demonstration, Story

Melissa’s Story: #harassmentis response

Hi. I am a pre-op transsexual woman living in West Hartford, Connecticut. I shared my story in 2011 and shared a follow up story this year (2013).

I was reading Hollaback’s #HarassmentIs and felt inspired to share more experiences.

Ableism-

I was pumping gas at a local gas station when a young man pumping gas in front of me read that I looked like I didn’t work. He turned to another young man, whom he did not know, who was at a different pump and said, loudly, “How was work?” To which the other young man replied, sarcastically, “Oh, It was great.”

I was at the local post office and accidentally, momentarily, messed my transaction up while there were several people waiting. While my transaction resolved itself, two men, at least one of them younger, who were behind me in line, were able to finish before me. When I got back to my car, someone had put an additional 4 quarters in my parking meter. Evidently, they somehow knew which car was mine, which felt creepy, because they had to be watching or keeping track of me getting out of my car, which is bizarre, because who does that?

Classism –

In #HarassmentIs only one page was devoted to street harassment based on class, and it only talked about people who are, or are perceived to be wealthy, harassing people who are, or who are perceived to be poor.

I look like I have money and I have received a tremendous amount of verbal abuse (in a predominantly wealthy area), for being perceived to have wealth.

Two weeks ago, I made a trip to West Hartford center on a Monday mid-afternoon. It is a place where wealthy appearing women will occasionally walk around. I got out of my car, put a couple of quarters in my meter and began walking toward Starbucks. I had not planned to go inside and was going to walk by and, eventually, cross the street. Less than halfway to Starbucks I came upon a man who was already harassing a woman because she had a nice car (black Lexus? SUV). She was responding to him, it seemed she was trying to comfort him. When I encountered him he was saying to her in a very loud and angry tone of voice “thousand dollar a month car!” Then he saw me and his eyes went to my shoes, which were nice booties and he became even more angry the moment he looked at my shoes. He turned back to her and said, even louder. “Thousand dollar a month car payment, thousand dollar a month (unintelligible)! You’ve got car insurance, health insurance, while the rest of us are eating popcorn. By this time I was pretty distant, and he called after me – “Yeah, keep walking!” Needless to say my trip to West Hartford center was very short. Just before I got into my car I saw him sitting himself down angrily outside Starbucks.

In 2010 I was at the cafe at Barnes and Noble and I sat down in the back of the cafe to read. As soon as I sat down, a man who was seated diagonally across from me, who was talking with a woman, bristled. He was looking at me and he said, loudly, “Spain. Yeah Spain’s got problems. My mother in law is from Spain.” He kept talking and getting louder and I had to leave the cafe.

Also in 2010 I had three separate experiences which were so similar they were shocking. In May, I was in West Hartford center and a young man who was with another  man said loudly to me “That’s not real!” In August I was at the DMV in a neighboring town and a young woman who was with her male partner said, as she passed me, “That’s unreal.” Lastly, sometime later in the fall, a young man working at Whole Foods, said to me as he saw me “Is that real?”

– to clarify – Yes. It’s real.

I was in Blue Back Square on a Sunday recently and I sat down on an out of the way bench. A car of young boys drove by and I heard one of them shout “It looks like you have a secret life!” And then drive on.

Earlier this year I was at the Barnes and Noble cafe (which I do not go to any longer) and an unstable woman had an outburst. She perceived me to be gay (which I’m not), and started asking an employee if he was going to be a “Boy Scout troop leader?” He played along with her and offered “Did I tell you that I’m rich?”

– I think what is interesting about the harassment based on classism is that a few years ago I blended right in, wearing some of the same clothes. Everyone here looked like they had money (whether they actually did or not) and no one ever bothered me for looking like I had money. Recently I’ve received a tremendous amount of flak for at least appearing to be wealthy. So it was understandable that when I read the #HarassmentIs booklet that Hollaback depicted examples of wealthy people harassing poorer people, however, it ran completely contrary to my experiences. I have never harassed someone verbally, for any reason.

Gender Identity Photo-Op –

As I said, I am a pre-op transsexual woman, so I dress the part. I have a wonderful wardrobe with lots of shoes, beautiful dresses, a fair amount of jewelry and plenty of color.

I have had my photo taken, with my knowledge (but without my consent), 5 different times.

One was a photo taken by a young teenage girl from a car that she asked her friend to slow down as I walked down the street.

A second was a young twenty-something taking my photo as I sat near a statue in West Hartford Center.

