Athens GA, Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Cleveland, Columbia MO, Columbus, Denver, Des Moines, Duke University, NC, Durham & Chapel Hill, East Lansing, Flagstaff, AZ, Houston, Iowa City, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Lubbock TX, Manhattan KS, Muncie IN, New Orleans, New York City, Oneonta, Pittsburgh, Plattsburgh, Providence, Richmond VA, San Fernando Valley, San Francisco, Twin Cities, West Georgia (University)
I was about 24 and biking home along East Broadway towards Burnaby. It was during rush hour traffic and another biker came up behind me and slid his hand up my buttocks. It made me stop biking almost fell into traffic. We fought a bit and drivers just honked at us! This was from out of no where. I didn’t know the person and didn’t recognize him from any previous riding experience. Didn’t make sense. No one helped and after I called 911 the police said they couldn’t do anything for me. I still had to finish riding my bike home! I would never have thought that this could happen this way. This was back in 1984.
I had just returned from a trip overseas. I was 20. I was visiting with my brother at a local Taco Bell. I used the pay phone on the street and had a young man approach me asking for directions – I gave him the directions and his way of thanking me was to come into the phone booth and assault me and grope me. I was very shocked and tried to fight back. It was about 9 p.m. and still light out. People watched and didn’t do anything. I felt very violated, but what could I do? This was back in 1980.
Every time I’ve been severely harassed from 2011 to 2012. I get the occasional “nice tits” and rudeness but this is by far the worst. I know the exact dates because of OCD journal entries.
– On July 11th 2011, I was walking to my father’s house. I was not provocatively dressed at all: Rob Zombie t-shirt and jeans. My father lives in an alright area, but you have to walk under two highway overpasses and past a bar to get there. A lot of men hang out under the overpasses, but since it was broad daylight I didn’t see a reason to be anxious. This older man rode up behind me on his bicycle and started asking me questions. “Where are you going?” “What are you doing?” A lot of it was really condescending and he referred to me as “baby”. Then when I ignored him he proceeded to physically block my way (with his bicycle) right by the highway overpass. Naturally I was uncomfortable and refused to answer his questions. He finally rode away but not before yelling “YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE SCARED OF ME BECAUSE OF MY COLOR!!!” My father lives in a neighborhood predominantly made up of African Americans. I was afraid that they would assume that I had yelled some racial slur at the man or had done some great injustice by refusing to talk to him. There were people sitting at the bar who saw what he was doing but made no attempt to help me. I got to my dad’s, closed the curtains, cried and ordered pepperspray.
– On September 20th 2012, I turned 19 and wore a low cut shirt. I am pretty busty (wearing a 34 I–but actually more of a 34 K) so I am somewhat used to being looked at. I don’t mind being looked at, but I don’t like it when my body is commented on, because it is something I cannot control. I was going to class and a teacher looked me up and down and said “Looking good.” I turned red and said “thanks.” I really did not know how to respond to that situation because even though this person isn’t a professor of mine, they still had some authority over me. I really did not know how to respond or what to do. I told a friend of mine who is an RA and they encouraged me to report it, I didn’t want to stir up trouble so I didn’t report it, but I spent part of my birthday feeling dirty and cheap because of a lousy professor. The worst part, I almost stupidly registered for a class of his. Thank God I dodged that bullet. If I see him I make sure I glare at him in the halls. I stand by my decision not to report because I would of been slut shamed to hell and back for my low cut shirt.
–On September 29th 2012, I had to go to a Pagan Pride festival for my internship. Since I didn’t know where I needed to be I decided to call a cab. When I got in the cab, the driver had his young son in a carseat next to me. Then asked me where I was going. When I told him I was going to Pagan Pride for my internship, he got into the whole religion talk and how apparently pagan people are all very sexually promiscuous and bisexual. I explained that although I am not religious myself I respect everyone’s religion and sexuality, and that I myself am bisexual. He then asked me a lot of inappropriate questions about whether or not I’d been with a woman. The subject got onto how he liked my body, and he circled around the park so I would have to pay extra. He handed me his card and asked me to call him. I tore it up and threw it in the nearest trash can. It was a horrible experience because I was stuck in a vehicle with this person, and if I had jumped out of the car I would be somewhere unfamiliar. If I called the cops I would of been slut shamed because of the low cut top and semi-see through skirt I was wearing. Or in the very worse case scenario arrested for not paying. If this ever happens again, I will definitely call and complain.
