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I first heard about HollaBack when someone posted about it on a Xanga forum (Lovelyish). Needless to say, I’m in shock about the countless stories these women have and how closely they parallel my own stories. I’m now thinking twice about my surroundings and the sexually-charged comments that so many say to take as a ‘compliment’.
UNF is known for being a safe campus and I couldn’t agree more (there haven’t been any ‘violent’ occurrences like mugging, fights, etc.), however, when it comes to sexual harassment it’s a different story. There isn’t a day when I walk out of my dorm and get cat-called by guys that bum around on the benches in front of our building. One time, I was walking to the gym with one of my friends. I was stretching out my quads before jogging across the intersection, when a car packed with guys comes racing by, several of them make a ‘smooching’ face out the window. Just because I’m asian doesn’t mean “me love you long time” (which was a long-standing harassment phrase back in highschool).
I gave them two middle fingers (much to pride of my boyfriend).
Catcalls and harassment have become so ridiculous that my boyfriend surprised me the other day when he wanted to get me some pepper spray.
It’s worse when harassment happens in what you thought was the comfort of your own home. I live in a suburban community and my street is really quiet and hardly anyone passes by, unless you live there. I came home one weekend and was unloading my bags from the car when this older guy (must have been in his 40’s or 50’s) comes out of his truck and grins at me. My dad comes out to greet him and the guy asks my dad if “(I’m) the older one?” He starts leering, she’s a pretty thing. What school does she go to? At this point, I’m fed up and walk into the house, an obvious look of disgust on my face.
I hope my dad stood up for me.
Catcalls always escalate at work. I work for retail and there isn’t a day that I greet someone (customer service) and automatically get some leering comment. I can’t fire back and I calmly try to diffuse the situation. I usually work until 9pm and we park out back, so there’s always some sense of foreboding whenever you have to walk at night to the parking lot.
I really hope that sexual harassment laws or some form of enforcement gets passed. It’s scary to think that you can’t be safe at your school, at work, or at your own home. In the meantime, get some pepper spray and don’t walk alone when you can!
Submitted by Alyssa
A lady friend and I were walking home late at night from the F train. We were along Avenue U which is usually lively in the day but we were walking down a desolate street where a man stood alone in the cold. There was only a 24 hr deli across the big avenue. We started to cross to the other side of the street and I looked back and saw he was still eying us. A second later I look ahead again and my friend shouts “Run run! Run into the deli!”, because she saw him turn and dart toward us like he was GOING to attack us. It was one of the realist moments of my life. Luckily, when we reached the deli the store owner did his best to stall the man as one of his employees walked us a few blocks down, but in the back the man was shouting and walking in our general direction. Once at the corner, we ran to the house safely.
Submitted by Jen
I was celebrating my birthday at a bar with friends, and over the course of the night many people unknown to me would come up to say hello or to wish me a happy birthday. Near the end of the night, I was sitting in a booth with a male friend when some guy came over to our table. He eyed me and leaned forward, and since his lips were moving I thought he was trying to talk and I couldn’t hear him because of the loud noise in the bar. I also leaned forward, with my finger to my ear, when he reached over, climbing over my friend, and started kissing me, using his free hand to move my face so he could make out with me. I pushed him away and said “no”, but he leaned in again, making kissing gestures. The next time I said “no”, I put my hand in his face. My friend inched closer to me and put his arm around me, hoping to give the guy a hint, but the guy just kept leaning over me. I again put my hand in his face and shouted “no”. He said, “What’s wrong? Do you think I’m a fag? Are you calling me a fag?” I told him he needed to leave, to get away from our table. He got angry and put both hands on our table, and my friend started to get up to confront the guy. One of the bartenders came over just then, and although I couldn’t hear their conversation, I’m pretty sure she had words with him, because a couple minutes later the guy was gone. I was a bit shaken up, and while I appreciate that my friend wanted to defend me, I’m glad I was able to clearly and effectively state “no” for myself.
