demonstration, Verbal

Ellen’s story: When the idiots drown the nice guys out

I was walking back to my house when I saw two builder types each old enough to be my father walking towards me sniggering, and my instant reaction was ‘they’re going to say something to me, I should cross the road’, but foolishly out of some kind of mad hope that the human race might not be full of wankers I stayed, and of course as they walked past one of them made kissing noises at me. Was so angry that I shouted ‘Dream on mate’ at them, cue much fake laughter from the two. The one silver lining is I then passed another man who I think overheard who gave me what might have been an encouraging smile. Unfortunately my sense of what was going on was so warped by my anger he could have been another pervert for all I know…Shame that I have to question even possible acts of kindness because of all the horrible idiots.

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demonstration, Verbal

Lauren’s story: The making of a braver woman!

I was on my way home from work yesterday – a sunny and pleasant afternoon – when I alighted from the Capitol Theatre Light Rail stop (in Sydney, Australia) near a busy intersection in the CBD at around 4.30pm.

The sunlight was quite bright and I’d forgotten my sunglasses, so I raised my hand to block the sun from my eyes and started to make my way towards the intersection.

Out of the corner of my eye I saw a normal-looking man walking towards me (he was wearing a collared green shirt and black pants) and he locked his eyes on me and changed his walking pace and even side-shuffled a little so that he could force himself into my path.

I tried to move out of his way but her kept blocking me, then said quietly in my ear so no one else would hear: “sexy armpit.”

My face automatically scrunched up in disbelief, and my the time I processed what this perve had said and done, he was starting to power walk off. I turned around and yelled at the top of my lungs and called him a wanker in front of the small crowd that was waiting to cross the road at the same intersection I was standing at, but he didn’t look back and kept briskly walking away like nothing had happened.

Of course everyone looked at me like I was a psycho, because to them it would look like I’d yelled at him simply for walking into me, they wouldn’t have heard what he said.

It wasn’t that confronting or lewd, but I felt shaken up nonetheless and spent the next few hours going over it in my mind and what I wish I’d said/done.

It’s been a while since I’ve been street harassed, but it was a familiar feeling; like I’d had my dignity snatched away against my will and I felt like a piece of meat there to be judged and commented on by men.

I’d started reading Hollaback a couple of months before this incident occurred, and I thank this website for giving me the courage to turn around and yell at this perve to let him know it wasn’t ok – normally I would have just stayed quiet with shock and scampered away, but not anymore. My only regret is that I didn’t get a photo of the prick.

Thanks Hollaback for making me a braver woman!

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demonstration, Verbal

Boricua’s story: “Seems harmless,” but feel crappy. Really crappy.

I actually have two situations that seemed harmless, and perhaps I would be overreacting but I think it keeps me alert and on my toes.

The first incident happened Fall 2010. I usually go to BP, the gas station near my university, before I go home (two hours away). I gave the cashier my money to gas up. He had this really happy look on his face, like way-too-happy-to-be-working-at-a-gas-station look, but I shrugged it off, thinking he was probably one of those people that smiled all the time and were polite. For some reason when I went back to the pump, it wasn’t letting me gas up. I went back in as the cashier for some reason was coming out. I stopped him and he recognized me saying “Yes, sweetheart?” I was taken aback by this but ignored him and explained what happened. He asked me which pump it was and as I turned to point at it, I felt a hand on my shoulder, too weirded out (the man was at least twice my age). He told me to move forward and take a another pump. After I gassed up, I called my then boyfriend and explained what happened. It doesn’t scare me today because he doesn’t work there anymore but it is creepy and made me feel uncomfortable.

