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I was at the mall, browsing for Christmas gifts and killing time before meeting a friend for lunch. In Goldsboro, the mall is pretty deserted during the weekday. I was walking, texting my husband, minding my own business, and it shouldn’t matter, but I was wearing a jacket and a crew neck t-shirt, and looseish jeans, when I heard…
“Mmmmmmmmmmmmm-MMM”. I realized that the sound came from a group of three males walking in the other direction. At first I felt vaguely gratified, because I’ve been trying to lose weight. Then I felt dirty, horrible, and ashamed, because I realized that it sounded like he was looking at a plate of brownies or a steak.
I turned around, and realized all three were walking backwards to keep their gaze on my backside. It would have been comical if I wasn’t so offended by having treated like a side of bacon.
I saw red, and informed this group of men that I was a person, not a slab of meat, and the next time they wanted to treat a woman that way, they should keep their goddamn mouths shut. They started laughing, and then one said, “Fucking cracker cunts” and walked off.
I have never felt so angered and humiliated in my life.
I was sitting in the lobby of the hospital, waiting for my job required screening. There was one other person in the room with me. A middle aged man sat across from me. We had not engaged in eye contact or conversation. I looked up from my phone to see him pointing the camera of HIS phone directly at me. I stared at him in defiance hoping the fact that I caught him red handed would deter him from actually taking my picture. Unmoved in the slightest, I heard the shutter sound. I was in shock. He proceeded to pretend to take photos of the chairs directly to my right, fiddling with them as he took them. I stealthily took a picture of HIM and posted this exchange on my Facebook wall. I remained silent and waited till I was called by the doctor to call this man on his violation. As I passed him I spoke quietly, “I truly hope, that I am NOT in ANY of those pictures you were taking earlier.”
He replied, “Oh no you are not”
I emphasized my displeasure, “I better not be.” And followed the doctor back. I alerted the nurse who attended me of the incident.
The man was called back shortly after I was called. This is his picture.
I was 12 years old when I was sexually harassed for the first time. It was at a public event. I was seated in an auditorium and couldn’t get away. The incident involved verbal comments and touching. The harasser ignored my requests to stop. When I spoke up about what happened I was reminded that I was thin, had blonde hair and blue eyes so I should probably get used to it as “boys will be boys”.
These sorts of incidents have played out time and time again throughout my life. These days I wear a few extra pounds that I have come to realize are for self-protection. I’ve learned that if I dare to lose a few pounds and dress nicely, the harassment will begin again.
I also understand why men feel under attack by this campaign. I don’t believe most men engage in this sort of behavior. At the same time we need men on our side to help send the message that this sort of behavior is not funny or harmless and is certainly not “a compliment”.
On Saturday night, I went to a beautiful concert downtown Seattle with six of my closest friends. The gorgeous venue and music made me feel alive and free and full. On our way back to the car a couple of blocks away, we were verbally harassed by a car full of men catcalling to us out the window, talking about our body parts, etc. This went on for an entire block. The evening had been so perfect. I was pissed that even a small portion of the evening with my dear friends was ruined by being forced to endure a verbal sexual assault at the end of our night.
I work behind a bar so take your pick! Last night a couple of lads shouting ‘stop staring at her arse’ to each other so I could hear as I was taking lights down from the ceiling….then the obligatory ‘bye gorgeous’ and sleazy wink as they left…. An older man at the bar holding onto my hand for what felt like forever while repeatedly telling me how beautiful I am and that it’s nice ‘to have something to look at’ for a change….
I was walking to the cinema at around 8pm when I passed a group of 6-8 young men that were bouncing a basketball. They started staring at me and yelling “hey, you” “hey, girl” so I told them to fuck off. They then threw a basketball at me, which hit the wall behind me and started telling me to get over there and fuck them. When they started walking closer I yelled “I have pepper spray and I will spray all of you” to which they replied by calling me a “spicy mama” and then rambling in spanish.
Happy Friday Hollaback-ers!
What we’ve been up to this week…
Deputy Director Debjani Roy did a key note and guest lecture in a women’s studies class at Kalamazoo College. Executive Director Emily May attended an online harassment conference organized by the MIT media lab. Press coverage continues to pour in with notable hits on the New York Times Blog and Good 4 Utah.
Hollaback! Appalachian Ohio led 1.5 hour workshops on consent, deconstructing rape culture, and bystander intervention for three Cultural Diversity in Education classes at Ohio University.
This article in the student paper titled “Ahead of Union Street fire, bars sought to tackle assault” discussed Appalachian Ohio’s Safer Spaces Campaign. It also mentioned a large fire that devastated their town this past weekend.
If you haven’t already, check out Baltimore Co-Director Mel Keller’s reflections on the Facing Race conference.
As always, thank you for your continued dedicated hard work, especially at spreading the word on the survey.
Great job this week team!
HOLLA and out!
– The Hollaback! Staff
Was cycling on the road in Glasgow and a car full of four men went by me too fast and too close while they all hollered at me from the car. The one in the front passenger seat was leaning right out the window and whooping at me.
In my country, verbal harassment is, unfortunately, very common. For me, it started when I was 11 or 12. At that age, I was terrified of walking in front of construction works, because I knew that the cat-calls, the whistling and the shouts wouldn’t stop. I felt like an object every time someone call me like that, and now, as the 16 years old I am, it has only became worse. I was walking to buy some chips and a soda, in a not-at-all revealing outfit (like, jeans and a sweater) and in that really short walk, 5 men stared at my ass, some even try to talk to me, asking me if I was single or something like that. Some of them could have been my grandparents! I mean, they don’t have sisters, wife or daughters? They would like that some creepy man would shout something about her boobs or ass, like it was the weather? It’s so unfair that we had to change clothes twice or thrice times, not because we want to look better or something like that, but because we know that if we wear shorts or a tank top, some perv would take that as an invitation to shout how “good they would feel in bed” or “better you would look naked”. How I wish I have made up those lines, but they are true. My friends, cousins, mother, aunts, sister and every woman I know has experienced that and we’re tired of all these. Government, authorities and media can’t talk about equality until this stops. It’s not like we’re asking for impossible. It’s not like harassment is a right that man have to feel manlier. Machismo starts at winking, and it can end in worse things.
It was last year my senior year in high school. My small class had went to attend Grad Bash at Universal and Island of adventures. The park is open to only seniors until 1 in the morning. It had been a long night and hundreds of seniors were standing to be let out (we had to go in and come out certain parts of the parks.) I was wearing loose shorts and a guy behind me ran his hand up the back of my thigh, into my shorts, and grabbed my ass. I quickly turned around not being able to tell who did it with the group of guys laughing probably with who ever put his hand in my shorts.