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I’ve been reading Hollaback and I’ve been holla-ing back daily at harassers for over a year now, but this is the first time I’ve written to tell my own experience.
Every morning on my way to work, I cut through the J. Hood Wright park on 173rd and Haven Ave to walk up to the GW Bridge to catch the bus. This morning, I was walking to work minding my own business through a mostly empty park, when two jerks sitting on a bench started yelling at me, “Hey baby, lookin good this morning” (or something to that effect). Without stopping, I shouted, “Don’t call me baby, asshole,” and continued walking through the park. The guys then started screaming things back at me such as, “You ugly bitch, fuck you! You need to go get fucked you stupid fucking bitch!” I never turned around, but gave it right back to them as I kept walking, telling them to F off.
I was coming home from work at 5PM, and I saw a large group of guys sitting on the same bench. Since I had never turned around this morning to look at the jerks, I couldn’t tell if they were the same guys. I was really, really hoping that they hadn’t actually sat on the bench all day, waiting for me to come back. But when I walked by, I heard one say, “I’m gonna fuck that bitch in the face,” but again I was just hoping they weren’t referring to me. Then after I left the park and was walking down 173rd street, I hear, “Hey bitch!” behind me. I turned around and this guy had followed me out of the park and was yelling, “Fuck you, bitch! If you ever disrespect me and my friend again, I’m gonna fuck you up!” I walked right up to him and took the photo below with my camera (sorry such bad quality – I have a really old phone so I had to take a picture of my phone with my boyfriend’s iPhone to get it on my computer). He then proceeded to say “Oh yeah? Why don’t you take a picture of this, bitch?” at which point he pulled his pants down, bent over, and mooned me.
At this point, I was beyond furious. I was so disgusted, I actually thought I might vomit. I had luckily seen a police van across the street, so I walked as fast as I could to get them. There were 3 cops (2 women and 1 man), who told me to get in the van, and drove me back to the park. We walked past the bench and around the area a little, but of course, the asshole was nowhere to be found. The cops were so amazingly understanding – they even drove me around the neighborhood for about 15 minutes looking for him. They told me if I saw him again, I could call 911 and he would be arrested. They drove me back to my apartment a few blocks away, and even walked me inside my building. I’m so thankful that they took me seriously and made sure I got home safely.
This experience today has left me very shaken up. Even though I know I can get him arrested if I see him, what if I don’t have that chance? What if he attacks me first? Street harassment is absolutely about exerting power over people. When I denied his advances this morning, this guy felt the need to wait for me all day long so that he could make sure I knew that he still had control over me. I can only hope that if his friends tell him that I came back to the park with the police, he will be scared enough not to mess with me again, instead of pissed off enough to mess with me even more.
Thank you so much, Hollaback, for providing this forum for us to tell our stories.
Submitted by Marianne
A friend and I went to the Pratt art store (Clinton Hill) to buy canvas and there was a well dressed man standing right in the middle of the store. I needed help and he looked like he worked there.
me: Sir do you work here?
creep: No, but I still want to talk to you
me: No, thanks.
As I walk away he grabs my arm and starts caressing it!! I pulled away.
me: DON’T TOUCH ME!!
creep: Oh so it’s like that??!!
me: I dont like being touched by strangers!!
creep: Go back to where you came from!! Go back to f*cking Eastern Europe you b*tch, get the f*ck out of here.
(I am from Moscow but I have been here since I was 9 and have had my citizenship for 10 years now.) He kept saying nasty things and I was terrified. So I went to get the store security guard. When we walked over to the racist creep the security guard asked him if there was a problem… creep: “there is no problem, I was just trying to shop and she was talking me up and touching me!!!!”
me:no, you just sexually and racially harassed me.
creep:you don’t know what harassment is.. go back to f*cking Eastrern Europe! ect..”
A manager came over and I told her what happened, I was very upset and scared and I couldn’t help it when I started to cry. She told me and my friend to wait behind the isles on the other side of the store while she took care of it. My friend who was with me the whole time was very scared too and didn’t say much the whole time.
The creep by now was yelling at everyone, saying that “can only Eastern European b*tches shop here???!!” and other nasty things. The manager told him she’s going to call the police and he was yelling “yeah call them” Then when she walked away to call the cops he ran out.
