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I was hanging out with my friends at a convention held at a university in my city and they had stopped to check out a booth and look through some artwork. I was standing near them browsing through some of the items nearby when a guy, who I suppose was the owner of the booth, came up to me and asked me if I was finding everything, what I was looking for, the usual. As he was saying this, he put his hand on my back (I was cosplaying and was wearing a midriff bearing shirt) and started inching his hand up it underneath the shirt. I got really uncomfortable but didn’t know what to do so I just stepped away from him towards my friends. He followed me and stood really closely beside me for the next couple of minutes until I could get my friends’ attention and we could leave.
My high school years were absolutely plagued with this, to an awful degree. While I proudly identify as queer now, at the time, I assumed I was straight and just a bit more masculine than my peers, and that was enough for them to make my school years borderline hellish. Because I was more masculine, I was called a dyke, ugly, fat, and boys would actually ask me out and verbally harass me (“Hey, you’re so sexy, show us your tits!”), not just because my reaction would be an uncomfortable one, but because they thought I was THAT ugly that someone asking me out was a hilarious joke. My ass (which is fairly curvaceous, since I have a pear-shaped body) was also slapped regularly, almost every time I had to stand up in class, for similar reasons. The reason why I’m putting it here is because, since they never did anything “worse” than that, the teachers treated it the same as they did with minor things like name-calling – that is, they gave these boys a slap on the wrist and let them continue. If they’d have tried to grab my boobs or crotch, they’d have been treated much more harshly – instead, the verbal harassment and groping I received was ignored, as was the homophobia (which, while not awful, has prevented me from coming out to people as an adult). Boys need to be taught that treating women and girls this way just isn’t acceptable, or funny – that they aren’t already is a major educational failing.
It’s Independence Day here in the States so that means an early (& shortened) filing of this week’s “Week In Our Shoes!”
This week, the mothership marched in the NY Pride Parade (despite a rainy delay-eek!)! We handed out bystander infographics and showed our serious badassery in our pink & black attire! Check out the pics!
Also, Deputy Director Debjani led a bystander intervention workshop straight out of our home office!
And the latest on the HOLLA::REV – it’s gonna be live-streamed, so even if you’re not in NYC, you can definitely be a part of it all!
And around the world…
Hollaback! Boston continued their “introducing series,” this time interviewing native Bostonian runner and blogger, Julia! As an intro to the month of July, Hollaback! Boston also rounded out their five most popular posts from June! Check them out!
This happened a long time ago, but I still find it disturbing.What upsets and disgusts me the most is that this happened when I was at home.It was around 11 O’clock and I was standing in my kitchen talking on the phone.My kitchen has glass sliding doors that face into the backyard. I was in the middle of my conversation and had this weird feeling so I turned around and some some guy was jacking off right up against the glass door. I did not see his face just his hands and his penis and legs. I started hyperventilating and felt startled. I quickly ran off into another room, all this happened when I was on the phone. I called the police and to make matters worse they were completely rude about. They told me it was “just masturbating” and that this person obviously would not want to cause me harm. I still feel annoyed that I didn’t see the person’s face…also another thing that pissed me off was that the police officer told me to keep my curtains closed…yeah thanks.
While trying to catch a bus, I was approached by a man who I thought was going to ask for directions ir something. He got very close and told me that if he were to marry someone, he would marry me. I hurried off to my bus, while thinking, thank you for uninvitedly invading my personal space while I am in public space. Not OK.
I was outside of a bar with two of my girl friends. For context, I am black and they are white. An older man walks up and starts taking to us. We are polite and try to ignore him. He then turns to one of my friends and says “you know, black and white go real good together.” While this is happening, a group of men surround us and one yells to me “you know black and black go even better together! shit, I’m looking right at you girl.” We just walk away while they talk about us.
I was walking home from work at 10:30 pm when I passed a group of five guys in their late teens/early twenties. As I passed them one of them yelled “You are so beautiful, let me take you back with me and bend you over the bed, you bitch” and his friends laughed and patted him on the back in approval.
What angers me most of all about this is that, while I immediately felt degraded and shitty, it took me a moment to get angry. Instead of recognizing and responding to the fact that I was being disrespected, my mind had to go through a series of programmed responses: “that’s what guys do,” “you’re getting upset about nothing, it’s only talk” and, perhaps most disheartening of all, a quick mental review of what I was wearing.
