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I was walking across the street and I heard someone yelling from a car up ahead. A man in the passenger street very hatefully screamed suck my dick and then they sped off honking at slow cars at the intersection ahead. At first I though someone had cut them off they were yelling so hatefully but I realized it was me when there was no one else around. I feel humiliated and dirty. I’ve had men say gross things or just call at me, but never like that. How can someone think it is funny, yelling at an innocent young woman just walking to the store? I don’t understand it.
So, I have been thinking about this thing for a while, and I actually didn’t realize how big of an issue it had been with me until I took some time off thinking about it.
There has been this one time, among many others to be honest, which has really tampered with my confidence of walking around at night.
It was during spring, I was going back home with a friend (also a girl) after a couple of drinks out, but was not wearing anything particularly showy and it wasn’t really late either. The area we were walking in was kind of famous for being a quite safe area to walk around, so we didn’t think much of having to walk back.
As we are chatting I noticed this guy on a bike riding past us and openly staring at me and my friend. Now as it is quite common to get stared at in Japan, I didn’t make much of it. After another ten minutes the same guy passes again, but then again, I was a little bit on the tipsy side I guess, and generally being quite self-confident I don;t mind these kind of things very much.
But when after another couple of minutes the same guy comes back from behind me on the pavement and gropes me real hard before rushing away I was left in shock for a while.
I had never experience harassment in a physical way, and was was taken aback by what had just happened. I felt like crying and screamed back at the guy who had already ran away. My friend had not witnessed any of it until my scream. She asked me whether I wanted to stop in one of those 24/7 convenience stores, but I just said I wanted to go home.
After this incident, it came quite easily to joke about it. Everyone was just saying it must have been my “popularity” or stuff like that, and I was playing along.
Until I realized that because of this experience, and some others I had later in the future, I feel very defensive walking in an area with people I don’t know, and in particular I feel defensive of men in general.
I don’t understand why we should be made to feel in this way and also why it seems to be a matter of course to take these things lightly. I want to feel safe when walking around by myself, without anyone creeping up on me from behind touching as they please.
This is just one of the many times a guy has felt he could make a disgusting comment or “invitation” to me, but it’s the one that shook me up most. Walking home in broad daylight a guy in his mid-late 20’s pulled up in his car and said “Excuse me?” Thinking he was lost I stepped toward the car but took a few steps back (just in case).
The man proceeded to say “You look like a friend of mine. Let me give you a ride?” Was he serious? I looked like someone, so I would jump in his car?? Politely and firmly declining I started walking away.
He then yelled “WOULD BANG THAT” and when I didn’t reply he yelled “FRIGID BITCH” and slowly drove away after I ducked down a residential side street. Was holding my breath as every guy on his own in a similar car drove past until I made my way home.
Last week I was coming from work at 8 pm and I walked trough the park in the center of my city. It’s almost summer so it was full of people, yet this guy (I think he was my age) told me it was “dangerous for a beautiful girl like me to be alone.” I just kept walking so he would leave me alone, but he followed me for five blocks asking me for my number, wanting to know if I was single, if the food I was carrying was enough for him too and offering himself to be my bodyguard.
I told him that I was not interested, yet he insisted and I told him to leave me alone, he said “don’t be so rude, I just wanted to get to know you” Then I started crying until I finally got to a store that was open and he just went away.
So after this traumatic experience when all I could think while it was happening was “he’s going to rape me or murder me”, I went to Facebook the next day because I needed to talk about it and maybe get some support. I wrote “So yesterday this guy followed me for five blocks after work, why some people can’t accept ‘no’ for an answer? I never had been so scared in my life” and I received answers (all from girls) like “I feel so lucky that I’m not attractive”, “you’re a heartbreaker” “you should have gave him a wrong number and problem solved” and when I responded and said I felt threathened, some “friend” told me I was exaggerating, it wasn’t that big of a deal.
It was a big deal for me, even tho I (like pretty much every female) have been dealing with this since I was 11. I have social anxiety and this is the kind of thing that I just can’t face and I would really like to end forever.
I was walking back to my car down the fairly busy street I live off of, and I was the only person on the side walk. I passed a local Auto College and there were some boys standing on the second level of the dorms. They were all in the dickies uniforms, all had about the same hair cut and one of them yelled down to me: “Hey Gurl, Lemme lick dat butt hole.”
