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Caroline’s Story: Don’t let them win

I was a teenage at the time, 13 years old, and walking down the beach with a girl friend of the same age when we saw a man on a sand dune. He wore boots and a t-shirt, and nothing else, with an erection visible from where we stood. My friend went white, I don’t know what went into my mind but instead of fear I felt a weird kind of anger, more like stubborness than fury. And as that guy strutted down the dune staring at us I screamed at him: ‘Pathetic!’
The guy stopped. I think it must have been the first time he ever had a victim rebel. By that time I was wound up and continued screaming things like ‘ridiculous’ and ‘minuscule’, my friend took heart and started screaming and laughing hysterically with me. The guy turned heel and ran back up to disappear behind the dune. I learned later that he had been terrorizing girls for months.
My first holla, and my first lesson in dealing with sexual harassers. If you let them get away with it they win. That was years ago but I still hold it true.

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Stalking, Verbal

Jennifer’s Story: Creepy men outside the McDonald’s

When I was 15, my friend and I were walking along the beautiful downtown area of Hoboken, NJ in the summer of ’04. We had just left dinner and were making our way toward the train station to go home. As we walked past the McDonald’s on the corner of Washington & 3rd, two men who had been leaning against the building talking to each other approached us. They looked to be about 30. They struck up a conversation with us, and then asked if we would like to join them for dinner. We said no, thanks. Then they asked if we would go back to their apartment which was right down the road in Jersey City. They even threw in that they had an indoor pool. At this point I was way creeped out by them, so I just nudged my friend and was like, “Let’s get out of here.” But she didn’t seem too threatened. And then they asked us, “Do you girls want to make $1500 each tonight? If you come back to our apartment to hang out for a little, we’ll give you $1500 each. You can make that kind of money in a night if you start hanging around us.” Finally I grabbed my friend’s arm and pulled her away and we started walking really fast. They followed quickly behind us. I panicked and decided to make a huge scene to get everyone’s attention so that they would leave us alone. I started yelling obscenities and was like: “THESE MEN ARE TRYING TO KIDNAP US!” Passersby paused and looked at us, and the men immediately darted off. We ran to the train station and hopped on the next train home.
I think that what surprised me most about this experience was not that these two men were trying to take advantage of two young girls– but that nobody really seemed concerned enough to do a damn thing about it.

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Nonverbal Harassment, Verbal

Holly’s Story: Old pervert taking pics

This man is a regular at my pub, and at first he seemed a nice bloke, albeit, a bit weird. But soon he would male inappropriate comments, and ask the barmaids for their numbers. One girl left her phone on the bar, and he grabbed it and phoned himself from it, so he had her number. Up until a certain incident, he would phone her 2 times a month to make sure she had kept the number. I came into work on a Sunday, in a very nice top, black, lowcut and pirate-esk. I turned around to find him holding his phone up, licking his lips and clearly taking a picture. I called him on it, and to show me he’d deleted it. When he made to put the phone back in his pocket, and ignore me, I grabbed it off him, and threw it on the floor and smashed it. He left, and neither of us had mentioned it since. But 3 days ago, an ex-barmaid told me he had been caught taking pictures of female customers and barmaids he’s terrorized in the past. So I decided to take his picture and post it on Hollaback. He’s a pervert, but he’s far from harmless. Creep. So if you live in the chew valley, and you like a pint, you will recognise this old pervert.

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Verbal

Traci’s Story: Sorry, but you aren’t Johnny Cash

Once when I was 12, I was standing outside of our public library, waiting for my mother to pick me up, when I saw a man walk by. I’d seen him before, and he’d always sort of looked at me funny, so I just sort of ignored him and made sure to stay where I was. He was tall, dark haired, had a bit of a beard, and wore black clothes, as if he thought he was trying to be Johnny Cash with the color scheme he had going. That day, however, when he walked by he gave me this strange grin and winked at me, and made a sort of kissing noise at me. I don’t know if he thought he was being funny, impressive, or obnoxious, or perhaps something else altogether. But, he certainly was being inappropriate. I was a child, and he was a middle-aged man. I was too afraid to tell my mother what happened, but I made sure never to be alone when I saw that man around town, again.

