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I work in a supermarket, and this morning a decent sized group of builders from another city came in. You could hear them halfway across the store being loud. I was the only person down my aisle, and no managers were close enough to see what was happening. They walked by the end of the aisle and I heard one yell ‘ey let’s go down this one!! she’s fit!!!!’ – they all started cheering and came down, then said hey to me and they all started laughing about how I wouldn’t even smile at him.
I so wish I could’ve retaliated, shown him how what he’s doing sucks, but being an employee it’s my job to be nice to customers, and being a new starter I didn’t want to risk getting into trouble for it, so I had to just walk away.
I’ve had a lot of anxiety issues the past two years and although I know I could handle any situation and not be in harm, I was still shaky afterwards because it truly sickens me to know some people still behave in such a misogynistic, desperate way.
I walk from Saint Nicholas Avenue on 149th street in Harlem toward Broadway almost everyday for work. One beautiful summer day, I began that walk to catch the 1 train in order to get to an audition downtown by 1:30.
I’ve always been able to trust that walk. Tune out and focus.
When I crossed Amsterdam, a man, about 5’3/ late 20’s, caught my attention.
Since I work in the area, I know the majority of people who live on that block. There’s always at least four people I get to say hello to on that block.
As I walked past this man sitting on the white bench next to the very first stoop, I hear, “Wow! Look at this thing not wearing earbuds! Today must be my lucky day.” This line brought me crashing back to reality and I suddenly realized I wasn’t paying attention to my surroundings. I wasn’t doing what I had done every day since I moved to New York City. And I was so angry with myself.
As I quickened my pace, he stood up and began to follow me. He asked me where I was going and why I was walking so fast.
I told him that I had somewhere I needed to be and if he could just leave me alone.
His response was, “What? I’m not doing anything. Just walking with you.”
He began to walk very close to me. To the point where he was walking behind me but leaning into my left arm to talk to me.
I continued to ask him to leave me alone, but he persisted.
I could feel myself shutting down. This had never happened to me and I wasn’t able to find the strength or knowledge to get away.
He then told me that he had a friend in the Bronx that could “hook me up” and I could “make a lot of money.”
I couldn’t even respond. I remember a man passing us and looking at me with that “that doesn’t look right” look on his face but said nothing.
My plan was to make it to the coffee shop and ask for help.
Thankfully, a woman I know from the neighborhood was walking her dogs and said hello to me. When I couldn’t respond, I began to cry and she was able to get me away from the man and told him to get lost. He then walked a little farther down the block, sat on a stoop, and watched us. When she threatened to call the cops, was when he finally left. By then, I was sobbing and couldn’t thank her enough.
I haven’t walked down that street since.
The team is back at Hollaback! HQ with our full staff reunited! We had an exciting first week of 2016–our Deputy Director Debjani Roy was interviewed on local NYC television not once but two times! Check out her interviews here, and here. Also, some big news: NY State Bill A4310A, which requires data on sexual assault and harassment on the MTA to be published publicly, has passed! We have been advocating for this bill since 2010, and it’s so excited to see it finally happen.
And at our Hollaback! sites around the world:
Hollaback! Berlin has been responding to the recent incidents of assault in Cologne.
Holla and out!
Six years ago in 2010, our executive director Emily May sat down with Assemblymember Jim Brennan and asked, “what could New York State do to reduce harassment?” They were both determined that increasing criminalization wasn’t the answer, and the two batted around ideas for over an hour.
One of the problems that concerned them both was how reports of sexual violence on the subway were swept under the rug. The data was difficult to find, and riders were kept in the dark about which trains were safest. This not only silenced survivors — it put riders at further risk, as they didn’t have the information they need to advocate for safer subways.
Assemblymember Brennan put together a bill that would require the NYPD to submit a report to the City Council annually that detailed subway crimes including, “aggravated sexual abuse,” “sexual misconduct,” “rape,” use of abusive or obscene language or gestures,” and “following,” among other felonies.
