Fun Beach Week Impeded by Harassment

Beach week: a week for post-graduate, high-school seniors to go to their beach of choice for a week during the summer for their last “hurrah” before reality strikes and everyone has to start college. I was in a house with five other girls; all six of us were eighteen, best friends, and couldn’t wait to take on the week together. It was our first night in Myrtle Beach and, of course, everyone in our grade wanted to find the best party to start our week off. My friends and I had spent all day at the beach and had come in to get ready for the big night ahead. Once everyone was ready we all decided on a place to meet up with everyone else in our grade, and headed out. It was about a twenty-minute walk from our house to where we were meeting up with our other friends. Never did it cross our naïve minds that six, eighteen year old girls would be put in a situation that could’ve been deemed unsafe that night at the beach. We had been walking for a few minutes when the first catcalling perpetrator began shouting at us to come with him, because he would show us “a fun time.” Slightly spooked, we all linked up and continued walking. A few minutes later a group of guys, maybe mid-twenties, were on the other side of the road shouting at us again. These men were obviously under the influence of alcohol and were screaming incredibly inappropriate comments about our legs, outfits, skin color, etc. Although these men didn’t physically harm us, we were very scared, and this is my problem with this type of harassment. There is no reason, whatsoever, why six girls couldn’t engage in a beach week of their own, without the crude remarks of men having a “fun time,” while deliberately degrading us girls.

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A Week in Our Shoes

A Week In Our Shoes: Celebrations and Spreading the Word!

Hey Hollas!

We’ve been super busy here at HQ, and we don’t want you to miss a minute, so let’s get to it!

We’ve been putting the almost-final touches on our new website, set to launch later this month, and we’re super excited to introduce a whole new look for Hollaback! around the globe.

un_posterWe’ve spent the week showing our love to so many groups of awesome individuals, from Indigenous People’s Day to National Coming Out Day to International Day of the Girl. We support all those who’ve endured the struggle and continue to fight for the freedom to express their identity, gender and sexuality the way they’d like. We hope you will all keep fighting for the visibility you deserve in every overlapping circle, and we will work as hard as we can to fight for your rights to exist freely and happily.

unnamed-4Later today, our Heartmob Program intern Aoife will be attending the Why She Ran event at Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn. The event, hosted by Brooklyn Congresswoman Laurie Cumbo, will focus on how women can become more involved in local and state politics. We can’t wait to hear all about the event!

And later tonight, our Executive Director Emily will attend the New York Women’s Foundation’s fall gala to celebrate strides that the NYWF has made in providing a voice for women and being a force for change. We’re so grateful to this organization for continuing to support our efforts in keeping women healthy, happy and safe, and we can’t wait to celebrate their accomplishments tonight!

Here’s what’s been going on with our sites around the world:

Hollaback! Hallifax was invited to a Consent Culture forum last weekend hosted by the Nova Scotia chapter of the Canadian Federation of Students. Volunteer Rebecca Faria joined a panel of leaders discussing online consent and facilitated an open organizing space called “Taking Down Trolls.” Great work! Your words certainly have the power to affect change!

14601015_1104664522944305_1335121688130777505_nHollaback! Vancouver participated in the Police Department’s Women’s Safety Fair  at Simon Fraser University at Harbour Centre. During the fair, they participated in a panel discussion where they educated people about Hollaback!’s mission and discussed women’s safety. Thanks so much for spreading the word about the awesome things we do here at Hollaback!  

14484748_1210810358969929_4523884884575753738_nLast week, Brittany Oliver, director of Hollaback! Baltimore, spoke to tenth grade students about consent at the Women of the World festival. Educating our youth about consent and boundaries is super important! Thank you so much for all your work!

Keep up the amazing work, Hollas, and we can’t wait to see what next week brings!

Holla and out!

-the Hollaback! team


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HOLLA ON THE GO: Catcalled

I was walking along with my boyfriend and was catcalled by a man on the street.

