Laís Tomaz’s story: No one even said anything

Hi everyone .. I’m from São Paulo (Brazil), it’s sad such huge city still doesn’t has its own IHollaback, hope I can do something to help about it ..

Well, today at the train (rush hour, really reaaaally crowded) a guy started touching his penis and looking at girls around him, I noticed it, but didn’t say a thing until he started looking at me. I just couldn’t take it quietly anymore, it’s so fucking sick .. I told him ‘what are you looking at?!’ and he got all angry, started yelling, calling me names, I told him he was disgusting and kept looking into his eyes till he was leaving the train .. then he started yelling ‘so what? you wanna beat me? I don’t have a problem beating a girl, c’mon here outside and I will show you’. I started clapping and yell ‘Congratulations to you woman beater, really beautiful!’ .. as expected, more calling me horrible names

THE WORSE: I had hundreds of witness, NO ONE said a thing!!! Why? Because I’m supposed to keep quiet and accept this kind of thing as a woman. I was the problem, I started a situation .. I bet they will let him beat me if he started to..

I’m feeling so hurt right now, like I don’t have rights ou dignity, everyone here just tell me to shut up the next time and I’m lucky I didn’t got beaten ..

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HOLLAWho? Meet Brussels.

Meet Anna, the thoughtful mover and shaker fighting street harassment in Brussels.

Why do you HOLLA?  I Holla to show myself, my harassers and those around me that harassment is unacceptable. I Holla because it inspires me to be the strong person I can be. I Holla because it reinforces the fact that any large-scale oppressive treatment of a specific population simply can not be tolerated.

What’s your signature Hollaback?  The one I’ve been sticking with lately is saying: ‘’Don’t talk to me like that’’ in a serious and authoritative tone. Although, I tend to flip the bird if I am caught off guard.

What’s your craft? I am infinitely intrigued by the human body and mind. Almost everything I do with my time involves the exploration of those things through various mediums and thought processes.

What was your first experience with street harassment?  Witnessing: I remember being in Brooklyn and walking near McCarren Park. I saw a woman walking her dog and she had her cell phone out as well.  There was a car slowly driving by and the guy said something to her. She immediately responded with something about how she was there to have a walk. Before she responded, I didn’t know if they knew one another or if the male driver was harassing her.  I was so proud and in total admiration of this woman who responded, and I was so scared at the same time because I realized how a bystander like myself could let harassment happen because of fear and not knowing. Sometimes I can tell and I know I can do something. Sometimes I am unsure and then I am too slow to react or not brave enough. Now that Hollaback has the Bystander/Green Dot campaign, I feel well equipped to respond.

Define your style:  Funky, comfortable, utilitarian and a little bit hippy. Nothing too fancy… and a bit of athletic gear mixed in b/c of heading to or from one activity or another.

…Since I’ve moved to Brussels though, I wear a lot of black and a lot of pants to try to blend in– to avoid street harassment.

My superheroine/hero power is…Starting things: gathering people together, getting excited, supporting.

…Although I’m working on fire breathing and flying.

What do you collect?  Scents and sensations of experiences.

If you could leave the world one piece of advice, what would it be?  Follow your intuition. Stand up for what you know deep down to be right. Support one another. Breathe. Keep going.

What inspires you?  Seeing other people stand up for themselves or someone else. Seeing people work on issues they care about. Passion. Engagement. Care for oneself and others.


Tips For Improved Catcalling

While in a perfect world, people wouldn’t take it upon themselves to tell complete strangers what they thought of them at all, we appreciate the sentiments behind this hilarious video.

Street harassers: bored with the same old, tired routine? If you actually believe unsolicited comments on a woman’s appearance make her feel good, imagine how treating her like she has thoughts and feelings will make her feel!

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Nisha’s story: A few people made comments about how disgusting this was, but not enough..

Three boys in Latvia sat outside and as women passed, they held up signs with numbers to rate them.

A lot of the comments for this pictures are like “These guys deserve medals!” or “Man, I have to do this!”

A few people made comments about how disgusting this was, but not enough.

Street harassment at its finest.

The link is here.

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Victoria’s story: “I like your thickness”

I was 18 when I worked at F.Y.E.(a music/music store), and was sadly used to being hit on when working the cash register, but one man took it too far. After scanning his items and giving him the total, he handed me his money and said, “I like your thickness” I was shocked and thought I must have heard wrong, never would I imagine a stranger commenting on my weight in such a disgusting way. I asked, “Excuse me?” he repeated himself like he was complimenting me. Now sure I had heard correct I looked him dead in the eye and said, “What makes you think you can say that to me? You don’t know me, and you don’t talk to strangers like that. Do not talk to me.” I refused to let him think what he said was okay. He slinked away with his purchase. Afer he left, I was upset the rest of the work day, so appalled at how a stranger would treat me, but I’m glad I put him in his place.

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StreetSafe Doesn’t Want You To Have To Fear Walking Alone

This is cross-posted from Hollaback! Boston.

A new app called StreetSafe is available for people who feel threatened or unsafe when they’re walking alone. As Jezebel explains,

Women who sign up for Streetsafe, which starts at $19.99 a month, can call the company’s trained security advisers 24/7, no questions asked. Streetsafe offers two services: “Walk With Me,” billed as a personal safety escort service, and “Silent Alarm.” The latter is self explanatory — if you’re not able to call 911 yourself, slide a red button and StreetSafe will do it for you, using your GPS data to contact your local police station — but the former feature is really what makes the app stand out. “Imagine walking alone, or in an uncomfortable environment, but nothing has happened, so you can’t call 911. Walk with Me connects the user to a live Safety Advisor who will stay on the phone with you and keep you alert until you get to your destination safely,” says their website. If the situation becomes more dangerous, Streetsafe will contact 911, but the officials I spoke with said that hasn’t actually happened since they launched last August. Instead, most StreetSafe customers use the service on a regular basis, as a precaution.

