Submitted by Sally N.
Living in New York CIty, I’ve dealt with so much street harassment that I’ve come to feel it’s not even worth the effort to say or do anything in response… I just continue walking and hope that a terrible tragedy befalls the catcaller/hisser/groper/leerer/perv as soon as he’s out of my line of vision. Still, I’ve never really felt unsafe because I stick to populous, well-lit areas.
That all changed about a week ago when I was walking near the corner of 34th St. and 2nd Ave. around 2 pm on a Saturday. As I turned the corner from 2nd Ave. onto 34th Street, the creepiest-looking toothless man started yelling and cussing at me as he walked towards me, aggressively calling me a bitch and making a scene. No one who was walking by did a thing or even looked our way. Anyway, I just sneered at him, and then he really got in my face, yelling “BITCH! BITCH! BITCH!” over and over again. I flipped him off and kept walking because this guy seemed pretty unstable and I didn’t want to get into a physical confrontation with him.
As he passed me (he was walking in the opposite direction), I heard him continue to yell increasingly obscene slurs. I turned around and saw him making repulsive gestures with his hands that obviously simulated rape. Then he yelled, “I’M GONNA STICK MY DICK IN YOUR ASS AND PUT IT IN YOUR MOUTH,” along with other absolutely repulsive things.
A few seconds later, after he was a bit farther down the block, the shock of this harassment had worn off and I was just plain furious. I backtracked and, because he was walking slowly, turned around to see him him turn the corner onto 2nd Ave (the corner I originally came from). I walked really slowly and kept my eye on him until he took a seat on a planter near the corner. As I walked toward him, I kept my eyes on my cell phone, pretending I was texting. Then I stopped, and when he noticed me there (I was about 30 feet away), he started yelling “BITCH!” over and over again at him.
I glared at him, and the only thing I could think to say to him that wouldn’t gratify him was just to say calmly and very condescendingly, “You are so, so sad.” Then I walked away, hearing him yell maniacally at me as I walked away. It was gratifying to have the last word, and to keep my cool and show him that no matter what he yelled, I would neither stoop to his level nor give him any indication that his behavior was acceptable.
I think the worst part of this incident, however, was that I felt completely humiliated, as if my old gray sweatpants and faded windbreaker had somehow invited this harassment. It was degrading just to repeat to my boyfriend the things this guy had said to me. Unfortunately, I didn’t hear about HollaBack until after the incident (I saw the New York Times article that mentioned it) so I didn’t take a pic… but I wish I had. I would’ve taken an entire photo album (joking… kind of) especially to warn other women in the Murray Hill area who might come across this jerk.
Looking back on it, I’m not sure if I would approach anyone like that again simply because I don’t want to risk putting my life in danger. Even now, as I write about what happened, my pulse is racing, both out of anger and from a feeling of being threatened by this loser.
I also didn’t know until a few days ago that calling 911 to report disorderly conduct could’ve resulted in a ticket for the perv. I’ve resolved to call 911 in the future when I’m harassed, because let’s face it: seeing one of the multitude of pervs in NYC being accosted by the police would be infinitely more rewarding than saying anything to men like the one I faced that Saturday.
Submitted by Allison
Not only does street harassment make you feel degraded. It is embarrassing, particularly when everyone around you is simply ignoring the situation. None of us should be alone in this, let Allison know that you have her back by donating here!
Amy Zimmer, a member of our HOLLAfame, wrote an article yesterday in the Metro about our new IPhone app!
Here’s the story:
“NEW YORK. HollabackNYC, the Web site that encourages people to upload pictures of their harassers, is developing an iPhone app. They hope to use GPS mapping, to tag people’s pictures and reports, to an online map. E-mail alerts will be sent out in real-time. The data would be compiled in an annual report sent to police, public officials and the media.”
RightRides has generously offered to incubate this initiative, but we need help. Hollaback has been running with zero budget for four years, but we need funds to make this a reality. Help us out by donating!
Yesterday there was a public hearing on harassment and assault in the subways. There, the police called sexual harassment “No. 1 Quality of Life Offense.” Hey NYPD, people talking loudly on their cell phones is a quality of life offense. Harassment and assault is violence.
Still, we are glad the NYPD has taken notice and grateful for all the press on the issue:
“Subway Perv Reports Going Up” Metro International. (Check out the sidebar on the next generation of Hollaback!)
“Sexual Harassment Is ‘No. 1 Quality of Life Offense’ on Subways, Police Say” New York Times. (Check out the mention of New Yorkers for Safe Transit, co-founded by HollabackNYC!)
“Complaints of sexual abuse on subway worst in Manhattan” New York Post
“Gal’s wild ‘goosed’ chase” New York Post (Note: Oraia is helping us launch the Hollaback Iphone app!)
“Police: Subway Sexual Harassment the Top Quality of Life Concern” AMNY. (Check out the quote from Tara Rose, who submitted her story to HollabackNYC a couple weeks ago!)
“Sexual Harassment On Subways An ‘Underreported Crime‘” Gothamist.
This little man apparently wanted to have a measuring contest with my horse. He lost.
Submitted by Kit
Submitted by Sally N.
i was parking in the parking structure at work at university of Michigan hospital. as i turned around the corner i saw 3 men walking up the ramp towards the door of the hospital. as i drove by one of them yelled something about showing him my titties. i stopped my car and yelled “are you talking to me?” and he says “show us your titties, cigarette girl.” i told them to go fuck themselves and then i went inside and told security. they sent an officer out to talk to them and also kicked them out as they didn’t have any reason to be there. the officer asked if i wanted to press charges but i said no. i didn’t want to deal with the “justice” system. although after reading this site i wish i would have since so many women don’t really have this opportunity.
Submitted by Chelsea
We just got word that Councilmember Jessica Lappin, introduced a bill that would require the NYPD to collect data on complaints of sexual harassment on the subway system (inappropriate touching, public masturbation, etc.)
This makes Councilmember Lappin one of our HOLLAheroines!
UPDATE! Check out the rest of the story in Our Town East Side, with Hollaback quotes at the end.
Submitted by Mary
This was taken at the Union Square 14th St station. My friend and I were waiting for the 4 train and were dressed up for Halloween. She was fighting with her boyfriend and also quite inebriated so she sat on the platform (ew, but what can you do?). I crouched next to her to comfort her. That’s when I noticed some a**hole on the opposite platform zooming in on my friend’s crotch and his flash go off. He actually walked to the edge of the platform and bent to get her crotch. I tried to alert her, but she was too drunk to move. I pulled my camera out, and he immediately hid behind a metal pillar. I snapped the shot as fast as I could and shouted some choice words at him. He hid behind that damn pillar until the next train came. I wish the photo was less blurry. I was shaking with anger. It had already been a bad night and though I’ve been harassed before, no one’s ever aimed a camera at me. It felt so violating that someone I don’t know has a picture of my friend’s crotch, and possibly me, is showing his stupid friends, and maybe posting it on the internet somewhere. He was a young guy, mid-twenties, with short black hair. He wasn’t wearing a costume, but a maroon track jacket and jeans. It was so frustrating to just stand on the other side of the platform while that perv looked at his camera. At least there’s Holla Back.
Submitted by Tara