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Hello, I would like to thank you for taking the time to listen to our testimonies for an issue that we all find very important. My name is Olivia. I am fifteen, and a junior in high school, currently taking a feminism class.
I come to you today to discuss the issue of street harassment. Having lived in New York City all my life, I have been receiving some form of harassment since I was eight. I have had a man insinuate that I am a prostitute, and that he would like to “ purchase” me. It has never escalated further than a man following me for about a block, but even that is too much. Almost every woman I know has experienced a man masturbating on the subway, or other public place, or has been stopped against her will on the street so a man can talk to her.
The worst part is, although street harassment is illegal, nobody gets caught. Rarely anybody on the street helps the woman being harassed, neither standing up for her nor calling the police. And what would happen if they did tell the police? Most likely nothing. There must be a change to this. The threat of street harassment is escalating, because men know they can get away with it. This city has to begin taking the issue more seriously. Posting signs in the subway is not enough, clearly. Men need to know that if they commit the crime of street harassment, they will receive punishment, as will any person who commits a crime. Thank you.
My name is Meiling and I am a senior in high school. While I have only been on this earth for 17 years, I have been the victim of sexual harassment a countless number of times, in fact, too many times. Every day I either have to deal with a grown man staring creepily at me and my body, or an inappropriate comment slipped at me while walking down the street. I cannot explain how uncomfortable this makes me feel and how frightened I am when this happens to me on a
My most memorable and frightening encounter with sexual harassment occurred about a year and half ago when I was walking home from school and a large man in a heavy coat walked by me and rubbed his hand along my arm. It happened so fast I didn’ t really make sense of what had just happened and thought it might have been by accident.
However, in the following days I saw the same guy about three more times and every time he walked past me he would touch my arm. I did not know what to do at the time. I felt helpless. This man was invading my personal space and made me feel very uncomfortable. Moreover, I was extremely afraid for my personal safety. Thank goodness I have never seen this man again, but this memory will forever stick with me.
It is unfair that we women and even young girls, because yes, girls younger than I experience sexual harassment, have to deal with this issue daily. Our personal safety is put into danger every time this happens because in addition to being sexually harassed we face the possibility of being verbally attacked or even physically attacked for rejecting a man who tries to talk to us in the street. This is why I am asking for a change to happen in our city of New York where I should feel safe walking by myself in the street. More enforced actions need to take place in order to stop sexual harassment and prevent it from happening.
I thank you kindly for taking the time to read my testimony and hope it better informed you on this issue.
In honor of the first-ever NYC Council hearing on street harassment, we are posting the testimonies of high school students who couldn’t be there (the hearing is at 1pm) but were impassioned enough about the issue to submit written testimony.
Hello, my name is Taylor, I’ m a junior in high school and I’ d like to thank you for taking time out to host this hearing. This summer I was sexually harassed by a young man who eventually pulled a gun out on me when I rejected him. I was with two friends, both bigger than I, when he started hitting on me, saying things like “ Hey ma, what’ s good with you?”
My friends and I ignored him, but he continued to try, saying, “ Yo Shorty I’ m talking to you!” At one point I look so scared that my friend (a boy) intervened and told the man to “ Chill out, she’ s not interested.” The man then decided to yell at my friend and curse him out, screaming “ Yo who the f* * * are you? I’ m talking to her!” at which point he punched my friend. After me and my other friend (a girl) started freaking out and getting my friend away, we hear the guys friends go “ Yo, are you stupid what are you doing!?” When my friend and I turn around the guy was pointing a gun at me, while his friend was talking him out of doing anything too rash, at which point me and my friends ran away.
I do not expect the government to be able to stop things like this from happening, I do, however wish that they would pay more attention when women tell them a guy sexually harassed them because the man who harassed me could have done the same thing to someone else hours earlier. All I want to see happen is the government take action when someone comes in with a sexual harassment case, and for the people in our society to stand up for someone who they see is being sexually harassed.
