Ladies, I encourage you to find safe and constructive ways of regaining control of street harassment situations. Today, I off the cuff took back control over mine. I don’t know what possessed me to do it, but walking past a construction site, I heard from loudly behind me, “Damn girl, you’re looking fiiiiinnnnnne today!” And turned around to see some smug, smirking little prick in a hardhat and vest seemingly proud of his verbal harassment. I pulled out my phone, pretended to take a picture of him (my photo album was 100% full, but he didn’t know that) and said, “Thanks for the pic, I’m going to report you today.” and waved at him, “too-doo-loo”-style like an asshole and calmly continued walking to my destination.
Although I wasn’t actually able to report him to the company without a picture, the fact that I had flipped the situation on him and invaded HIS privacy made ME personally feel empowered.
I’m often in a very happy state of being, and I desire to help others, unless you’re a street harasser. Then, I seem to see red and harass the offender by following him and questioning his purpose in life. And yelling. Lots of yelling….it worked though. He was awful shy when up close, saying things like “You betta not touch me!” Of course I would not touch him. As soon as the security guard came to chase him off, he went right back to shouting “Fuck you, bitch!”
In the end, I hope he thinks before he goes after women again. They might just go after him, and some might be even more severe than me.
I was on campus at PCC Sylvania writing in a notebook when a guy who had been following me for a while sat down next to me. He asked me if I wanted to do romantic things with him like “eat pizza or have sex”. He would not go away despite my lying that I have a boyfriend. He grabbed my hand and I was really scared he would get violent. I did not feel safe at my own school today. I washed my hands many times when I got home. :/ I hate harassment.
Cat calls on the regular route from walk to home and return. Everyday for the past one year
I was on a crowded subway on a school field trip where everyone was shoulder to shoulder. I felt a purse pushed up against my butt for a few minutes. It was uncomfortable so I tried to push it away a little and then I realized that it was somebody’s hand cupping my butt. I was immediately horrified but then the train stopped and almost everyone exited the train. I was left alone with my class too embarrassed to tell anyone. It was months before I even told my best friend.
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!