Please Just Stop: 5 Feelings All Women Have When Harassed On The Street

by Kathryn Kvas

The first few times you’re catcalled, it's both funny and disgusting. Men leer at you with a hungry look that you find both complimentary and confusing. 

You think, “Why are they shouting things at me?” And then, “Oh, that guy thinks I'm beautiful. Okay, that's nice. I could get used to that.” After a few more times, however, the catcalling gets painful.

It feels like when your tongue hurts after gulping scalding soup; you didn't expect it and you really don’t want to experience it again. They call you "b*tch" way more than "beautiful," and you hardly deserve to get cussed out by strangers.

Mostly, however, you're just plain tired of it.

It has happened to most of us — 95 percent of women, in fact. Some dude leering, groping or screaming at us while we walk down the streets makes us feel like nothing more than public property on display (minus the “do not touch” sign, of course).

The debate of street-calling seems to be coming to an end.

From the steady stream of stories and catcalling quotes coming to light (finally), it’s becoming clearer that men shouting, “I’d rape that b*tch!” from their car windows is more of a harassment than a compliment. (Just hashtag #everydaysexism or #EndSH if you don’t believe me.)

Until it stops completely, women will always harbor some discomfort in the back of their minds when they step outside; they'll have no choice but to wonder whether today's the day they'll be violated.

Of course, when the catcalling does happen, a multitude of perplexing feelings tumble through our heads.

Here are five examples of what happens, as told through actual street harassment stories via (@ActHarassment):

1. Confusion

Getting approached by complete strangers can be pretty confusing. Sometimes, if a guy starts talking to me, I think I might know him, but then a few seconds later, I realize he's just a total stranger, asking if he can lick my legs.

Here’s one girl’s story:

I was walking down the street, talking on the phone with my mom, when some charmer started following me in his car. Clearly noticing I was on the phone, he started waving furiously and trying to talk to me anyway. I was confused by this, so at first, I looked over at him to see if I knew him or if he had something important to say. But, when he just started hitting on me, I begrudgingly lifted the phone back to my ear and tried to ignore him. And that’s when he started screaming at me, ‘Hey b*tch! I’m just being nice and trying to talk to you. What the f*ck is your problem?’ Again, I was very confused. This was a few years ago (I was 18), so it was my first time getting cussed out by a complete stranger for absolutely no reason. Hot tears welled in my eyes and I ran down another street to get away from this assh*le. My mom heard the whole thing and asked if I was okay, but I really didn’t know how to respond.

2. Anger

Men are annoying in general, but getting harassed when you’re trying to get somewhere pisses me off more than weird hair on my soap. Seriously.

I was walking in a supermarket with my infant son when a creepy old white guy said, 'You’re too hot to be a mom,’ behind me.  It really angered me that someone had the nerve to say that to a mom walking around with a baby, but I wasn’t awesome enough to say something back to him. Wish I had. I did turn down the nearest aisle, though. Hope I don’t see him again.

3. Fear

Walking alone at night is terrifying enough without some sh*tbird following and shouting at you. Shut up and let me walk in fear alone, you dumb sh*tbird!

I was walking down a pretty crowded street at night, so I felt kind of safe. That is, until some dipsh*t started yelling from behind me, ‘Hey baby, why are you walking by yourself baby?’ He yelled this while following behind me for a few more blocks. All I could do was walk faster, finally deciding to duck into a store. I was terrified, and the worst part was that no one did anything to stop him.

4. Embarrassment

Things that are embarrassing: sweating through your shirt in gym class, clogging the toilet at your hookup’s house, that time your mom found your vibrator, getting called b*tch, slut, whore, or cunt in public street, spilling ice cream on your shirt... also, this:

I was walking out from a bar, searching for my friend in a drunken haze, when suddenly, these guys start shouting at me from their rooftop, ‘Oh shit, I’d put my face right in that ass. You want it, don’t you; you’re blushing.’ I felt really embarrassed and started walking faster, but since they were on a roof, there was nowhere for me to hide. And, I think the worst part for me was that guys across the street started laughing, too.

5. Unsure of how to react

Catcalling, like Miley Cyrus so eloquently sang, comes in like a wrecking ball, and you just aren’t sure what to do about it.

It was broad daylight and I was walking down a busy street. A guy started following behind me and started saying stuff like, ‘I bet you shave, don’t you?’ I had no idea how to react or what to say, so I just kept walking. No one did anything except look at me, not him and it was completely humiliating. Oh, and I was 14.

If you haven’t visited yet, please do. Submit your anonymous stories to make an impact. Let’s end this crap.

Photo Courtesy: We Heart It