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This happened a couple of years ago. I’m a middle-aged woman, and a little chubby. I was dressed in jeans and a tshirt. I certainly don’t consider myself that sexy anymore (but that’s another issue)…
I’d sprained my ankle about two months before, and my physical therapist was seven blocks from my house.
I think I was still in a walking boot when I was walking home that day. On one side of the street is a tiny little strip of stores and a parking lot – the same side my home is on, and the physical therapist. As I neared this area, a little old man walked toward me on the sidewalk. He was probably around 70 years old, maybe older, shorter and smaller than me. He locked eyes with me when we were about 30 feet apart. I began to get nervous but figured he was harmless. I kept looking away – both to watch the ground (sprained ankle!) and to try to lose the creepy feeling… As we passed each other, he muttered something like “Ay! Mamacita!” and waggled his tongue at me.
I seriously was freaked out by this and hobbled as quickly as I could away, looking back over my shoulder, thinking “well, at least he didn’t grab me”…
I stopped at a coffee shop before going home, hoping that he wouldn’t follow me or watch where I went.
My partner later told me this particular old man has done the same thing to her, as well as some young (middle school?) girls coming from the private school down the street. The girls also ran into that coffee shop to hide.
I haven’t seen him since, but I’ve been ashamed at how frightened I was of a little old man.
This happened when I was 17, I’m now 22 but I remember it like it was yesterday.
I was moving so me and my friends were having a party at my apartment. My older brother ran out of cigarettes and me and my guy friend Christian decided to go with him to the store to grab something to eat. None of us had a car so we decided to skate there. It was only about 3 blocks away. Half way there, my brother realized he forgot his wallet. Him and Christian were in the middle of a conversation I was not a part of and I was on the quickest board so I volunteered to skate back and grab it. I had no trouble getting back. I ran in and out within 30 seconds and took off back toward my brother and friend. I had my head phones blasting music and was cruising at a slower speed than normal, just enjoying the cool California night air. I lived in a less than great area but I have always lived in the more crime ridden areas so I felt comfortable in my knowledge of how to avoid the cat callers or gropers. I had long hair at the time but I always wore baggy shirts and pants so I figured in the dark, I might just look like a shorter guy with long hair.
Then I noticed the headlights from a car behind me had been shining on me for longer than normal. They did not dim as I skated away as if the car was parked and the car never passed me. So I looked back and noticed a car driving slowly, keeping pace right behind me on the opposite side of the road. I’m used to it so I just started skating a bit faster thinking they would lose interest like usual and move on if I did not respond to them. Then a van passed me and I realised the lights were still on and behind me so I looked back and the car had pulled over to let the van pass it and was now picking up speed to be even to me. I could hear someone yelling at me over my head phones but the music was so loud I could not hear exactly what they were saying.
I started skating as fast as I could. There was a small drive way that dead ended into a fence surrounding a field under construction and I figured if they tried anything, I could jump the fence and run the rest of the way to the gas station where the fence was open. It was only about another block left. As I was getting to the driveway, the car sped ahead of me, did a u-turn and parked directly in front of the sidewalk I was skating on so I was facing the passenger side of the car.
That’s when I noticed there were two men in front and one in back, I could hear them yelling to me but from past experience, I knew it was best to ignore them so I kept my headphones in. With them blocking the drive way and sidewalk the only thing I could do was get off my board and walk around them or try to skate around the nose of their car. And I was not about to get off and try to get around them on foot. The man in the passenger side had his window all the way down, his arm hanging out and motioning to me. Thank god my long board was loose because I simply carved the board off the curb, around their car and skated faster than I ever could. I heard their car peel out with them yelling and I was calling out for my brother and friend. Luckily they had been standing near the road waiting for me and had seen the car pull in front of me so they were walking toward me.
They thought it might be a friend talking to me out of their car while it followed me but when it pulled around and they saw me skate around it, they were hurrying toward me.