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Verbal

Traci’s Story: A need to stay away from strangers

When I was a very little girl, probably around 7 or 8, I remember going over to play with my friend M. Her street wasn’t the nicest street, nor the nicest neighborhood, and so we stayed in her yard. But, there was a group of teenage boys, perhaps closer to men than boys, who kept hollering at us. M and I totally ignored them, although we did sort of keep an eye on them to know where they were. They were acting very aggressive. Later that day, when my mother and grandmother came to pick me up, those men were so brazen that they started yelling again when my mother, grandmother, and I went by in the truck! One of them, a tall and lean man with dark hair, said quite clearly, “Come here a minute, I wanna moon ya!” I remember that clearly to this day. Especially since my mother said later that, when used in that particular context, it didn’t mean mooning someone like you’d moon them from your car. It meant that they wanted to make a baby with you. It disturbed me greatly, but I was glad to have the information. Not realizing what that had meant, when they said it to me once before that day, I had almost thought of going over to them to give them a piece of my mind. Knowing what they really meant by the phrase, I was a lot more aware of the need to stay away from strangers, especially loud and obnoxious ones.

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Nonverbal Harassment

Traci’s Story: Honking your horn isn’t hilarious

When I was around 21, I took a trip with a couple of friends out of town to visit a couple of museums. We parked the car close to the art museum we were going to go to first, and once we were done there, we walked to the second museum. It was a bit of a jaunt, but not too much. On our way back from there, a few hours later, we were crossing the street at the crosswalk, to get back to the parking area where our car was located, while cars were stopped at a red light. We were about halfway across when an older man — with his wife in the seat next to him, I suppose, if that’s who she was — honked his horn at us quickly when we were passing in front of his car. It startled us, and we jumped. He seemed to find this hilarious and laughed out loud with a huge belly laugh. One of my friends flipped him off, but he didn’t seem to notice. I don’t really remember the expression of the woman next to him, or if she even had an expression over it at all. The man was still laughing by the time we had finished crossing the street and were a bit down the sidewalk. I could hear him as he started to drive off.

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Nonverbal Harassment

Traci’s Story: My first encounter with harassment

When I was a child, I don’t quite remember how old, but I think around 13, I was walking home from the grocery store with my mother, and it was late evening. While we were on a neighborhood street, there was a car that came by several times, honked their horn at us, yelled something at us that I don’t remember, and then laughed when I jumped. Which I did every time. It was probably my first encounter with something like this and it left me feeling scared and confused.

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Nonverbal Harassment

Traci’s Story: Masked idiot

I was walking with my stepfather along Washington street when I was 17, back in the summer of 2003. Out of the blue this car with a group of teenage boys went by, honking their horn as obnoxiously as possible, and one of them rolled down his window, leaned out from the back seat, and had on some sort of Halloween costume after the Scream serial killer, and screamed at me as they drove passed. They made a point to do this three or four more times, as well. The screaming, if he was speaking actual words, seemed unintelligible. But, it was obvious that he, and his buddies, thought he was hilarious and impressive.

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Nonverbal Harassment

Traci’s Story: We are not impressed

I was walking along the side area that was meant for bikes and foot traffic close to the four lanes, near the patches of grass, with a friend of mine. While we were walking, all of a sudden this truck went by and the driver honked the horn at us and grinned, as if he thought we were supposed to be impressed with him. We decided to ignore him, but it was still ridiculous and we felt as if the rest of the drivers on the road that day were probably staring at us after that, too.

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groping, Stalking

Chris’s Story: It’s NOT your fault

My sister was walking home alone one night in a desolate small town (where she was a high school student) and became aware of a man following her. This went on for a block or two until she spun full around, stared at him (from a short distance), and then yelled, “I have seen your face, I can identify you to the police, leave me alone and stop following me!” and ran. He did not pursue her.

I was on the bus one time in San Francisco and had to stand up as the seats were all taken. I stood right next to where an older white man was sitting, just inches away from him, and for whatever reason(?) he reached up and put his hands on my hips. I slid out his grasp and shouted (on a completely silent bus full of people), GET YOUR HANDS OFF ME! and everyone looked over. He did, but he also said “it’s just as much your fault as it is mine”. EW.

 

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