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While doing my grocery shopping I look up and see a man looking at me. I’m usually a friendly person and will smile and sometimes say “Hi” or “How are you?”. I smiled at him and he immediately looks at my chest and groin and says “I was wondering if you were going to smile at me.” All the while grinning at my body.
I thought of all kinds of fantastic come backs after the fact, but was too dumbfounded to say a word at the time.
About a month ago, I was hanging out with my friends in a fully packed bar. A couple of guys harassed us that night, but I’ll just talk about the three that shocked me the most.
I came out of this toilet cubicle and suddenly this guy walked up to me (it was a boy/girl bathroom) and he kind of cornered me, so I couldn’t go back to the bar where my friends were. He asked my name. I told him my name’s Pauline. He then proceeded to call me Paulientje (which is Dutch for ‘Little Pauline’) and asked me if I had a boyfriend. I told him I was a lesbian and started pushing him away, but he wouldn’t budge. We were also blocking the entrance to the bathroom now and there was quite a queue by now. I was clearly uncomfortable, but no one helped me. He continued talking to me, saying things like ‘Did you fall from heaven?’ and ‘Are you absolutely sure you’re a lesbian? You’re not sure, are you? I can see it, you started questioning the minute you saw my face’ After what must have been ten minutes, my best friend showed up (because she was worried something had happened as it wasn’t the first time that night guys were bothering us) and pulled him away from me.
I was still kind of shocked, when another friend (though I didn’t really know him that well) came up to me and asked me what was wrong. I told him some guy had harassed me in the bathroom, to which he replied ‘Oh, I would’ve wanted to join’. At first I thought he had misunderstood me, so I repeated what I just had said, and his response was ‘I know what you said’. That same ‘friend’ had been groping my breasts, butt and thighs the entire evening, by the way. At first, I’d thought he was doing it by accident, but it happened one too many times. My scarf actually smelled like him up to two days after that night.
Some time later another guy grabbed me, asking for my name and such. I recognized him, as he had slapped my butt earlier that night and I had yelled at him. Once again, I told him my name and that I’m a lesbian and once again, the guy didn’t seem very bothered by that fact. He was actually rather excited by it and he told me it was his dream to fuck a lesbian. I was absolutely horrified, but thank god my best friend and her boyfriend came to my rescue. The guy got somewhat aggressive, so we decided it was time to leave.
Up to this day, I’m still wondering what the hell I’d been doing wrong that night.
I was at my favorite nightclub with a group of friends on a Saturday night, standing on the edge of the dancefloor. I was chatting to one of my male friends when I felt someone pinch my bum. I turned around and the groper and his friend, who I vaguely recognize as being a year older than me at the local boys school, are leering at me. I glared at them and turned around.
Not ten seconds later, it happened again – I turned around and said “Please stop doing that, or I will ask a bouncer to make you leave”. Ten seconds later – again. I turned around and told him bluntly to fuck off, before attempting to walk away.
But before I could, he did it again and attempted to drag my by my top towards him. So I turned around to face him, smiled sweetly, and motioned towards his drink as if I wanted to taste a bit. Confident his stellar pulling technique had struck gold, he handed it to me. I then had the somewhat immature but very satisfying pleasure of watching the creepy grin drain off his face as I dumped his pint of Stella all over his head. I sauntered away to the cheers of the crowd
#don’tmess #HOLLABACK #
A barrage of BMXers came hurtling toward me walking down a main street in Cardiff. I kept my eyes front facing and held my course. One of them then gets so close he can ROAR in my ear, obviously intending to shock and humiliate, as he and his mates whizz past laughing and disappear. I’m a woman on my own who refused to look down or jump out their way so did he really feel I needed taking down a peg? No chance to react! Why do some men think this is OK? It’s street harassment and its cowardly!
