I parked my car 2 blocks from Miami’s opera house. I was walking along the street, in a knee-length dress with long sleeves. Miami is among the worst places I’ve ever been for street harassment but I figured guys saved it for women in revealing clothing.
The guy on the hot-shot motorcycle revved his engine as he came up to the stoplight. I was almost at the intersection when I heard his lecherous voice, “Hey baby, you’re looking so good tonight! What a beautiful woman!” I looked up and was glad to see a police officer in the intersection just ten feet away, directing traffic. He motioned me forward, holding the cars to wait while I crossed the street. I was so relieved: here was a cop to restore my sense of safety in front of the motorcycle-creep. I’m halfway across the street when the cop say, “Wow, you are really tall!”
And at that moment, the comment was not innocuous. Commenting on my physical body made me feel like an object, when I’d just been objectified 30 seconds earlier. In that moment, I was something to be evaluated and assessed, something to be critiqued and hopefully fucked.
I’m going to HOLLA BACK — both when it happens and here online — when it happens. Because yes, I am tall and blonde and fit many stereotypical notions of “beauty,” but that does NOT give any man the right to comment on my body.
Submitted by Tricia
My two girlfriends and I were walking toward the Hotel Rivington on Friday night. We passed by a group of three guys who were catcalling at us and one of them grabbed my arm as I walked by. I said, “Ew” and shook him off. When we walked away, one of them shouted, “Go study for your SATs fucking Chinese bitch.”
I marched up to him and his friends and told them not to call me a bitch. The one who called me a Chinese bitch, who was probably about 6’2″ and over 200 pounds (I am just over 100 pounds) shoved me two or three times – hard. I was yelling things like, “Oh, you’re going to push me? You’re going to push a girl?” He kept threatening to hit me, and he threatened to sic his professional boxer friend on me who he said would basically beat me to a pulp.
Then he spat in my face and bolted.
My biggest regret is not getting his name or photo.
Submitted by Andrea
This was sent to us by one of our readers, and is an incredible story of one woman who holla’ed back on her subway ride. Watch it, and bask in the glory of her HOLLAheroism.
I was walking to the subway, down U Street NW, and a man stared at my chest and made kissy-noises at me. I was so disgusted, I lost my head. I looked at him in disgust and said loudly, “Fuck you.”. I’m sure everyone around us heard and he just kept walking.
Submitted by Lauren, Washington DC
I was walking my lovely German Shepherd Obama with a friend of mine who is from Mexico. We were walking along the street where I live when a man started yelling at me through the window of the house we were passing. At first his words were too muffled for me to hear, but with incredible shock I made out the n-word as well as the f-word (the homosexual one) and the c-word. Then he began berated my friend using many racist words which I am not willing to repeat to anyone. This man looked completely crazy and with unkempt hair and stubble. I am not sure what to do now as I was terrified by the encounter and have not been walking my dog since then.
Submitted by S.D.
My friend and I were walking from class to my apartment one afternoon when we experienced a disturbing case of street harassment. We were about 50 feet from my building when a homeless man nonchalantly said, “hey girls, my daughters are 25 and 28 years old, so you can imagine I haven’t had pussy in a long time. Will you please give me some pussy!” Not only was this sexually explicit, but the man was probably in his late sixties and hadn’t seen a shower in months. My friend and I looked at each other in shock and quickly sought the safe haven of my building. The man parked his ass on the dumpster next to our building, which made us hesitant to leave the rest of the evening, not knowing whether he had left the vicinity.
Submitted by A.J.
I work as a waitress in the lower east side one night a week. I was leaving work around 12:30 in a neighborhood that I have grown very comfortable in over the last year. I stayed with my coworker to shut the gate and we each walked toward our train stops (mine was the Grand Street B/D).
About 30 second away from the door I saw a man looking at me as I walked toward him. Not uncommon in the lower east side I continued as he adjusted his pants. When I was about 5 feet from him I realize he had he was jerking off as he stared at me. I decided to ignore him and walk past. He lunged at me , and I quickly veered passed him and around the corner, thinking he was just some crazy guy being nasty on the side of the road.
I walked about half way down the next block when I checked over my shoulder and realized he was following me. I picked up the pace, and saw a group of two women and two men ahead of me. I thought about stopping and saying something but I was nervous about slowing down so I sped passed them and took a quick right across traffic at Grand. From there it’s about three blocks to the B/D so I got at it quick.
I looked over my shoulder after I crossed Allen and didn’t see him so relaxed a bit, but looked again before I crossed the next street and he was a lot closer to me than I thought.
I picked up the pace but realized that he was jogging while I wasn’t looking or something because he was catching up to me really fast and there weren’t really any people on the street. The last block before the subway I didn’t see any people and he seemed to be getting close so I started to run. I looked back and he was running after me which made me really scared.
I got to the subway and went the MTA ticket guy and told him what had happened. He asked if the guy was in the station and I said no as I nervously looked toward the entrance. He said to just get on the train and that he would look out for me (even though I asked to talk to a police officer). I was grateful to be safe but felt weird about evading the situation and not letting the police know.
