I have a pair of thigh high boots that I love. They make me feel like a superheroine, these boots. I put them on and I instantly feel kickass. It’s such an awesome feeling. Some days, these boots are my shield against all the terrible, shitty things in the world. They’re my reminder that I have the power to make a difference just by being me.
They also attract a lot of negative comments.
One day, I was getting on the bus when an older man started muttering to himself about how I was dressed. You know the drill – hooker, streetwalker, skank, whore, slut. For a few moments I felt utterly paralysed. This guy was old enough to be my grandfather. What was the play here? What should I do?
I turned around, I looked at him, and I asked, “I’m sorry, did you have something to say?”
He couldn’t even look me in the eye. He turned away, muttered something about me minding my own business and shut up.
It was the greatest feeling in the world.
I’ve experienced a lot of street harassment no matter how I’ve been dressed. But that one time, on that one day, I was able to stand up and do something about it. I was in a safe space (a bus full of people in broad daylight going down a very busy main street) and I was able to say something that disarmed the person harassing me. And goddamn, it felt so good.
I’m sharing this story in the hope that people will read it and feel like when the time is right, they can stand up and say something too. You don’t have to endure people’s rude comments – you totally have the right to holla back! And when you’re able to do it, it feels so great.
Published on April 13,2013 at 2:09 am in Story
In the middle of the afternoon I took my puppy outside to relieve himself. An SUV with a male driver and at least one male passenger was driving down Avent Ferry toward me. As the vehicle passed, the male in the passenger seat yelled, “Suck my dick!” The SUV sped off too fast for me to take note of any idenfiying details without my glasses on. I’ve been hollered at by men in vehicles plenty of times before (especially in college), but I found this time particularly demeaning. No one even witnessed it, but that didn’t stop me from feeling humiliated and ashamed. I felt completely helpless, and that’s just not the type of woman I am.
Published on April 12,2013 at 7:06 pm in demonstration
A Week in Our Shoes
Dear HOLLAs –
Our Catapult Campaign Launched this week! With your support, we’ll bring our site leaders together in person for the first time ever.
Here at the mothership this week –
- PRESS: We were on Huffington Post Live this week! Watch out Deputy Director Debjani REPRESENT! Debjani also rocked our socks talking to DNAinfo about Anti-Street Harassment week and our upcoming chalk walk. Hollaback! got a pretty nice shout out in MTV Act followed by Patrick McNeal’s awesome piece on LGBTQ harassment featuring Hollaback! in the Huffington Post.
- TRAINING. Last Friday, our Deputy Director Debjani trained 58 9th graders at the High School of Fashion Industries, and last Saturday I trained over 50 Stanford students on how to build a movement at the Stanford Women’s Leadership Conference.
- EVENTS: I attended the Youth+Tech+Health conference in San Francisco and moderated a panel on Technology solutions to prevent gender-based violence with panelists from Futures without Violence, Scenarios USA, and the University of Chicago. Our board member Allison Sesso and team members Debjani and Jae went to the release of the white paper, “The Future of Online Feminism” at Barnard.
- ADVOCACY: On Wednesday we flyered east Harlem with Councilmember Lappin and Senator Serrano. We also met with Councilmembers Recchia, Ferreras, and Fennario this week.
- PARTNERS: We met with our partners at New Yorkers for Safe Transit this week, and I met with the incredible Aspen Baker from Exhale in San Francisco.
Here’s what happened around the world —
- Hollaback! Edinburgh would like to welcome Dominic Hinde to the team’s organising committee. Read here about what brought Dominic to Hollaback!
- Hollaback! Boston spoke at the Take Back the Night event at Bridgewater State University. They are also leading a chalk walk on Saturday, April 13th.
- Hollaback! Polska started the Week by participating in a live radio broadcast on April 7. The broadcast is a weekly Sunday series titled “Enough with violence.” Hollas discussed the definition of street harassment, ways to react to it, what should be done to end it. They also focused on legal issues, especially the Polish anti-discriminatory law and its flaws. The site is participating in a debate in Warsaw on April 12 titled “NO to harassment in school and on campus” focusing on student safety and what should be done to better safety measure.
