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I was fourteen, waiting with a friend by the school crossing. The streets were not so crowded, and there were other students from my high school there. A man came up to me, grabbed my hand and tried to kiss me. He was a stranger, and old and I was so embarrassed. Needless to say, I just shoved him and ran like there was no tomorrow. The worst part about it though, was that I felt like it had been my fault. I was standing in the wrong place, at the wrong time. That maybe, I should’ve just gone home instead of talk to my friend.
I’m happy I don’t feel like that any more.
Gentleman in a black Dodge Charger with the white racing stripes sits across from the Turnberry apartments condos. Sat in his car for hours and hours watching the place. Vandalism and stalking in the area. Picture shows headlights. These headlights are parking lights on
Stalking from CVS and Sleepys parking lot overlooking Turnberry. Black or dark blue Jetta, 4 door, New York license plate. Young male with glasses. Got behind and took a picture of his license plate. He took off soon as I got near him texting someone else. Stalking and vandalism in the area Queensbury, New York, the corner of Bay Street and Quaker Road
It was about 11 pm and my sister and I were about to carpool to go visit my mom since she had just been in the hospital. My sister was about to get in my car when I heard a few whistles coming from the porch of someone’s house. I told them they were being disrespectful and to stop. As soon as I got back in my car they started up again.
I was driving to school, and a few men on the back of a garbage truck started yelling “hey sexy!” until I drove away.
I was with a group of friends and this girl referred to my other friend using “it”. It turned out this friend might be trans and the friend knew that when she said what she said.
Walking during the day to go have lunch with my sister I noticed a group of men following me yelling at me in another language. I understood and translated that they were harassing me. They followed me for a few blocks.
I started walking faster. I then found two older college aged girls sitting on the steps of a building just talking together. I approached them and said “hey girls so good to see you!” as if I knew these women as my own friends. I explained that I was being followed and they let me sit with them until the men passed me and walked around the corner. I am thankful that these women were protective and helpful.
Walking to the train station, someone in a car slows down to wolf whistle at me, laughs and makes revolting ‘kissy’ motions at me when I flip him off.
Company vehicle, crowded street (with kids) and he knew he’d get away with it. This is the culture women have to put up with. Demeaning and dehumanizing.
An open letter to my street harasser (what I wish I’d said, and what I will say next time):
That was not a compliment. I’m gonna go out on a limb and guess that you give this kind of unsolicited feedback on the regular, so here’s a tip: what you might think is complimentary, someone else might perceive as deeply wounding and offensive. Especially when coming – unprovoked – from a complete stranger. Please think before you speak, and you might not hurt as many people. Then again, if you simply don’t care that what you say might make someone uncomfortable or self-conscious, then you’re just an utterly worthless piece of shit. There’s YOUR compliment.
Here’s what HOLLAs around the world have been up to:
Hollaback! Appalachian Ohio created valentines with students to be left all over Athens for random people to find. They also taught a 3 hour workshop to the Ohio University student group FUCKRAPECULTURE on presenting good workshops. They have plans to do another one with them on consensus based decision making, meeting facilitation, and campaign strategy.
Hollaback! Boston is hosting a HOLLA party! Join them on Friday, February 21, for pampering, self-care, and socializing in a space full of love and acceptance. HB! Boston was also part of a meeting with local LGBTQ PoC organizations to collaborate with, share schedules and support each other’s events. Finally, check out this great blogpost recapping their Take Back the Bar event from the end of January.
Hollaback! Fredericksburg will be tabling and helping with Smash Presents: The Heartbreakers and Betties Burlesque show at Eyeclopes Studios on Saturday, Feb 15, 7-10 p.m. On their site, they discuss how burlesque has a long history, and a recent revitalization that really aims to empower the performer, and provide commentary on the way we view and experience bodies.
Hollaback! Montreal announced the revamping and revival of their local branch! They are planning a bunch of really great projects and collaborations for the community this spring. As of now, they are working on getting organized and reaching out to groups and individuals to renew their local network. They are also drafting awareness-raising campaigns to denounce harassment within public transportation spaces and at clubs and bars in the city. Hooray Hollaback! Montreal!
Hollaback! Polska has been rockin’ it with their social media education work! First, with this graphic that shows Poland’s most recent important law changes concerning rape cases. Secondly, with their recent comments on rape culture in the media. HB! Polska publicly commented on a journalist using the term “sexual excesses” to Kaddafi crimes against women and on an article published from a well-known portal about the Polish Prime Minister’s daughter being stalked so brutally that she needed government security – they called it “love problems” with “discreet admirer”. Within these comments, they ask journalists to not minimize violence against women by using such inadequate terminology. Both of their comments were mentioned in an article about how media language makes light of violations of women’s human rights.
Awesome work, HOLLAs! Thank you for continuing to dazzle us with your brilliance!
HOLLA and out!
– The Hollaback! Team