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Tonight around 10 PM, on a train back to her apartment in Williamsburg, a hooded man seated next to my best friend, a 22 year old woman, whispered in her ear “I am going to follow you when you get up.” He did follow her, just a step behind, up the subway steps of her stop and out onto the street. With great clarity in a life-threatening moment, she stepped inside a bodega, while he stood outside, waiting for her, and was fortunate to find a couple who were willing to walk her the few steps from the market to her apartment door. When they exited the bodega, the hooded man was still there, waiting for his (potential) victim. Unfortunately, it took the help of two people–a woman to make her feel safe, and a man to protect her– to allow this woman to arrive home unharmed.
The most important part of this is that my friend is safe, but I feel such anger and rage that men like this, who derive such a false, disgusting sense of power from physically and sexually threatening women in public (or private), can make strong, smart, powerful women like my friend doubt their decision to live alone if they choose, to live free and independent lives, or to merely live at all. I am completely disgusted, and concerned for my friend.
Submitted by R.P.
I was at Burger King at Main St. and Roosevelt Ave in Flushing with some friends, hanging out. We were about to leave when this guy (who had previously asked for money) sitting next to us goes “Hey, you, whats up? I want to suck you.” I looked at him, disgusted, and replied “you’re fucking gross.” He then proceeds to get up and follow us out while wiggling his tongue at me. He said “I want to suck your pussy”, and would have probably stuck his tongue in my ear had I not moved away. My friend and I told him he was a fucking pervert and he followed us to the corner. Ugh.
Submitted by Cheer
My girl and I were walking down the street yesterday. As with every day when we/she/I walk down the street, some jerk in a prettied-up car decided it was his business to violate our space by sticking his head out of the window and assaulting us with a list of sleazy, misogynistic, homophobic and idiotic comments. He seemed to think that we wanted to know all about the fact that hot lesbians were part of his heterosexual male fantasy… he was wrong.
In response to his violent penetration of our personal space, my girlfriend and I screamed a list of obsenities at him, telling him exactly what he could do with his fantasy, his over-inflated ego, and his fucked up attitude. Apparently, women getting angry at his harassment was not a response he was used to, so he stuck his head back out the window to let us know that we were “fucked up bitches” and “crazy fucking psychos”. Shit, why hadn’t we noticed? Clearly we were the psychos, considering we were the ones cruising around town and looking to assault vulnerable individuals.
His car paused at a set of lights, and he continued to scream at us, throwing his fist around and piling every swear word he knew into discriptions of us. Fed up, my spunky girlfriend shot a massive glob of spit onto his beautifully painted car. Inspired by her actions, I too walked up to his car, and kicked the back of it as hard as I could. This sent him into a frenzy, and he jumped out of his car to further yell abuse at us. We pointed out that the police were sitting across at the next set of lights, so he backed off, but continued to scream at us as he drove away.
Now, some might think it was a bit of an overreaction to kick someone’s property in response to a “compliment”. I’d like to tell those people to take their ignorant, sexist agendas and shove it up their arses. As a woman and as a lesbian, I spend every day of my life confined by the consequences of men’s belief that it is perfectly acceptable to verbally, physically and sexually assualt, harass, and intimidate me. I spend each day fighting off unwanted physical advances, being powerless to respond to drive-by sexual advances, having to shut up and ignore the endless streams of catcalls and wolf whistles, watching program after program representing women as sexual/domestic play objects for men, and battling with both men and women to convince them that yes, it is important to be aware of the the power issues that surround gender relations. I spend nights crying as a result of the sexual abuse I have experienced, days altering my routes so I can feel safe when walking home, and endless hours being overwhelmed by how much work is yet to be done in order to create a world which is safe, equal and free from violence and intimidation.
That kick to the back of the prettied-up car, therefore, was a kick for every man who has ever intimidated, objectfied, assaulted, abused, taken advantage of, raped, or hit a woman. It was for every catcall, wolf whistle, and unwanted comment any woman has ever received since becoming old enough to be violated. It was also a warning to each individual who thinks it is ok to harass women, whether in public or in private.
And fuck, it felt good.
Watch out world… I’ve discovered the power to holla back, and holla back I will.
Submitted by Sandra
I’m only twelve, so I get grossed out pretty easy.
As I was walking home from school one day, a man A LOT older than me stops walking as I walk past. He tries to grab me but I speed up so he misses. “I love your ass!” he calls after me.
Submitted by Fiona
(A special note from the Hollaback team: GO VOTE! Let’s make this world a better place together. New Yorkers: got voting questions? Get them answered here.)
Tom: Can I go in with you?
Me: I don’t think so dude.
Me: (shaking head) No.
Tom: I won’t look. What are you scared I’m going to see something? I won’t look. I’ll pee in the shower.
The door opens and I slip in. As the door shuts behind me he forces it back open and thrusts himself into the bathroom. Next thing I know he’s standing next to me. With reflexes that were must more impressive than my zombie costume might have suggested, I pushed him backwards as hard as I could. He fell outside of the bathroom and I locked the door.
Adrenaline still pumping, I got my boyfriend to take this picture of him. As I stood there shaken and scared, he was dancing.
