The Hell We’ve Been Through
Escalating harassment and threat of violence
A lesbian couple, Nancy and Riitta, living in Dauphin County faced constant harassment by their neighbors in the 1980s. Nancy recalled how their neighbors “would scream to the top of their lungs, ‘Pussy-eaters! Pussy-eaters!’ … scratch and key our cars…throw and break eggs in front of our garage … throw dildos on our porch.” The image to the right shows an incident when the neighbors placed signs warning others of “Lesbians” living on their street. These acts of intimidation escalated throughout the decade.
Harassment became outright hostility. One morning, a neighbor followed Nancy. Nancy remembered, “I didn’t want her to know where I worked, and I pulled in a parking lot of an insurance building … on North Front Street. She pulls in, too. And, it’s just her and I … she takes a handgun out of her glove compartment and points it at me from her car to mine. At that time, someone pulled into work and they saw it, and so I filed a [criminal] complaint with the District Justice.” Sadly, the magistrate denied the criminal case due to the fact there was a civil suit underway.