- Hollaback! Sheffield is full of events this week! On monday, the site participated in a discussion workshop with Sheffield Feminist Network. Tuesday, they had a anti-street harassment craftisim workshop. Wednesday, holla hosted a screening of the film, Cairo 678, the story of three women and their daily experiences of sexual harassment in Egypt. On thursday, they Chalk Walked!
- Hollaback! NYU and NYC are joining forces to host an anti-street harassment rally and chalk walk on April 13.
- Hollaback! NYC flyered in East Harlem this past week with Council Member Jessica Lappin,encouraging passersby to stand up against harassment and attend this weekend’s rally. Their rally will be in conjunction with Hollaback! NYU and a whole list of other incredible organizations!
- Hollaback! Brussels is posting an amazing series of positive bystander stories this week. On April 13, they are leading a #ShareTheStreets Walk. Hollas will be walking around Brussels, leaving “gifts” for people to find around the city. The gifts will have little messages attached in order to start up conversation, a street dialogue of gifts to each other, promoting unity the rising up as bystanders. Brussels’ site also features a pretty awesome post by their kickass volunteer, Anna Claire. Read about her perspective on rape and harassment culture. Super relavent to all that we are working on this week!
- Hollaback! Victoria did a chalk walk.
- Hollaback! Baltimore will be on a panel discussion at University of Maryland and Maryland Institute of College Art.
- Hollaback! Buenos Aires is hosting a self-defense workshop as well as a discussion group and film screening.
- Hollaback! Kathmandu organized Reclaim The Streets, a week-long improvized street drama to reclaim the streets. They will do exagerated scenes of harassments & hollabacks at all the main public transport hubs around the city at rush hour each day.
- Hollaback! Gent are doing SIX chalkwalks all around the city of Gent AND was interviewed on the news about their anti-street harassment work!
- Hollaback! Melbourne will be speaking at the Melbourne Free University Panel on “Structures on Inequality: Men, Women and Power on the Streets.” On Sunday they will be holding Chalk Walking on Sydney Road.
- Hollaback! Croatia is doing a presentation on the Zagreb campus.
- Hollaback! Athens is hosting a self-defense class and a screening of the movie War Zone.
- Hollaback! Appalachian, another brand new Hollaback! site was featured in The Athens News this week!
- Hollaback! Dublin is doing an anti-steet harassment chalk walk.
- Hollaback! Fredericksburg organized a chalk walk and an anti-style shaming photo-meme project and
- collaborated with Fredericksburg All Ages to engage local youth via share 3 acts about standing against street harassment.
- Hollaback! Belfast lead a chalk walk featuring PORTABLE SIDEWALKS! They also celebrated with local artists, speakers from different local advocacy groups. Awesome.
- Hollaback! Philly is working in partnership with FAAN Mail and engaging the community this week. Hollas are talking to SEPTA riders about Hollaback! Philly’s new anti-street harassment ads in the train cars, asking them to share their reactions.
- Hollaback! Montreal hosted a free, bilingual workshop on bystander intervention. The site was also covered by The Link regarding the awesome work they are doing for Anti-Street Harassment Week 2013!
- Hollaback! Ottawa met with OC Transpo officials this week and had quite a breakthrough. Officials listened to the case posed by Hollaback! Ottawa and is now open to the idea of a public service announcement or public education campaign to address harassment on transit and hopefully equipping bystanders with ways to intervene. YAY!! Also, check out this awesome article about in the Ottawa Citizen about what our hollas are doing!
- Hollaback! Dresden did some chalking around the city this week. Check out the pics on their site!
- Hollaback! Chandigarh posted a series of bystander tips on their site this week in honor of international anti-street harassment week. Check them out!
