50 Women Recall Being Sexually Harassed At An Extremely Young Age

Flickr / darkday
Flickr / darkday
Found on AskReddit.

1. I was 8.

I was 8 when a landlord in Germany put his hands down my pants while I was feeding a rabbit he gave me. I ran away, and he butchered the bunny that afternoon.

2. When I was 11.

When I was 11, I was at carnival in my hometown walking with friends and eating a pickle. A vendor guy said he’d pay me a dollar to eat the pickle in front of him. I was totally oblivious and almost took the dollar (hey! another ticket for a carnival ride!) until my sister told him to fuck off and dragged me away.

3. About 7 years old.

About 7 years old in a department store, I noticed a man following me through the aisles. I had no prior experience with this sort of thing so I tried to lose him because I felt uncomfortable but wasn’t too scared. He finally snuck up behind me in a narrow aisle and grabbed my butt hard. I was confused and scared and ran away.

I found my Mom, and said “Mom, what does it mean when someone does this to you?” And grabbed her butt.

My Mom freaked obviously. “WHO DID THAT TO YOU???”

I only have a vague memory of spending way too long with what must have been a store detective and then getting to go home.

4. 8 or 9.

8 or 9. My family and I were walking through downtown Vancouver. A middle-aged man leaned down to me and asked if I wanted to suck his dick. My family didn’t notice (the street was loud and crowded). I didn’t even understand what he meant by that. I thought about it for hours later and eventually realized he was being sexual. I felt really sick and ashamed.

5. When I was 12.

When I was 12 my family and I were at a fancy dinner party (related to my parents work) and someone they worked with (not close to, but they knew) got a little tipsy and made sexual comments to me, when my parents/sister weren’t around. I was instantly uncomfortable and aware that people could see me as a sexual object. My world outlook completely changed in a heartbeat and what’s amazing, to me, is how quickly I picked up on what was going on. P.S. He knew how old I was.

6. I was 11 or 12.

I was 11 or 12 and watching my little brother and his friend at a park when some dude came up to me and asked me if I wanted to suck his cock. I was scared and peeped out a little ‘no’. He replied with “Are you sure? It’s nice and juicy.” I knew I needed to get the fuck out of there but my little brother didn’t know what was going on but he did know that it wasn’t time to go home yet so I had to stay and convince these two 7-year-olds that they needed to leave the playground now and because I said so.

7. I was 12 when I had my run-in with the “Ice Cream Man.”

I was 12 when I had my run-in with the “Ice Cream Man.” He made a few comments about how my friend and I looked like such nice girls and tried to feed us ice cream from an unmarked industrial bucket.

When I adamantly refused he got in his van and followed us for about three blocks, until we made it to my house. Being 12, the full implications of why people snatch little children hadn’t really sunk in so we thought the whole thing was exciting and hilarious.

My parents didn’t think it was funny and called the police. We never saw him again.

8. It was definitely when I was about ten.

It was definitely when I was about ten. I started the whole puberty thing pretty early, so by that time I had visible boobs etc. Of course it carried on through high school (whenever I was out in my school uniform the number of comments/whistles/car honks/etc. would always be far worse)… It’s weird, because even though I am gay (and I was certainly aware of it at that age), there’s still that pressure to feel sexually validated by the men who happen to be around you; so when you’re twelve and feeling a bit shit about yourself because hormones and the nature of being pre/early-teen, this attention seems… Nice

But it isn’t.

It’s fucking creepy.

Comments and whistles turn into requests for your phone number, and that turns into awkward bus journeys with men who have propositioned you on your way home, and that turns into being followed home. It never gets better, it gets a hell of a lot worse.

And you know what? I ALWAYS made a point to state my age, and telling grown (and significantly older) men that I was fourteen/fifteen/sixteen never once deterred them. It never once put a stop to their conversation.

Being under-age was NEVER an obstacle for these men. It never even bothered them or made them stop for a second.

