I’ve been getting followed and harassed by some guys in the neighborhood. I’m freaked out about it. I’m a single mom and live with my son, and the harassers live in front of us. One kinda stalked me today, watching me. Later today his buddy started shouting shit at me and then approached me because I wouldn’t respond. My guy friend was right next to me, too. I had just told him about the dude acting shady earlier, then we were outside and the guy started calling me blondie, getting mad that I didn’t respond, then approached and started trying to call me beautiful and stuff, I didn’t respond because I was uncomfortable and scared, and him and another bystander did NOTHING. It was really scary and upsetting. They live nearby and I see them daily, and they seem to watch me when I come and go. While this is bothersome, the worst is how my male friends dismiss it, invalidating my feelings just because they don’t understand the threat women feel constantly. We are taught as children that we are prey, and men can be predators. Some men just seem so ignorant of what it may be like for us women, and are not sensitive at all. With my friend, it isnt like I expected anything crazy, but I expected at least something like “Hey, you ok? That seemed scary”.
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.