Odds are, no matter where you live, you’ve been harassed on the street. And in a big, walkable city like Denver, the odds are even higher.
A survey conducted by Stop Street Harassment in 2014 found that 65 percent of women in the U.S. have experienced street harassment. Among men, 25 percent reported having experienced street harassment (and a majority of them are LGBT-identified).
But because so much street harassment isn’t a crime, it’s under-reported. Even more aggressive illegal acts go unreported due to fear or a lack of faith that anything will be done about it. And sometimes, people won’t even believe it.
So we want to collect your stories.
Tell us about your experiences with street harassment in Denver so we can get a big, broad picture. And if you haven’t experienced street harassment but have questions, let us know. We won’t share your name or your story without contacting you first for permission.
Here’s some of what we’ve heard so far.
“There are so many stories, I don’t know where to begin. When I was a teenager, which was the most frequent time for street harassment, I was followed and stalked on a regular basis by grown men who did things like drive alongside at my walking speed shouting, ‘WHERE ARE YOU GOING?’
“Or the guy who followed me, staring from his car, driving 10 mph, until he and I hit a corner at the same time, and he jumped out and tried to grab me. Since I had been watching, I jumped back and was about to run, when he decided to try and pretend like he was just lost and asked me where the mall was. The Aurora Mall, across town. I told him that. He drove around the corner and started following me again. When I got to my block, I passed my house like it was any other and not my destination until he was looping around the corner again and I ran as fast as I could backward to the house.
“It’s just how I’m treated. I’ve been treated like this since I was a child. I know no different.” -Wren
“I rarely go out for lunch without some man catcalling. There are too many such incidents to recount. I’ve been touched unexpectedly and without permission; I’ve had men shout curses at me when I don’t respond; I’ve had people ask me for the time just so they can ask for my number or a date, generally with little to no segue. Some are understanding when I refuse or act uncomfortable, but others seem annoyed. Some men see me visibly happy and think they have the right to invade my personal space; I don’t know if they think my joy is contagious or if they want to spoil it, but either way they seem to view my smile as a personal invitation to them (it is not). A pushy man who does this can easily ruin my day.” -Stefani
I have had multiple bad experiences with street harassment. About a month ago, two young men on bikes followed me downtown. They were verbally harassing me and despite there being lots of people around, I had to duck into the library to get away from them. A few years ago, a man filmed me while he harassed me driving by in a car in Uptown. -Anonymous