This incident occurred last Friday. I was walking home from the library and was just passing the middle school in my neighborhood. A middle aged man in a red shirt was walking on the sidewalk in the opposite direction as me. I thought nothing of it, he looked like he could be picking up his kid at the middle school. As he passed me, I heard him muttering something under his breath which sounded like “slut”. I froze for a second as he continued walking then turned around and said “what did you just say to me?” in an incredulous tone of voice. He said “‘Mamacita’. Do you know what that means?” Completely disgusted, I turned back around and shouted “Creeper!” and continued walking. I wish I had been louder; I wish I had been more confident in my confrontation of his behavior. I had worn my favorite purple polka dot miniskirt in order to feel better about my horrible day and he turned it into something disgusting and cringe-worthy.
Thanks for existing, Hollaback- I can’t even begin to tell you how much better I feel having written this knowing it will be read by people who understand.
I just got back to the US after spending three months abroad in South Korea and Japan. I was very excited to spend a week visiting LA for the first time before I return to my hometown on the east coast. Today is my first day back in the states, and I decided to go for a walk to check out the area. Ten minutes after I stepped out the door, a guy waiting at a red light yelled “Slut!” at me out of his car window. As I continued walking, three more cars with men in them honked at me or slowed down to leer out the window. This isn’t a bad neighborhood, but now I feel somewhat uncomfortable walking around by myself. My first reaction was surprise because I didn’t have any experiences like this while in Asia-not that sexual harassment doesn’t happen there, but I always felt very safe walking alone, even at night. Most women I spoke with there felt the same way. I had been back in my own country for less than 24 hours when this happened. It feels like this is just America’s way of saying “Welcome home.”
I was walking home from the bus stop this morning, and all day I had been stared at and honked at by men in cars, and I’d just about had enough. I was only wearing a long sleeve top and a skirt! Anyway, so I was walking along my street which is a main road, and this guy honked at me and shouted something out. I thought nothing of it. And then, just as I was about to walk into my house, the guy pulled up beside me and started speaking to me. There was another guy in the car as well but he looked more awkward and I could tell he didn’t like what this other guy was doing. He said I looked familiar and asked what my name was and where I went to school. I only gave him brief information, but it was still a bit confronting. He then asked me how old I was, and I told him my real age, thinking he’d go away because I was way too young for him. But he kept talking, and eventually asked me for my number. That was the line. There was no way I was going to even consider handing out my phone number to this creep, he looked about 10 or 15 years older than me! So I said no and walked off, past my house so he couldn’t follow me, and then some other guy honked at me as well! By this time I was really fed up and upset, so I went around the corner to a park, and burst into tears. It was one of the most confronting and upsetting moments of my life.
This sort of thing happens to me too often, and I’m so sick of it, knowing that there are horrible men out there is really frightening.
As I wad drunkenly leaving Turtle Bay bar, this dude appears next to me, touches my leg and goes “I love you you’re beautiful.”
Dude, F*CK OFF. YOU HAVE NO RIGHT TO TOUCH ME. ALSO YOU HAVE ZERO CHANCE WITH ME. EVEN IF I WERE STRAIGHT. WHICH I’M NOT. I’M GAY AS F*CK. F*CK YOU VERY MUCH.
I’m a receptionist at a car dealership. I’m also a book-artist, and I often bring small-scale pieces to my job with me so that I can work on them/fiddle with them in my free time. Today I brought a nice little Coptic-stitched number which I’ve been using as a journal and sketchbook. One of my male coworkers came up to my desk and began to admire it. I allowed it. He opened it up — and asked if he could ‘write me a poem’.
I said sure. This man had made sexualized comments toward me before, in passing — but I thought, ‘surely this guy won’t have the audacity to write something inappropriate in there, while I’m at work. Surely, surely, he isn’t so stupid.’ Welp, I was wrong.
The title of his poem was “Attraction”, and here is how it went:
Disturbing yet Alluring
Hot yet dampened by
the look of wet innocence
if only the conversation
could breathe to life into
I wrote him a poem in return; titled it “Objectification”:
Ain’t no daydream
for the woman
on the receiving end of it.
We hate that shit
More than anything else
in the world.
He was taken aback, and he said that I’d taken the poem ‘the wrong way’. I said ‘I took it like you wrote it.’ And then, we had a conversation about workplace etiquette and the objectification of women. Wasn’t an easy conversation – it made me shake with nerves! But it was EXTREMELY FULFILLING. THANK YOU, hollaback.
T-Mobile has responded to our petition and provided the requested phone numbers to the NYPD. However, T-Mobile slowed down a police investigation of a sexual assault, endangering more people. We continue to be in discussion with T-Mobile to get clarity on their policy.
Hollaback! launches online petition at change.org to demand action from telecommunications giant
(Brooklyn, NY) – Hollaback!, an international movement dedicated to ending street harassment through mobile technology, today called on telecommunications giant T-Mobile to release vital information pertaining to a sexual assault case in New York City. An attack in Brooklyn in July, after which the suspect called the victim’s cell phone from a blocked number, marks the sixth of such assaults to occur in the area since March; the information provided by T-Mobile could be key in leading to the arrest of the perpetrator. The on-line petition is available here.
“Withholding information that could lead to the arrest of a man who poses a violent threat to women across New York is not just irresponsible, it’s unconscionable,” said Hollaback! Executive Director Emily May. “By refusing to assist authorities in this case, T-Mobile is sending a message to sexual predators everywhere that their acts will go unpunished. It’s time the company do the right thing and disclose vital information that will help prevent future rapes.”
