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As part of Hollaback!’s campaign to end campus harassment, Rutgers University student Megan Pickarski, has shared with us her college harassment stories both on and off campus. And Hollaback! is going to share them with you in four installments all this week to give the masses a taste of what is a stark reality for college students.
Megan is majoring in Women and Gender Studies with a minor in Philosophy. She has a fearless passion for helping people and is dedicated to revealing the harassment that occurs on campus and on the street every day in New Brunswick.
Below is the first story from Megan Pickeraski’s series Men Who Whistle and Howl Like Dogs:
While at a house party with your friends, you decide to walk downstairs to the basement to grab a beer. On your way down, someone grabs your ass. You turn around to say something, but the basement’s too damn dark and crowded to make one person out from another.
Beer in hand, you make your way back up the stairs only to have your ass grabbed again. You turn around and this time find yourself face to face with two greasy muscle heads. They both smirk as one steps closer towards you, you can smell the alcohol on his breath.
“Yo baby, we wer’ just tryin’ to be friendly,” he says as he looks you up and down.
You step forward and try to move through them, telling them to get the hell out of your way, but it’s like trying to move a mountain. The one on your right starts grabbing at you with his coarse hands, the other one stands back and commentates,
“Oh yeah, you like that don’t you. Don’t you.”
Your whole body clenches up in fear as you push yourself against the wall, trying to escape his desperate pawing. Fortunately, only about a minute goes by (although it feels like forever), before a friend comes bounding down the stairs and pulls you to safety.
The grease heads scurry away. You can hear them chuckle like two little school children as they head back downstairs to the basement. You sigh in relief, but leave the party with your friends feeling angry and violated.
Two young men at the corner of 105th street and Whyte avenue harassed two women walking by. They yelled what they would like to do to the women’s anuses and were extremely disrespectful when the women told them off, saying that they were disgusting. They drove off in a red Pontiac Sunfire.
I was in my art class at school and a few boys at my table were talking about later playing the “hey, girl!” game. I wasn’t exactly sure what that was, but I had a pretty good idea, and they were *kind* enough to explain that they drive around neighborhoods and, when passing a girl (or woman), yelling to them from the car as they drove by. I calmly explained to them that that qualifies as harassment and is not okay, but they seemed not to understand. I looked to some of the other girls at the table for help in backing this up, but all of them had awkwardly averted their eyes, trying to avoid conflict. I don’t know whether they listened to me. I don’t know if they continued to go out and verbally assault women from the safety of a moving car, or if they took to heart what I said. But thank you, girls in my class, for being afraid to hollaback, for failing to potentially prevent other women from being verbally assaulted.
Dear Hollabackers —
Our campaign is underway, and we couldn’t be more excited! In the first three days we raised over $3000. To donate or to check it out, click here. We need your support to make this dream a reality!
Permanent Wave hosted a benefit show on our behalf! Big thanks to the team at Permanent Wave, and the bands who played including Leda, Young Unknowns, Emerald Lakes, and Cindy Lou Gooden. We raised $225 towards our campaign to end campus harassment!
We went to the Ms. Foundation Gala! I was joined by our board members Yetta Kurland and Kathleen Adams. It was such an honor to be there — as the Ms. Foundation was our first foundation funder! We are so grateful to them for believing in us from the beginning.
Our site leaders from Baltimore and Brussels were in town! They are amazing, and doing such amazing work. It was so awesome to meet them.
Keep on holla’ing back! And don’t forget to spread the word about our campaign to end campus harassment!
HOLLA and out —
We are taking Hollaback! to the next level, take a minute to watch our campaign video and to donate here. We are in the first week of our campaign and have already raised $2,865 of our $25,000 goal! Help us to end harassment on college campuses! Donate today, every donation counts!
We are taking Hollaback! to the next level, take a minute to watch our campaign video and to donate here. Yesterday was the first day of our campaign and we already raised $1,570 of our $25,000 goal! Help us to end harassment on college campuses! Donate today, every donation counts!
BY EMILY MAY
I grew up on a pretty steady diet of Sesame Street. I moved to New York City from Richmond when I was 18 years old — and as I was exiting my dorm some guy said “hey baby” to me. Assuming New York City was like grown-up Sesame Street, I said “hey” back. He responded, “I want to **** the **** out of you.” The harassment continued throughout my college education, and I figured it was my fault. I didn’t look “tough” enough, and if I was really a strong woman than it wouldn’t hurt so much. But it did.
We started Hollaback! in 2005 thinking that street harassment was an urban problem. Over the past seven years I’ve talked to thousands of college students, and they’ve shown me that street harassment happens all over college campuses. It doesn’t matter how big or small the campus is, or if it’s in a rural or urban area. Studies show that 51% of college men admit to harassing their female counterparts, which of course means the reality is much, much worse.
My sister is going to college next year, and from where I’m sitting enough is enough. In a 2005 study 57% of students said that they wanted an anonymous online reporting platform to address campus harassment. It was by far and away the #1 solution voted for by students. When I called the author of the report, she said that no one ever implemented the recommendation. NO ONE. Luckily, anonymous online reporting is what Hollaback! does best.
We’re taking Hollaback! to the next level, and we need your support. Take two minutes to watch our campaign video and donate here.
This is a long fight — but we’re in it to win it. And with your support, all the baby girls rolling around in strollers today will never have to experience campus harassment the way that we have.
Today I was playing frisbee with my boyfriend at the beach. This man’s son had been stalking me in the water for about 25 minutes, but I had ignored it. When my boyfriend and I moved to play frisbee on the sand, I turned around and noticed a little girl holding a phone. Apparently, the father had sent his kids over to take photos of me without my knowledge. My boyfriend said something to him and the man said “It’s just a picture.” I felt so hurt and violated. I didn’t let my boyfriend handle the situation because I felt that I owed it to myself to take care of it. I reported them to the police. That was all I could do.
Street harassment is one of the most pervasive forms of gender-based violence and one of the least legislated against – and rarely, if ever, is it linked to masculinity. It’s time to make the connection between our experiences on the street with what society teaches boys about what it means to be a man. And it’s time to offer a positive alternative – healthy masculinity. Now, some of the nation’s leading non-profit organizations are coming together to launch the most comprehensive effort ever centered on centered on non-violent, emotionally healthy masculinity.
What is the Healthy Masculinity Action Project (HMAP)?
The Healthy Masculinity Action Project (HMAP) is a two-year national grassroots initiative to build a new generation of male leaders who will model non-violent, emotionally healthy masculinity and serve as positive change makers in society – helping to take their communities from awareness to action. Everyday men, women, and teens nationwide are all driving HMAP.
Who is behind HMAP?
Men Can Stop Rape, the project leader, is joined by HMAP’s organizing partners: the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence, Men Stopping Violence, Coach for America, Women of Color Network, and A CALL TO MEN.
A number of organizations are helping by promoting HMAP to their national networks. Hollaback! is among them.
We hope you will join us in this effort. Ultimately, it will take everyone for HMAP to be a success.
The Healthy Masculinity Summit will kick off HMAP this October. Watch for more information in upcoming weeks.
It was Halloween 2011 and I was in a cat suit. It wasn’t too controversial or anything, just sleek black, not even that “sexy”. I was walking with a friend past a group of guys and my tail was tugged at and said something offensively sexual. They were all just smiling at me as if I was glad they grabbed my tail or like if I was amused.
I felt helpless and I didn’t know what else to do other then to give them a nasty stare. I think I said “no” as well.
It was a situation I keep going back to and wishing I could of done something else. I felt weak.