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It was a hot day and I was walking from the university campus back to my car. A man in a pickup truck drove by me slowly on one street. I cut through a parking lot to the next street where my car was, and as I got into my car, the pickup truck approached from the opposite direction. The man leaned out of the window and asked for directions to a nearby street. I pointed straight ahead, rather vaguely, and he didn’t look. He just leaned out of the window and said, “Do you want to fuck?” I said, “Go away!” and then rolled up my window, locked my door, and drove away. Fortunately, I was already in the car when he said that, so I didn’t panic; I could just hit the lock and turn the key. At the time, I thought about a rash of rapes that had happened in that neighborhood, and I remembered hearing on the news that the rapist had been caught. I felt silly for thinking of a serial rapist, just because a man had said, “Do you want to fuck?” but he was really creepy, I was very young, and I didn’t know what to think about it.For years afterward, when I recalled that day, the detail that stuck in my mind was that I wasn’t wearing a bra. Now I wonder if by remembering that detail, I was thinking maybe it was my fault. It was just such an automatic response to wonder if I’d done something to provoke it. So stupid. He was just a nasty creep and I happened to cross his path.
I am 14 years old…I look older but I am only 14. My dad never lets me go out by my self because of the neighbor hood we live in. Well one day he finally let me go by myself I was thankful because I wanted to go to a church but I really didn’t need my parents tagging along to make a confession. I was walking and I realized the church lights weren’t on so I decided to call the church. As I am on the phone a red truck drives by, he honks and waves his had at me. If that wasn’t enough he turned back and did it again…2 time…3 times, it happened. I was scared out of my mind. He was trying to pull the truck up close to me and talk to me. I didn’t see his face clearly because of my eye sight so I have no idea if he might have actually been someone I know but I’m 14 years old. I am terrified. It literally just happened and I ran home. I so scared, I was thinking of calling 911 about it but I don’t know if I should. None of the details were clear I was in panic. What should I do should I report it? what is it was someone who actually knew me? WHAT SHOULD I DO?!?!?!
There was an event at my work, and I was on the sidewalk of the main road, walking down and putting little lawn signs along the way. As I was walking, I heard a bunch of guys screaming out of their window, but I ignored it and didn’t bother looking over. They were on the other side of the road anyways, with a median separating both lanes of traffic. Several minutes later, they had turned at the light, and made their way into the packing lot right next to the lawns were I was putting signs. Now that I got a look at the car, there was at least three guys I could see now hanging out of their windows, screaming at me to come over to them and into into the car. I started walking quickly in the other direction while words of “sexy” and “c’mon, dance for me” where being scouted at me from the car. When I got a good distance away they started booing me and yelling insults before driving off out of the lot.
Hey Hollas! Despite the millionth snowmapocalyptageddon of the year, Holla::REV 2015 went off without a hitch! Thanks to everyone who came, volunteered, spoke, performed, followed along in the livestream, and asked questions! We couldn’t have done this without you!
Our Executive Director Emily May kicked us off by talking about the “tipping point” of street harassment, and showing us a special preview of our fresh new vlog (to be revealed to the masses at a later date)! Next up was Ana “Rokafella” Garcia (AKA La Roka) who served as our incredible and dynamic MC throughout the event. Our first guest speaker was Feminista Jones who discussed black women’s experiences with street harassment and also safe methods of bystander intervention through her hashtag #YouOKSis? Linda Sarsour (AKA “An Islamophobe’s Worst Nightmare”) spoke on issues of Islamophobia and street harassment, reminding us that harassment isn’t just an issue of gender and that people get harassed no matter what they wear. Next up was Quentin Walcott of Connect NYC who talked about the role of men in the movement against street harassment. After a brief intermission, Bleu Santiago and Jackie Torres of Girl Be Heard performed an incredibly moving and powerful monologue piece on the experience of street harassment, calling for a “Holla Revolution!” (#hollarev). Then we heard from creators of the video “Be My Advocate” Aden Hakimi and Michelle Charles (featured in the video) about the “Burden of Proof” and why people who experience street harassment daily still need to “prove” to others that it exists. Our last (but certainly not least) speaker, media technologist, Deanna Zandt spoke about what it’s like to be a woman on the internet, how to stay sane when facing online harassment, and how we can help victims of it. We closed out with a beautiful performance by the H+ Totem dance conservatory’s “Inveterate Love.”
In addition to all of our fabulous speakers and performers, we were also joined by over 100 students from nearby high schools who asked our panelists some incredibly insightful and important questions. We were so impressed with their interest in the issue of street harassment and their passion for the Holla Revolution!
Whew! Let’s see what the rest of our sites have been up to…
Hollaback! Baltimore continues to make progress on their Safer Spaces campaign, and the Invisible Majority network just recently signed their pledge to make their space safer! Anyone interested in following their lead should contact [email protected]!
Hollaback! Nottingham hosted their second monthly meet up on Wednesday where they worked on their ongoing community art project! Armed with pants, bras, and fabric pens, they’re going to “air their dirty laundry,” so to speak, by writing on their clothing items what harassers have said to them. This super awesome project is inspired by a similar project by Jennifer Storey. Can’t wait to see the final result at the end of the year! The next night, they hosted a benefit gig to raise money for them and POW– a grass roots charity that supports sex workers and those vulnerable to exploitation in the city. There was music, poetry, cakes, zines, and tons of fun!
