After opening with “hey, are you afraid of Black guys?” I should’ve seen it coming – the man kept talking to me even after clear signals that I wasn’t interested. He opted to follow me across the Hopscotch bridge instead of going up North Capitol like which is where he said he was headed. He kept saying “C’mon” as though I was following him. Finally I turned to him and said, “look, I’m tired and I don’t want to talk to you. I’ve had a long day at work and I’m angry that you don’t understand that I don’t want to talk to you. Leave me alone.” Maybe the twinge of hysteria in my voice is what made him give up and finally leave. I was so shaky that I called a friend in my way across the bridge.
I was crossing the street to my dorm building after an exam when some guys (most likely students) started yelling “huevos” at me and whistling at me like for a dog when I didn’t respond. I asked “Didn’t your mother teach you better?”, they asked “what?” then the light changed. By then I was across and they started hollering as they drove away.
While I was walking up the street, men got really close to my face and told me I was “seriously beautiful” and I “look like a model”. I ignored them but they continued comments until I was out of earshot.
Two men approached me from across the street while I was walking. They followed me for half a block, commenting on my looks, and asking if I was married or had a boyfriend. I ignored them and they stopped as soon as I was near other pedestrians.
This week was another great week at the office. We were busy launching our brand new curriculum, HOLLA 101 .This new ant-street harassment curriculum not only features our vlog series, Love and Revolution, but also 19 great lesson plans, role-play activities, videos, stories from our site, discussion ideas and more! We’re so excited for our educator friends to start teaching young folks about this important issue.
Debjani, Emily and Jae were all getting ready for their trip to Bellagio, Italy, where they will be organizing the first ever international convening on street harassment!
And at Hollaback! sites around the world:
Hollaback! Bmore co director, Brittany Oliver, was featured in an interview for Huffington Post Originals. They will also be partnering with Younger Women’s task Force: Baltimore, The Family Arts Museum, Force: Upsetting Rape Culture, FreeState Legal and Equality Maryland, and the University of Baltimore to host Storytelling as Resistance this Wednesday!
Hollaback! Vancouver site leader, Stacey Forrester, was mentioned in The Georgia Straight as one of their “6 Noteworthy Feminists Battling Gender Bias in Vancouver.”
That’s all for this week! Stay tuned for more next week!
With Love and Revolution
As someone who has been taking public transport / works as a cashier, and is in public a lot, I’ve dealt with cat calling and being bothered by strangers for awhile now. I get the usual honking, unsolicited compliments, long-winded conversations, begging for a phone number, and occasionally an ask for sexual favors. Yesterday though it reached a level I really didn’t expect and I’m still in shock over it.
I was sitting on the bus and there was a man who had been drinking (he was acting drunk and had a bottle of beer in hand), sitting across from me. There were three other people nearby me. I ignored him but as he continued to get louder and talked to other people on the bus, I snapped a few pictures of him (I think as a precaution, although I was likely just going to delete them later). At one point he tried to talk to me and he said, “Go to Hollywood and become a movie star.” Eventually, one of my ex friends boarded the bus (we’ll call him Josh), and Josh came and sat across from me. Although we are ex friends, Josh and I are still friendly and on talking terms. So I tapped Josh’s leg with my foot and whispered for him to sit next to me, although I thought I was being kind of silly/paranoid at the time. He obliged and sat next to me.
At one point this drunk person turned to me and said “you’re sexy”. I gave him polite eye contact but said nothing, and then looked away. He stood up and moved to another part of the bus. I made small talk with Josh, starting to feel a little safer, before this man came back. He approached me directly, wrapped his arms around my neck/shoulders, and kissed the top of my head. He then let go and looked to Josh as if non-verbally proving his masculinity to him (or from what Josh told me, I didn’t see this happen myself because my face was in the drunk guy’s chest).
