demonstration

Katherine’s Story: Repressed memory revisited

I’m submitting this because I just remembered it when someone else’s story triggered it. I can’t believe I forgot it- I guess I think I tried to repress it because I couldn’t understand it.

It was 2004, and I was eleven years old. It was Christmastime, and my mom was taking me to Crocker Park, a large and very popular shopping center in our area. I became separated from her and was soon very lost in the crowds.

Then I saw a group of frat boys from a nearby college- they were all wearing sweatshirts with some Greek letter on it. I didn’t realize they were following me until the barking started. Now, six months before, I had become extremely sick, to the point of near-death. I was emaciated- you could see my heart beating through my clothes- and my face was swollen from Prednizone. I looked awful, and I knew it. So there I was, a prepubescent, very ill, and very lost girl, being followed and barked at by a group of very large frat boys. It was not so much frightening as humiliating. I tried to ignore them but started to cry a little bit- they finally got tired of their “game” and wandered off. When I at last found my mom, I wiped my face and didn’t say anything. I just tried to forget it.

I can’t imagine how those boys got off on hounding a little girl. I can’t imagine how I managed to repress that memory. But I’m glad that Hollaback exists so that I can get it off my chest.

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Samantha’s Story: Attention and power are what they crave

One morning in August of last year, I was walking from the bus stop to my job when I’m about to pass this guy. Since I am harassed in some form almost on a daily basis, I’m a bit leery of him, so I walk across this parking lot in a nearby strip mall in order to get away from him. So he calls out to me, “Hey, baby!” I ignore him and keep walking and the asshole continues running his mouth, saying, “With them big-ass titties!” I continue walking with my head up high and my nose in the air and say nothing. I don’t even look at him. And he STILL runs his mouth, “OK, I’ll see you next time, baby!” I was so infuriated and felt so violated I wanted to bash his skull in, but I kept my cool and did not give him what he wanted: attention.

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Watch Objectified: A Short Documentary about Street Harassment

BY KIMBERLYNN ACEVEDO

This is one fine piece of work right here. Why? Because the creator was able to create a montage of ordinary folks sharing their opinions and experiences with street harassment without having to sell you the idea that street harassment blows. You can see it for yourself….this stuff sucks. From the ever so creepy dude in the beginning who very proudly admits to yelling obnoxiously to get women’s attention to the young woman who believes street harassment is a confusing form of flattery…a backhanded compliment, if you will. This documentary shows how women are objectified through everyday interactions on the streets. It provides insight into various experiences– from perpetrator to “victim”– we see the consequences of how viewing women as objects and not human beings is manifested, interpreted, and experienced. I say it’s worth the watch and definitely worth sharing.

Click here to watch!

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Emma’s Story: “At this point I feel very vulnerable and I keep wondering why is this happening to me?”

Street harassed 3 times :(

The first time I experienced harassment was 4 months ago, I it was summer time at about 8.45pm on my way back from the supermarket as I was waiting on the side of the road for the traffic to clear I saw this weird looking guy approach me, wanting to touch me — I had to put my shopping bag down and push him out to stop him from touching me and kept saying to him to Please go away and to leave me alone while I am waiting for the road to clear. I managed to cross the road and I was in tears because of the thing that just struck me. Ever since I’m becoming more aware of the street and to always look at my surrounding whenever I am walking alone. Just as the uneasy feelings started to go away the 2nd harassment happened about a month ago.¬† I was walking home from my bus stop to my apartment at about 7pm when a guy from across the the street started yelling at me for no reason.. I try to ignore him and kept on walking until this crazy guy crossed the road and started to follow me home. Being aware that someone followed me, I started to run and luckily there was a car coming and it had slowed him down and I managed to get into my apartment building just in time.
3rd harassment happened today, I came out from work at 5pm walking on the CBD street with 4 friends and somehow this guy came out from nowhere and growled at me…

At this point I feel very vulnerable and I keep wondering why is this happening to me? what would the best way to prevent this from happening in the near future? sometimes the thought of what if it gets worse compared to all of the experiences I had above freak me out .. I always dress down and avoid to making eye contact with strangers and yet it doesn’t seem to work. However, sharing this story makes me feel slightly better.

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Elaine’s Story: “People should never brush off sexual harassment”

This happened when I was 13, and the memory’s stayed with me since. I was at my school camp, taking canoe lessons with the rest of the class. The canoe instructor, who was next to me, kept leering and saying things like, “You’re so pretty, what’s your name?” Being 13 and painfully shy, the only way I knew how to deal with it was ignore him.

