I walked all the way home by myself. This man was walking towards me, I got a bad feeling but I tried to be cool about it. As he walked past, he then reached, grabbed my ass and laughed. I’m 17 at this time, so my mind is just rushing with thoughts of, “is this really happening? OMG.”

    This other time, this man was following me in his car, slowly. A cop then drove past and he took off.

    I had a stalker a few years ago. He saw me on the street and decided he was in love with me. He followed me to my apartment one afternoon. Waited to see which apartment I was going into. Left flowers on my car. This is when I got mace. Mace, that was confiscated when I visited Disneyland.

  13. I relate to this a lot. I have a long walk from the subway to work, which means I get street harassment almost every day. A few months ago a creepy yellow cab driver asked me if I wanted to switch to ride in his personal car. Um, no? What the fuck is wrong with these dudes?

    Thank you for writing this.

  14. Shout out to Marty Langelan! She’s amazing. I took a workshop from her a few years ago — It made me feel so confident and prepared to defend myself, others, and my community at large.

    I wish I could say that as a result I always stood up to street harassers, but that would be untrue. I did, however, take what I’d learned to stop a kid from getting beaten up once. I saw a fight going on with some little kids. Using the “Voice of God” technique Marty had taught me, I loudly proclaimed “STOP RIGHT NOW!”

    And it worked! I felt so proud of having taken an active part in the safety of my community – for like half a second, until one of the boys said “Why miss?! We’re allowed to play here!!!” That’s when I noticed the football tucked under the kid’s arm.

    …I never played sports as a kid. People don’t get tackled during piano lessons.

    • Agreed! Marty is awesome. I love her know-everyone-and-everything-in-your-bubble challenge. I still haven’t gotten in the habit of doing that literally all the time (it’s mentally exhausting to try), but anytime I’m walking alone in a time or place that for whatever reason makes me feel unsafe, I definitely practice that. It makes me feel so much more confident and self-aware and just plain safer.

      • I know, right?! She’s just the best.

        I’m the same way, I don’t practice it at all times, but at night by myself on the street, you can bet I know everyone in my sphere (and three defining characteristics of each).

        Her thoughts on the homeless were also revelatory to me. I loved that part of her presentation.

  15. I feel like the worlds worst person for my initial reaction, which was “I never get harassed that much, I must not be that pretty.” I really have to check that ASAP.

    I once had a convo with my mom who said she thinks that women who dress in revealing clothes should expect to attract harassment and assault. My response was that assault/rape are not about sexual attraction, but rather about violence and exertion of power. That’s how I feel about street harassment, particularly involving physical contact. A boob grab isn’t inherently violent but an uninvited boob grab in a cab when you are at the mercy of the driver is definitely a violent act.

    Anyways Morgan I am so sorry that you experience these awful encounters so frequently. Thanks for the incredibly helpful article.

    • So glad you found it helpful. I sorta wrung my hands on whether or not to write it, since so many said so often “it’s just the way it is,” so do I really have anything to add? But I wanted to share Marty’s advice, plus gotta keep the convo goin’.

  16. Yeah, “stop harassing women” is an excellent line. My other go-to when dudes on the street say gross shit: a measured but loud and firm “Excuse me? What was that? Why would you say that to a woman you don’t know?” It certainly throws them off their game in my experience. (Obviously not a tactic for when you’re being physically threatened; but once I started speaking up to run-of-the-mill harassment it felt so so much better than just seething silently on the one hand or getting obviously flustered and shouting an insult on the other—feel like priority #2 after safety is not letting them make you feel awful.)

  17. Thank you for writing this Morgan! You put a lot of things into words that I and women around me experience every day but don’t’ necessarily talk about or acknowledge.

    I find it really startling how often I am at work and get inappropriate male attention. I think that men think because I am in customer service and I’m chatting in a friendly way (I work in book store so enthusiastically recommending books is our job) that it is okay to cross boundaries and make subtly sexual comments. I’ve found one of my best tools for combating this kind of behaviour (and I guess it works in this context but maybe not as much for street harassment) is silence and eye contact. I feel like eye contact holds a lot of power and when you combine it with not saying anything you really send a message. When a guy says something rude or inappropriate I’ll often just hold his gaze and not respond until he looks away and then I will either walk away or make a completely neutral work related comment.

    I know it isn’t always this easy to dissuade unwanted male attention, but I think the act of challenging them even in that small way is more than they are used to.

  18. Thank you everyone for sharing experiences and advice of your own. All aboard the Safe Space train. <3

  19. I do appreciate that, as you detailed, there are some actions women can take to feel safer, and to respond to being harassed.

    I also want to acknowledge that regardless of the actions we take to stop/respond to harassment, the only person with the responsibility to stop harassment is the harasser.

  20. If you’re receiving this behavior FROM the authorities (which has happened to me before, and to other people I know), it makes some of the response tactics harder.

    I admit that I would have trouble bringing myself to carry pepper spray (even if it didn’t require a license here). I’m a protest medic. Pepper spray is strongly associated in my mind with violent repression. I can understand why other people would feel safer carrying it, I am certainly not trying to say that other people are doing something wrong by carrying it, but it doesn’t make me feel safer.

  21. Thank you, Morgan! I’m 40 and I had my ass slapped by a teenage male last year. ARGH. Just so used to it.

    But, also recently, I was harassed by a woman in a lesbian bar setting. This has happened to me a few times. Not cute or flirty or a little bit naughty, no, what I experienced from other women was harassment. “Don’t mind me, I’m just distracted by your tits.” Excuse me?

    Have other people experienced this?

  22. I’m stressed out from seeing how fucking toxic masculinity can be… some manager a year ago would try to bring up personal stuff and close the door. Him closing the door made me really fucking uncomfortable because of the way he would talk to me. I eventually left ’cause I got tired of the sick mind games and just wanted out- just wanted PEACE! He grabbed my boob when I was grabbing ice and I was not happy. Tried telling the GM, but it fell on deaf ears ’cause I was still scheduled to work with the guy.

    At my last job I said “women can be just as strong as men can,” and this fucking Bill Crosby-type motherfucker had it in for me trying to dominate my every thought. At one point in front of my manager he asked, “would you fight other girls for me?” Me: No. “Would you fight other girls if I told you not to?” He chest bumped me from behind one day and since then I felt raped (I do NOT like my bodily space being invaded) and started negatively obsessing about him getting hurt or beating the shit out of him so eventually left that situation. Scared to work to deal with rapey assholes like this. Thinking about goign to therapy and martial arts so that when this happens again, as it is happening- well, he might be missing something. I felt like changing my gender when this would occur just so I wouldn’t have that kind of attention. I DON’T want this to happen again :'(

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