–On November 5th 2012, I was walking to the post office to send off my absentee ballot. I was about a block away from my dorm and on the phone with my boyfriend when the incident took place. I stopped to tie my jacket around my waist because it was hot near where I live. A guy wearing a violet-ish jacket and really worn out pants that might of been jeans or might of been khakis crossed the street and deliberately blocked my path. I stepped to the right and he mimicked my movements with his hands up and a wild look in his eyes. I was irritated so I just walked around him, and a couple of steps later I got this bad feeling, so I spun around. He was right behind me. I told him to “Get the fuck away from me!” And he left me alone. At that moment had he come near me again I am one hundred and ten percent certain I would of gone into fight or flight and severely hurt him, I could hear my heart beat in my ears. I was in survival mode on the way to the post office, but after I left I was shakey. I stayed on the phone with my boyfriend until I found a male acquaintance who walked with me to my next errand. After that I had calmed down enough to go to report it to campus security. Then I filed a report, and was interviewed by two officers who said they thought it was aggressive panhandling. I am genuinely sure that person had more sinister intentions by the look in his eyes. Why would you attempt to rob someone so close to their campus when security guards could hear and when they were on the phone with someone who could of presumably called the police? I was really shaken by the incident and really hope that person was caught, but I doubt they were.
This is why street harassment sucks. I don’t feel safe walking around near my father’s house or university. I have other less-severe incidents where people have yelled things out of cars or made kissy faces at me. I shouldn’t have to be nice to these assholes and not make a scene. I hate how people blame it on what I wear or on how I have big boobs, or tell me that I should ignore it and move on. I have a right to be angry with this treatment, and one of my new years resolutions is to not tolerate anymore of this bullshit.
My wife and I went to a show at a club last night hoping to have fun. Instead I was assaulted by some idiot; my ass was grabbed and I was pushed down stairs. I approached club security for help. Instead of help I further harassed, asked how much I’d been drinking, and asked if I knew I was at a ska show.
The security staff told me that these things happen at shows. I told him that’s no excuse, I didn’t come to a show to get groped. As a result of this, I got kicked out of the venue. So I called the cops, hoping someone would help me find the guy who groped and pushed me. Instead of helping me find the guy who assaulted me they gave me attitude.
So I waited outside trying to id the guy myself, and a collection of security guards and cops led me back into the venue, put hands on me, and made a big show of kicking me out again. So I called the cops again and asked for female officers to respond. So two male officers responded and got all mad I asked for females and refused to give me their badge numbers and names. They refused to speak to me saying I was irrational and yelling.
Additionally I was subject to further harassment by another security member; he catcalled and taunted me as I stood on the sidewalk. For the record I was freaked out and crying, not at all irrational. The actions of all of the so-called professionals last night was a sorry sight. Yeah, I’d heard stories about the bad behavior of “Bostons Finest” but seeing is believing for sure.
Walking around through town, some guy looks me up and down. I looked at the ground and he walks off shouting “cheer up”. I was cheerful before he turned up!
Three times now, when I’ve dropped my little sister at Elementary School, I have been “hit on” by students there. All were boys under ten. One boy stared at my chest and tried to touch me. It made me feel filthy inside.
I know this is very minor compared to what other women have gone through, but these were children! They are getting it from somewhere. It has to stop!