Ladies we don’t do anything to ignite this behavior, it’s a sick way weak guys manipulate a situation to make us feel uncomfortable so they can feel more dominant. On this day I was wearing an oversized flannel on top of my hoodie with black jeans and combat boots.
I didn’t think to take a picture but I did a drawing of the situation.
A man in my street about 50 years of age with a wife and 2 kids has masturbated in his bedroom window to me on my way home from school, he’s walked out on the street and done the same on the footpath.
He still tries to talk to me when I walk by.
In the past week Hollaback! was featured by New York Observer, Stop Street Harassment, Impower You, Vitamin W, She Finds, Huffington Post, Jezebel, Yahoo, Daily Collegian, PR Daily, NewsFix, CTV Primetime, The Loop, AOL online, Total Beauty, Feminist Wednesday and The Prospect, who wrote a great piece on the normalization, embarrassment, confusion and reporting complications of public harassment.
Hollaback! started a petition requesting Burt’s Bees change its crudely written labeling. The change.org petition reached 2,000 signatures in only a few days and became a story noted across the blogosphere. We won! Burt’s Bees and Gud eventually offered a sincere apology for their offensive marketing and agreed to no longer put such offensive language on future products. Check out the storify here!
Here’s what the HOLLAs around the world have been up to:
Hollaback! Boston hosted their last Take Back The Bar event of the year and had a great turnout. They facilitated a workshop at the New England Women’s Center Conference about how story sharing contributes to the creation of safer spaces. They’re also hosting workshops at two colleges this week: Emerson College last night (Emerson also hosted a HB-themed photoshoot this weekend) and at Tufts University.
Hollaback! Appalachian Ohio delivered four lessons to the 8th graders at Vinton Middle School in McArthur Ohio. HB!AO was featured on Athens Community Television. Devin and Sarah were invited onto an interview show where they spoke on the Sexual Assault Prevention Program, Hollaback Appalachian Ohio!, the 4 D’s of self defense and Athens Rock Camp for Girls. It’s an hour long, and in two segments, the interview is available on YouTube, as well as being aired EVERY DAY for two weeks starting on Nov 30!
Hollaback Belfast was featured in The Tab and represented at the Outburst Arts Queer Arts Festival. On Sunday, Helen Mcbride of HB!B spoke on a panel discussion about activism following a showing of the movie Lesbiana. As a part of the festival, the team also published a zine!
Hollaback! Bosnia & Herzegovina also had an amazing win this week with the first case of street harassment properly reported to police and processed in a court room! A huge step for Sarajevo city!
Congratulations, everyone! Great Work!
HOLLA and out!
-The Hollaback! Team
I was walking through student housing neighborhoods on my way home to my apartment. I was with another female friend and we passed a house at the same moment that five males came out the front door. We were talking and only glanced at the noise, but one of them shouted “Hey sluts!!” to us.
I instinctively turned around to say something but realized a reaction is what they were seeking. So I turned back around and we kept walking. They continued to shout things at us: rude, insulting comments.
I do not care if they were sober or highly intoxicated – it is not an excuse. Who do these people think they are? How could someone possibly think they have the right to speak to a stranger in such an offensive way? The worst part is that that one word will stick with me forever. I am sure they have forgotten about it and will never think about it again. But I will not forget. How it felt to be talked to in such a way. They don’t know me. How dare someone speak to another human being that way. It infuriates me that we live in a world like this.
I am so angry at these monsters that think they can treat women this way. And what’s unbearable is that their goal of seeking control is sometimes, it works. Every time this happens to me, I plan a new route, or avoid going out late at night. When I do this, they have gained control over public space by removing my comfort and feelings of safety in that area. How do I stand up against this while still being safe? I am so incredibly frustrated.
Walking back from the fast station, I refused to give six individuals a cigarette so the group decided to follow me all the way home, all the while being screamed at and threatened. It was horrifying.
I was walking to work from my garage when a car pulled over and the driver, a middle-aged man, rolled down his window to catcall at me. This is soooo not the first time this has happened, even in the last week. But I lost my temper today and I stopped to say bewilderingly “does that work for you?!”
The guy got angry and defensive, shouting about how I wouldn’t pay attention to him otherwise, and I shouted that it was rude and I didn’t want to talk to him, so don’t talk to me. He rolled up his window at that point and drove away, and I continued into work.
It sure would be nice to be able to go a week of the one-block-walk from my garage to my office without this happening.