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In a follow up to her “New Phone Apps Aim to Combat Harassment” article published in the NYT on Monday, reporter and now HollaHERO Karen Zraick publishes her own personal hollaback in today’s City Room blog.
As if we couldn’t have guessed, within hours, there are 47 comments all containing one, two, three, and sometimes more, horrifying stories of women’s own personal experiences with street harassment. And it isn’t over yet. NOW THAT IS ONE HELLUVA HOLLABACK!
“It’s infuriating to see this described as a ‘quality of life issue’, writes one woman. “This isn’t a ‘quality of life’ issue, okay? It’s not my neighbors having a loud party, or a dog barking next door!”
At Hollaback, we couldn’t have said it better.
Now this is one holla the city will NOT be able to ignore. Read Karen’s story and the accompanying comments here.
If I had a dollar for every NYT reporter who has come forward with her own hollaback…well, I wouldn’t have very much money. But if I had $5 from every woman who read this story, including you, now I might have something to talk about…raise us $5?
For the link, click here.
If you enjoy reading Hollaback and like what we’re doing, we hope you’ll decide to donate today so that we can ensure this site reaches as many women as possible. Just $5 will help.
I was going home, not even late (8.30-9 pm) on Friday, and debating whether to walk along the park, which can be a bit dark, or make a big detour. I opted for the former as there were enough people passing through for it to look relatively safe. Two men approached me, introduced themselves, saying they were from Belgium and were shooting a porn film in one of the hotels nearby, and proceeded to ask me if I could replace an actress for a scene for 5000 euros. I said I wasn’t interested; they tried to insist; I reiterated and walked away.
I felt insulted that they would attempt to recruit a woman on the street. Plus this sounds seriously dodgy: what were they really looking for? I hate that I cannot feel safe walking down the street at night, or even sitting anywhere by day. Who does public space belong to? Certainly not non-accompanied women, who are invariably read as “available”.
Submitted by Anne
What would you have told those scumbags to do? Do Anne’s harassers sound like any underworld creatures you’ve had the misfortune of running into? How about showing your solidarity and donating $5 today.
In NYC it seems like I can’t step outside of my house without being verbally attacked, but the scariest attack happened to me when I was going to the Jacobi hospital on a Saturday. It was around 10. I came out from the hospital and I’m walking through the back of the hospital building trying to get to the bus stop. All of a sudden I feel a something following me when I look to my side there’s a van right next to me, the guy has his window down and he started screaming “Honey, I was checking you out your so fine come over here mamacita”. I was terrified shitless all I could do was grab my phone and call my mom. He probably thought I was gonna call the cops, but what were the cops gonna do? When the guy saw me take that action he just left really quickly. Through all of this all I could think was “OMG I could have been kidnapped”.
Submitted by Shani
A little donation goes a long away—we developed the new iPhone app using $5 and $10 donations from friends and lovers. What can we develop next? A LOT—new international Hollaback sites, to be exact! Wanna help?
It has happened to me twice in the same Times Square subway station, once about 4 years ago and then another time 1 year later.
I was touched by two different people in two separate occasions …
In the 1st occasion I was able to turn around and kick the guy in the ass… but on the 2nd occasion I pushed the guy real hard, he turned around and put his face really close to mine laughing… he looked like a criminal and had a horrible scar in his head…very creepy.
On both cases I made the report with the police… but it was useless… all they asked me was to identify among hundreds of pictures they had of previous sex offenders… all I have to say is that they all looked the same to me… so I couldn’t really identify them… I was so angry and felt so helpless.
I just urge everyone to report this type of behavior not only to police but a more effective method might be the phone (is kind of hard because you are so nervous and in shock at the moment… that you don’t know how to react).
Submitted by Sandra
Your harassers may be long gone by now, but you can ensure that catching these predators is an easier process for the next woman who experiences the shame and horror of being touched and fondled on a crowded train against her will. Give $5 today if you’ve felt relief from any of Hollaback’s past and current efforts. There are many.
One July morning, while on the L train from Brooklyn to work at 1st Ave and 14th I was a victim of what can only be deemed digital voyeurism. I noticed the man sitting opposite me on the train was staring intently at his Blackberry, probably watching a music video or something of the sort. What was strange was that he held it upright, in line with his eyes and not in his lap like most folks usually do. When I moved, he moved and at times he would glance at me. The lady next to him was looking at me too, as were the other two ladies standing next to him. My self-conscious self wondered if I had spilled my breakfast on my shirt, so I looked down, started rearranging my skirt and noticed that the culprit seemed mildly perturbed by this. I was convinced that he was videotaping me on his phone. I glared at him, but he kept on videotaping. I kept my head down, the way celebrities do when they’re avoiding paparazzi. I moved to another side of the car. When I got off at my stop, the two ladies who were next to him, stopped me and asked me if I knew he was taping me. I asked why they hadn’t alerted me earlier and chose to be complicit viewers of this injustice. I was outraged and felt completely defiled. I wish there was a way to report this. The sad thing is that two weeks later, the same thing happened again, on the L train. This time I was quick to act. The culprit was pissed when I changed seats and got off at the next stop.
Submitted by J
You’re a fighter—or you wouldn’t be here. Help us fight the war on street harassment, at the frontlines. We’re using brains, not brawn. Send us weapons. The green kind.
I was sitting on the train in Queens around noon today when I noticed that the guy sitting across from me kept scratching himself under his jacket. Then I realize that’s not scratching… that’s his penis. And he’s wearing dark sunglasses so who knows who he’s ogling. Me? Lovely. I pulled out my cell phone to try to get a photo but he must have realized there was about to be evidence of his nastiness because he immediately got off the subway. I hope the next person who notices him will be faster on the draw.
Submitted by Sharon
Seen more penis on the NYC transit lines than a Grand Central Station urinal? NYC FAIL. Please give $5.
I was headed home at night and this young guy walks up on me and starts flirty with me in an aggressive manner. He kept following as i headed down the train station for the 4 and 5 trains and grabbed my hand so I pulled back. He proceeded down the stairs half way but doubled back. It was a horrid and uncomfortable experience.
Submitted by Namiah
We know that many harassers are too busy being creepy and weird to, say, read the news. Help us reach those more verminous creatures by more creative efforts. $5 will help.
Middle aged guy in white Boston hoodie, with green letters and a shamrock got up in my face and growled, “you wanna go on a date?!”
Submitted by Megan
Sorry, Boston, for the bad PR. We know he sucks, too. How about a little show of support today? $5 will do the trick.
First, THANK YOU for initiating this movement. I have experienced street attacks on multiple occasions ranging from the words “queer” and “dyke” to having golf balls thrown at me.
I have also experienced a gang attack where people wrote phrases and pictures all over my body while others watched — this was in a home and was never prosecuted. The pictures involved drawings of penises, breasts, and words such as “eat me,” “cunt,” and “enter here.” This evening also involved a rape.
Although this happened in a home and not on the street I bring this up because a) it was unprosecuted suggesting that it is that much more imperative that “we the people” take our streets back, b) it involved bystanders who did nothing, so your movement to get others involved with doing the right thing is encouraging.
I am an activist in my community in Lansing, Michigan — wearing many hats working with teens who are homeless, teens who are bullied (and inactive bystanders), and LGBTIQ youth.
Submitted by Veronica
If verbal harassment is okay, then groping is okay. If groping is okay then violence is okay…where is your boundary? IT ISN’T FREE SPEECH IF SOMEONE IS GETTING HURT. Help us today, show your support with a $5 donation. Thank you.