I Was S*xually Harassed in NYC

New York City is a dumpster fire. I am so over it.

And that’s coming from someone who had a full blown love affair with the city for over twelve years.

It didn’t take but 5 minutes of being by myself in NYC to become the target of sexual harassment.

It only took 5 minutes of being alone in New York City for me to become the target of s*xual harassment last Wednesday. Defund the police has got to stop. We need law and order returned to the streets. #nyc #nj #newyork #travel #postpandemic #woman #police #cops #jerseycity #manhattan

Let me back up for a moment.

This past week, Wednesday-Saturday, my fiancé and I flew back to New York City to be with his family over the one-year anniversary of his father’s passing. And while we were there, I picked up my wedding dress and Steven had his final fitting for his tux.

Wednesday morning, our flight got in early. I checked into my hotel in Jersey City and Steven went straight to work in Manhattan, where I would meet up with him later in the day after getting my haircut in Soho.

It only took 5 minutes of being alone in New York City for me to become the target of s*xual harassment last Wednesday. Defund the police has got to stop. We need law and order returned to the streets. #nyc #nj #newyork #travel #postpandemic #woman #police #cops #jerseycity #manhattan

Around 3pm, I left the hotel and walked to the NJ PATH station — which is the subway that connects Jersey City to Manhattan. (A three minute ride, truly, a no brainer).

It’s the first I’d been without Steven, and on my own since I arrived that morning. It was a beautiful 85 degree day in the city, and I was wearing a cute little sundress, summer wedge sandals, and I was feeling all cute, about to go get my pre-wedding haircut!

As a seasoned New Yorker, I always have my wits about me, especially when I’m alone, and particularly when I take the subway…which, truthfully during the last few years I lived in NYC, I never did, because crime had become so rampant post-pandemic. But the PATH usually is safer because it requires a separate ticket and is only for NJ commuters.

So anyways, I entered the PATH station — I had both hands on my purse, phone away, eyes up and alert, and I noticed as soon as I walked through the door that this suspicious looking man had zeroed in on me and was walking right at me.

Now, I still had to purchase a PATH ticket at the automated kiosk. And there was a line. And here comes this man.

He had his hands jostling around his nether region. He was licking his lips and saying the most lewd things about me, about my dress, about my legs. And he was approaching me.

I swiftly veered around him, avoiding his path.

But I still had to wait in the ticket line.

He continued to follow me and then approached me, trying to touch my hands. He was still licking his lips and saying sexually explicit things about my body.

The other people in the ticket line were non-english speaking tourists with kids who were just gawking at the scene unfolding in front of them.

Then the man started getting angry. “That’s f*$&ing rude. You gonna just ignore me?! That’s f*#&ed up. That’s f***ed up!”

At this point, there were some other men behind me that kind of stuck up for me, urging the man to “leave the girl alone,” and “back off!” And it was during that diversion that I purchased a ticket as fast as I could, and I literally ran to the turn style where I swiped my ticket, bolted through the gate and never looked back.

It was so scary. My heart was in my throat and all I could think was, “Dang, I am so glad to have escaped this forsaken city.

Five minutes.

Five minutes is all it took to become the target for sexual harassment. And sure, perhaps this isn’t as “drastic” as other women have tragically experienced, but his aggression was still out of line and terrifying.

Here’s the thing — I know FOX News and other news organizations can dramatize how “bad” some of these big cities have become. It’s easy to write it off that they’re just sensationalizing how dangerous or how crime-ridden New York City, or LA or San Fran or Chicago have gotten, post-pandemic.

It’s easy to roll our eyes at what we might think is just “fear mongering,” but the truth is…it actually is that bad out there.

The crime, the drug use, the homelessness. It’s all true. Not sensationalized. Not amped up for ratings. Big cities have become cesspools of violence, crime and homelessness.

Not only did I live through it in NYC, but this summer Steven and I spent time in LA and San Fran, and not only did we witness people defecating in the street and tweaking on drugs, but the city was one homeless encampment after another — taking over sidewalks, bridge underpasses, abandoned lots. It was so tragic.

The large cities in America are absolutely red-lined, run by horrible politicians and rapidly declining further into disarray.

And with New York especially, it is heartbreaking to remember what it was, and then see what it has become.

It’s just so sad.

My experience this last Wednesday, I’m grateful that I wasn’t in terrible danger, but it just speaks to the unpredictable nature of living in such a crime infested city where the police have been defunded, disrespected and told to stand down.

I’ll tell you one thing, it really makes me grateful that I got out of there when I did, and that I now live in Ohio.

So anywho. All that to say, be careful out there. Our cities are not what they used to be.

I wonder when someone will stand up and say, “Enough’s enough.” We need law and order back on the streets; we need punishment for crime; and we need to find creative and effective solutions to help people get back on their feet – get a job, get clean – and get off the streets.

