Appalachian Ohio, Athens GA, Atlanta, Berkeley, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Columbia MO, Columbus, Des Moines, Durham & Chapel Hill, East Lansing, Fredericksburgh VA, Houston, Los Angeles, Muncie IN, New York City, NYU, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Plattsburgh, Richmond VA, San Francisco, Tucson, Twin Cities
I experienced cat calling and construction workers making lewd comments towards me.
About a month ago (06-02-14) I was walking back from one of my friends’ houses in the flats of Southside. While I was walking on the backstreets I noticed a strange man about half a block behind me. Since I didn’t feel comfortable, I walked to Carson Street in the hopes of being in a more public place. Since it was rather late (about 1 AM), not many people were around, and as a result, it was just me and this man walking. As I noticed him getting closer to me I turned around to possibly confront him. When he passed me he said, “I was gonna rob you, but you look tougher than I thought,” and continued to walk away. The main moral of this story is to watch out for people in the Southside of Pittsburgh late at night. This is not the first story I have heard or experienced like this!
I’m 19 years old, out of school and looking for a job. I had made plans to go to several local businesses–a clothing store and a couple art shops–to look for a job. To show to potential employers that I’m a creative and unique person while still looking somewhat professional, I wore a white blouse with a steampunk-esque corset over it, skinny jeans and heels. I was feeling pretty confident and fashionable, but that didn’t last long.
Not even five minutes after leaving the house, I get a few wolf whistles. The further into the city I went, the worse it got. The catcalling began, with “hey shawty”, “hey baby” and “sup sexy.” This was coming from men between 20 and 60, mind you, and even a little 10 year old boy (if that) whistled at me. I was so disgusted, especially that it is so acceptable in our society to do that to women that even children that young are doing it. At one point, I passed these three dirty old men sitting on their doorstep, and each one of them made a comment, with the first calling me sexy, that second calling me beautiful, and by that point I was so upset that I didn’t even hear the third. Did they think they were actually complimenting me?
Then came the scary part. I’m always afraid that people in the city have guns that they might use to shoot people over the littlest things, because I see incidents like that on TV. Still, I took a chance. As I was heading back home, a silver car pulled up next to me and cruised along as I walked. My heart began to race and all I could think was, “Uh-oh, one wrong move and I could end up dead.” They said something I couldn’t understand, but I got the gist of it. I told them to fuck off, and the driver said, “Oh, you said you want me to fuck off? Feisty one.” I told them, “Not even in another lifetime,” and continued to walk. They lingered for a moment and then drove away, and I darted down the next corner, trying to distance myself from them as much as I could. I have never been so uncomfortable and frightened in my life. I can never feel safe in this city.
On street harassment, “we discovered it wasn’t just one of us, it was all of us”
Dr. Karla Jay talks early anti-street harassment organizing (including an ogle in on Wall Street), movement building, and how to stand up to street harassment at this year’s #hollarev!
Watch the full clip here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kJBQ_xs350U
During the afternoon at Sydney Central Station, I was walking past the exit when a man said to me “hey do you want to watch me masturbate?” It shocked me at first, and I walked a couple steps forward before I turned back and saying, “Excuse me?!” in a disgusted tone. I was only able to glare at him for a couple of seconds before I kept walking. But I felt so angry and powerless that I couldn’t retaliate anymore because I didn’t have much time to react and respond. The place was busy and there were people all around us. I couldn’t believe this man could just blatantly say something like that.
I was walking back home, and a young man was standing in a corner with some headphones. As I walked past him, I heard him yell “Bonjour!” I looked back (I wasn’t sure he was talking to me because of the headphones he had, and it’s not the first time some tourist stops me to ask for directions on that street), even though his figure and tone made me uncomfortable. He looked at me and asked if “it was free of charge.”
I usually don’t react to street harassment and catcalling, and I don’t know where I got the courage from this time, but I just turned away, and kept walking while I gave him the finger. He started yelling at me, calling me crazy, a whore and all that. I kept my head (and finger) high until arriving at my place, which was just down the street. I’m really proud of myself for finding the courage to react, but I’m also very afraid. He has seen where I live. I’m too scared to leave the house now.
Scared of walking to catch the bus and walking home!
I am a 21 year old independently going to work via public transportation. As I was walking back home from work, this guy in his twenties stopped his white van in the middle of an intersection. As I was listening to music, he was try to flirt with me and leering at me. I got pissed off and told him to go fuck off and he said why do you have to be so mean and left. I felt so scared and uncomfortable.. I told my mom and she said all guys are like that! That made feel worse!