I go to the fish market in Moss Landing about 1x a week on my way home from school. A few weeks ago, before I found this site, I was buying some fish when the fish market worker made a dumb as hell “That’s what she said” joke after I said that I thought that cut of fish was to thick. I laughed awkwardly not because I was uncomfortable but because the joke was just not that clever. Then he made another equally dumb joke (also that’s what she said). Finally, as I was paying he asked me if my breasts were real. I was stunned. Pissed and ashamed I walked out and called my boyfriend. I drove about a mile before deciding to turn around and report it to the owner of the market. I also told the owner of the repeated comments I face (and many other women I assume) from the bar tender next to the fish case about how he asks everytime if I have a boyfriend, when I am getting married, and finally it escalated to him saying he wanted to get me drunk “out back.” Enough was enough. I have not gone back and am currently trying to find a new place to buy locally caught fish.
Submitted by Elizabeth
I’m walking down the street at about 9:00 at night. I’m wearing a skirt and heels, because I am about to go out with my friends. While waiting at the intersection, a truck full of guys start whistling at me, screaming at me and generally acting like dicks. I shoot them a look, but they don’t stop. So, I kind of blew up.
“I AM NOT A PIECE OF MEAT, YOU UN-EVOLVED JERKWADS!” was exactly what I shouted at the top of my lungs. They stopped, and the car drove away.
Behind me, I hear a slow clapping sound. I turn around and there is a little old woman walking up behind me. I smiled and she smiled, nodded and walked on.
So, the moral of the story is that while the whole Mendenhall Street area is pretty bad for getting harassed, at least occasionally you will get applauded by old ladies for fighting back. :]
Submitted by Emma
I was going to the movies with my friend and he left his phone in the car, so he asked me to go back to the parking lot to get it while he bought our tickets. So I was walking in the parking lot when a car PACKED with jerks passes by me. And when the car gets beside me, they start slowing down. I was texting this whole time, so I really wasn’t paying much attention to them. Then they start shouting things at me like “HOLLA!” and being very rude and trying to get my attention. At first, I didn’t think they were talking to me. Then a lady who was walking ahead of me with her son finally turned back and shot the guys a look. They thought we were the only ones in the parking lot, but then they noticed the lady looking at them, so they were embarrassed and they sped off. That’s when I finally noticed they were talking to me.
As I passed by the lady she gave me a “those guys are such losers” type of look. I smiled. I think it was very kind of her to do that.
I had my phone in my hand, I wish I would’ve taken a photo of them!
Submitted by Vava
I think you’re really…
My first Hollaback ever after years of verbal harassment on the street. I knew that my time had come when this creep said, “Hey sexy” as I walked by. I am actually pretty surprised at how close I got to him when snapping his photo. Maybe it wasn’t the best idea, actually – he full on swatted at me and said, “Fuck you” after I took it.
Submitted by KD
NOTE: We at Hollaback want to emphasize that your safety comes first. Trust your instincts. Your story is powerful, but you shouldn’t have to get hurt to tell it.
I had forgotten cab fare one night, and was forced to walk home drunk from a party one night. I was walking with a slurpee in hand as I reached an intersection. As soon as I walked into the road the light had turned green, and I ran to the other side. A jeep slammed on the gas and zoomed past me. The passenger in the front seat screamed “SLUUUUT” out the window as they were turning.
Without even thinking about what I was doing, I threw my slurpee at the car screaming “FUUCK YOU”. I got a perfect shot and my slurpee hit the windshield of the car. The jeep stopped and the passenger got out of the car. He screamed “YOU CUNT WHY WOULD YOU FUCKIN DO THAT?” For a few seconds I was in complete of what had just happened until a random man on the corner said “Yeah you’re psycho thats totally uncalled for”. As the passenger used his sweatshirt in an attempt to clean the slurpee off the windshield I went up to him and said “You deserve a lot more than a slurpee on your windshield for what you just called me!” and I stormed off.
Submitted by Amanda
I was on the train to 34th street and this man got on the train. He took up so much space with his bicycle and then continually asked every woman to sit down next him. Most women said no and ignored him. Some retaliated when he shouted out to them. One woman felt so pressured that after telling him no four times, she eventually had to sit down because he insisted so hard (disguised with politeness).
To add to the obnoxious objectification and sexualization of women, he stared at two girls and kept rubbing his genitals. He continued harder by placing a bag in front of his crotch and then pushing into that to seem less obvious.
He also sang loudly to himself and seemed a bit crazy. I would not trust being alone on the train with him.
This happened on the 3 Train Downtown from Grand Army Plaza (Brooklyn) to 14th Street (Manhattan)
Submitted by Julie