I was so scared I skated right past them the last couple of yards into the gas station lights. It was one of those gas stations where you cannot come in at night so I stood outside and we all three watched the car slow down because they saw me pass my brother and friend, so I ran back and hugged Christian and the car peeled out again. 30 seconds later, as we were leaving as a group, the same car drove past the station at about 20 miles per hour then take off. We saw it circle the block a couple times just on the way home, but normal speed limit.
As I’ve said, I’ve been followed, yelled at constantly and hassled but never have I been that scared. I jumped and avoided certain streets for the last weeks there every time I saw a car similar to theirs. I’ve always lived in places considered not too safe but never has someone taken to following, trying to cut me off, screaming at me and coming back over and over to see if I’m alone before. So even though I’ve been followed and harassed countless times, after that, I carry a taser.
I was out at a bar with my best friends, having a girls night. I went up to the bar to get another drink and because I am around 5’2″ I had to kneel on the barstool to be seen by the bartender! Apparently, a guy sitting next to me thought that this was invitation and proceeded to put his arm around my waist, grope my butt, and ask “Hey girl, whatchya drinkin’ tonight.” I quickly removed his arm for him and said “Don’t touch me.” However, he was not quickly deterred and he grabbed my waist again and said “I’m sorry baby, let me buy you a drink.” At this point I THREW his arm off of me and got right in his face and said “I said don’t touch me, don’t make me tell you again.” But it didn’t stop there. The guy, realizing that I actually meant business, said “Alright, I’m sorry can I buy you a drink?” To which I responded: “Are you (bleeping) serious?!” After that he got the hint and left the bar but not without making a point buy saying “Ok, bitch.” I was proud of myself for sticking up for myself, but I don’t understand why guys think they can just put their hands on girls whenever they want to. And of course when we don’t take kindly to their tacky form we are bitches. I shouldn’t have to be on guard and defending myself at every turn. Society needs a wake-up call.
He was standing on the stairway entrance into the Myrtle-Willoughby station and said something to me that I couldn’t make out as I passed…he followed me. I purposely moved a few feet away to look for my subway card and as I was rummaging through my purse he ran up behind me and lifted up my sweater and grabbed my butt. I yelled at him to stop and he flashed me a thumbs up sign as he left the station
My boyfriend and I just moved to Wichita, KS from a small town in New England so that I can earn my graduate degree. The street harassment that I’ve experienced since moving is completely unreal, and continues to boggle my mind. The worst incident occurred this past Friday in a thrift store while we were furniture shopping. My boyfriend and I were at opposite ends of the store because we decided to look at clothing when I noticed a man following me. I was wearing a dress that stopped about an inch above the knee and that was slightly form-fitting because it’s very windy here and wearing flawy dresses without flashing everyone is difficult and annoying. Anyways, I noticed a creepy man following me through the women’s section of this particular store, so I decided to move closer to the mens section and look at blazers. I moved quickly, and thought I had left him behind until I looked behind me and saw him crouched behind me on the floor looking up my skirt. I felt disgusted, humiliated and shocked. Not knowing what else to do I ran across the store to tell my boyfriend what had happened. The man promptly left. I felt numb and hollow for the rest of the day. I wish I had said something to him, I wish I had screamed at him, I wish I’d alerted the clerk, but I did none of these things and I feel like a coward. I have always liked to think of myself as the sort of person that would fight back against street harassment, but I find myself ignoring my harasses or refusing to leave the house alone. Usually, if I am with my boyfriend I experience no issues, but I wish I felt safe walking my dog by myself, or running to the gas station down the street.
I have been harassed multiple times in this plaza, all the way up to the ToysRUs. Sometimes multiple times in a day, but ultimately all from a car. It ranges from intense starring and gestures (teeth sucking and kisses) shouting “HEY!!” to “hey baby, what’s up” then calling it a compliment when getting flipped off.
I feel like for most of the dudes that have harassed me here was about power, humiliation and just the fact that they could mess with me. Just to have something to laugh at.