Hollaback! Bahamas spent the week raising hype for International Women’s Day this Sunday, March 8th! They were guests on the show Jeffery on Star 106.5 talking about International Women’s Day and gender-based violence and discrimination and they attended the Ministry of Social Services Women’s Bureau’s International Women’s Day celebration! They also met with a group of students from the Urban Society sociology class to talk about their research project on street harassment. On top of all that, they delivered two (count ‘em, TWO) presentations at College of the Bahamas on street harassment and the proposed constitutional amendment bills for gender equality. What a busy week! Way to go, guys!
Hollaback! Kathmandu is going to represent at the WE United Project’s 2nd annual Women’s Futsal Tournament on Saturday! This event is also in the spirit of International Women’s Day on March 8th. Go! Fight! Win!
Wow, what an incredible week! Great job, everyone!
Holla and out!
The Hollaback Team <3
As I was walking to the last day of a volunteer training for a peer support program, I approached an intersection and was waiting for the light to change. From about 5 steps away I could see a young man (nope, boy) start to make his way towards me. Over my podcast, as he fell in step with me, I could here the “yeah babies,” kiss sounds, ect. (girls, you know what I am talking about). As always I gave my disgusted look, and then forced myself to stare straight, and ignore. As I was waiting to cross the street, with the boys words getting closer, I felt a hand on my rear. This was not your average “good game” pat, or a little pinch, which is bad enough! No this was the type of gesture that only the most intimate person in your life would do in private. This was a full on ass grab that immediately made me feel fear, violated, dirty, angry, sad, and embarrassed.
I told him to F off, and screamed as loud as I could to him. I went to chase after him but he was much quicker and was now far from me. And as to throw salt into the wound he skipped along, looking back, and laughed! He laughed and smiled and giggled at my fear and humiliation. Tears immediately welled up in my eyes, and I started back on my trek. As thoughts swam around my head, and a cauldron of feelings tried to boil over, I approached my destination, but not before another boy (this person was well over 40 but is no man in my eyes) was able to get in a few “damn girl you thick,” and “oh yeahs!”
I told a few people at the training, all were sympathetic to an extent but the overall feeling was “oh yeah, I hate when that happens!” IS THAT IT? Is that what women of our generation have become use to? Well not me, not anymore! I will not let this happen to me anymore, I will not be subject to a boys sick amusement!
I was walking by a house on a residential street and an old man came out of his house yelling “hey!” in a gravelly voice and proceeded to follow me yelling “woman!” and other things I couldn’t make out. I was able to run away before he got close to me but now I’m afraid to walk on that street again.
I was approached by a guy asking for change because he lost his charlieticket. Once I stopped to help him he started making comments about my jeans and my ass
Je marchais à la gare rapidement pour retirer de l’argent avant de rejoindre mon copain et voilà qu’un homme fonce droit sur moi et juste avant de passer, approche son visage à 5cm du mien pour accomplir un geste et bruit obscènes de la bouche. J’ai gueulé après lui, et la seule chose que deux jeunes passant à ce moment ont trouvé à faire, c’est glousser dans leur coin. Tremblante de rage et de dégoût, j’ai fini en pleurs, avec l’horrible sensation d’une intrusion dans mon espace intime.
I walked to a station quickly to withdraw money before returning to my boyfriend and suddenly a man is bearing down on me and just before passing, puts his face 5cm from mine to make a gesture and obscene sound . I yelled after him, and the only thing that two young people passing at that time found to do was giggle in their corner. Trembling with rage and disgust, I ended up in tears, with the horrible feeling of intrusion into my private space.
It’s been a busy week here at the mothership! We spent the week preparing for HOLLA::Revolution 2015, which will take place this Thursday, March 5th at The New School in NYC! We’re so excited for our speakers to bring conversations about street harassment, sexual assault on college campuses, online harassment, masculinity, Islamophobia, and to the world! That’s right, the world – if you’re in the area, please reserve your tickets here, and if you’re not, check out our livestream! Folks watching online can tweet their questions to the panel using the hashtag #hollarev!
It’s been Social Media Week here in NYC, and ED Emily May spoke on a panel about online harassment on Youtube along with Karen Cahn of VProud.tv, vlogger Kat Lazo, and Elizabeth Plank of Mic. Check out the ‘gram!
Deputy Director Debjani Roy spoke on a panel at the WOW Theatre and Cafe alongside Dana Edell from Spark, Kate McDonough from Girls for Gender Equity and Ileana Jimenez @feministteacher. The event was called Don’t Call Me Baby – Sexism and Youth, and it was organized by our partner school project partner and UAI, Wazina Zondon who is also a part of the Inquiry to Action Group (ItAG).
We’ve been busy, and so have our awesome sites! Check out what some of them have been up to!
Hollaback! Bahamas is offering self-defense classes for women at a discounted price for International Women’s Month. They also participated in World Thinking Day and the Bahamas Girl Guides Association’s STOP THE VIOLENCE rally this past Sunday. Rock. On.
Hollaback! Kathmandu will be participating in an International Women’s Day 5K Fun Run – join them in empowering women while getting fit if you’re in the area!
Hollaback! Baltimore site leader Brittany Oliver will be speaking on a “Black History for a Black Future” panel to discuss steps to improving the quality of life for Black people in Baltimore! Awesome!
Big week, team! Keep up the great work!
Holla and out!