Dear Hollabackers –
The global revolution rolls on! Debjani is at the “Forging Justice” conference in Detroit, Michigan today, presenting on how employers can better support their staff and clients who face street harassment. Emily is meeting today with community partners interested in developing a new safety app, and met yesterday with two new partners: The Healing Center about their work to address domestic violence in Sunset Park, and Creative Time and the Brooklyn Museum work with Suzanne Lacy’s new public feminist art project.
The conversation continued in the media, too. Bitch Magazine wrote about HOLLA::Revolution. A blogger at Star of Davida compiled her thoughts on HOLLA::Rev as well: the introduction, part 1, and part 2. Author Yann Patel has dedicated their book Indie: A Female Vigilate to “Hollabacks worldwide!”
HOLLA around the world:
Hollaback! Des Moines marched and danced with One Billion Rising in the Iowa State Fair Parade this week! They also had an event to discuss personal safety products, which they partnered with local agency Damsel in Defense for. Next week is their anniversary open mic event!
Hollaback! Bmore attended a community meeting for the FORCE – Monument Project to ensure that people remembered that street harassment is on the spectrum of gender based violence. They also interviewed some Bronies at BronyCon about harassment and plan to release a video in early September. Tomorrow they’re carpooling down to Slutwalk DC!
Hollaback! West Yorkshire had a meeting with Bradford victim support & women’s network as to how to collaborate & work with women outside student community.
Hollaback! Boston had a lot going on this week! On their blog, intern Kayla has a post about porch heckling and site directors Britni and Kate talk about their experience at HOLLA::Rev. The team also went to Boston Comic Con this weekend in support of Hollaback! Philly’s work and you can read their recap of the event, as well as an interview with local cosplayer Lei Ann. Boston also released their first ever survey on street harassment, which was picked up by the Boston Metro. They also received a grant for their T campaign and wrote a piece for local online publication The Media.
Hollaback! Winnipeg site leader Jodie was on CBC The National talking about trolls, Hollaback!, white privilege, and #twittersilence on CBC The National (starts at 8:05). She also gave a TEDx talk on rape culture and sex positivity.
HOLLA and out —
The Hollaback! team
First off: I live in the Caribbean, on an island called Dominica (not Dominican Rep.), and harassment is very common here and people act like it’s normal and supposed to happen.
I was walking my dog at night like I always do. He’s rather protective of me so I avoid walking him during the day, and I feel safe with him at night. And I pass a group of boys sitting in a porch, listening to music. I used to go to school with most of them so they call me and I say hi. On my way back, one of their friends that I don’t know calls me, so I turn to wave and move on. He then says, “Let me walk with you too, nuh.” To which I politely replied, “No, thank you. I’m OK.” He can’t take no for an answer and says, “Why you don’t want me to walk with you.” I simply reply that my dog, who is standing nicely beside me because I’m rubbing behind his ear keeping him calm, doesn’t like it when people get close to me. “But he not doing nothing.” “Because I’m keeping him calm. And honestly, I don’t want to walk with you. OK?”
Now this upset him because I’m apparently supposed to feel so flattered by his interest and swoon at his feet, and he starts insulting me.
“FINE! YOU SO FUCKING UGLY NOBODY DIDNT WANT TO WALK WITH YOU ANYWAY! THE FUCK YOU THINK??! SOMEBODY WANT YOU THEN!??! YOU WELL WANT MAN WHERE YOU BE THERE!!! I SURE YOU HAVE TO COME BACK AND BEG ME TO WALK WITH YOU!! FUCKING SALOPE*!!!”
*salope is French/French-Creole for whore (we speak French-Creole on my island).
At this point I stop calming my dog, which would stop working anyway as he has started yelling at me and fake laugh and tell him, “You’re right… PLEASE walk with me next time. But you’ll have to bring your own leash and collar, I don’t have any to fit you.” and start walking away feeling very insulted and displeased, with my equally displeased dog. As I walk away I can hear his friends laughing at him and saying they didn’t know I was “bad” like that, and that he was too rude, and I did the right thing, and as admirable as that is, why didn’t they say anything when it was clear I didn’t want to walk with him.
