Nonverbal Harassment, public masturbation, Story

HOLLA ON THE GO: bystander does the right thing, market not so much

I saw a security officer of a marketmasturbate in public; it was a very hot day and a girl was wearing a short and a tank top and he did this while watching her. This disgusted me so much I called the market manager! This happened around 14:30 about two weeks ago. The worst thing is that he still works there!

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Story, Verbal

Natalie’s story: #bystanderFAIL

So me and a friend of mine are walking through downtown Portland Oregon to the mall to get some Christmas shopping done. As we’re crossing the street, a man comes up to me and my friend and starts screaming 6 inches from our faces
After being startled half to death I finally worked up the courage to scream right back, “GET THE FUCK AWAY FROM US BEFORE I BEAT THE SHIT OUT OF YOU!!” He didn’t back off so we shoved our way through and kept walking.
What bothers me the most was that there were 20 or 30 people around us at the pioneer courthouse square and not ONE person did anything or asked us if we were okay.

This is only one of numerous times ive been harassed on my way to work/class/at work.

I cant shake the feeling these encounters gives me. Something has got to be done.

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groping, Nonverbal Harassment, Stalking, Story, upskirt

HOLLA ON THE GO: looking up my skirt

A few years ago I was employed at a clothing store in Seattle, WA. One night I was towards the back of the store straightening the rack of women’s lingerie when I felt a man standing very close to me. I moved to another part of the store when I felt him near me again. I tried to ignore my feelings and stay put. I then looked down and saw him on the ground, his head between my legs looking up my dress. I kicked him hard in the throat and he ran away. I called the police and they didn’t show.

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public masturbation, Story, youth

Marysa’s story: “I was 14 years old.”

I have witnessed some assaults so far, but most of them weren’t that severe. But in June 2010 , I experienced Something really bad happened to me and my friends when I was 14 years old. My friends and I were sitting in a bus when a man right next to us started to masturbate in front of us. At first, I didn’t really realize what he was doing , but when I got it, I was so shocked ! He looked into my eyes while doing it and I turned away, but still we all could hear him breathing louder and louder. It was disturbing, disgusting and just so creepy. Some adults saw what he was doing, but no one helped us. It was really, really disgusting. I felt so humiliated – he was “using” me in order to please himself.

This was one of the most disturbing things I’ve experienced. Later, there were other things, comments, looks or rude remarks . Still, the bus incident was the worst – it made me feel dirty and abused ! I wish I would have said something, but I couldn’t say anything.

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Emily May: Pissing People Off

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Story, Verbal, youth

Joee’s story: “that intuitive prickling sensation we all experience as a primitive warning system”

