Appalachian Ohio, Athens GA, Atlanta, Berkeley, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Columbia MO, Columbus, Des Moines, Durham & Chapel Hill, East Lansing, Fredericksburgh VA, Houston, Los Angeles, Muncie IN, New York City, NYU, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Plattsburgh, Richmond VA, San Francisco, Tucson, Twin Cities
I was walking down the street to my car after one of my shifts at work, straight-faced, focused on getting to my car safely with pepper spray in hand. “Why don’t you smile?” I heard it and immediately turned red with rage. His buddies laughed. I kept my paced, looked over my shoulder, yelled “that was sexist bullshit!” and spent the rest of the night angry at him, the comment, and myself becaused I wished I would have confronted him and his buddies face to face.
These clever guys in my DC neighborhood use this adorable pickup gimmick when I bike home after work: they slow their car, make comments about my body, and even stop traffic to “cheer me on” as I slowly bike uphill. What would I do without their compliments and attention each day? Street harassment is the BEST. So far, three different cars have done this – one was a group of young college-age men, and the other two have been individuals. Tonight was a man who actually pulled over to wait for me after following me side-by-side for a block as I bicycled uphill, stopping traffic and making me worried I’d get followed. Luckily, people started honking and he drove away, but I was worried he’d catch me later on in my commute. I wish him a thousand flat tires.
I was walking back to work throught the skyway in downtown St. Paul. A man started walking close to me and making disgusting and perverted comments about my body. I gave him a stern look and he then became more aggressive. He said “how am I not supposed to say anything to you”. He followed me and continued to make comments. I then looked at him and said “you are being disrespectful. Leave me alone”. He continued to make comments and follow me for a short while, but then left. There were other people around and no one said anything. I then had to either get into an elevator or climb a set of stairs to get back to my office and I was afraid.
Two men told me I smelled good.
Just the normal “compliment” not meant as a compliment. Makes me feel like shit.
I passed by the hired security guards daily because their desk is directly across from the elevators at my university. One guard (who I’ve never spoken to) would make me feel uncomfortable because he would stare at me as I waited for the doors to close. I often tried to look busy so I didn’t have to make eye contact with him. I was leaving campus one day and he FOLLOWED ME through the lobby, out the door and into the parking lot. I didn’t notice until he caught up to me and stopped to ask me, “what’s your name?”… Really? A security guard was following me through the parking lot? After that, I took the stairs to 8th floor so that I didn’t have to see him. The next year I found out he was fired for harassing other female students.
I’m verbally harassed in public at least twice a month. The latest I can remember was when I was in the grocery store at night, alone, passing by a man who was obviously checking me out while he was on the phone asking his wife or girlfriend which kind of frozen waffles to buy. He passed by me in a different isle as he was walking to the checkout line and said, “girl, I could eat you up like chocolate”. Who says this stuff?!?! Situations like this happen to me so many times I feel like all I can do is pretend I didn’t hear them. Even then I’m called names for not engaging in conversations with them. I shouldn’t need a boyfriend with me to not be harassed at the grocery store.
I was 15 and I was on the TTC Dufferin bus when a man sat down beside me. It wasn’t very crowded, but he still sat right next to me. The man pulled his backpack over his chest and lap. After a few minutes, I felt his hand brush my side. I mumbled “excuse me”, and shuffled a bit to the side. He shuffled closer and slowly started grabbing my side. I got up quickly and rang the request stop bell, even though I was still several stops away. He muttered a soft, “sorry” and I was too scared to say anything except “It’s okay”.
I wish I’d been brave enough to tell him it’s not okay. It’s not okay to touch a woman against her will. It’s especially not okay to touch a woman against her will when you’re 20 years older and she’s a teenager.
Dear HOLLAbackers –
I am writing you from sunny Long Beach on a layover. It’s sunny, 72, and I’m sitting outdoors. I’m pretty sure this is the best layover of my life.
We are coming up on International Anti-Street Harassment Week. This upcoming week, April 7-April 13, Hollaback! sites all over the world will be chalk walking, rallying, marching, crafting, and hosting all sorts of events. Tell what action you’re taking on twitter (@ihollaback) and we’ll retweet it to promote it!
NEWS FROM THE MOTHERSHIP:
NEWS FROM AROUND THE WORLD:
Thanks for all your support — and keep on holla’ing back!
Boston university students verbally harassed me. I am a trans girl and they were making fun if my Halloween costume calling me, “he and him.” They said I looked like Gene Simmons of KISS.