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I went on a trip to London with my college and we travelled on the underground. when we all got on I had to stand next to two men sat down on seats as the carriage was really busy. one of them patted the space between them saying “you can sit here if you like, babe” and, scared, I looked away pretending I hadn’t heard. they then kept grinning at me, trying to catch my eye the whole journey. when me and the others on the college trip were getting off one of the men kept trying to trip me up. I said and did nothing, mainly because all of my classmates who had seen it either acted like it was nothing or were finding it funny. I don’t know why, but I was terrified. I felt like crying afterwards
A young man in a small burgundy car yelled something about his penis and “having the papers to prove it”, and then, “Suck my cock.” I wish I could have called the police, but they sped away and I did not get the license number. This happens to me every few months, and it makes me feel unsafe in my small community.
I am pretty typical in build, appearance, dress, etc. There is no reason to target me. None. If this happens to me fairly frequently, it makes me wonder how often it happens to more vulnerable members of my community, or those who appear “different”.
I don’t have much of a story. I just wanted to document this. It gives me a bit of power in a situation that otherwise leaves me feeling powerless.
I was just so embarrassed on the train earlier today. One of these guys in a group was blowing kisses at me, and then persisted on giving me compliments. His friends were laughing at him. I wanted to cuss him out, but something inside me just told me to ignore him. I did. I think the situation would have escalated if I had said something back to him. A woman told me as I got off the train that I should have moved because he could have been violent, since I was ignoring him. I agreed. Thank God he wasn’t violent. I got a sense that he wasn’t. But I just felt downright embarrassed because this guy was coming on to me in front of everyone on the train. The saddest part of it all was that these were middle aged men. Have they ever took a second to think about what if someone treated their daughter or sister like that? Shameful.
Was walking downtown on a Sunday afternoon when I noticed someone close behind me and getting closer. I quickened my pace and moved to the side of the sidewalk when he groped my ass. He apologized and I told him to fuck off. 20 minutes later I saw him again, I took his picture and yelled at him, he told me not to take his picture and I told him not to grope women. He looked terrified. I reported it to the police and they did not even want to look at the picture.
Happy Friday Hollabackers!
The Hollaback! mothership has been very busy this week. We started the week attending the ROC United rally against sexual harassment in the restaurant industry, where Deputy Director Debjani Roy spoke alongside Saru Jayaram and Eve Ensler.
We released the global street harassment Know Your Rights Guide in conjunction with Thomson Reuters Foundation and coordinated by global law firm DLA Piper. The guide has already been shared on Think Progress, Cosmopolitan and Bust! We also released the Hollaback! international survey with Cornell University. We urge you to take it and share it. We also announced our involvement with the Carrying the Weight Together day of action on October 29th! Click on the link to see how you can get involved.
Finally, Emily and Debjani trained 80 rookie NYPD officers on street harassment on Thursday.
And here’s what site leaders have been up to:
Site leader Sarah Fick wrote this letter to the editor in support of the student group F@#KRAPECULTURE at Ohio University. They participated in a rally demanding mandatory consent education for all students each year, protesting rape culture and expanding awareness of sexual violence. The rally received much press attention coverage and photos galore, including front page coverage in the Athens News (with a Hollaback! mention at the tail end). And the student paper has this pretty cool video up. For more photos click here.
Hollaback! Appalachian Ohio also taught a 1.5 hour workshop on rape culture and bystander intervention for 40 Anthropology students at Ohio University AND Debuted the Body Hair Hoopla photo exhibit at the Ohio University Women’s Center’s Love Your Body Day event.
Hollaback! Boston co-hosted Northeastern Stands Together Against Harassment, a block party at Northeastern University to support Tatyana Fazlalizadeh’s residency at the school with her Stop Telling Women To Smile Project. Here’s a recap of the event. They also joined the Confronting Police Brutality & Racial Profiling Rally and Speak Out where they were announced as one of the members of the new Boston Coalition For Police Accountability. Awesome Boston! AND they did a workshop at Berklee College of Music.
Hollaback! Philadelphia will be at Locust Moon Fest this weekend. They were at NYCC last weekend. Stay tuned for an upcoming TV spot on CBS news talking about food shaming (they’re running it to extend Hollaback! Boston‘s recent work).
Hollaback! Ottawa marched in the local Take Back the Night March.
Hollaback! Brussels was interviewed by La Première – RTBF radio on the subject: “How to protect women from groping hands on the public transport?” They discussed the fines against harassers and the new anti-sexism law in Belgium and the potential ineffectiveness of these.
Wow! There’s been a lot going on. Thank you for all of your hard work as always.
Great job this week, team! HOLLA and out!
– The Hollaback! Staff
I was walking my dog and a man yelled out the window of his house “Hey baby, what’s your name?” I kept walking and he yelled “Well fuck you too then, slut.”. What? How am I a slut for walking my dog?
One guy called out to me while I was walking, “hey working girl, come over here.” Ten feet later another said to his friend, “look at the ASS on that girl in the blue dress.”
I went for a walk yesterday afternoon in my residential neighborhood to enjoy the beautiful fall day. A car came up behind me, honking the horn obnoxiously. As it passed me, I saw 2 or 3 men inside, and one of them shouted something unintelligible through the open window. Then they sped off…like cowards! I didn’t have my phone on me, or I would have snapped a picture of their license plate. Once and for all, street harassment is not about trying to pay a compliment or just being nice. It’s about making it very clear that the harasser’s time and space are far more important than the victim’s. And that’s bull.