The next morning I worked again and was really surprised by the anxiety that I felt on the subway heading to work. I told my manager when I arrived and she urged me to call the police. I did. They came. I told them and even suggested some leads as to which businesses might have cameras outside that might lead to some kind of arrest. They not only ignored my leads but didn’t even ask me for a description of the guy. As I began to cry in front of them out of frustration they told me not to be scared. They assured me that they were working a double tonight and they would come by whenever I got out of work. THAT DOES NOT SOLVE THIS ISSUE!!
I told them no thanks if they were not going to follow up on the information that I gave them.
It seems that the community board that my job is involved with in combination with my work of mouth activism is the best defense we have in the lower east side. Please! Do not rely on the police for defense in this issue. They advised me next time to buy some pepper spray and/or ride the subway with a friend. Good luck servers of Manhattan. How many of you have a subway buddy? I certainly don’t.
I hope that all people who work on Broome will take the time to look out for themselves, and keep there phone in there pocket to get a picture of any asshole masterbating on the street so maybe the police will have some incentive to do their jobs.
Submitted by Rheanna
I just read an article about the Hollaback organization and its founder in the NYtimes.com tonight. How timely an article it is for me. Recently, I was able to get a restraining order against a neighbor who had been harassing me off and on since the summer of 2009. It was typical street harassment. I’d walk past one of the two entrances to my building to hear him call out something in the familiar donkey bray I’d come to hate as other men with too much time on their hands stood around and watched. I (unfortunately) live in Denver now, but I am a NYC woman who has dealt with this kind of harassment for most of my life. I knew that eventually, I’d end it. When I complained to the building manager and she told me that there was nothing she could do because “it happened on the street” and not on the property. Was annoyed, but I was convinced I’d get even. Stay tuned, because I did.
Well, one day (Feb 2010), it happened on the property and in a witness-environment. So, I took the chance when I had it. I hobble-walked (I had had foot surgery and was walking assisted by a cane) over to my harasser, confronted him eyeball to eyeball and told him with much repetition that it was going to stop here and now. I told his male onlookers that they were my witnesses and I took names (they scattered like roaches under bright light).
Fast forward to September 2010. My harasser saw me in the lobby and thought he would apologize. I wasn’t having it. Long story short, he got angry and came at me. That really made me mad! I called the Police and repeated to them one of the things that this fool had said – that the “Police won’t do anything to me” . That night he got a visit from two police officers. Two days later the Sherrif served him with a temporary restraining order. Two weeks later he was standing before a judge. One month later, he was standing before that same judge breathing heavily as the judge informed him that he had stalked me and that he would have a permanent (a second for him) restraining order placed against him. Another week later he was visited by his parole officer (conviction – felony assault on an individual he drugged). Two months later, I am still trying to get him evicted.
I can’t help but wonder how strong of a correlation there is between prior criminal behavior and harassment of women. Or, if the man has no criminal history, is it a predictor of criminal behavior, although I understand that harassment is criminal in itself.
I think that this behavior will only stop when men make each other stop, but in the meantime, I will continue to hollaback as I have done for years.
I have even devised a cure for men who like to expose their penises. Dying to try it on some poor Denver fool, but have not had the chance. It will turn the table on the man so that he crawls off in total humiliation, just by hollering back.
Submitted by H.H.
Being a redhead and, what has delicately been put to me as, ‘rather unfortunate looking’, I’m no stranger to being shouted at on the streets. Having said that, my encounter with this guy was in an entirely different league.
It was 3 in the afternoon on a nice autumn day. There were families about with young children and I was out for a walk in my local park. Stupidly thinking it was a safe day to do so, I turned off the major paths and onto one of the small paths in the trees. After a few feet it became obvious that the dodgy looking guy standing near the path intersection had followed me in.
Trying not to jump to conclusions, I first turned onto another path to establish whether he was actually following me. He was. Having established that, I was more than a little pissed off (and somewhat scared), so I fisted my keys in case he gave me any trouble and then turned around to let him go past – just in case he wasn’t following me and it had all been a horrible mix up. I stopped and turned. He stopped. I gestured for him to go past. He didn’t, so I made to cut through back to the main path again. He came up to me and asked
“Are you working?”
Utterly confused by this question, I asked “Here in the graveyard?”
“Uh no, I’m not a warden or anything. Do you need to find one?”
We were clearly talking at cross purposes here, so the guy says,
“No, I mean do you want some of this?”
And gets his dick out to illustrate his point. Flabbergasted is how I must have looked because he added, “I’ll pay you!”
Fighting the urge to laugh/throw up/kick him in the nuts, I told him, “No thank you, I’m really not that kind of person.”
(Being too polite is one of my downfalls.) And then left speedily.
Although the incident was actually pretty funny, afterwards I felt really odd. I hesitate to use the term ‘violated’ because it was so mild an encounter. More like uncomfortable, and actually quite angry for reasons I couldn’t explain to my friends or my boyfriend. I do realise I got lucky in this case, it could have been much worse. And I’ve stopped walking by myself in that area, as angry as that makes me. I hate that I cannot walk where I want in this city even on a brightly lit afternoon.
Oh I do wish I’d kicked him in the nuts.
Submitted by Fiona