Appalachian Ohio, Athens GA, Atlanta, Berkeley, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Columbia MO, Columbus, Des Moines, Durham & Chapel Hill, East Lansing, Fredericksburgh VA, Houston, Los Angeles, Muncie IN, New York City, NYU, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Plattsburgh, Richmond VA, San Francisco, Tucson, Twin Cities
I was walking out of 7eleven when a male behind me said to his friend “I like that butt!” Several times, loud enough so I could hear until I gave eye contact. I got in my car but he kept staring and then finally got into his car. I wrote down his license plate but doubt I can really take any additional action. I felt sad and gross inside afterward.
I’m new to Cincinnati, and I wanted to explore downtown because I heard so many good things about it. I ignored the expected “hey baby’s” and even the comment on my brown opaque stockings (WTF?).
As I walked by the downtown bus exchange, a woman (older than me) made a comment like “look at you in your fine hat.” The way she said it was remarkably suggestive, especially the way she said the word “fine”. At the time I just smiled awkwardly, feeling pretty uncomfortable.
Later I thought, Hold on, would she talk to a man in the same way? And if she did, how would he respond? I love my new hat, but now it seems…tarnished.
I don’t want people to walk down the street stony-faced, never acknowledging others around them. There’s nothing wrong with a nod or a smile as you walk by. But come on, people! What is the point of making other people feel uncomfortable on purpose?!?
We’re so excited for our tweetup today! It starts at 1pm EST, please use the #harassmentis hashtag.
Our ALL-STAR list of panelists include:
Soraya Chemaly @schemaly
Patricia Valoy @Besito86
Jamia A. Wilson @jamiaw
Jennifer L. Pozner @jennpozner
Hollaback Boston @hollabackboston
Tatyana Fazlalizadeh (Stop Telling Women to Smile) @fazlalizadeh
Joneka Percentie (SPARK) @jpercentie.
Courtney Young @cocacy
We want to acknowledge that this conversation may be challenging and even triggering to people, and it’s OK to step back and take care of yourself if you need to. To make this conversation as smart and loving as possible, we have three rules:
1. No woulda coulda shoulda. When someone shares their story, keep any advice you have for what the person should have done in the situation to yourself. We know you’re just trying to help, but street harassment has a way of filling folks with self doubt and they don’t need your encouragement.
2. No personal attacks. This can range from “you deserve it,” to “you’re an asshole.” We’re all here because we’re against harassment, so let’s not perpetuate those behaviors online.
3. Attack ideas, not people’s stories. If there is idea or a concept that you don’t like, tweet about it. If someone is telling a personal story that you don’t like, please approach their story with sensitivity. If there is a concept behind their story that you disapprove of (i.e. men of color are more likely to be harassers) comment and critique the concept, not the individual.
If you’re new to the conversation on street harassment and race, welcome! Please take some time to read #harassmentis: our guide on how identity impacts the experience of street harassment. Hollaback! Boston has also put together a fantastic reading list that will help you engage in this conversation in a smart and thoughtful way.
If you’re coming in as an ally, we’re happy you’re here. Please remember that sometimes the most revolutionary thing you can do as an ally is listen.
I was walked up to the bus stop at 7:15am to head to work. As I walked up there was one women sitting alone at the far left and two men in their 50’s who were clearly intoxicated. The first man greeted me with “hey beautiful,” “want to go on a date with me sexy,” “I think you are sexy lady.” etc.
I looked at him and said “Don’t talk to me that way” and then stood awkwardly waiting for the bus because I didn’t want to be late to work.
He reacted by being defensive. “I didn’t do anything, can’t I say hello.” His friend made him stop, but they stood there until the bus came talking and pointing over at me.
It felt good to say something, usually I just look away. I also felt vulnerable and I am resentful that the other women at the stop did nothing but look away.
Hi. I was walking outside my apartment building today and as I was rounding a bend, after being adjacent to a busy street, I heard a young man shouting something after me from across the street. It was unintelligible, but made me feel like I had done something wrong, and disappointed me because it disturbed my sense of peace and tranquility. It made me feel like I can’t even take a walk.
I feel like something in our culture has changed because I used to not get any harassment and now it seems like its the easiest thing in the world to just go somewhere and have someone verbally attack me. I was a victim of bullying 20 years ago at college but had not been bullied very much in K-12 and I was not bullied significantly again until 2010. I wonder of it is cyclical and, during certain times, the streets are inhospitable, but at other times (for me 2006-7) people are respectful. One thing is for certain, where I live it is currently hostile.