That is my prayer.

And one last thing before we go — it would be just a huge help if you could subscribe to my YouTube channel. It would help support this blog ministry so that I can continue to provide free content! Thank you!

Have you seen a change in the big cities near you?

Please let me know in the comments!

Have a wonderful evening; be safe, and I’ll talk to you on Wednesday and Thursday! Boy do I have a good story for you!

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40 responses to “I Was S*xually Harassed in NYC”

  1. I am so sorry that you experienced this, it has became so unsafe to even leave our homes, my heart breaks as society requires us now to be hypervigilant, it’s sickening.
    Praying God will just take away the emonitional sting of it.

  2. I’m sorry that happened to you, Caralyn. It’s sad what the city has become. I’m glad there were people who stuck up for you. It’s so messed up. I used to love going to the city. Now, I don’t care. The way things are like you described in SF is disturbing. I’ve seen videos. It is inhumane.

    I’m glad you were able to get such a great wedding dress. Don’t think about what happened too much. Just try to enjoy whatever time you have left.

  3. Caralyn. I am so very sorry to hear about your experience. It hurts me to know that such lechery is rampant, but where the god of this world is, there are people who are influenced by The Spirit of God (whether they acknowledge it or not) who defended and will publicly shame those looking to make a victim of a victor. You will be well, my friend. My prayers are in your corner, and I am excited for your wedding day! GBU

  4. I am sorry you had to go through that. I am from NYC born and raised. I can’t stand going back there to visit. As soon as I get off the plane I have to go in protection mold. I went to nyc one time by myself and never did that again. It’s so bad out there I have to carry a knife in my boot. I am not allow to carry my pew pew out there. Not a violate person until you come into my space. Sorry to say NYC is a place you need to carry a weapon on you at all times.

  5. I am sorry you had this experience and escaped otherwise unharmed . No woman or man for that. Matter should be subject to this type of harassment.
    It’s funny because just today my run friend who has 3 20 plus something daughters living in the nyc full time said the city is a great place and it’s Fox News that makes it out to be such a terrible place. I think your experience is the real one and perhaps her daughters don’t tell her everything.
    I think your experience could happen to me in my small town of 10000 just the same as nyc.
    Glad to hear that at least one b y stander came to your help

  6. That sounds really scary. There’s a high chance the guy was mentally or taking a concoction of illegal drugs. His behavior was unacceptable. The dude is living in his own internal hell. The important thing is that your are safe and you got out of there quickly.

      • Many times they’re not mentally ill. Thanks to the failing policies of the politicians and the current government, these people are living their dream of having a live version of GTA 5, in which their bad behavior and actions have no consequences and is at times rewarded.
        They are unchallenged and unchecked, because to do so, ‘infringes on their rights and freedoms’; such is the world we are living in now.

      • @Julxrp. Okay, so you decided to respond to my comment out of all the other comments that were left on Caralyn’s blog post lol Everyone has their own opinion and I stand by what I said. I indicated that it was very probable he had a mental illness.

  7. I was sexually harassed in a small town in Illinois back in the day, but more so after I moved to Chicago. It’s such a horrible scary feeling to be subjected to that. I still remember sitting there on a bus with a drunk guy trying to touch me. Clear memory after 40 years! Anyway, I’m glad you’re safe. Take care 🩷

  8. On behalf of my species, I apologize. Shouldn’t have happened to you. This is the direct result of not having fathers in the home. It is the duty of the father to teach his son to be a gentleman.
    Such a person should be tied by his t*sticles to the back of a car and dragged to a vet to be neutered.
    Your experience is the exact same description of the experience that my work colleague gave when she and her teenage daughter visited NYC in 2014. She thought it was going to be a great mother-daughter shopping trip, but she said that it was awful.
    She said that every corner had a group of guys just hanging around and shouting lewd, explicit stuff at her and her daughter. Being British and well mannered, they did the same thing you did and tried to ignore them, but it was constant. Guys were following them around and even held up a restaurant while they were inside having coffee.
    I’m glad you didn’t mention the guy’s ethnicity. Kudos to that because we don’t want people point to you as a racist and frankly, you find such characters from all backgrounds. But based on the description of his movement and speech, I can pretty much guess what it is and unless I am mistaken, it was people from the same ethnic group that was harassing my colleague. It is the same group of people that you see going completely out of control in all these big U.S. cities.
    Sadly with the current government giving free passes to sexual predators and treating them like victims, there is nothing decent citizens can do to rid themselves of this. Looking at the state of the world right now, I wish superheroes were real. I feel that some vigilante justice is needed. We need a real life Batman.

