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I was riding the C train from work late a while ago. When the train reached Penn Station a bunch of rowdy guys in their late teens/early twenties hopped on. They were looking at me and talking about me, my hair, etc. I was, needless uncomfortable.
I moved and, like an idiot, I meekly smiled at the person who was sitting across from me- a man with a kind of badge around his neck (something that may have indicated he was developmentally challenged). I think I just wanted to look for a connection in another passenger. Big mistake.
When the train stopped at Spring street I noticed the guy whom I sat across from was behind me. I tried to go through the turning exit but he stopped the gate from moving. He held me there with his forearm. I was frightened and tried to call for help. No one in metro station seemed to be alert. But a voice came from the far end of my platform. “HEY!” a youngish man yelled “Are you okay?”. With that, the guy who had pinned me looked shocked and jumped on the next train that was passing by.
Just someone noticing helps so much. In so many of these stories no one noticing, no one baring witness, is a common theme. Having just one person bare witness to accosting can make such a great difference.
How can people be living, working, traveling about in a city and not pay attention to what is going on around them? Maybe assault on someone else is just too surreal for many people to grasp or feel they can affect.
Submitted by Sarah
Mario Valdiviant, the man literally caught with his pants down (with a condom on, to boot?), will serve time in jail. Hey look! That whole “can’t masturbate or show your ding dong in public” law thing is being enforced! Way to go, New York City! A long overdue HIP HIP HOORAY!
Check out the warning Hollaback gives to other would-be flashers on tonight’s ABC Eyewitness News. And then find us on Facebook and share your thoughts on the city’s response to this incident.
But Mario Valdivia clearly doesn’t. The 51 year old Queens subway flasher picked the wrong tree, and after footage of his illegal adventure was captured by a bystander and published to YouTube, this monkey got busted. The video went viral, and Mr. Valdivia has been charged with forcible touching, public lewdness, and sex abuse. Insert slow clap with loud, strong, rising crescendo applause and hour-long standing ovation here.
HollaHERO, hear us ROAR. This story has several heros, and let us thank them for their good work: the amazing woman, who has become a voice for all that is HollaFabulous, the quick and timely investigative work on the part of the bystanders (and the cameraman’s request to ‘hey man, let me see your penis!’), and finally and very importantly, the serious NYPD action.
We hope all instances of sexual assault and abuse such as this one won’t require a viral video and subsequent prime time television coverage in order to be taken seriously, but we can celebrate a good thing when we see it.
Happy Thanksgiving to all. Enjoy the CBS report here:
(UPDATE: We used to have a picture here of our very favorite privileged white dude, but then we got told we were violating copyright. Who knew memes had copyright? Anyway, it said “Men shout sexual things to you as you walk down the street? I’d love it if women did that to me!”)
If you missed the privileged-denying-dude meme all over the interwebs, check out KnowYourMeme for a recount of his many insights. We’re happy to hear that he’s weighed in on street harassment. It’s a conversation we over here at Hollaback! have come to term, “What about the menz?!?”
Lucky for us, privilege-denying-dude is often drowned out by rockstar-dude that makes us swoon. We’ve been inundated with support from men who are as fed up with street harassment as we are. We were co-founded by men, our board is 1/3 men, 50% of our donors are men, and just last week an historically black fraternity reached us to us to do an event.
So thanks dudes, for rocking it hard. And if you get a chance, do us all a favor and reach out to your privilege-denying-friends and give them a crash course on being as awesome as you. Us ladies have been working on them for decades, and we could use a little help.
*Thanks for the head’s up on this from @randomdeanna and our friends at Colorlines.
I parked my car 2 blocks from Miami’s opera house. I was walking along the street, in a knee-length dress with long sleeves. Miami is among the worst places I’ve ever been for street harassment but I figured guys saved it for women in revealing clothing.
The guy on the hot-shot motorcycle revved his engine as he came up to the stoplight. I was almost at the intersection when I heard his lecherous voice, “Hey baby, you’re looking so good tonight! What a beautiful woman!” I looked up and was glad to see a police officer in the intersection just ten feet away, directing traffic. He motioned me forward, holding the cars to wait while I crossed the street. I was so relieved: here was a cop to restore my sense of safety in front of the motorcycle-creep. I’m halfway across the street when the cop say, “Wow, you are really tall!”
And at that moment, the comment was not innocuous. Commenting on my physical body made me feel like an object, when I’d just been objectified 30 seconds earlier. In that moment, I was something to be evaluated and assessed, something to be critiqued and hopefully fucked.
I’m going to HOLLA BACK — both when it happens and here online — when it happens. Because yes, I am tall and blonde and fit many stereotypical notions of “beauty,” but that does NOT give any man the right to comment on my body.
Submitted by Tricia
My two girlfriends and I were walking toward the Hotel Rivington on Friday night. We passed by a group of three guys who were catcalling at us and one of them grabbed my arm as I walked by. I said, “Ew” and shook him off. When we walked away, one of them shouted, “Go study for your SATs fucking Chinese bitch.”
I marched up to him and his friends and told them not to call me a bitch. The one who called me a Chinese bitch, who was probably about 6’2″ and over 200 pounds (I am just over 100 pounds) shoved me two or three times – hard. I was yelling things like, “Oh, you’re going to push me? You’re going to push a girl?” He kept threatening to hit me, and he threatened to sic his professional boxer friend on me who he said would basically beat me to a pulp.
Then he spat in my face and bolted.
My biggest regret is not getting his name or photo.
Submitted by Andrea
This was sent to us by one of our readers, and is an incredible story of one woman who holla’ed back on her subway ride. Watch it, and bask in the glory of her HOLLAheroism.
I was walking to the subway, down U Street NW, and a man stared at my chest and made kissy-noises at me. I was so disgusted, I lost my head. I looked at him in disgust and said loudly, “Fuck you.”. I’m sure everyone around us heard and he just kept walking.
Submitted by Lauren, Washington DC
I was walking my lovely German Shepherd Obama with a friend of mine who is from Mexico. We were walking along the street where I live when a man started yelling at me through the window of the house we were passing. At first his words were too muffled for me to hear, but with incredible shock I made out the n-word as well as the f-word (the homosexual one) and the c-word. Then he began berated my friend using many racist words which I am not willing to repeat to anyone. This man looked completely crazy and with unkempt hair and stubble. I am not sure what to do now as I was terrified by the encounter and have not been walking my dog since then.
Submitted by S.D.
My friend and I were walking from class to my apartment one afternoon when we experienced a disturbing case of street harassment. We were about 50 feet from my building when a homeless man nonchalantly said, “hey girls, my daughters are 25 and 28 years old, so you can imagine I haven’t had pussy in a long time. Will you please give me some pussy!” Not only was this sexually explicit, but the man was probably in his late sixties and hadn’t seen a shower in months. My friend and I looked at each other in shock and quickly sought the safe haven of my building. The man parked his ass on the dumpster next to our building, which made us hesitant to leave the rest of the evening, not knowing whether he had left the vicinity.
Submitted by A.J.