9. When I was 8.

When I was 8, I was outside playing by myself in my suburb which is very quiet and full of married couples. 3 or 4 teenage boys (about 14 or 15) sat in a huge tree overlooking the grassy area, and as I began to walk back home they wolf whistled at me and catcalled after me, making lewd comments about my sundress. I ran the rest of the way, crying. Gross.

The worst one happened last year. I was 16, walking back from a train station to a hotel, where a con was being held. I wasn’t in cosplay, just regular clothes. I didn’t know the city too well, but I felt safe since it was summer and it was still quite light and crowded.

An old pensioner shuffles past me (never met him before) and suddenly stops in front of me. He squints at me, as if he can’t quite place a name to my face.

Suddenly he comes out this gem of a line: “I want to squirt my babies into you.”

I was frozen and couldn’t say anything. I ran back to the hotel after that. I wish I could go back and kick him in his wrinkly old nuts. It’s kind of funny now but at the time it was terrifying.

10. I was 11.

I was 11. My bus driver. It made me feel scared to be the first or last one on the bus. Grown men started yelling at me on the street when I was 13.

But I knew I was supposed to be pretty for men at a very young age. I think most girls receive those messages. Don’t get fat or you won’t get a boyfriend. Don’t cut your hair, boys don’t like that. He’s only mean to you because he thinks you’re pretty. Don’t be ugly or what are you worth to anyone. So there’s a perverse thing where you want men to look at you and approve you because you’ve been told that’s good, but you’re terrified when they do when they yell at you or grab at you, or worse, that horrible stillness where you don’t even know what they’re thinking, only that it’s about you, and you know that if they managed to catch you before you could run, you’re too small to fight your way out.

11. Around 11.

Around 11. It was very mixed emotions, it is always exciting and pleasant to feel like someone thinks you are pretty. That was surface level. Under that, I felt nervous and kind of like I was ashamed. It was definitely older men. I remember that suddenly I realized people wanted to hug me bc I had boobs. I can only describe it as demeaning. I tried to ignore that it felt like I was shameful and just focus on “they think I’m pretty, they must really like me” that led to a series a bad decisions.

12. I was about 10.

I was about 10. I was terrified. Who the fuck catcalls/follows a 10-year-old? I’m more than sure my Lion King backpack and light-up shoes were an indicator I wasn’t of age. “You’re so pretty I just want to talk to you.” While walking home from the bus stop. Terrifying. Sadly men became more aggressive once I turned 14. I literally had a guy chase me down the street. I had to run to a neighbor’s house.

13. When I was about 12 or 13.

When I was about 12 or 13. And it was grown-ass men who would make lewd comments. It made me feel very uncomfortable and self-conscious. I was still a child for crying out loud.

14. I think I was 12 and it was like a 40-year-old construction worker.

I think I was 12 and it was like a 40-year-old construction worker. That started to be a near constant experience when walking by construction sites that creepily (but thankfully?) ended by the time I was 18, which I think is more worrisome.

15. I was 11, and I was jumping on a mini trampoline.

I was 11, and I was jumping on a mini trampoline and I caught my mom’s boyfriend leering at me. Horrible feeling that I still think about sometimes.

16. About 12-13, a noticed a fully-grown man staring at my chest.

About 12-13, a noticed a fully-grown man staring at my chest, and he had his mouth open a bit and a look of ‘concentration’ on his face. I hated it and felt dirty and used. It made me extremely self-conscious and I never wanted it to happen again, so after that I started wearing baggy clothes.

17. I was in a park in SF with my mom around age 9 or 10.

I was in a park in SF with my mom around age 9 or 10. All of a sudden my mom gets furious and pulls me away from the park. All of the men there were discussing my body, not realizing that my white mom understood Cantonese. The next 15 years have been a constant barrage of that shit, with the occasional rape attempt sprinkled in for funsies.

I have to admit, the most enraging part of this post is all the men ~suddenly realizing~ that this shit goes on. Women have been complaining about this for centuries. There are whole movements against it. There’s so much art and writing about it. Why didn’t you listen to all those women? I guess you have to get all the way down to age 9 before you will acknowledge that women aren’t asking for it and don’t want it? All the women in your life are getting all this shit all the time – your mom, your sisters, your girlfriend. Pay attention and when they complain, LISTEN.

