I try to walk my dog every day. When I was very good about it, we would often go through the trails of the park and explore. One day, I decided to cut the walk short, so I went through the shortcut that leads back to the playground and parking lot. The shortcut is a wide stretch of grass, clearly visible from both ends of the park, and not private at all. As I walked, there were two men, (who behaved like boys) and one shouted at me something along the lines of, “Walk that dog, girl!” I knew they wouldn’t try anything because my dog is large, but it didn’t stop me from feeling paranoid and unsafe.
This week at HQ we said goodbye to our interns, April and Julia. This summer, April assisted Debjani with Hollaback!’s new education curriculum for teaching in New York schools about harassment in public spaces and worked on Hollaback!’s annual report. Julia was the communications intern and worked with the HQ team on managing the social media accounts and the annual report. Thank you to our interns for their work this summer!
Debjani and Rachel attended Aspen Baker’s launch for her new book, Pro-Voice. This book is about destigmatizing abortion by listening to women’s stories. Read about Baker’s book here.
Hollaback! Bahamas has been working tirelessly! The team presented at the Royal Bahamas Police Force Southeastern Division’s summer camp and the Urban Renewal Band’s summer camp about street harassment. Additionally, they were featured on the radio with Bahamas Sexual Health and Rights Association to talk about the importance of sexual education for youth.
Hollaback! Bmore attended a free self-defense class at the Baltimore Free Farm for a Community Self Defense workshop. Knowing self-defense skills is an excellent way to feel empowered on your neighborhood’s streets. Check out some tips from the workshop!
Until next week!
Holla and Out!
Today, I held hands with another woman for the first time in public. It was her first time, as well. Within less than 30 seconds of intertwining hands, a man drove by us in a truck, honked the horn multiple times, and lifted his face to the sky and howled towards us. Imagine grotesque “Mad Max”-like, war-like facial expressions.
Surely this must qualify as trauma: the first moment this incredibly sweet, thoughtful, lovely woman was bold enough to ask to hold my hand, we experienced oppressive harassment.
Man yelling at young women that they are heathens for wearing shorts. Seems religiously oriented.
I had just left a bar with several male friends when they decided to stop by the food truck right outside. I didn’t want anything, so I hung back away from the line. Most of the crowd were men and I didn’t know anyone outside of my friend group. I stood firmly with my arms crossed at my chest, scowl on my face, wearing very modest clothing, while I waited for my friends. My unapproachable demeanor was intentional, and reserved for such scenarios.
I noticed two men coming up the wide sidewalk, decided I was not in the way of foot traffic, and continued to wait. They were walking together, until they got near me, where one guy walked right up to me, to the point his chest was touching me, as if to say “Move, you’re in my space.” I waited a few seconds in the obvious power play and eventually pivoted because it felt too aggressive. The other man he was with then grabbed my waist in a very familiar manner as if to set me aside, or grope me, I couldn’t tell which. Maybe both. I resisted the urge to punch them, though my fist was already balled and ready to go. I may have done it, had I not suspected they could inflict greater harm.
It was my 12th birthday. I and two of my friends were walking back from Walgreens (we had bought ice cream) and we were waiting to cross the street back to the neighborhood. Two guys driving past yelled “Daaamn!’ at us. My friends laughed. I wasn’t even a teenager and was already being sexualized by complete strangers.
Was looking at a menu on the side of a building and two men walked by and they appeared drunk (it was 4 o’clock) and one preceded to say something inaudible and I managed to pick out the words “you look nice and tight” and they walked away. I’m fourteen and was with my parents although they weren’t directly next to me at the time so they didn’t overhear.
A car kept verbally harassing me while I was waiting for the bus. They kept asking me if I wanted a ride in a really sleazy way. They wouldn’t stop asking me until I started taking photos of his car.
A man in his late 30’s and early 40’s was walking up and down inside the A,C,E train platform (Chambers Street) as I was waiting to catch a train. About 145-165 pounds and about 5’6″ or 5’8,” with fringe bangs and a bowl hair cut. He came up really close behind me and sniffed my hair. As I was pretty shaken up by this, I turned around and saw him jerking off his erect penis. I told a nearby couple and they saw him too, but they just kept their distance (the woman screamed, her boyfriend was appalled). The perpetrator, still with penis in hand, jacking off, walked up the stairs and disappeared. He had a tan jacket.
What’s up, Hollaback!
Things are heating up here at the HQ! The hot and humid air can’t get in our way of keeping the movement going.
Here’s some great news: we are hiring two positions here at the HQ! For our Full-time Program and Administrative Assistant, we are looking for someone with strong administrative, communication, and programming skills. Additionally, we are hiring a HeartMob Program Coordinator who will manage the program, partner with development and management, oversee legal projects, and strategize for the new platform. Please pass these opportunities along to anyone you know who may be interested!
Here’s what’s going on with the sites:
Hollaback! Bmore had a coffee chat with its site leaders and locals in the community to talk about the issues of street harassment. It’s awesome to engage with community members who care about making the streets a safer place.
Additionally, Hollaback! Bmore joined the Baltimore Trans Alliance for their #Baltimoretransuprising Rally & March. The team supported the transgender residents of Baltimore in demanding change to the city’s systems that actively and violently work to erase their presence in city life.
Hollaback! Ottawa did an interview with CBC about street harassment in their city. They discussed how to get the community involved in the movement to end harassment in public spaces. Using #corneredinOttawa, the site followed the harassment stories of women and LGBTQ folks in the community.
Great work this week!
Holla and Out!
-The Hollaback! Staff