I was walking down the left side of the street and a car with two men slowed down to get my attention. Because they were across the street, I kept walking normally, thinking that the lane of oncoming traffic between us would be enough to deter them from doing anything more. Eventually the car stopped, the driver got out of the car and crossed the street to where I was. I quickly crossed to the other side and found two men willing to walk the rest of the way with me. The driver and his friend yelled at all three of us and then drove away. I hate that they only responded to the presence of other men.
I was followed, verbal harrased, and then possibly threatened (his words were hard to understand) when I asked the man to leave me alone.
The exact words uttered by a woman trying to pick me up at the club
Walking out of CVS a homeless man was yelling at another woman about my age walking towards me “you want black or white?” His friend (who I’m assuming was a different race, I at no point looked at these men) added “or you can have both, like a chocolate chip cookie.” She didn’t acknowledge them and neither did I. As I passed in front of them the first man said “hey pretty lady.” When I also didn’t respond he said “I got 99 problems but a bitch ain’t one” and proceeded to scream “BITCH!” at me until I walked out of earshot. Probably one of the more aggressive street harassers I’ve ever encountered.
I’m 17 and I had to get the bus home after school on Friday, which I don’t normally do as my mum will pick me up, but this particular day she had to work late. The bus stop is a five minute walk from my school and is located on a busy main road, however at this time there was no one else at the bus stop, so I was alone. The bus should have been due in 5 minutes, so I was just on my phone passing the time. I hear this loud car approaching and naturally look up. I see a white modified car, (the ones stereotypically driven by teenage boys who have just got their licence and think they’re impressing everyone) his window was open and his music was filling the whole street. He was about 18 and had that typical “fuck boy” look about him. As he drove past he stared at me (obviously to see whether I was impressed or not), I was thinking to my self what a dickhead. As soon as he had driven past me, I noticed he sharply pulled into a street about 50 metres up from me on the opposite side of the road, he had no indicator on and there were cars behind him, it was as if it was a last minute decision and he turned and came back down this time driving on the same side as me. I started to feel slightly uncomfortable at this point and as he approached the bus stop he slowed down in front of me, rolled down his window and stared at me again this time smirking, He then called me over to his car, I was wary and moved about 3 inches closer, he then proceeds to say to me “do you need a lift babe?” I say to him, politely , as I don’t want to piss him off, “no its fine, the bus is due now” , he replies with “no, why wait on the bus when I can’t give you a lift, seriously get in sweetheart”. I tell him again that it is fine, with a more assertive tone, and move back to where I was originally standing. He then says “seriously its no problem, just get in, please, the bus might be late, come on”. At this point I was starting to get annoyed at his persistence and end up saying angrily “I said no the first time, I don’t want a lift, please leave me alone”. This clearly annoys him as he goes on to shout “fine then you fucking bitch, I only stopped because you were hot, you should be fucking grateful”. I tell him to fuck off and expect him to drive off in a huff, but instead he stays on and changes his tone of voice and pleads “look please let me give you a lift, you’ll regret it if you don’t, I’ll show you a good time”. I’m still unsure of what exactly he meant by “show you a good time” but I ignored him and started praying for the bus to arrive. In one final attempt, even after calling me a “fucking bitch” he goes “can I at least have your number then?” and at exactly the right moment the bus arrives and he has to move off. I felt very violated and powerless in this situation, as no matter how many times I said “no” he still persisted and hurled abuse at me because I stood my ground. I’m now frightened to stand at that stretch of road , in case he passes me again and the same thing happens.
2 Guys working on some new cabling in road leered, smiled, and said ‘alright?’ I didn’t feel complimented. I know from years of experience that if you don’t please men doing this they will become hostile. Thankfully in this particular and rare case when I ignored them they said nothing but it felt very unpleasant and I know they won’t have been thinking ‘oh she doesn’t want this and that’s ok!’ You still feel stressed and on guard because it usually involves a sexist or hostile action.