18. 13 years old.

13 years old. I have huge boobs. I was in line for airport security, going through one of those body scanners, when I overheard an older TSA agent say: “I call that one.”

BLECH

19. I was 12 and was walking down the street from my friend’s house.

I was 12 and was walking down the street from my friend’s house. A truck full of guys pulled up next to me and started hollering and whooping at me, telling me I was sexy and urging me to get in the truck with them. I tried to ignore them but they kept saying things like “I bet you taste really good.” I then flipped them off and told them to stay the fuck away from me. They laughed and drove away. I knew then that I had to be careful walking home and that I now had a body that was to be gawked at or commented on by mostly older, creepy men.

20. I was 12.

I was 12 and I was getting the mail and this man walked into the mailroom (apartment complex) and said “Hey” trying to get my attention because all he could see was my backside. I straightened up terrified and as soon as he saw my face his dropped and he apologized and left without his mail. Not that bad but it creeped me out and scared the living hell out of me. A lot of girls went through this at such a young age and I just want to tell them I’m with you and I hope you’re all okay now. ❤

21. I used to walk home from middle school down a very busy street.

I used to walk home from middle school down a very busy street. I remember counting how many honks/hollers I would get during my 1.5-mile walk. I think I remember maxing out at around 23. The kicker was when some guy actually pulled over and asked me to get in the truck. Body shame started early for me.

22. Started getting bewbs around age 8.

Started getting bewbs around age 8. Had a C cup by age 11. D by age 13. DD by age 16, and now I’m in my 20’s and have H … I have been objectified pretty much since I started growing them. I remember being a gymnast, having the biggest chest on my team, and receiving the uncomfortable staring from the parents as my leotard struggled to contain. Mostly dads and brothers staring and less-endowed moms glaring. Going shopping with my mom (with bigguns as well) was the absolute worst because I would see how SHE was treated because of it. In school, the girls hated me and the boys had no idea what to do with me (lol) so they resorted to teasing and gawking. They are (pre) pubescent boys after all. Being defined as the only girl at my age with boobs was really fucking hard to cope with, especially when, you know, girls and women are more than a pair of tits. Even now, I’m a pretty successful scientist and I’m still known as a chick with tits.

Guys, having big boobs is not a fucking novelty. It is damn near a handicap. It is not “sought” after, as a female, if you know what you’re getting into – most clothing doesn’t fit, finding bras that fit outside of the common ‘size matrix’ is difficult, you avoid anything involving a bathing suit, sleeping is uncomfortable in most positions, they sag/swell more because there is simply more boob, women are bitter, men are pigs, I could go on. I have learned to embrace them for what are, fatty chest appendages, and my BF loves them, but it is not fucking easy.

23. I had to wear a bra by 10.

I got boobs a little young. I had to wear a bra by 10. When I was 11 they were a source of agony at school because I was the first girl to hit puberty at my tiny private school, so I was very aware of them. One day I was out on a walk with my little sisters (5&6) in our neighborhood when a man walking his dog stopped and talked to us. I remembered my stranger danger and answered vaguely but politely, lied about which house we lived in and stuff. He asked me how old I was. I said 11. He wasn’t looking at my face when he asked. He quickly left right after making a joke about early growers, because I was also a little tall for an 11-year-old. I realized he thought I was older than I looked, it was weird because insecure about boobs, and after that I was always very aware of people mistaking my age. I got hit on by a lot of creepy 30+ men for years because I ended up with D cups on a small frame by 13 and I would frequently help my dad out at his store, so I had a lot of interaction with our primarily older male clientele.

It’s given me a weird distrust of guys. Being asked if “what are you into” with obvious winking at 13/14 by a creepy neckbeard type in his probable 40s is not something I wish on anyone.

24. I was 12 and my mom was getting me a cell phone.

This was…1999 or 2000? I was 12 and my mom was getting me a cell phone. This was before cell phone were as common for kids to have.

