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NOTE: Thanks to everyone’s support, we have enough volunteers. Thank you so much for your support!
Hollaback is shooting its first-ever PSA on Sunday, March 7th. The ad will feature 12 women, telling different parts of their street harassment story, in a 90 second ad that will help educate the public about our newest project, Hollaback!. It will be shot by the uber-talented Nari Kye of NyamNyamTV.com fame. We are seeking 10 women of diverse ages and ethnicities to star in the PSA. The shoot will take place in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Participants should plan to wear expressive clothing that you have been harassed in: anything from pajamas to sequins to everyday wear. You will be shot from the waist up. While we have you there, you will also be invited to be photographed “Holla’ing back” for our new banner and to answer the question on camera “Why Hollaback?” for our new Why Hollaback? series.
Help us end street harassment, one hollaback at a time! Interested hollabackers should email [email protected] with a short description of themselves.
There is something that I never reported which happened to me in New York back in 2006. I live in California now and, despite some of the things that happened to me, things are generally good and no one for the most part bothers me as evidenced by guys apologizing for making crude passes when I flip them off or tell them off crudely. However, you guys in NY have one helluva up hill battle to climb when it comes to street harassment and the general overall abuse and misogyny towards women that seems to prevail in that climate and this story shows why.
Back in the Summer (June or July?) of 2006, I was the victim of rape. I don’t want to say for sure my status since I never got or heard the results from the rape kit, but the bruises on my face along with the black outs I suffered and the constant yelpings from the perpetrator asking me to, “Just have sex with him,” tells me that something took place. As a backdrop, I lived in Queens at the time. I was coming from a bar in Manhattan alone (I’m a loner and have done this many times.) I was drunk AND tired and fell asleep until I ended up in the Bronx (not sure where.) I spoke to a man who offered to show me the right way home. We left the subway and he went to buy us some food which he gave me a sandwich. He gave me his number and I took it since, in my inebriated state, I didn’t want to seem rude.
I recall he went into an alley. I followed. When he went in, I recall him saying, very specifically, “That he sells drugs.” That is when I was out of there. All of a sudden, I felt an arm choke my neck. That is when I experienced my first black out and kept going in and out of consciousness until dawn. A couple founded me with the man asking, “What was I doing out there?” They called the cops on my behalf.
I recall how insensitive the cops were towards me. One cop said about me to the other cops, “That’s probably a girl on the stroll.” As I was placed in the ambulance, an ambulance driver said to me, “That necklace got you in trouble,’ referring to the pentagram I wore around my neck! I underwent the rape analysis, was given a morning after pill (thank goodness for that), and was told to come back for a prescription for AIDS preventative medicine.
As a fighter who fought to come into this world and fought a hole in my heart as a newborn infant, I fought against this time despite what had been through so that I could look forward to commencing my new job at JP Morgan Chase as a personal banker at the time. Despite the severity of what had happened to me, I had to fight to get a detective in the special victims unit in the Bronx assigned to my case. When I went in there, they made a mockery of the victims whom they worked with as displayed by a picture on the wall of a picnic with the words: “Special Victjms Only” or something to that effect. I spoke to the detective, a woman, by the name of Mary McClennon, about had happened. I even offered her the perp’s phone number. At my insistence, she put me in contact with an ADA.
The ADA started accusing me of being at fault. She asked, “Why was I out at night?” “Why was I dressed the way I was,” and the whole 9 yards…And yes, it was a woman! Even more bizarrely, this woman, this ADA, whose tone was getting more belligerent by the minute, asked me what was my dad’s name, my mother’s name, my elementary school’s name (seriously), the principal there and my high school, where was I working, where was my dad working, etc. I asked her what do these things have to do with my case and I even went as far to remind her of the illegality of what she was asking due to rape shield laws. She asked for my employer’s phone number, his/ her contact info, address, etc none of which had ANYTHING, absolutely NOTHING to do with my rape. My bosses at JP Morgan Chase didn’t rape me, my dad and mom in Louisiana sure as hell didn’t rape me, so how that information was pertinent was beyond me. Even more sadly, when I walked out and talked to a robbery suspect, when I told him the BATTERY of questions I was asked, he said he was never asked those things.
That day, I got on the train and I couldn’t help but break from my hard and bust out crying. I knew what had happened. The detective deliberately set me up to go to an ADA who would effectively keep my case from going to trial, despite bruising, despite evidence, despite having the man’s number. What happened to me at the hands of the SVU of the Bronx along with the assistant district attorney was a real crime and a miscarriage of justice.
Fast forward later, today as a matter of fact, I tried to get the case info (since it was so long ago) to file a report with the Attorney General’s Office. Again, I nearly cried at, not only the way, I was being treated, but how potential other victims will be treated too. Again, I was met with a barrage of hangups, rude people yelling at me and overall refusing to cooperate. This is how the SVU which deals with women, child victims and the most vulnerable members of our society treats them. For them there is no serve and protect but to conceal and deny. If you love NY, please don’t take offence to what I am about to say, but it is not a woman friendly place. Incidents like this seem to be more common along with the severe street harassment which I experienced which borderlines on rape. Any woman who lives up there to me is a brave soul since I couldn’t do it at all and I could barely get past the 2 1/2 years of my living up there. What you are doing is a great thing by awakening people’s eyes to the things which offsets horrible things.
Submitted by Raven
I live in the South Bronx, and I am harassed by men almost every day as I make the 10-minute schlep from my apartment to the subway, or vice versa; as I walk the five blocks to the grocery store; and even as I walk the one block to the laundromat. I literally cannot step outside my apartment without getting some kind of unwanted comment or stare. It makes living in a down-trodden neighborhood that much worse.