This week at Hollaback! HQ we are going for it with the Story Sharing Campaign and the promotion of our *new and improved* app. We’ve had many story submissions, great discussions, and most importantly, new users who will be able to share their stories and fight street harassment.
We are also thrilled, overjoyed, ecstatic, and *insert any and all happy adjectives here*, to welcome two new staff members at the Hollaback! HQ: CJ is our new superduper Program and Admin Assistant and Desiree is our stupendous new HeartMob Program Coordinator! HOLLA!!! Please welcome them!
Hollaback! sites around the world:
Hollaback! sites were also busy promoting the app and the story sharing campaign. Let’s see what else happened during the week!
Hollaback! Baltimore hosted an event to share stories and talk about how people can use their skills to help combat street harassment. They also gave updates on upcoming events and strategized new ways to end harassment. The amazing Brittany Oliver, Director of Hollaback! Baltimore, was chosen as a 2015 winner of the Warnock Foundation’s Baltimore Social Innovation Journal. Congrats Brittany!
Hollaback! Ottawa participated in SlutWalk Ottawa, an amazing event representing solidarity, diversity, and feminism in the centre of Ottawa. Many people showed up and shared many beautiful photos and stories. Hollaback! Ottawa also held a workshop at beFOREPLAYask for Sexual Assault Awareness Week. It was a week long campaign for sexual assault awareness hosted by Carleton University Students’ Association.
Hollaback! Peterborough has done something amazing this week! They teamed up with their local AIDS Resource Network to host Peterborough’s first Trans Day of Resilience, during Pride Week, hosting a Trans & Gender Variant Panel. It was a great opportunity to hear a bunch of trans and gender variant people talk about their experiences with identity, culture, privilege, oppression, resilience, and solidarity, and learn how to be a better ally to the trans and gender variant community.
Hollaback! Croatia has been working very hard on raising awareness for help in the migrant crisis that has been going on in the Balkans. We hope it will be resolved very soon!
Thanks for all of you incredible work and don’t forget to get some R&R over the weekend!
Holla and out!
The Hollaback Staff
So I just remembered something that didn’t annoy me before but now that I know a bit more about street harassment it does. After the second time I was harassed which was at a movie theatre.(a guy was talkin a bout my friend, my cousin, and my butts.) I decided to tell my mom and he response was: “I bet you were wearing shorts huh?.” At the time I was like yeah, and kind of felt a bit ashamed. Now I’m like so that gives them permission to talk to me that way. Ugh, why do people think like that? I dress for me not for you!
So I was at the movies and I was walking out it was pretty late. I was with my cousin and we were almost to her car when a few guys made a creepy comment about me. We rushed to the car quickly and drove off. Ever since then I hadn’t worn my favorite shirt because it reminded me of that. Yesterday I finally put it on. It is a shirt with stars that says free spirit.
Another creepy experience again at the same place I was with my friend and the same cousin. We were just walking out of the movie theatre and a few guys said something about out asses. I wanted to flip them off, but instead I stayed quiet and kept walking. Why do guys have to do this. Don’t they realize it freaks us out. It makes me so mad. It also makes me mad that my cousin and friend didn’t care all that much. How could thy not freaking care. As long as I am in this world I will not let cat calling, abuse or any type of torment to us gals become the norm. I may be young, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t make a difference.
It was awesome to finally put up this story on the app, because on the website the closest place to the real location was San Francisco. I’m happy my story shows where it really happened!
We may be girls, but above all we are humans.
I was riding my bike home after work, and this guy rode up beside me and started telling me I look beautiful. I figured if I said ‘thanks’ it would just end the conversation, but he wouldn’t leave me alone. I couldn’t think straight, so I kept trying to drop hints for him to leave, but he still commented on my figure, and kept following me, all the while telling me what he would do to me. After a few minutes, my heart was racing, and I wanted to cry, I looked at him and said ‘you know what, you’re making me uncomfortable, please leave, good day’. I think he may have mummbled a sorry, but who knows. I was out of breath from the experience, and unfocused for the rest of the day.