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
The first time someone catcalled me I was 12. I always considered myself as fat and ugly, back then was no exception.
I was wearing my school’s uniform (a shapeless dress that helps my self-esteem by making me look even more fat than usual) and a big jacket. I was walking. Near my house, some guys were reconstructing one of my neighbors’ house. When I walked next to them they started to whistle and say things like “damn, can I play your guitar?” (I had a guitar with me). It was the first time anyone ever said something like that to me, I was confused because I didn’t understand why would they say that to a 12 year old and someone who looked like me, also I felt distressed, scared that they would do something to me and since I told my dad to pick me up from school.
Now this year, at the age of 14, I constantly get catcalled by old, desperate men. They disgust me, saying things like “you shouldn’t be walking alone girl, lot of bad people out there” or implying that they want to take me. The last time I directly stared at the man and said “excuse me?” with a raised eyebrow. He froze and didn’t say anything else. I’m ready to give the finger or laugh at the face of the next man who does this. Lately I miraculously haven’t been harassed, something I find great, and I hope it won’t happen again but in a world like this I can’t think it will stop.
I work in a small local ice cream store and during the summer I was harassed and so were my co-workers.
My experience was one I had never had before. I was working alone and it was later in the evening. Normally, I feel safe because, I have a counter between me and my costumers. But that evening, I had a slightly drunk man come in, and he had his friend and his friends wife in with him. The wife went to the bathroom. They stayed and ordered ice cream. I started up a conversation up with them. They weren’t local, and I so I asked them what they thought of Paonia. My town is small with one main street of three blocks, so I know pretty much know everyone who comes in. The friend was very courteous and polite responding that they were enjoying my small town. However the other man, responded with “I like it here, you have cute little girls.” and then he paused and added “Like you” His friend looked shocked and apologized for him. I wish I could of said something to him. Instead I just stood behind my register dumbfounded and speechless.
This is something my co-workers have experienced.
I came in one morning to work and noticed a small notecard taped behind the register giving the police chief’s information. I was a little surprised and shocked. When I asked my manager about it, she told me one of my co-workers was being stalked and the man had come in several times. She showed me a picture of the man, I had seen him before. The police were called and he has never come back.
Some guy yelled, “I like pink too!” in reference to the shirt I was wearing. And when I didn’t respond, he shouted,
“I like pusssyyy!!!!!”
I was walking around my campus between classes, waiting at a cross walk when a man yelled “nice tits” at me out the passenger window of a car turning a few feet away.
On October 15, Hollaback! is launching “Harassment Is: An exploration of identity and street harassment”. Using stories from the Hollaback! sites, the guide invites the reader to practice recognizing how people’s identities and oppressions overlap and how that can affect how they walk down the street.
As part of the “Harassment Is” campaign, we are organizing a #harassmentis tweetup on October 17th at 1pm EDT – we invite all of you to join in and contribute.
Using the hashtag #harassmentis, we encourage people to tell their stories of what street harassment can look/feel like. We believe that expanding this conversation is the first step for all of us to create solutions and responses to street harassment.
It all starts with telling your story. On October 17th, tweet what #harassmentis to you and, when you submit stories to the Hollaback! sites, tag them with #harassmentis to expand the conversation around street harassment.
This week Hollaback! was featured by the Huffington Post, Boston Magazine, Metro News, One Equal World, and Stop Street Harassment; Hollaback!’s ED, Emily May traveled to Houston to shoot a video for the Giving Library, she was interviewed for a documentary on social entrepreneurship and was featured on Bronxnet.
Here’s what the HOLLAs around the world have been up to:
Hollaback Boston, released an infographic via the data from their newly launched State of The Streets Report. They were featured on Boston Neighborhood Network TV and have gotten impressive press coverage on the report so far.
Hollaback Ottawa participated in Take Back the Night last Thursday as well! They also had a table where they got a ton of people signed up to keep informed on their work. Ottawa leader, Julie Lalonde, won “Best Volunteer in a Leading Role” award at the Volunteer Ottawa Award Gala, in large part because of her work with Holla! in her city. Congrats!
Great job, peeps!
HOLLA and out!
-The Hollaback! Team
I was a cocktail waitress in a rock and roll bar for a number of years when I was in college. The bar was always crowded and the clientele had to rely on the wait staff to deliver the drinks as the crowd around the bar was pretty impenetrable. There was one night when one of the wait staff a friend of mine had a drink poured over her head by a guy because she didn’t get it to him fast enough. So I was already pissed off. Then as I was making my way thru the crowd to take orders without a huge tray of drinks and some guy grabbed me in the crotch and gave me a “hey baby”. Really? Without much thought I turned on the asshole, channeled my inner wonder woman, grabbed him by the front of the shirt and slammed him against the wall. I remember yelling something about “don’t you ever” with my finger in his face, and I don’t know who was more surprised- him, me or his friends. Felt good, and a little bit scary.
