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I was walking down Broadway between 145th and 144th today at around 1:30 pm when I saw two guys walking my way. I knew immediately from the lecherous expressions on their face that they were preparing to catcall me, so I braced myself for it. Sure enough, out come the “Heeeey seeeexy” and “You look good in that dress” comments and the lewd, full-body eye scans. I immediately stopped in my tracks and put my hand up to signal “stop.” They were so surprised that they actually jumped back! I told them they were being really disrespectful and that I didn’t solicit or appreciate their comments. They responded predictably, with one going on the defensive (“I just said you look nice in that dress. What’s wrong with that?”) and the other continuing to make sexual comments to me all the while. I started off on my way again, repeating for a final time that they should learn to treat women with more respect and dignity.
I crossed 144th and about 3 seconds later was confronted AGAIN by ANOTHER catcaller. This guy was handing out flyers for some business. I waved my hand to refuse the flyer (I wish I had taken a copy, though, because it would be good to let his employer know about his bad behavior) and as I did he began making lewd comments. Again I stopped and told him he was being disrespectful and that I didn’t appreciate his comments. I hadn’t even finished my sentence before he blew up, yelling, “You best walk away! I just got outta prison! I’ll smack you across the street!” He moved closer to get in my face, continuing to issue his barrage of threats and altering his stance to try to make himself look more dangerous, but I held my ground and called him out on his phony threats, pointing out that we were in broad daylight, so even if he did try anything stupid it would lead him straight back into prison. He said he didn’t care, and I replied, “Well then I’m sad for you. That’s a sad life you’re leading if you really want to go back to prison that badly.” He continued making threats as I walked away, and I yelled back, “Women are people too!” and “What would your mother think?!?”. After I finished my lunch I came back out, with my iPhone ready, and I took these snapshots of him.
Submitted by Carey, who also submitted My Chat with some CatCallers
This audio/video was taken on 143rd street in Manhattan, and features a conversations between a harassed woman and her harassers. It’s an incredible hollaback and nothing short of inspirational. In it, she discusses with the harassers all the things we want to say, but oftentimes don’t:
I was on my way to the bank and was walking down 15th Street in Park Slope, Brooklyn, between 5th and 6th Aves. Two guys working construction were getting something out of a van. I had my earbuds in so I didn’t hear them, but they definitely stopped what they were doing to stop, watch me walk by, and say something. Then I realized I forgot something so had to turn around and walk past them again, and again they said something I didn’t hear while leering at me as I walked by. When I got the thing I had forgotten, I went around the corner and took the long way to the bank just to avoid them.
Submitted by Blue
First of all, Feminuity drew our attention to VOCES: A Zine by the Voices Against Violence Project.
Jos Truitt discusses the need for “trans lives to come deliberately into focus” through storytelling. Gender-based harassment in public places can be about policing gender performance as well as the objectification of female bodies and a culture that is tolerant of violence against women. If you experience street harassment as a trans man or woman, Hollaback! and share your story here.
Feministing informs us that even after the big scandal in L.A. last year, 80% of rape kits STILL go untested in Illinois. It is extremely depressing but you can take action – read about new legislation (and who to start calling) at the link.
We’ve spent a lot of time talking about the limits of the first street harassment videogame as an empowering tool for women, but this author thinks ‘Hey Baby’ could be used to educate men through empathy-building.
Finally, an interview with the always lovely Holly Kearl, author of ‘Stop Street Harassment: Making Public Spaces Safe and Welcoming for Women.’
Also, we had an amazing time at our recent launch party, thanks to Carmen at Where is Your Line? for the shout-out and to everyone who came out to celebrate with us!
Walking west to doctor appointment, pervert stopped to ogle my body as I wondered what could be up with my crazy cramps. Then the beginnings of something perverted beginning with “fuck” trickled out of his mouth but I didn’t wait to hear his poetic vision because I turned so abruptly around to face him and so loudly and angrily shouted HEY! MIND YOUR OWN FUCKING BUSINESS PERVERT! that passersby on the other side of the street stopped to watch and the man jumped. I heard him shouting “bitch” after he gathered his senses as I continued on. A real comedian, too, in addition to being a poet, I guess, because most people would find it funny that someone who just muttered obscenities to a stranger in the street with two young children standing nearby would get angry for being called out on his shit but what do I know. I apologized to the mother of the two young children but the look on her face told me she understood and she just laughed and said don’t worry don’t worry I know. For such a high powered incident I was almost amazed my heart wasn’t racing afterwards but I’m coming to realize that it only races when I walk on and don’t say something to the street turds who harass. When I turn around, confront them, and let them know what’s up I feel pretty good.
Submitted by Ursula
I have had my fair share of leering from the security guards at chelsea market. Being singled out in a crowd when I cut through the market on my way to work is always testing my patience. Being a woman of color I always wonder – is this racial stereotyping? Sometimes I cover my head with a cloth – so the reasons why people stare are multiple. When other people see the guards leering at me I feel so tiny- so humiliated like, “gee what will all these non brown people think…maybe I did something bad?”
….no, just trying to live in peace.
Today it was pretty clear I was being harassed. I was walking hand in hand with my bf. I was wearing a long shirt that covered my behind, non fitting… for those wondering. Sundays are crowded. The guard near the far entrance was lifting his head from far. I was not even checking to see if he would leer …he started to turn to me…nod his head up and down my body with those elevator eyes accompanying the head. For once, since I was not alone, I waived my finger saying “no”, he nodded his head fast “yes” and showed me his teeth attempting a “guilty smile” and looked up at my eyes and down to my butt nodding “yes”. I told my bf how it hurts that he is suppose to be protecting me- but is leering. My bf turned around and the guy was still leering.