“I realized there were no organizations or groups addressing street harassment particularly and that this was an issue that many people would talk about but had no clear way of responding to. Working for Hollaback! means that I can help provide a safe space for people who feel uncomfortable in public spaces due to harassment, a space that was not available before.” – Gabriela Amancaya
Site Leader Gabriela Amancaya launched AtréveteDF to raise awareness about street harassment and to create a space for constructive dialogue about the issue. She is proud to report that, since the site launch and the local SlutWalk, more people are breaking the silence and discussing their experiences of street harassment. Gabriela notes the importance of media coverage and social networking in the site’s growth, but she is most excited about the person-to-person connections she has made through Hollaback!. Gabriela notes, “The people who write to us are grateful to have a space where they can find and share information about street harassment. I think that is the main goal: to get people to feel comfortable, involved, talking about the subject, and eager to participate [in the discussion.]” In addition to reaching out to community members, Gabriela has built relationships with local organizations that focus on youth, gender and sexual and reproductive rights.
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“I learned so much about the movement and was completely captivated. It didn’t take long for me to throw in as much energy as I could spare, which included joining the board and bringing the movement to my current city, Philadelphia.” –Rochelle Keyhan
HollabackPHILLY’s site launch in the summer of 2011 and subsequent press coverage led to invitations by community members and schools to speak about the anti-street harassment movement. In the past year, Site Leader Rochelle Keyhan describes community screenings of film “Walking Home” with creator and director Naula Cabral as one of the key elements sparking dialogue on the issue. Larger events included canvassing West and North Philadelphia with a group of local activists for Anti-Street Harassment Week 2012, meeting with officials from the Mayor’s Office to discuss a collaborative effort at making Philadelphia’s streets safer for its women and LGBTQ community members, and hosting a film screening and panel discussion on Human Trafficking in partnership with PA Senator Leach’s office, including panelists from local service organizations and the Philadelphia branch of Homeland Security.
HollabackPHILLY, along with Nuala Cabral, also hosted a workshop for buildOn.org’s Alternative Spring Break where high school students committed 40 hours over their spring break to do community service. The teens who attended the Hollaback! workshop created an anti-street harassment PSA based on their own personal experiences with street harassment. In August, Site Leader, Rochelle Keyhan was a guest on Yetta Kurland Live, an NYC-Based talk radio show, with David Badash, talking about “Rape, Rights & Republicans”. Keyhan was also highlighted in Philly Daily News’ “Chillin’ Wit’” weekly feature.
When HollabackPHILLY sought funding for anti-harassment subway advertisements, the advertising company responsible for the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) advertisements agreed to double the advertisement space if HollabackPHILLY was granted the funds for which they applied. HollabackPHILLY successfully secured a grant from Up The River Endeavors, but were still far from their target goal. Luckily, three of the other Hollaback! sites that received funding contributed some of their earnings and the subway anti-harassment project was utlimately made possible!
“To us, street harassment is a kind of code. It’s a code that means the same thing regardless of whether its spoken with grabs, gropes or leers, close whispers or faraway shouts. What Hollaback does, both here in London and across the world, is unscramble this code completely, laying bare what it really means and thus tuning everybody in to the unique frequency of being a woman or LGBTQ person on the street, so that together we can confront and challenge this behaviour head-on.” – Bryony Beynon
Julia Gray and Bryony Beynon started a Hollaback! site in their area because, in their own words, “we realised that the harassment we experienced on a daily basis was part of an unspoken epidemic, and that there was this huge potential for change once the silence had been broken.” Between strong media coverage and Hollaback! London’s own publication ‘Langdon Olgar,’ Julia and Bryony have experienced huge successes in their mission to create dialogue about the treatment of women and LGBTQ people in the public sphere and the media. In the past year alone, Hollaback! London has appeared in four of the largest newspapers in the United Kingdom, and been featured in radio segments on BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC Europe, BBC Wales, BBC Birmingham, as well as on Irish radio stations. Hollaback! London has also hosted numerous discussion groups and workshops, including workshops at Queen Mary University that were broadcast on a BBC Radio 4 special on feminist activism today. Julia and Bryony are proud of the support they’ve received from the public and of the volume of press attention the project has garnered in just two years. “The objective when we started was to bring these issues into the public consciousness and generate conversation and debate around street harassment, and we really feel that we’ve achieved that,” said Julia. “It’s been very encouraging and we are excited about the future of Hollaback! London.”