Unfortunately, women know all too well that even the most run-of-the-mill activities, like taking the train to work or walking home alone, can pose potential threats in a world where sexual harrassment remains prevalent. Experiences with catcalling on the street are enough to inspire any of us to take up self-defense lessons. It makes sense, then, that women would stick together and defend each other in uncomfortable and dangerous situations. In a now-viral Tumblr post shared by Attn:, a user by the screenname of Natnovna wrote about a particularly unsettling incident of harassment that happened when she was just 14. She was finishing a shift at Coldstone Creamery in a mall, she writes, and was walking through the mall alone when a group of men began "whistling and meowing" at her. "I said, 'I'm only 14,' and almost in unison they said, 'We don't care,'" Natnovna wrote. "I was so fucking scared. I didn't know what to do, and they kept talking about how I looked and how my body looked and what they would do. I was on the verge of tears. I was all alone in a huge mall; I knew I couldn't outrun them all. I felt totally hopeless." That's when a female maintenance worker stepped in, cursing out the men and threatening to press a panic button. The worker escorted Natnovna to the garage and waited with her until her mother came to pick her up. "That was the moment I realized women were the most important beings on this planet and we have to protect each other because nobody else is going to," Natnovna wrote. "She didn’t even know me, we couldn’t even communicate that well because of the language barrier, she could have lost her job for waiting with me in the parking lot, but she looked out for me when she didn’t have to. She had nothing to gain from it. I'm 21 now, and I tell everyone this story even though it happened seven years ago. What she did that night helped me form and shape a lot of my beliefs early on." Many other women have chimed in with their own accounts of women protecting each other in public. Another Tumblr user, ActualGinnyWeasley, reposted Natnovna's story with her own account of an uncomfortable encounter with a stranger while in a grocery store with another woman. "She and I made eye contact, and I knew she was scared, too. We loaded up our groceries into our cars as fast as possible, and I had way more bags than her, so she got done faster than me. I panicked because I was sure she was going to leave, so I just hurried faster, shaking a little, and then I noticed she sat in her car, watching me and making sure nobody came near. She waited not until all my groceries were loaded, or until my cart was put away, or until I got into my car. No, she didn’t drive away until I drove away." "And that was the moment that I realized how much women need other women," she wrote. "That we can’t win this war without each other, and we have to be looking out for each other, every second." Soon enough, the posts gained traction with more and more women adding their stories.
Of course, in an ideal world, men wouldn't harass women, and we wouldn't have to do these things. But at the very least, these stories are a wonderful reminder that the power of the girl code prevails.