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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.
I’m 16 and I was on bus route 566 going towards Auburn. A man who looked around 35 sat by me, asked invasive questions about my personal life. He then started talking about my feet and asked to see them. Out of shock I let him then quickly put my shoe back on. He took his socks and shoes off, grabbed my shoe off and started rubbing his feet on mine and started moaning despite me saying I felt uncomfortable and trying to pull my feet away. Another man stepped in and he ran off at Bellevue TC
I was walking to work this morning and found a run in my tights. My side of the street was fairly empty so I walked into an isolated area and took off my tights and saw this man (in his late 40s) continue to stare at me as he walked past. He did this multiple times until I asked “what are you staring at?” He stopped his walk, turned to me, and started aggressively gesturing towards me, angry that I had asked him why he was staring. I crossed the avenue and at the following intersection, saw that he was still staring and angrily gesturing and saying things to me, waiting for the light to change so he could accost me at the next intersection. I got so scared that I hailed a cab in the opposite direction of my job and ducked down in the seat until I arrived at my office and ran inside. This is my regular walking path to work and I am terrified of running into him or him following me.
Was being touristy and taking a beautiful sunset pic (thoughts – our world is so beautiful!) When some guy touch my ass. Went after him with threats of police but he just laughed. Finally took out pepper spray and threatened him until he crossed the street. Wish I could’ve taken a pic to report him but I guess girls just walk with a guy at night. Ugh. Thank god I had my spray.
A short, slight framed man claiming to be from Bangladesh, followed me down the stairs to the subway entrance at approximately 8:50pm last night. I could feel someone approaching me from behind, when I turned around he asked me if he could “hang out” with me, when I said NO, he persisted, asking the question over and over. I was fumbling for my metrocard but couldn’t find it. He was in my personal space and there was nowhere to go to get away from him because I was standing between him and the turnstile. I said I was married to try and get him to go away, that didn’t work, then he said “I’ll give you money”, I said NO again, then he said “I’ll give you one hundred dollars if you come with me.” I finally found my metrocard and swiped myself through. He didn’t follow.
What’s up Hollaback!?
With Emily and Debjani out of HQ this week, Rachel and the interns have been hard at work. To reward all of the fabulous HeartMob donors, the group diligently packaged thank you cards and gifts to be send around the world. The support for our new platform to combat online harassment is overwhelming. We are so excited to launch HeartMob soon!
At some of our global sites:
Hollaback! Bmore Co-director Leah Mike hit the streets of Baltimore this week to educate street harassers and pedestrians on bystander intervention. Leah, nice work conveying to men how important it is for them to be allies to street harassment victims!
Hollaback! Berlin held a chalk walk in Hamburg to empower victims of street harassment to take back the streets.
Hollaback! Duke is shaking up their campus norms by discussing with their student government the issue harassment of students on campus. They are also working to find solutions to eradicate the behavior.
Shout out to Hollaback! Italia for marching in Milano Pride this past weekend!
We’ve been killing it in the press this week with Hollaback! Vancouver’s Stacey publishing their piece on her personal accounts of street harassment in GUTS and more!
Can’t wait to keep the movement going this week…
Holla and Out!
While walking to work on 06/29/15, a white truck parked on the street near me. A man got out and yelled, “Hey, beautiful!” He then asked me to turn around and then said something unintelligible about my “body.”
A man came up to me when I was stopped at a crosswalk and offered $200 for a blow job. After I told him that was an inappropriate question, he argued that “$200 is a high amount.” Again, I said that was an inappropriate question. Finally he left. I was afraid of angering him, not knowing what he’d do, but he did it in front of my sister. It happened near the stadium and the metro station, about a block away. It happened around 11:00am 6/30/2015.
I’ve actually been harassed way too many times, at one point (because it all started off when I was young 14) I just started to think it was the every day norm for a woman to be harassed, either verbally or physically. But now I understand that it isn’t something your supposed to be used to.
I spent my adolescent years being physically and verbally assaulted, from being molested, to having some stranger call me a slag. All unprovoked.
I’ve had men try and put their hands up my dress on a night out, to men pinning me up walls from behind and kissing my neck.
I’ve even had friends dads touching my breasts, but I was so scared during every encounter I’ve had with these men that I had never said anything, thinking that if I said anything than they would take it further.
I thought I should say something, as I’ve never really told anyone before. Only my partner, and it’s comforting being able go acknowledged that I am not alone. That it’s something that all woman must go through.