I wish I could say the story I’m about to tell is my only ever experience of unwanted attention from men in the street. It’s not, by a long long way, but it’s by far the worst. Two weeks ago I was walking to my office when a white van pulled up alongside me and the man inside wound the window down. I assumed he was going to ask for directions but instead said ‘look at you, so sexy, I’d love some hard sex with you right now.’ I was stunned – this was totally unprovoked in broad daylight and I couldn’t have looked less sexy in my winter coat. Always far too polite, I said I wasn’t interested as I’m married. At this point the guy lost his temper completely, calling me a retard and a bitch, asking me if I was ‘too backward’ to understand that he wasn’t interested in whether I was married, he was only interested in sex. A male colleague also walking to the office came past and told me to ‘leave it’ and we walked away. I was shaken for days afterwards and thought about going to the police but was worried I’d be wasting their time, and felt too foolish to ask my colleague to be a witness – even though I’d done nothing to attract this attention. The next day I was wolf whistled at by another guy in a car as I walked home, and ever since I’ve been looking for something like Hollaback, because I’m sick of being made to feel small and uncomfortable just for being female.
We had a lot going on this past week here at Hollaback! HQ.
Desiree was out of the office last week because she was at the Twitter offices! She attended a symposium held by Twitter that focused on their new policies on online safety. We’re also excited to announce that we have been asked to join their safety council which looks to combat online harassment!
CJ met with Brooklyn Frontier High School to discuss a new project. Brooklyn Frontier, Groundswell and Hollaback! will be working together to create a mural on street harassment. We are pumped to be working with Groundswell again and can’t wait to see the finished product.
Debjani and Emily were both interviewed for a future documentary project on online harassment. Just another day at the office!
Hollaback! Vancouver was interviewed by the Straight.com about their (amazing) feminist valentines. The feminist valentines were chosen from a competition that was hosted by the site. Head on down to their site and pick yours up today!
Hollaback! Croatia attended the “Take Responsibility for the Murder of Women” protest. The protest was motivated by the fact that in the past month alone there have been 4 women murdered in Croatia by a partner or family member.
Thats all for this week! Stay tuned for next week!
Holla and out!
This happened to me today, as I was leaving the train station (like I do every day). I had been waiting in the station for a good 10 minutes with my friend, who was picked up before my mother got to the station to pick me up (I’m 16, I can’t drive). It’s a pretty big station, with escalators and little shops. My mom got to the station and I walked to the exit (it’s in a secluded area), but some guy was standing there (half-blocking the escalator) and began asking me a question. I pulled out one of my earbuds to listen, and he said “Do you know where the colleges are?” Umm…what? I literally had no idea what to respond to his bullshit question, but very politely responded “No, I don’t, sorry.” Before I could keep walking, he proceeded to ask me another question: “Do you know a guy, named horny?” This was when I turned around and RAN down the escalator. Then he yelled after me, “Miss, do you know the guy?!” I didn’t look back, I thought he was going to run after me. I could have fallen and broken my neck while running down that escalator with my heavy backpack, but I was so freaked out it didn’t matter. My face felt like it was melting and my heart was in my throat. I got into my mom’s car and pretended like everything was fine. This was the first incident of street harassment that I’ve experienced and, I fear, the first of many.
Walking near Washington University at St. Louis when a white pickup truck drives past. The man on the passenger side leans out the window and shouts “Nice butt!” Having no clue what to do, I go with “pretend I can’t hear him and try not to give him the satisfaction of a reaction” and keep walking. Proceed to feel self-conscious and upset all the way home.
We had another great week here at Hollaback! HQ. We continued to celebrate our launch of HeartMob with some really awesome press. Our executive director, Emily May, was interviewed by Fusion and the interview was featured on their Snapchat Discover channel. The interview went live on their website yesterday. Hollaback! HQ and multiple Hollaback! sites around the world have been busy these past few weeks writing a collaborative letter addressing the media coverage of the NYE attacks in Cologne. The letter went live on Wednesday. To read it, click here. Thank you to all who were involved in the making of the letter. You rock!
