Niki’s story: A mom works to end the cycle of harassment, starting with her daughter

I’m 48 now, and I’ve been dealing with this crap for well over 30 years. So much so, that it’s become second nature to me. If I walk past a group of workmen, I automatically tense. I keep my eyes down as I walk past, I try to be invisible. It’s just ‘what we do’ right? But recently it was all brought home to me. The utter wrongness of this state of affairs, the injustice of it, the fact that in all my years in the women’s movement, many things have changed but this, this daily attack on our civil liberties, remains the same.

My then 12 year old daughter (now 13) came home from school one day complaining about “all the men who shout at me in the street”. At 12, TWELVE, she already deals with daily catcalls, car horns, leering looks and unwanted attention. And what could I tell her? Sorry honey, this is now a part of your life. You’re becoming a woman and, wherever you go in the world, whatever you do, however you look, there will be a certain type of guy who considers it ok to force his way into your personal space to tell you that you do/do not meet with his ‘approval’.

Do you know how that makes me feel, as a mother, to have to tell my beautiful, innocent daughter that this is the way the world works?

So I’m teaching her to hollaback (and how to do that and keep herself safe) and maybe her generation will do what mine failed to do, and make this shit unacceptable.

I’ve given her the link to this site and it’s inspired her. She’s even sent in her own story. So keep fighting the good fight.

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  1. Vee says:

    This story makes the Hollaback Wall of Fame for me. I love it. My mom fear mongered and instilled terror in me from a young age regarding the streets and men and strangers — wish she had taught me to hollaback instead. Would have been much more effective since I’ve noticed that the only time the street urchins stay quiet is when I’m armed and ready to hurl words at them in response.

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