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Dear Man sitting in the back seat of the pickup truck passing me by,
I was walking to a poetry reading, listening to wonderful music, feeling the best I had felt all day when you yelled at me. Not that you would know any of this, as our contact was brief. Not that you would care, as you seemed uninterested in me a a human being, but that’s what I was doing. I couldn’t help but immediately wonder if you had yelled because of my leggings, or had just been more inclined to pick me because I was walking fast. I then spent the rest of my walk wondering if I was going to run into you again and thinking that my shadow was the shadow of someone following. I did not smile again until I had walked two blocks away and changed songs. Whatever thought crossed your mind when you shouted out of the window at me, I hope was worthy of ruining five minutes of my day and making me generally uncomfortable. Next time, just keep your head in the window and your thoughts to yourself.
I was working a small event at a park registering people to vote, and our local football grizzly bear mascot Monte slapped my butt. Because I was working I didn’t say anything, considering the fact that my job was to appeal to those at the event. I wish I did though. A mask is not an excuse for assault!
Just jogging today in my neighborhood and some dude I didn’t know walking half a block behind me started yelling repeatedly, “I’m right behind you!” He may have followed me for a while or maybe just going the same way I was, I’m not sure, but my focus was just to run faster at that point and start heading to a place where I knew more people would be likely doing yard work in case this creep tried to get closer.
It was Halloween night and my friend and I dressed up in our crazy laundrie for the Rocky Horror Picture Show. Before the show we went into our local coffee shop for some tea. In the meantime we thought we would take some pictures of each other in our costumes. After we finished a man old enough to be our grandfather asked “Can I take some pictures of you?” In a very creepy tone. We were both disgusted, and left. Walking back I received five more instances of abuse after walking one block.
Why did you make this video?
We think videos are an awesome tool to raise awareness about the realities of street harassment. This video is the third in a series. Each video aims to explore a different experience with street harassment. The first video, “10 Hours Walking in NYC as a Woman”, demonstrated the sheer number of times women are harassed in public space. The second video, “My Sexual Assault: On the Train and in The Media”, depicted one survivor’s, Elisa’s, experience with street harassment. This third video encourages us to listen to and believe the experiences of each individual.
Who created this video?
Hollaback! sought out Aden Hakimi to direct this video because of his experience working with a queer filmmaking collective. With Hollaback!’s guidance and feedback, Aden shot and edited the video. He worked closely with Michelle Charles, the supporter in the video, to incorporate her experiences with street harassment into the narrative of the video.
Is Michelle’s experience unique?
The experience of street harassment is different for everyone. Street harassment disproportionately impacts women, people of color, LGBTQ individuals, and young people. These forms of harassment are not just sexist — but also racist and homophobic in nature. For more information on how harassment impacts people differently, please read our guide on street harassment and identity called #harassmentis.
What is street harassment?
Street harassment is a form of sexual harassment that takes place in public spaces. At its core is a power dynamic that constantly reminds historically subordinated groups (women and LGBTQ folks, for example) of their vulnerability to assault in public spaces. Further, it reinforces the ubiquitous sexual objectification of these groups in everyday life. At Hollaback!, we believe that what specifically counts as street harassment is determined by those who experience it. While there is always the classic, “Hey baby, nice tits!”, there are many other forms that go unnoted. If you feel like you have been harassed, HOLLABACK!
So you want to criminalize street harassment, right?
No. We believe that it is our role as advocates to steer policy makers away from measures that would increase criminalization, and toward measures that engage communities in prevention.
Witnessed person call stranger (female) a b@## on BART between west Oakland and embarcadero. Perp is toward right of image.
I am a 13 year old girl and I love cosplay so I go to every con dressed up. I was at acen in chicago dressed as gou matsuoka and a man asked to take a picture with me, so I agreed. After the first picture he said he wanted another this time he touched me, while he was walking away after the picture I heard him say “I’m using those tonight.” I think this was innapropriate but I didn’t speak up and I regret that.
went to the bar with my boyfriend and a few friends. I was on my way back from the restroom when a guy attempted to go in for a kiss and pulled my hand. Almost punched him in the face.
I was in the VIP section at a dance club with a group of my female friends. I was standing near a balcony looking down at the dance floor, while wearing a knee length dress with long sleeves and a crew neck. At this time I was not making eye contact with anyone, I was not talking with anyone, and I was not dancing. I was only standing there in a straight proper posture (how one would stand in a professional setting while speaking to their boss). A young male passes behind me and grabs my butt tightly. My instinct reaction made me quickly turn around, grab this male by his collar and hang him halfway over the balcony. He was yelling “it wasn’t me” but I know it was him because he was the only person near enough to grope me like that. I was so upset, I would not let go until security came. Security said he witnessed the entire incident and that male was tossed out of the club. But afterwards I still felt like justice was not served.
I was on my way back home, waiting for the train to come on a busy evening. When the tube came, everyone squeezed inside and I got on with perhaps 6 middle-aged men who were going to a football match. One guy said to his friend I have a great butt, he shouted it out and everyone started looking at me. He also kept telling his friend, who was standing behind me, to keep his hands close to himself and not to touch me else he ‘will go to prison again’ in a joking manner to tease me further. The guy behind me drops his glasses and bends down to get them, and another guy says ‘that’s just his excuse to touch your ass’ and all 6 men start laughing. Never have felt more embarrassed in my life, these men were surrounding me with only a couple of inches between us because the tube was so crowded; felt angry, disgusted, I just didn’t know how to react. I wish my dad was there to teach them a lesson!