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This morning, I am feeling fed up.
I was walking from the coffee shop to the mental health center that I’m volunteering at when I hear someone shouting. I realize that person is shouting at me from his car and he is trying to get my attention. He proceeds to whistle at me repeatedly and starts jeering. I ignored him and kept walking but he proceeded to shout and make inappropriate noises until I made it in the building.
I have never understood why men yell at women from their cars. What do they get from this obnoxious behavior? I have been honked at, yelled at, sneered at, propositioned, and gestured to by men from their cars since middle school. It happens when I’m walking on the street, waiting at the bus stop, and even once when I was driving on the freeway. Several times I’ve been harassed on public transit as well. Sometimes when I talk about it with people they tell me I should take it as a compliment or that it must mean they found me attractive.
I DON’T CARE if you find me attractive. It does not make me feel good when I am harassed. Men, if you have ever participated in this behavior, why do you do it? I am not going to give you my number. I am not flattered or complimented when you hit on me from your car. I am not going to smile at you. I noticed men do it more often when they are with their friends. You are not impressing me. You are not more of a man because you harass women on the street. It is not cute. It is not okay. I am not going to sleep with you. Motherfucker, I am not going to give you the time of day. If I had a bag of rocks I would strongly desire to throw them at your car.
Friends, please do not invalidate someone’s negative feelings and emotions if they talk about being a victim of street harassment. It IS quite prevalent, a big deal, and can lead to violence. It is not a compliment. It is not acceptable. I don’t care how I look or what I am wearing, it is NOT an invitation for you to holler at me.
I was walking to lectures at about 11am in the morning. I was wearing a pair of high waisted trousers with a long sleeved crop top, a leather jacket and a pair of wedge boots. I left the house feeling confident and really liking my outfit that day – I thought I looked classy and put together. The only skin I was showing was less than an inch of midriff, when I had my jacket off. By the time I arrived home that evening I was angry and upset.
I was verbally harassed continually throughout the day. A man called me a ‘slut’ as i walked past him, just before I was wolf whistled at by some builders. A man called me “maggie no-tits” (?) and two men beeped at me from a van and slowed down to wave at me. This all happened in the half hour walk between my room and Uni. After my first class I was in a University building and some contractors who were doing repair work whistled and made comments about my outfit . I then was walking to lunch and I overheard a boy discussing at length with his girlfriend about how “attention-seeking” my outfit was. To my relief and smugness, she did tell him to “shut up because she probably doesn’t care, and neither should you”. You go girl!
Walking by a construction site, a worker called out, “Hello… You don’t have to walk so fast all the time.”
Worker 2: Why you don’t do your work?
Other workers *laugh*
Worker 1: Man he wants me do my work, then HE carries her home.
All workers: *uproarious laughter*
Me: I’m not an object and none of you will be taking me ANYwhere. I will tell your boss, [name here], how disrespectful you are.
So glad I knew the head of that site. It saved me weeks of harassment as I walk by there daily
I’ve been living in Glasgow for just under six months now, as a student. I’m living in a somewhat rough area and i’m well aware it’s not safe to wander around at night on my own. However, this incident took place at about 5pm on a weekday night, in a park just down the road from my dorms. I was walking back from a lecture with two of my flatmates and we cut through a small park, as we normally do. A man emerged from the bushes, completely naked from the waist down and touching himself, and started following us up the path. We tried to ignore him and started to walk a bit quicker but as he got closer and closer to my flatmate, who was behind me, I reacted. I screamed and swore at him but he just seemed to enjoy this, and laughed in my face. He followed us through the park and disappeared when my flatmate got her phone out to call the police – who incidentally never caught him and whose only advice was to avoid that park in future.
So obviously, living in a foreign city after growing up in a small town i’m wary; this really shook my confidence. I experienced panic attacks and ended up missing some important deadlines as a result of this incident, as I felt unsafe leaving the flat. I’m glad I shouted at/reported him but I am frustrated that I can’t feel at home in this area anymore.
Here’s what the HOLLAs around the world have been up to:
Hollaback! Belfast held a workshop on street harassment with a Girls’ Brigade group.
Hollaback! Des Moines, in collaboration with the Women of Color Advisory Network and Iowa Coalition Against Sexual Assault, announced their upcoming presentation of a multicultural, multilingual community production of Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues. Casting calls will take place March 2 and March 5.
