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We Know It’s Been a Tough Week. We’re Listening.

Dear Hollaback! community,

This has been a hard week for us, and we wanted to reach out because we imagine it’s been a hard week for you too.

If you’re not caught up on the news, here’s a quick rundown: Donald Trump is minimizing the violent and degrading words recorded in 2005 as mere posturing and harmless banter. As women have come forward this week to describe their experiences of assault at his hands, Donald has vehemently denied their claims and attempted to cast himself as a victim.

Watching this play out takes its toll on all of us—especially those of us who have been the subject of demeaning, violent speech; who have been harassed in the workplace; who have been groped by strangers. We’ve heard from many of you—our most ardent supporters—that these news cycles have triggered anxiety, depression, fear, and rage. We at Hollaback! want to recognize and validate every one of you who are struggling. We are with you.

We want to recognize the courage, vulnerability, and power of the women who have come forward this week to tell their stories—and of those throughout this election cycle who have stood up to racist, sexist, xenophobic, Islamophobic, and ableist language and actions, telling the world that this is #notokay. We see you, we hear you, and we believe you.

As we see this ugly dance unfold on a national stage, the stories we’re hearing are all too familiar. Over the past 10 years you’ve told us your stories, and we’ve listened. You showed us how “locker room talk” can escalate quickly. You showed us that men in suits really do grope women between their legs. And in our research with Cornell University you showed us that groping and fondling are the forms of street harassment most likely to lead to long-term feelings of depression and low self-esteem.

Here’s the thing: telling your story can help you understand, process, and feel validated in everything you’re going through. It shows other people that they aren’t alone, and it inspires them to speak up too. Right now, thanks in part to the women speaking up about their experiences with Donald, other people are coming forward about their experiences. If you feel like you’re able to join them in solidarity, we encourage you to share your story now.

By sharing these experiences, we work through our pain and toward a world where hatred, discrimination, and harassment are unacceptable. We can build a world where all of us are able to travel, work, and live freely in shared and public spaces without fearing each other. We can stand with each other, instead of against each other.

If you only remember one thing from this letter, remember this: you’re not alone. So tell us, how have you been handling the past week? What do you need? Leave a comment below to check in with us and share your thoughts. It’s so important right now that we’re in touch— connected — and standing strong together.

With love and solidarity,

The Hollaback! team

Published on October 14, 2016 at 3:04 pm

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HOLLA ON THE GO: Creepy guy selling newspapers

Over a year ago, this creepy man selling newspapers turned around as I was approaching Whole Foods, looked me up and down, licked his lips, and then grunted and proceeded to say, “Aren’t you a pretty little thing.”

After telling a store employee, I avoided that store for a while since he was always there, but I had confronted him a few months later and he had absolutely no recollection of it (or acted like it). I still see this loser from time to time and still get pissed. It’s crazy how men can just be creepy to women and not have any consequences or even have it register in their memory, when women remember these incidences for a long time after.

Published on October 27, 2016 at 11:55 am

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Harassed Three Different Times While Walking Outside Today

Days like today make me want to move out of the city and live in solitude somewhere in the country where I don’t have to be harassed DAILY, sometimes within seconds of leaving my house. I was catcalled and verbally assaulted three times today!

This Sunday is a gorgeous, sunny, breezy day in San Francisco. I am wearing a black racerback tank and stretchy workout pants. I stepped outside sans sweater to walk my dogs, which I don’t get to do often in my ‘hood. You know when you can tell someone is going to say something to you? I felt that as I approached two men talking at the edge of their driveway and sure enough, despite my headphones in, I hear a loud “good morning” followed by a whistle. The most disturbing part was that two young girls playing in the same driveway no older than 6-7 witnessed what happened. I ignored him and the rest of the walk I thought about what kind of example these men are to those girls. They will grow up thinking that behavior is normal and acceptable and I want to cry thinking about that fact as I write this.