Today when I was at work I went down to the food court to get some water. I walked over to the drinking fountains to dump out my old water before I had it refilled, and as I was walking away, this man who was walking my way looked at me in a strange way and then started to walk closer to me.
It weirded me out a bit but I kept walking. As I was waiting in line to have them refill my cup, I kind of spaced out looking ahead, when I felt someone’s presence next to me. I turned my head and the man was standing literally right there next to me, uncomfortably close. He spoke very quietly, asking me how old I was. I felt extremely uncomfortable and tried to show that with my body language by trying to distance myself from him, but he just got closer. I replied slowly and awkwardly, “I’m 22.”
He then asked me if I was mad or something, because I obviously did NOT want to talk to him. So I said, “No, I just don’t really understand why you are talking to me right now.” He replied with “Cuz you cute.” I was like “Oh. Ok. Thanks I guess.” Then he said something about me being anti-social, so I said yeah, I’m shy, even though I’m not at all. And he said, “I wouldn’t judge you, I’m schizophrenic and bipolar.” At this point it was my turn to order, so I just ignored him and proceeded with what I was doing.
The guy at the counter was definitely aware of what was going on, and I could see that in his face. The man asked them about where the bus stop was and I left as quickly as possible. The thing that freaked me out was when he told me about is mental problems. Why would anyone share that information with a complete stranger? It scared me, because if he was already being creepy by hitting on me, but he was ALSO struggling with mental issues, who knows what this guy could do! And I was wearing my lanyard for work so he could easily figure out where I’m working! Ugh it was just creepy and weird and it got my heart racing. Totally uncool.
Here’s what HOLLAs around the world have been up to:
Hollaback! Baltimore hosted an Offline Coffee & Chat on Tuesday, a casual gathering for their community members to get together, meet fellow feminists, make new friends, and get more involved with Hollaback!
Hollaback! London made this awesome “YOU WATCH YOUR MOUTH, BUDDY” Thelma & Louise t-shirt in collaboration with House of Astbury, a cycling clothing company. They were also featured on London’s Community Channel talking about social media and activism. The video will be posted here soon.
Hollaback! Philly had their Human Trafficking in the United States speaker series yesterday. It was a TEDx style event that discussed the complexities and nuances of human trafficking in the United States. Attendees learned about warning signs, what good samaritans can do about human trafficking, and the extent and scope of the human trafficking happening right in their own backyards.
Hollaback! Polska has been celebrating European Day for Victims of Crime (followed in Poland by Week of Help to Survivors of Crime) by launching an educational campaign on Facebook concerning Polish Card of Victim’s Rights. As of Saturday the 22nd, they have shared one poster every day to describe the rights of victims guaranteed under Polish law.
Awesome work, HOLLAs! Let’s keep the conversations going! Til next time,
HOLLA and out!
– The Hollaback Team
Today, I got verbally assaulted because of a car accident…I was the one at fault and I tried to take responsibility for it by switching information, however….the woman said she was going to call her husband because it was his car, ok…understandable…She said “oh no you don’t understand..he’s going to be mean to you” Then why are you calling him, especially since no damage was done to his car???
He shows up and immediately goes into it with “What did this stupid bitch do to my car?!” Ok…..he saw the tiny scratch that you can’t see and went up to me and said “Well look at this stupid bitches car! She clearly is doing this all the time with what her car looks like! Stupid fucking bitch, get the fuck out of here this is your fucking freebie bitch, leave! I said GET THE FUCK OUT OF HERE BITCH!”
I’m not kidding….here I am trying to literally make things right and what not, and this guy is verbal harassing me! I was like, I said I was sorry, I said I was at fault, I will help with any damage and you are accusing me of being a terrible driver for a single incident and what you think my car looks like? My car doesn’t have any damage except my paint job which is flaking off because it is a cheap paint job…then while I’m trying to figure out what to do for myself he continues to yell at me telling me to “get the fuck out of here,” when my door isn’t able to close anymore on my car while him and his friends make jokes on how women suck at driving…and when one of his friends is trying to “console” me I just nod and he walks off and starts telling his friends what a bitch I am…..
ARE YOU KIDDING ME!?!??!
Today I was going for a walk to get some exercise and two men in a car drove past me and yelled something to me. When I kept walking and ignored them, the driver honked at me.
While walking through the downtown arts district, on my way to get a sandwich, a man started walking very close to me. He asked me if he could follow me. I ignored him. He asked if I was afraid of him and said that most girls are. He continued to follow me for a few more blocks, asking if he could touch my dimples. Ew. Finally he gave up and walked away. This is only one experience of dozens I’ve had with street harassment on this block.