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KG’s Story: No Means No

So I have a couple different stories and both of them happened when i was 16. I’m 20 now. I hope it’s ok that i am sharing something that did not happen to me recently. i just really want to share them because i think it is great that this hollaback thing exists and i haven’t shared these stories with realy anyone because i’m sort of embarassed.

SO this one time i was hanging around the plaza the morning after halloween and this really nice group of people were sitting on the grass smoking blunts and asked me if i wanted to join them. I accepted their offer. most of them gradually got up and left after a bit and then it was just me and this guy who didn’t seem threatening at all at first. i talked with him for a bit and then he started complimenting me a lot on my appearance which i thought was nice of him but it sort of made me uncomfortable. so i decided to politely get up and leave. he followed me and his compliments started to get nasty and sexual. I just ignored him hoping he would get the picture. obviousy i should have told him to fuck off but i didn’t want to make a scene i guess. so he keeps following me and being gross. i started to make my way toward the bus stop because at this point i just wanted to go home. on the way there he pushed me up against this fence and showed me his half boner. i kept pushing him away and telling him to stop but he woudn’t. he put his hand up my skirt. so i pushed him with full force and ran towards the bus stop. he followed me. sat next to me at the stop and kept trying to kiss me and stuff. i kept telling him to leave me alone. it’s stupid but i really didn’t want to make a scene because i was really embarassed. i should have yelled for help i know. there was this couple sitting across from us and i tried to make eye contact with them. they looked at me but they must have assumed he was just my boyfriend and i was mad at him or something. i don’t know. he was begging me to pay for his bus fair so he could come with me. i didn’t (of course). so i got on the bus and made it home safely.

a similar thing happened to me again in this same area. i was still 16 at the time. this guy said hi to me when i walked past him and i said hello back. he takes this as an invitation to follow me around for an hour begging me to come home with him. he looked like he was in his 40s. i told him i was 16 and that i was just waiting for my parents to get out of an appointment. which was true. but this did not raise any red flags in his mind. he even tried to trick me into coming to his house by saying “hey i have some weed but i left it at home you wanna come with me to get it?”. i just kept telling him to fuck off and he finally did thank god.

for a long time after this stuff happened to me i refused to go back to this area by myself. i live in this area now and haven’t had any problems because now when guys flirt with me i just ignore them.

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Whitney’s story: We’re not laughing.

Hello I am new here,
I know I’m going to be laughed at for this, but I need to free this pain from my chest.

being dropped off to my very first “Job Interview.” I’m not sure or can’t seem to remember my age at the time, but I’m thinking around 15 to 16 maybe?.
Back on topic, after leaving the job site (at a theme park) since it was only a few blocks away, I was made to walk home. Feeling lonely like I always do, on the quite gloomy day, I stopped at the light waiting to cross. A couple of men in a very old and dirty looking red car drove past me (kind of quickly) with their door open. I didn’t know what was going on until they fully passed by, but I noticed some type of water coming from the open door. I didn’t see the man’s face, but he yelled “SORRY” while laughing away. It was all over my suit pants & soaked my shoes, I held my tears but every step I took towards my home became harder and harder. I’m not very smart but first thought it was a soda, or something else. but it turned out to be pee (from the smell & other things). Everyday I dealt with bullying from many people in highschool, at home, etc. I guess I shouldn’t be shocked by this.

Sadly enough while being raised by my grandmother,
she taught me that if I cry, it will get worse. Keep in mind she was an abusive person.

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67+

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Pari’s story: interpreting politeness

I was standing in the metro. Some guys were standing next to me ( They didn’t understand german, just arabic, so I assume they were from an arabic country, although this isn’t a matter of nationality) and were chatting, they seemed to be in their 20s. I want to add that I directly came from school and I was dressed very modestly. When the train stopped at the station, they guy next to me let me leave the train first . I liked this act of politeness very much, that’s why thanked him and smiled to him very nicely. It wasn’t meant as flirtation or anything, I just wanted to be polite. But when I left, I heard them laughing : oooooooooooh Dankeschön Dankeschön ( which is the german word for thank you, that i used). They said it in a weird tone , then they started to say something in arabic. Of course I don’t really know what they said, but I am sure that they thought that the fact I thanked him in a friendly way, was a sign that I liked him. They continued grinning into my direction and that really upset me.
Generally, I have experienced that guys from the middleeast sometimes misinterpret politeness from girls. I am from Iran, and Iranians also behave this way. Another time, I was in the metro with my friend when a Iranian guy started talking to me, in the middle of our conversation! I replied politely but reluctantly. still, when my friend left the train, he talked to me all they way, asking how old i was and if i would give him my phone number . he was actually pretty nice, but it was still a bit awkward for me.
When I am in Iran, I experienced that if you look into a guys eyes for a few seconds or smile at him, he thinks you are interested in him. That really sucks. so – guys ! even if I am polite to you – it doesn’t mean I want to date you our stuff okay?

