General Question

Love_my_doggie's avatar

Ladies only. Have you ever been bullied and abused by an unknown man, and in a public place?

Asked by Love_my_doggie (10962points) April 29th, 2016

When people ask whether sexism is dead or dying, and if men treat unknown women with respect, my brain always jumps to this question. No, I’m not asking if men are bad (they’re not) or if women are eternal victims (they aren’t). I’d just like to know if you’ve ever some random man mistreat you because you were alone and vulnerable. If yes, do you believe that if you’d been with your boyfriend, husband, or another familiar guy, the bully would never have bothered you?

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17 Answers

Seek's avatar

Yes. A lot.

I tried for ages to explain the darker side of catcalling to my husband, who simply couldn’t understand why I didn’t think of it as a compliment.

Then one day we were walking together downtown. It was a few hours before the concert we were planning to attend, so we were just wasting time. I had stopped to look at a sidewalk pottery sale, and he was a few yards ahead of me.

Some dude said something to me – “Smile, baby” or something like that; you know how it is – which I ignored since I wasn’t there to talk to him or anyone else, and was trying to catch up to Mitch. Mitch turned around to see me catching up and heard “HEY, BITCH I WAS JUST TRYING TO SAY HELLO YOU WHORE! FUCK YOU, BITCH!”

I very pointedly grabbed Mitch’s arm and turned him away from the guy, saying “Ignore it. Not now.”

Mitch, thankfully taking my advice (he would gladly have beat the shit out of the guy) asked “What was that all about?”

“I am a woman and I owed him a smile and I didn’t pay up.”

And yes, you are less likely to be bullied if you appear to be “owned” by a man, particularly if that man is big and scary.

It’s even funnier when they don’t realise that you’re “protected” until after they’ve started bullying. Those moments are a bittersweet fun. They shouldn’t have to happen, but it’s still nice when they do.

Coloma's avatar

Yes, once when my daughter was about 8–9 months old I stopped in a little corner liquor/convenience store for something, I don’t remember what now. I was at the register , balancing my daughter on my hip, trying to get my wallet out of my purse and I pressed my knee up against the bottom of the counter. There were promotional posters for products tacked up under the counter and I accidentally tore one down with my knee. I picked it up and put it on the counter and apologized saying ” Oh, I’m sorry, this fell down.”

The clerk was very rude and unforgiving and as I turned to walk out I said, over my shoulder, very calmly, ” You know, you could have been a little nicer about that.” The guy went off on me and called me several nasty names and I thought he might come at me. I was so shocked and upset that when I got out to my car I backed into another car in the parking lot. The other driver was in it and there was no damage so that wasn’t an issue but I was literally shaking from shock at how crazy this guy went. The next day my ex husband called the store and spoke to the owner and we never saw that particular clerk again.

I felt very violated and scared, it was awful.
What kind of asshole does that to a young women with a baby in her arms?

Love_my_doggie's avatar

These stories are sending chills up and down my body. Literally.

anniereborn's avatar

Yes, when I was 13. I was going through a haunted house and it was single file. It was very dark. A man felt me up. I was terrified. My sister was in front of me but she couldn’t hear me cuz of all the noise and screams. When we got out of the house he ran off.

chyna's avatar

Yes. I was in my early 20’s at a club and walking towards the bathroom. It was crowded so it was it stop and go. I was stopped and a man reached down and grabbed my crotch. I pushed him off and went on to the bathroom. As I was leaving, I lit a cigarette. When I came up behind him, I ground the cigarette into his back. Paybacks a bitch.

Mariah's avatar

@chyna‘s story gave me a justice boner.

I hear a lot of stories from women about things like this, I’ve managed to mostly escape it personally. The only time a man touched me inappropriately in public, I think he wasn’t actually malicious, just senile. It was on the subway recently.

Mimishu1995's avatar

Last year there was a heavy storm swept into our city. The outcome was the extremely slippy roads. One day I was riding to school when suddenly two men got into my way. They were so fast I couldn’t react. I had to swiftly turned the handle to the side to avoid them. And did I say the road was extremely slippy? I lost my balance and almost fell. The two men watched as I struggled to hold the motorbike while saying nasty things as if they were almost killed by me. When I finally got up they cursed me again before going away. I didn’t know if the people looking at me during the whole occurence really thought I was an asshole or not.

Love_my_doggie's avatar

A couple of summers ago, I was standing outside my local Trader Joe’s, waiting for my turn to get a shopping cart. I felt a very insistent hand on my back. I thought a friend must have seen me and stopped to say hello. No, it was a large man I didn’t know, pushing me out of his way. Unbelievably, he shoved me aside instead of walking around me.

He proceeded to walk into the store. I was so shocked, I yelled, “Excuse me? Excuse me?” after him. He turned around and started to walk directly at me with an angry facial expression. I had my shopping cart by then, so I put it between us, pressed it into his body, and kept him at a arm’s length. I was terrified, but I wasn’t going to let him touch me again.