I used to ignore the harassers, but lately I’m just so enraged by this behavior that I’ve been trying to confront them, in an attempt to make them think about what they’re doing. My past attempts have thus far failed–the harassers just don’t get it, and the fact that I’m talking to them at all seems to make them feel even more self-satisfied.
But yesterday morning, as I reached East 160th Street and Courtlandt Avenue, I think my approach worked. I was walking back to my apartment from the grocery store when a man called out, in an very cheerful tone, “Good morning, gorgeous!” I said, in the same tone of voice as his, “Good morning, asshole!” He said, “Awww, that’s not nice. I called you gorgeous.” I said, “I don’t need you to call me that. I’m not an animal. I’m not a prostitute. I’m just walking home from the grocery store, minding my own business. I don’t need you to call me anything.” He said, “Well, I’m sorry. Most women like it.” I said, “Actually, most women don’t like it, and the ones who do like it only feel that way because they don’t know the difference.” To my complete surprise, he seemed very sincere and apologetic. He said, “OK. You’re probably right.” I said, “I AM right. Don’t talk to women like that. We don’t need it.” As I was walking away, he said, “Alright, have a nice day.”
I am quite confident that this man did not have any ill intentions towards me–he just didn’t understand the implications of what he was doing. Obviously I will never know whether or not he continues to cat-call, but my hunch is that he will stop. If one conversation can change one man’s mind, then I think we’ve accomplished something. Maybe that man will one day have a son, and maybe he will teach his son how to treat women with respect. Or maybe I’m being naive–but the experience gave me a little bit of hope, and I’m going to continue spreading this message however I can: ALL human beings have the right to be let alone. Women are human beings. Unless I ask you to talk to me, don’t.
Submitted by R.B.
(Flushing Avenue G stop, Brooklyn)
Reprinted from Metro New York, written by HOLLAhero Amy Zimmer:
Georgia Warren felt “disgusted” with what she witnessed on a Brooklyn-bound N train as it pulled into Pacific Street around 8:45 p.m. on Feb. 1: A man shoved his crotch against a woman and touched her shoulder. The man then walked toward Warren, but she shouted, “Don’t you f—ing touch me, you pervert.”
She alerted the conductor as two “good Samaritans” blocked the man from boarding another train. Police arrived 20 minutes later but said they couldn’t do anything because the man was “crazy,” Warren said. Despite subway PSAs encouraging riders to report lewd behavior, they didn’t take a report, she said. The victim left before police arrived, but Warren and another witness were willing to give statements.
“I just wanted to make sure this guy is not still out there touching people,” Warren, 24, said. “They released him — even as he fondled himself in front of them.”
Warren said the incident was reported to the Civilian Complaint Review Board.
The NYPD’s Transit Bureau chief last year said subway sexual harassment is the “No. 1 quality of life offense on the subway” and officers are required to take reports. The NYPD did not respond to requests for comment.
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Now, here is where it really pisses me off. I saw some cops, a male and female, on the other side of the street where they were heading (but not on the opposite or same side of the street where the crime took place.) When I went to report what had happened, the male cop – an indignant chauvinist – asked what happened. I said it was a case of sexual harassment, with the punk getting upset since I wouldn’t meet his demands. He then belligerently asked exactly what did I say. When I told him that I told the guy what the fuck was he staring at, the cop, a Hispanic man, said, “Well, that set him off,” effectively blaming me for what happened. That comment set me off. To blame me for that attack simply because of what I said is an insult to my humanity and character. I feel that that statement typifies what most cops feel towards women, especially women on color, in circumstances like that. We are just supposed to grin, smile, and put up with it and not challenge their male authority/ entitlement. Esp. being a woman of color, I feel that statement basically shows what the cops think of us as women of color; that we are animals to be subject to animalistic behavior and we are not worthy of being treated like human beings. I told the cop that I knew a guy who justified rape who said the SAME exact thing he said. Then, when I informed him that my area is a place where a lot of pimps troll for vulnerable women and girls and that does who DON ‘T say anything and are docile get treated the worst, he went on to state that the are is FULL of prostitution, not PIMPS, but prostitutes. Basically, this chauvinist piece of shit thinks that it is more of a crime for a woman to charge for her own body rather than a guy who attacks a woman simply for rejecting his compliment. Then he asked what did I DO for a living, so as to justify treating me like trash! What a sick fuck. My dad was a cop and it is a fucking shame when you have someone like that on the police department who harbors such views. I will report him. As to what good that will do, I don’t know. But hopefully that file along with other complaints will take his ass off the force. His badge number is 34473 and his name is Lopez.
On January 24th, a woman named was assaulted on Hermosa beach and reported it to the police, read more here. Unfortunately, the police have effectively ignored her report and the perpetrator continues to go free:
Regarding the Hermosa Beach groping incident, it’s been weeks and I haven’t heard anything from them. I called and even went down to the station. Finally, on Thursday, I spoke to the detective, Detective Freelough, about my case. When I asked why hasn’t he gotten back to me, he asks me why I am in such a hurry, that the schedule of him meeting with the guy hasn’t been good, and that other cases takes precedence over mine. Despite the fact that what happened to me clearly was sexual assault, I am incensed that it is not being taken seriously.
Submitted by Raven
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I was leaning up against the metal rails on an already crowded N train when the door opened and even more passengers got on. One passenger took the opportunity to smoosh himself right up against my backside after the doors closed and apparently was just planning on remaining that way. I started to turn myself entirely around to face him and move away, meanwhile saying “Oh NO, no no no no.” This pissed him off and he started shoving me. I looked at him and in my loudest HollaBack voice said to him and the other passengers, “LOOK–I just don’t want your COCK pressed up against my BUTT. Is that so hard to understand? I think that’s a pretty reasonable expectation.” He said “That’s why I was turning around” and turned around. Mission accomplished.
Submitted by V.