Second incident- I decided to walk to the gym rather than take a bus and my nice walk was abruptly interrupted by three men in a pickup truck that drove by slowly and made kissy faces at me. Rattled, disgusted and angry with myself for not wearing my sweatshirt, I flipped them off and continued towards the gym.

Third incident- Walking home from the gym, proud of a solid workout and thinking about my dinner plans this evening, I walked on the sidewalk toward a man digging through the trunk of his parked car. Again, with headphones in, the man ignored my clear “don’t talk to me” signal and murmured something as I walked by. I ignored him. Then, in a louder voice he exclaimed, “Uh-oh, she’s grumpy!” Furious, I yelled “fuck you!” and flipped him off. To that he responded, “Well, that’s the only way I can get your attention, dirty hoe slut.” I continued flipping him off and hurried home. I feel so awful and don’t even want to leave my house for my plans later. I’m pissed that I let these animals get the best of me. I’m angry that I don’t say more out of fear that I might be attacked.

This is a very real problem in San Francisco and I am beyond fed up.

Published on October 24, 2016 at 12:26 pm

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Holla’ing back at Harassment!: “Lo intimidate que puede ser una presencia”

Estaba con dos amigas volviendo a casa después de una cena maravillosa y estábamos hablando tranquilamente y caminando a casa con calma.

La calle era estrecha y donde pasan los peatones aún más, y había una escuela con tres tipos sentados en la valla que suele haber justo fuera de la puerta principal. Teníamos que pasar por donde estaban pero no tenía porqué ser incómodo ni nada. Pero mientras acercamos estaba claro que no iba a ser así.

Mientras acercamos y pasamos podríamos sentir sus miradas fijas siguiéndonos y como teníamos que pasar de tan cerca lo notó como algo tan fuerte y si como si las miradas me quemaban la cara. Era muy intimidate, incluso estando con dos amigas. Al pasar uno de ellos dijo “nosotros también somos tres”, seguimos caminando y empezaron a decir más cosas, no me enteré de lo que dijeron pero me parecía que alguna frase era para nosotras y alguna otra era conversación entre ellos sobre nosotras, pero suficientemente alto para que los escuchamos.

No lo dejé pasar. Me paré, les miré con cara de no muy contenta (pero con nada de agresividad, me daban miedo) y les dije “¿qué pasa?”. El tío no dice nada pero hace gestos que dicen “que pasa? No estábamos hablado con vosotras, ¿no podemos hablar entre nosotros tranquilamente sin que te enfades por ninguna razón como una loca?”, les dije “aaah, entonces hablando sooobre nosotras?”

Se ponían a hablar entre ellos, incomodados, y yo me fui con mis amigas. Me alegro mucho de haber parado y haber dicho algo. A ver si paran a pensar la próxima vez ahora que las mujeres empezamos a responder.


Published on October 21, 2016 at 3:27 pm

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Harassed While Biking

I cycle to work everyday. I have had to change my route recently because I can’t cope with the verbal and non-verbal abuse e.g. comments about my appearance and objectification towards me making comments about my body and bum for example. I am wearing lycra yes- and?

Minding my own business in the cycle lane a highway maintenance van with three men in the front slowed up and started making kissing faces and gestering sexually. I tried to lag behind as I was getting upset.They continued to look back and comment. This is one example of many I have when cycling on my bike.

Published on October 21, 2016 at 3:23 pm

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Verbal, youth

Constantly Harassed on the Street and at School

I’m 15 and am always being street harassed. Part of the time it’s at school. I have been assualted and verbally harassed. It doesn’t make me feel better. I gave into it before and let boys do what they wanted. But I got to much attention for my ass and things got way to out of hand. I’m currently doing a factoid friday/infomercial about the topic street harassment and it’s made me stronger the facts I know. And to also know that I’m not alone in this is great. But this situation still goes on in my life and I want it to stop.

Published on October 20, 2016 at 3:02 pm

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