Leah’s Story: Holy land isn’t so holy

I was in a gap year program in Jerusalem last year, and one day I went on a day trip to Tel Aviv with four(female) friends. On the bus ride back I was sitting in a window seat. It was a pretty crowded bus and I didn’t think anything of it when a man sat down next to me, I just continued listening to my ipod and staring out the window. Some time into the bus ride I felt something on my leg, the man had his hand under my dress and was rubbing his knuckles in a circular motion on my thigh. I looked up at him shocked. He looked surprised, I guess he wasn’t expecting me to notice! and then quickly dropped his hand and pretended to be asleep! seriously! It was the first time I had harassed physically, and I felt panicked. My first instinct was to get away from him, which was actually pretty difficult. I had to climb over him because I was in the window seat, and it was such a crowded bus that there were people sitting on the floor. I managed to make my way towards a clearing in the middle of the bus though, where I was able to collect myself somewhat. When the bus stopped in Jerusalem and everybody got out, I waited by the door for the man who assaulted me. He was maybe in his late twenties, tall and lanky wearing, a white button down shirt with the top buttons undone and black suit jacket and dark pants, he had a buzz hair cut, five a clock shadow, bags under his eyes and a shifty expression. He just looked seedy. When he got off I followed him and said to him loudly that he was “a dirt rotten pervert.” I didn’t know if he understood English and I didn’t care, I was furious. When he mumbled “what’d I do” in  English I told him where he could go and I hit him with my bag. I’m glad I spoke up, I hope that maybe I embarrassed him enough that he will fear his next victim will also raise a fuss. At the time I was really distraught though, I felt sick every time I had to get on a bus for a long time after that. I bought a can of pepper spray and almost used it a couple of times, but I’ve never quite felt safe in a public place since that day.

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Rebelgirlelectric’s Story: “No longer would I let my harassers slip away into silence”

I am a small girl, with a rather large bottom, which since the age of 13 has garnered me lots of unwanted attention. Middle aged men ogling me in grocery stores, people shouting at me while jogging, ect. The most annoying and frustrating is the unwanted touches I have endured. People pinching my bottom, smacking it, grabbing it, all of the above! I always just assumed that this is what happens when you are young, and cute, and female, and that the best way to deal with it, is ignore it. After reading many feminist publications, and Hollaback, I decided that it was important, not just for myself, but for other women, that we stand up against this harassment. I decided: NO MORE. No longer would I let my harassers slip away into silence. They SHALL and WILL be called out!!!!!


I was dancing with my boyfriend at his house party. There were lots of people there that I didn’t know, and he didn’t even know. (This happens with college parties, people just walk on in!) We are dancing, face to face, and all of the sudden, I feel someone grope my ass from behind me (my boyfriend, with expressed and enthusiastic consent had his hands on my butt at times throughout the night, but I KNOW how my boyfriend touches me….this was NOT him.). This has happened to me A LOT at crowded clubs and bars. Someone touches you from behind when you aren’t paying attention, so you’ll never really know WHO did it. But like I said, I had decided: NO MORE. So I feel the grope, and my radar is on! Two men emerge from behind, and are walking toward the door. In my anger, I back-handed one of the guys on his shoulder. When he turned around, I shouted “DID YOU JUST TOUCH ME?!?!” He glared. Didn’t say a word, just glared. “DID. YOU. TOUCH. ME.?????” Still glaring. By then, his friend turned around to join in the glare-party. “WAS IT YOU THEN??? WHO DID IT??? WHO TOUCHED ME???” At this point I had gained some attention from the people who had been dancing around me, and neither man was fessing up to the act. (You would think that if someone started yelling at you, you would say something a long the lines of “Woah woah woah! It wasn’t me, I didn’t touch you!” But these guys just GLARED at me.) So with everyone’s attention, I turned in a 360 circle and just yelled “WHOEVER it was that touched me, it is NOT ok!”

It was a weird moment. On one hand, I felt SO proud that I had actually stood up for myself. I had confront a harasser for the first time in my life, and in that moment, I was totally unafraid. I was THE BOSS, and I was taking care of business! haha. On the other hand, it was slightly shameful, because I HIT a guy, and I wasn’t positive if it was him. I felt ashamed because I had resorted to violence. (I didn’t hit him THAT hard…it wasn’t like a punched him in the face…just a back hand to the back of his shoulder). What a weird mix of emotions! Pride and Shame in one swoop! Reflecting on this situation, I would have done the exact same thing, minus the back-hand. I would have done a not so polite tap on the shoulder!