There have been so many times throughout my life that I’ve experienced street harassment without even realizing what it truly was. Like many women, it began around the time I reached adolescence and has only gotten worse. Unfortunately, I have too many stories to share here at once, but there is one from several years ago that still sticks out in my mind like it was yesterday, and probably always will.
I had just turned 16 and gotten my first job hostessing at a restaurant in the small town I lived in. One spring afternoon, a friend from work and I decided to go shopping at an outdoor plaza and take a walk around the park across from it. We went in and out of a few stores, having a nice time. My friend needed to make a quick stop at a store in the plaza and since I didn’t need to go in that store I told her that I’d walk across the street to the park to get some ice cream and we agreed to meet back up by the ice cream stand in a few minutes.
I did just that, but the line for ice cream was short and my friend was no-where to be seen. I sat on a bench in the park and ate my ice cream out of a little cup, waiting and watching the few people there walking around the track. I pitched my empty cup in the garbage bin beside the bench and that’s when I saw him: an elderly man, perhaps 70 or 75 years old, walking a bicycle, overtly staring at me and making a beeline in my direction. I didn’t pay him much heed until he came to a halt right in front of me. I looked up, confused, and he said, “Sure is a lovely day, isn’t it?” I replied that it was. He then backed up a bit so he and his bike were close beside me and I was beginning to feel that intuitive prickling sensation we all experience as a primitive warning system, but try to ignore. He said, “What’s a pretty girl like you doing alone in the park?” He leaned closer to me. I had been sexually assaulted less than a year before and was still slightly skittish around strange men approaching me. I tensed and began feeling like a cornered animal, prey; his body and bicycle were blocking my most immediate exit. I tried to think of an appropriate response that might discourage him. “I’m waiting for my boyfriend,” I said. “He’s just on the other side of the park.” I thought that may be enough, but it only gave him more to question me with. “Do you like to have fun with him? I don’t think there’s nothin’ wrong with two adults having fun.” I knew what he was implying and I knew there was no way he thought I was older than I was, let alone an adult. With my tiny frame and still slightly child-like face, I was often mistaken as being even younger than I was. ‘Is he a pedophile?’ I thought, and it alarmed me even further. I smiled sheepishly, uncomfortably, hoping he wouldn’t sense my unease and prey on it like a canine when it smells fear.
“So you like to have fun? I live around here, I just got this real nice place. We could walk over there if you wanna. We’ll have fun.” He smiled. Creepy. His words themselves were innocuous but the implied meaning was clear. I looked around as discreetly as I could, hoping to see my friend or another person, anyone, nearby. I didn’t, but I wanted away from him right then. “Oh look, there comes my boyfriend!” I stood up abruptly, causing him to stagger backward a step, and power-walked with no real destination in my mind; just away from him. He got on his bike and rode out of the park.
I crossed the street, heading to the store my friend was in just as she came out of the door. I called her name and she must have seen something in my eyes I was unaware of because she sounded alarmed when she asked, “What’s wrong?!”
I relayed my experience to her and we got in her car. She was determined to find the man and we circled every block in the vicinity, but we never saw him. Although the panic I felt was nearly gone, adrenaline was still pumping through my veins, and I was shaken. I told her I just wanted to go home. As I was getting out at my house, I sincerely thanked her for her concern and efforts in trying to find the man.
Only when I was alone in my bedroom at last did I allow the tears to flow unbidden. I felt ashamed, scared, powerless, sullied, but most of all I felt angry. Angry not only at this one creep, but for all the women who have to live with men like him and their lecherous glances and words that poison innocence. I was angry with myself for not standing up, not reporting him right then because I realized that with the confidence and persuasion he exuded towards me, he must have done this before and will undoubtedly do it again, perhaps to an even younger or more naive girl who will follow him home.
I realized I needed to take a stand, and I have. Not only for myself, but for every person who has ever experienced sexual harassment. I’m so thankful for organizations like Ihollaback for raising awareness for something so vitally important. From me, and I’m sure from women everywhere, thank you for showing us we have the strength to holla back!

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Nonverbal Harassment, Story, Verbal, youth

Sage’s story: I was 16

Once when I was 16 I walked down the road i live on to do my volunteering at a thrift shop. I approached an intersection when a man in a van began to harass me. He honked repeatedly as I crossed the street. Once I crossed,and the light had gone green he made a turn and began driving and honking alongside where i was walking. I just walked to the shop and did my work. Hours later, i had completely forgotten about the incident and went on break. I sat outside and watched cars go by while i ate some crackers. Suddenly the same man in the van from hours before came “casually” walking past and approached me. He started asking me why i was sitting there and if i was hungry and wanted to get in his car to get something to eat with him. I told him no and he eventually went away. It made me feel so uncomfortable.