The manager was very nice and sympathetic and took my ID to file a report and then let us out the back door. This happened almost a week ago, the first couple of days I didn’t think about it because I think I was in shock but now I can’t get it out of my head. The store filed a report but I doubt anything will be done about it. I am terrified now because I live 5 minutes away from the store and if I run into him again there will be no security guards to protect me. I decided to go to the police today and file a report. The store has cameras and I’m sure they got the creep on tape.
Hopefully I can get the surveillance video of the creep and post it as well.
Submitted by Tais
I was on the #1 train yesterday going home from a long day of work. It was already past 8pm and the trains were acting up (many delays on 2/3 and 1. Passengers had to switch at least 3 times!). In any event I was finally settled on the #1 minding my own business when all of a sudden a flash goes off. I looked up and across from me this creepy guy has taken a picture of me with his blackberry. I had noticed earlier that he was looking at his blackberry but I thought he was reading it. I asked him, “what was he taking a picture of?” He responded nervously nothing and then when I repeated the question, he stated that the flash went off accidentally (yeah, it accidentally busted you!). I kept repeating, “what were you taking a picture of?” I told him I did not believe him and asked him to show me the picture. He started fiddling with the camera the blackberry and then claimed he couldn’t find it. I told him that was convenient. This conversation was taking place loud enough for other riders to hear and they were paying attention. A gentleman sitting next to the creep got up took the creep’s picture with his phone and then the gentleman sat next to me. This gentleman told me that he had noticed the creep taking pictures of me earlier. He gave me his card and told me to email him and he would send me the creep’s photo. What a hero!
The creep then became more nervous and showed me the picture on his blackberry. It was picture of my leg and feet (WEIRDO!!!). I had on a short dress and flip flops. I knew he couldn’t see anything else because my legs were together. (I know I shouldn’t have to say that part but every time I tell the story I feel compelled to explain that I wasn’t showing any underwear or something to cause this). I made the creep delete the picture. I asked him were there any other pictures. He then showed me a blurred picture of my leg. My hero had gotten off at this point. The creep started talking to me and said, “You see, I deleted the picture.” He repeated that a few times. I told him to stop talking to me. He walked away and stood a few feet. I was nervous about getting off my stop but I didn’t want to stay on the train anymore. So I got off. I will be taking another train for the next few weeks. I suspected the police could not do anything but I tried anyway. I spoke to the first police officer I saw. He informed me that no crime was committed. That it was not illegal to take a picture of someone on the subway and unfortunately, the creep can do whatever he wants with whatever other pictures he has on his blackberry. My hero emailed me the photo last night and tipped me about this website. It is good to know that for every creep out there, there are also great men too.
Lesson for the day: Ladies, pay attention. When you think they are reading their blackberries, they may be taking a photo of you.
Submitted by Nancy
And report this shit..
Spent less than 10 minutes tracking down the distribution company that works for a pet food company whose drivers were unloading goods to the pet store today on 6th Ave. Took a snapshot in case I needed the truck number but it wasn’t even necessary because my quick description of the gentleman whose obscenities interrupted my peaceful and much deserved lunch break yielded a quick and easy identification of the donkey dong. His supervisor said “Yeah I know who that was…he’s not right in the head” and thanked me sincerely for calling in to report him. I said I hoped he could understand that workers such as this one are not only harmful to everyone who comes into contact with them throughout the course of their days but also to the pet food company, the pet store, and and most of all, the distributors–the ones who hired the turd. He said “Absolutely, our name is on the truck.”
Not only will Mr. Poop Brains get a scolding, and the supervisor schooled a little bit in the importance of hiring humans versus animals, but the pet food company now knows that the distributor hires turds, and one more phone call will ensure that the pet store knows that the distributor hires turds. That’s a looooot of people who just got HOLLAed at.
Submitted by Beth
So here I am in Boston, 17 years old, not at all expecting harassment as I’ve lived in a small Midwestern town with a population of 8,000 my entire life. I stayed out late in the city with friends and then had to take the train out to the end of the line, and then a bus back to the North Shore. SO I get off the train, walk up to the (completely deserted) bus stop by the highway in the dark, and there’s this young, very greasy-haired guy standing up there, and as I walk past him he starts going all, “Hi sweetie, hi baby, come over and sit by me. What, you won’t talk to me? Too good to talk to me, bitch?” and so on and so forth. I tried to stand as far away from him as I could, but I couldn’t leave the stop because it was the last bus and I certainly didn’t want to miss it and be stuck out on the highway all night. He kept muttering and cursing at me until finally some other passengers showed up, and he kind of melted back into the parking lot behind the stop.