Sophie’s Story: Taking charge

I had to send this email to the local Waste Management Company today:

“On my way home from work this evening (NB US 23 meets M14) I was sexually harassed on the road by the driver of Truck ****** at 530 pm. He endangered me through his distracting attempts to grab my attention, and those in the lane with him as his focus on making filthy hand signs at me prevented him from safely handling his vehicle.

Please ensure that this gentleman spend more time in the future looking at the road than he does making lewd gestures at women out of the window of his garbage truck. Maybe, you could take away his garbage truck.

Much Thanks”

I feel much better that I got his truck number and I wrote in. Driving is a huge responsibility and when you’re in control of a two ton machine, you should not be distracting other drivers.

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Lo’s Story: “How does it make you feel when someone calls you a name?”

Today as I was enjoying a peaceful walk home, a car sped by and a man yelled, “Hey- give me some of that pussy!” Unfortunately, my neighborhood harasser was driving too quickly for me to see the license plate or his face, much less take a picture. The icing on the cake was that a few minutes later, a different car drove by and two more young men honked and cat-called me. As a teacher, I spend a great deal of time asking children, “Do you think it’s a good idea to call people mean names?”, or, “How does it make you feel when someone calls you a name?”, in an attempt to teach them empathy and think about how their words and actions affect their classmates. If (or when) this happens again to me or someone I’m with, I want the opportunity to ask the harasser the same questions. Of course, I’m not foolish enough to think I alone can change a person’s behavior, but maybe sparking a dialogue is a starting place.

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Carey’s Story: An invasion of space

Today after work (around 6pm) my friend and I stopped at the awesome churro truck that is usually parked on Echo Park ave just south of Sunset blvd. We’re standing at the window, and right as my friend is placing her order a man comes up to me and kisses my hair. When I jump back and yell, “what the fuck!?” he starts to laugh. He says, “I scared you didn’t I?” I got really upset and started yelling at him to get away from me. My friend stepped in between us and told him to get away from me. He started yelling back at us that he didn’t touch me. We turn our backs to him, and he starts to walk away. But as he is walking away he starts yelling, “if I ever see you again I’m gonna fuck you up!” He yelled it multiple times as he walked towards Sunset Blvd.

Hollaback LA where are you!?


Lisa’s Story: “I’m just trying to get to work”

I get verbally harassed daily on my walk to work, which is from Civic Center to an office in SOMA.  Usually they do things like say “Hey baby!”, smack their lips or make kiss-y noises.

Today, a man was walking towards me and I moved left on the sidewalk to give him room. As he passes, he yells “BOO!!” right in my ear.

Why? Because I’m a young woman, Asian, by myself?? I’m just trying to get to work and knowing that I have to walk through street harassment every day is taking its toll. I am thinking of leaving my job just to work in a better neighborhood.

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Jess’s Story: “We had no idea where we were”

My frıend and I were out night clubbing in Istanbul.  Next thing we wake up in a taxi on a freeway, obviously leaving Istanbul. There were 2 other men in the taxi.  I started screaming and yelling; asking where are we going etc and they all just yelled in Turkish. I continued yelling and finally the driver pulled over.  My friend opened the door and we ran, kept on running until we felt like we were safe.  We had no idea where we were.  Luckily we bumped into some security guard that had a hut on the freeway and they called the police.

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Hollaback! launches 13 new sites today!

Today fifty activists from thirteen cities around the world are bringing the movement to end street harassment to their communities.

“Hollaback! isn’t just an app or a map — it’s a movement,” said Hollaback! Board Chair and co-founder, Samuel Carter. We are now in 37 cities and 15 countries, with leaders speaking more than eight different languages.

“The growth of the movement demonstrates the pervasive nature of street harassment globally,” said Hollaback! International Movement Coordinator, Veronica Pinto. “At the same time, the response of activists around the world is incredible as we see the determination of folks who are fighting for their safety, fighting for their streets, and fighting for the right to be who they are.”

Local Hollaback! site leaders run their local blog and organize their communities through advocacy, community partnerships, and direct action. Site leaders are as diverse in their backgrounds as they are in their experiences of harassment. Hollaback! reports that 44% lesbian, gay, bisexual, and queer, 26% identify as people of color, 76% are under the age of 30, and 90% are women.

“If I have my way, these won’t just be the leaders of the movement to end street harassment. These will be the next leaders of the world,” said Hollaback! Executive Director Emily May.

Although most of them are less than six months old, Hollaback! international sites are already having a big impact. In Bristol, UK, the team is working on an anti-street harassment task force with local officials. In Atlanta, the team did a community safety audit, and in Buenos Aires, Tegus, and Mexico City, the teams helped to coordinate their cities’ first SlutWalks, which were designed to bring awareness to women’s right to feel safe in public space.