My friend and I are walking back a few minutes after midnight to our dorm from the club *car rolls down window* *wolf whistles* FUCK OFF *window rolls back up* *car drives away*
This week Hollaback! was featured by My Local, HuffPost British Columbia, The Canadian Broadcasting Company,The Smithsonian Online, Tok Nok, Money News, TED Blog, Bustle, Care2, Mashable and Baltimore Out Loud; Hollaback New York City posted about their upcoming participation in Suzanne Lacy’s “Between the Door and the Street” project, a collaborative effort with Creative Time and the Brooklyn Museum to be held on October 19th.
Hollaback! was also featured in a Catapult video that was screened at the Clinton Global Initiative Meeting in NYC this week.
Here’s what the HOLLAs around the world have been up to:
Hollaback Edinburgh held a Day School on Intersectionality and Street Harassment. The school offered workshops on Rape Culture and Street Harassment, and Street Harassment and Intersectionality – with a host of special guests, including Glasgow-based Amina Muslim Women’s Resource Centre.
Hollaback Boston, with the help of Hollaback Ottawa, finalized their State of The Streets Report, profiling their organization and compiling data from their recent survey! They’ve also published a helpful and informational Take Back The Bar FAQ to their site in response to a large number of questions about their popular event.
Hollaback Alberta has reached over 372 respondents through their street harassment survey!
Job well done, party people!
HOLLA and out!
-The Hollaback! Team
I needed to walk two blocks away from my house to the gas station to get a drink. It was ten pm-ish on a friday night. I had been wearing an open back dress all day that showed a lot of skin. I figured since it was late i’d dress down a bit, to attract less attention to myself. jeans and a t-shirt.
I walked down the street and it all went downhill from there. one block away from my house a man crossed the street, walking towards me and aggressively yelled “where you fixin to go, ho1?” ( REALLY!? HOW IS THIS ANYWAY TO TALK TO SOMEBODY! HAS THAT EVER WORKED? SERIOUSLY. I AM SHOCKED.)I kept walking but turned around and yelled “excuse me?!” end of that. I walked another block and into the gas station. Behind me in line was a seemingly inebriated older man. I bought cigarettes. Then I realized, after I paid, that I needed a lighter. I bought a lighter and the man behind me started screaming at me in front of everyone about how I was going too slow. I was taking up time on purpose. And some comment about how I was a racist? which made absolutely no sense at all…I looked around because this stranger was yelling at me in front of 5 or 6 people. No one did anything. I just looked at the guy behind the counter and he kind of just shrugged at me. WHAT. I just start yelling back “this is the 2nd time in 5 minutes that i’ve been harassed by a man! (I think I also starting shaking my finger..it got weird) this is not ok. it’s not ok for you to do this.” I started crying a little so I left quickly.
As I was power-walking home I actually started crying. 1 block left. I can see my house. There are several men in the street. One stands in front of me on the sidewalk as I try to pass and say’s “can I talk to you for a second baby?” and i walk past him. I’m crying a lot at this point. I start walking up my front steps and a car stops at the stop sign right next to my house and a man yells at me from the car, “damn girl! nice legs!” I cry hysterically….I’m not crying because I’m scared or sad. I am so angry that this is “normal.” I get harassed everyday. It happens to everyone. And nobody is doing anything about it. I can’t even take a five minute walk without having four harassing encounters with men. This is not ok. This should not be normal. The worst part about this is that before I went on my journey to the store, I changed my clothes. I took off my dress and I put on something more “decent.” We live in a victim blaming, rape-culture and for that one moment, they even fooled me. They fooled me into changing my clothes and thinking that I could to something about it.
Stopped at a crosswalk on my bike. Man approached me and asked if I speak Spanish. I speak a little, but didn’t catch it all. He pulled a picture of a nearly naked woman out of his pocket and pointed at her crotch at which point I just shook my head. He then shook my hand, held on to me, and started talking about how beautiful I was. He had wedged his bike wheel on mine and I couldn’t move.