Firsthand Accounts of Sexual Harassment

By: Katelyn Wright

“For me, the abuse that I suffered—both initially and when I first tried to report him and confront him—destroyed my life,” says Jen Willems on Facebook. Willems is an advocate for the #MeToo movement.

Women from all over the world have experienced mistreatment from men. Catcalling, harassment, sexual abuse, rape, and disrespect.

Jolie Joyce, 16, from Astoria shares her experience with catcalling. She was walking home and a man made kissing sounds at her. She told him to leave her alone and he got defensive. The man said, “Cover up if you don’t want attention.”

Madisyn Guerrero, 14, from Jackson Heights says she is disrespected by men constantly. Once, she dropped her boyfriend home at 97th Street near Junction Blvd and was waiting for her dad to pick her up from a store. A man started saying vulgar things and grabbed his private parts in front of her. She was disgusted and flipped him off.

Another time, Guerrero was waiting to get ice cream from Mr Softee and she wasn’t wearing a bra. A strange man started staring down at her and began to nod his head at her. She said, “You’re disgusting” and left the line.

Dianna Gainza, 36, witnessed her white friend (who is the same age) being sexually harassed. They were at a club in Atlanta. The club was mostly filled with African American and Latino men. Her friend, Jess, had her butt smacked and grabbed by an African American man. She confronted him and he said, “So what? What are you going to do about it? Keep moving along if you don’t want problems.”

Jess felt defeated and helpless. She cried the entire night and refused to go to the club ever again. However, Gainza and her other friends—who are Hispanic and African American—did not receive any disrespect from men at the club. Therefore, in this scenario, did race play into this harassment?

Monica Guerrero, 26, says that she was walking home one day when a guy on a bike came her way. He grabbed her butt and she pushed him off the bike. She began cursing him out in Spanish and he ran off with his bike.

Any woman, despite their race, age, and looks can be mistreated by men. It is very common and the #MeToo movement is bringing awareness for these women who are continuously objectified and sexualize. It has been occurring for too long and there are steps being taken to bring hope to those who feel mistreated and alone.

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