He was still shouting insults at me when I got home (about 100 feet away I think), and he is probably still cursing at me now wherever he is. Calling me “stuck up” and “fresh” and a slew of other things because he thinks I acted like I was too good for him and dared to respond to his insults and then dared to walk away from him, but I don’t have to take that from any guy, especially after I responded politely and was given back insults in return.
We were walking & holding hands when a man, 20s, 5’8″, muscular, with very short blonde hair, grabbed us & pulled us apart, then gripped my arm & yelled in my face about how we couldn’t hold hands because this is a Christian nation. He was extremely aggressive and clearly looking for an excuse to punch me. We broke away from him, but he did it again 2 blocks later. He threatened to keep following us and prevent us from touching until a bystander stepped in & we slipped away.
HOLLA::Revolution, the first international speaker’s series on street harassment, was held on July 25th at NYU and live-streamed on ihollaback.org/hollarevolution/. It was an historic event, with 18 speakers presenting topics ranging from “un/doing masculinity: street harassment and boihood” and “media representations of street harassment” to “the future of funding the feminist movement” and “youth organizing around street harassment”.
Hollaback! would like to thank their sponsors for their support in making HOLLA::Revolution happen:
Catapult: Catapult is young crowdfunding platform that’s already making a huge impact for girls and women. Catapult connects a new global audience directly to organizations working on the frontlines for girls and women’s rights. Since launching in October 2012 Catapult has already funded hundreds of projects worldwide. Catapult helps people use the open democracy of the web to choose girls and women’s projects closest to their hearts, and track progress and results. This approach – participating in the solution – is key to today’s young and rising global citizenship movement.
Despaña: Despaña is a New York based food and wine shop and provided us with the beautiful wines for our cocktail hour.
Internet Garage: Internet Garage is a great internet and printing shop in Brooklyn and provided us with the signage for the event.
Lagunitas: Lagunitas is a solid brewing company that supplied the tasty beer for the cocktail hour
Lifeway: Lifeway creates amazing kefir products. Like all good missions, theirs is simply expressed: They’re here to provide the best in probiotic and nutritious foods. They’re here to improve the health of our customers. And they’re here to leave the world a better place than we found it.
Thank you again to our sponsors and to everyone who came out to HOLLA::Revolution or watched the live-stream online.
I was waiting outside to leave with my partner and a man whistled at me from a truck. I flicked him off
After a night out at a bar, we sometimes grab a poutine for the walk home. There is always a big crowd gathered and many people outside the restaurant eating their gravy and cheese covered fries. As we were leaving, we pass a group of guys dressed up in a variety of costumes. One guy, dressed in a mechanic’s jumper shouts at me as I pass by, “hey girl! Wanna see my dick? I know you want to!” I almost let it pass. Almost. I turned on my heels, looked straight at him, and slowly walked back towards him. “Sure,” I replied, as I stabbed at a fry. Now, my girlfriends were already ahead of me, but my boyfriend was a few feet away. I wouldn’t have done this if I was alone, but I knew I had back up if anything got out of hand. Now, this boy was not expecting a response. I stood there, in front of the late night food crowd, publicly calling this guy on his bluff. His friends were laughing, and the guy was getting nervous. “Oh you want to see it?” he says, “you wanna taste it too?” To which I lifted a fork-full of fries to my mouth and replied, “No, just your original offer will do.” He stood there, trying to think of what to do next. Then he tried backing out of it. “What if a cop sees me? I don’t want to get arrested” he says. “Oh really?” I reply. “Maybe you shouldn’t ask me if I want to see your penis if you’re not going to actually follow through. Or maybe it’s just too cold out tonight and your outtie has turned into an innie”. With that we walked away, and the roar of laughter from behind me assured me that boy would think twice before making that mistake again.