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I was walking with my infant daughter in a carrier. I had just said goodbye to my partner, and walked towards riverside to go to my home. On the way there, a man jumped in my path and started cooing at my daughter — not an issue, happens often — but he wouldn’t let up, and blocked my path. I smiled thinly and waited it out, feeling uncomfortable and shifting my body so he couldn’t touch her. He touched me instead, running his hand along my back and arm, and started saying stuff about my body. I didn’t really know what to do — I was worried he would be mean or hurt us or yell and scare my daughter, and I didn’t want her to be scared or see me being scared, so I just kind of stood there and smiled.
I eventually pushed him off and walked with my head down, not listening to him as he called after us. When I hear other people’s stories and they say they were scared, I forget what that strange feeling of fear can be – it’s isolating and roots you in place. It’s nothing and something and overblown and serious at the same time. I always feel like I’m overreacting…and then suddenly like I’m not. I always doubt myself and, no matter how often I tell myself otherwise, somehow feel responsible for what happened. My daughter is 10 months old, and this is going to happen again — and then it’s going to happen to her. I want to know how to respond so that she doesn’t think I’m afraid, or that she knows this isn’t okay, but I’m still scared and I don’t ever want to endanger her. It feels hopeless somedays.
Waiting for the bus a guy was coming up to people asking for change. He was chatting with a young women and put his arm in hers.
I couldn’t hear what he was saying, but was keeping an eye out unsure if I should walk over and check in with her. As soon as he left, she quickly walked over to stand next to me. I asked if she was okay, if she knew the guy.
“No, I don’t know him. I was just trying to be polite and hoping he didn’t get violent”
I was walking to the 2 train to go visit a friend when a guy who walked pass me did a 180 and started following me. And by following, I mean was on top of me. His body was literally touching mine as I was walking, asking for my phone number and if I would be his girlfriend. In that moment I went into “fight or flight” mentality that so many of us women find ourselves in. Do I just stay quiet and keep walking, hoping he goes away? Or do I turn around and face my potential attacker? At first I quietly declined his advances, although his body was pushing me to walk faster. I was quickly looking for people who were close by or open businesses that I might be able to walk in to. Then I increased my request for him to leave me alone by simply stating I would call the police if he didn’t leave me alone. This persisted for several blocks, so I finally stopped in my tracks, looked him in the eye and yelled at the top of my lungs “Leave me the fuck alone or I swear to God I will fucking choke the shit out of you!” He laughed and finally walked away.
As we get closer to our International Anti-Street Harassment Rally, things are getting busier and busier around the office! We can’t wait for the rally and hope that anyone who is in the area will join us on Saturday, April 16th at 2:30 in Tompkins Square Park to reclaim our public space!
We are also getting ready for our #hollaback challenge! During International Street Harassment Week, we will be taking back the mental and physical space that is pushed aside by harassment. The week will be focused on reflection, healing and action. By signing up and taking part in our challenge, you will be entered to win some free HOLLA-goodies including buttons, t-shirts, totes, baby onsies and more!
And at Hollaback! sites around the world:
Hollaback! Bahamas site leader, Alicia Wallace, was featured in an article for NPR about street harassment around the world. They also visited College of the Bahamas to give presentations on gender equality and street harassment.
Hollaback! Bmore co-director, Brittany Oliver is featured in the first issue of Hyrsteria Zine. They also co-organized Town Hall for Survivors of Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence this past week.
Hollaback! Vancouver site leaders sat down with Loose Lips Magazine to talks about Hollaback!. They will be hosting a workshop this Sunday. Navigating Ourselves and Our Streets will focus on mapping. They will make life-size maps documenting perceptions of safety in the community. The maps will be posted throughout Vancouver during International Anti-Street Harassment Week.
That’s all for this week! Stay tuned for more great stuff next week as we celebrate International Anti-Street Harassment Week!
Holla and Out!
This happened to me years ago but I still cannot shake it. I was at a club with some friends and dancing when this guy just came up to me like he wanted to dance. I ignored him. Moments later, he proceeded to stick his hand straight up under my shirt, under my bra, and felt my bare breast. I was so shocked that it took me a moment to even realize what was going on. I backed away and yelled at him
(the music was loud so I don’t even know if he heard.) I wish I would have told someone and made a big scene and really called him out, but I was just so shocked! It was like it happened in slow motion. My friends even missed it and I never told them about it. In fact, to this day I never told anyone about it, but I think of it often.
Things here at the Hollaback! HQ office are super busy as we prep for our fourth annual Anti Street Harassment Rally on April 16th.