I got home, really shaken up. There was no one here to talk to, so I got on the internet and just typed “street harassment” into the search engine, and found Hollaback. I didn’t take a picture, I was so stunned by being harassed for the first time ever that I didn’t even tell him to fuck off; besides, I didn’t want to make him angry. But I felt so dirty the whole way home, and so shaken, and it feels a little better to send this off into a cyber-void having gotten it off my chest to people who will care.
Submitted by Katherine
Note: Hollaback accepts posts from around the world in places where other Hollabacks do not exist. BUT! We are so happy to announce that it looks like HollabackBOSTON will be restarting in the next month or so. Stay tuned!
Our amazing volunteer Avital tracked down Monique Hazeur, who is in the process of developing a new documentary on street harassment! We couldn’t be more pleased. From their site: “This is the official trailer for the feature length documentary that explores how women deal with this daily violence. It will especially look at how women are fighting back and defining their own personal and public spaces.The documentary adds to a bustling dialogue on gender and body politics, as it delves into women’s rights to exist freely in society.”
What could be more badass than that? Stay tuned. We’ll keep you posted as we figure out ways to collaborate with Monique, our newest HOLLAhero.
We are seeking a Policy, Research, and Development Intern to join our dynamic team of volunteers. Responsibilities include:
This intern will report directly to Emily May, executive director. This position takes place off-site (we do not have an office yet) and regular check-ins are required. The candidate must have good communication skills, a passion for ending street harassment, and live in the NYC area. We currently are accepting applications for fall 2010 and the preferred arrangement is to extend through Spring 2011. The estimated time commitment is 10-20 hours, and the internship is unpaid. If you are interested, please send a resume and cover letter to holla (at) ihollaback.org.
As many of you know, we are an all-volunteer team that work long hours above and beyond our regular jobs to make Hollaback happen. We are inspired and invigorated by each and every post that comes in, and we respond personally to all the fan mail. The letter below was too honest, too beautiful, and too important to keep to ourselves. I hope you enjoy it, and remember: keep holla’ing back!
Thank you so much for what you do, I really hope that your website continues to grow and create more awareness for as long as possible.
I’m only 17 years old, and I moved to the city 2 months ago. Every day I’ve been getting unwanted and unsolicited attention from strange men. I didn’t want to tell my parents because I knew they’d either think I was exaggerating or want me to come home as we come from a very small, sweet town where nothing like this has happened in twenty years.
Thankfully, I don’t have any horror stories, but I feel like I’m always dealing with ‘Hey Beautiful’ or ‘That’s a real nice dress you got there’ or ‘seductive’ stares or ‘accidental’ subway touching. I’m a ballet dancer and whenever I walk back home beet red and sweaty I always get comments and uncomfortably sexual gestures directed at me.Until I came across your website I didn’t know that this constituted as sexual harassment. It’s amazing how extensively they cover plagiarism in high school, but not sexual harassment. I knew it made me very uncomfortable, especially men in groups, but I felt like I was making a big deal out of nothing because the words were ‘nice’ (I’ve never been sworn at) even though the intent wasn’t.
I’m an extremely quiet, shy, insecure person and I feel like these jerks can sense that and prey on girls like me. But when I came across your website, I felt a sense of empowerment and comfort in the knowledge that others recognized that this was really happening and that it was wrong. I feel like a lot of people write off street harassment like it’s no big deal, so I was worried that if I told someone, they would just say I was being oversensitive and silly.
God (or whichever deity you do/don’t believe in) bless you, what you’re doing takes incredible courage. I really can’t thank you enough for helping for me to feel justified in my discomfort, to know that I wasn’t being oversensitive. Sorry if this is kind of rambling, I just wanted to let you know how much I truly appreciated the work you do.
Submitted by Elsa
Shouted at every woman he passed on the street. [This is my] first hollaback despite being verbally intruded upon all day, every day.
Submitted by A.
This took place at the W. 23rd St. and 9th Ave bus stop.