I came home with my cellphone and got my first call. It was the young guy who set us up with the phone and the plan. He called to tell me that he thought I was hot and that he has my number since he set me up with my phone. I just small talked him, being overly nice as I wasn’t really sure what to do.

My mom noticed me on the phone and asked who I would even be calling (the phone was basically to call her and only her). I told her that the guy that sold us the phone was trying to get a date with me. She grabbed the phone and yelled into it, “She’s 10 years old and you should be ashamed! If you ever call again I’ll go to the police.” He got off the phone quickly.

I looked at my mom and said, “But…I’m 12?”

“He needs to feel the additional shame of being a pig.”

And that was the moment I first noticed that someone was looking at me in a sexual way.

My mother ended up going to the store and getting the guy fired. Apparently this wasn’t the first time he’d used his job to get numbers of women to call. This time he got fired.

That was also the year other things occurred, but this was the first.

25. We were all 13 or 14.

When I was 13 myself and two friends went on vacation with a third friend to Block Island. We were all 13 or 14. I remember we were all walking down the street in the center of the town and this group of middle-aged men on vacation started making lewd comments and laughing while following behind us. They tried to start up a conversation with us but before that could happen my friend’s mom intervened (she had been trailing behind us). She looked right at them and said, “I think you’re a little too old for them.” They weren’t embarrassed by being called out though they responded with a laugh and a proposition to my friend’s mom “Well, what about you then?” She didn’t miss a beat though her response was “You’re too old for me, too.”

26. Probably 14 when my boobs started growing.

Probably 14 when my boobs started growing. One of my dad’s friends pulled me onto his lap and I was disgusted. I am still very close to the same size and shape I was at that age. I was an adult body with a child’s mind. I let myself be taken advantage of because I liked the attention. It set me up for a life of issues with men.

27. I remember being in Blockbuster when I was 12 and having a man comment on my ass.

I remember being in Blockbuster when I was 12 and having a man comment on my ass loud enough that multiple people turned around to glare at him. When my shocked mother informed him of my age he turned bright red and left the store.

28. I guess I was…14 or 15 at the time?

I remember being in high school and an old guy in a convertible pulling up next to me while I was walking from one store to another in a strip mall. After a simple hi, how are you doing type thing he asked me if I wanted a ride to where I was going, I said no thanks, and he drove off. I guess I was…14 or 15 at the time?

The thing is, this is a classic thing that any parent would freak out if it happened to their daughter, but it happened to pretty much everyone I ever mentioned it to in my teenage circle of gals and we always just laughed it off. We never realized just how disturbing it is at the time.

29. I was 14.

I was 14. I was an awkward and shy girl. My breasts were growing so fast (I hated this stage), and I noticed my male classmates would look at them. When I walked alone strange men would stare at me and smile or wink at me, sometimes asking if I was lost. Once or twice a car stopped while I was walking, and the man would offer to give me a ride home. Of course I said no. Some would try to block my way and say “You’re so pretty.” I would say thanks and run away. The creepiest was this guy in a crowded train. He was behind me, and I felt like something was poking my butt. He was rubbing his crotch against my butt. I was so scared and alighted at the wrong station. All of these happened when I was around that age. This part of my life felt strange and scary. :/

30. I was 12.

I was 12. I remember I was doing yard work for a step-uncle when he would constantly casually make “Huh” sounds and stand directly behind me when I would pull weeds. Suspicions were confirmed when he took me to lunch at the mall and offered to buy me tiny dresses and low-cut shirts. I stopped associating with my stepfamily after that as that’s all they ever did.

31. When I was 12, my mom and I were at a small, carryout only restaurant waiting for our order to be ready.

When I was 12, my mom and I were at a small, carryout only restaurant waiting for our order to be ready. This older guy, who looked like he was about 20 came in. He just stared at me, open-mouthed. I had to walk past him to fill my drink, and he said, “Hey baby. Give me some of that T & A.” I didn’t even know what T & A was! He even positioned himself so I would have to walk past him again when we left the restaurant, and he made another comment where he called me “Princess.”