The second incident happened last weekend. My boyfriend and I were at the movie theater. After we saw our film, we went to the arcade like always, and I head straight to the Galaga machine. There was a group of teenage boys around the area where the game was but I didn’t pay them any attention. My boyfriend went off to refill our soda and I began to play. Not soon after he left, this kid (and I say kid because I’m nearly twenty and he looked and sounded like he was 13) came up next to the machine and poked his head out to watch the screen as I played. He was blocking my view so I said “Do you mind?” He looked at me and goes “I just wanted to watch. Am I allowed to watch?” He was very cocky and reminded me of guys I went to high school with that had that tone of voice to pick up girls. I ignored him and he went away, talking with his buddies about me.

It came to the challenging stage which if you’ve played, means no enemies shoot at you. I keep the joystick in the middle and just kept pressing the fire button. All of a sudden this kid come back and starts moving the joystick back and forth and messing me up. I grabbed his wrist and passed him away telling him to stop. I wondered why he was acting so rude. As I continued to play, his other friends would be on either side of me and behind me, making comments about me and my purple bunny hat (“Are you going to a sleepover later?) Lame insults but all I could think about is why me? Why are they targetting me when clearly I’m a lot older than them and I definitely wasn’t wearing anything to give me unwanted attention (aside from the hat, which is my favorite hat). All I could say to these kids were “Kids today”.

Luckily my boyfriend came back and I explained to him the situation, loudly so the kids could hear I was talking about them. They soon left.

It makes me angry that kids are acting like that at such an early age. Just because I’m a woman, minding my own business playing an arcade game makes me vulnerable and perfect target? It’s bullshit.

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demonstration, The Movement

Le Tigre sings about street harassment!

Le Tigre (2001). On Guard.

You can comment all day til dark.
You can call me any name you want.
You can look me up and down.
I won’t stop, no, I won’t fall apart.

You can put me down.
You can make me mad.
You can call me mean.
But I think it’s really sad that
Some days I just wanna stay inside.
You must love it that that I live my life

ON GUARD!
ON GUARD!
ON GUARD!
ON GUARD!

Stop thief, you can’t steal the way
I fuckin’ felt when I got up today.
Well I guess you’re the judge,
I guess you’re the king
Of the forever beauty pagent I’m always in.

My heart beats blue, beats red, beats mad.
Is this the only power that you really wanna have?
Yeah count from one to nine, how high do I rate?
I guess feeling good was my first mistake.

ON GUARD!
ON GUARD!
ON GUARD!
ON GUARD!

Let me see you shake it baby shake it some more.
Let me see you shake it baby shake it some more.
Let me see you shake it baby shake it some more.
Let me see you shake it baby shake it some more.

ON GUARD!
ON GUARD!
ON GUARD!
ON GUARD!

Are you a girl or boy?
ON GUARD!
Are you a boy or girl?
ON GUARD!
Are you a girl or boy?
ON GUARD!
Are you a boy or girl?
ON GUARD!

ON GUARD!
ON GUARD!
ON GUARD!
ON GUARD!

Thanks to our reader Rob for sending this in!

2 comments 
demonstration, Verbal

Shawna J.’s Story: They never bothered me again

When I was 13, and a nerdy bookish 7th grader, I was picked on by the other kids from my neighborhood because I was a) overweight, b) smart than them, and c) didn’t shave my legs yet. At one point, they called me “Congo” and told me to go shave my legs. This went on for about a year or so.

One day, a boy said, “You should shave your legs!”, and 14-year-old me looked him straight in the eye and, without missing a beat, said, “Why are you looking at my legs?”

They never bothered me again.

one comment 
Uncategorized

How Not To Get A Date

BY LAURA RUOCCO

As if there weren’t enough formulaic reality shows to choose from, London producers Marlon Okeowo & Ziakayah David present Tru Players, a street harassment reality game show!  The premise is two dudes going to a busy UK shopping district an competing to see who can get the most phone numbers, and thus be awarded the title of “tru player”.  Finally! A caricature of my daily struggle written by the men who perpetuate it!