- Hollaback! Italy did an anti-street harassment chalk walk in Milan! Find out how the walk went and look at their beautiful pictures!
- Hollaback! Des Moines is hosting an Anti-Hate Prom, a dance party to promote dancing in safe, harassment free spaces.
- Hollaback! Halifax addresses the tragic story of Rehtaeh Parsons. This young woman’s story is a meaningful example of the possible repercussions of not only gender-based violence, but also years of harassment and bullying. This is yet another message for us to keep fighting this good fight.
- Hollaback! Philly was covered in both News Works this week!
An incredible week — thank you all for making it happen. End the week on a good note by donating to our campaign.
Published on April 12,2013 at 4:41 pm in A Week in Our Shoes
I was in town for a conference and was walking back to the hotel by myself after lunch. I passed a man standing on the corner with a cardboard sign. He told me to have a nice day, so I said, “You, too,” to be polite. Then as I stood with my back to him while waiting for the light to change, he said, twice, “How about you and me meet up later.” And when I didn’t respond, he followed with, “You go, you never go back.”
It certainly could have been worse; he didn’t follow me, nor did I think he would. But it still marred my otherwise lovely spring afternoon and made me wonder what I could have said in response that would have made a difference in how he treats people in the future.
Published on April 12,2013 at 2:07 am in demonstration
Hi. I waved and smiled to thank you for letting me pass your truck. As you drove by you casually called me a “fag”. Next time I’ll be sure to extinguish my cigarette in your eyeball! Coward. Hollaback!
Published on April 11,2013 at 7:39 pm in demonstration
I was just coming home from a friend’s house, having had a great day, when this truck rolls by and some guy is hanging out the window yelling at me “hey, sexy!” I turned as he passed, and several yards up the road he still had his whole torso out the window, looking back at me. I flipped him off and he flipped back and shouted “Yeah, I won!” as though my “fuck you” was a real invitation. I was just trying to enjoy my walk.
Published on April 11,2013 at 6:23 pm in Uncategorized
Back in the early 2000′s when I was in secondary school I was very shy, quiet and known as the class “square” and one of the “popular” guys who I’ll call “M” especially made my life hell, he once announced loudly that one day if I was lucky, I might get raped, in assembly he once got all the classmates between him and I to pass on a message to me that he thought I was “hot” so I had to endure them all sniggering and laughing at me while he sat back full of smug pride.
He used to try and gear the teachers towards yelling at me for any tiny excuse he could find, once he stole my pe kit and made a show of sniffing the bag and refusing to return it. He started several pass-around surverys during classtimes titled “is Lydia the class prostitute?” and also “do u think Lydia wears thongs?”
During a school play when it was my turn to sing he wooped really loudly and made a growling sound which everyone laughed at. I refuse to believe it was from attraction, I feel it was because I was an easy target who would never dare to answer back.
I always look back on my secondary school time with strong bitter hatred and embarrassment, I don’t think I could ever forgive him for how he treated me.
I do feel however that my ordeal has made me into the stronger person I am today, now I always make a point of confronting my harassers and standing up for myself.
…I do just hope one day I might run into M, who for the record is now balding, pot bellied and very different from the athletic cocky “bad boy” who tormented me in school…. and give him a punch.
Published on April 10,2013 at 11:02 pm in demonstration
Someone driving in a truck whistled at me as I was walking out of the gym. I yelled, “I didn’t need that” as they drove away. I immediately felt uncomfortable and unsafe.
Published on April 10,2013 at 10:14 pm in Uncategorized
It’s happened several times in Old Town Pasadena. Mostly by men handing out advertisements, I’ve experienced such things as “damn those are some nice pants” and stare downs by several men. It’s severely embarrassing when there’s hundreds of others around you in this shopping area. The ridicules are obnoxious and I wish the verbal harassers who work in these stores would receive some kind of discipline or punishment for this slander. There’s no respect for women here.
Published on April 10,2013 at 8:37 am in Story