A third was another young twenty-something taking my picture as I sat on a bench in West Hartford center.

A fourth was, yet another young twenty-something, taking my photo at the same spot as the previous.

Lastly, this Sunday a grown, middle-aged woman snapped a photo with flash in Blue Back Square. She was with her family. (I hear it’s a great way to teach the kids).

– It is interesting to note that all of the people who took my photo (over the last 3 years) were women, and four of them were twenty-something or younger.

I must be a Facebook celebrity, but I don’t know it.

I wanted to write these things because that is what came to mind after reading #HarassmentIs. I think that our current culture is about punishment and critical judgement of others. When a person doesn’t fit in to generalized norms, they are immediately criticized, judged and then punished.

Speaking for myself, I am just trying to relax.

It does not matter where you are or what you are trying to do, you shouldn’t be punished for it, unless it causes avoidable harm to others.

I am very sorry for my length, and I hope you can include this on your website. Once again, thank you for providing a place to express these things.

Melissa

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25+

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The Movement, Uncategorized

Hollaback!’s #HarassmentIs Media Advisory

HOLLABACK! LAUNCHES #HARASSMENTIS: AN EXPLORATION OF IDENTITY AND STREET HARASSMENT

The guide, tumblr, tweetup, and chalkwalk seek to fill a gap in the global conversation about street harassment.

NEW YORK CITY, NY. Today Hollaback! releases their newest publication, “#HarassmentIs: an exploration of identity and street harassment” to inspire a broader understanding of how identity can impact the experience of harassment.

“Street harassment is a global problem and we need to understand what it looks like and feels like for everybody if we want it erased from our daily lives,” said Debjani Roy, Deputy Director of Hollaback! and one of the authors of #HarassmentIs.

 To inspire others to join the conversation, Hollaback! also launched a #HarassmentIs tumblr today and is hosting a tweetup on Thursday, October 17th at 1pm EDT using the hashtag #HarassmentIs.  A chalk walk will take place on Friday, October 18th at 3pm in Washington Square Park, NYC, where Debjani Roy, co-author of #HarassmentIs will be available for interviews. Participants are invited to share ways in which their experiences of street harassment have been informed by their gender, race, sexuality, ability, size, and/or class.

Responding to #HarassmentIs, writer and activist Soraya Chemaly says, “Street harassment is not about sex. It’s not about flattery. It’s about power and relies, ultimately, on intimidation and the threat of violence […] Entitlement to violence and the normative control of women and nonconforming minorities in public space is what is at the heart of street harassment.”

Want more information?  Check out the #harassmentis guide or send us an email at: [email protected]

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Verbal

z. beck’s Story: “How does one go about combating this unacceptable behaviour?”

Locked my bike up in its usual spot outside the home of a dog I walk. Some guy on the sidewalk was crossing the street in the same direction I was. He sat on some steps on the far side of the street, and I passed, just going about my day. He called out “Hey!” in a low tone. I figured he was just saying hey, as people around here often do in passing, or was making an attempt to beg for money (which happens so often I do tend to ignore it/pretend I didn’t hear). When I didn’t respond, he added “I want to shove my c0ck in you.” I was shocked and thrown off. I’ve been whistled at before, but never victim to verbal attacks like this. He further added “I have to punish you” in an even softer tone.

I hurried to my destination and sat inside for about ten minutes, hoping by the time I went out again to walk the dog, he’d be gone. Thankfully he was.

This happened at an intersection across from a school, which makes it even scarier. I’m trying to find a way to report it, but I didn’t even get a look at him.

My biggest concern is being too afraid to respond in a reprimanding way for fear of being physically assaulted as a result. So how, then, does one go about combating this unacceptable behaviour?

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30+

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Assault, Verbal

Bonggirl’s Story: “I felt like I was being watched”

In July 2010, while returning home at around 7:30 pm, I felt like I was being watched.

I realized that these were the same people who always seemed to hang around that place when I returned from my Language studies at the nearby institute. That particular night, I had walked a little forward to catch my bus home. The area was dimly lit and no one was around. There were three men. They started to sing and cat call. I turned around to confront them and was chased and later stabbed with a throw knife. I had to run for my life and I barely made it out. Fortunately, there is a police box very close to that place now. But there are countless such dingy and dark alleyways in our city where people keep harassing women, making them feel unsafe.

It is not about wearing clothes since in our city, most women wear salwar or saree anyway. The fear also arises because mostly who revolt are either beat up badly or in worst cases, shot or stabbed. People are afraid of raising a voice or even share their stories. I feel that if the support behind these harassers is destroyed, our city’d be much safer.