At the time i was 15-16 i was alone going to a bus stop and this guy followed me there and asked me where the streetcar is and if i can show him, i said there is none here… Then he walks away and comes back and asks me to bring him to the subway i said no and he’s just staring at my boobs then he left and i called my friend crying and he came running back and i screamed “leave me the fuck alone or I’ll kill u!!” And he just came so close to me in the bus shelter staring at my boobs and my crotch and i told him to leave and he just stood there, slowly walking away. I was screaming cry cause i was alone then these couple came to the bus stop and i felt relived and he asked me whats wrong, i told him , and he said the same guy did the same thing to his gf across the street and said if he came back he would kick his ass so i felt safe. The next morning i woke up to go pick up my phone from a store and the same dude was infront of my condo and tried to hug me i dodged it and ran as fast as i could to a school and called the cops, when i was talking to the police they got a message that they arrested him half way through the interview. I also went downtown to hand out resumes and i needed to push a button to get into this one store, and the guy let me in and he was the only one working, he was like 60 and called me beautiful and was rubbing my leg asking if i was a virgin and he tried raping me.. I was 15!! I ran as fast as i could out of the store hoping i didnt need him to open the door for me to leave, i ran across to the grass and started crying and called the police. Other then that I’ve had about enough of this shit feeling unsafe going anywhere. I’ve had men on subways stalk me i have seen men just stare at me or down my shirt, I’ve also seen a guy masturbate on the subway and laughed about it thinking it was hilarious everyone saw and there were kids there… Like wtf?
Hollaback! is proud to partner with TrustLaw and DLA Piper to provide an international “Know Your Rights” guide to street harassment. The guide establishes legal definitions of street harassment and provides an outline of local laws governing street harassment. The “Know Your Rights” guide is aimed to inform individuals of their rights in public space.
We’ve received some questions about the guide, and we wanted to take a minute to answer them here:
Question: What exactly is street harassment?
Street harassment is a form of sexual harassment that takes place in public spaces. It exists on a spectrum including “catcalling” or verbal harassment, stalking, groping, public masturbation, and assault. At its core is a power dynamic that constantly reminds historically subordinated groups (women and LGBTQ folks, for example) of their vulnerability to assault in public spaces. Further, it reinforces the ubiquitous sexual objectification of these groups in everyday life. Street harassment can be sexist, racist, transphobic, homophobic, ableist, sizeist and/or classist. It is an expression of the interlocking and overlapping oppressions we face and it functions as a means to silence our voices and “keep us in our place.” At Hollaback!, we believe that what specifically counts as street harassment is determined by those who experience it. If you’ve experienced street harassment, we’ve got your back!
For the purposes of this guide, street harassment is defined per local laws. For example, in Maryland, United States, one form of street harassment is defined as: “making unwanted or inappropriate sexual comments if it continued after a request to stop.” In Berkeley, United States, street harassment is defined as: “unlawful violence, a credible threat of violence, or a knowing and wilful course of conduct directed at a specific person that seriously alarms, annoys, or harasses the person, and that serves no legitimate purpose. The course of conduct must be such as would cause a reasonable person to suffer substantial emotional distress, and must actually cause substantial emotional distress to the petitioner.”
Question: Who experiences street harassment?
On our site, we primarily receive stories from women and LGBTQ individuals. You can read those stories here (and click the I’ve got your back button to support them).
For more information on how identity intersects with one’s experience of street harassment, including individual stories of street harassment, check out Hollaback!’s Harassment Is: Identity and Street Harassment guide.
Question: How did this guide come about?
Since our launch in 2005, Hollaback! has fielded requests from survivors requesting legal information. We have tried to make legal information about street harassment transparent on all our local sites, but oftentimes, this information was either hard to find or required legal expertise to navigate. At the same time, we listened to survivors articulate concerns about police involvement. With this in mind, we sought legal support to create an international guide that provided accessible, locally-based legal information for individuals who have experienced harassment, advocates, and activists around the world.
In December 2013 we partnered with TrustLaw, the Thomson Reuters Foundation’s global legal pro bono service, to create an international “Know Your Rights” guide to street harassment. Over the next nine months, DLA Piper led a team of law firms and in-house corporate legal teams who worked pro-bono to navigate local laws in fourteen languages and work with our site leaders to learn how laws are implemented on the ground. We are incredibly thankful for the hard work of everyone involved.
Question: What are the goals of the Legal Guide?
The goals of the “Know Your Rights” guide are:
Question: Does Hollaback! endorse increasing criminalization of street harassment?
No. We believe that it is our role as advocates to steer policy makers away from measures that would increase criminalization, and toward measures that engage communities in prevention. As explained in Hollaback!’s article by Deputy Director, Debjani Roy, “Criminalizing verbal harassment and unwanted gestures is neither the final goal nor the ultimate solution to this problem and can, in fact, inadvertently work against the growth of an inclusive anti-harassment movement. The criminal justice system disproportionately targets and affects low-income communities and communities of color, as evidenced by policies such as New York City’s Stop and Frisk program and other degrading forms of racial profiling. Our objective is to address and shift cultural and social dialogues and attitudes of patriarchy that purport street harassment as simply the price you pay for being a woman or being LGBTQ. It is not to re-victimize men already discriminated against by the system.”
Question: I don’t feel safe working with the legal system. Are there any options in this guide for me?
The purpose of this guide is to educate and inform individuals about their rights. We understand that there are many reasons why individuals might not feel comfortable accessing legal recourse when harassed. This guide is not meant to act as an endorsement of any single solution, but as an option.
What is important is that you feel supported and know that you are not alone. We encourage you to share your story on our website: ihollaback.org, speak to your friends, and practice self care.
Regardless of what you choose to do, it is always important to know what your rights are.
If you have additional questions, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We welcome your feedback and engagement in this conversation as we work together to make the streets safer for everyone.