So here I am in Boston, 17 years old, not at all expecting harassment as I’ve lived in a small Midwestern town with a population of 8,000 my entire life. I stayed out late in the city with friends and then had to take the train out to the end of the line, and then a bus back to the North Shore. SO I get off the train, walk up to the (completely deserted) bus stop by the highway in the dark, and there’s this young, very greasy-haired guy standing up there, and as I walk past him he starts going all, “Hi sweetie, hi baby, come over and sit by me. What, you won’t talk to me? Too good to talk to me, bitch?” and so on and so forth. I tried to stand as far away from him as I could, but I couldn’t leave the stop because it was the last bus and I certainly didn’t want to miss it and be stuck out on the highway all night. He kept muttering and cursing at me until finally some other passengers showed up, and he kind of melted back into the parking lot behind the stop.
I got home, really shaken up. There was no one here to talk to, so I got on the internet and just typed “street harassment” into the search engine, and found Hollaback. I didn’t take a picture, I was so stunned by being harassed for the first time ever that I didn’t even tell him to fuck off; besides, I didn’t want to make him angry. But I felt so dirty the whole way home, and so shaken, and it feels a little better to send this off into a cyber-void having gotten it off my chest to people who will care.
Submitted by Katherine
Note: Hollaback accepts posts from around the world in places where other Hollabacks do not exist. BUT! We are so happy to announce that it looks like HollabackBOSTON will be restarting in the next month or so. Stay tuned!
Our amazing volunteer Avital tracked down Monique Hazeur, who is in the process of developing a new documentary on street harassment! We couldn’t be more pleased. From their site: “This is the official trailer for the feature length documentary that explores how women deal with this daily violence. It will especially look at how women are fighting back and defining their own personal and public spaces.The documentary adds to a bustling dialogue on gender and body politics, as it delves into women’s rights to exist freely in society.”
What could be more badass than that? Stay tuned. We’ll keep you posted as we figure out ways to collaborate with Monique, our newest HOLLAhero.
We are seeking a Policy, Research, and Development Intern to join our dynamic team of volunteers. Responsibilities include:
This intern will report directly to Emily May, executive director. This position takes place off-site (we do not have an office yet) and regular check-ins are required. The candidate must have good communication skills, a passion for ending street harassment, and live in the NYC area. We currently are accepting applications for fall 2010 and the preferred arrangement is to extend through Spring 2011. The estimated time commitment is 10-20 hours, and the internship is unpaid. If you are interested, please send a resume and cover letter to holla (at) ihollaback.org.
As many of you know, we are an all-volunteer team that work long hours above and beyond our regular jobs to make Hollaback happen. We are inspired and invigorated by each and every post that comes in, and we respond personally to all the fan mail. The letter below was too honest, too beautiful, and too important to keep to ourselves. I hope you enjoy it, and remember: keep holla’ing back!
Thank you so much for what you do, I really hope that your website continues to grow and create more awareness for as long as possible.
I’m only 17 years old, and I moved to the city 2 months ago. Every day I’ve been getting unwanted and unsolicited attention from strange men. I didn’t want to tell my parents because I knew they’d either think I was exaggerating or want me to come home as we come from a very small, sweet town where nothing like this has happened in twenty years.
Thankfully, I don’t have any horror stories, but I feel like I’m always dealing with ‘Hey Beautiful’ or ‘That’s a real nice dress you got there’ or ‘seductive’ stares or ‘accidental’ subway touching. I’m a ballet dancer and whenever I walk back home beet red and sweaty I always get comments and uncomfortably sexual gestures directed at me.Until I came across your website I didn’t know that this constituted as sexual harassment. It’s amazing how extensively they cover plagiarism in high school, but not sexual harassment. I knew it made me very uncomfortable, especially men in groups, but I felt like I was making a big deal out of nothing because the words were ‘nice’ (I’ve never been sworn at) even though the intent wasn’t.
I’m an extremely quiet, shy, insecure person and I feel like these jerks can sense that and prey on girls like me. But when I came across your website, I felt a sense of empowerment and comfort in the knowledge that others recognized that this was really happening and that it was wrong. I feel like a lot of people write off street harassment like it’s no big deal, so I was worried that if I told someone, they would just say I was being oversensitive and silly.
God (or whichever deity you do/don’t believe in) bless you, what you’re doing takes incredible courage. I really can’t thank you enough for helping for me to feel justified in my discomfort, to know that I wasn’t being oversensitive. Sorry if this is kind of rambling, I just wanted to let you know how much I truly appreciated the work you do.
Submitted by Elsa
Shouted at every woman he passed on the street. [This is my] first hollaback despite being verbally intruded upon all day, every day.
Submitted by A.
This took place at the W. 23rd St. and 9th Ave bus stop.
It may come as quite a surprise to you to hear this. It may even sting a little. It shouldn’t.
There are some places where I fully expect to be hit on (for example, at the bar). I put up with it. Sometimes, I may even enjoy it. I consider the free drinks you buy me payment for the annoyance I deal with. I will (almost) always accept a free drink. Your efforts, while usually not reciprocated, have not gone unnoticed.
However, putting up with getting hit on at a bar is quite different from being harassed in other places. You should be aware that just because I’m female and have boobs doesn’t mean that you are allowed to harass me and annoy the fuck out of me wherever I am, and no matter what I am doing. There are some things that should remain sacred.