My bf walked over and said quietly, “my gf feels uncomfortable with the way you are staring”.
He shouted at us both and said GET OUT OF HERE GET OUT IF YOU DON’T LIKE IT GET OUT.
Swear to god this is true, yes, a guard told us to get out of chelsea market if we don’t like how he’s leering at us.
I don’t have a photo but feel awful he said that to my bf. I intend on writing a letter, but to who to where? I hope there are cameras there, its all on tape no one has to “believe” me.
Well, thanks holla back at least I feel I can send this to you for now.
Submitted by Anonymous
Last night at 1:00am I was coming home on the F from a party in the LES and a nasty guy sat across from me and started touching himself! I took out the app and snapped a picture of him. It’s blurry because it’s of him getting up to run away. He went to the other end of the subway car. I kept glaring at him and he eventually walked through to another car.
I have had people make comments at me on the street, or follow me for a block, but I haven’t seen someone masturbate while looking at me on a public subway car! SO NASTY. and the look on his face while he was doing it uh! I am so grossed out.
The only good thing was that he fucking ran away when he realized I was taking a picture. the perv!
Submitted by Kina
This poem was read at our launch party by the incredibly talented Camille Theobald. This is the first ever poem written about Hollaback!
I rise ready for a morning run, man I love to feel that sun
Hear the birds out “tweet tweet”, and the light landing of my feet
Till a noise shatters the silence, with verbal violence.
A sound that unleashes hate inside, the part of me I try to hide.
But I can’t help but hear this man’s foul words in my ear.
“Hey Girl you got a fine ass.” He may think it’s a compliment but in reality it’s crass
I keep going to avoid any more, but he still thinks he’s gonna score
“What sexy you afraid of me? Ah so that’s how its gonna be”
Yeah, that’s how its gonna be! What did you think I’de do?
“Oh daddy yeah, take me home with you”
This is the real world not your sick fantasy, you need to come back to reality
Your not a rapper in some sick music video, surrounded by money, cars and hoes
You’re a just a skinny ass white boy still wearing JNCOs
And even if you were hot it wouldn’t make a difference, not when you’re coming at me such ignorance.
It’s not like I’ve never heard it before but this time I’m slamming the door
Its not enough to “ignore it and keep walking”, that never stops these perverts from talking.
Who knows if he will stop at words with his foul thoughts, for words lead to actions and physical assault.
So now it’s time to take action against street talking harassment.
People unite to keep clear of these fools these dogs that think they can bend the rules.
Blog your experience text your pics we no longer have to put up with these pricks.
This incredibly powerful poem was read at our launch party on Thursday by Dailyn. At 20 years old, she’s smart, she’s fierce, and she’s an inspiration to us all.
I am Ani Difranco
I am beyond your peripheral vision
so you might want to turn your head
cuz someday you’ll find you are starving
and eat all of the words you just said…
The other day I was walking the street in Manhattan when suddenly…
“What’s good Mami, damn you ass fine as hell, let me talk to you fo’ a minute”
…I’d really like to know the success ratings on that line.
So I turned around to the prick and said,
ok, you would like to have a conversation, shall we?”Let’s talk about how you feel about Obama recently stating that Republicans are to blame for the immigration delay –”
…we had a nice little conversation.
I wonder how many girls have fallen for that line and settled with guys just because he was interested in how beautiful or hot they are.
It makes me question, do women and girls know their worth?
Do you know your worth?
your smile, your laughter, your eyes, your opinions, emotions, they MATTER. Your voice matters. You are not your lips and your thighs. You are your mind
I just wish more people took what I’m saying seriously
I wish people could see who I truly am underneath.
That I’m more of a man that they’ll ever be…
and sometimes I forget to brush my teeth…
that I fucking love cursing…
and I hate shaving my legs…
that everyday I’m away from my grandmother I ache the distance…
and sometimes when I’m bored ill do impressions of novelas in my mirror…
and I think there’s no point in talking to yourself if you don’t respond…
I feel like a homeless person always asking the world for change
but I know my worth with every step I take.
We have a FANTASTIC op-ed in the Daily News right now that discusses out soon-to-be-released iPhone app!!
We are always concerned that misdemeanor crimes on the streets and subway are not taken seriously when they have such an enormous impact on the women and LGBTQ folks who experience them, but in this extremely disturbing piece of news, the Village Voice reveals that more serious forms of violence against women are being systemically downgraded to less serious charges in NYC.
Interview with the maker of the fantastic short film ‘Walking Home.’ This film is a poignant look at street harassment that has been featured on our site previously.
In a blog on Gender and Public policy, one blogger compares street harassment to being bombarded with ping pong balls whenever you walk down the street. Hilarious, apt, and it makes me want to carry around ping pong balls to throw back, although, tragically, hand-eye coordination isn’t really my thing…
Street harassment is sometimes an eco-feminist issue. This blogger in Miami notes that the threat of harassment keeps women in their cars rather than on bikes or public transport.
Thank you to the Gay Brooklyn Tip Sheet for including our party in your July calendar!
And FINALLY, OUR LAUNCH PARTY IS TODAY @ 125 5TH AVE IN BROOKLYN – COME CELEBRATE WITH US!!!!!!