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HOLLA ON THE GO: He just wanted to flash a complete stranger

First off, street harassment in Miami Beach is a daily occurrence for me, and this is the worst city yet in terms of public harassment, even compared to NYC or Chicago. This is just an example. Walking on my way to work, about 9:30 am, a car pulled up next to me across the street from the Holocaust memorial. I turned around just to make sure I wasn’t about to be abducted or something, and as I see into the rolled down window, an old man has his shirt rolled up, exposing his chest. As he was rubbing his nipples, he asked if I wanted to play with his nipples. He immediately drove off, and all I could do was yell at him to “fuck off, you disgusting piece of shit.” Which is probably exactly the reaction he wanted.

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Harassment from Male Colleagues

I am 60 years old. Working in New York city’s garment center for 20 years should have gotten me used to being sexually harassed,right? My boss greeted me with “get on your knees, and get under my desk…open wide for chunky!!!!” Every morning.Fun.The head salesman spent his time trying to get me in a corner,or grope my 20 year old assistant. His boss yelled “clams!” or “fishmarket!”everytime a woman walked into his office.Recently, at a restaurant, we had dinner with about 12 other artists-and my parents were also there. I am a hardworking glass artist,who was taught by my business partner and mate.I switched mediums, and have been doing this for 8 years. There were a lot of other glass artists at the table, and talk turned to glass. One of the Guys was drunk, got loud, and started a riff on how much our studio must stink, because, of course, all that funk between a female glass artist’s legs! especially in the heat!Hilarious! All the glass boys, including my mate thought this was just so funny! this egged the drunken guy on-what fun! Then I saw my Parents, silent, at the end of the table.

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Harassed for NOT Showing My Legs

A perfect fall morning.

Time to wear my favorite sweatpants while running errands in the morning.

I get back to my apartment complex, get out of my car and walk the 50 feet to my doorstep.

Guy yells to me “Show your legs, bitch,” as I’m walking.

When you can’t even wear baggy pants and walk outside of your home in daylight without getting harassed, something is very fucking wrong.

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A Week in Our Shoes

Week In Our Shoes: Interns and New Staff and Sneak Peeks, Oh My!

Hey Hollas!

We’ve been busy bees here at HQ, and with a new staff member on board to complete our team and our interns hard at work, it’s sure to be a super productive season, so let’s get to it!

unnamedWe welcomed a new full-time Program and Communications Coordinator, Leah, on Monday, and they’ve been taking the week to firmly plant their feet into the Hollaback! community. Leah  grew up amid the cornfields of rural Minnesota, and has advocated with tenants in public housing; LGBTQ+ (especially transgender) people in crisis; immigrant, refugee, and low-income people in Minneapolis dealing with the criminal legal system; and victims/survivors of sexual violence. Their most recent work has also focused on improving access to victim/survivor services for people with disabilities and online movement-building for LGBTI human rights. Welcome to Hollaback!, Leah! We can’t wait to see what amazing ideas you bring to our Hollaback! world!

hqhollabackThis past weekend, our Program and Administrative Assistant Tamar attended Studio 301’s all-woman art show called “Holla Back.” The show featured a collection of about 50 artists’ work based on their experiences with male harassment on the streets and in the workplace. Media included paintings, photographs and installations. Tamar said the featured work was amazing! Great job exhibiting some super impactful work!

A video from the event Children, Not Criminals: Rethinking School Discipline was recently released for those unable to attend. The event was held on Sept. 24 at the Brooklyn Museum and discussed the role that in-school arrests and school suspensions play in criminalizing young men and women of color. Feel free to check out the video for some more information!

hqsiteHere at HQ, we’ve also been working with an engineer on our new site layout, which is set to
launch in late October. We took some time to sort through photos from our shoot last month and we’re so happy with the images we’re working with. We’re so grateful to everyone who participated, and to our wonderful photographer, Luke! Here’s a behind-the-scenes peek of what’s to come!

