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I remember the first time this happened to me. I was in 7th grade coming home on the bus near the end of the school year. I usually sat with my best friend (a guy) and there had never been any problem with the three older boys who sat behind us all the time. That day my friend wasn’t there, and a sat alone with another girl across from me. Also that day, it happened to be getting pretty hot, but because of the dress code, I had to wear a jacket over my dress. Like any normal human being would, I took of my jacket on the bus.
Before I knew it, one of the boys behind me started to say things like, ¨Damn, nice tits¨ and ¨Glad your boyfriend isn’t here,” which in my position was pretty scary. I turned around and told them to fuck off, which got me the response, ¨Wow, that pretty little bitch has a vocabulary.¨ Not only was this happening, but one of the other boys sat down next to me. He didn’t do anything, but he was a little too close for comfort. After all of that, I told no one but the male principle, whose response was pretty much ¨boys will be boys.¨
So yesterday me and my sister when on a bike ride to go check out a couple houses we had seen for rent. Once we got to the first house on our list we hopped off our bikes and looked around real quick. As we were about to hop back on our bikes, a car crept up to the side of us, and the people in it rolled down their windows. Inside were 5 men gawking at us… my first thought was to grab my pepper spray, but then I thought 5 big men…who knows if they have a gun or something more effective than my little can of pepper spray, and clearly my sister and I can’t take on 5 men. All we could do was try and keep walking and hope they would leave. Finally once we reached the end of the street, the guys realized they weren’t getting anything. They slowly turned and drove off. I was so scared thank God my sister was with me. I could only imagine how much worse I would have felt if I were alone.
At the mothership, we marched at Pride this past weekend and looked fabulous while doing so. Also, we co-hosted a webinar with Women’s Health Specialists about self-help!
Here’s what HOLLAs all over the world have been up to:
Hollaback! Durham & Chapel Hill participated in PuNk CuTs eXtRaVaGaNzA, a super rad fundraiser for the Orange County Rape Crisis Center. Hollabackers shaved their heads to support and raise money for the center. Too cool for school, guys!
Hollaback! BMore co-hosted Make Your Own Quilt Square, an event where people were able to share their stories with rape/sexual assault and also to show their support for survivors through quilt squares. This event was part of The Monument Quilt. Pics from the event can be found here!
Hollaback! Italia marched at three Pride Parades this past weekend: Milan, Venice, and Turin! Way to show your support guys!
Hollaback! Appalachian Ohio was at the annual conference Ohio Alliance to End Sexual Violence. They spoke about the intersectionality of race and sexual assault along with ways to bring women of color leaders into the movement.
Hollaback! Berlin hosted My Name in Not Baby! this past weekend, and not only were they able to engage in discussion with others about street harassment and ways to prevent it, they also engaged in powerful dialogue about collective resistance. Great job, guys!
Great job as always HOLLAs! Til next week-
HOLLA and out!
-The Hollaback Staff
Double whammy! I was walking to the Y this morning for lap swimming. As I walked past a laundromat, a man stepped out the door and mouthed “Wow!” as I passed. Whatever, I ignored him. On my way back I walked past the same laundromat. Two men are standing outside talking. One of them stared me down as I walked by while still talking to his buddy. I’m just trying to get to my workout. Arg!
I decided to take a walk to this 24-hour coffee shop down the street from my apartment to visit a friend who was working. It was late at night, so I was of course being careful and paying attention, but the walk is only about 2 blocks. I don’t want to be too scared to walk two blocks. But apparently, I ought to be, because on my way there some men driving by leaned out their windows and yelled, “Damn!!” while leering at me. I glared at them, and thankfully they kept driving, but I didn’t feel safe enough at that point to keep going to the coffee shop and then have to walk back later, so I just turned right around and went home.
I don’t understand the need of some people to assert the way they feel like that. Do they not get that it is an intimidation tactic? Or do they get it, and they think I need to be frightened? Are they just curious as to what the reaction will be? I really don’t understand why, because I’m a woman, I ought to be scared to walk two blocks down my own street.
My cousin is getting married next month, and I am unable to attend due to distance and money issues. I decided to go to the drug store on the way home from running errands to pick up a nice card for her and her fiancée.
On the way home I heard a voice shouting “Hey! Hey!” I turned to see a man in his mid 70s walking towards me. I figured he was going to ask for directions and waited for him.
He gave me a smile and said “Your summer outfit makes my heart beat fast and I want to f*** you!”
I frowned and shook my head “no.” When I turned to go he repeated it and began to follow me.
I flat out lied saying I had a boyfriend and he was waiting for me.
Even then he did not give up! He demanded proof of this boyfriend and asked why I didn’t have an engagement ring on? He wanted to know where I lived among other things.
Finally I said I had to leave as I had people waiting for me and got out of there. When I told the police about what happened they said there was nothing that they could do. They said it’s not illegal to talk to people on the street.
It makes me want to never leave my home. I’ve been harassed by men many, many times in this town. If I had the money I’d leave. I don’t feel safe here.
I experienced cat calling and construction workers making lewd comments towards me.
About a month ago (06-02-14) I was walking back from one of my friends’ houses in the flats of Southside. While I was walking on the backstreets I noticed a strange man about half a block behind me. Since I didn’t feel comfortable, I walked to Carson Street in the hopes of being in a more public place. Since it was rather late (about 1 AM), not many people were around, and as a result, it was just me and this man walking. As I noticed him getting closer to me I turned around to possibly confront him. When he passed me he said, “I was gonna rob you, but you look tougher than I thought,” and continued to walk away. The main moral of this story is to watch out for people in the Southside of Pittsburgh late at night. This is not the first story I have heard or experienced like this!
I’m 19 years old, out of school and looking for a job. I had made plans to go to several local businesses–a clothing store and a couple art shops–to look for a job. To show to potential employers that I’m a creative and unique person while still looking somewhat professional, I wore a white blouse with a steampunk-esque corset over it, skinny jeans and heels. I was feeling pretty confident and fashionable, but that didn’t last long.
Not even five minutes after leaving the house, I get a few wolf whistles. The further into the city I went, the worse it got. The catcalling began, with “hey shawty”, “hey baby” and “sup sexy.” This was coming from men between 20 and 60, mind you, and even a little 10 year old boy (if that) whistled at me. I was so disgusted, especially that it is so acceptable in our society to do that to women that even children that young are doing it. At one point, I passed these three dirty old men sitting on their doorstep, and each one of them made a comment, with the first calling me sexy, that second calling me beautiful, and by that point I was so upset that I didn’t even hear the third. Did they think they were actually complimenting me?
Then came the scary part. I’m always afraid that people in the city have guns that they might use to shoot people over the littlest things, because I see incidents like that on TV. Still, I took a chance. As I was heading back home, a silver car pulled up next to me and cruised along as I walked. My heart began to race and all I could think was, “Uh-oh, one wrong move and I could end up dead.” They said something I couldn’t understand, but I got the gist of it. I told them to fuck off, and the driver said, “Oh, you said you want me to fuck off? Feisty one.” I told them, “Not even in another lifetime,” and continued to walk. They lingered for a moment and then drove away, and I darted down the next corner, trying to distance myself from them as much as I could. I have never been so uncomfortable and frightened in my life. I can never feel safe in this city.
On street harassment, “we discovered it wasn’t just one of us, it was all of us”
Dr. Karla Jay talks early anti-street harassment organizing (including an ogle in on Wall Street), movement building, and how to stand up to street harassment at this year’s #hollarev!
Watch the full clip here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kJBQ_xs350U