Last Thursday night I was driving home from my boyfriends at about 11PM and stopped to get petrol on the way back. As I left my car I noticed a guy staring at me with a particularly strange expression. I chose to ignore it and carried on to get cash from the ATM and then walked into the shop to pay for my petrol. Inside I saw him again. He looked at me with the same smiling, (off putting if I’ll admit it) expression. I stepped away to allow him to get to the counter before me and turned my attention to the confectionery stand. While I was hunched over I felt someone slap my ass and turned around shocked to see the same man giving me the same, hollowing gap-toothed goofy looking laugh/smile as before. Initially I was in shock. Did this really happen? What had just happened? I am the type of person to stick up for myself but could barely fathom a decent platform as to stick up for myself on. Then I was angry, hurt. I could feel the imprint of his hand there on my bottom for hours later. Am I over reacting? Is this all silly? I can see the vile expression in his face stuck in my memory. I don’t know what has upset me more though – the fact it happened or the fact the security guard or server behind the til in the shop barely flinched or said and did nothing. Surely this is wrong? I just worry if the individual thinks this is ok to do in public, in front of several others then what else would he do in privacy, away from prying eyes? Do I inform the police as I’m sure it’ll be caught on CCTV or do I just let it go? I’m torn to decide as it’s such unfamiliar territory. Also I was extremely tired and feeling extra vulnerable at the time so I’m not sure if I just over reacted or not.The advice online for these type of situations in really disappointing tbh. I’m so upset and confused. Why do people think this is OK behaviour????
At the Hollaback! HQ, the staff has returned in full force with Emily, Debjani, and Jae back from their international street harassment retreat in Bellagio, Italy. Here in the office we have been planning for International Anti-Street Harassment Week coming up on April 10th and our 4th annual Rally to be held at the week’s end on April 16th in Tompkins Sq Park, NYC. Other than that, Desireé made a trip to the Twitter office in NYC to attend the #PositionOfStrength celebration!
And at Hollaback! sites around the world:
Hollaback! London headed out to Cairo to participate and co-facilitate in a workshop about diversity in street harassment activism with HarassMap.
Holla and out!
Desiree spent the first half of the week in Austin at SXSW! She took part in their Online Harassment Summit and was a panelist on the “Tech and The United Front Against Online Hate” Panel!
Hollaback! Bmore co-director, Brittany Oliver will be giving a talk on street harassment as a human rights issue at The Global Women’s Institute on March 23rd. If you’re going to be in the area, you can RSVP here!
Hollaback! Vancouver just ended their Story Sharing contest and will be announcing the winners this week! They were able to collect so many stories over the span of the contest! This contest showed just how awesome story sharing can be!
That’s all for this week! Stay tuned for more great things next week!
Holla and out
A man snuck up behind me when I was putting some vegetables in my cart. He was probably in his 50s. Goes “You know how to make those taste real good, girly?” Very close to me and blocking my cart. I said, “What?” Trying to figure out what to say next. He repeated himself without the “girly”, so I told him I roast them. He tried to keep talking so I politely told him I needed to finish shopping so I could go back to work, and backed up when he didn’t move out of my way. He followed me and continued to talk, and I only lost him when he wanted me to follow him down one aisle and I went the other way without saying anything. I left immediately and kept looking over my shoulder because I was afraid he would come up behind me again. I was in a public place so I was probably fine, but still not fun to feel like you’re being followed.
A guy catcalled me in front of my mom. I told him to shut the fu** up and he yelled at me asking why I couldn’t take a compliment and threw a magazine at me.
The office was almost empty this week but Desiree, CJ and the interns held down the fort. Emily, Debjani and Jae were in Italy this week! They attended the first ever international convening on street harassment in Bellagio!
And at Hollaback! sites around the world:
Hollaback! Bmore held a successful StoryTelling as Resistance event. This event is one of three that will lead up to the revealing of The Monument Quilt on April 9th. The quilt will feature the stories of sexual assault survivors.
That’s all for this week! Stay tuned for more next week!
Holla and out!
Leaving woody’s I spent Tulsa and me and one other friend got four catcalls walking from the corner of woody’s to the parking lot behind McNellie’s. Three were in passing cars, one threatening to “fuck us hard,” and the fourth were other pedestrians. A walk of one block, both of us wearing jeans and hoodies, and we were sexually harassed four times in less than five minutes. I no longer feel comfortable walking in downtown Tulsa due to this. We have frequented this area in the past often, but have NEVER been treated like this.
I discovered that a man was following young women (girls, actually, ranging from ages 10 to 16) in public, secretly filming them on his phone. He’d pretend to be speaking on the phone or looking at the screen, but surreptitiously angle it toward the girl he was targeting, as he followed her around. The girls all had a similar appearance: extremely skinny and young.
This disturbs, shames, horrifies me even more because I was dating this person. I found hundreds and hundreds of these videos on his phone. I left him in the middle of the night with one suitcase. I didn’t go to the authorities because a) I didn’t have evidence, b) I didn’t know and still don’t know if he broke the law, and c) I was and am scared of retaliation.
I encourage young women, as well as their families, to be on the lookout for men who are following with their phones angled toward them.
After opening with “hey, are you afraid of Black guys?” I should’ve seen it coming – the man kept talking to me even after clear signals that I wasn’t interested. He opted to follow me across the Hopscotch bridge instead of going up North Capitol like which is where he said he was headed. He kept saying “C’mon” as though I was following him. Finally I turned to him and said, “look, I’m tired and I don’t want to talk to you. I’ve had a long day at work and I’m angry that you don’t understand that I don’t want to talk to you. Leave me alone.” Maybe the twinge of hysteria in my voice is what made him give up and finally leave. I was so shaky that I called a friend in my way across the bridge.
I was crossing the street to my dorm building after an exam when some guys (most likely students) started yelling “huevos” at me and whistling at me like for a dog when I didn’t respond. I asked “Didn’t your mother teach you better?”, they asked “what?” then the light changed. By then I was across and they started hollering as they drove away.