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I’m invisible when I walk down the street alone. I get cursory glances from some people but hardly anyone looks up. I’m readily identified as male-bodied. The second day I met two women from Britain at my hostel and it seemed like the creeps came out of the woodwork. Of course, they were there all along, but they don’t feel the entitlement to harass a white male – yet when a woman passes…
From Downtown Cairo to Dokki to the pyramids we endured catcalls and hisses. The worst was when we got back to Talaat Harb Square. A young guy hissed at my friends and followed us. As we were crossing the street he was getting aggressively close to one of my friends and telling her really disgusting, rude shit. I moved to help block him off and he started swearing at us, calling me a “fucker” (“you fucker, I saw you with other girls last week!” – sorry, I just got here yesterday) and them “American bitches”.
Ah, right. Then, he tried to invite us to buy some scented oils at his shop! Yay! … (north side of Talaat Harb immediately to the west of the square – avoid this shop).
Finally, we fought him off at his shop and went back to our hostel. The experience was rounded out so perfectly, I feel, when the doorman for the hostel stopped us to tell my friends that, “look, you’re in the right, you’re very respectful – you are well-covered and you have a male escort. He is a fucker.” Clearly, dressing modestly and having a “male escort” is no protection against harassment.
In the six months I’ve lived here since I’ve heard it repeated by the women who live here: you’re told to conform to standards of dress and movement (male escort, use the female-only car on the metro) to avoid being harassed (and worse) but they’re useless in the face of a determined, self-entitled fuck.
Submitted by Daetan
Hollaback embodies all that is strong, powerful, and badass about being a woman today, and reflects a global female solidarity that knows no racial, age, or geographic boundaries. As such, we seek three men or women who can represent and illustrate these values in written form.
Selected writers need to be able to commit to blogging a minimum of twice per week about key stories and milestones in the anti-harassment movement in a voice that is bold and street harassment savvy.
Interested candidates should submit a sample piece for publication by February 10, 2011 on a topic that you feel is important, timely, and of interest to Hollaback readers. Accompanying your piece should be a brief description of you, why the anti-harassment movement is important to you, and how you represent a unique voice.
Bloggers will be selected for diversity of voice and quality of writing and can hail from anywhere in the world. To submit your sample piece and accompanying information, please email everything in the body of an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
DePaul University Junior Betsy Huigens has developed and released Bluelight, a free app that allows women to check in with family and friends after making it home on time.
Think of it as “I’ll call you when I get there 2.0″ says the app’s storefront download info.
- First, enter your travel time – say 15 minutes for the walk home from the library at night.
- Next, select someone from your address book, such as a parent or roommate, to be your Bluelight contact.
- Set the alert and start walking.
- When you arrive home safely, cancel the alert, and your contact is never bothered. If you do not cancel the alert, Bluelight will let your contact know the route you took home via text message or email.
Film 678, a stark portrayal of street harassment by director Mohamed Diab (currently showing in Egyptian cinemas), is causing growing discomfort among Egypt’s top offices.
Bureaucrat Mahmoud Hanfy Mahmoud, head of the complaints department at the Egyptian Association for Human Rights and Social Justice, has filed an official complaint about the film, citing potential harm to men’s ‘sensitive spots.’
The film depicts women physically defending themselves against harassment and abuse.
In a separate case, the film faces legal action by lawyers Mohammed Hanafi and Melad George, who charge Diab and his cast with tarnishing Egypt’s reputation.
Coverage to date has not included follow up reports of complainants also taking action against perpetrators of sexual harassment and abuse.
Watch the trailer here
My friend and I were grocery shopping. She was off looking at veggies and I was alone in the back corner grabbing some bread. As I set off to meet up with her I paused to pull up my tights. Some tall creep rounded the corner, laughed, and said “Somebody’s going to get laid tonight” and kept going. It didn’t register for a moment and when I finally managed to say “fuck you” he was out of ear shot and my voice was so, so small. It made the rest of the night weird.
Submitted by LO
I was walking a dog about 3:15 this afternoon on Prospect Park West between 11th and 12th streets a male, about 6’2″, middle aged with gray facial hair carrying a new york times and a bottle of water says to me,”she’s looking for you.” I gave him a weird look and saw a female dog walker behind him. I approached the woman because she looked distraught and asked if she’s was ok. She said, “that man spat on me.” I saw this man once before jogging in the park near the 11th street entrance, and he shouted “white trash” in my direction. I dismissed it at the time because he was wearing head phones. now I see a connection between both incidences: both of his targets were women, and both dog walkers.