As you may imagine, most of the women they approach are reluctant to give up their phone number to some rando on the street.   The contestant’s tactics are described on the Tru Player You Tube page as “subtle”, though a more appropriate word might be “relentless”.  It is painful to watch some of the women laugh nervously, clearly uncomfortable, as the men press them for their relationship status and phone number.  The situation feels all too familiar, as I have found myself many times smiling at or telling my name to some strange guy that I wish would just go away.  A few of the women do give out numbers, but one of them reveals in a separate interview at the end of the show that it was a fake.  The cameras being clearly visible to the women likely factors in to any level of “success” the men achieve.  It’s interesting to see the incongruity between the women’s reaction to the men and what they have to say in the private interviews, where many of the women are less forgiving.

The show, which is geared toward teenagers,  is a perfect example of the way we are steeped in rape culture before we are even old enough to date.  Case in point: the celebrity contestant episode featuring UK comedian Lil Mckell, who is TWELVE YEARS OLD!

In a perfect world, maybe it would be fine for people of all genders to compliment each other on the street and make dates with attractive strangers on the way to work.  But alas, the world we live in is a patriarchal one in which the kind of daily street harassment documented on Hollaback sites worldwide is only the tip of the “shit women have to deal with” iceberg.   I have often felt deeply bummed by my reaction of distrust to any sexual attention, as learned from years of dealing with street harassers and public masturbators.  Potentially pleasant stranger conversations are avoided for fear of the seemingly inevitable “are you married?” or some other version of boundary-crossing.   The Tru Player You Tube page suggests that male viewers might even learn some “clues and tricks on how to approach women”, but the reality is that these shmucks are just ruining it for all of the true “tru players”.

 

one comment 
demonstration, Nonverbal Harassment, public masturbation

Anna’s Story: UGHH!!!!

UGH!!!!!!!!!!!! Sitting on the porch smoking a cigarette only to look up and find a CREEP jerking off directly across the street from me under a street light! I told him “F*#$ off! I’m calling the cops!” Which I did. They didn’t find him.
Gross!!!!

no comments 
The Movement

New Book: Why Loiter? Women and Risk on Mumbai Streets

In ‘Why Loiter?’ authors Shilpa Phadke, Sameera Khan, and Shilpa Ranade argue that though political and economic visibility has brought women increased access to urban public space, this has not automatically translated into a greater claim to public space. Based on more than three years of research, this book not only maps women’s exclusion from several public spaces, but also attempts to understand how women from different localities, classes and communities negotiate with real and implied risks of being in public everyday.

Visit Hollaback! Mumbai for an exclusive interview with the authors.

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demonstration, Verbal

Niki’s story: A mom works to end the cycle of harassment, starting with her daughter

I’m 48 now, and I’ve been dealing with this crap for well over 30 years. So much so, that it’s become second nature to me. If I walk past a group of workmen, I automatically tense. I keep my eyes down as I walk past, I try to be invisible. It’s just ‘what we do’ right? But recently it was all brought home to me. The utter wrongness of this state of affairs, the injustice of it, the fact that in all my years in the women’s movement, many things have changed but this, this daily attack on our civil liberties, remains the same.

My then 12 year old daughter (now 13) came home from school one day complaining about “all the men who shout at me in the street”. At 12, TWELVE, she already deals with daily catcalls, car horns, leering looks and unwanted attention. And what could I tell her? Sorry honey, this is now a part of your life. You’re becoming a woman and, wherever you go in the world, whatever you do, however you look, there will be a certain type of guy who considers it ok to force his way into your personal space to tell you that you do/do not meet with his ‘approval’.

Do you know how that makes me feel, as a mother, to have to tell my beautiful, innocent daughter that this is the way the world works?

So I’m teaching her to hollaback (and how to do that and keep herself safe) and maybe her generation will do what mine failed to do, and make this shit unacceptable.

I’ve given her the link to this site and it’s inspired her. She’s even sent in her own story. So keep fighting the good fight.

one comment 
demonstration, The Movement

“I didn’t ask your opinion”

 

Awesome name tag courtesy of Hollaback Buenos Aires!

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