I was 16 years old at the time, however I am fairly tall for my age and appear to be older than I really am, not that that should make ANY difference. I was taking the train to downtown Toronto by myself and walking to a little place called Kensington Market to meet my mother and sister who were already downtown. It was about a 15 minute walk from the train station and I felt confident walking alone downtown. As I was nearing the market I see a man riding his bicycle coming in my direction. I am a pretty polite girl so I simply smiled back at the man. As the man rode closer on his bike he seemed to be leaning closer to me and when he passed by he leaned ever further and TRIED TO KISS ME while he passed me on his damn bike! I totally did not see this coming and I was in complete shock. Sure I am used to getting cat calls very often but I have never experienced something like this. I had no idea what to do. I simply just kind of stood there in shock not knowing wether to cry or scream. I couldn’t do much either way because the man had simply continued to bike passed me like nothing had happened. It was disgusting and I will never forget.
I was in London on business, for the first time I’d come by myself. Once finished I went to the Westfield Shopping Centre at 3 in the afternoon. I was wearing a shirt that was buttoned all the way up, not that it should matter in the slightest. Two guys started walking either side of me in the middle of the shopping centre, one yelled, ‘Great boobs’, whilst the other made growling noises. I felt really intimidated and upset, and ended up going home shortly after. Mostly I felt humiliated, there were lots of people around, no one said anything to these men. This is one story of so many incidents I’ve experienced.
This week was shorter, but the movement was more fierce than ever! At Hollaback! HQ we are having a lot of fun preparing for our End of the Year Campaign, and you’ll see what we are talking about very soon! This week we had a great Twitter chat on #SayftyChat discussing street harassment. We also learned so many things about Macedonia from Natasha, our IREX Fellow.
And at Hollaback! around the world:
Hollaback! Ottawa gave a lecture to a Carleton University class on Social Marketing, about their work and how they use grassroots, DIY techniques to “recruit” and raise awareness (i.e.: chalk walks, wheat pasting, attending ComicCon, etc.).
Hollaback! Italia chose Nov 25th, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, to reveal the results of the survey in partnership with Cornell University. They were featured in several online magazines among which Marie Claire. Way to go Italy!
Hollaback! Cuenca held the First Day Against Street Harassment with the title “Street Harassment as a Socially Accepted Form of Violence” at the University of Cuenca, with talks, discussions, presentation of their first report on street harassment in Cuenca, and launch of the Hollaback! application. They were even featured in the media! This is amazing beyond words Cuenca!
Hollaback! Vegas published Issue #3 of The League of Extraordinary Feminists. If you wanna check out this amazing zine by these kick-ass youth volunteers, write to them!
Stay tuned for more awesomeness next week!
Holla and out!
I was victimized horrifically by a subway sex abuser earlier this fall, on the E train during the morning rush. It was probably the most humiliating and degrading moment of my life. That day the platform was extra crowded because of delays, and so to avoid being late, I had to squeeze on behind this large lady. I barely made it on myself, so I was irritated when, as the doors were whooshing shut, this young man shoe-horns himself in behind me. His body was plastered against mine, and I could feel his junk crushed against my behind. But I thought it was an accident. When I craned to look behind me, he was a nicely dressed, pretty good looking white guy who didn’t seem like he’d have trouble getting dates. I figured he was probably even more embarrassed at our awkward situation than I was. So I ignored it – at first.
As the train rumbles along, and my butt bounces against him, he starts sprouting this huge erection right in the crack of my ass. Using the motion of the train as an excuse, he keeps poking it in as deep he could. I thought, I am being dry humped against my will in the middle of a bunch of people! Totally disgusted, I tried moving forward, but the big woman wouldn’t budge, in fact she elbowed me. When the train pulled into the next station, I prayed people would get off, but just the opposite happened. A wave of new passengers shoved on, and the pervert squashed against me even tighter. The train took off again, rocking back and forth, and it felt like I had a thick wooden broomstick wedged between my buttocks.
I thought of screaming, “Get off me, jerk,” but I was too embarrassed and didn’t want to make a scene. The next stop was in about ten minutes and I told myself I could stand it that long. Then, of all the freaking luck, the train STOPPED between stations for about 5 minutes. You’d think maybe this slimy creep would stop without the movement of the car giving him cover, but he actually became more aggressive, brazenly thrusting way up in between my cheeks. I was so shocked and paralyzed with fear, I could hardly breathe. And then the most horrible part. The vile piece of shit leans in and whispers in my ear in this creepy little voice, “If my girlfriend knew we were doing this, she’d kill me.”
That was almost worse than anything, because it made it sound like I was his partner in his sick act. The train finally moved again, and I guess my assailant realized I wasn’t going to do anything, so he just started POUNDING, very hard and fast. By this point I had my head down and my eyes were watering. I felt completely worthless. For all intents and purposes, I was being anally raped through my skirt. Well, I guess you can figure what happened next: He tensed up, his penis lashed around behind me for a few seconds, then I felt a wetness on my butt. I hoped it was my imagination, but when I got off the train and reached back, I was repulsed to feel the slimy gook. I hastily wiped it off with a Kleenex, but the whole time at work I couldn’t concentrate because I hoped no one would notice.