Anyway, when we got in the car, I just broke down crying. I was so ashamed. My mom had had no idea that any of that had just occurred, and I told her that I didn’t know what I had done wrong. I thought for sure I must have looked him at or done something to make him think that it was OK to talk and look at me like that. My mom assured me that it was nothing that I had done, and I that now that I was developing, things like that were going to happen a lot more frequently….

What I find so disturbing now that I’m an adult, is how frequently older grown men would look and make sexual comments at me from the ages of 12-17. Like I said before, I looked very young, and I didn’t dress provocatively. There’s no way they could have mistaken me for 18+.

32. I was around 12 or 13 when it started.

I was around 12 or 13 when it started, I was a tall, gangly kid who didn’t understand why it was happening. I’m 35 now and still don’t get it.

It makes me feel angry at my body. My kid self wanted to use my body to run and play and swim, but doing so seemed to invite comments, kissy noises and propositions from men more than twice my age. It didn’t feel good, it felt like a constant hindrance to using my body the way I wanted to. There were many times where I wished I could transform into a boy temporarily just to go outside.

In my twenties, I dealt with it by covering my body in many loose layers and a floppy hat. My boss said I looked like one of the guys from Spy vs. Spy, but at least I was left alone. That’s all if ever came down to, I just wanted to be left alone to go about my day in peace. I don’t care if some random stranger finds my body type to his liking, it’s such a small part of who I am. It’s only a vessel, but sometimes I feel like I’m struggling for my voice to be heard over it.

TL; DR: Started before puberty, it makes me feel small and like a prop.

33. 11 or 12?

For me I don’t think there was any one moment. But it’s younger than people think… 11 or 12? And it’s scary and uncomfortable seeing men three times your age look at you like that when you have no clue about anything yet. Men can get aggressive and you have to learn to completely block yourself out from that and pretend you don’t notice because if you do, they’re way more likely to get more aggressive. Which leads to covering yourself up and being ashamed of your body.

But then if you dress how you want, even if it’s not revealing, you open yourself up to even more harassment.

Being a woman is hard sometimes.

34. About 12 or so.

About 12 or so. One time we were on a road trip and pulled up next to a bus full of people at a stoplight. I was lounging in the backseat of the car and looked up to see all these guys (probably late teens, young 20’s) all hanging out of the windows and looking at me. I blushed but also felt desirable.

That same year, I went to a party with several of my classmates and heard someone say that this guy wanted to make out with me. Being super shy and never having been kissed, I got all nervous and embarrassed. To top it off, another guy responded that the first guy only wanted to make out because of my (brand newly developed) big boobs. I was mortified and uncomfortable.

35. I was 12 and I was walking to the gas station on a hot July day to go get a Slurpee.

I was 12 and I was walking to the gas station on a hot July day to go get a Slurpee. I was wearing a tee shirt and shorts and a passing car honked at me and jeered something out the window.

I was so flattered! This strange man thought I was attractive, and as an awkward 12 year old I had never had anyone’s attention. I actually vividly recall thinking women who complain about catcalls are silly because this was a nice quick ego boost for insecure 12 year old me.

Well fuck that because it got old real quick. That summer, I was catcalled numerous times, by numerous different cars, in numerous different ways. As an insecure teen, I drew value out of these catcalls, but I was also keenly aware that I was being valued for something I have no control over; I was born the way I look. They weren’t honking because I had been entered into a national kids’ poetry submission book. They weren’t honking because my artwork had been selected for my neighborhood’s street banners and was currently hanging on several streets. They weren’t honking because I was babysitting my best friend’s brother for free every Tuesday for eight hours each week so that my friend and her single mom could go visit her dying grandmother in a home. They were just honking because they wished to inform me that they liked the wiggle of my walk.

That got old very fast. Like, that summer I was already over it. What exactly were they trying to achieve?

“Passing miss! I, as an elite specimen, have deemed thee sexy! Attractive! Fuckable! Honk-worthy! With this gesture I do impart to ye my approval. Now, I will continue driving in order to end our interaction. How kind of me, to impart upon this lass my clear indication of appreciation for how she presents to the world. I am a kind and just gentleman”.

