I cried the whole way to my best friend’s apartment–about an hour subway ride.
I managed to pull myself together as I got off the train, so I was no longer openly sobbing. As I walked down the platform, a man grinned and said to me, “You got some pussy on you!”
Then he said it to the next woman who walked past him.
I don’t care what he said. He was particularly gross, but even if he had just been one of those creepy guys who says “good morning” or “hello” to every woman he sees, it is rude and intrusive and dehumanizing to talk to me with sexual intent when I haven’t given any indication of interest. Actually, given the circumstances, if he had been one of those “Smile, beautiful” assholes, I might have clocked him.
It’s rude because it doesn’t recognize that women are people, with personal lives and feelings and complexities. It was a bad day for me yesterday, but this guy didn’t care. Guys who say this stuff don’t care how the woman they’re harassing feels. They don’t care if her kid is sick or she just got raped last night or her dog died or she got laid off. They just care about feeling all masculine and hetero by expressing their ‘interest.’
He made the worst day of my life so far a little worse. And he doesn’t care.
Written by Ashley
I live in the crazy college town of Madison, WI. In preparation for Halloween, I took the bus to the mall and got some costume elements. I got off the bus on State Street, only to hear a male voice, “Hey, pink-hair girl!” (My hair is not, in fact, pink, it’s bright red.) But I stop and wait for the man to catch up (I can’t really remember what he looked like anymore) thinking that I had forgotten something on the bus. So he comes up to me and says, “I just wanted to say that I admired you.” Predictably, I’m like, “What for?” He says, “With all the diversity on that bus…you weren’t intimidated or anything.” I am not entirely sure what he means by this, especially since his explanation was far less concise than I have made it, but realize it’s a compliment and thank him, although I’ve started walking home by now and am getting vaguely worried at the way he’s following me. He asks if I’m in a hurry, and suddenly he becomes something more sinister than a guy with poor social skills. I tell him I have to go home and walk away very fast.
I followed all the biking rules, including the lesser known one meant for women, the one about not wearing a head set so you can hear the ensuing attacker hiding in bushes.
I should have forgotten that last tid bit and worn headphones anyway because of the constant harassment of whistling, honking horns, and many a suggestive, “Hey baby, ride that thing!”
I rode through lots of stop signs, red lights, and even on the wrong side of the street to avoid creeps who wanted to follow me and continue their harassment unabated.
When it became too much I started forsaking myself the (cough cough) safety of town for country roads.
The decision worked well, at first, there was plenty of peace and quiet, the beautiful landscape of farm country, no hooting and hollering or comments made about my getting it on with the bike.
Then I was hit by a car.
Fortunately, I didn’t end up road kill or smeared across a windshield, just thrown into a ditch. No major injuries, but I was pretty shook up.
The real icing on the cake was that the asshole didn’t even bother to stop, not even a glance in his rearview mirror!
I wish to this day I’d gotten the plate number instead of the back of his head forever seared into my memory.
This happened a little more than ten years ago and I’ve not ridden my bike since; unless you count a few loops in my driveway, and to this day my family believes I won’t ride my bike because of getting hit by a car.
Well, that’s one reason out of two!
Written by Beth
Thanks for the awesome picture Beth!
Not your darlin’, creep! (Bad picture, but I wanted to be outta there fast.)
I spent my college years in Boston and had an apartment in Kenmore Square. I was coming home from my summer job as a hostess and began to wearily climb the steep steps from the T station up to the street. After the third or fourth step I heard the familiar sound of a polaroid camera –click-whirrrr. I whipped around in time to catch a textbook creepy-looking pervert pulling his camera back toward him after having stuck it under my mini-skirt to get a crotch shot. (I was wearing underwear, thank god.) He fled and I hurried the rest of the way up the stairs to relative safety. It was so disturbing and so close to where I lived that I felt I had to report the incident. I called the campus safety office and was asked to come in to go through a book of mug shots. Apparently, this guy was a bigger problem than I had originally thought. I don’t know if they ever caught him, but almost ten years later it still turns my stomach to think about those few seconds.
A similar thing happened when I was in Bangkok a couple of months ago–only this time I was descending a staircase to the street from an overpass, and there they were, two shifty, watery eyes aimed up my skirt and between my legs. He concentrating so hard on getting a good look, he didn’t even know I watched him the whole time!
Written by Andrea
Then, a crazy old hobo man passes by, and as he does, grabs my crotch and says, “Fucking cunt!”
I was too shocked to say or do anything. Moments after, it felt so unreal. Could that really have just happened, out in public?
He wasn’t in his right mind anyway, but god men can be such assholes!
written by Christine.
In the summer of 1996 I was 20 years old and living in the northern end of Prague. I was young and living it up, working in bars, spending them on beer. Around the corner from my workplace — which closed at 3 a.m. — was this cheesy, crowded bar called Le Chapeau Rouge where you could hang out all night and watch German guys hit on Czech girls, and Czech girls hit on Italian guys, and Italian guys hit on American and British girls, and so on. One night I stayed until closing time — about 7 a.m. When the bar let out it was light outside. As I walked to the subway, across Old Town Square, this guy who was at Le C.R. approaches and starts talking to me. He was French and he had gray teeth. He was shorter than I am (5’3″).
The conversation started off rather blase: “Where are you from?” “US … you?” and so on. Boring boring boring small talk. Until the guy says: “I would like to come home with you.”
“Oh, you can’t,” I said.
“Oh, come on.”
It seems to be a joke on his part. Then we get to the subway station. He tells me that his hostel is at such-and-such a place. It’s in the direction opposite from where I’m going. He continues talking to me and following me along the platform.
“You should get on the other side of the station — your train’s going that way,” I tell him. Rien.
When the train comes I get on … and so does he! That freaks me out. When we get to the next stop, I get out of the car and run like hell to the next car. We get to the next stop and I run into the next car after that one. My getaway is successful, and I get home alone.
Almost ten years later, I can still see that guy’s creepy gray smile.
Posted by Lauri
Team HollaBack gets an awful lot of questions via email and on other blogs. In response we’ve developed the:
I thought about yelling something back or cussing him out, but I didn’t want the loser to gloat over having gotten a rise out of someone. Then I remembered the website, and snapped a photo for the first time. Next time it will be more close-up.
I turned around, saw the dude looking at me, and gave him the big, unmistakable
Yet, he persisted, mumbled, almost incoherently–even sheepishly– “I wanna lick your pussy. . . “
I held The Finger until I entered the store. Feeling relief, I carried forth on my mission, and obtained the necessary baking implement.
Upon payment, I wondered if said jerk-off reamined outside. He had, apparently, taken his spring rolls and split, but not without an extra-awesome serving of my finger.