Later at home, I told my boyfriend what happened and he was livid. He said I “clearly” must have done something to “encourage” the bastard, and that if I wasn’t enjoying it, I would have stepped on the guy’s foot or screamed. His not being supportive is one reason I am having a hard time getting over this traumatizing experience.
I’ve spotted the nasty train molester 3 times since the incident. Once grinding another woman and twice just standing nonchalantly on the platform. The scumbag didn’t appear to recognize me. I guess I was just one of hundreds, maybe thousands, he’d used to relieve himself.
Walking my dog at 10 o’clock, apparently the new things is to have speakers installed on the outside your car and a microphone so you can more anonymously make women uncomfortable enemy you pull up beside them and cat call, backing up slowly add we walk past. Uncomfortable enough that I went and got my boyfriend and you immediately felt scared off and decided to leave me alone. Leaving me wishing I had confronted you myself, because my martial arts training means I probably could’ve kicked your ass myself, but I don’t feel that kind of confidence.
Someone ran up behind me and forcefully groped my bottom while I was walking home. I have a stun gun but couldn’t get him before he skateboarded away. He was wearing a black coat with a camo hoodie underneath and the skateboard was black.
While with a group of friends (four other women and four men), a male (wouldn’t call him a man) approached us and said, “I see a lot of pussies here.” He continued talking about our vaginas, so one friend and I screamed at him to leave us alone. Several strangers were around and didn’t help us out, but finally told the server at the stand we were at to call the police. The person harassing us continued to make sexual comments at us. He then began calling me fat and ugly and walked away, but not before I snapped a picture of him and shared it with my mother, who works with the Oakland Police Department. We were all angry and disgusted by this harassment.
At Hollaback HQ this week:
We had an lovely lunch together with the youngest Hollaback!er Ari. He was wearing our Hollaback! shirt! Isn’t that adorable? Desiree, our HeartMob Program Coordinator, is not in the photo because she talked about the growing and vital role of helplines in online safety at the Family Online Safety Institute Annual Conference “Risks. Harms. Rewards” in Washington, DC. CJ, our Program and Office Assistant, attended the Audre Lorde Project’s Trans Day of Remembrance and Trans Latina Network’s Trans Day of Remembrance. And Debjani, our Interim Executive Director, held another anti-harassment training in Council Member Lander’s District.
And at Hollaback! sites around the world:
Hollaback! Cuenca is having its “First Meeting Against Street Harassment” at University of Cuenca where they will present their first report on street harassment in Cuenca. They are also promoting Hollaback! on all 5 University of Cuenca’s campuses. Great job Cuenca!
Hollaback! Baltimore was tabling at War On Women event for the Transgender Day of Remembrance and attended the Transgender March of Resilience. Moreover, on Dec 10th, together with Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle they will present “Gender & Police Harassment,” a talk exploring the relationship between police harassment and gender/sexual identity.
Hollaback! Croatia will be participating at the Equality Week organized for the International Day against Violence against Women, where different aspects of violence against women will be tackled with representatives from institutions, civil society organizations, academics, etc.
Hollaback! Belfast is preparing for the Reclaim the Night Belfast march to show the need for action against gender violence and harassment, part of the 16 days of Action against Gender Violence. We can’t wait to see all the photos from this amazing event!
Stay tuned for more amazing stuff next week!
Holla and out!
I was outisde a starbucks, on the phone with my mother of all people, when a group of 3 men in a car pulled up and said “hey cigarette girl” and when i didn’t respond they persisted with “what, you don’t like blacks?” It was dark outside, i was on my own, and i’m 14. It scared me and ruined my day.
Walking home at around 2 in the afternoon I was verbally attacked for no reason at all by a woman and her young daughters. I was a block away from my house and they started calling me a “raggedy ann bitch” repeatedly and yelling at me to get out. They continued to taunt me but I didn’t react, just continued walking. I crossed the street and apparently crossed into their ‘territory’ or something because there were two more young girls on the corner who stared straight at me and yelled at me for being a “raggedy ann bitch.” I continue walking, getting upset and yelled back to stop at which point the mother yelled at me for talking back and threatened to beat me with a brick that she had picked up. The entire family began to follow me at a distance at this point and I yelled back to leave me alone, fuck off, and stop following me. They continued at which point I tried to call a friend but her phone was dead. When they saw me get out my phone they made comments about what was I doing trying to call someone to get out of their territory etc. Finally I got to my house (in a gated community) and locked the gate behind me. Two of the daughters come up to the gate a minute later and started yelling at me that I was a bitch at which point I yelled back at full force to fuck off. One of the girls then got down and went under the car gate and started following me through the complex! I started walking towards a man in a van inside and waving at him to help me but he ignored me. I had also tried to get the attention of a cyclist earlier who continued on as well. Finally the girl turned around and left and By the time I got to my apartment I was shaking and crying.
I just couldnt believe that they started verbally abusing me like that for no apparent reason, and that it was an entire family of women involved as well! I am so upset and scared to leave my house and run into them again because I don’t know what they will do if they recognize me. I just wish someone who had witnessed this happening to me had stood up for me as well…