Bill A4310A was consistently shot down by Mayor Bloomberg’s team despite widespread support from New Yorkers for Safe Transit, a coalition of community based organizations. This year, it gained traction. Assemblymember Brennan worked with Senator Golden to push the bill. And we are proud to announce that six years after that first meeting…
Now, data on location of criminal activity, including sexual harassment, will be updated quarterly online. It’s a small step, but an important one as we work together for fight for our right to commute safely and without fear of harassment or assault. We’ll update you on how to access the data once it’s published.
We are grateful to Assemblymember Brennan, Senator Golden, and the community groups that fought alongside us to make this bill a reality. It is our hope that together, we can use this data to advocate for increased public educational campaigns like PSAs in the subways, workshops in schools, community safety audits, and training for the police.
I was walking back to the parked car with another friend early evening last week, when we saw a group of three college-aged guys drunkenly stumbling along the other side of the street. One of them starts yelling at me, “Why don’t you come over and suck my dick? Ching chong chung chong.” I flipped them off and kept on walking. Charleston is normally a laid back place, just did not expect something like this to happen here.
A few years ago me and a friend were walking to another friends house at 3 in the morning. A car honked as it passed us, and not being one to take that, I flipped them off. They stopped their car, turned around, rolled down the window and pulled out what looked like a real gun. They started shooting at us what turned out to be paintballs, and hit my friend a few times which left huge bruises all over her back and butt. I understand that the ridiculousness makes this situation objectively hilarious, but it was also legitimately terrifying.
It’s every day. ‘That’s so gay!’ ‘You look gay’. It’s everywhere. And what does it mean? Stupid, different, anything negative. We need to put an end to daily homophobia.
I went to the movies by myself, for the first time. There was an older man sitting next to me (looked well-dressed, polished). He looked at me quite a few times, must have noticed I was alone. Five minutes into the movie he started stretching his left leg towards my side so that it slightly touched my leg. I moved my legs so that it wouldn’t touch anymore but he kept invading my space. He then crossed his legs and started moving his hand on the hand rest towards my side so that the sides of our hands were touching. The whole ordeal went on for about 15 minutes, him probably thinking that I wouldn’t notice small touches. Luckily a group who was sitting in the same row as me left the move 20 minutes in for some reason. I promptly changed my seat and went across the aisle. The man left the hall shortly after.
Although there wasn’t any groping involved, the whole situation was scary; I would have left the hall if not for the seats around me emptying up. Just the fact that someone thinks its okay to touch someone else without consent and be complacent in the belief that the girl would not create a scene or not notice small advances is deeply unsettling. I will remember to take a corner seat and buy the seat next to me the next time I go to the movies. It is troubling how certain it is for a woman to be made to feel unsafe in a public space, every single time she steps out.
I was walking home from the park and out of nowhere some guy on a bike slapped my rear-end really hard. Without a word, he kept on riding. I was so surprised, by the time I’d even registered what happened, he was too far away for me to do anything.
I just turned 18 a few months ago but I look really young because of I’m a petite with short hair. So I was shopping with my family. And I was just roaming around this grocery store which was very crowded till these two guys of about 40 years kept following me in the store. Being followed by creepy guys is something I’ve gotten used to but they hardly ever comment on you. Until I was standing and just looking at some canes, that you walk with, and this far old dickhead came up to me like real close, like super close and said with a smirk, ‘ don’t hit me with those’
I felt extremely violated that first he was standing super close to me and then what he said to me. And I was so extremely grosses out and wanted to throw up. I made a real nasty face like I had seen the ugliest shit ever and in a shocked tone I said what the fuckkk and quickly walked away. I walked away to where my dad and mom were standing. And told them I wanted to go home now and we left soon afterwards. I was honestly so disgusted by what had happened. What a fucking pedophile and suitcase! I could’ve easily been the same age as his daughter.