i often think about this event, and i love sharing the story. there aren’t enough stories of people being helped by a stranger, so i’m glad to share the story of the time someone helped me.
it was in 2005, and i was waiting for a subway train to take me to a party at like 8:30 pm on a friday. i was sitting on a bench, when a man came up and sat at the other end of the bench. he started by just staring and smiling. i was pretty sure he was drunk, so i figured he was just being a drunk guy and would get bored. then he started saying things to me, though i don’t know what he said because he said them in spanish. he said them in a low voice, and he made some kissing and sucking noises to punctuate them.
the station was pretty empty, and i thought if i sat there and didn’t do anything, it wouldn’t escalate.
it did. the bench was long, and he started scooting toward me.
about this time, a teenaged boy came down the escalator to wait for the train. he was on a path to walk by us, but he turned his head and when he saw what was happening, he stopped. he was a very tall young man, and quite physically imposing. i generally do not have a positive opinion of teenaged boys, so for a moment, i thought i was going to gain another harasser.
but he smiled at me. it was one of the kindest smiles i can ever recall receiving. he said, ‘hey, you need some help?’ i just shrugged, somehow too embarrassed to admit being bothered by the drunk guy down the bench. he smiled again, and sat down in between me and the drunk guy.
he turned and gave the man a very menacing look, and shook his head slowly. then he pulled out his ipod and headphones. as he was putting on his headphones, i said, ‘thank you so much.’ but i had been so nervous and kinda holding my breath, that it came out in a relieved exhale.
he smiled again and said, ‘don’t worry about it’ before putting on his headphones.
i’d never been so grateful for a stranger’s assistance before in my life. i suddenly felt safe, simply because another person decided to be nice. and i hate to say it, but it was that much more helpful that he was a tall young man.
nice dudes out there who don’t like to harass women and think it’s wrong to do so, help a lady out if she needs it!
Today, compelling documentary ‘Bully’ will open nationwide, telling the true story of the appalling bullying epidemic that is blighting the U.S. Directed by Lee Hirsch, Huffington Post writer Marlo Thomas has called it “the year’s most important film” but the Motion Picture Association of America has rated the film as “Unrated” meaning that theater owners can choose not to screen it.
So find a theater that is showing it and take your children and other people’s children to see this harrowing and significant movie. Although it may not be an easy watch, viewing the film will be worth every moment if we are to have any chance of eliminating bullying for good.
Watch the trailer here.
We’re in the press! Our site leader in Mexico City, Gabi Duhart, was in Marie Claire! Our NYC site leader, Kalema Botang, was on Bronx Net, I was interviewed for PIX 11 in response to wednesday’s lack of conviction on rape charges against former NYPD officer Michael Peña. We also got a mention on feminist blog Butchieblog.
We’re in the community! Veronica went to Encuentro for Immigrant Women, organized by Adelante Alliance, a small immigrant advocacy group that works with the Spanish-speaking community in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. Veronica attended a meeting with New Yorkers for Safe Transit (NYFST), a coalition we are part of here in New York City. NYFST is doing a community safety survey, and four Hollabackers have already volunteered!
We’re making policy progress! Natalie and I met with staffers from Councilmembers Koslowitz, Garodnick, and Ferreras’s offices this week, and scheduled a community safety audit with Ferraras in Jackson Heights and Elmhurst, Queens, for May 5th!
We’re moving and shaking around the world! Hollaback! Instanbul were featured in Today’s Zaman after organizing a special screening of short film Miss Representation last Tuesday. Hollaback! London appeared on BBC London Radio and on LBC AND check out all the activism that Hollaback! Philly got up to during Anti-Street Harassment Awareness Week. Awesome!
I’m off to the Sex::tech Conference in San Francisco next week, and I’ll be speaking at the University of California at Berkeley and the City College of San Francisco, so stay tuned for next week’s west coast edition!
HOLLA and out!
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 ..
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.
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!
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. http://9gag.com/gag/3605496
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.
This is cross-posted from Hollaback! Boston.
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?
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.
“SIR, YOU ARE ACTING LUDE AND DISGUSTING. DO YOU HAVE DAUGHTERS? IS THIS THE KIND OF BEHAVIOR YOU WOULD WANT THEM TO EXPERIENCE? THIS IS DISTURBING, SIR. I WOULD APPRECIATE IT IF YOU COULD TREAT ME LIKE A HUMAN BEING, INSTEAD OF A PIECE OF MEAT THAT IS DANGLING IN FRONT OF A PACK OF WILD DOGS. I AM A WOMAN. I AM NOT SUBHUMAN, I AM NOT YOUR PLAY THING, AND I AM NOT YOUR OBJECT. CHECK YOURSELF, SIR. NOW APOLOGIZE.”
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.