I was walking to school a couple months ago, and as I walked past the public library I watched a tall woman with a Bluetooth and a briefcase get verbally harassed by a man a little shorter than her. He started out by asking her if she played basketball, and continued with sexual threats while following her. She finally turned around and walked into the library to stop the creepy guy from following her any farther.
Harassed while sitting at the bus stop, again. This time it was an “Oooooh she pretty!!” as 2 guys walked by together. It’s cool, just go ahead and comment on me like I’m a zoo animal as you walk by. Of course, none of the men or women around me said or did anything. And all I did was flip them the bird. They didn’t seem like the type who would ever take a woman defending herself seriously no matter what she said, anyway.
We have had a quiet and surprisingly chilly May so far at the Hollaback! HQ in New York City, but we’re getting excited for some amazing things to come in the summer! This week we said goodbye to our lovely, inspiring, and crazy brilliant interns. Rachel did stellar work assisting with the launch of HeartMob, Noelia developed some amazing resources for our legislative program, and Alexis starred as our comms intern. While we’re sad to see them go, we’re looking forward for our summer interns to join in June to make the office less lonely! Thank you Rachel, Noelia, and Alexis!
Check out what our Hollaback! sites across the world are up to:
Hollaback! Ottawa will be at Ottawa Comiccon hosting their workshop Cosplay =/= Consent and walking around the Con with supportive messaging this weekend. They will be creating a “mobile safe space”so anyone attending in Ottawa should be sure to find them!
Hollaback! Vancouver site leader Stacy Forrester had an amazing live interview on Global BC to discuss the Ghomesi case. If you haven’t already, check out our collective statement on the trial we released a while back.
See you later Hollas! We can’t wait to update you all on our summer activities!
Holla and out!
This summer I was on holiday with my best friend and in my bikini around my family probably most of the time. One morning when we were walking through the field that belongs to my holiday home, we walked past my grandad who was reading a newspaper and he told us to have fun. When we had walked out of earshot my friend told me that he had been staring at my ass the entire time we were walking past! Not hers but mine! (Not that it would have been acceptable for this 70 year old man to stare at a 17 year old’s butt in such an obvious and perverted way, but it would have been different had it been her since she is not his grandchild…) And my grandma was also in the house. This happened at least three more times that she noticed on the same holiday. I now do not feel comfortable being in swimwear In my family home. I feel completely violated and disgusted, as well as disappointed that this will be what I remember of my grandfather after he passes. I am 17 and do not have a lot of memories with him since I live in the UK and he lives in Greece. I only see him for a few weeks in the summer. I just don’t understand and feel so awful about myself and can’t get the image of him looking at my butt out of my head (I caught him staring one of the times).
It’s been another great week here at the office. Our staff has been busy with events and interviews all week.
Jae and Debjani participated in the New York Women’s Foundation annual Celebrating Women’s Breakfast. Emily attended the Love Bravery launch party.
Debjani was interviewed by CBS New York to comment on the new policy put in place by Greenland Forrest City. The construction workers working on their projects will be wearing color coded stickers that identifies which specific project they are working on. This was done in hopes that it will increase accountability and reduce harassment for pedestrians walking by the site.
And at Hollaback! sites around the world:
Hollaback! Vancouver took part in The F Word Conference: Theory To Practice, Imagining Our Feminist Futures where they held a session with Zines, painting and of course, feminism.
Hollaback! Vegas held a screening of the Hunting Ground and a organized a chalking event at the end of last week.
That’s all for this week! Stay tuned for more next week.
Holla and out!
I was harassed by a man on the street on Tuesday night. I was unlocking my bike when a man came up to me.
This is the sequence of events as I remember it – it all happened pretty fast. He got uncomfortably close and mumbled “Are you black or white?” (it should have been obvious from looking at me – and I’m only so sure that’s what he said). I said a firm “Goodbye” to him 3 times, but he ignored and just stayed and mumbled. I told him to “F** off”. He grabbed my bike handles after I refused to engage with him. I told him to “F** off”. He yanked one of my brake cables off. Thankfully, 3 guys on the other side of the street say “Hey! Hey!” and started to cross. He darted and I biked away without looking back at him.
