I was 22 and walking through the Sydney CBD at night looking for a taxi to get home. It was very late (around 3am) but I was sticking to well lit, busy streets where police are normally present. As I turned a corner to walk down one of the city’s busiest streets there was a large group of about 10 men aged between 18-24 walking towards me and taking up the entire footpath. I kept my head down and veered to the very edge of the path to get around. Just as I was about to pass, one of the men raised his arm straight above his head and a moment later swung it down with full force on my bum. The force of his hand jolted me forward and hurt. The group of men laughed and continued to walk past me. I felt scared and incredibly angry that I had been intimidated and physically harmed – but because the perpetrator had struck my ass it was supposed to be a compliment?
It was mid afternoon and I was having a late coffee break at work. I was walking back to the office after my break when a intoxicated man on the street started to call out to me. He said started to say things to me like “You’re a dirty whore” and he started to say all the disgusting things he would like to do to me. He followed me through the streets for about 1km back to my work while continuing to get more aggressive, I was terrified. I rang the police when I was back in the office to tell them what had happened and they told me not to worry about it, they knew the person I was talking about and this happened all the time.
Today, when I was biking home from work, a young woman was crossing the street about a half a block in front of me (not in a crosswalk), so I slowed down in order to give her enough time to walk across, but she made eye contact with me and started to walk slower. Therefore, I started to swerve to the center of the road to go around her. She moved to obstruct my path further, then stood still in my path, faced me, and made sexual gestures and comments. I swerved around her, trying to avoid any sort of engagement, but then I was stuck at a red light, where she and some of her friends, including a couple of larger males, were standing with her. As a group, they started making fun of my clothing. The nature of their comments made me think that they thought I was a lesbian, based on my clothes. I just stared straight ahead, determined to not engage with them, not wanting things to escalate, waiting for the light to change. A man walking by, who had seen the incident, told them to stop harassing people and threatened to report them to the police, who were visibly parked about a half block away. The group proceeded to make fun of the man’s clothing as he walked away. At last, the light changed, and I biked away. The thought of going to the parked police car did cross my mind, but, in the end, I decided against it, not wanting to make the situation worse for myself. I am still conflicted about whether I should have done something though.
We’ve been keeping pretty busy here at HQ during this Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and eagerly preparing for International Anti-Street Harassment Week! As you may or may not already know, we’ll kicking the week off in NYC on Saturday, April 11th with a RALLY TO END STREET HARASSMENT! The sun will be shining, our anti-catcalling cat will be inflated, and we’ll be chanting, workshopping, speaking, and performing to #EndStreetHarassment. (By the way, check out this great plug the Gothamist wrote for us. Feelin’ the anti-street harassment love!)If you’re in the area and you haven’t RSVP’d yet do so here!
(Also, keep your eyes peeled for updates about our next big event, Holla::Rev London happening on June 23rd!)
Speaking of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, our Executive Director Emily May visited the Auraria Campus of the Community College of Denver to speak about violence against women on Wednesday! Check out this cool pic she took with HB! Denver site-leaders Jessie and Allison while she was there!
Last but absolutely NOT least, we are SO excited about all our new sites from class 12 that launched this Monday! We now have 92 sites and the Hollaback Revolution is taking place in 32 countries and 18 different languages!
The sites that launched on Monday include: Hollaback! Amsterdam (Netherlands), Hollaback! Barcelona (Spain), Hollaback! Duke University (North Carolina, USA), Hollaback! Flagstaff (Arizona, USA), Hollaback! Iowa City (Iowa, USA), Hollaback! Lahore (Pakistan), Hollaback! Panama City (Panama), Hollaback! Peterborough (Ontario, Canada), Hollaback! Providence (Rhode Island, USA), Hollaback Romania, Hollaback! Sao Paulo (Brazil), Hollaback! Serbia, Hollaback! Sydney (Australia), Hollaback! University of West Georgia (USA), and Hollaback! York (UK)
We want to welcome all our new sites to the Holla family! We can’t wait to see all the great work you’ll be doing!
Now let’s check out what our sites have been up to…
Hollaback! Vancouver is launching their “What’s Your Number?” campaign which will be running from April 12-26! The campaign will be investigating the frequency of street harassment as well as the impact it has on victims. Participants will get clickers and journals which will be showcased in an art show on April 30th. SO COOL! For more info on how to participate in this super awesome campaign check out their Facebook event page and keep an eye on their Twitter for more updates!
Hollaback! Ottawa’s “Cosplay =/= Consent” workshop has been accepted for this year’s Ottawa ComicCon (May 8-10)! Also, Maude and Ruby, a new small batch cosmetics line in Ottawa is selling these awesome tote bags and giving HB! Ottawa 30% of the proceeds! That’s so nice! Check them out and get one for yourself if they fit your aesthetic.
Also, while HQ has been gearing up for International Street Harassment Week in NYC, our sites have been planning tons of awesome events for it as well! Here are just a few of our sites doing some super cool things next week (click on the links for more info!):Hollaback! Amsterdam, Hollaback! Atlanta, Hollaback! Baltimore, Hollaback! Berlin, Hollaback! Las Vegas, Hollaback! Croatia, Hollaback! Twin Cities.
Way to go, guys, next week is gonna be awesome! Holla ‘n out!
–The Hollaback Team
I was running an errand for work, and was walking along the side of the street to head back to my car. As I approached an intersection and waited for the light to cross, a man in a car stopped to yell at me. He yelled “you’re so beautiful, do you have a boyfriend?” To which I ignored. My relationship status should be irrelevant- I’m not interested in you, do you really respect that another man has a girlfriend more than you respect my lack of interest? I shouldn’t need an excuse not to be interested. Anyways, when the cat calling was persistent enough, I looked up from my phone and said “excuse me?” with a dirty look. I noticed the man was not alone in the car, but had another woman sitting next to him. When I shook my head and looked away, he slowly drove by and said “You should say thank you when someone gives you a compliment,” and the woman next to him yelled “you’re the ugliest person I’ve ever seen.” I wanted to yell that sexual harassment was a crime and take his license plate number, but no one else was around, they were in a car, and I was scared. I regret not saying something else.
Two days ago I was walking down the street in Montreal, Canada in a knee length parka with black sneakers. A man coming towards me stopped in the middle of the street about twenty yards ahead of me and stared at me until I reached him. Then he stepped to the side and said loudly, “Nice woman!”
I felt like a piece of meat on an auction block. I felt the usual rage that not only has this type of disrespectful behavior been a regular occurrence for all of my adult life, but NOT ONE PERSON on the crowded sidewalk, male or female, even batted an eyelash when it happened. This man was able to act with impunity. Not only am I dehumanized by an individual, but I am reminded that society has normalized my dehumanization.
I had only just arrived in Canada a few weeks before, and now I am dreading the warm weather. If that’s what happens here to women dressed in a parka, I can only imagine what will happen when ill mannered males can actually see my female form.
My friend from school has double Ds and was catching the train into school one morning when she overheard some year 7s behind her (note: we’re 15) as they were ogling at her her chest they kept making comments about her “huge rack”. She felt belittled by a pair of 12 year olds 🙁
Biking by he yells “hi girl”. Wasn’t looking at him or giving him any reason to yell at me. First verbal of the spring!
i’m 16. there was this man on the street and i walked next to him and he said to me that i was beautiful. I said back that i didn’t want to have sex with him. What is said was WTF are you saying but he followed me and when i saw a police man I said that he was stalking me and wanted to abuse me and the police man went to he guy to talk with him, but I just ran away because i was scared. Later the police man said to me that there was no problem and that the guy went just the same way as I went. I don’t believe it.
You look good on that bike!