Submitted by Andrea
Don’t just walk on! Dance about it! The movement to end street harassment isn’t all doom and gloom, and here’s proof—from the talented ladies and gents at Broad City:
When I was a senior in college in New Haven, CT, I was walking from my dorm to the gym and had to walk through a somewhat narrow passageway between two other college buildings. There was a man standing in a corner and he motioned to me to come over to him, he didn’t seem sketchy, just sort of random. I had to walk past him to get out and I realized he was masturbating while staring at me and following me. I ran away and when I got to the other side of the alley way, I call the police to report it, but I never heard anything back from them. It was so disgusting and I was afraid to walk from my dorm across campus to the gym alone for a very long time.
Submitted by Abby
I’m writing in here because I am a victim of constant verbal abuse.
Every time I step out my front door I can count on some type of verbal harassment, whether it’s an invitation into a car or the more general “Hey baby, come over here”.
This post is not about a specific incident. I seriously need some advice on combatting harassment in a dangerous and overwhelming neighborhood.
Does anyone ever feel like they’re endangering themselves yelling back at these people? How do you keep up your stamina when you have to do it every single day?
Submitted by Maren
Last night my partner and I went out to dinner in Fort Greene to celebrate her birthday. We were walking home holding hands. A man in his late thirties-early forties started screaming at us about how disgusting we were, how we must have been abused by priests to resort to being with women, how we were going to end up in hell, and how we were an abomination. It continued for at least a minute as he stood on the corner screaming and we continued walking down the street. It was about 8:30 pm and no one did or said a thing as the man screamed profanity at us.
Submitted by Rebecca
Street harassment and other forms of discrimination and abuse go hand in hand. We sure could use your help at ending these offenses. Help us today with $5.
When I was a freshman in college, my family spent Thanksgiving in NYC visiting other family members. The night before Thanksgiving, my entire family went to see the blown up balloon’s for the Macy’s Parade- needless to say to those that are familiar with NYC, it was PACKED! We were walking on the crowded sidewalks like herds of animals…so many people in so little space half going one way to the balloons, half going the other way back home. After we saw the balloons and were headed home, I was groped by a man who said “look at that shorty” to a group of 3 or 4 other friends. When I turned around to say something, they were long gone.
I was so surprised that in a giant crowd of people not only did these men do this, but that NOBODY on the other side of the sidewalk tried to stop them from running away.
Submitted by Brenna
Forego one extra drink tonight at that place you’ll be hanging out at, and send Hollaback some love! Love us with $5.
I was just trying to throw out my trash. it was a bit late around 9pm. we live on a main street and there are always people going by. While walking to the trash I hear someone call “hey, hey girl.” I turn around and this guy on a bike is riding up my driveway. I know I looked terrified and begun to start walking towards the door. He keeps coming at me saying ” let me talk to you come here.” I’m like “nah” and get up on the porch thats when my boyfriend come outside. The dude looks shocked and finally starts to back up to the street again. my boyfriend shouts” hey homie WTF do you want.” the guy just says ” just trying to sell some tools.” and heads off. Cant even be on your own property these days
Submitted by Monique
Have you ever wished there was some sort of garbage disposal hotline to call when confronted with ugly street harassers? We’ll put that on our holiday wish list. Something else on our holiday wish list?? Some green from YOU, about $5 worth.
In a follow up to her “New Phone Apps Aim to Combat Harassment” article published in the NYT on Monday, reporter and now HollaHERO Karen Zraick publishes her own personal hollaback in today’s City Room blog.
As if we couldn’t have guessed, within hours, there are 47 comments all containing one, two, three, and sometimes more, horrifying stories of women’s own personal experiences with street harassment. And it isn’t over yet. NOW THAT IS ONE HELLUVA HOLLABACK!
“It’s infuriating to see this described as a ‘quality of life issue’, writes one woman. “This isn’t a ‘quality of life’ issue, okay? It’s not my neighbors having a loud party, or a dog barking next door!”
At Hollaback, we couldn’t have said it better.
Now this is one holla the city will NOT be able to ignore. Read Karen’s story and the accompanying comments here.
If I had a dollar for every NYT reporter who has come forward with her own hollaback…well, I wouldn’t have very much money. But if I had $5 from every woman who read this story, including you, now I might have something to talk about…raise us $5?