A Week in Our Shoes


Dear Hollabackers,

I am reporting from Washington D.C. today where I am giving a TedxWomen talk. Eeeek! Wish me luck! If you’d like to watch it live, tune in to the live stream on December 1st between 2 and 3:30 EDT.

On the ground in New Your City, our International Movement Fellow Shahinaz led five workshops in NYC this week.

She worked with Young Democrats, We Act for Environmental Justice, Scenarios USA, Crime Victims Treatment Center, and Girls Inc. of NYC. On that note, we’re sad to say goodbye to Shahinaz as her fellowship comes to an end and she returns to her home country of Egypt. She has been an incredible asset to our program — and will definitely be missed.

Here’s what our site leaders have been up to world-wide:

Hollaback Alberta is supporting a locally developed documentary called “Who Cares?” about the abuse women who work in the sex industry face. They are setting up an info booth at the screening and site leaders have collaborated with a local stencil artist to create art pieces around the documentary’s themes.

Hollaback Berlin has had a busy week! First, site leader Julia Brilling was interviewed by the Der Freitag newspaper. German speakers be sure to check out the article here. Also, Julia created a video, along with fellow Hollaback activist Kristen, as part of the One Billion Rising project to end violence against women.

Hollaback Brussels‘ site leader Angelika Hild was interviewed by National Public Radio! She speaks about the new law which fines street harassers.

Hollaback Gent ladies were interviewed in the major newspaper Der Standaard. They also took part in a Chalk Walk where they wrote anti-street harassment slogans on the street in places where people have been harassed. Here’s the event description and some pics from the event.

Great work everyone!

HOLLA and Out,




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Marina’s story: When self defense skills come in handy

I am a small town girl in texas. During the summers and winters i go down to mexico to visit family. Everytime i walk down the street i hear men whistling at me. My friends think its so cool to be recognized like that yet i feel threatend. One night coming out of a dance club( we did not drink) 4 men approached us asking for our number. We felt very uncomfortble so we started to walk off and they kept following us. My friends and i felt so threatend that we start to walk faster. Then i felt the man’s arm around me. Earlier that year at work this guy showed me a few self defence moves ( which i thought were useless because i never thought i would use them.) one of them was how to flip a person on their back (i felt like a spy when i learned it:)). I put my leg in between his and with all my might i flipped the guy on his back. The guy hit the pavement hard that he didnt get up. My friends and i ran straight home. Its been a year since that encounter. I think im still a little paranoid. All i have to say for my girls out there is that we are strong and no person will ever hurt me again!!

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Assault, Story

Sabrina’s story: Assaulted in Hollywood (trigger warning)

I have had so many instances of harassment its ridiculous. I’ve been asked, “Hey Slut how much?” while walking my dog and wearing sweatpants to having men twice my age yell, “nice tits!” at me to having a guy come up to me and tell me, “with boobs like that you have to be a porn star.” I naturally have a larger bust and I don’t want to feel like it automatically makes me a slut. It makes me feel powerless and angry. It got to the point where I started yelling back at men who screamed obscenities at me and they always respond with some horrible insult when I tell them to leave me alone. My friends and family have told me not to do so because the guys could retaliate and hurt me. I don’t think its fair that because I happen to be a women I have to let men harass me because they are physically stronger and bigger than me. Its gotten so bad sometimes that I dont even want to wear makeup or dress in a nice outfit when I am going to be walking because I dont want to be harassed. I take a lot of pride in my appearance and I dont want that to be taken from me but I dont want to draw attention to myself that will lead to harassment.

The worst incident occurred two Halloweens ago. I was out celebrating in costume with three friends. We were leaving a bar in Hollywood and walking to the lot where we parked the car. A group of five guys came up to us and started harassing us and telling us we should go home with them. We politely responded we were just going home and to have a nice night and they started calling us whores and one grabbed my friends butt. She told him to stop and he said he would “Do whatever the fuck he wanted.” I had a soda in my hand and I turned around and threw it at him. I kept walking when I realized one of my friend wasn’t with me. She was being punched and kicked by two of the guys. I ran over to help her and one of the other guys punched me in the chest and jaw and then started running away. I called 911 and chased the guy who hit me for four blocks. The other guys ran. The police pulled into the parking lot as one of the guys came back and was running into his car. He was arrested but they never found the other four guys. My friend had choke marks on her neck. One of the guys told her he would, “fucking kill her.” She was eight weeks pregnant at the time and suffered a miscarriage  most likely due to the blows to her stomach. I was very afraid to go out at night for a long time because I was so scared of being assaulted again.

