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A few months ago, I went out to a Friday night dinner with my husband of 23 years at Rocco’s Tacos on Clematis Street in West Palm Beach, Florida. I wore a new dress and was feeling proud of myself, especially after having worked very hard to lose more then 50 pounds to get back to a healthy weight. After dinner, while my husband visited the restroom and before we walked back to our car for the drive home, rather than wait inside I told him I’d be out front since it was a beautiful evening.
As I strolled a few paces away from those dining on the sidewalk, two men who appeared to be in their twenties were approaching, laughing. I slightly backed up and angled my body to avoid brushing against them or others as they passed, and one of them said something that sounded like ‘Tasty!’ while his knuckles brushed the front of my crotch. He didn’t stop moving but it felt like *very* deliberate contact. I immediately turned after him saying ‘What the fuck?!’ but both of them immediately took off running — and laughing.
My husband arrived a minute after that. I told him I thought I’d just been groped and he really wanted to go after them. I convinced him they were long gone so there wouldn’t be any point. Now I wish I’d let him try, although I still think it wouldn’t have led to finding them in the crowds that were on Clematis that night. I feel violated by a couple of punks who obviously think humiliating and denigrating women at random is a fun game. When I think of putting on that new dress for a second time, I just can’t. I’ll probably end up donating it even though I spent a lot of money on it.
At the Mothership, DD Debjani Roy delivered a training to 100 folks as part of the Network for Healthy Teen Relationships conference, ‘From Bystander to Upstander’.
Here’s what HOLLAs around the world have been up to:
Hollaback! Appalachian Ohio completed training with local restaurant O’Betty’s Red Hot!, which makes them their third Safer Space! They also gave four 45 minute lessons to 28 8th graders at Vinton Middle School.
Hollaback! Baltimore is hosting an event TONIGHT where they’ll be reading stories from their website, handing out info to those interested, and making their presence known with a projection – thanks to Luminous Intervention. Local business SugarBaltimore has also signed on to their Safer Spaces campaign!
Hollaback! Boston hosted the FIRST EVER tweet chat on bike street harassment, featuring awesome local panelists in honor of Bay State Bike Week! Here’s a Storify for you so that you can catch up on the awesome discussion that resulted. They have also officially announced that they are part of Mayor Marty Walsh’s Late Night Task Force, to bring the perspective of “examin[ing] the public safety requirements of expanded late night hours. Awesome!
Hollaback! Edinburgh was at the first ever Dyke March on the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT) to celebrate lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans women in Scotland.
Hollaback! Ottawa was on the morning television show Rogers Daytime Ottawa and co-hosted an important discussion on the role of men and boys in ending violence against women at Crime Prevention Ottawa. Also, here’s a summary of their weekend at Ottawa ComicCon and check out their awesome photos as well! Today, they’ll be participating in Mental Health Day at a local high school by tabling and handing out info.
There you have it, folks! Til next week-
HOLLA and out!
- The Hollaback! Team
A 30 year old who worked at a barber shop who I had just met pressured me into kissing him. I was 16 when it happened.
I was shopping for stationary in WHSmith and a male approached near to where I was. The magazine rack was just behind. He picked up a copy of Zoo magazine and browsed through the entire magazine stopping to focus on the topless women from time to time before placing the magazine back on the shelf and leaving the shop. He was only interested in the porn. Unwanted exposure to pornography is sexual harassment and this could be raised as such by the staff in this store under UK employment law
A man, late 50s about 5’7″ heavy set, started to verbally harass and follow my friend and I on pacific avenue. He was yelling out rude comments about our clothes while “praising The Lord” for our legs. The wind blew my skirt up and he started whooping and hollering like a child. It was a 95 degree day and of course I was wearing a dress. He followed us from in front of the Del Mar theater to the corner of Taco Bell and we retreated to Saturns Cafe for safety.
Exiting the train on the #6 train platform a few minutes before 8:29PM on Friday night, May 9, 2014, a middle-aged man stepped on my shoe three times and reached near my back pocket to take my smart phone. When I turned around, he said “F*ck you, you b*tch. “You f**king Asian B*tch, I’ll punch you.” I was shocked so I followed him to take photos. He turned around and repeatedly said he would hit me.
At 8:29PM, I took a photo of his back while exiting near the 14th Street exit escalators leading up to The Food Emporium, Union Square location. And another riding up the escalators.
