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A man in my street about 50 years of age with a wife and 2 kids has masturbated in his bedroom window to me on my way home from school, he’s walked out on the street and done the same on the footpath.
He still tries to talk to me when I walk by.
In the past week Hollaback! was featured by New York Observer, Stop Street Harassment, Impower You, Vitamin W, She Finds, Huffington Post, Jezebel, Yahoo, Daily Collegian, PR Daily, NewsFix, CTV Primetime, The Loop, AOL online, Total Beauty, Feminist Wednesday and The Prospect, who wrote a great piece on the normalization, embarrassment, confusion and reporting complications of public harassment.
Hollaback! started a petition requesting Burt’s Bees change its crudely written labeling. The change.org petition reached 2,000 signatures in only a few days and became a story noted across the blogosphere. We won! Burt’s Bees and Gud eventually offered a sincere apology for their offensive marketing and agreed to no longer put such offensive language on future products. Check out the storify here!
Here’s what the HOLLAs around the world have been up to:
Hollaback! Boston hosted their last Take Back The Bar event of the year and had a great turnout. They facilitated a workshop at the New England Women’s Center Conference about how story sharing contributes to the creation of safer spaces. They’re also hosting workshops at two colleges this week: Emerson College last night (Emerson also hosted a HB-themed photoshoot this weekend) and at Tufts University.
Hollaback! Appalachian Ohio delivered four lessons to the 8th graders at Vinton Middle School in McArthur Ohio. HB!AO was featured on Athens Community Television. Devin and Sarah were invited onto an interview show where they spoke on the Sexual Assault Prevention Program, Hollaback Appalachian Ohio!, the 4 D’s of self defense and Athens Rock Camp for Girls. It’s an hour long, and in two segments, the interview is available on YouTube, as well as being aired EVERY DAY for two weeks starting on Nov 30!
Hollaback Belfast was featured in The Tab and represented at the Outburst Arts Queer Arts Festival. On Sunday, Helen Mcbride of HB!B spoke on a panel discussion about activism following a showing of the movie Lesbiana. As a part of the festival, the team also published a zine!
Hollaback! Bosnia & Herzegovina also had an amazing win this week with the first case of street harassment properly reported to police and processed in a court room! A huge step for Sarajevo city!
Congratulations, everyone! Great Work!
HOLLA and out!
-The Hollaback! Team
I was walking through student housing neighborhoods on my way home to my apartment. I was with another female friend and we passed a house at the same moment that five males came out the front door. We were talking and only glanced at the noise, but one of them shouted “Hey sluts!!” to us.
I instinctively turned around to say something but realized a reaction is what they were seeking. So I turned back around and we kept walking. They continued to shout things at us: rude, insulting comments.
I do not care if they were sober or highly intoxicated – it is not an excuse. Who do these people think they are? How could someone possibly think they have the right to speak to a stranger in such an offensive way? The worst part is that that one word will stick with me forever. I am sure they have forgotten about it and will never think about it again. But I will not forget. How it felt to be talked to in such a way. They don’t know me. How dare someone speak to another human being that way. It infuriates me that we live in a world like this.
I am so angry at these monsters that think they can treat women this way. And what’s unbearable is that their goal of seeking control is sometimes, it works. Every time this happens to me, I plan a new route, or avoid going out late at night. When I do this, they have gained control over public space by removing my comfort and feelings of safety in that area. How do I stand up against this while still being safe? I am so incredibly frustrated.
Walking back from the fast station, I refused to give six individuals a cigarette so the group decided to follow me all the way home, all the while being screamed at and threatened. It was horrifying.
I was walking to work from my garage when a car pulled over and the driver, a middle-aged man, rolled down his window to catcall at me. This is soooo not the first time this has happened, even in the last week. But I lost my temper today and I stopped to say bewilderingly “does that work for you?!”
The guy got angry and defensive, shouting about how I wouldn’t pay attention to him otherwise, and I shouted that it was rude and I didn’t want to talk to him, so don’t talk to me. He rolled up his window at that point and drove away, and I continued into work.
It sure would be nice to be able to go a week of the one-block-walk from my garage to my office without this happening.
I was walking to work and a man in a green sweater started talking about my thigh length socks. I told him I didnt want to talk to him and kept walking. He screamed bitch and whore at me as i walked 2 blocks.
I WALKED TWO BLOCKS TODAY!!! I HATE IT. I CRIED AND HAD TO LEAVE WORK. I CANNOT TAKE IT!!!! WHY DO THEY DO THIS?????