A few minutes later, inside the store, he walked past me and said, “That wasn’t very ladylike. You’re not a lady.”

There were a number of witnesses. One of them wanted me to call the police and press charges, but I opted to stay nameless and not do so. Anonymity can be the best defense with an irrational coward.

I’ve never felt so helpless and victimized. A few days later, I was in another public place and thinking about the incident, when I had the first panic attack of my life. My heart starting racing; I couldn’t control my breathing; I shook uncontrollably.

If my husband had been with me, he would have punched the man in the face. Hubby’s a big guy who abhors violence, but not as much as he dislikes bullies. I take small comfort in knowing that this sort of behavior is never an isolated event, and that this man will regret what he does.

cazzie's avatar

I started dating a guy I worked with and he took me to a party where a bunch of his friends were celebrating. The theme was Priests and Whores. The crowd was in their 30’s and I figured, ‘why not’. One of his ‘friends’ trapped me in a room and refused to let me out until I gave him a ‘taste’. At first I thought it was a joke because, you know, it was a light hearted party, but the guy was a real creep. I did get out of the room without making out with him. Someone, thankfully came knocking on the door and I yell and bolted out. I didn’t make a scene at the party, but I told my date the next day. It was obvious the person who opened the door figured out what was going on.

dammitjanetfromvegas's avatar

Yes, but most of the abuse has been by men I knew.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

I agree with @dammitjanetfromvegas. I’ve known the vast majority of men who’ve ever been abusive or treated me disrespectfully.

cazzie's avatar

How about this one, ladies. When in mixed company, a ‘man’ (cough-doushbag) tells you a really dirty, sexist joke hoping to get you to blush or some sort of reaction so he and his buddies can laugh at you. I got so sick of this as a 20-something (some 20 years ago) that I devised a way to embarrass them. I would act like I didn’t get the joke. They would then go into ‘mansplaining’ the joke, totally embarrassing themselves, when I smirk at them in the middle of their idiotic monologue.

canidmajor's avatar

One example: in the early 80s I was friends out for an evening of dancing. A guy asked me to dance, I refused politely, saying I wanted to sit a couple out, thanks but no thanks. About an hour later, I left. He followed me to my car, and yelling “you embarrassed me in front of my friends, you cunt” broke the driver’s side window. There were a fair number of people around.

That’s just one somewhat dramatic example. Trapped on airplanes next to jerks, gross cat-calling, groping in elevators, the list goes on.

I am grateful for middle age and some extra weight.

Love_my_doggie's avatar

Crazy-aggressive will always leave its victim at a severe disadvantage. The behavior is impossible to predict, so there’s no way to anticipate it or act defensively. Also, the actions occur so quickly, there’s no time to recover and react.

How could @canidmajor have known that an insane, dangerous man would attack her at her car and break a window?!?! This scenario simply can’t be imagined by anyone who’s mentally stable.

When a threatening man outweighs me by 65–100 or more lbs., getting far away, as instantly as possible, is really the only smart response.

canidmajor's avatar

14 answers before this and not one man on this thread arguing that we’re over reacting, misreading signals, or whatever they think the PC way of saying “but you were asking for it” to “it’s just as bad for men because someone might want to take our money”. Good on you, Gentlemen of Fluther, and a genuine thank you for restoring my faith in you. Too many threads do not go this way.

LeavesNoTrace's avatar

Sorry to answer an old question, but this happens to me. A lot.

I actually started a topic a while back, if you’re interested.

http://www.fluther.com/187688/could-excessive-street-harassment-contribute-to-my-anxiety/

Also, it rarely ever happens if I’m walking with my boyfriend. The only time it does is if I’m walking more than three feet from and it’s not apparent that I’m his “property”/

cazzie's avatar

Hey, it happened again! I went out on my child-free night. Toward the end of the night, a guy grabbed my shoulder from behind me and shoved me away. I asked him what the problem was and he said, it was old people hanging around (making reference to my middle-age-ness) I couldn’t believe it, but I turned back around and carried on talking to the group I had been talking to, but then I thought, ‘No, that just won’t do.’ So I turned back around, looked at the chap and introduced myself and said that I was a person and I didn’t think it was nice to be grabbed in that way and I held out my hand and said I would accept his apology. He just glared at me. I’m about 162cm tall (about 5foot2andchange) This guy was at least 5, 10. Mamma issues, I guess. Then, I was verbally bullied on the bus on the way home. Two drunk boys who didn’t look old enough to be drinking, were fumbling on how to get a ticket for the bus home, I tied to show them and they just looked at me calling me a ‘fucking English speaker’... I said, hey, just trying to help you out, and got on the bus before them. As they got on a few people behind me, they very loudly went on about how these ‘Fucking people speaking English thinking they can tell THEM what to do.’ Wow. Put that quickly in my pile of drunk Eurotrash assholes. I remember why I don’t like going out. It was mostly fun, but some men can make it really really uncomfortable for women.

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