Man got up in my face and asked if I “was having a good evening, since I was a pretty young thing.” Backed off after I offered no response.
Guy made kissing sounds
When going out in public, I will get harassed if I’m alone about 90% of the time. Tonight, I was running Favors on my motorcycle, which is one of my jobs, and I not only watched other women get cat calls, but I’d get men hanging out of their cars and yelling nonsense like “Puuuussssyy!!”, making kissing noises, etc. Whenever possible, I’ve turned to them and said “Darlin’, that doesn’t even make any sense”. And it works. They back peddle. It’s bizarre.
Tonight, I walked up to a stranger and asked him if he knew of a coffee shop nearby that was still open. He proceeded to say “Baby, you lookin’ to drink some coffee? I know exactly where you should go”, asked if he could get coffee with me, said yes he knew of a place, and then was not really able to tell me where it was, or the name, or anything actually useful. Eventually, I walked away from him saying “I guess you can’t help me. Thank you though. ” He then proceeded to ask me for a dollar. When I shook my head, he started to say “I hope you crash on your motorcycle” “I hope you die” “I hope you get hurt.” I turned around, and said “That doesn’t even make any sense. First, you hit on me, ask me out for coffee, and now you wish me bad luck? What the hell are you talking about?” He then went on to shout random compliments at me, saying ” I hope God blesses you”, “I hope the angels smile upon you.”, “I love you”, etc, etc. When he started to walk up to me and reach towards me, I ended up doing something that I thought was the best idea at the time: I pulled out my phone, and said “I’m going to have to call the police on you darling if you come any closer to me.” He stopped, turned around, and walked away. It actually worked!
whispered guapa at me as I walked past
We’re back with our HOLLA-Who series, profiling the amazing site leaders who take on street harassment in their local communities. In the HOLLA-Who series, we learn about what street harassment is like around the world, and what activists are doing today to push back and fight for the right to equal access to public spaces.
Today we’re talking with the amazing Andy from Hollaback! West Georgia. Andy and their team started up Hollaback! Nairobi with Class 12, launching back in January. Their HB team is super strong and has hit the ground running – and we can’t wait to see what they do next!
Why did you start the Hollaback! site in West Georgia, and what inspired you to join on?
“Hollaback! means having a community to go to, people to share ideas with and having a group of people standing together refusing to be dehumanized and treated as objects. I started our ground site because I wanted to help people stand up for themselves and and others, while also teaching people how NOT to speak to people in public.“
What’s a HOLLA-fact about your city?
“We have a university and a tech school, but we’re located in a pretty small town. We have a lot of different people with different ideas, lifestyles and belief systems.“
Say you’re the Queen for a day. What would you do to end street harassment?
“I would require everyone to attend a Hollaback! training or event.”
What was your first experience with street harassment?
“The first cognizant personal experience I have was probably around twelve, when my neighbor’s son touched my butt (of course I assume he had no idea what he was actually doing, as he was my age) and I threw my shoe at him.“
Given that you’ve had years to perfect it, what’s your signature Hollaback!?
“I haven’t perfected the art of speaking calmly, so sadly I’ll yell “That’s sexual harassment, and I’m/she’s a person!”“
We’re all about the right to define yourself. What’s your personal style?
“Queen of Spades.“
What’s your super-heroine power?
Serious question time. Would you rather have a dragon or be a dragon?
“Have! I already spit fire and I’m afraid of flying, but think of all that belly to scratch!“
What is your proudest HOLLA-Moment so far?
“Random strangers will identify me as the Hollaback! Girl. “You’re the hollaback! girl!” “YES WANNA JOIN!”“
If you could leave the world one piece of advice, what would it be?
“Never be satisfied, because when you’re satisfied, you’re done.“
What are you excited about for 2015?
“Trip to Italy, graduation, Hollaback! seminar at school.“
What inspires you in this work?
“Life. I find something new to inspire me every day just in living and meeting new people.”
And finally, in the year 2020, street harassment will be…
“In the year 2020, street harassment has become so widely discussed that men and women all over the world are standing up to street harassers every day. “
A big thank you to Andy from Hollaback! West Georgia! We can’t wait to see the future of this team!
Holla and out!
I was walking by myself in a wooded/residential area and noticed a sketchy looking guy with a bike at the end of a street. I turned around to walk back the way I came and he got on his bike and slowly passed me, saying “hey how you doing.” I ignored him and he got into a car, and then several guys started calling out, laughing, saying “damn shorty what you doing.” They drove off and deliberately veered the car close to me. I was scared to respond because I was alone.
I was walking back home through town when a guy walked into my path, blocking it and holding out his hand to try and get me to shake it saying “oooh alright love, my name’s Dan, what’s yours?”. I ignored him and carried on walking which then prompted him to say “fine be like that you stupid frigid bitch”, I turned around and asked “what did you say? Why did you call me a bitch just because I didn’t want to talk to you?”. I crossed to the other side of the road and carried on walking and he said to his friend “wow well she’s obviously on her fucking period!”. Err no, you’re just an asshole.
Harasser: middle aged guy, balding. Made disgusting comments about wanting to have anal sex with me while I was talking home from the office. The woman with him thought it was funny. Way to be a part of the problem lady.
This morning I was harassed and followed for three blocks by a man on my way to the office from the Farragut West metro. This man walked closely next to and behind me, making lewd remarks about the way I looked, how I walked and about being Asian. He was loud, sometimes shouted, and on the sidewalk and at street corners other commuters stared and didn’t say a word. I lost him when I ducked into a cafe to make sure he didn’t follow me into my office building. I’ve been shaking and upset all day.
We’ve got some exciting news for the international movement. Drum roll, please! We released the largest international, cross-cultural study on street harassment. The data shows that 84% of women around the world are first harassed before the age of 17. You can check out the country by country data here. We’ve also had some great press hits on Telegraph, Glamour, Gothamist, and BuzzFeed! Shout out to our awesome deputy director Debjani Roy for her amazing leadership on this project.
Meanwhile around the world…
Hollaback! Peterborough is partnering with the Kawartha Sexual Assault Centre and helping circulate their survey for survivors during Sexual Assault Awareness Month. If you’re in the region of Peterborough, Northumberland, City of Kawartha Lakes and Haliburton, take part in the survey before the end of the month.
Hollaback! Ottawa site leader Julie Lalonde was featured on CBC after speaking out about her experience of street harassment with the military. The Ottawa team presented to the provincial Standing Committee on Sexual Violence and Harassment to talk about the need to include street harassment in our understandings of sexual violence.
Hollaback! Poland protested against “Tips for women” about rape prevention published by the Polish Police. After publishing this letter to the police, the tips were taken down and the police declared they’ll be more thoughtful with their sexual violence prevention messages and will be happy to work with us on this.
Hollaback! London‘s Good Night Out program was featured in a piece by Medium. One of their awesome site leaders Julia Gray spoke about the ways women are perceived when out at night. Great press team!
It’s been a happening week, and we can’t wait to see what Hollabackers do next week!
Holla and out!