At the crosswalk, outside Panera Bread, I tried to take a photo of his face with the flash when he turned around and lunged at me, trying to punch me in the face and seize my phone. Three people who took the train with me saw what had happened and blocked him from coming at me. The man then tried to go around the two young males and throw a punch. The two males said to stop and kept side-stepping/blocking him to make sure he couldn’t successfully land a hit. They told him they would get the cops if he didn’t stop and he finally backed down.
The attacker was wearing a long-sleeved gray knit shirt under a black zip-up vest, with dark blue jeans folded at the hems, with tan work boots.
A skinny male, age 21-28 with glasses leaning against the Panera Bread had witnessed the attack. I had told him I was trying to take a photo of that man because he tried to rob/grope me on the 6 train. I mentioned him because I wonder if he took a video of what happened.
At the Mothership, Deputy Director Debjani Roy was interviewed for Pure Imagination Radio.
Here’s what HOLLAs around the world have been up to:
Hollaback! Appalachian Ohio has announced O’Betty’s Red Hot as their third Safer Space and held an awesome workshop with them yesterday! They have also revamped their Safer Spaces tab recently to include more educational materials.
Hollaback! Baltimore was at Red Emma’s Bookstore Coffeehouse talking about their #SaferSpacesBmore Campaign, which aims to create non-threatening environments for women & LGBTQ folks all over our city. They also got another business, Baltimore Free Farm, to sign their Safer Spaces pledge!
Hollaback! Boston did a workshop with Science Club For Girls teens last Saturday, and it was fabulous! They also attended the second meeting of the Mayor’s late night task force, and tabled at the Boston Bike Week Festival.
Hollaback! Cleveland held their official launch party - pictured above! There was zine-making, an open mic, and chalk walking. Looked like an awesome time! Check out all the photos from the party here.
Hollaback! Durham & Chapel Hill organized a a Screen + Print video screening and shirt printing workshop at the Durham Solidarity Center for last month in honor of Sexual Assault Awareness. These shirts they made will be debuted around town at local event in the upcoming months.
Hollaback! Ottawa is hosting two panels at Ottawa ComicCon today and tomorrow to explore the issue of harassment in geek spaces and open up the floor to discussions on how we can make the community safer. Cosplay =/= consent!
Hooray for HOLLAs! Til next week-
HOLLA and out!
- The Hollaback! Team
I have a success story today y’all!
These 2 loud men down the train from me were singing and yelling real loud and I looked over at them and the one guy blew kisses to me, after which he kept trying to get my attention, making me uncomfortable.
They moved down the car and the one man stood next to me while the other stood across from me. The one across from me motioned to the man next to me that he should move saying “you’re making her nervous bro,” so he moved and then said he was going to sing me a song. I told him “can you stop because you’re really making me uncomfortable.” He felt shut down and his pride was obviously hurt so he shut up immediately. A couple minutes later he tried to talk to me again with the excuse of an Apology and his friend stood up for me and yelled at him, letting him know he was overstepping his boundaries and that he can’t approach all women that way.
After a full day of being harassed by men on the street, this made me feel superb.
I am an employee of a school district, and I frequently travel between all the schools in the district. One day, I was driving from the high school to an elementary school in a residential neighborhood. It was warm, so my windows were down. As I drove past an older man (probably in his 50s), hey shouted “Hey”. I ignored him and kept driving. He started to chase after my car until I stopped at a stop sign a few feet ahead of him. He started to scream “Hey bitch, who the hell do you think you are ignoring me? I just wanted to tell you that you’re hot”. I immediately put up my windows and continued driving to the school. I ran inside, just in case he saw where I parked (the elementary school was visible from where this took place). I also haven’t driven in that area with my windows down since, and I get very nervous traveling to that particular elementary school now, where as before I didn’t.
I was in Paris for Easter. It was early afternoon, I was walking back to my hotel, which was in a very posh neighborhood, a group of two boys and two girls were walking in the opposite direction of the same sidewalk. They were about 13 to 14 years old. The idea of any harassment wouldn’t have crossed my mind at all, I barely paid attention to them, which made it even worse. As I was about to pass them, one of the boys grabbed me out of nothing in between my legs, the other one slapped my butt. After that, they just casually proceeded in their walk while screaming laughing, including the two girls.
As an adult, who thinks of herself as a strong woman, I was caught off guard, not knowing what to do, hating myself for not doing anything, at least a slap might have done after all. Even though I already got used to whistling, being hauled, forced into conversations, etc. I was defenseless at this point, kept wondering what made them do it, and was alarmed by the fact that a kid might be a possible threat to me. However, I mostly regretted all those women around these two boys, be it their sisters, mothers, friends or future girlfriends and wives.