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Today I was en route home from visiting my brother in Scranton with my mom and my sister. When we were at the gas station, an older lady’s dog had gotten out of her car so naturally I got out and helped her since the dog was in the street. After her dog had been found I was standing with my back to the busy street in front of the gas station. I am 18 years old although it’s probably irrelevant for this post. Then these guys drive by and shout “NICE ASS!” in front of my mom and just felt to horrible. My butt is kind of big so I do get male attention for it but I absolutely cannot stand it and it’s really not okay.
I was running with a friend for cross country practice and an old man screamed “looking good ladies!” with a huge smile on his face. We are in high school.
On Sunday, around 2 pm EST, I visited an Office Max to buy screen cleaner. I then left the store and went next door to browse at TJ Max. I left the store, got into my car, and as soon I shut the driver’s side door shut, this guy very abruptly pulled into the parking space next to mine.
He stared a bit, then looked away. I didn’t like it, but I inwardly shrugged and pulled out and drove to the grocery store next to the TJ Max.
OK. So I parked — and suddenly, that same dude pulls in next to me. I sat in my car for a while, trying to sort out all of the alarm bells going off in my head. Every time I looked over at him he would suddenly turn away, kind of guilty like.
I freaked; he actually followed me in his car to the next parking-lot.
I decided to get out of vehicle and go into the grocery store anyway (I had errands to run, and I was resentful that this creeper was intruding on my day).
So, I got out of my car, stood up and look downward. I could see the guy’s lap (his car was a low-bodied vehicle).
I very clearly saw his engorged penis. I could see him stroking off with one hand while he smoked a cigarette with the other.
OK, I freaked for the second time and trotted quickly into the store. I asked an employee if any security was on detail that day. Then I explained what had happened in the parking lot.
She told me security wasn’t on duty at the time then called a manager. At least, I think he was a manager. A dude arrived who looked all of 19-years-old. The woman employee asked if I wanted to call the cops. I told her I would, but for now, I’d appreciate if the manager dude would simply accompany me back to my vehicle.
Manager dude did just that.
As we got close to my car, I noticed that the creeper/pervert moved his car so that his driver’s side was right next to mine. In other words, he wanted to be closer when I got back and got I into my car.
I was speechless…until I snapped out of it and asked the manager dude to just stand next to me as I slipped my phone out of my purse. I took a picture of creeper’s license plate.
Creeper realized what I was doing and tore out of the plaza like a bat out of hell. The young manager dude said, “Too late, pal!” Then kept saying, “Wow, wow, ohhh wow,” as we watched creeper drive away and turn onto Sunset Blvd. in a panic.
I went home and called the cops but only got an answering service. I gave creeper’s plate number and physical description (I was a reporter for 12 years — I remembered A LOT). The guy had Ohio plates. He was mid-twenties to early thirties, Caucasian, with scruffy, short hair — somewhere between mousy brown to dirty blonde. He had ear plugs (piercings?), both red, one in each ear lobe. There were tattoos.
So far, the cops haven’t phoned me back.
Harassment is a frequent problem for runners. I occasionally announce to other men on the trail (because there aren’t as many women & they already know it anyway) that “The guy I just passed is creeping me out.” Today I was fortunate that one of the men near the trail was a uniformed police officer. The Creep said to me, “I’m going to take you in my arms. I’m coming to get you.” So hopefully the officer did something about this.
This person is stalking and harassing me.
We have three words for you: HeartMob, HeartMob, HeartMob! We could not be more excited about our new platform becoming a reality as we are gearing up to launch in just a few weeks. The most exciting news is that we have received a $516,000 grant from the Knight Foundation!!! We could not be more thrilled or grateful for this opportunity to combat online harassment.
Some other awesome news: we have a new intern at HQ! Sophie arrived from the UK a few days ago to help us with launching HeartMob. As a graduate student from Oxford, Sophie is studying the benefits and ramifications of the Internet. We are looking forward to collaborating with her!
Guess what: we are hiring a HeartMob Program Associate HQ! Spread the word to all who are determined to help us fight online harassment.
Here’s what’s up around the globe:
Alicia, the fierce director of Hollaback! Bahamas!, received the Queen’s Young Leaders Award for her outstanding work transforming the lives of others and making a difference in her community. We are so proud of Alicia’s dedication to the movement to end street harassment!
Hollaback! Pittsburgh is having a meet up this week to discuss the future of the movement to end street harassment with its community. It’s awesome to rally the allies and supporters.
Hollaback! Vancouver continues to tear up the press with Transit Tuesdays. They truly are making a difference in their community.
Hollaback! Alberta had a Chalk Walk for Change to raise awareness of street harassment. The photos of their phrases and designs look fantastic!
That’s all for now. Stay tuned…
Holla and Out!
Visiting family in CA and they convinced me to tour Golden Gate park alone, immediately knew it was a bad idea when I got off the bus. As I wandered in, I accidentally made eye contact with a man walking with a group of friends. Sped up and looked straight ahead but he moved over to my side of the path, bent down and got a couple inches from my face to say “How you doing boo” before strutting off with his friends. Wanted to yell at him but he had a whole group and I was alone, and didn’t see many people nearby. Later that day I thought I would walk downtown to get some chocolate and virtually the same thing happened–creepy guy who just looked like he had something to prove makes eye contact a ways away, then approaches, gets right in my ear this time and says in the creepiest voice I can imagine “hey baby” as he walks past. At least that time there were more people around, but he walked by too fast for me to think of a response. Thinking if that same “technique” is used again I might loudly warn everyone to watch out for the “street harasser in [insert clothing here]” and point at him. Definitely a mild experience compared to most but really creeped me out how close they both got to my face.
Back again. Literally like 2 days ago, I was groped by a creeper who made no effort to deny groping me, and motioned for me to KEEP WALKING IN FRONT OF HIM so that he could grope me again! Had to chase him off with pepper spray. I already posted that story though. Today I was on the back of a motorbike taxi and the driver reached around his arm to try and molest me. Screamed on top of my lungs and ran off as soon as he let me. Within 3 days. I’m so exhausted and terrified and feeling dirty and I just really really really hate men right now. And I know it’s not all men and whatever, but for fuck’s sake this is MY body and I can’t believe how many people don’t realize that.
Keep your cool. Don’t let it get to you. Maybe my shorts are too short? Why am I letting this get to me? Is this my fault?
I am walking home today. The sun is glaring down and I am solely focused on crossing the street to my apartment two blocks away. A car whizzes by just as I’m about to reach safety on the other side of the crosswalk. “Let me honk that ass.” The phantom voice exists for only five seconds — full of disregard, degradation, disrespect.
I am disgusted. I immediately tell myself it’s not my fault. But then find myself uncontrollably catching my reflection in windows I pass with shaming thoughts, “Should I not wear these shorts anymore?”
I hate that I’m left with the fall-out of someone else’s contempt for decency. I’m alone in fighting for respect. I don’t have power in this interaction.
The last time this happened was about two weeks prior. I was biking. I hear a whistle from the sidewalk and my anger instinct kicks kick in “Fuck you!” I shout in his direction. His response to me: “Bitch!”
Recounting this interaction to my boyfriend, hoping to receive some comfort, he scorns me for acting with anger. “You’ll get raped standing up for yourself like that.”
I’m at a loss right now. I’m in some hypothetical danger if I do respond; caught in a self-shaming spiral if I don’t respond.
My friend and I were at a bar by campus, playing pool. The table is right by the front windows. There were two men outside that were staring and making kissy faces at us. We ignored them, but they were outside for around 40 minutes.