He moved to a different part of the bus again and Josh put an arm around me trying to comfort me, and told me that if the guy approaches again he’ll do something. I was mostly in shock and couldn’t speak. Nobody on the bus did anything. The drunk guy eventually got off the bus and the story pretty much ends here.
I’m still in shock as this happened last night and I don’t know what a proper response or reaction to this is. I don’t even know if this counts as harassment or what. But there you go. I think because of this and many other instances women just can’t feel safe in public. While I do have his picture I am not sure if I will be sharing it for privacy’s sake. But I guess my initial paranoia wasn’t unreasonable.
Estaba caminando de regreso de la universidad a mi casa cuando un grupo de chicos que caminaban en dirección contraria a la mia comenzaron a silvarme y hacer comentarios sexuales de mi apariencia desde algunos metros antes de que nos cruzaramos. Cuando nos cruzamos, añadieron sonidos como gemidos que me hicieron sentie demasiado incómoda y hasta asustada, ya que yo era la única en la avenida.
I experience incidents everyday during my commute to the city. Some are “smaller” incidents like a man breathing in my face or holding his phone in an unusual position to photograph me and some are more serious incidents like being touched inappropriately. A few years ago, I experienced one of the more serious incidents. I was sitting on the train and reading something and didn’t notice that a man was standing in front of me. After I looked up from what I was reading, I noticed that his pants were unzipped and he was flashing me. I was shocked; I had never experienced anything like that and I thought I must have been mistaken. But when I looked again, I saw that I wasn’t wrong. At that point, the other people sitting next to me, including a middle aged man and a young woman, got up from their seats and began to move away. I wasn’t just shocked that I was being harassed, I was shocked that no one thought to help. Not one person who got up thought to tell me that someone was harassing me and not one of them tried to help. When I noticed that everyone had stood up, I stood up too and moved away. But he followed and I was too shocked to move to a different car. I still remember what he looks like and what he was wearing.
My husband and I went to Istanbul for a one year anniversary trip. We rode the tram everywhere, which was mostly great, but one day it was especially crowded. I clung tightly to my husband (he’s very tall, no way you can miss him). I felt something on my leg and thought it was the guy next to me’s hand, so I shifted. Then I felt it in between my butt cheeks and realized he had a boner and was pressing his bulge into my butt. I have actually experienced this before, it’s called Frotteurism, but I couldn’t believe it was happening again. I told my husband what was going on, but he thought I was just complaining about it being crowded. So I shifted and jabbed my elbow into his sternum and started talking loudly about what a frotteur is and how disgusting it is. But my husband just got embarrassed that I was making a scene. We got off the train and had a huge fight, but once he realized what had actually happened, my husband felt incredibly ashamed that he didn’t believe me and that he did nothing. We’re working through it but it feels like 2 kinds of trauma at the same time.
This week at the office was filled with community outreach and workshops.
Emily was out of the office this week doing some amazing work with Intel. Intel asked Emily to represent our new initiative to combat online harassment, HeartMob, at their Hack Harassment conference in Santa Clara. She was joined by other leaders in the tech industry who want to hack online harassment.
Debjani visited Fieldston School in the Bronx to conduct workshops on street harassment. Debjani was also featured in the New York Times article discussing the increased efforts to reduce harassment on the subway. Hollaback! will be providing guidance to the transit workers who are working on this issue.
And at Hollaback! sites around the world:
Hollaback! Vancouver is holding a story sharing contest in preparation for International Anti-Street Harassment Week and to encourage app usage. Download the free Hollaback! app by March 18th and let them know on their Facebook page, by commenting on their contest post, or messaging them. They will pull three winners at random for some great surprise prizes.
Hollaback! Baltimore held their monthly coffee chat at Teavolve Cafe & Lounge to discuss plans for the upcoming year, new positions available, and future events and speakers.
Hollaback! Vegas took part in a day of workshops and activities focused on healthy teen relationships. The Teen Summit was presented by First A.M.E Church and Safe Nest.
That’s all for this week! Stay tuned for more amazing stuff next week!
Holla and out!