It happened a second time!
I was waiting for the bus to go to work and I saw that same guy pass by. He decided to turn around. As he turned around and stopped at the other side of the bus, he tried to flirt with me again, so I stuck out my middle finger at him. He said why you do you have to be so mean and left. Again I got so uncomfortable and scared…I felt like he wanted to do something to me like rape me…I was now scared to go walking alone.
The third time, I was walking home after getting off the bus. That same guy showed up again, this time on a bike.. he was trying to flirt with me again, and I screamed FUCK OFF ASSHOLE I’M NOT ASKING FOR IT! He said why do you have to be so mean. I was so pissed off, scared, and uncomfortable. It seems like women like me don’t feel safe! No one will care if a woman gets raped… thanks to this, how will I ever feel safe walking alone?
I am a cis-het white female and I acknowledge that 1) I have benefited, and still benefit, from white privilege 2) we DO NOT live in a post-racial society and 3) my experience pales in comparison to others’. But I think it’s important to share this story.
I’m new to the Atlanta area so when I caused the mirror to fall out of one of my side-view mirrors, I called up the nearest shop to order a new one. It came in at noon today, so I went over to pick it up. When I arrived, I noticed a large group of older men were in and around the entrance.
As I got out of my car, someone yelled something obscene at me. As I walked in the door, someone else made a crude comment to me. As I was waiting in line, someone else attempted to strike up a conversation with me, starting with asking where I was from. All of these men I ignored.
While still waiting in line for my new mirror, the last guy started commenting on my height, my hair, something about a “tall drink of water.” I was fed up and furious with all this unwanted attention so I turned around, looked him in the eye and asked him to “please leave me alone” in the most deadpan and unemotional voice I could muster. He pretended not to hear me, so I had to say it again. His response: “Racism is alive and well!”
I was so angry. How dare he turn the fault of this situation on to me. HE decided making crude comments towards me about my appearance trumped MY desire to go about my business and be left alone, which I made perfectly clear by not responding to him initially. And he took it for racism on my part rather than owning up to his own actions.
An employee rung me up a few minutes later, and I wanted to stay and ask how him I should go about installing my new mirror. But I was so angry and upset, and felt so unsafe, that I got out as quickly as I could. But not before another man tried to hand me his card despite me telling him “no thank you” repeatedly.
Well I guess the best way to start this is from the beginning. On my walk from work to the train, which is about 4 city blocks, I came across a man sitting on the ground staring very intently at every woman who walked by. After a double take and further investigation, I noticed the man sitting on the ground, in front of the Starbucks bay window, was furiously masturbating under his t-shirt.
To avoid any and all contact with the man, I approached a group of women and asked them to call the local police because my phone is an out of state number and wouldn’t call Seattle police. After explaining to them why they should call the police, one of the women laughed, replying,”Sorry you had to see that, sweetheart, but the police won’t do anything about it.” About 30 yards away from the man I spotted a cop and explained to him the situation. He cut me off mid sentence and continued on his way.
Whether or not the man was apprehended or if the cop made it to the man before ejaculation is unknown. But what is absolutely astounding to me is the complete and utter disregard for something so disgusting. It was lucky that no children were in the immediate vicinity, or I would have had to do something to stop it.
At the mothership, Executive Director Emily May met with New Moon Girls to discuss ways to teach young girls about street harassment. Emily also met with the NYPD to discuss ways in which the city of New York could work together to cut down on street harassment in public transportation. A busy badass, that Emily.
Also, if you’re in the area and haven’t already, sign up to march with Hollaback! NYC at the NYC Pride Parade this weekend. It’s pretty much guaranteed that we’ll be the most fabulous group there so come join in on fun! Info can be found here!
Here’s what HOLLAs all over the world have been up to:
Hollaback! Bahamas presented at Sugar + Spice, a one day event for girls 8-13, teaching them about
empowerment. Hollaback! Bahamas discussed feminism and street harassment with 50+ girls and earned some cools points with the kids with their awesome presentation. Swell job, guys!
Hollaback! LA marched at the Los Angles Pride Parade!
! Berlin is hosting a super rad event, My Name is not Baby!, with street artist and Hollaback favorite, Tatyana Fazlalizadeh, about street harassment tonight. If you’re in the Berlin area, definitely make sure to check it out!
There you have it, folks. Til next week-
Holla and out!
-The Hollaback! Team