Testimony: “I needed to say that it shocks and appalls me too, as not all guys are like that and we want to help women and girls who have to deal with harassment on a daily basis.”

It was during the session with Hollaback that my eyes truly opened. The girls in my class started speaking about their past experiences with street harassment and the stories just didn’t stop. Every time one girl was finished recalling some time some guy did something to her on the street it seemed that another girl would just step in and start telling her story.

The number of stories was never-ending. It seemed as if the stories were only getting worse. I was shocked at the kinds of things that were happening to my classmates and I was more shocked as to how clueless I was during all of this. I was clueless because I never even realized how close street harassment really was to me. It made me wonder about all the women in my own personal life that had been street harassed and all the times that they never even mentioned it to me. Yet it was still those girls in my class who, upon being asked and opening up about these experiences, truly changed my ideals.

If these women have gone through traumatic experiences from which they had lasting memories, then most definitely women I know even more personally have gone through this type of harassment as well. It is scary to think that all of these things are going on without ever being called out. It’s scary to think that a man can completely get away with making a woman feel uncomfortable or unsafe on the street or subway. It made me think that I needed to say something as a male for all of those males that do not believe in street harassment and all those males who think that the rules behind these every day happenings should change. I needed to say that it shocks and appalls me too, as not all guys are like that and we want to help women and girls who have to deal with harassment on a daily basis.

Submitted by Ian, a senior in high school

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4 Responses

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  1. [...] After reading a series of disturbing personal essays from students on their experiences with street harassment, I decided to reach out to Emily May from Hollaback, which works to end street harassment using mobile technology.  After sharing how Hollaback was founded, May invited students to share their testimony about street harassment at last week’s New York City Council hearing on this issue. Out of the 12 students in my feminism class, five girls submitted their testimony and one boy wrote in as a male ally. [...]

  2. [...] forget one boy’s reaction to these stories. Ian was so moved by his peers’ experiences that he submitted a post to May’s Hollaback! blog. In it he wrote: It was during the session with Hollaback! that my eyes truly opened. The girls in [...]

  3. [...] forget one boy’s reaction to these stories. Ian was so moved by his peers’ experiences that he submitted a post to May’s Hollaback! blog. In it he wrote: It was during the session with Hollaback! that my eyes truly opened. The girls in [...]

  4. rorschach says:

    Ian,

    I hope you log in to see the responses to your post. I found your comment thanks to the link from your “feministteacher” and her website celebrating how fulfilled she feels teaching boys and girls about feminism.

    I know how shocked and appalled you are by the stories you’ve heard … and I share your feelings about the harassment women have experienced. It shouldn’t happen.

    However, during your classes were you ever given comparative examples to see how men are affected in the world today?

    It’s easy to say “white male power” – but how many white males, or males of any colour for that matter, do you think actually have any power or control of their lives?

    If you’re interested in stories recounting people’s bad experiences then try looking up accounts from fathers who have lost their children, houses and money. Or men who have been falsely accused of domestic violence, rape, or child abuse. Or men who have been cheated on and have paid to bring up a child that’s not theirs. Or men in general who have been exploited for their money, or whatever advantage that a woman needed.

    If you want to consider the world in general then yes, of course there’s terrible oppression. But there are men, women and children suffering. Not just women. You may have heard the dramatic rape statistics (which you’ll find are almost always based on biased and extremely inadequate research) but have you considered that for every woman who may be raped in wars and poor countries around the world … that many men have been killed?

    You don’t have to believe me – please do your own research to find out what’s really happening and what faces you when you graduate.

    Imagine this – when you get older you can get arrested just on the word of a woman who may be pissed at you. If you marry she can claim domestic violence and get you taken out of your home. If you divorce she’ll almost always get everything, if she prevents you seeing your children almost nothing will happen to her. If she attacks you and cuts off your penis – people will make jokes and she’ll be celebrated as a feminist hero. If she gets arrested for a crime against you she’ll get a lighter sentence, or maybe just probation/counselling, than if she was male.

    There’s so much to find out

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