Emily spent some time in Tennessee this week, speaking at Tennessee Technological University. She spoke to the students about gender based violence and street harassment.
Debjani was interviewed by NBC New York to discuss the new guidelines for taxi drivers that are currently being discussed by the NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission.
Hollaback! Croatia is celebrating its 5th birthday tonight with a Hollaback! themed birthday party!
Hollaback! Vancouver dedicated their social media to self care tips and #webelievesurvivors in response to the Ghomeshi trial.
Hollaback! Vegas will have a booth at The Extreme Thing music festival to raise awareness around sexual assault, human trafficking and street harassment on April 2nd.
That’s all for this week!
Holla and out!
Over the past few year’s I have experienced endless amounts of harassment, from little boys years younger than me grabbing my ass and a man twice my age forcing himself on me in broad daylight – not to mention constant whistles and animal sounds “Hey baby””Hey sexy””Smile love”…
However, nothing has every upset me so much, as an incident that happened last Christmas while I was at home in Ireland for a few days.
I was standing at an ATM taking out money at 10 at night when my friends stood ten feet away waiting on me.
Out of nowhere these two grown men come up behind me and begin making these aggressive whispers in my ear ……
“Holy Fuck what I wouldn’t love to do to that”…”Look at the fucking hole on that”…”Jesus Crist, and those tits look at those fucking tits” …. At this point, I was so overwhelmed and almost couldn’t believe it was happening. I turned around and one of them looked me straight in the face and said “I’d love to get fuckin stuck into you”
More than anything I was so so angry that they though they have the right to speak to someone in such a horrific way.In the end I told him to Fuck off and that they were both absolutely discussing, and there is no way they will ever get a woman speaking like that to women.
I was sitting in the waiting from of my Ophthalmologist when a guy was ushered in by one of the nurses and sat across from me (left side). He fiddled on his iPhone for a few minutes and the slouched in his seat as if he was very tired. Then he crossed his legs, propped his knee up and positioned his phone upright on it. The flash went off and I stared at him wide eyed. He slouched more in his seat, closed his eyes after staring at me and pretended to fall asleep.
I got up before him and as I left the waiting area I heard him say “Did you get it ? Have you made copies yet ?” to someone on his phone.
I beat myself up every now and then for not saying anything but it was around that time of the month when Im usually am slow to respond and foggy headed. I try to forget it but I will always wonder what he did with MY PICTURE.
Last Thursday night I was driving home from my boyfriends at about 11PM and stopped to get petrol on the way back. As I left my car I noticed a guy staring at me with a particularly strange expression. I chose to ignore it and carried on to get cash from the ATM and then walked into the shop to pay for my petrol. Inside I saw him again. He looked at me with the same smiling, (off putting if I’ll admit it) expression. I stepped away to allow him to get to the counter before me and turned my attention to the confectionery stand. While I was hunched over I felt someone slap my ass and turned around shocked to see the same man giving me the same, hollowing gap-toothed goofy looking laugh/smile as before. Initially I was in shock. Did this really happen? What had just happened? I am the type of person to stick up for myself but could barely fathom a decent platform as to stick up for myself on. Then I was angry, hurt. I could feel the imprint of his hand there on my bottom for hours later. Am I over reacting? Is this all silly? I can see the vile expression in his face stuck in my memory. I don’t know what has upset me more though – the fact it happened or the fact the security guard or server behind the til in the shop barely flinched or said and did nothing. Surely this is wrong? I just worry if the individual thinks this is ok to do in public, in front of several others then what else would he do in privacy, away from prying eyes? Do I inform the police as I’m sure it’ll be caught on CCTV or do I just let it go? I’m torn to decide as it’s such unfamiliar territory. Also I was extremely tired and feeling extra vulnerable at the time so I’m not sure if I just over reacted or not.The advice online for these type of situations in really disappointing tbh. I’m so upset and confused. Why do people think this is OK behaviour????
At the Hollaback! HQ, the staff has returned in full force with Emily, Debjani, and Jae back from their international street harassment retreat in Bellagio, Italy. Here in the office we have been planning for International Anti-Street Harassment Week coming up on April 10th and our 4th annual Rally to be held at the week’s end on April 16th in Tompkins Sq Park, NYC. Other than that, Desireé made a trip to the Twitter office in NYC to attend the #PositionOfStrength celebration!
And at Hollaback! sites around the world:
Hollaback! London headed out to Cairo to participate and co-facilitate in a workshop about diversity in street harassment activism with HarassMap.
Holla and out!