Here’s what’s been going on with our sites around the world:

hb-jakartaTwo site leaders from Hollaback! Jakarta were recently interviewed on MNC Daybreak, a talk show in the area. The interview discussed recognizing street harassment and fighting back against it, and how severe the issue of street harassment is in Jakarta. We’re so proud of you for spreading the word about Hollaback!’s initiative, and for getting people to be more open and honest about street harassment! Great job!

hb-croatia1Hollaback! Croatia participated in a project organized by their mentor, the Center for Education, Consultation and Research, called “Local Stories” on Saturday, Oct. 1. The project included a lecture and workshop about media, social networks and public relations, and volunteer Lorena Herceg said the project was “very useful and educational” to the Hollaback! Croatia community. It opened doors for them to gain more visibility, improve their fan base and solicit media attention. We can’t wait to see those new skills implemented!

On the heels of uprisings and protests in Poland in response to a proposed law that would ban abortion across the country, Hollaback! Poland released a statement in support of reproductive justice for women in the country, detailing how Poland’s current and proposed laws will affect survivors of sexual assault and other violence. Thank you so much for taking a stand and offering your words of support!

Great work, everyone! We’re so proud of our site leaders around the world and our team here at HQ! Can’t wait to find out what next week has in store!

Holla and out!

-the Hollaback! Team

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Harassed While Taking My Baby For A Walk

One morning I took my 8mo old baby for a quiet walk around the neighborhood. It was cool and sunny, I was really enjoying myself as my baby fell asleep in his stroller.
As I got near an intersection, a car with two men drove past me. Suddenly, they made a u-turn and slowed down beside me. They started blowing kisses at me, and asking me if I “had a man”. I tried to ignore them, but they continued, then I told them to go away as I was married and not interested. Then they asked if the baby was mine, and if I was still with my “baby-daddy”.
I was fed up, so I told them that if they didn’t go away I would call the police and say they were trying to kidnap my baby. Finally they drove away, but not without calling me a bitch first. I was terrified of these guys hurting me, or my baby.
I lived in that neighborhood for three years, and due to this incident, that was the only time I ever went for a walk by myself.

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HOLLA ON THE GO: Followed to Starbucks

I was walking back to Air B&B near U Street corridor. A man ran from the alleyway shouting sweetheart at me. I ignored him and continued walking. He continued walking with me and asking me for my number. I told him I had a boyfriend and was meeting my mom. He did not stop following me. I didn’t want to go back home so that he didn’t know where I lived. I decided to go to a nearby Starbucks so that more people around. He followed me to Starbucks and asked me my number once again. I told him that I didn’t want to talk to him and that he was making me feel uncomfortable. I waited for my mom to pick me up and finally I was able to go back home. You know the weirdest thing? My fortune cookie earlier in the evening had told me that my luck will change. I really hope this doesn’t happen to another woman or man.

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public masturbation

Public Masturbator at Popular Lunch Restaurant: “it upset me to think about a child having to bear witness to behavior like this”

Today I was the victim of public masturbation. I feel so shocked and violated by this very specific, common, and rarely talked about type of street/public harassment. I was having lunch with my boss at Panera Bread when I noticed a man making direct eye contact with me. Being female, this isn’t by any means an odd occurrence but then I started to feel very conscious and uncomfortable. That is when I noticed him fondling himself under the table! I was so shocked that it took me a few moments to confirm and wrap my mind around what was happening. I didn’t want to react because the notion of my boss seeing this horrified me and I also didn’t want to give him reason to make a scene, or perhaps give him the reaction that he was looking for, as I assume that part of the allure is having that control and ability to illicit a reaction. I told my boss I was going to the bathroom, got up and went to look for a manager and happened to find a police officer who was there getting lunch. By the time I told the officer what happened he was gone. But I proud that I got up and took action because at first I was so shocked and admittedly scared and I almost did nothing but ignore him in hopes the experience would end. This left me feeling icky, and violated in a way that is hard to describe. The manager of the store came to apologize to me and I told her it was not her fault and I hoped my description would help if he came back in. I kept thinking about all the kids that go there for lunch everyday and it upset me to think about a child having to bear witness to behavior like this. For a moment, I felt like a child myself, scared and helpless.

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