Hollaback! Hamilton is officially working with 12 students to take on some projects in the next four months! The students are from a “women, sexuality and the welfare state” class at McMaster University.
Hollaback! Istanbul‘s Nihan Guneli was written about/in this radio excerpt for her work on a harassment case, where the harasser was sentenced to 1 year and 8 months in prison–really unheard of in Turkey. Guneli states that “the vast majority of harassment and rape cases go unreported in Turkey in large part because the police station experience can be more traumatic than the harassment”.
Hollaback! Korea started a new YouTube channel and are welcoming content submission ideas. You can check out videos from their events and recordings of interviews to learn more about the project. On their channel, you can listen to a recent radio interview in which Site Founder Chelle B. Mille talks about street harassment in Korea, how Hollaback! Korea is addressing the issue, and how community members can get involved.
Hollaback! Philly, in partnership with Temple University, is hosting a speaker series on human sex trafficking of domestic girls with various experts from across the country. The event will take place February 27, 2014.
Hollaback! Polska was interviewed on television regarding law changes concerning rape cases. Rape is pursued in all cases now. Originally, rape was pursued by a victim’s request which meant the offender/police/family could make the victim withdraw the request and the case was automatically closed. In addition, Poland now has more victim-friendly investigation procedures.
Inspiring to see all of the HOLLAs making waves! Until next week~
HOLLA and out!
– The Hollaback! Team
I was on the city bus on my way home. There were at least four school aged kids on the bus. One of them was a little on the shy side. One of the girls just walked up to her and started screaming and yelling at her for no reason. I felt the need to stand up for her. So I told the girl that was screaming and yelling to go pick on someone her own size and stop being a bully.
I’d just finished running, so I was in nike shorts and a t shirt. It was pretty cold outside, but I couldn’t be bothered to put on a sweatshirt because I didn’t want it to get all sweaty, so I just walked up to the store in my running clothes.
I got to the intersection and stood there waiting for the light to change, and this white van pulls up and stops at the stoplight. It’s a white construction van from a well known construction company. The guy must be at least in his thirties, and he calls out, “You look a little cold. Do you want my jacket?”
I literally just stood there speechless and very confused. For the first couple of seconds, I thought, “Is he trying to help me? Do I say no thanks? What…?” Then, I realized he was catcalling me, a fifteen year old girl, and…I walked away without saying anything.
It didn’t really make me feel anything at first. Later, though, on the walk home, I began to steam. I felt dirty and gross and objectified and I was pissed. At this random dude who was at least twice my age and at myself because I didn’t do anything. I had no idea what to do.
Now I do.
There was one time I was meeting my boyfriend after school in Cleveland Park, but I got there a bit early. I just wandered around a little to pass the time and this guy, who must’ve been at least 30, rolled down his window and shouted, “hey you! Yeah, you! We should go on a dinner-date! Come here!” I didn’t do anything, I just kept walking.
I was 16 at the time and maybe this doesn’t sound like harassment, but you can’t just demand that kind of attention from someone. I was so scared.
Then of course about five minutes later a dude in a hoodie passed me by and whispered, “hey sexy.”
Needless to say, I was really happy when my boyfriend finally got out of classes.
Here’s what the HOLLAs around the world have been up to:
Hollaback! Boston has issued a call to action to the city of Boston to reconsider personal safety messages and examine how they lead to unintentional blaming of victims. HB! Boston also currently has an opening for a spring semester intern. Join their team today!
Hollaback! Israel has announced a new project titled “New Station” in which they’ll focus on putting a stop to harassment in public transportation stations. Community members are encouraged to share their stories and identify specific public transportation spots that have become inaccessible due to street harassment. Once information is collected, HB! Israel will be reporting the information to planning and municipal authorities.
Hollaback! Melbourne has announced the launch of their new enewsletter! Subscribers will be sent monthly updates on what they are working on, interesting articles relating to street harassment around the world, as will as limited edition materials available for download.
Hollaback! Mumbai is hosting a Tweet-a-thon on January 26th at 2pm IST. The conversation will revolve around topics regarding equality, discrimination, and safety in public spaces. Follow the conversation on Twitter using #RightRepublic.
Let’s keep the conversations going! Awesome work HOLLAs!
HOLLA and out!
– The Hollaback! Team