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A week in our shoes: HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Dear Hollabackers —
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HAPPY NEW YEAR! First and foremost, we want to big a BIG THANK YOU to everyone who donated in our December campaign. We raised $10,000 to help us achieve our big goals in 2013, including:

  • Guide and Training for Organizations and Schools to address street harassment.  Information on how to address street harassment for students, clients, and employees, including curriculum, referrals, and a “know-your-rights” section will be published in two first-of-its-kind guides this year. Training webinars will be held following the release of the guide for organizations (June 2013) and the guide for schools (October 2013).
  • First-ever site leader retreat and public event. Our sites will met for the first time in New York in Summer 2013 – where they will give short, taped, TED-inspired speeches at a public event, and then head upstate for a 3 day retreat.
  • Launch and Train 75 new leaders from 25 new sites. To keep this movement growing, we are committed to meeting the demand for our services internationally. Each site we launch costs the organization $2,500 and including  a comprehensive 3-month on-line training, technical assistance, and resources.
  • On-line platform for site leaders.  Materials, resources, and communication is currently taking place across google drive, google groups, and facebook. This new-online platform would streamline these networks into a one-stop shop for site leaders – fostering better communication and collaboration.
  • Bystander trainings and petition signed by 10,000 people. People who publicly say that they will do something are more likely to actually do it. Working with Green Dot, we will develop a curriculum to be scaled across all our sites which will encourage people to pledge to be better bystanders when they witness harassment happening. Their stories of intervention will be mapped on our site.
  • Improve our data collection system. With over 4,000 stories told, we have an incredibly robust set of research. In 2013, we want to expand the type of data we collect to include demographics, prevalence, and impact so that we can increase awareness of street harassment and better target the problem – and the solutions.

We’re still looking for additional funding for these projects, so if you know of anyone who would be interested in supporting us, please let us know! Otherwise, without further ado, here are our site updates:

Hollaback Jacksonville was featured in the JD news! “Street harassment happens everywhere,” Kari Raack, founder of Hollaback! Jacksonville said. “Hollaback! is a platform for men and women to have a way to ‘hollaback’ at the people who have committed street harassment against them.”

Hollaback Pathenkot published a letter to the editor in response to the recent rang rape and murder in India that has result in widespread protest. Site leader PAAYAS PANDIT writes, “The Delhi incident just goes to highlight the barbarism that prevails in our society. It would not be wrong to say that India has become a thoroughly uncivilised, patriarchal society.”

Hollaback Chandigarh launched the Pledge Project in response to the gang rape in Delhi. “It’s the pledge to speak up when we see a woman being harassed on the streets. We pledge to intervene when a woman is being raped/assaulted, pledge to simply dial 100 or 1091 to save a woman’s life and dignity,” says Rubina Singh. The project has already received over 500 pledges and was covered in the Indian Express, the Hindustan Times, and the Daily Post India. Hollaback was also cited in the Times of India article, “‘Men’s psychological troubles spur harassment of women on streets.”

Hollaback Richmond has a new tumblr! A local supporter is also holding a skate t-shirt silent auction on their behalf on January 4th in Jackson Ward.

Hollaback Dublin had a launch party and took super cute photos!

Last but not least, something fun for the new year from our site leader Julie Lalonde in Ottawa: the intro to this super-fun Scissor Sisters song starts off talking about harassment on public transportation.

It’s 2013: Let’s have KIKI!

HOLLA and out —




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groping, Story

Margot’s story: 1984

I was about 24 and biking home along East Broadway towards Burnaby. It was during rush hour traffic and another biker came up behind me and slid his hand up my buttocks. It made me stop biking almost fell into traffic. We fought a bit and drivers just honked at us! This was from out of no where. I didn’t know the person and didn’t recognize him from any previous riding experience. Didn’t make sense. No one helped and after I called 911 the police said they couldn’t do anything for me. I still had to finish riding my bike home! I would never have thought that this could happen this way. This was back in 1984.

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Assault, groping, Story

Margot’s story: #bystanderFAIL

I had just returned from a trip overseas. I was 20. I was visiting with my brother at a local Taco Bell. I used the pay phone on the street and had a young man approach me asking for directions – I gave him the directions and his way of thanking me was to come into the phone booth and assault me and grope me. I was very shocked and tried to fight back. It was about 9 p.m. and still light out. People watched and didn’t do anything. I felt very violated, but what could I do? This was back in 1980.

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