Appalachian Ohio, Athens GA, Atlanta, Berkeley, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Columbia MO, Des Moines, Durham & Chapel Hill, Fredericksburgh VA, Houston, Los Angeles, Muncie IN, New York City, NYU, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Richmond VA, San Francisco, Tucson, Twin Cities
I’m 20 yrs old and I had just left the house to go into the town. On my 2 min walk to the bus stop these two small young boys in secondary school uniforms yelled at me, “alright gorgeous!” I’m a young adult, I have a boyfriend and to be called that by 2 very young boys who could not have been more than 14 made me incredibly uncomfortable. I want to avoid interaction with young schoolkids because I see how rude and nasty they can be. There is a thin line between being a schoolkid having a laugh and being nasty. I could sense in their tone that these 2 boys clearly were not having a laugh. I ignored them and went to sit at the bus stop. One of them ran over to me and sat down right beside me and put his arm around me and said, “how’s it goin beautiful” I quickly moved back and stood up and said ” please leave me alone.” He got up and laughed at me. Sitting back down I was so relieved it was over. This made me feel so uncomfortable, I don’t want to be harassed and especially by some little boy that has no manners and no respect. Why on earth do that to someone who is clearly a lot older than you. Then it hit me. Right on the head. A full can of fizzy juice. A woman had been collecting her son from the primary school beside the bus stop and she seen this and got out of the car and shouted at the boys and they ran off. This happened about a month ago but it really upset me. I didn’t ask or provoke those boys. I’m 20 years of age and I felt completely helpless to do anything, I couldn’t be rude or aggressive to some young kid but it makes me so annoyed that young kids nowadays are becoming cheeky, and it’s not funny anymore. They’re rude, they’re offensive and have the worst manners. Anyone could read this and think I’ve over reacted but its awful being attacked by a young secondary school boy. I wish I could find their parents to tell them how they treated me. I’m a young student at university, I work hard at a part time job and I am never rude to anyone. Something really needs to be done about this because even when I get the bus into town I see young school kids misbehaving and it’s not the same as when I grew up. There is a nasty underlying tone to their behaviour and I know it makes everyone feel tense. I also know it isn’t all school kids but there are a number that are completely out of control.
Walking home from work around 2am and in the space of 15 minutes I witnessed 3 random attacks and a girl almost get dragged away by a guy. I was conscious that I was walking the same direction as the girl and may have made her feel uncomfortable but then a guy came along and put his arm round her and tried to take her the other direction. I went over and told him it was my girlfriend and he left her alone.
One of the fights happened shortly after this, where a guy ran across the road and started laying into another guy for no apparent reason.
Needless to say, it was a pretty frightening walk home.
I was out for a run and had only been out for about 10 minutes. I was running up Upper Malone Road, and in the small stretch of that road that I run along, three cars beeped the horn or the people inside shouted “compliments” at me. Three in the space of probably 90 seconds. It’s at times like that when you know it isn’t even about sexual attraction or anything. I’m redfaced, sweaty, wearing baggy clothes, running up hill so I’m probably at an awkward angle. Why would you yell stuff at me? Just let me get on with it.
On Sunday night/early Monday morning I was walking home from a university library at 2am. At the bottom of Elmwood Avenue a guy was bent over a low wall outside one of the houses, I thought he was being sick so I turned off my ipod. Then I realised he was scraping stuff up off the ground – next thing I knew he grabbed my arm and pulled me towards him.
He threw the stuff at my face which I thought was just muck and leaves and I just froze I was wondering why would he do that. Then he scooped up more and threw it at me again – at this point I felt more hard things in the dirt and I realised it was stones as well as bits of broken glass.
I walked across the road and he pulled my arm back again and was trying to pull on my coat I think he was trying to open it up. I hit him with my file and he stepped back then punched me in my left eye. I ran up to the right hand side corner of Elmwood Avenue where it meets the Lisburn Road and realised he was running behind me. Another guy ran up asking was I okay cause he had heard glass breaking then my attacker ran up Lisburn Road and into Dunluce Avenue. The guy who had heard glass breaking asked was I okay and walked me up the Lisburn Road home.
When I got home I had a swollen left eye socket and scratches along my chest where my coat opens. I rang the police and they came and took a statement and went on to speak to the university security that night. My attacker had short dark blonde hair, medium build and height and looked local – probably around 20-23 years old – could be a fellow student? I just wanted to leave this to let other girls walking home to look out!
I wasn’t sure where else to share… an exchange with a man in the foyer of a public building that has a shared feminist space. I know it doesn’t seem too awful, but it was a very small space and there was no introduction, just an assumption he could talk to me in a weird flirty way.
Him:”So are you planning to do sports?”
Him: “you have a sporty back, you should do sports!”
Me:”…?” *shifting uncomfortably*
Him: “Are you studying here this year?”
Me: “No, I’m here to use the feminist space.”
Him: “Are they all as pretty as you, maybe I should know more feminists!?”
Me: “!!!!!” *nonplussed face, turns away*
The Ontarion – Courtesy Photo Street harassment consists of any comment or action occurring in a public place between strangers that is unwelcome, disrespectful,
On Friday 27 September, I was out with a workmate in town and noticed two men following me up the Lisburn Road. When I got to Tates Avenue, I confronted them and asked them to go away and leave me alone. They said they were just looking to walk me home and asked where I lived. I insisted that I didn’t want them walking me home and asked them to walk on in front of me.
It took a lot of persistence, but they did walk on. I nipped down Donnybrook Street to try and avoid any more contact and stopped to phone a friend. At this stage, they both came running around the corner and one of them snatched my phone out of my hand, scratching me as they grabbed. I chased them down the street but I was too unfit to keep up with them and eventually lost them.
It sickens me that this type of behaviour is deemed acceptable by some members of the public and I, for one, no longer feel as safe as I once did. These instances seem to be getting more frequent and I’m grateful for this community to share my experience and hopefully make others in the area aware of the type of people who may be lurking locally.
Hollaback! Belfast is now happy to report that we are under the Here NI umbrella! This partnership is supporting Hollaback! in countless ways. They give us a space and expertise to operate, think and forge ahead in Northern Ireland. Without them, we wouldn’t be able to grow and work in the community sector. We would just like to take this opportunity to thank the Here NI team for their guidance and support and look forward to a busy future!
For those that aren’t aware of their great work, Here NI is a community organisation and registered charity based in Belfast. They support lesbian and bisexual women and their families and improve the lives of L& B women across Northern Ireland. They do this in lots of different ways; through providing information; developing support networks in rural areas and towns; facilitating training; lobbying government and agencies on your behalf; offering a community space for meeting and much more.
Whether you want to connect with other lesbian and bisexual women in your area, find out about your rights, learn new skills or get involved as a volunteer, just get in touch or drop into their office in Belfast city centre. Check out their website to find out more about the services they offer and you’ll find lots of useful resources to help with any question you might have.