Appalachian Ohio, Athens GA, Atlanta, Berkeley, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Columbia MO, Columbus, Des Moines, Durham & Chapel Hill, East Lansing, Fredericksburgh VA, Houston, Los Angeles, Muncie IN, New York City, NYU, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Plattsburgh, Richmond VA, San Francisco, Tucson, Twin Cities
These are two incidences that happened within the same week in July, in downtown Toronto. I’m used to people asking me where I’m from, because they get confused about how someone who looks European has such an “ethnic” name. But in the space of one week, I had two creepy strangers come up to me and use my “exotic” ethnicity as an excuse to hit on me.
Incident one: I was listening to my iPod waiting on the subway platform at Spadina. A guy comes up to me and says something, I take my headphones out, and this is seriously what he says: “Excuse me, are you German? Because you look so good in that dress.”
I was in a really good mood, so I just smiled politely and said no. Then he started asking “Norwegian? Swedish? Swiss?” He went through pretty much all of Western Europe before he started on Eastern Europe. I told him “You’ll never guess, and I’m not going to tell you.”
Then he acted all offended, “You’re not going to tell me? That’s so mean, why are you being mean to me? Can I have your number so I can call you and find out where you’re from?”
Luckily, the subway came then, and I just said “I’m not single, and it’s none of your business anyway.” He looked pissed!
Incident two: This one actually really pissed me off. I went to the store at the ground level of my apartment building to buy cigarettes. I was turning to go back into my building when a skeezy looking middle aged guy stops me.
“Excuse me, where are you from? Are you from Switzerland?”
That day I really wasn’t in the mood for it, and I was pretty cold when I said “No.” and tried to leave. But it was right in front of my building and he was following me. He started going through all of the Western and Eastern European countries, when I noticed his accent and asked where he was from. He said he’s Albanian, and I said, ah, my great-grandfather was Albanian. Then he says, “Okay, so how about a nice Albanian girl like you has a coffee with a nice Albanian guy like me?”
I told him no, I’m married and I don’t have coffees with strange men. He then proceeded to tell me that I couldn’t possibly be married because I look “too fresh and lovely, and married women are all tired and unhappy”, and he asked if my husband was Canadian. I told him “My husband’s ethnicity is none of your business, he’s a Muslim and I’m a Muslim, and neither of us have coffee with people who stop us on the street.”
Then he got REALLY MAD, and told me not to be Muslim because only poor Albanians are Muslim, and I’m too young and beautiful to be married to a Muslim man! I didn’t bother telling him that it’s my Italian husband who’s the convert, I just walked away. A dirty pervert and a bigot!
Submitted by Zeyneb
We’ve been working hard for the past few months with our friends at RightRides on a new generation of Hollaback. We want to create an online map where women can “Hollaback!” directly from their cell phones. Quick, 140 character stories can be submitted through three easy portals: a) text it, b) tweet it, and c) submit it through a “Hollaback” mobile phone app. Once we launch in New York City, we want to take it worldwide.
What do you think of our idea? We need your help. Click here to tell us:
and vote for our idea to make it happen.
Once you are done with that, spread the word to your networks. Cut and paste this to your facebook, twitter, Myspace, and LinkedIn pages:
Vote for Hollaback 2.0 http://bit.ly/14Egc2 then repost to end street harassment!
I was harassed less than 1/2 hour ago.
I went to the supermarket. I got out of my car and walked toward the store. As I was walking, I noticed a man but ignored him because my focus was on walking to the supermarket and getting what I needed. I heard someone call out to me, and the man had a friend with him. I turned around and one of them said that they liked my dreads. I said thank you and continued walking.
One of them then said something about me being “fucking rude with an attitude” and how he liked that, and he said not to do it again because it turned him on. Then one or both of them said something about wanting to fuck me.
It scared the shit out of me. But I walked fast and tried not to look obviously scared.
I got the 2 items that I needed and before leaving the store, I asked the cashier to please call security to walk me to my car. The security guard obliged and said that it’s a damn shame (with other expletives thrown in there) that I have to be afraid of the men in my culture, and that if I ever felt unsafe again to call security and they’ll walk me to my car anytime.
I’m still rattled.
Submitted by P.
Then he wouldnt stop staring at us .. and feeling himself..
So I took out my camera and snapped him in the act. He asked if I had taken a picture of him, and I said.. no, no I did not.
All the while.. he stared. He made me completely uncomfortable, and I took out my mace in case he tried anything. But there were too many people on the train.. thank God!