Today, in honor of Transgender Day of Remembrance, we’re taking some time to read over a section from our #HarassmentIs publication. These stories highlight many of ways that transfolks experience violence and discrimination in public spaces. At Hollaback!, we believe that everyone should have equal and safe access to public spaces. This Transgender Day of Remembrance we encourage you to share your stories and stand up against street harassment. Let’s work together to make spaces safer for everyone.
From pages 29-31 of Harassment Is: An Exploration of Identity and Street Harassment
“I always fancy myself one of the bros. I’ve struggled with the idea of being transgender, but have a deep rooted belief in loving my body no matter what….but [once I was harassed] ..I didn’t feel fear. What I did feel though was humiliation and disconnect. In one comment a complete stranger disrupted my place in my group.” – Hollaback!’er
Transgender people may feel that their assigned sex at birth does not match their internal sex or gender. Trans identities, like most identities, exist on a wide spectrum.
Many people exist outside of the either/or of man or women, or come to those identities in different ways. Sadly, a lot of people who identify as trans and/or gender-non conforming face violence, harassment, sexualization, fetishization, and discrimination. Sometimes this violence can be physical, and sometimes it can also be psychological. Imagine what it feels like to not be seen for who you are.
The story below highlights some of the anger, sadness, and frustration that can come along with not being seen as your gender and experiencing street harassment. Elizabeth writes,
“I was walking out of Starbucks and two college-age looking guys yelled “faggot” at me. I am a transgender woman and I have no problem with people noticing that I am a transgender woman. I am very offended when people call me things that I am not. I was so angry that I threw my coffee to the ground and just got in my car and left.” http://bit.ly/15U0qMs
The next story sheds light on the very real threat of violence and escalation of street harassment as a trans* person. One Hollaback!’er writes,
“I think often when we speak about transgender issues, that human voice and visibility is missing. Therefore, I feel it is important to share one of my own stories with bathroom harassment. Often when I first was transitioning, I would do my best to avoid public restrooms…When you are transitioning from using the female restrooms to male restrooms a lot changes. You fear going into female restrooms because women constantly tell you that you are in the wrong restroom. They yell at you, and protect their children like you are going to hurt them…See, because as much as we fear that verbal harassment, I now fear the physical assault upon entering the men’s restroom. It’s hard to confront those who know you or strangers when they state you don’t have a penis, this means you are not a man, get out, freak, etc…It’s not only the physical threat that scares me when this happens, but the mental damage of constantly feeling threatened or fearing another assault as I choose what uniform to wear any given day: is it the straight male, the gay male, the butch female that will cause me the least harm, and more so why must we choose what option means least harm. Which option will disarm those directing assaults at me.”
My partner (a guy) and I enjoy making and wearing costumes (and in my city there is no shortage of costumed events). For Halloween, I had decided to be a video game antagonist known for the huge helmet he wears. While the helmet covered my entire face and most of my torso, anyone could still tell I was a woman because the rest of the costume was an A-line undershirt and a butcher’s apron over leggings -not skimpy but you could see my shape.
Because I have a good case of bitch-face and a fast aggressive walk, I rarely get hassled in daily life but while I was an anonymous woman wearing a mask on Halloween, I got the most harassment of my life. Even with my guy standing next to me, randoms would come over to touch me (like I was a Real Doll), to tell me how hot I was even though they couldn’t see what I looked like, and when I tilted the helmet to peer at them they would tell me to leave it on, as if I were a fetish object for their pleasure and confronting them with my personhood would ruin their good time.
Even when my partner would intervene they wouldn’t stop trying to pick me up until we relocated. Of course, when we had successfully gotten away from one jerk, another would take his place. It’s not even as if they knew my character! The worst offenders had no idea what I was even supposed to be, only that I was a woman’s body without a visible head. I have never felt so much like a piece of meat in my life. I’ve never been to a Con but think maybe now I know how the women that attend those might feel.
I was walking to go get some coffee in my neighborhood, when some guy driving by yelled “YOU’RE GONNA GET RAPED!!!” extremely aggressively.
It was terrifying and I started crying.
I was waiting for my boyfriend to pick me up after class, near the entrance to the parking lot. I was looking at my phone and into the parking lot, wondering if he had parked and I had not seen him. I wondered around a bit and didn’t see the car, so I started to walk back towards the entrance. As I was walking, a man sitting in a parked truck whistled at me and made some other noises. At first I thought he was calling a DOG, I looked around and then looked at him. He made the same noises along with a come here hand motion. I shook my head and he continued to make the noises and whistle.
I was so offended that he thought it was not only acceptable behavior, but that it would work. I ended up shouting, “I AM NOT A F**KING DOG A**HOLE!” Flipped him off and walked away. Perhaps not the best way to handle the situation, but I was mad. Still makes me mad thinking about it.