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I’ve never felt unsafe before. That may be surprising, as I live in New York City, but I’ve never really feared for my physical safety. I’m a big lady and I’ve always felt comfortable walking or biking or taking the train at any hour of the day or night.
Last night, two men on a dark street stripped me of that sense of security.
I was riding my bike home from my friend’s house around 1:30AM. I had dressed up for Shabbat services in a cute, short dress and was feeling a little chilly. I was riding mechanically slowly, really only looking forward to getting home so I could curl up in my warm bed and watch some dumb recorded tv shows.
I ride through some pretty desolate areas on this route. Keep in mind, I’ve ridden this route several times a week since I started biking. I’ve ridden it at four in the morning before. It is the only way I use to get home when I’ve gone anywhere east of Prospect Park.
I approached the overpass of the D train on 39th street right near my apartment and passed two men. All of the sudden I heard someone running behind me and I turned around to see one of them chasing me on my bike. He was running full out only a few feet behind me. I screamed out “What the fuck are you doing?” and started pedaling as fast as I could. They screamed “bitch” at me and threw a glass bottle which shattered near my tires.
I was three blocks from my home.
I rode at full speed the last three blocks. When I got to my house, my hands were shaking so badly I could hardly lock up my bike. I was terrified that the men would have followed me home. I ran up my stairs and locked the door, finding an empty apartment. I sat on my bed shivering with fear, unable to really process what had just happened.
When I looked back at that man chasing me, I truly thought that he would overtake me and pull me off my bike. There aren’t a lot of street lights in that area and even less people out on the street. If they had wanted to take my bag, they could have. If they had wanted to sexually assault me and slit my throat, they could have. These are the thoughts that kept me awake as I huddled in my bed, to scared even to cry.
I don’t know what they’ve left me. I ride my bike every single day. I ride it to work, to friend’s houses, to the grocery store, to rehearsal, to meetings, to parties, and anywhere I want to go. I haven’t bought a monthly metrocard since June. My bike is an essential part of how I interact with the city. It’s my life. Yet now, when I think about riding in some of the areas where I travel on a regular basis — I am terrified. What if this happens again? What if next time I’m not fast enough? What if they do get me off my bike? I’m so scared, but I’m not allowed to be — I need my bike.
How can I reclaim the sense of physical security that they’ve taken from me?
Submitted by Emma
Submitted by Sally N.
We are pleased to present one girl’s Hollaback re-enactment:
Submitted by Dana
This keeps happening to my friends in Crown Heights (brooklyn) where I live: there is a man that walks around (maybe about 5’11″, burly very chubby) with a big dirty black quilted coat on who shuffles up to women, and SPITS on them! He has tried to spit on me twice. It’s TERRIFYING and has happened while it was still dark out before I went to work. I saw him again (on Nostrand Avenue) Friday night, but was with my boyfriend. He beelined toward me, but saw my boyfriend and shuffled off.
I have heard two other people say this man has spit directly on them! I was hoping maybe someone out there would know more about who this crazy brooklyn spitter is?
Submitted by A. T. S.
Submitted by Sally N.
We are currently rated #2 out of 243 applications. A #1 ranking will help us secure the funds to make this initiative happen.
HOLLABACK against street harassment! Vote now, here.
Submitted by Sally N.
Reposted from Hollaback DC:
How much would you love to see safe, free rides for women and LGBTQ individuals on weekends through a partnership with Holla Back DC! and Zipcar? Wouldn’t that be cool? Well, we want to bring a RightRides chapter to the DC metro area.
To make this a reality, Holla Back DC! is asking you to vote for this idea through Ideablob. If we win, half of that $10K would be used to bring RightRides to DC. But we need YOU to make it happen! We urge you to take one minute to register through Ideablob and vote for HBDC! A vote for us is a vote for a safer DC for all. And hey, good ideas spread, so get your friends and family in other places to vote to make our nation’s capital a safe place!
As always, a heartfelt thank you for your votes and continued support. Holla Back DC! is a community initiative that would not be possible without the loving support from people like you and the DC metro community.
I live in Philly but since we are almost a New York suburb and we have no Holla Back yet, I’m sending my story to you.
I walk into a bookstore in Old City, it’s one of my favorites because it’s all used books and there are so many books, they pile them up everywhere, it’s like cairns up and down the aisles. It’s always an adventure to go in and generally fun to strike up conversation with fellow book lovers. That evening was hot and humid, I had a sun dress on. I found my favorite section and started scanning for books. I hear someone walking down the aisle and press up against the shelves to make room (there were 5 or 6 towers of books near my feet), I hear the individual say something, Hey, Hi, What’s up sort of greeting, but at the same moment I feel him graze my butt.
In that instant two things cross my mind – it was an accident/he did it on purpose. The blood rushes to my face because I know it was no accident. I lean back from the shelves and dig my nails into the book I’m holding. I look at him, he doesn’t look back. I pay for the book, he quickly leaves the store but turns back to look at me as he passes the window. All manner of gruesome scenarios invade my mind and I count to 20 and leave the store.
Two blocks down the street, I’m still boiling, mostly that I didn’t do anything, and then I hear it. “Hey, hey miss” I turn to find him jogging down the block towards me across the street. I cross the street screaming any and all obscenities at him, and so the people near us get the picture, yell at him for groping me in a bookstore, being a pervert, asshole and the like. He turns, walks away, turns again and then starts running down the street.
I hope I have scared him one tenth of what he scared me.
Reposted from the New York Post:
An ex-con is back behind bars for groping a young woman in broad daylight as she walked into her SoHo apartment building, police sources said yesterday.
José Marrero, 32, allegedly stalked the 23-year-old victim for three blocks on Oct. 4 while saying, “Hey beautiful, come with me, let’s go somewhere.”
The suspect, who has done time for drug charges, pounced as she stepped into the lobby of her building on Varick Street near Broome streets at 8:30 a.m., sources said.
The victim tried to fight off the attacker, but Marrero allegedly threw her to the ground, rubbed his body against hers and molested her.
Two witnesses stumbled upon the attack, prompting the suspect to dash off, but the victim picked Marrero out of a photo array.
The suspect was arrested last Wednesday and charged with burglary and sexual abuse.