The whole incident was unsettling, but I left feeling more angry than scared.
When I got to the bike shop to fix my brake, I called 311 to report the incident. It was almost more stressful to talk to the lady on the phone and later to the police officer who got dispatched to me than it was to get harassed by a stranger because they had this whole attitude of “what do you want?” They didn’t seem to get that I didn’t want to prosecute this guy, I just wanted to get this incident documented because it happens to way too many women way too often. In surveys, over 90% of women report having been harassed in public places. Overall, I felt more ashamed for reporting a “harmless” incident than supported in my attempt to get it recorded.
I was taking the train home from work. A man came by and seemed to be selling train tickets. He spoke to me (his voice was very hard to understand) and I said no thanks and he moved along. He then circled back and asked if he could sit across from me. I said sure and tried to look busy. He wouldn’t stop talking to me even though my headphones were in and I tried several times to just ignore him. I reluctantly talked to him for a while while he asked me when my birthday was and if I had kids and I just wished he’d take a hint and leave. Then he asked if he could give me a kiss and before I knew it he stood up, leaned over and kissed my cheek. I tried to push him away and I said “no” several times in a loud voice but he didn’t care. He sat back down and kept talking to me while I sat, shaking. I was looking around, hoping someone had noticed but the train wasn’t very full and nobody saw. There was an older woman in the seat ahead of him (I try to sit near other women) but her headphones were in and she didn’t notice. The man kept talking to me and I pulled out my book and insisted that I just wanted to read. He kept talking, he touched my leg before I pulled it away, and eventually put his hand out for me to shake hands (he put it directly in my line of sight so there was no ignoring him) and I was so flustered I just took it. He said my hands were soft and that I was very pretty and he finally left. I spent the rest of the train ride shaking and nearly crying and hoping he wouldn’t follow me home. As soon as my stop arrived, I called my boyfriend so someone would be on the phone with me as I walked home. He was out of town so I spent the rest of the night alone and scared. I told him everything but it was so hard to explain how helpless I felt (he’s 6’1 and not easily intimidated). I keep replaying it in my head, knowing it could have been so much worse but still hating every second of it. I wish I had known how to react. I can’t believe I shook his hand afterwards. I’m somehow ashamed; I know it was mostly from shock and the fear of inciting anything worse, but still. The next day I didn’t have access to my car so I had to take the train again to work. I got a friend to drive me home in the evening so I could put off those feelings a little longer. Plus I don’t want him to figure out my schedule. My budget and lifestyle depend on public transportation. I’m hoping it gets better but I have a feeling it’s going to get worse.
A friend and I were walking down the street, after the bars closed, with our boyfriends not far behind us. We started walking down this alley way, our boyfriends about a block behind, and these three guys passed us. One came up, about five inches from my face, and said a very inappropriate sexual comment, which honestly I can’t think of the exact words. Luckily we had a larger group behind us, which we were both able to run back to.
On Friday, the whole staff went to lunch to celebrate our spring interns who will be leaving us in the next few weeks. We’ve loved working with all of them over the semester and had an amazing time celebrating with a great meal.
At our sites,
Hollaback! Bogota took part in the #MiPrimerAcoso campaign and held a Twitter chat.
Hollaback! Poland attended a protest held by Foundations for Positive Change. They protested the verdict of a rape trial that came out this week.
That’s all for this week! Stay tuned for more awesome things next week!
Holla and Out
When I first moved to Beaumont I lived with my sister and her husband until I found a job. Their house was directly across the street from a convenience store that I would walk to. Several times I would be stopped, the front door blocked, grabbed by the arm, grabbed by the hair once, forced to listen to sexual comments about my body or what they wanted to do to me. I finally started carrying a knife and occasionally walking my dog (a large Rottweiler/German Shepherd mix) just to feel safe. The harassment never stopped. I never stopped walking across the street though. I refused to be afraid. Most of the men started to leave me alone once they realized I wasn’t afraid of them. Or at least was very good at acting unafraid.