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Today I was walking with a friend (who is a girl) to grab a bite to eat. We had already made plans to hit the gym afterwards so we were in gym wear/sweats and a sweater. As we were walking down the street there were a group of men in a circle talking amongst themselves. One of them had turned around and I had made eye contact with him. As we passed by he said “hey ladies” about 3 or 4 times but we just ignored the bunch and kept walking. Then he was like “ok, hey men” about a couple times. His other friend said something about “pulling our dick up” or something of that nature.
I flipped them off and we just walked away. My friend wasn’t phased by it (or maybe she was) but I was so tempted to go off. I was pissed. As I’ve read on this site, the only consolation we have as women is to speak up and put men in their place when these instances occur. Most times I just have so much rage that I wouldn’t be able to have a calm dialogue with these so-called men. My reaction is to cuss at them or something along those lines. I know that doesn’t solve anything, but it makes me feel a little bit better.
This has happened on several occasions and one time I had to involve the cops because the guy had grazed my breast, trying to get my attention as I was listening to my ipod.
I just wanted to share my story that even in open-minded San Francisco, CA, shady stuff can still go down. This behavior is universal and sometimes it’s hard not to be disappointed in humanity. I will truck on and have promised myself to work on using my voice in a productive way when these situations happen, cos sadly, I know it’s going to happen again and again.
Submission by Madeline
Using the power vested in me, I’d like to nominate all the awesome bystanders in this video as HOLLAheroes.
I work nights and one night on my way in to my job,
I was verbally assaulted by a horrific man on Market St.
I heard someone make a noise and looked up, which was
probably a mistake. I try to never make eye contact w/
men who harass and just keep walking.
This guy was almost pure evil in the way he was talking,
though. He made racist comments, and then called me an
ugly bitch and a c**t. I kept walking. It felt like
someone took a knife and stabbed me. He tried to engage
me in some kind of argument sparring with this taunting tone of voice, and I just kept on going. I was tired and
had a long night ahead of me, and felt like breaking down
for real. This was the worst experience of harassment I’ve
ever had happen to me. As I walked away, this psycho
kept screaming the word c**t over and over, and I thought
he was going to chase after me or try to hurt me physically.
This may not have happened during the daytime, but my job
is at night, and I can’t avoid that. Also, I don’t have a
car. This was horribly disturbing. I dont think I’ll ever
walk down Market St. at night ever again.
Submitted by Trina
Check out the all-Hollaback reader:
This was put together by Jessica Dickinson Goodman, a street harassment activist and badass who also runs the Feeling Elephants blog. She included our friends at Harassmap and Stop Street Harassment for good measure! Know other blogs we should include? Let us know!
My neighborhood in Astoria is quiet, mostly. It’s safe, mostly. And for the most part its residents have never given me any kind of trouble.
One day I was walking home from my friend’s apartment along 31st street. It was summer so I was wearing cut-off jean shorts and a tank. I know that my outfit had nothing to do with it, but for a while I stopped wearing tank tops in public thinking this was the cause.
It was the middle of the day so the street was almost empty except for a largish (5+) group of young teens sitting outside an apartment building. Now, I try not to profile, but in my experience groups of teenage boys are trouble, and I am usually right. I put on my sunglasses and walked past them, avoiding eye contact.
Well, to my surprise I made it past them without any trouble when I heard that sound that will make the hairs on most women’s arms stand on end. The kissy noise. What happened next you could say was my fault, I should have kept walking, but I had had it. Here was a group of kids almost half my age with the nerve to make that awful sound at me. So I turned around and said, “are you f*cking serious? How old are you?” To which the larger of the group said “Old enough to f*ck you like a grown man”. At this point one of his friends says, “Girl I am gonna f*ck you with some chopsticks”. I’m half-Chinese, and was appalled that this brat had added racism onto the growing pile of sexual harassment. Various other insults followed, “skinny b*tch”, “dumb c*nt”, etc. I always wonder why, if I’m such a dumb etc., etc. why they tried to “holla at” me in the first place…
There were over five of them, and just one of me, so I decided to walk away. I called the police and told them a group of young men had verbally assaulted me and threatened me with sexual abuse. The officer offered his condolences but told me that since they had not physically assaulted me there was nothing he could do. While I agree that the police probably do not have the resources to investigate every instance of harassment, it made me feel alone, weak, and even slutty. I felt that because I was wearing a thin tank top I had somehow brought this onto myself.
