I thought this only happened when I was dressed in somewhat revealing clothes, but I was wrong. I was walking to Ana’s to get some food before going to hang out with friends when one guy walking by on a cell phone stopped right in front of me, stared right at my chest, pulled the phone away from his ear and said “Damn!” before moving on like nothing had happened. I’d become somewhat used to this when wearing low cut tops, sadly enough, but on this day I was wearing a turtleneck. I was so shocked by the rudeness that I couldn’t get it out of my mind for the rest of the day.
I just turned 18, and this story is from a few months ago. I was sitting in the park with a male friend of mine, on a warm spring day. I was wearing a tight mini skirt and a t shirt. I got up and walked across the lawn to the park bathrooms. There were two men sitting on a concrete ledge outside the bathrooms – the man closest to me had grey hair and leathery, sun damaged skin, and his friend was young, maybe in his early twenties, good looking. As I walked past the older guy, he called after me, “Hey there, what’s your name? Spare a cigarette? Hey, who do you think is cuter, me or my friend?” I ignored them and went into the bathroom.
When I came back out, I walked past them quickly, hoping they had taken my silence for an answer and moved on. Instead, the same guy called out to me again, “Hey, come sit with us for a minute!” I kept walking away. “You’ve got nice legs! Thanks for wearing that skirt today and giving me something to look at!” I could hear them both laughing, and I walked even faster.
When I got back to the spot where my friend was waiting for me, I sat down and immediately told him what happened, and described how I wished I had flipped the guys off or yelled back at them, and complained about how this sort of thing happens to me almost every day. He laughed and said, “You do have nice legs though, I like to look at them too…”
I know that the way I dress influences the type and amount of comments I receive when I’m walking around my city alone. I dress however I want to regardless. I like the way I look and I refuse to change the way I present myself out of fear.
Fall is in full swing here at Hollaback. I was in GLAMOUR MAGAZINE (in france no less!) with our site leaders from London and France (pictured above), and we launched SEVEN new sites this week! They include:
Recommendations for policymakers! Based on our findings in the report “When Street Harassment Comes Indoors,” we made a list of recommendations for policy-makers and service providers looking for ideas to combat street harassment. Check them out and pass them on to your local legislators.
Hollaback Benefit Drag show, September 22nd at Stonewall! This Party to benefit Hollaback will feature Music Spun all night by Dj Executive Realness and two drag shows hosted by Frostie Flakes! Suggested donation at the door $5. RSVP on facebook, here.
Thank you, Vicky! As you may remember, Vicky Simister from the UK Anti-Street Harassment Campaign was here in our office helping us with social media and our new college campaign this summer. She was an incredible volunteer, and on a more personal note, became an incredible friend. She may no longer work at Hollaback, but she’ll always be a Hollaback girl in our hearts!
Welcome, Tabasum! Tabasum Wolayat comes from Afganistan and is volunteering with us for the next three weeks before she heads off to a Master’s program at Oxford. She won awards for her undergraduate thesis on street harassment in Afganistan, and is currently working with Young Women For Change to launch Afganistan’s first women-only internet cafe.
Hollaback Baltimore holds first ever Street Harassment water balloon fight! THIS IS A MUST WATCH VIDEO:
Hollaback South Africa fights for women to be allowed to sing in public. Check out this video of their powerful campaign:
Whew! Whatta week. It wouldn’t be possible without your support.
HOLLA and out –
At about 4pm this afternoon I was walking from the bus to my apartment. It’s only a 3 block walk and I do it often. The street was empty. I saw a teenager in a hoodie walking toward me. I didn’t think anything of it because it happens all the time. I started to get a weird feeling but decided to ignore it. As I walked past him he got close to me and grabbed my left breast. I carry pepper spray with me all the time but I was carrying two large grocery bags (one each hand) and couldn’t go for it. I just kept walking as I was in shock and afraid that he might follow me. There’s a motorcycle shop on the corner so I crossed the street and stood in front of it to check if the guy had turned around. I looked down the street and he was following me. I didn’t know what to do so I walked quickly to where there were a lot of people and he disappeared. I didn’t call the police because my friend was groped earlier this summer, pointed the guy out to police and they didn’t do anything about it. I also didn’t tell anyone about it because I don’t want them to worry. I feel so validated. But more so I’m mad that I didn’t think to grab my phone or to drop my bags and pepper spray him.