I was a pretty cool kid but to them I was just a potential fuck. This has actually stuck with me, since I no longer look to others for approval; especially not for their opinion on my looks. I now choose partners based on whether they appreciate who I am as a person.

36. I was 11. I got boobs pretty early, so even though I clearly had a baby face, grown men felt it was okay to make comments to me.

I was 11. I got boobs pretty early, so even though I clearly had a baby face, grown men felt it was okay to make comments to me. In the summer, it was my chore to walk the dog. My dad would wake me up super early before he went to work, so I could do it before it got hot out. The summer before seventh grade, one of my brothers had to start walking the dog, because too many grown men would honk or shout things at me on their way to work. I remember just how crushed my dad looked when I told him about what was happening. I thought he was ashamed of me.

37. I was 13, scrubbing the kitchen floor on my hands and knees.

I was 13, scrubbing the kitchen floor on my hands and knees. My dad came into the kitchen and gave me The Look (… the lusty eyed look, which I didn’t realize was The Look at the time). He said, “Ooooh girl, if I was your age I would be all over you right now.”

I’ve never been a particularly attractive girl/woman, and I certainly wasn’t at 13. I was overweight and awkward. Though he never touched me, most of the sexual looks I received from men during my teens were from my own dad. At the same time he spent a lot of time jealous of any guys I did spend time with, most of which were not attracted to me in that way. It made me feel disgusted, but I’m thankful that he never crossed the physical line.

38. When I was about 14 I was at the beach.

When I was about 14 I was at the beach with my family and made the mistake of going to a store on the boardwalk alone with cousin (who was the same age) to get ice cream. We were in our swimsuits and there were older men hollering at us the entire time we were walking there. I remember one guy stuck his tongue out and wiggled it at me. While we were on line for ice cream, two men approached us and starting talking to us, asking if we wanted to go to their house and hang out with them. I asked the one who was talking to me how old he was and he said he was 20. I let him know how old I was and he responded with “Age ain’t nothing but a number.”

39. I remember being 14 and I was visiting Jamaica.

I remember being 14 and I was visiting Jamaica, which is where my biological father’s side of the family is from.

I was at the beach with my aunt when a local man approached me. He had his whole spiel about how beautiful I was, smile like sunshine, blah blah blah. I was still completely child-like in personality (I was a sheltered child) and almost immediately said “I’m 14.” My aunt told him I was 14 too later on. His response was “It doesn’t matter.”

I hid behind my aunt until he went away. That’s the first time I remember someone attempting to have sex with me.

40. ~11 years old.

~11 years old…our family friend commented on the “knots in my shirt” (growing boobs). I felt disgusting. I never swam without a shirt again until I became a grown woman and more comfortable with my body.

41. Ten when it started, and it was overwhelming and terrifying.

Ten when it started, and it was overwhelming and terrifying. My breasts started developing at nine, and hips followed soon after, but body shape aside, I was CLEARLY a child. Braces, “my mom dresses me” outfits, gangly awkward gait and posture, etc. I used to tell men who harassed me how old I was, like it was some sort of protection, or so they’d maybe be embarrassed into leaving me alone.

It didn’t always work, though.

42. I want to say I was between the ages of 12 and 14.

I want to say I was between the ages of 12 and 14. Uncomfortable doesn’t even begin to describe how I felt when my body started changing and the opposite sex began to notice. It’s real, though, grown-ass men talking to you and “wanting to get to know you better” when you’re barely even in high school. It was around that time that I truly wished I had an older brother.

43. I think I was around 10 at the time.

I think I was around 10 at the time. My swimming coach also had an auto rickshaw (a 3-wheeler taxi of sorts). He said he can drop me home, so me being stupid and innocent said OK. He asked if I wanted to drive the vehicle, which I got excited about. Turns out, he just wanted me to sit on his lap and feel him. I instantly knew something was wrong and told my parents when I got home.