I thought he’d just go away. Instead, he said, “Come on, I’m not going to bite you,” and grabbed my left arm and actually bit me. It wasn’t a deep bite but it was repulsive. He then proceeded to, what I now understand in retrospect, hump his canoe.

When I told my teacher about this, she brushed me off and said, “Oh, they’re just fooling around. Don’t take it so seriously.” Well, it was frightening, disgusting, and even now, 8 years later, those feelings are still with me.

People should never brush off sexual harassment just because it’s too troublesome to deal with it, or just because nothing seriously illegal was involved!

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Anne Marie’s Story: “People exist who will counter harassment and protect others”

I was visiting St. Louis for an interview and caught the metro from the airport to where I was staying that night. Across the car from me was this man, who ignored my headphones being in and my lack of attention to him and started touching my foot and pulling at my shoe and leg. I pulled one earphone out to ask what he wanted, still having trouble hearing from the flight, but got the gist that he was hitting on me and then I very clearly heard him say I should take him home with me. I kept saying no and, when he asked where I was going, I said I didn’t know. Another man on the train sitting behind holla-er (and was slightly bigger than him but also a little older) told him to leave me alone and put up with a tirade for the rest of his metro ride so the guy would leave me alone (I’m pretty sure the holla-er was intoxicated in someway). The good guy kept saying okay to everything the holla-er said and avoided antagonizing him further while keeping the attention away from me. I felt terrified of the holla-er but I so, so happy that the good guy was there and that people exist who will counter harassment and protect others, even when it could be dangerous for them and easier to stay quiet.

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Kat’s Story: Called a tramp for rejecting your harassment

I was driving slowly down a narrow street near Puffer’s Pond (a local summer time hang out) in Amherst, MA where I was heading to meet my boyfriend and a couple friends after I got out of work at 5pm.

As I drove slowly past all the parked cars on the road I slowed down at a curve in the road where there was a group of 3 young men standing by a car. As I approached one of them put his arm up in the air and began humping the air suggestively and
Looking right at me. I tried to ignore him and as I passed with my windows open presumably the same young man, or a friend, said very loudly “Eh she’s a tramp!”

Completely uncalled for. I do not deserve to be called a tramp simply for being a woman driving alone in a car past a group of men.

I’m 23, I’d estimate the young men were between 20 and 25.

Thanks for all that you do!

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Anonymous’s Story: Three creeps in a car

I was walking to my bus stop, after work but in broad daylight, when a car with three young men drove past. They laid on the car horn and one leaned out the window, mouth open, tongue hanging out, making growling noises. They got to the bottom of the street and turned around for another go. I gave them the finger. They drove past again anyway, honking and shouting out the windows. As I sat waiting for my bus, they went past again, waving and grinning. I was glad when the bus came and I could just disappear.

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Susan’s Story: Not okay

This happened a few years ago, and it still bothers me.

My cousin and I were walking down the street, sure it was dark, but not really that late. Not that it matters. We’re walking down a pretty residential street, and are literally 2 houses down from her front door. We had been out to get a bottle of wine for a big family dinner, and they all were waiting on us inside. This guy walking towards us goes right between us, bends down and grabs both of our crotches. And then just keeps on walking like nothing happened. He might have even been whistling. We were speechless, and before we walked through the front door, agreed to not say anything. Her parents would have flipped, and we just wanted to get over it. I still feel pretty violated when I think of it, and can’t believe that it even happened. What made him think it was okay to do that? How many other women has he done this to? So disgusting.

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Alli’s Story: Harassment isn’t something to ignore

I had been a Peace Corps Volunteer in rural Morocco for about nine months and had been putting up with all kinds of harassment: groping, cat-calls, even a stalker. Once a man asked me, in Arabic, “how much?” as I walked past him, thinking I wouldn’t understand. Everyone I talked to about it kept telling me to ignore it, but this was easier said than done.

One afternoon, while walking home from work at the youth center, I heard smooching and kissing noises waft toward me from across the street. I looked up to see a skinny punk kid, maybe 15-years-old, smiling at me, then continuing to make the noises.

I don’t know what it was about this PARTICULAR incident, but I lost it. Before I knew what I was doing, I had stormed across the street and was in his face yelling at him in Arabic. “Why do you do that? Do you think I like it? What would your mother say? I’m a nice girl and you’ve never even met me.”

The kid was so bewildered, he just kept saying “I’m sorry” over and over again. At the moment I felt like I had done some good in making at least one kid understand that this kind of behavior isn’t okay, but it just wasn’t enough. I eventually left Morocco under severe stress from constant harassment.

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