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GG’s story: My dad was within feet of me.

My car broke down on the side of a busy but small road during 5 o’clock traffic. My dad was with me and he was standing outside looking under my hood. I was way too uncomfy to get out of the car because I was wearing a short dress and wasn’t anticipating having to stand on the side of a road. I have been sexually assaulted and raped before so this adds to my extreme anxiety in situations such as this. I felt bad that I was not helping so I did step out of the car, and of course – as soon as I did I hear “DAMMMNNNN BABY” or something to that effect. This man was hanging out the driver’s side window making hand gestures at me and yelling, at a stop sign, with tons of other cars waiting behind him and all around. Although my stress level heightens in situations like this I always have something to say back. I look at him, gave him the finger and just said “NO. NOPE.” with a super bitch look on my face. He THEN yelled “Whatever, BITCH!” and drove away, continuing to look at me. My dad was within feet of me. There were TWO OTHER men standing with us and he STILL had the audacity to do it. My dad an the other men did not hear it, luckily. Otherwise we would have had a bigger problem.

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Natalie’s story: #bystanderFAIL

So me and a friend of mine are walking through downtown Portland Oregon to the mall to get some Christmas shopping done. As we’re crossing the street, a man comes up to me and my friend and starts screaming 6 inches from our faces
“I WANT TO F*CK YOU, F*CK ME RIGHT HERE RIGHT NOW MAKE LOVE TO ME”
After being startled half to death I finally worked up the courage to scream right back, “GET THE FUCK AWAY FROM US BEFORE I BEAT THE SHIT OUT OF YOU!!” He didn’t back off so we shoved our way through and kept walking.
What bothers me the most was that there were 20 or 30 people around us at the pioneer courthouse square and not ONE person did anything or asked us if we were okay.

This is only one of numerous times ive been harassed on my way to work/class/at work.

I cant shake the feeling these encounters gives me. Something has got to be done.

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Marysa’s story: “I was 14 years old.”

I have witnessed some assaults so far, but most of them weren’t that severe. But in June 2010 , I experienced Something really bad happened to me and my friends when I was 14 years old. My friends and I were sitting in a bus when a man right next to us started to masturbate in front of us. At first, I didn’t really realize what he was doing , but when I got it, I was so shocked ! He looked into my eyes while doing it and I turned away, but still we all could hear him breathing louder and louder. It was disturbing, disgusting and just so creepy. Some adults saw what he was doing, but no one helped us. It was really, really disgusting. I felt so humiliated – he was “using” me in order to please himself.

This was one of the most disturbing things I’ve experienced. Later, there were other things, comments, looks or rude remarks . Still, the bus incident was the worst – it made me feel dirty and abused ! I wish I would have said something, but I couldn’t say anything.

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Joee’s story: “that intuitive prickling sensation we all experience as a primitive warning system”