Submitted by Tina
I wanted to draw attention to this man in the photos, who was masturbating through his jeans pocket on the downtown B train. He was leaning against the doors and I was sitting down, so I was eye level with his penis when he had it out.
I had to get off at Atlantic Avenue but I managed to very blatantly snap these photos. I alerted the train conductor but the train was already leaving the station by the time I told him what happened. Hopefully, someone else can watch out for this guy.
Walking on West 16th street at 2pm in the afternoon, I crossed paths with a man who said “hey, sweetheart” and reached out to grab me. I dodged out of the way and yelled, “Who are you? Get away from me!” I kept walking, but he said, “OK bitch, no wonder you’re by yourself.” I turned back and responded, “You tried to grab me, do you really think that’s ok?” He said, “Nobody tried to grab you.” (oh, gee, I guess you just extended your hand out towards my chest because you needed to stretch???)
I fished my phone out of my purse, and pointed the camera at him. For some reason he pulled his phone out of his pocket and put it to his ear (even though he hadn’t dialed anything). He said, “Whatever, I’m an attorney, so, what are you going to do?” I’d already gotten a picture, so I said “I’m going to put you on the internet with other assholes who harass women on the street.” Again, I started walking away, but I guess he still couldn’t let me have the last word, because he launched into a diatribe, calling me fat, ugly, a bitch, and a kike. Classy.
During this rant, another man came by pushing a cart full of construction supplies. He said to me, “Don’t worry about what he says, you’re beautiful.” I appreciated that he was trying to be nice, but I couldn’t help feeling that he was kind of missing the point. I think one of the driving impulses behind street harassment is the assumption that women desire/need/are required to build our identities and sense of self on men’s opinions of us. But you know what? Good OR bad, a stranger’s opinion DOESN’T MATTER to me. If I don’t know you, I don’t care what you think of me.
Anyway, I let the construction guy get in between me and the ranting guy, and took advantage of the distance to get another photo. During his rant, I realized this guy was actually slurring his words. Since he was so interested in listing all the things he thought were wrong with me, I asked him “Do you really believe I care what you think of me?” Then, as he continued on, I said, “You’re slurring your words. Are you drunk?” Strangely, this was the comment that actually made him angry. He came towards me and yelled “Bitch, I will fuck you up!” This would have been scary if it weren’t for the fact that he couldn’t walk without stumbling back and forth. Instead, it was just funny. I laughed, and said, “you are really funny.” He said, “Funny? You’re jewisss.” I laughed again, and said “You’re hilarious!” then, since there were a couple of other people on the block watching the whole thing, “look everyone, it’s Mel Gibson!” I kept laughing as I walked away.
Submitted by Nancy
Today I was walking with a friend (who is a girl) to grab a bite to eat. We had already made plans to hit the gym afterwards so we were in gym wear/sweats and a sweater. As we were walking down the street there were a group of men in a circle talking amongst themselves. One of them had turned around and I had made eye contact with him. As we passed by he said “hey ladies” about 3 or 4 times but we just ignored the bunch and kept walking. Then he was like “ok, hey men” about a couple times. His other friend said something about “pulling our dick up” or something of that nature.
I flipped them off and we just walked away. My friend wasn’t phased by it (or maybe she was) but I was so tempted to go off. I was pissed. As I’ve read on this site, the only consolation we have as women is to speak up and put men in their place when these instances occur. Most times I just have so much rage that I wouldn’t be able to have a calm dialogue with these so-called men. My reaction is to cuss at them or something along those lines. I know that doesn’t solve anything, but it makes me feel a little bit better.
This has happened on several occasions and one time I had to involve the cops because the guy had grazed my breast, trying to get my attention as I was listening to my ipod.
I just wanted to share my story that even in open-minded San Francisco, CA, shady stuff can still go down. This behavior is universal and sometimes it’s hard not to be disappointed in humanity. I will truck on and have promised myself to work on using my voice in a productive way when these situations happen, cos sadly, I know it’s going to happen again and again.
Submission by Madeline
Using the power vested in me, I’d like to nominate all the awesome bystanders in this video as HOLLAheroes.