  9. Hard to press the “Like” button on this post!
    I always rode the subways here since moving to NYC in 1980, been on them every hour of the day and night. When lawlessness broke out a couple years ago, my husband forbade me to ride and I have to agree.
    Dear Caralyn, thank God He protects you. Theres nothing more important in these last days than living a God-led life. May He lead you and Steven always, ordering your steps daily.
    Looking forward to wedding posts!!!
    P.S. thanks for the YouTube tip to subscribe! ❤

  10. Wow Caralyn, I am so sorry that this evil thing happened to you! You guys did indeed escape just in time from a forsaken city. I have never wanted to go to NYC because of what I have always perceived as a very dangerous place to be, even years ago.

    I believe that the way America has treated crooks and bad folks in general has been waaay too soft for far too man years. Basically a slap on the wrist and three square meals and a workout room in prison. That has got to stop, and real, serious punishments handed out.

    Perhaps that would give these people a reason to stop and consider the consequences. Sorry for the rant, but I am very tired of watching our country go down the toilet because of liberal policies and people who hate what America once was.

  11. Dang. this is the sort of stuff I as a Christian Dad had a hard time dealing with. Couple of situations w/ 2 of my daughters instantly came to mind. So, so thankful there were some other men in the area who God used to step in and give you some space. Say what you want about a former mayor of NYC, but I distinctly remember when we lived on the east coast, NYC had a completely different vibe when those in charge had a zero tolerance/ get tough policy on crime. So, so sorry you had this experience. Bet Steven had a strong reaction as well. Stay safe! DM

  12. Homeless camps during the Great Depression were nicknamed “Hoovervilles,” suggesting that the blame for their existence lie with then-President Herbert Hoover. So, therefore, I now refer to the homeless camps under every overpass in California “Newsomvilles.”

  13. That is so scary. I’m originally from Long Island and it makes me sad to hear how the city has deteriorated. I’m really sorry you had to go through that. But I praise God for protecting you. And God bless the men who said something. I’m glad to hear there are still good souls around.

  14. I really appreciate the truth of *this* post. The danger of these big cities gets minimized by the media and brushed off and you’re right to speak from experience. I have to say, I don’t typically read your posts anymore. This space has gone from sharing your experience in ED recovery to an ongoing storyline of an extravagant engagement period and neverending details about your upcoming wedding, including unnecessary mentions of getting your haircut in Soho to picking up your wedding dress in Manhattan. Millions of people struggle deeply to achieve any semblance of health and HOPE, fighting an ED, many without the means you have. I think it’s irresponsible to present a vision that is so superficial-saying, Well, ya know I was *really* sick, and I changed my mind and poof! All better. Recovery is work that has to be maintained, ups and downs and in between. It might be helpful if you share your fears once in a while.
    Best regards,
    A concerned fellow recoveree, and mother to a child with an ED.

  15. Sorry for what you went through! It’s such sad news to hear this is happening in the cities! America needs a big move of God and a the mercy of Christ! God bless

  16. That’s really bad. Thankfully you had people around you to protect you. Your guardian angel kept you safe there. Some suggestions here, it may have been ideal to use Uber or Lyft depending on what you’d prefer but even then you may end up with a sketchy driver. Another is if you were comfortable enough to drive (if you have your drivers license), although in big cities I myself tend to avoid because they’re the worst roads and Texas has bad highways where people would run you off the road.

    But that’s what you pretty much have to do these days. Women in the city need defensive classes, even if they have their own vehicles.

    I’m glad I never had to deal with this when I was taking the train in and out of the city for Amtrak when going to Arizona to see family. It was fun but next time I’ll drive out there so I can stay at a hotel to clean up. Was grossed out by the bathrooms on the train too.

    I would definitely have precautions when going to NYC. It’s a criminal mess there.

  17. Thank God, you were Ok. Wonderful thoughts and truth, that I hope ring true, for many who hear you pr thoughts and prayer. May Hod help us, in these times.

  18. So sorry you were harassed. Glad the men finally came along and said something. I am also glad you are not living in NYC anymore. It is sad to think what has become of it.

  19. Hi Caralyn, I am so sorry that you were confronted with that disgusting man! Thank goodness the other men stood up for you. The breakdown of civilization is heartbreaking! I turned 77 last January and I have watched all of this occurring during my life time. Little by little, bit by bit, morality and values have been eroded. It is, of course, due to the people of this country turning away from God and removing Him from our schools and institutions. The people have allowed this by sitting by without objection as anarchy has taken over. The state of this country (and, the world) is unbelievable! The only answer is that the people would turn back to God, humble themselves and ask for His forgiveness.
    I am glad that you have moved out of NY to a better and safer city. Take care of yourself and keep doing what you are doing to honor God and His Son Jesus.
    I am subscribed to your YouTube channel.
    My best to you, your family and Steven.