There have been so many times throughout my life that I’ve experienced street harassment without even realizing what it truly was. Like many women, it began around the time I reached adolescence and has only gotten worse. Unfortunately, I have too many stories to share here at once, but there is one from several years ago that still sticks out in my mind like it was yesterday, and probably always will.
I had just turned 16 and gotten my first job hostessing at a restaurant in the small town I lived in. One spring afternoon, a friend from work and I decided to go shopping at an outdoor plaza and take a walk around the park across from it. We went in and out of a few stores, having a nice time. My friend needed to make a quick stop at a store in the plaza and since I didn’t need to go in that store I told her that I’d walk across the street to the park to get some ice cream and we agreed to meet back up by the ice cream stand in a few minutes.
I did just that, but the line for ice cream was short and my friend was no-where to be seen. I sat on a bench in the park and ate my ice cream out of a little cup, waiting and watching the few people there walking around the track. I pitched my empty cup in the garbage bin beside the bench and that’s when I saw him: an elderly man, perhaps 70 or 75 years old, walking a bicycle, overtly staring at me and making a beeline in my direction. I didn’t pay him much heed until he came to a halt right in front of me. I looked up, confused, and he said, “Sure is a lovely day, isn’t it?” I replied that it was. He then backed up a bit so he and his bike were close beside me and I was beginning to feel that intuitive prickling sensation we all experience as a primitive warning system, but try to ignore. He said, “What’s a pretty girl like you doing alone in the park?” He leaned closer to me. I had been sexually assaulted less than a year before and was still slightly skittish around strange men approaching me. I tensed and began feeling like a cornered animal, prey; his body and bicycle were blocking my most immediate exit. I tried to think of an appropriate response that might discourage him. “I’m waiting for my boyfriend,” I said. “He’s just on the other side of the park.” I thought that may be enough, but it only gave him more to question me with. “Do you like to have fun with him? I don’t think there’s nothin’ wrong with two adults having fun.” I knew what he was implying and I knew there was no way he thought I was older than I was, let alone an adult. With my tiny frame and still slightly child-like face, I was often mistaken as being even younger than I was. ‘Is he a pedophile?’ I thought, and it alarmed me even further. I smiled sheepishly, uncomfortably, hoping he wouldn’t sense my unease and prey on it like a canine when it smells fear.
“So you like to have fun? I live around here, I just got this real nice place. We could walk over there if you wanna. We’ll have fun.” He smiled. Creepy. His words themselves were innocuous but the implied meaning was clear. I looked around as discreetly as I could, hoping to see my friend or another person, anyone, nearby. I didn’t, but I wanted away from him right then. “Oh look, there comes my boyfriend!” I stood up abruptly, causing him to stagger backward a step, and power-walked with no real destination in my mind; just away from him. He got on his bike and rode out of the park.
I crossed the street, heading to the store my friend was in just as she came out of the door. I called her name and she must have seen something in my eyes I was unaware of because she sounded alarmed when she asked, “What’s wrong?!”
I relayed my experience to her and we got in her car. She was determined to find the man and we circled every block in the vicinity, but we never saw him. Although the panic I felt was nearly gone, adrenaline was still pumping through my veins, and I was shaken. I told her I just wanted to go home. As I was getting out at my house, I sincerely thanked her for her concern and efforts in trying to find the man.
Only when I was alone in my bedroom at last did I allow the tears to flow unbidden. I felt ashamed, scared, powerless, sullied, but most of all I felt angry. Angry not only at this one creep, but for all the women who have to live with men like him and their lecherous glances and words that poison innocence. I was angry with myself for not standing up, not reporting him right then because I realized that with the confidence and persuasion he exuded towards me, he must have done this before and will undoubtedly do it again, perhaps to an even younger or more naive girl who will follow him home.
I realized I needed to take a stand, and I have. Not only for myself, but for every person who has ever experienced sexual harassment. I’m so thankful for organizations like Ihollaback for raising awareness for something so vitally important. From me, and I’m sure from women everywhere, thank you for showing us we have the strength to holla back!

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55+

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Sage’s story: I was 16

Once when I was 16 I walked down the road i live on to do my volunteering at a thrift shop. I approached an intersection when a man in a van began to harass me. He honked repeatedly as I crossed the street. Once I crossed,and the light had gone green he made a turn and began driving and honking alongside where i was walking. I just walked to the shop and did my work. Hours later, i had completely forgotten about the incident and went on break. I sat outside and watched cars go by while i ate some crackers. Suddenly the same man in the van from hours before came “casually” walking past and approached me. He started asking me why i was sitting there and if i was hungry and wanted to get in his car to get something to eat with him. I told him no and he eventually went away. It made me feel so uncomfortable.

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Margot’s story: 1984

I was about 24 and biking home along East Broadway towards Burnaby. It was during rush hour traffic and another biker came up behind me and slid his hand up my buttocks. It made me stop biking almost fell into traffic. We fought a bit and drivers just honked at us! This was from out of no where. I didn’t know the person and didn’t recognize him from any previous riding experience. Didn’t make sense. No one helped and after I called 911 the police said they couldn’t do anything for me. I still had to finish riding my bike home! I would never have thought that this could happen this way. This was back in 1984.

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Margot’s story: #bystanderFAIL

I had just returned from a trip overseas. I was 20. I was visiting with my brother at a local Taco Bell. I used the pay phone on the street and had a young man approach me asking for directions – I gave him the directions and his way of thanking me was to come into the phone booth and assault me and grope me. I was very shocked and tried to fight back. It was about 9 p.m. and still light out. People watched and didn’t do anything. I felt very violated, but what could I do? This was back in 1980.

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