Submitted by Veronica
On Sunday afternoon a random stranger attacked my friend. He came up from behind us with no warning and when I asked him why he claimed that she had bumped into him and not apologized. He knocked her teeth loose and she is covered in bruises and scrapes from how hard she hit the ground. I followed him several blocks up University Place and when I grabbed his shirt to try to keep him from running away he punched me multiple times and bit me before several guys wrestled him to the ground in front of the Whole Foods in Union Square. That’s when I got these photos.
Submitted by Cori
Standing on the corner of 3rd avenue and Pacific in Brooklyn, chatting excitedly about wedding planning with my bride-to-be friend Colleen, when a man walks past us slowly and whispers: “Cold. Bitch.”
He sauntered on, we shuttered with a cold chill of fear.
Submitted by Emily
One day as I walked a friend to the train station, I noticed a man in my periphery against a wall by the station, I walked her down and then noticed on my way up that the man against the wall was still there and now trying to get my attention. So oh course my first response is to ignore the bastard, but this man proceeded to follow me. Only a few feet from the station, he proceeded to use his body to corner me up against a wall. My instinct told me to push him away. However, when I pushed I was so scared that I didn’t know my own strength, I shoved him back. He stumbled a few feet backwards and became enraged. I saw in his eyes that he was going to hurt me, so I ran.
Of course, it was the only moment that I have seen this area so empty that I had to run and be chased a full block until I found some people on the street. They were a construction crew. I ran in between them and pointed at the crazy man chasing me. They used their body to block the crazy guy and told me to run home. As I was running home, I could still hear this crazy guy screaming at me about what he would do. As soon as I got home, I locked all the doors and thought about how frightening this was. I was scared. Scared like a child who thinks about monsters. How can one person make another person feel like this in one moment. I am truly sick and tired of this harassment. Since coming to NYC, I understand why people become agoraphobic. Enough is enough. I will not be silenced.
For awhile, I tried to figure out what it is about me that lured these violators to single me out. Is it the way I walk? Is it because I am so short and small? Is it because I seem weak? Is it because of the way I dress?….In the end, why the fuck does any of this matter. It is just plain unacceptable.
Enough is enough.
Submitted by Michelle
Good story: so I was harassed today at least five or six times, all around the chelsea neighborhood. When I was about to get on the subway at 28th st, a sleazy guy went, “ooh, nice dress sexy.” A guy walking right behind me overheard and muttered “what an asshole.” After so much harassment it was nice to know not all men think talking to women that way is ok! Thanks dude behind me for making my day.
Submitted by Rachel
As a high school student coming from suburbs riding to school into Manhattan fifteen years ago it was a shock to see a grotesque looking man performing this action [masturbating] “in front of me”. It was then again years later commuting to Manhattan to work and seeing another disgusting grin faced gray haired man coming into my train car sitting on the other end of the train and committing the same act. In fear I slowly moved head away and tried to remain my composure . Later that afternoon I tried to report the incidence to a train conductor but since it was late in the day too late for anything to be done… back then cell phones didn’t have that camera feature that could allow you take the pictures and report them, something I could have really used…
Submitted by Jacqueline
I’m beginning to hate men, I am beginning to hate walking outside. I am turning into a racist. I’m becoming an asshole. I wish I could carry around a sword.
Today on the F train towards Jamaica at about 8:00am, a man with reflective shades sat in front of me in a crowded train. It seemed strange that he had been wearing reflective sunglasses in the morning in an underground train. I soon realized that after a couple of minutes, he was masturbating. At this moment, I leaned in and yelled if that’s what he’s doing. He could not respond; however, because this is the second time this has happened to me, I decided to yell some more. I was enraged. I am so sick and tired of being harassed. I’m becoming an asshole with no tolerance for this type of behavior. So, I continued to yell at this man until the entire train knew what he was doing. I woke the lady next to him to inform her that she had been sitting next to an pervert masterbater. Then, I proceeded to curse this guy out some more. Then to my surprise another man on the train started to yell at him saying that if he doesn’t stop that he was going
to hurt him.
ATTENTION: WOMEN PLEASE SAY SOMETHING !!!
I think what surprised me the most was not that someone stood up with me, but that it was a man. None of the women on the train said anything when they heard and understood what was happening to me. Are we that afraid? We need to ban together and look out and help each other. When I see other women getting harassed, I always jump in to help. Where are the women to help me? How can we curb this type of harassment, if not everyone tried to change it.
What can I do to help change this?
Submitted by Michelle