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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.
I was walking home at around 8pm at night when a man in a van slowed down next to me and whistled out his window, asking me if I wanted ‘to go for a ride’
I was standing at a crossing waiting to cross the road when a guy turned around and said “Nice!” to me, and then took a photo of me on his phone and walked off.
A guy singing lady in red at me loudly.
A few months ago I was followed and harassed by a man on the street. He verbally harassed me and did some very displeasing noises while he walked nearby. This went on for a few blocks and I kept telling him to stop, but he wouldn’t. The street was relatively lonely and I felt nervous and very angry. Some people on the street saw what was happening but did nothing; if anything, they looked away. When I finally got to a main road, I saw a policeman and decided to report what was happening. The policeman looked very confused and asked the man what was happening, to which he responded that he was just giving me a compliment. I told him that I had asked him to stop several times and that sexual harassment was a crime. The policeman kept doing nothing; he just asked for the man’s ID. I was feeling really angry and impotent, so I caught a bus to go home. When I looked outside the bus window, I saw the policeman letting my harasser go. I felt even worst than before, I was frustrated and a part of me felt that what I had done was wrong.
When I told my friends about wat happened they tried to be comprehensive but some of them made me feel like I had overreacted. They made me feel guilty and exaggerated.
A few days later I was walking on the same street (It was very near to my workplace), and I ran into the same man. He recognized me and started calling me names and saying “report me again bitch”. He insulted me from a distance and shouted really demeaning and hurtful things at me, such as “I will fuck you, whore”. I tried to defend myself but got really scared that he would hurt me physically, so I tried to walk away fast. Two men were going by while this happened and didn’t to anything, they just stood by and looked down, although this man was clearly threatening me. I told them that they could have done something to help me and they just ignored me. After this happened I felt really helpless, depressed, nervous, angry and scared. I cried all my way home, thinking that I should never have reported this man; If I had walked by and ignored him nothing would have happened. I knew, rationally, that I hadn´t done anything wrong, but I felt so guilty and foolish. For the next few days I felt terrified to walk to work and run into the man again. Still, sometimes when I walk through this area I try to make myself unnoticed and I feel really nervous. I know that I did the right thing, but I was silenced and now I look dow when I walk near there. And this makes me so angry. Public harassment is real, it happens almost daily, it is hurtful, and it needs to stop.
I was walking in the parking lot of my boxing gym (which I started going to partially because I want to be able to protect myself) after a workout. As I was crossing the lot to my car another car drove by and I heard someone yell out the window “heyyyyy Babyyyy.” I have called men out for catcalling many times in the past and this time would have been no different. As I turned to say something, I saw that the person calling out to me was a preteen boy yelling out of the back window of his parents minivan. I was so shocked that they start them that young, I couldn’t even form the words. I can only hope that his parent disciplined him or at least explained to him that what he did was wrong and why. I took to social media to vent about what had happened, and while most people were equally appalled some people thought that it was “cute” that a little kid did it. I can see how that might be cute, kind of like when a little kid curses, but its just a sign of how much this is a societal problem. Kids start catcalling at a young age because they see other people do it and don’t see how it can be damaging to others and nobody explains it because “its cute” and then they grow up and do it as adults, and that is definitely not “cute.”
I got harassed twice this morning, walking to my new favorite local coffee shop before catching the bus to work. I was not even dressed or acting sexually provocatively. Given I am a transgender woman, I personally feel I get a different type of street harassment.
Today, as I was approaching an intersection, a car stopped. He had his window rolled down and just waited for me to approach. He wasn’t on his phone (as in responding to a text message) or anything and there wasn’t any cars around. He started flirting with me and asking how I was doing. Thankfully, a car came up and he had to proceed. I didn’t say anything, as I usually do.
The second incident happened after the coffee shop visit. I was waiting at another intersection, an intersection with a traffic light, and this guy slows down with his window rolled down, and started to whistle at me and said, “I’d like to f— your tranny ass.”
While I am going to accept that I am very bothered by what happened, I am not going to let it stop me from being who I am or walking in my own neighborhood. I am not going to let them win. I am a strong woman.