We are currently recruiting activists for the next launch in November. If you’d like to bring Hollaback home, email us at holla AT today.

Until then, please congratulate our new sites at

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Kathleen’s Story: Dehumanizing

While out with my sisters, I bumped into a guy that one of my sisters used to work with. He was with another guy friend of his and he stopped me and said hi, so we all chatted for a few minutes. This was outside in the smoking area in front of the bar, so back inside, I went to the bathroom and when I came back, my sister was talking to the guys at the bar. When I came over, the guys friend said, “Hey, who’s your friend with the nice tits?” and pointed right at me, while I was standing there.

Compared to others’ stories, this isn’t really that bad. But it still served the purpose…I was embarrassed and degraded, because that guy succeeded in reducing me to my sexual attributes. That’s the most frustrating part of the harassment, how dehumanizing it is. Yeah, maybe I am a girl with nice tits, but I’m also a person with thoughts and feelings, who deserves respect.

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The Movement

Nicola’s Got Nerve

Safety in Numbers for WomenShortly after graduating from Sarah Lawrence College, I moved to New York City, where I went out exploring neighborhoods alone and primarily on foot. A lot of my friends from school had been from out of state, and so that first year I was pretty much on my own to experience the city. It was actually a lot of fun to walk around at my own pace, not having to worry about whether I was moving too fast or slow for someone else. I felt confident and comfortable, even though I was alone, and perhaps this showed on the outside as well. Then I made a few good girlfriends, and life became even better. We’d go out on Sunday afternoons, and Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights when we weren’t working our gallery jobs. The guys we met at bars, clubs, and restaurants were sometimes really nice, and would ask us out, but we always made it clear to them that the group would be staying together for the entire night.To tell you the truth, staying safe wasn’t really the number #1 thing on our minds, just that it wasn’t right to leave our group of friends if we’d all gone out together. We just figured that if some guy liked one of us enough, he’d try to get our phone number and call us for a proper date. We didn’t know it at the time, but we were staying safe in numbers.

Whenever drinking is involved, there is more of a danger for women: “The percentage of male sexual offenders under the influence of alcohol at the time of the assault is in the high 90s, and at least three quarters of women victims had been drinking,” says Cornell University professor Andrea Parrot, PhD, coauthor of Forsaken Females: The Global Brutalization of Women. This is such a startling statement, but one that we can easily remedy by not only cutting down on our intake while in the company of men, but also sticking with our girlfriends. Drinking tends to make everybody a lot more uninhibited than they would be normally, and this is fine when we’re with friends, but can be a serious liability when you’re among guys. That’s why it’s always best to not only have a designated driver for nights of partying, but also never, EVER let a girlfriend separate from the group and go off with some hot guy she just met. She might not like it when you have to play Mommy, and remind her that she promised to go home with the group, but I have just two sad words for you to remember: Natalee Holloway. She was a beautiful, young high school student who got separated from her school group in Aruba after a wild few days of partying, and was never seen or heard from again. One way that you can curtail something like this happening, is to cut in when you see a girlfriend drinking too much. Pulling her away from the guy and into the ladies room for a few minutes usually works just fine.

Another crucial reason to stick with your girlfriends when you go out is so you can monitor each other’s intake. This means you never have to leave your drink unattended when you’re with a guy you don’t know. It’s a scary fact that 5% of sexual assault victims have been given a “roofie” or date rape drug, like rohypnol. These drugs cause dizziness and even amnesia-like symptoms, and can easily be poured in powder-form into your drink. Choices that you ordinarily wouldn’t make while you were sober, like going to another bar with that pushy guy, or even accompanying him and his friends back to his apartment, can happen in the blink of an eye when you’re under the influence. Don’t compound the danger by trusting your drink with someone (or a group of male someones) who could mean you great harm.

Predators are much less likely to see you as a target when you’re with a group. But what do you do if you’re drinking on a date with a guy, have already gotten a somewhat shady/creepy vibe from him, and you have to go to the ladies room?

  1. you can go to the rest room, and come back, pretending that you just checked your voicemail, and there is an emergency which demands your presence at home (or better yet, a friend’s house, if you don’t want to show him where you live), or
  2. if you decide to go through with the date after the restroom visit, you can take the wise precaution of ordering a fresh drink (you could say the first one didn’t taste good), or just not continue drinking. If you do this, watch for El Creepo’s reaction: Is there disappointment? Frustration? He might’ve been trying to get you drunk, or worst case scenario, even slipped you a roofie.

We’ve got to be safe out there, and watch out for each other.

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