I think we can all agree that the fact that we even have to fear walking alone on the street is a sad reality (one that we’re trying to change with your help!). The Jezebel article describes the app as being for “proactive and paranoid women,” the latter half of which I have to take issue with. Is it really paranoid to be afraid of being approached, threatened, or asasulted when experience and statistics prove that certain demographics (women, people of color, members of the LGBTQ community) are more likely to have these things happen to them? I would call that being realistic and having geniune concern for your safely, not being “paranoid,” which is a symptom of psychotic mental illness.

I see pros and cons to this app. Many people already do this kind of thing already. I know that I often call my mother when I’m walking alone. This Hollaback Girl called her brother. It’s very common to say to people “if you don’t hear from me by this time, make sure that nothing has happened to me,” or “please stay on the phone with me until I get home/to work/to my appointment.” Not everyone has someone that they can call, which would make this app a good resource for them. It would also be a good resource for people that work hours not conducive to calling a friend for a chat on their walk home– I know that I don’t have many friends that would appreciate a 2 AM phone call “just until I get home.” I also really like the 911 feature of this app. Though the company says that they haven’t had to use it yet, I like knowing that it’s an option.

On the otherhand, being on the phone can help lower your guard and make you a better target for being attacked since you are less aware of your surroundings while you’re distracted. The prices are also kind of high, so there is definitely a specific demographic that would be using this app. On the whole, though, the pros seem to outweigh the cons. There is also an app available for Android called “Guard My Angel” that is similar in nature (but utilizes texts moreso than calls) and costs less money.

What are your thoughts on this app? Would you use it? What do you do when you feel unsafe on the streets?

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Ali’s story: CODE ORANGE

I was late for school, really late, but what’s new? I was stressing over a paper and test in my English class and needed some caffeine to take the edge off. I stopped at a local 7-11 on my way to get my fix, and walked up to the cash register to pay for my purchase.

A man, average height, late 40’s, entered the store as I was waiting in line to pay. I have a habit of surveying everyone around me because of a prior experience with rape, and as per usual, I checked his threat level. I labeled him orange – which, in my terms, means he probably will whistle or perform a “NON-THREATENING” act of crude behavior. (As a side note, I find it ridiculous that I have to do this, regardless of where I am, but it’s an obsession of mine that will not dissipate until our culture changes its view on rape and violence against women.)

He stood behind me and proceeded to hiss in my ear. I could feel his breath on my neck, that’s how close he was to me. He whistled so loudly, I jumped and turned around. He then proceeded to lick his lips and gyrate his body. It was disturbing, to say the least.

I am incapable of not saying anything these days to the people who harass me. There were about 6 people in the store, so I loudly spoke up, allowing everyone to hear me crystal clear.


Needless to say, I embarrassed him beyond belief, and he muttered an “I’m sorry” under his tobacco breath. I paid for my drink, walked out, and got into my car. I sat there for a moment, engine running, and cried.

That is, until a woman came running from the 7-11 and knocked on my window.

“Thank you,” she said, fighting back her own tears. “Thank you for doing that. I was raped when I was 15 by a man I trusted. I never had the courage to speak up to the hundreds of other men who catcall, harass, and threaten me on a monthly basis. You have just given me the strength to stand up for myself. Thank you.”

I was stunned. Ladies, please know you are never alone in this. We are in it together. United we stand.

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demonstration, Stalking, Verbal

JM’s story: I wouldn’t say you have a big dick. I’d say you are a big dick.

I was walking to campus from Walgreens when some guy with his hands shoved in his sweatpants pockets started following me. He followed me almost to the park, at which point I was basically running, yelling about how big his dick was and how much I’d like it. When he stopped following, he started calling me a bitch and an assortment of other great names. I’m just glad he didn’t follow me any further.

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Rose’s story: I was going for drinks, not disgust.

I was meeting some friends for drinks at around 6pm on a summers evening last year, it was still light and I was walking alone. I turned onto a quiet street and two men who were noticeably drunk passed me on the opposite side of the road. One of them shouted over to me “Hey wanna come back to mine and fuck?”, the other man looked embarrassed and laughed nervously trying to hold his friend up as he was stumbling around. I stopped and faced them and looked at the guy in disgust and declined his offer. The man then shouted “what the fuck you should be paying me to have sex with you!”, his friend apologized to me and dragged the guy away. I felt so angry afterwards that someone can say things like that to a complete stranger and think it’s all a big joke!

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Saudi Arabia Proposes New Law To Punish Sexual Harassment Crimes


The consultative Shura Council of Saudi Arabia has completed an outline of a new law that would initiate several punishments for sexual harassment crimes throughout the country, according to

For the draft law to become legislation its details must be firstly agreed to by the 150-member Shura Council within 30 days. It is then passed to King Abdullah to be approved.

Member of the Shura Council and political science professor, Dr. Sadaka, endorsed the draft law telling Arabic news organization Al-Eqtisadiya:

“This is a common problem that can be found in all societies but in varying degrees. It increases in mixed places such as malls and workplaces and it results in many social and psychological problems for victims.”

Though we at Hollaback! do not endorse flogging or $13,000 fines, we are pleased that Saudi Arabia is paying attention to street harassment in a country where women are still largely segregated. In September of last year, Saudi ruler King Abdullah declared that from 2015 women would be able to vote, be appointed to the Shura Council and stand in municipal elections. Officials have also announced that they would allow Saudi female athletes to compete in the London 2012 Olympics. It is absolutely staggering that these simple human rights that we take for granted everyday are not available to Saudi women, and we hope this attention to street harassment is the first of many cultural shifts to come.

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