When my parents found out, I got a huge lecture on what was ok and what was not, and that guy got kicked out of the club cause my parents complained. (thank god!)

44. I was 14.

I was 14. And was at a family party when some man I never met offered me a drink. I told him no thanks but he continued to try and talk to me. He was being VERY flirtatious. He wouldn’t stop calling me beautiful and touching my hair, face, shoulder, etc. I finally felt uncomfortable so I told one of my uncles…forget it. My whole family tried to kill him. He freaked out when he found out how old I was. Said he thought I was 18. He did apologize to me that night… well, he was forced to.

45. I got catcalled, followed around by age 11.

I got catcalled, followed around by age 11. On my 10th birthday my 2 other friends and I almost got thrown into a car with two adult men. My friends wanted to hide behind cars but I chose to run and they followed. (The car had turned on their brights, there was one guy in back and one in front, and the guy in back got out and approached us) by age 14 it wasn’t only whistles, I walked to the stores a lot and grown-ass men would try to give me rides. My sister had a guy flash his dick to her when she was 13. It’s fucking disgusting.

46. Probably by 12.

Probably by 12. I developed pretty early and was sporting 34C cups by that age. I went to Costa Rica with my grandma to visit family and I was getting catcalled walking through the city. I completely hated it and just would want to cry. It made me feel really ashamed and I would constantly hunch and wear oversized shirts to hide it.

47. 6th grade—that’s 11 or 12 years old.

6th grade—that’s 11 or 12 years old. I stopped walking the few blocks between my house and the library because men and teenagers driving by whistled, catcalled, threw change out the windows… Instead, I would order books online on my parents’ accounts and ask them to stop by the library for me. So, thanks to the creeps out there for making me feel unsafe on my own street, in my own town, when all I wanted was to browse through the kids’ section at the library.

Oh yeah—I’m in my 20s now and I still don’t walk to the library. This shit doesn’t change. It didn’t matter if I was a child or a young adult—I have legs and look moderately female, so apparently that makes me an easy target. And it doesn’t matter if those legs are covered by a short skirt, jeans, or a burlap sack. Creepers are going to creep, and it sucks to be female every time.

48. Earliest was probably age 11.

Earliest was probably age 11. My best friend lived a couple of blocks away so in the summer I would walk over there nearly every day. Everyday I would get honked at or catcalled; I was a 95lb child.

49. When I was 12, reality hit.

I’ve always liked to be really girly and not afraid of growing up, but when I was 12, reality hit. I was on a trip with my brother for a soccer tournament. Afterwards we all went to the mall to eat and I asked my mom if I could go to one of my favorite stores at the time; it was literally right above us within eyeshot. On the way there a man stopped me and told me he “Loved my outfit” and “I had great style.” I looked at his nametag and it just said manager. He was clean cut and didn’t look creepy to the eye. I just said thanks and went straight to the store. He followed me and said “He couldn’t keep his eyes off me” and “He would love to photograph me sometime.” I grabbed a pair of pants and went into the dressing room until my brother came looking for me. As we left, he was there…across the floor…staring.

50. The summer between 4th and 5th grade.

I went with my mom to register for 5th grade, so it was the summer between 4th and 5th grade. Some men were in the parking lot. I dunno if they were parents or employees or just guys hanging out, but they started yelling at me and making obscene gestures (licking, etc.). At first I thought they must be talking to someone behind me, so I looked around, but there was no one there. My mom grabbed my arm and started dragging me toward the car, and that’s when I knew. I stopped walking and asked her if they were talking to me. She just responded that she shouldn’t have let me out of the house looking like “that.” I looked down, and shrugged, because I was just wearing a T-shirt and jeans. The men were still staring and calling at me. My mom said “You should be ashamed!” which really got me. WHY? I wasn’t doing anything. THEY should be ashamed. So I turned and yelled at them “HEY! I’m in Elementary School! I’ll call the cops! I’m going to tell everyone about you!” And I flipped them off. I got in a shit ton of trouble when I got home. But those assholes did look embarrassed and stopped their yelling and licking before we left. TC mark

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