I was walking back to my dorm from town, and I passed a man sitting on his porch. He didn’t look or say anything to me. When I was a few feet from my dorm, the man pulled up next to me in his car and said “hey baby, do you want a ride?”. I responded “no” and walked quickly into my dorm lobby.
This happened a couple of years ago. I’m a middle-aged woman, and a little chubby. I was dressed in jeans and a tshirt. I certainly don’t consider myself that sexy anymore (but that’s another issue)…
I’d sprained my ankle about two months before, and my physical therapist was seven blocks from my house.
I think I was still in a walking boot when I was walking home that day. On one side of the street is a tiny little strip of stores and a parking lot – the same side my home is on, and the physical therapist. As I neared this area, a little old man walked toward me on the sidewalk. He was probably around 70 years old, maybe older, shorter and smaller than me. He locked eyes with me when we were about 30 feet apart. I began to get nervous but figured he was harmless. I kept looking away – both to watch the ground (sprained ankle!) and to try to lose the creepy feeling… As we passed each other, he muttered something like “Ay! Mamacita!” and waggled his tongue at me.
I seriously was freaked out by this and hobbled as quickly as I could away, looking back over my shoulder, thinking “well, at least he didn’t grab me”…
I stopped at a coffee shop before going home, hoping that he wouldn’t follow me or watch where I went.
My partner later told me this particular old man has done the same thing to her, as well as some young (middle school?) girls coming from the private school down the street. The girls also ran into that coffee shop to hide.
I haven’t seen him since, but I’ve been ashamed at how frightened I was of a little old man.
This happened when I was 17, I’m now 22 but I remember it like it was yesterday.
I was moving so me and my friends were having a party at my apartment. My older brother ran out of cigarettes and me and my guy friend Christian decided to go with him to the store to grab something to eat. None of us had a car so we decided to skate there. It was only about 3 blocks away. Half way there, my brother realized he forgot his wallet. Him and Christian were in the middle of a conversation I was not a part of and I was on the quickest board so I volunteered to skate back and grab it. I had no trouble getting back. I ran in and out within 30 seconds and took off back toward my brother and friend. I had my head phones blasting music and was cruising at a slower speed than normal, just enjoying the cool California night air. I lived in a less than great area but I have always lived in the more crime ridden areas so I felt comfortable in my knowledge of how to avoid the cat callers or gropers. I had long hair at the time but I always wore baggy shirts and pants so I figured in the dark, I might just look like a shorter guy with long hair.
Then I noticed the headlights from a car behind me had been shining on me for longer than normal. They did not dim as I skated away as if the car was parked and the car never passed me. So I looked back and noticed a car driving slowly, keeping pace right behind me on the opposite side of the road. I’m used to it so I just started skating a bit faster thinking they would lose interest like usual and move on if I did not respond to them. Then a van passed me and I realised the lights were still on and behind me so I looked back and the car had pulled over to let the van pass it and was now picking up speed to be even to me. I could hear someone yelling at me over my head phones but the music was so loud I could not hear exactly what they were saying.
I started skating as fast as I could. There was a small drive way that dead ended into a fence surrounding a field under construction and I figured if they tried anything, I could jump the fence and run the rest of the way to the gas station where the fence was open. It was only about another block left. As I was getting to the driveway, the car sped ahead of me, did a u-turn and parked directly in front of the sidewalk I was skating on so I was facing the passenger side of the car.
That’s when I noticed there were two men in front and one in back, I could hear them yelling to me but from past experience, I knew it was best to ignore them so I kept my headphones in. With them blocking the drive way and sidewalk the only thing I could do was get off my board and walk around them or try to skate around the nose of their car. And I was not about to get off and try to get around them on foot. The man in the passenger side had his window all the way down, his arm hanging out and motioning to me. Thank god my long board was loose because I simply carved the board off the curb, around their car and skated faster than I ever could. I heard their car peel out with them yelling and I was calling out for my brother and friend. Luckily they had been standing near the road waiting for me and had seen the car pull in front of me so they were walking toward me.
They thought it might be a friend talking to me out of their car while it followed me but when it pulled around and they saw me skate around it, they were hurrying toward me.
I was so scared I skated right past them the last couple of yards into the gas station lights. It was one of those gas stations where you cannot come in at night so I stood outside and we all three watched the car slow down because they saw me pass my brother and friend, so I ran back and hugged Christian and the car peeled out again. 30 seconds later, as we were leaving as a group, the same car drove past the station at about 20 miles per hour then take off. We saw it circle the block a couple times just on the way home, but normal speed limit.
As I’ve said, I’ve been followed, yelled at constantly and hassled but never have I been that scared. I jumped and avoided certain streets for the last weeks there every time I saw a car similar to theirs. I’ve always lived in places considered not too safe but never has someone taken to following, trying to cut me off, screaming at me and coming back over and over to see if I’m alone before. So even though I’ve been followed and harassed countless times, after that, I carry a taser.