And at Hollaback! around the world:
Hollaback! Vancouver announced the winners of their Feminist Valentines Contest. You can buy these badass valentines by emailing Hollaback! Vancouver at [email protected] Order soon so that you have them in time to give to all of your valentines.
Hollaback! Atlanta is partnering with Hu-MAN Up, One Billion Rising Atlanta and Men Stopping Violence for a screening of The Mask You Live In this Monday, February 8th.
Hollaback! Croatia will be dancing with One Billion Rising Croatia on February 14th.
Stay tuned for more badass stuff next week!
Holla and out!
I was walking down Hertel Ave by myself this afternoon, on my way home from the bank, minding my own business. I questioned my choice to wear leggings instead of jeans with my tunic before I left the house for this exact reason, but told myself that it shouldn’t matter and that I was strong enough to overcome any unwelcome comments. Well sure enough an older male came up from behind me on his bike and turned as he passed me to get a good up and down as he said “you so fiiine”. He almost hit a pole as he turned to continue on, and I wanted nothing more in that moment than for him to have actually hit it. I was so skeeved out and uncomfortable, but I managed to reply “f*ck you, I hope you get hit by a car”. I continued on my way home but when I saw him get off his bike and stop up ahead of me, I choose to turn down a side street just to avoid going past him again. I hate that I allowed this creep to even affect my day and my route home but it was less painful than passing him again and giving him another opportunity to make more unwanted comments or worse.
I have experienced on more than one occasion inappropriate comments by a male co- worker. The comments have varied and usually are directed by how I look. From simply telling me I look good today to how he was thinking about me recently. It’s subtly but very uncomfortable because not only is he my coworker but he happens to say these things only when no one else is around. I’ve mentioned it to another coworker who said that he’s just a really “nice guy”. My instinct and gut feeling tell me otherwise. I’m married and so is he. I can say that if my husband spoke to the women he worked with the way this guy did I would not be happy. I do think he knows what he is doing and I think he is just pushing to see how far he can get. It’s just uncomfortable but I’ve decided I’m going to say something to him if it continues and I WILL let a superior person at work know.
This is all just not ok and needs to stop!
So I was walking to get lunch and some tall guy walked over and put his arms around me, saying things like,”hey babe,” and touching my hair and saying,”I like redheads.” Of course, I was furious at him and attempted to push him off. He seemed pretty shocked and kept asking if I was his girlfriend. I just gave him a death glare and ran, but men, I swear, they drive me nuts.
I was walking home from an event only a few blocks from home. I cut through a parking lot and saw a couple guys getting into their car. I was at least 30 feet past them when I heard someone call out ‘hey’ a couple of times. I ignored it and continued walking quickly but he got louder and finally yelled out ‘you with the orange scarf’. I turned to see a guy leaning out the passenger side but I was still walking fast. he said ‘you better look at me when i’m talking to you’. I had already turned my head back around and kept walking. I was right at my back gate but I didn’t want them to see where I live, so I kept walking as if it weren’t my house. At this point I was out of their sight so I walked around the corner to head to my front door, thinking I was done with them. About halfway down the block, a car pulled over to the curb, the passenger window rolled down, and the man said ‘I found you’.
they had gone around the other side of the block. I kept going, this time straight for my front door, wishing i had pulled out my phone. when I got to my front gate, I turned to see the car was gone.
I was cycling back home at stound 8pm tonight, after helping my boyfriend move house. The route home is well lit but usually quiet. As I cycled across a bridge a group of 6 middle aged men walking towards me started cat calling and yelling. They then obstructed my path forcing me to slow down and veer to the the other side. I tried to ignore them and cycle away as quickly as possible but I felt intimidated and scared as no one else was around. This is just one example of something that happens regularly but it’s started to effect my behaviour and I want to do something to prevent this insidious attitude happening