“ I was in town in my school uniform, it was dark in winter and the shops had closed, I was waiting to be picked up by my mum. A man followed me through town.
I started to take strange routes to lose him but he followed me everywhere.
I went into a phone box to pretend to call home but I didn’t have any money. He waited outside. When I didn’t know what else to do I left the phone box and ran, he started to chase me. I banged on the the window of a shop, it was called Etam at the time, on Church Street, and I was really lucky that the lady let me come in and phone my mum.”
Name: Anon Age: 27 Location: Houndshill Shopping Centre
“I was followed for at least 10 minutes by a man who did not try to hide what he was doing. He sped up and slowed down when I did, he took every turn and entered every shop I did. My fear and panic clouded everything and even in a shopping centre full of people I felt incredibly vulnerable, especially knowing I was going to need to leave, stand at a bus stop, take a 20+ minute bus ride, then walk to my home. A moment of clarity made me enter a shop and he watched me through the glass front window. I spoke to a member of staff, and he disappeared immediately – which meant I wasn’t taken overly seriously, but at least made me feel confident for long enough to leave town.”
Large groups of drunk men shouting at you when you are alone is terrifying
Name: Anon Age: 20 Location: Central Drive/ Bonny St
“I worked in town from the age of 16 to 21. Every summer I would walk to or from work at various times as I worked shifts. I was wearing work trousers and no makeup and my hair tied up. Every single summer I would reach the area of Central drive daily around Bonny Street and braced myself.
Stag nights, crowds of men, single drunk men would make lewd comments, step in front of me and block my way, grab my arm and when I refused to engage would start shouting abuse and laughing.
This happened to me from the age of 16 onwards, regularly. This was scary and I would try to walk as quickly and forcefully through this area as I could but it didn’t stop the comments, shouting etc. This wouldn’t happen if I was with a male colleague or friend but would if they were female. Large groups of drunk men shouting at you when you are alone is terrifying.”
The shop manager asked what he had said then shrugged it off
Name: C Age: 16 Location: Scope charity shop, Abingdon St
“I was volunteering in a charity shop for D of E.
A man came into the shop and kept staring at me and persistently trying to speak to me. About 20 mins later, there was a phone call for me. The same man had gone out to one of the phone boxes on Abingdon St and (remembering my name from my badge) had called the shop and started asking really disgusting sexual questions.
The shop manager asked what he had said then shrugged it off.”
He carried on looking at me and I stuck my finger up at him
Name: Anon Age: 34 Location: Little Asda, Cherry Tree Road
“I noticed the man looking at me in Iceland. Once we were out the shop he went to his van as I began to walk down the street. The man was driving in the van and slowing as I was walking toward the van at the opposite of the road. He carried on looking at me and I stuck my finger up at him. He then shouted and called me a ‘Fucking whore’.”
I quickly headed towards a well lit area hoping to find other people to feel safe
Name: Anon Age: 17 Location: St John’s Square
“Walking home in the early hours from a friends house, a car containing three men pulled up beside me and the man in the passenger seat asked if I was out on my own at night for a reason. I ignored the car and walked faster, and the car followed me. The man offered me money if I wanted to go for a ride with them. The man in the back and the driver made some frightening sexual comments. I changed direction so the car would have to turn to follow me and I quickly headed towards a well lit area hoping to find other people to feel safe. The car drove off.”
I was shocked, but walked away as he was really angry
Name: Anon Age: 53 Location: Outside Cash Converters, Church St
“I was walking away from town on my lunch break. A man walked out of cash converters looking at his phone and not looking at the street. I swerved to avoid bumping into him, but we bumped arms. I said something like “Whoops” as it was no one’s fault – just one of those things, but he yelled at me:
“You stupid bitch, watch where you are going. Stupid bitch, are you blind?”
I was shocked, but walked away as he was really angry. He continued to shout at me as I walked down Church St.
“Stupid bitch – should have gone to Specsavers,” repeatedly until I was way past St John’s school. The street was busy, but no one intervened. It was a completely over the top reaction on his part which left me shaken, especially as I had been physically grabbed by a drunk man only days before.”
I didn’t know what to say at the time and my friends just laughed
Name: B Age: 16 Location: A shop on Waterloo Road
“I went to a local shop and was asked by the man behind the counter if I wanted to sit on his fingers and swivel. I didn’t know what to say at the time and my friends just laughed. I didn’t go in the shop again.”
He was watching us play
Name: Anon Age: 10 Location: Claremont Park
“A man was sat next to the playground showing and touching his penis while watching us play.”
A man leaned out and shouted
Name: Elizabeth Wilkinson Age: 42 Location: Near the Metropole
I walked along the street at 12 noon on a Monday, and a car pulled up alongside me and a man leaned out and shouted “Give us a blowie!”
Name: Roxanne Age: 13 Location: Leach Lane, St Anne’s
“I was walking to school, in uniform, and a man in a yellow Saxo kept driving past me, he stopped at the bus stop I was headed to and when I glanced in his car he had his trousers and underpants completely off and was masturbating. I was scared and walked to the next stop.”
“I was walking home after work a man started following me, so I stopped and went on my phone as he passed me and walked by. He then hid round the corner and then as I walked past he asked me for sex and offered to pay me.”
“Walking home from school I was followed by a man most of the way home… he eventually caught up to me and put his hand on my arm to stop me. He asked me if I wanted to go for a drink with him and when i said that my parents were waiting for me he became irritable and pushy, I tried to walk by him but he was stepping in my way so I couldn’t avoid him. I was extremely lucky that I was on a main road and my mum happened to be driving to get my sister from school and spotted me, pulled over and shouted me.”
“On two separate occasions as a young teenager I was followed by a man in a van. They attempted to chat to me while driving along side me from the Highfield Rd area towards my home at the time off Arnold Ave. They were asking for directions at first and asking me to get in and direct them, following me trying to have a conversation with me generally harassing me and making me feel very scared.”
Name: Roxanne Age: 12 Location: Church Road, St Annes
“A man in a black Corsa who lived near me had followed me on my walk to school, which had been for about a mile. He eventually rolled his window down and asked me to get in the car. I refused and he persisted, I eventually ran through a park so he couldn’t follow in the car.”