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I was taking the train home from work. A man came by and seemed to be selling train tickets. He spoke to me (his voice was very hard to understand) and I said no thanks and he moved along. He then circled back and asked if he could sit across from me. I said sure and tried to look busy. He wouldn’t stop talking to me even though my headphones were in and I tried several times to just ignore him. I reluctantly talked to him for a while while he asked me when my birthday was and if I had kids and I just wished he’d take a hint and leave. Then he asked if he could give me a kiss and before I knew it he stood up, leaned over and kissed my cheek. I tried to push him away and I said “no” several times in a loud voice but he didn’t care. He sat back down and kept talking to me while I sat, shaking. I was looking around, hoping someone had noticed but the train wasn’t very full and nobody saw. There was an older woman in the seat ahead of him (I try to sit near other women) but her headphones were in and she didn’t notice. The man kept talking to me and I pulled out my book and insisted that I just wanted to read. He kept talking, he touched my leg before I pulled it away, and eventually put his hand out for me to shake hands (he put it directly in my line of sight so there was no ignoring him) and I was so flustered I just took it. He said my hands were soft and that I was very pretty and he finally left. I spent the rest of the train ride shaking and nearly crying and hoping he wouldn’t follow me home. As soon as my stop arrived, I called my boyfriend so someone would be on the phone with me as I walked home. He was out of town so I spent the rest of the night alone and scared. I told him everything but it was so hard to explain how helpless I felt (he’s 6’1 and not easily intimidated). I keep replaying it in my head, knowing it could have been so much worse but still hating every second of it. I wish I had known how to react. I can’t believe I shook his hand afterwards. I’m somehow ashamed; I know it was mostly from shock and the fear of inciting anything worse, but still. The next day I didn’t have access to my car so I had to take the train again to work. I got a friend to drive me home in the evening so I could put off those feelings a little longer. Plus I don’t want him to figure out my schedule. My budget and lifestyle depend on public transportation. I’m hoping it gets better but I have a feeling it’s going to get worse.
A friend and I were walking down the street, after the bars closed, with our boyfriends not far behind us. We started walking down this alley way, our boyfriends about a block behind, and these three guys passed us. One came up, about five inches from my face, and said a very inappropriate sexual comment, which honestly I can’t think of the exact words. Luckily we had a larger group behind us, which we were both able to run back to.
On Friday, the whole staff went to lunch to celebrate our spring interns who will be leaving us in the next few weeks. We’ve loved working with all of them over the semester and had an amazing time celebrating with a great meal.
At our sites,
Hollaback! Bogota took part in the #MiPrimerAcoso campaign and held a Twitter chat.
Hollaback! Poland attended a protest held by Foundations for Positive Change. They protested the verdict of a rape trial that came out this week.
That’s all for this week! Stay tuned for more awesome things next week!
Holla and Out
When I first moved to Beaumont I lived with my sister and her husband until I found a job. Their house was directly across the street from a convenience store that I would walk to. Several times I would be stopped, the front door blocked, grabbed by the arm, grabbed by the hair once, forced to listen to sexual comments about my body or what they wanted to do to me. I finally started carrying a knife and occasionally walking my dog (a large Rottweiler/German Shepherd mix) just to feel safe. The harassment never stopped. I never stopped walking across the street though. I refused to be afraid. Most of the men started to leave me alone once they realized I wasn’t afraid of them. Or at least was very good at acting unafraid.
We want to first thank everyone who came out to support our 4th Annual International Anti-Street Harassment Rally last Saturday. We’ve uploaded some great photos from the event onto our Facebook page and more will be on their way soon. Check them out!
Hollaback! sites from around Canada came together to write a joint statement in regards to the Jian Ghomeshi case. You can read the letter here and promote the statement using the hashtag #WeBelieveSurvivors.
And at Hollaback! sites around the world:
Hollaback! Baltimore site leader Brittany Oliver spoke at “Uniting Women’s Struggles: Resisting Supremacist Regimes.” They also took part in the #Cometogether: Community Building Fridays this month with other activists from the Baltimore area.
Hollaback! Vegas will be holding a screening of the Hunting Ground and holding a chalking event next Friday, April 29th.
That’s all for this week!
Holla and out!
For 4 years at East Henderson High school I heard at least one negative thing about my body everyday. The girls would walk by and there would be guys rating our parts from 1-10.Lets just say the healthy girls that were not under weight or over weight got low numbers. I was walking in the walmart and some punk yelled your hot strut that! I didn’t respond and he called me fat. Im 98 pounds…. Another time I was walking in the Walmart and some punk said “she shouldn’t wear heels she has no ass”.
Walking back from a religious service in the evening my friend and I were shouted out by college aged men in an SUV with the windows rolled down.
This is just one of the many recent run-ins I’ve had with street harassers. I am a 27-year-old woman who has lived in New York for six years and I encounter these people just about every day. This one, was particularly scary, though, and stuck in my memory for many reasons.
I was just leaving my apartment building when a young man tapped me on the shoulder and made a sexual comment about my appearance. I was very put off by his comment and his physical contact so I told him to leave me alone and I went about my business picking up my dry cleaning. Like I said, I deal with street harassment almost every day so my tolerance and my patience for it has gotten very low over the years.
Minutes later, I was walking back and he was loitering outside of a housing project with some friends and they decided to start taunting me as I walked by. They made very lewd comments and I flipped out on him, called him a motherfucker and said he was raised by animals.
My harasser threatened to rape and to kill me. He also identified that he had seen me walking with my boyfriend in the vicinity before ( described him physically) and said he would kill him. I went to the police precinct and they were no help at all. The (make) officer told me that I was “very attractive” and that’s why get catcalled and threatened . He also told me not to “provoke” Street harassers acted like I was somehow at fault.
After spending all day with my husband and not hearing a word from strange men on the street, not minutes after I left him with friends to go meet my friend for dinner a man shouted at me from his car something about my butt in my jeans. When I didn’t respond he angrily yelled that I should at least say thank you. This is my first time back in San Francisco in years and my mood instantly changed from being excited to be here and explore to wanting to leave and go back to the small town I now live in where I drive everywhere and can avoid street harassment for the most part.
I was walking home from class in the afternoon. I always have to walk by the alley next to a junk and trinket store. I walked by with headphones on, and 3 guys on mopeds shouted at me. I ignored them, turned off my headphones volume to hear them. One guy shouted louder, I ignored him, and walked faster. I rounded a corner, and all three started following me, on bike and shouting at me to ‘join them for some fun’ from the road, I sped-walked toward this convenience store where I knew the owner, and they got mad, calling me every slur in the book. Eventually, I ran to get inside because the moped guys chased after me into the lot still screaming. I waited inside for a bit, cause they were still in the parking lot, shakily bought a soda when they left, and ran to my apartment, checking every street in case they came back.