When did it become okay for young boys to talk to older women this way? To threaten them in their own neighborhoods with this kind of sexualized, and sometimes racialized, violence? I was so disgusted, so horrified. And honestly to this day I have not walked down that street again.
Submitted by Jen
So here I am, a 17 year old girl, black (it matters) in her school uniform, just going to the mall to get some stuff, and I hear it.
“Hey-o, pretty girl, lemme holla! Why the long face? I got some stuff to make you smile!”
I was actually about to spin around and tell him to pop off, but when I looked at him, I saw he ran one of the vendors selling lotions in the hallways of the mall.
Why is it cool to act this way towards me? I watched this guy ask other women “Hey, miss, would you like to buy some lotions?” But as soon as a black girl walks by you switch up your game? And you don’t even care that she’s obviously underage? FUCK YOU AND THE HORSE YOU RODE IN ON.
I just wanted to the MAC counter and get out, so I gave him the dirtiest look that I save especially for scumbags like him and kept walking.
Submitted by Mariel
Hollaback embodies all that is strong, powerful, and badass about being a woman today, and reflects a global female solidarity that knows no racial, age, or geographic boundaries. As such, we seek three men or women who can represent and illustrate these values in written form.
Selected writers need to be able to commit to blogging a minimum of twice per week about key stories and milestones in the anti-harassment movement in a voice that is bold and street harassment savvy.
Interested candidates should submit a sample piece for publication by February 10, 2011 on a topic that you feel is important, timely, and of interest to Hollaback readers. Accompanying your piece should be a brief description of you, why the anti-harassment movement is important to you, and how you represent a unique voice.
Bloggers will be selected for diversity of voice and quality of writing and can hail from anywhere in the world. To submit your sample piece and accompanying information, please email everything in the body of an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
So the other day I had what Oprah would call an “A-ha” moment. Though I prefer to refer to it my “Get the fuck out of my personal space you male-privilege-assuming bastard” episode. Just has a nicer ring to it.
Anyways, I was at a gas station and had just finished filling up when an older gentleman clad in overalls (I live in NC) ambled over to stand RIGHT in front of me, blocking my entrance back into the driver’s seat of my beloved automobile.
He tried to start up some inane conversation about gas prices, which were SO HIGH these days compared to when he was young. Pissed off that he wasn’t getting my subtle “step-back-random-dude” vibes, I thought about asking if his first car was a Model T. But, as he kept inching creepily closer to me, I just said very firmly “I need to get back in my car.”
But that’s not what HE wanted.
The lovely gent actually shook his head no and tried to keep talking, all the while inching closer and closer toward me. In my mind I found myself running through all those perpetrator-excusing things we’re taught to do as women…Maybe this guy was just a little crazy, bless his heart, or actually was trying to pick me up but didn’t know how to go about it…but then IT CLICKED.
I didn’t, and I don’t, give a damn why a STRANGER chooses to disrespect my personal space with unwanted interaction. When I say leave me alone, it means LEAVE ME ALONE.
So I screamed at the top of my lungs “Get out of my way” so loudly the man literally winced, covered his ears and RAN back to his truck that was parked near by. People were looking and he was embarrassed.
It, was awesome.
And empowering. Worse things have happened to me, but this was one of the first times I’ve ever responded so powerfully. It felt good and it balanced out the “ick” factor.
I truly believe that HollaBack helped me to be so assertive. Reading through your blog’s entries and article links has helped me understand what street harassment is really about: Power. Making women feel less than men in public spaces, making us feel like prey, whether we’re in a power suit or a sundress. Making us feel like we’re the property of any and every man on the street.
This won’t be the last time some stranger thinks he can treat me like I exist for his amusement.
But, I’m going to keep being loud. I’m going to keep holding harassers accountable whenever I feel safe enough to do so. And it’s going to feel good, oh so good.
Death to the “good girl,” I say.
Ladies, it’s time for us to get mean.
Submitted by Beth
I was leaving Cosi when a young man (probably in his mid 20s) approached me. He said, “nice pussy” and reached out to grab mine. I simply blocked his hand and stared him down until he broke eye contact. I continued on my way, and looked back to see that he was still standing there. I guess he didn’t get the reaction he anticipated.
I didn’t speak to him, but if I could, here’s what I would say:
“Damn right, I have a nice pussy. But you will never get anywhere near it.”
Submitted by Kate