Submitted by Emily
My dad gave my best friend and I his afternoon tickets for the 9/16 game RED SOX VS YANKEES. We sat for about ½ the game when this guy from behind us started making jokes about “southies” and how much the red sox suck (not to mention they were almost done selling beer and the Yankees were getting spanked). We ignored him for a pretty long time and hoped he would just shut up. Everyone in our section (mostly other season ticket holders) were also getting annoyed by his loud drunken stupidity. We jokingly asked him if he was from Jersey to which he answered “how did you know?” and then continued to call us nasty names. He called us everything in the book including assuming we were there “together” even though we both had our wedding rings prominently displayed. Finally when we had just about had enough he started to throw things at us. It was horrible. My friend was turning bright red. Being that we are both Scorpios you can imagine it was hard for us to sit there so long and listen to this without shouting back at him. Finally my friend turned around and told him to shut up which, admittedly, only made things worse. He screamed louder and louder and splashed beer in our direction, asking us if we liked to be humiliated. I am a military veteran with overseas time we even turned around and told him he was ruining one of my last few days before deployment (which has since been canceled) and even that didn’t shut him up. At one point in time I think he spit on us. At this point even his friends were looking pretty embarrassed but still weren’t attempting to shut him down. We got up and moved (to better seats no less) and enjoyed the rest of our day there—but since I had heard about this site on NPR, I had to snap some pictures of him. Here he is, in the white shirt with blue stripes and glasses on his head.
Submitted by Nicki and Corinne
After meeting with a co-founder of HollaBack I was walking home and ecstatically explaining to a friend on my cell phone how well my interview went and how excited I was to get involved in the group. While deeply engaged in this phone conversation, this guy finds it appropriate to ask, or tell me “Hey baby, come hang out with us”, ignoring the fact that I look 14 and he looks 70. While I’ve heard much more disturbing comments and usually blow this nonsense off, this guys body language was enough on its own as he tried stopping me in my tracks, literally. Quickly I said to my friend I’ll call you back, knowing that I needed to get this pigs picture. Getting my camera ready, I turned back towards this guy and his friend and politely said “Just let me take your picture” to which he happily responded with this pose. “Thanks”, I said, “HollaBack, H-o-l-l-a BACK. Check out your face on the website!” To this he sarcastically responded “Well come back so I can give you a better picture”. I kept walking and with a smile and confidence this time for I knew he was confused and nervous, most likely wondering where his face was being posted and who would see it. Living in New York for more than five years and experiencing the most disturbing acts of harassment, I always walked away pissed off with the feeling of being violated and helpless or tried blowing it off while thinking to myself, ‘don’t let this guy get to you’. Now I don’t have to! Now I can HOLLA BACK! and rightly so.
Submitted by Lisa (our newest member!)
Submitted by Nica
Last night I was coming back from a bar in the west village around 1am, and thought I would take a taxi (to go home to Astoria) instead of the subway to be safer since it was late and I was alone. I should have taken the subway. The whole ride through Manhattan the driver was asking me if I had a boyfriend, what race of guy I prefer, stuff like that. I was thinking “what a fucking pervert” but just ignored him or answered his idiotic questions with one word answers, thinking if I acted not interested at all he would shut up and take me home so I could go to sleep.
Then on the bridge he starts getting deeper, asking questions like“how do you like sex”, “do you like 69”, shit like that. Then I started to think “I am so reporting this sicko once I get home”. Then right after the 59st bridge he drives the car down some random street, PULLS OVER and tells me to come up front to see so he can show me his dick. As exciting as that sounds, I asked him to please just take me home. Then he keeps asking me to come up front, I quickly realized there’s no way this guys taking me home. After I saw my life flash before my eyes, I grabbed my stuff, opened the door (luckily it was open) and ran. He got out of the car, caught up to me and grabbed my stuff saying I still owe him money and to get back in the car. So now we’re basically fighting in the street, I’m yelling at him to give me back my stuff, he’s telling me to get back in the car. I should have just ran and ditched my stuff, but I have a feeling he would have caught up with me anyway, him being in car and me on foot. I saw another cab go by and screamed for him to help me. Thank god he stopped and got out, and asked what the problem was. I told him this guy was trying to rape me, the guy told him I was trying to run away without paying. I was like yeah, like I’m going to get out in the middle of the ghetto nowhere near my house and run away to save $15. Finally I threw $40 at the pervert (so basically I paid way extra for some guy to sexually harass and assault me), he gave me my stuff, and the other dude took me home.
Right after the guy gave me my stuff I looked him the the eye and yelled “You think I’m fucking stupid, I got your medallion number, you just lost your job!” and then for an added effect screamed “xxxx” about 5 times. He drove off. I went home and called 911, told them his #, and said I want to press charges. I’m reporting him to every taxi commission I can find, the cab company, and plan to call the police station every day until they come up with a reason they can go arrest him. There is no way this guy hasn’t done this before, so I’m hoping as long as one other person has reported him he’s fucked. He is still out there as of now (apparently you cant be arrested unless you do actually rape someone) but I will not sleep until this sicko is not out driving a cab.
Submitted by Erin
(Note to the ladies: RightRides offers women a free, safe ride home Saturdays from 12-3 at night, and they are hoping to expand into other evenings in the future. Check them out at www.rightrides.org.