The victim, a 22-year old woman, woke up in a car in July with two men on top of her. She screamed and tried to get away, and they let her out of the car — taking only her phone. She was left with bruises and a broken zipper. The details of what happened before she woke up remain unknown.
“As a south Brooklyn resident, I am outraged. T-Mobile’s policy has left my wife, my friends, and all the residents of South Brooklyn at risk,” said Samuel Carter, co-founder and board chair of Hollaback! and publisher of Overflow, a local south Brooklyn magazine.
According to T-Mobile’s Customer Proprietary Network Information (which includes call details and call location information) the company will not disclose such information without a customer’s permission. The NYPD has already submitted one failed subpoena, and is in the process of submitting subpoena’s with higher courts. According to the NYPD, T-Mobile is notorious for their failure to cooperate in criminal investigations.
The most recent reported attack in South Brooklyn occurred on September 6, 2011 and marked the seventh attack since March. Many of the other six attacks happened either late at night or in the early morning. While several women were able to escape, one woman was raped in her apartment vestibule.
BY EMILY MAY
Comedian Alex Carabano points out how completely ridiculous holla’ing is in this little video. And he’s right. If you could take street harassment out of it’s scary/lonely/isolating context it’s freaking ridiculous. Problem is – outside of comedy – you can’t take it out of that context. It’s always gonna be scary. That’s the point.
But what if we took the power out of their words and DID laugh at them? Would it escalate, deter them, or make them cower in shame? HOLLA with your stories of laughing-back. We’d love to hear.
I am not beautiful, that I know, but I also know I am no victim. I was walking home from getting dinner, a five minute maybe 100 yard walk and I was surrounded by four drunk guys. They started yelling things like “hideous bitch,””you’re so f*cking manly, people who look like you shouldn’t exist on this earth,” etc. Unfortunately for the last few weeks, I had gotten this verbal abuse before but this night it escalated. I remained stoic, just enduring until it was over as I usually do. That was until they kicked me in the back of the knees. As I was getting back up, another one of them took a swing to my gut, and before I could react another threw a punch at my jaw. They ran away laughing hysterically. I lost a lot that day, but I would lose more. I’ve dealt with verbal abuse like this in the past but the consistency of it and the culmination of the assault was too much this time. I plummeted into a deep depression. This, not during the assault, was when my life got exponentially worse.
Depression, to say the least, takes a toll, and mine was severe. I alienated myself from my friends, as I did not tell anyone what had happened to me. I became a person that the depression made me, an anti-me. Instead of being chill and just going with the flow, I became somewhat paranoid and was convinced that something was inherently wrong with me that I would get such constant, violent attention. I became someone I hated, every day I woke up hating myself. That was the depression. It took my beliefs, my identity, my ambition, my soul, and my life.
My friends left. I assume they didn’t understand, and I was giving them no explanation. My relationship left, citing that we weren’t working anymore. I became even more alone than I already felt. I became completely alone.
I had lost myself, and everything identifying me as myself and there was seemingly no end to pain in my life. I was lost and alone.
I’m a strong person, or at least I was. I am a trained kick boxer but this all happened so fast and I never thought it would escalate into assault. I returned to the place of my assault yesterday, as a fresh face as I like to think, due to a lot of endless work over the summer, that I am somewhat depression free. I returned to this place. I returned to my school, where I still have a year left, and I felt great pain. I felt great betrayal.
I didn’t ask to be depressed, I didn’t ask to be assaulted, and I didn’t ask to be abandoned but it happened.
Am I stronger today because of it? Maybe. But probably not quite yet.
BY ANNIE BOGGS
Second-wave feminist Carol Hanisch originated the phrase “the personal is political.” Hanisch enlightened me on the myth of bra burning and her hopes for the future of feminism, as well as other interesting tidbits. I was inspired and wanted to share with the Hollaback! community. Enjoy!
photo via redstockings.org
Carol Hanisch was one of the original “bra burners.” Except she never actually burned her bra. Starting a fire on the boardwalk at the 1968 Miss America Pageant protest in Atlantic City wasn’t permitted, but the newspapers still picked it up and the name stuck.
“They should have called us girdle burners. That was much more important than the bras. Those things were so uncomfortable,” Hanisch said on the phone from her home in upstate New York.
As a member of the group New York Radical Women, Hanisch was the instigator for that now well-known protest. One of the pioneering feminists of the late 1960s, Hanisch also has local connections to my college town of Gainesville, Florida, (once known as the “Berkeley of the South”) as one of the former members of the Gainesville Women’s Liberation.
Born and raised on a farm in Iowa, Hanisch wants to correct the assumption that all members of the women’s liberation movement were big city, middle-class liberals. She wasn’t the only person from a rural, working-class background.
“It’s important that people realize that it really did cut across all class. Women of all backgrounds took up the fight.”
Hanisch’s early interest in feminism stemmed from her involvement in the civil rights movement in Mississippi in the mid-1960s, which “propelled” her entrance into the women’s movement.
“I guess it kind of turned my head around,” said Hanisch of the racism she witnessed in Mississippi in 1965 and 1966 as a civil rights volunteer.
Her famous statement “The personal is political,” is still well-known in feminist circles, though Hanisch admits the phrase has become distorted since its inception.
“People think that anything they do is political and feel they don’t need to get involved in a movement. We were all movement. Couldn’t change anything unless women united and worked together in a united way.”
She still has hope for the movement. Though there’s been a huge backlash against women’s liberation, Hanisch believes issues like abortion, violence, and even general respect for women (Hollaback!) all need to be worked on. She thinks SlutWalks are a good example of what the movement needs, although she’s not sure she likes the name.
As for feminism ever thriving on college campuses?
“It certainly could,” Hanisch said. “It just needs some leadership and some courage.”