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39+

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Story

HOLLA ON THE GO: Drive-by harassment

Group of guys shouted at me from their car as they drove by.

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25+

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Story

Ada’s Story: You have the right to wear shorts!

Last week, I stopped at the local Starbucks to buy a cappuccino, when I noticed an older man sitting alone at a table who seemed to be staring at me. Let me just say that I’m a freshman in high school, and I wasn’t wearing anything ridiculous, just a t-shirt and shorts. The man seemed to be at least fifty years old, and when I turned around to pay for my drink, I realized that he was staring at my butt. Not even trying to hide it, or at least having the decency to look ashamed when I turned around. I was thoroughly creeped out, and since I was just by myself (I was meeting a friend), I was too scared to sit down alone, in case he approached me. I was so uncomfortable I just took my coffee and left. Later when I told my friend about it, I said, “I guess my shorts are kind of short.” She stopped me right there, saying “You have the right to wear shorts, it’s hot out! That doesn’t mean he has the right to look at you like that!” I realized that she was right. That random man made me feel unsafe and uncomfortable in my own neighborhood, blocks from my house, and it’s just as bad in other places. it isn’t fair, it wasn’t my fault, and it has to stop.

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56+

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Story

Bristolian’s Story: He refused to leave her alone

This man followed me around the boot sale, leering at me and trying to catch my attention. When I told him to leave me alone he started calling me “fat cow”. This was in front of my mum, boyfriend and several other people. I then took a photo of him, and as a response he flicked me with a hose and called me “piggy”.


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53+

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demonstration

Jennifer’s Story: “I am a woman who demands respect”

I feel their eyes leering at me as I walk by…
targeting me for their next attack.
my eyes looking straight ahead
thoughts racing through my mind
heart beating a little faster,
hoping they won’t say anything to me

“Hey you!”
I heard ruthless comments directed at me…
Catcalling me as if I was an object
I heard them laughing…
making sexual comments about my body
and grunting at me like animals

I hear this and don’t dare look back…
a huge rush of emotions flooded my body
disgust.
humiliation.
degradation.
frustration.
anger.
sadness.

My heart aches for the day
street harassment will be no longer,
where I, along with everyone else, can walk around
without fear, doubt, or worry

My body is not public property.

I am a woman who demands respect.

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12+

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Uncategorized

Week In Our Shoes: Workshopping Edition

Screen Shot 2013-10-11 at 3.19.07 PMHello Hollabackers!

This week Hollaback! was featured by The Guardian (London), Boston Neighborhood Network News, RH Reality Check, The Dalhousie Gazette, The Guardian (US), NY Press, The Post, Athen’s News, CTV, and NYU Local. ED, Emily May, spoke at a NYC Lady Drinks event for the International Day of the Girl.

Next week, we have some exciting news in store, so watch this space! In the meantime, meet our Development and Research Intern, Stacy Bullard!

Here’s what the HOLLAs around the world have been up to:

Hollaback Gent co-organized a self-defence workshop that will be held this Saturday. They also held a meeting with a representative from Gent City Council to address street harassment targeting LGBT and to discuss the issue homophobia in their area.

Hollaback Berlin produced a translated version of the storytelling infographic in German.

Hollaback Appalachian Ohio  in addition to receiving some great press coverage, conducted four  workshops to twenty-eight 8th graders in a Health class at a local Middle School.

Hollaback Edinburgh created this awesome volunteer sign up sheet, great for organizing and recruiting volunteers (and customizable).

Hollaback Ottawa held a Feminist Mixer! Meet-up at The Oak on Bank and Gloucester to eat, drink and mingle with other like-minded feminists in Ottawa on Tuesday. They also presented at a Coffee House event to discuss safety in the Vanier neighbourhood on Thursday and were featured on CTV. Check out her amazing video here!

HOLLA and out!

-The Hollaback! Team

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Story, Uncategorized, Verbal

HOLLA ON THE GO: “Pride in the Park is a day we all should be able to enjoy”

Pride in the Park is a day we all should be able to enjoy.
Some out of state people showed up to prance around with signs and verbally attack Pride-goers.
One man, bible in hand decided me and my friend looked homosexual and proceeded to keep asking why we look as we do. “WHY ARE YOU DRESSED LIKE THAT?!? ARE YOU A HOMOSEXUAL?!?”
They harassed many people present and even brought a bullhorn. So you travel states just spread hate in the name of your god? Logical…

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27+

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