I know it may be difficult to resist making comments to me while I’m running. I’m sure there’s just something about a young woman drenched from head to toe in sweat, hair dripping, breathing heavily and with a face the color of a ripe tomato that you find irresistible. I can only imagine how hard it is for you to hold back when you see me running past in an over-sized sweat stained t-shirt. I sympathize. I really do.
Please, men. I put up with your shit at work. I put up with it at school. I put up with it when I’m driving, and when I’m eating, and when I buy my coffee. I have learned to be prepared when I go to the bar to be approached at least once, usually more. At this point, I pretty much expect it. All women do. But for the LOVE OF GOD, please leave me the fuck alone when I’m running.
P.S. The next guy who harasses me when I’m running is getting kicked in the balls. Consider that your warning.
Reposted from Save Your Wetlands blog.
I walk through what I call “the gauntlet” every day to and from work. It’s a stretch of Canal Street from the Canal Street N/Q stop West to the river. At night, it’s clogged with vendors hocking all manner of counterfeit goods and tourists getting duped. In the morning, it’s an eight block march of cat callers, each seemingly less original than the one before. I never wear headphones through this walk, since I’m constantly on alert for something that could constitute a threat. One morning, I was walking the gauntlet behind a very young woman apparently on her way to work, as she was dressed in a smart business suit. We reached the half way point, when a group of men who constantly give me trouble, started to yell out to her and move toward her on the sidewalk in a threatening manner. She put her head down and continued walking, but I stopped as I pulled up to them. I looked the ring leader in the eye, a older man, late 40’s, early 50’s around the same age as my father. And told him “have a little respect for her and for yourself. That’s not how you treat women.” He told me to “take a compliment” and that I was just jealous because I’m fat (which, for the record, I’m a size 8). I told him that despite his complete disrespect for women, I hoped his daughter and wife didn’t have to live with the daily fear of being sexually harassed by strangers on their way to work, or the movies or a date. I also explained that “it being part of the job” of a construction worker wouldn’t fly, considering my father is a construction worker and would fire and then beat the ass of any of his employees that behaved that way. His cohorts remained silent, but as I walked away, I could hear them all making fun of him by mocking me. I’ve never seen the men since and I always wondered if the woman in front of me called their employer.
This is (a sadly very blurry) photo of a subway masturbator I took on friday night at the Carroll street station. My friend (visiting from boston) and I were heading into the city to meet up with a group for drinks and dancing. Being a friday evening I knew the train would be a while so we sat down on the bench. Across the platform this man was also lounging on a bench. He had made himself comfortable- his bags were strewn around the bench and he was slouched across two seats. Upon seeing us he yelled across the platform “hello ladies” to which I gave him a nod as it had been relatively polite. As it turns out he had bothered my friend as she left the station earlier that evening- asking her where she was going, could he come along etc.
So we ignore him, talk about our new post grad lives blah blah when I hear a rustling which caused me to look at the tracks (I am terrified of getting rabies after a whole other story involving prospect park, a rabid bat and my friends vagina) to make sure nothing is climbing out (I’m aware this is crazy). As I look I notice the man across the platform masturbating furiously! I immediately blurted out, “He’s masturbating!” At first I didn’t think my friend believed me- so she looked over and I began rummaging for my phone. Of course he had heard me, and knew we saw him but it wasn’t until I got my phone out that he covered up! “No pictures” he smirked. To which I responded “no masturbating in public!”
It took me about a minute to even find the camera setting and the pictures aren’t good, but I wanted to freak him out. I then loudly told my friend about hollaback and how useful these pictures will be to the cops when I contact them. Seeing that my pictures were so bad she pulled out her own camera, snapped a few which she intends to touch up so they are more visible.
Thinking that was over, we started talking about street harassment. How common it was in the city. Her own terrifying experiences with men in cars. Then we heard some muttering and looked across the platform to find him at it again! Looking straight at us and mumbling “I like you both… Boobs… Bubble” (couldn’t really understand him). Again we yell at him- there are more people in the station now so I am hoping we can embarrass him. No such luck. We take out our cameras. He covers himself again. Still for the next 30 minutes that we wait for the train he keeps talking to us “I love you… Bubble.. Etc”. Now the normal thing would have been to move but I imagined that as backing down so we stayed, I yelled at him a few times, pretended to have reception and called the cops etc.
The train finally comes, we get to the city and I immediately try and report him. Of course no one is picking up and I keep mysteriously being redirected. My friend is on her phone trying to find the group we were meant to hang out with. It turns out that they had had to leave, as one girl had been roofied (she was thankfully with observant friends who took care of her).
Submitted by Kate
I thought I was wearing a particularly unflattering outfit to work that day, but apparently Mr. S. didn’t agree. He was sitting on a bench on the subway platform and slapped my ass as I walked past him on the subway platform. When I yelled at him, he jumped up and started screaming at me and saying he was going to throw me in front of the next train. All the men on the platform started to surround him, one woman grabbed me and pulled me back, and other passengers got two police officers. He was chasing after me screaming about how he was going to kill me when the police approached him from behind. He told the cops I was lying – why would he touch a woman he doesn’t even know? That’s a fantastic question, Mr. S.
This man will be going to the Criminal Court of the City of New York on charges of Forcible Touching (PL130.52), Sexual Abuse in the 3rd Degree (PL130.55) and Unlawful Possession of Marijuana (PL221.05).