  20. Fortunately you have guardian angels assigned to protect you because you honor God. For those who choose not to honor God but prefer to enjoy satan’s playground this would a daily occurrence for them.

  21. I’m from near Seattle, WA, and it’s that bad there too. I remember being a teenager in the early 2000’s and taking the bus up to the city with friends, just hanging out around town, being wise but never feeling unsafe. Now, as an adult in my thirties, I wouldn’t dare. There’s no accountability, nowhere to feel safe, and it’s heartbreaking and frustrating.

  22. I’m glad you’re safe, sexual harassment is something you never forget. I was very young & harassed in a workplace environment that I will never forget and I’m in my 70’s. I was 16, worked in a nice hotel/restaurant after school. I came into work & on my work station was a sick display of male parts made from this chefs sick idea of a joke. He made it very graphic & one of the waitresses was so grossed out, she went to the manager & complained. I was pretty naive & young but I was scared that he was so weird. He got slapped on the hands & told to stay away, but it does affect you for years!

  23. I’m sorry that bizarre episode happened to you. I noticed that you wrote something here about going back to visit NYC, and I thought I would write your thoughts about that. When you lived in the Big Apple, I frequently read your blog.

    I could dig your angle about seeking redemption for yourself after what you lived through when you were young and how you channeled that redemption energy into being a blogger. Your writing is excellent, thanks!

  24. It’s sad you had to experience something like this. I understand feeling vulnerable in situations like that. It’s fortunate that there ended up being some guys behind you in line who spoke up, because sadly, their words might have been the only deterrent this molester understood. And not the words themselves, even, so much as the subtext and non-verbals your attacker probably understood on a subliminal level versus a conscious one. Not understanding that his words and actions were inappropriate, but that in being outnumbered and likely the physically weaker person in the encounter made him the vulnerable party.
    Not that their words don’t matter. Because words do. Bigger guys being present likely would not have deterred this guy. He could still sell himself on his anonymity. But when they made it known he had their attention by speaking up, he retreated.
    I’d caution you to remember that your words matter, too, and in a format where your words are amplified, their meaning becomes harder to control. Our big cities are a mess. It doesn’t take any special observational skills to notice this. The harder part is meeting the situation with compassion, observing the horror these houseless people are experiencing. Understanding that one does not choose to poop in public, but rather that one does so when they think they have no other choice to make. Empathizing with how they got there and the actual daunting task of helping them return to a healthy, happy existence by creating the policy and infrastructure to do it.
    It’s a huge privilege to leave a big city and retreat to a suburban existence. To choose to be where you can turn off your TV and choose not to see these problems. Not to mention the privilege of jetting back to a big city or three to support family with your presence, get a tux fitted or just get away. But whipping up your audience with words that feed fear without offering anything stronger than a prayer as a response quickly escalated to “It’s not safe to leave your house” hyperbole in the comments. There’s 24 hours in a day, this post focused on 5 minutes. Certainly, a life can change dramatically in a moment. Both for the good or the bad. Instead of dramatizing what you experienced from the safety of being not where it happened, maybe ask a different question at the end of your post, like “How do we repair this?” to steer people away from the one-ups man ship tendencies stories like this can create and toward being vigilant about their own safety and demonstrating reasonable empathy for the crisis of existence so many people are actually enduring with no Ohio to run back to.
    We need words that will help the least among us, not widen the divide between us and make a return to normalcy look even further out of their grasp. Thoughts and prayers haven’t done much to help our kids be safe from guns at school so I think we need something stronger than that to solve any of our other problems. Otherwise, all we end up being are nomads running from one place to another when we feel unsafe…and then we’re no more than a cleaned up version of your attacker, running away when he felt threatened.
    That’s my $.02.

  25. Oh, Caralyn, I am so sorry you had to experience such a terrifying time in NYC. Makes you so suspicious of everyone, doesn’t it? And like you, I’d have my heart in my throat, too, if I experienced something so threatening. I am in complete agreement: Enough’s enough!! “We need law and order back on the streets; we need punishment for crime; and we need to find creative and effective solutions to help people get back on their feet – get a job, get clean – and get off the streets.” What can we do except to keep speaking up and trying to find and elect officials who share our values?

  26. I’m sorry to hear about your distressing experience in New York City. It’s disheartening when a place you once loved and cherished transforms into something unrecognizable. Your account sheds light on the real challenges that many big cities are facing today, including crime, drug use, and homelessness.

    I did worry a lot in recent years as you reported on the steady decline and was praying that you would eventually move away. Maybe the incident as shocking and scary as it was was just a reminder that the city you loved had truly changed and that moving was the best decision.

    Thank you for sharing your perspective and reminding us to be cautious in our surroundings. May your prayers for law and order, as well as compassionate solutions, be answered. Stay safe and take care.

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