I was walking with a friend on a nature trail next to the parking lot of a brewery. There was a tour bus full of men that saw us and started banging on the windows and yelling “dibs!” at us. One man stepped out of the van and shouted at me (addressing me by the color of my clothing): “Hey, orange sweater! Wanna have sex with me tonight? I’ll wear your legs like a scarf!” My friend and I ignored him and kept on walking.
I was walking out of a bakery with my best friend when we were passed by two teenage boys. They looked at us and one whispered to the other. The larger one yelled at us “Are you guys LESBIANS?” and then they walked away as if nothing had happened.
I am a masculine-presenting genderfluid person, so I didn’t really register that they were directing the comment at us. It took me a second to process what they had said, and when I did, I was shocked. I didn’t say anything because being non-binary can already be tricky and they made me feel unsafe. My best friend offered to hit them with the bag of frozen pizza dough she was carrying, which made me feel a bit better.
I’d been round a friends house all night having a few drinks until the early hours of the morning. It got to 4am and it was light outside, so I thought I’d start walking home (30 minute walk overall) and it’d be pretty safe as I could see everything clearly around me. In hindsight, I shouldn’t have walked home alone, but I honestly thought I’d be okay because I usually am.
I get about 10 minutes onto my walk home only to hear someone on a bicycle, and they start cycling past me only to then go onto the pavement and stop right infront of me. This alone terrified me. I then realise it’s a guy, and I instantly freeze. He smiled at my reaction, then proceeded to ask me if I had a cigarette…so I lie and tell him I don’t smoke, hoping he’d go off. He didn’t. He edged towards the road and started cycling again. I was literally clutching my phone in my pocket so tight, ready to actually hit him around the head if he came closer. He then slowed down and edged towards me on his bike again near the pavement, obvious to him that I was extremely uncomfortable.
He then said “you’re very beautiful, aren’t you” followed by a leer. Bearing in mind I looked awful from a heavy night drinking, wearing leggings and a dress with a hoodie…so this just creeped me out even more. I just smiled and looked down. He then asked me where I’d been and why such a “beautiful girl” was walking in the early hours of the morning. I replied with “a friends house”, still looking at the floor. He then asked for my age, and I told him 18 to which he replied “I’m 17″. I looked up at him and he did not look 17. Early 20’s youngest. He had an absolutely creepy smile, I was trying to get a good look at his face because I was at this point terrified for my safety. I was hoping by now he’d actually leave me alone, I was so scared. I was trying to be as normal as possible, I didn’t want to provoke him in anyway so I thought it’d be easier to answer his questions.
He then said “do you have a boyfriend?”, to which I lied again and said yes, really hoping that he’d leave. He then said “what a lucky man, you’re so beautiful”. I just nodded and looked away, and he cycled off shouting “bye” in the process. I could have literally had a panic attack on the spot. Bearing in mind I was alone, 20 minutes away from my house, there were lots of alleyways coming up where he could have easily been waiting down and I was drunk. Drunk and stumbling.
I have generalized anxiety disorder so my reaction was a lot worse to that of a normal person, and I was really finding it hard to pull myself together. I was walking home paranoid as anything, carefully crossing onto the “safe” side of the road everytime an alleyway came up incase he was there. I was so sure he’d gone, I was looking behind me every few seconds. I then approached my road and literally sighed with relief, because I thought I was safe then.
I was literally about 20 seconds away from my house, when I see a bike. It was him. Cycling towards me. Down my road. He smiled at me and said “Long walk for a girl isn’t it?”…I just looked at him and sped up. I looked behind me and he was cycling off. Then I half ran home, fumbling for my keys and looking to see if he was behind me. No sign of him, so I open my door and shut it quickly but quietly behind me, hoping he wouldn’t see or hear what house I was going into. Then everything sunk in and I had a panic attack, absolutely terrified. There is no way, absolutely NO way in hell that it was coincidence he was down my road. From where he saw me last, to my road was 20 minutes away. You have to go down multiple different streets to get there. He literally stalked me to my street.
It was the scariest thing that’s happened to me for a long time. I’m so terrified he saw what house I went into.