Guys yelled at me and the friend I was walking with as they drove by.
three different people shouted at me from cars, on three different occasions but around the same area.
Waiting to cross a busy street, this guy in a white pick up slows down and blocks traffic to leer and say “I’d like to do you a favor sometime.” He says something else and I tell him to “knock it off and move along.” The look on his face completely changes in a way that scares me. He continues to sit there. I say “goodbye” and he calls me a bitch before finally leaving.
I was followed around the downtown San Jose area by a large man wearing an oversized black hoodie, long black pants, black gloves, tennis shoes, and a gold Halloween mask that resembled the comedy mask on the symbol for theater. He followed me on a black bike, asking what my name was, where I lived, and if I eat cat food (I was wearing cat ears). He behaved erratically and may have been armed. Please keep an eye out for this individual.
A woman was walking west on King St. W., a major nightclub district in Toronto, on a Saturday night. She was walking west, about to cross Bathurst, when a man, walking east, approached her and said “Hi, my name is [his name which I didn’t catch],” then extended his hand to shake hers. Possibly out of habit, she shook his, but he held on and tried on some pick-up moves, and she, much like the cat in the Pepé Le Pew stories, struggled to release his grip as she obviously wanted to cross the street and get on with her night. I yelled out “Let her go! Let her go! Let her go! You don’t know her! Let her go!” and then, to anybody would would listen “Don’t ever do that!” Since someone was standing in between me and them, and to avoid collateral damage, I didn’t yell as loud as I could, which I later regretted.
After a few seconds, she managed to break free, and he went in a different direction. I “followed” him by staying a few meters ahead of him, looking back to see if he was still going the same way as me, and promising to myself I’d intervene if he tried to do it again, but also to see if I could be able to describe him later. (The best I could come up with when talking to a friend about it was “he wore a white sports jacket, and a black shirt.”)
I was a little tipsy from the two beers I had earlier in the night (so I wasn’t sure where my bravery was coming from), and all of a sudden, right after the encounter, I had a heightened fear response, so I crossed the street, something I also regret doing. Even so, I tried tracking him from across the street, but realized later that it might have been a similarly-dressed guy (who was walking a dog, and with what looked to be a woman friend of his). It feels silly that I feared for my physical safety when there were so many people around, and it also feels silly that the only tool I felt I had at the time was to yell at him. Ineffectively?
I’d love to be a more involved bystander than I was that night, and would love to know what to look for, to notice street harassment more. It pains me that I’m blind to it after reading the undeniable stories of it, and if I notice it more, I want to be able to do something about it.
I was calmly, quietly waiting my turn at the takeaway counter for Moe Sushi at Crossways Subiaco. There was a long queue, but I wasn’t in any hurry at all.
Suddenly, without warning, a well-dressed, well-groomed lady in her 60s/70s comes up behind me and grabs my shoulder painfully hard from behind, and it still hurting several hours later; I may need physiotherapy treatment; I may have bruises tomorrow.
She clearly felt it was ok to do this because I am a wheelchair user.
It is NEVER ok to grab anyone, wheelchair user or not, unless there is an immediate safety issue.
“I want to get your attention to ask you intrusive questions” is not an immediate safety issue.
A man on the train patted me on the head like a dog because I use a powerwheelchair. Nearby bystanders did/said nothing.
Fall is in full swing, and with the shift in seasons come some other changes here at HQ, so let’s get to it! Our three new interns have officially started this week, with Aiofe working on Heartmob Program, Talia on Development and Program and Suzy on Communications. We’re excited to see what they can contribute to our wonderful organization in the coming months!
We’ve also been making strides toward improving our online presence as well! HeartMob’s website has undergone some changes, including updates to the About and FAQ pages, a new feature that will display comments from other trusted HeartMob users, enhanced help and guides on best practices via the Support pages and the combining of Help Requests and My Cases into the My Harassment tab. These changes were made to provide convenience and support, and to improve overall usability. Hollaback!’s site is also receiving a well-deserved makeover, and photos from last week’s shoot are set to appear on the new website, which will likely launch in late October.
Our Co-Founder and Executive Director Emily May attended a Digital Momentum Training Conference last weekend, and learned some new tools to build social movements through our organization. The conference gave Emily a chance to connect and network with folks from other groups, which helped her understand how Hollaback! is both similar to and different from other organizations. The conference was super helpful, and we hope to attend more like it soon!
Here’s what is going on with our sites around the world:
Hollaback! Vancouver took a stand against Jan Huang, a “pickup artist” who visited the University of British Columbia on Wednesday, Sept. 14. Huang teaches students a three-day-long $1,500 dating boot camp on how to approach women. Hollaback! Vancouver’s team lead and UBC student Stacey Forrester was mentioned in British Columbia’s daily newspaper The Province, saying Huang’s pickup boot camp is “part of harassment culture.” Forrester and other students used social media to notify the university president that Huang was on campus, and repeatedly asked campus security to remove him from the premises. Thanks for taking a stand, Hollaback! Vancouver!
Hollaback! Ottawa was featured on The Ghomeshi Effect, a dance-theater company about sexual violence in Canada on Sunday, Sept. 18 for an event called Mean Tweets Live: The Ghomeshi Effect, which was previewed in an article in The Ottawa Citizen. The article explained that the event, which was inspired by late night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel’s Mean Tweets segment, entails attendees reading aloud mean tweets and using the opportunity to fight back against misogyny through humor and solidarity. All proceeds raised from the event benefitted Hollaback! Ottawa. Great job!
With the launch of Hollaback! Jakarta’s website came an entire article about the initiative published in The Jakarta Post on Tuesday, Sept. 20. The article explained Hollaback!’s global and local mission. Hollaback! Jakarta co-founder Angie said the website’s goal is “for Jakarta to end street harassment.” Identifying the website as a story-sharing platform, Angie said it helps raise awareness and build a connection with other organizations that share the same goal. We can’t wait to see what the future holds for Hollaback! Jakarta!
Great work everyone! That’s all for this week!
Holla and out!
–the Hollaback! Team
Two guys yelled at me from their car as they drove by. Like I needed to be reminded that I’m an object.
So I work as a nightlife photographer and I really feel that I have to get a few things off my chest! My job involves me taking pictures of people having a good time, but often on a night I will have to deal with a few assholes! You would think a girl could get used to this sort of thing or just take things as a joke, and I do some of the time, but when you are constantly being chatted up or kissed on the cheek or whatever, it does get rather soul destroying. All I want to do is my job and carry on so I can pay bills! I am there to take photos, not hand out my number! Fair enough people are drunk but it gets so tiring, I am a photographer and an artist and not a piece of meat! Every night, it’s a constant battle, as someone would grab me from behind or try to kiss me or ask my number or pinch my bum or tell me that I would look hotter with dark hair, or ask me what I’m doing after work or give me compliments that may seem all well and good but they just make me feel uncomfortable! this constant sort of harassment from the many drunk men of Newcastle just makes me feel like an empty vessel, or like an object; like I have no soul and I’m just there for the entertainment! Why can’t people just have a normal conversation? I don’t mind normal conversations, in fact, that is a much more welcome social interaction! There are few times I have had to literally push people away because they got a bit close! I’m only 5-foot-3 but I think I’m a lot tougher than I look, although I’m always terrified that something will be taken the wrong way if I lash out.