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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
Verbally harrassing a female on the bus
As a teenage student who travels to her school via public transportation and walking as well, I endure street harassment almost everyday.
The worst experience I had to date was riding in a bus and a guy, who was probably in his 30s or 40s, on the seat parallel to mine was masturbating.
I did not look directly at it but my peripheral vision was there and I couldn’t unsee it. By the time he was leaving the bus, he wiped off what was left yet there was still some remaining and I could never understand why someone could allow this to be a sight to a teenager like I am.
This is something that I witnessed, but it is for sure going to be one of those moments that I will never forget.
I was about 15. I was with my sisters at the bus stop waiting for the the bus to come by one afternoon on a very busy day.
The bus finally comes and everyone at the bus stop immediately go up to the bus to be the first one to board and claim a seat all the while those that were on the bus are struggling to unboard. I decided to step back and just wait till everything calmed down, and what I saw next shocked me and choked me up.
There was an old man, probably in his 80’s, unboarding, who due to his old age had a hard time coming down the steps of the bus. I then notice that when he finally makes it down, a young man, probably in his 20’s, grope his crotch and doesn’t let go for what seems like a long few seconds. The young man then casually goes up the steps and boards the bus. The old man, however, has a look of shock on his face. I see humiliation and sadness then set over him as he looks around, probably to see if anyone had witnessed this act. He stands there for a few seconds, very still, in the middle of the chaotic crowd. Humiliated. Then slowly walks away with a look on his face that I will never forget.
I felt absolutely horrible. One, because of what happened to him, and two, for not doing anything. I don’t think I will forgive myself for not stepping up.
This old man, who instead of being respected, was violated in one of the worst ways possible. What a sad scene to see a weak old man, who probably had so much to be proud of in his long life, be humiliated like this.
This goes to show that sexual harassers just violate people because they like the power of the harm they cause. It has nothing to do with what the victim is wearing at all, as many people like to think.
Twice in two days now.
On the bus, with my three young (under 10) daughters. My middlest is chatting to the bus driver. The bus driver says ‘you’re really cute, but not as cute as your Mummy’.
On my way to the museum with the girls this morning, an older bloke leers over the bus seats at me and says ‘are these your little sisters?’
Stop fucking harassing me via my children!
Some creep kept hanging out in the gas station parking lot near my bus stop and asking me (repeatedly) if I (sweetie, baby) needed a ride. When he backed his car up from the exit; parked his car behind me; and walked by, he asked again. I said I was waiting for the bus. When he returned, he continued to just sit there watching me. I am tired of this when I am just trying to get to work.
This was last summer (2013), I got off the train on my way to meet a friend when I felt the hand (backside of a hand) brush my butt. I quickly turned around and looked right at the guy who actually jumped at my quick reaction and he tried to walk off as if nothing happened. I followed after him so I could take his picture, he ducked into a pizza place on the corner near the train stop and rushed out the front door.
I had already called my friend who rushed to meet me but the guy was long gone…I got a pic of him though (from behind).
The other day, I was taking advantage of the unseasonably warm weather and taking a run along my usual route. Three separate guys stared blatantly at my bare legs; one even saying “DAMN! Look at those thighs!” To his buddies. Ugh.