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Story, Verbal

Cari’s story: Harassed while jogging and one man’s change of heart

Since I was 12 and first started jogging on city streets, I’ve always encountered leers and comments. I’ve jogged in suburban neighborhoods of Silicon Valley, the capital of Costa Rica, Paris, San Diego CA, etc. As your research bears out, I perceive it to be a simple fact of life and my only response has either been retreat or anger. As a 12-16 year old, I would often yell back my age, hoping to expose to the adult male that he was my father’s age. My older brother believed I was exaggerating the extent of the staring and sexual comments, that perhaps I was flattering myself. Until, one day he ran with me. He was utterly shocked at how watched and violated he felt after experiencing the level of attention I received. He had an entirely new perspective on how poorly women and girls are treated in public, even with a chaperone. To this day, (25 years later), I will still reflexively flip off anyone who whistles or slows down to stare, etc. It sometimes makes me so angry I will chase after them and hit their car with my fists if they are forced to stop at an upcoming stoplight. I fully understand that some are raised to think that calling out sexual comments is a compliment, but I don’t think they’ve thought it through – to have every single moment on a public street be an invitation for being sexualized is simply not fun.

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Stalking, Story

Yasmin’s story: “I wish I could go to that mall without being harassed, for once.”

This actually happened to me multiple times, at the same mall: I go there with two of my cousins and my sister, and I don’t think there was ever a time when we were NOT followed. Once we were followed into a cafe and the stalkers just lurked outside — we had to wait an extra half hour for them to get bored and walk away. Another time we were literally being chased — we had to go into a big supermarket and weave through a bunch of aisles and go to a different floor ’till we finally lost the stalkers. Another time a bunch of guys caught up with us on an escalator and one of them tried to shove a slip of paper into my cousin’s hand! At one point we had to get the security involved, but all they did was tell the stalkers to stop following us, which was ineffective. I wish I could go to that mall without being harassed, for once. The thing is, it’s the only good one (in terms of shops, restaurants, etc) in the city.

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public masturbation

HOLLA ON THE GO: “…at best it was insulting to be offered unnecessary help just because I’m female.”

I was in Spar on Douglas Street, Cork City, Ireland, and was approaching the queue at the till. There was a man there before me. He stared at me and started motioning me to take the place ahead of him in the queue. I turned down the offer and he only made more urgent gestures and widened his eyes and it freaked me out a bit so I thought maybe he’d stop staring at me if I just went ahead and took the place in front of him, even though there was no need. But then as I was paying for my stuff he kept staring at me and put his hand into his pocket and started moving it up and down really fast, panting really heavily. It was so disgusting. I felt sick. I got out of there as fast as I could.

And in the exact same shop on another day, a completely different man offered me the place in front of him in the queue. I wouldn’t take it. I knew that, worst case scenario, it would be some kind of sick sexual harassment again, and at best it was insulting to be offered unnecessary help just because I’m female.

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demonstration, Story

Isha’s story: we had expected someone to intervene but nobody did.

I was on the bus with a friend of mine in broad daylight going to the subway. At our stop we got up to walk out and these two men were sitting by the doors. As we were standing there they started making comments about our clothes and our bodies so my friend turned around and told him to f*** off. They did not take kindly to this and started calling us terrible things. One of them came very close to us and said “you don’t appreciate my compliments, fine, you deserve this” and he dumped his water on both of us. At this point we had expected someone to intervene but nobody did. One man asked if my friend (who was now in tears) was ok but the other people on the bus just grumbled about the water that had gotten on them. I was so shocked at what had happened that I turned to him and said, “do you know how old I am?” and he said “you’re a stone cold b****” and then got off the bus. We followed and stood outside the station and as he was walking away I said “I’m fourteen” he turned and gave me a disgusted look and then walked away. Now both these men were probably in their mid to late 40’s and they hadn’t even shown the slightest bit of remorse when they found out they had just harassed two teenage girls. Before this I didn’t feel safe going places in my neighborhood at night, but now I don’t even feel safe going places during the day.

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demonstration, Story

Rashawn’s story: “There are things you don’t understand”

I was attacked this morning by a man: Keep yourselves safe.

This morning while walking to my car to get to work I passed two men on the street standing on a corner. One man made a B-line for me while the other called out to him, “Don’t go over there.” The man did not listen, he sped up to me, and grabbed me. I screamed, “Let go of me!”, he did not listen. “Stop!”, he did not listen. “Let go off me, get your fucking hands off of me!”, he did not listen.” I yelled, “Somebody help me!,” the man nor his friend listened. I kicked and yelled with no result, “You are just going to stand there while your friend attacks me. Help me!” The man grabbing me stared me down, he could have been drunk or high or whatever but he stared me down and made gestures to his pants. The other man slowly crossed the street coming up behind the man, “There are things you don’t understand,” grabbing his friend off of me. I immediately ran away towards my car and began to cry.

I am so violated and shaken.

This has never happened to me.

I hate this man. I hate his friend.

I hate my terrified screams.

Please keep yourself safe.

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demonstration, Story

Rosi’s story: “SMILE”

Last night a guy in a club stopped in front of me on the dancefloor, squeezed my cheek and told me to smile. I gave him the finger and walked off and heard him shouting about “WHY DID SHE GIVE ME THE FINGER” all the way to the smoking area. It was about as articulate I could be in a loud club environment where you can barely hear yourself think. Will prepare something wittier if there is a next time.

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Story, Uncategorized

HOLLA ON THE GO: “Hey lady, wanna…”

“Hey lady, wanna..” I said “come back and let me take your picture.” He came back and shielded his face when I took the snapshot, asking “why do you wanna take my picture?”

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