I was stepping off the bus having spent a wonderful day in the city centre with two of my friends. As I did so, a car drove past with two lads inside. They shouted something at me – I have no idea what, as my headphones were in and my music was pretty loud, but they seemed really pleased with themselves. From the faces of the people on the bus, whatever they said was not pleasant. I’m glad I didn’t hear it. Still, it freaked me enough to walk the couple of streets home at a far quicker pace than usual.
I was walking down the street in the early afternoon, after babysitting. I was wearing shorts and an old red t shirt. I hadn’t showered in two days and thought I looked gross. It was hot outside.
I was crossing the street when a middle aged man said in a forceful voice “I would f**k the shit out of you.” As he passed, he was so close to me that I could feel his breath on my ear when he said it.
I was shocked. But I have decided that I am not going to take it anymore. I will not be passive. I turned around and shouted “Excuse me?” Before responding, he looked around and repeated himself. “I would f**k the shit out of you.” He shouted it louder this time.
I never would have thought that would happen to me in a nicer neighborhood in Manhattan or that it would happen on a day when I looked like I rolled right out of bed. I dressed like that purposefully because I thought it looked bad. I don’t like getting cat called.
I always feel helpless when I think back on that and other times I have been harassed on the street. I was not trying to get anyone’s attention. It’s hot outside, I would like to wear shorts.
I feel stressed out when I know I have to walk outside and be exposed to eyes that will follow my legs as I go by. Or when I get the courage to meet a stranger’s eyes in confrontation only to get a smile back as if he likes that I have given him attention. Don’t do that. I don’t like it.
I was walking up and down Market St. in downtown Frederick to drop my resume off at restaurants. One guy hung out the side of his truck and called “Heeey, girl!” as he drove by. Half a block up, I saw that he was stopped at a traffic light, so I had to wait awkwardly until he’d pulled away. A little later another guy whistled at me from a van. They were small, but it was enough to put me on edge, which wasn’t great while I was stepping into restaurants and bars and talking to the managers.
Walking home from station, hollared at & hooted at from a passing car. Made me mad as I am in my fifties/old enough to be their grandma I reckon. It is soooo unnecessary.
I hereby would like to sincerely apologize, for having ignored your questions today.
I must say that I’m not proud of myself. And I will try to be nicer the next time.
This being said, I would also like to take a moment to help you with your search.
If I understood correctly, you are looking for someone to fuck.
Allow me to point out, that shouting at a random girl, might not be a good way to handle it.
Women kind of need foreplay, you see.
I advise you to try eye contact the next time. And some small talk, before asking the girl on a proper date. A nice restaurant. Maybe a movie.
It takes some effort, but I’m sure you’ll multiply your chances of getting lucky very fast.
On the other hand, if you already know that women need some warming up, this becomes a whole other story. In that case I think you should find out why you enjoy being impolite.
Is it because your mother and sister hit you repeatedly, which made you hate all women? Or do you just have a teeny-tiny little weiner?
Whatever the issue may be, I truly hope you understand what your problem is.
Because I sure don’t.
Any which way, I wish you a good day and a quick lay.
I was coming home from a party one night (1:30am) and decided to walk because I live near by. There was a group of men standing outside a convince store I passed and as I walked by one said “shit, look at those tits!” to his friends who all proceeded to stare at my chest. I immediately felt self-conscious and unsafe, especially considering I’m much younger than those men (I’m 17 they looked 30ish) I glared at them and as I walked on I heard them laugh, but it wasn’t funny, not to me.