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Becky’s story: “I felt humiliated and degraded”

Today on my way to the bus stop after school, a man offered me money to sleep with him, and I ignored him and kept walking. Then he offered money to see my boobs, and I still tried to ignore him. Then he took out his phone and took a picture of me from behind and claimed that he was going to jerk off to it later. I felt humiliated and degraded and didn’t know what to do. It’s amazing how something like that can ruin your whole day. I really hate people sometimes =/

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Ella’s Story: “That’s when I started crying”

As I arrived at my bus stop several people (all women) were already standing there. There is another bus stop at the other side of the street, where a young man was standing.
As soon as he noticed me he started yelling all these derogatory things, he called me a dirty slut, said he was going to rape me, … I was really scared but he didn’t cross the street and I had to take my bus so I tried to completely ignore him. This went on for about 5 minutes, when his bus arrived and he left.
That’s when I started crying.

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Sarah’s Story: Learning from experiences

You don’t have a “HollaBack” in my city, Kathmandu, Nepal, but I think this story is important none-the-less. Even if it’s just to get it out of my own head and heart, and shared.

I’m really moved by what you do at HollaBack, and think it’s an incredibly important and smart movement. It’s great timing for me, as I just learned about this website today, and was harassed 2 days ago, with (I feel) little I can do about it here.

While walking down my dirt road, I was feeling more confident and attractive than usual here. It was warm outside and for the first time in months I was able to wear a long flowing skirt and a v-neck t-shirt. (Nothing revealing by any means)

I was only maybe 20 feet away from my house door, when a motorcyclist came speeding by. On his way past, he stuck out his hand, and grabbed my breast. He passed by so fast, I really had no defense against it. Even when I turned away to yell at him, I realized, I speak English, he most likely speaks Nepali, my words were of no use. :( If he had been going any slower I think I would have tried to push over his motorcycle. I was furious at his nerve, and the fact I was defenseless against it.

So, he went speeding away. It happened so unexpectedly I can barely remember what he looked like, much less felt there was anything I could do about it.

Since the incident, I’ve felt less safe in my own neighborhood. I think, “what if he lives near me?” “what if he sees me often and I’ve just never noticed him?” I don’t like this feeling of fear and lack of safety in the area in which I live.

I also feel like my fears aren’t helpful. What IS helpful is being aware of my surroundings, learning from my experiences, and sharing them with other women to move forward to fight against this sort of street harassment that happens every day.

Since hearing about HollaBack, I feel more comfortable discussing this with people in my neighborhood as well to keep from it happening again. Thanks HollaBack for giving me an outlet. :)

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Rene’s Story: Don’t throw your trash at me

Walking home from campus, early evening (5:00ish), I was approaching the intersection of 14th & Mass. A white Jimmy SUV full of boys slowed down and yelled “I’d tap that fat ass!” then threw a Sonic cup full of something (I hope to God it was water) at me, then sped off. Didn’t get a license plate number, but they had some kind of fraternity/Greek letters on the back windshield and a Jayhawk sticker (narrows it down, right? Ha).

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Rachel G.’s story: What gives them that right?

On top of being a full time student, I have a part time job at my university. On one Monday morning that had already been difficult for me, I was walking around a building on campus running errands for my boss when I walked by two guys sitting on a bench. I heard one of them make a noise that sounded like a dog barking but I assumed they were joking with each other and continued walking. A few minutes later, I walked by them again and heard the noise again, followed shortly after by a comment, of which I only caught the end… “I like her earrings though”. At this point, I realized, they were saying something about me. I was wearing particularly large and shiny earrings that day, one of my favorite pairs, and had received a few compliments, all of which had made me feel good. None of them had made me feel uncomfortable until I walked by those jackasses. At this point I went to the bathroom and attempted to waste a few minutes hoping they would go away but of course, they did not. Sure enough, when I walked by the third time, they made that noise twice and said something again, this time about my ass. Unfortunately, I was wearing my work uniform at the time so I had to resist the urge to turn around, flip them off, lecture them on respect and tell them to go fuck themselves which was extremely difficult for me. I almost never let those kinds of things go and I certainly never rely on anyone else to stand up for me, I believe that empowers the harasser. Instead, I marched into my boss’ office and told her what had happened. My boss then called someone higher up on the chain of command who came, spoke with me for a minute about what happened and then went to talk to the harassers. Even though they went away, I didn’t feel any better. What gives them the right to harass me at work? To put me in a position where I had to either stick up for myself and risk my job or to let it go? Who are they to cause me to have to go so very far against my morals and values? To make it so that I have to get a man to go and defend my honor instead? What the hell gives them that right?

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E.A.’s Story: “I holler back”

One afternoon this summer I was biking home from our local bike co-op when I pulled up to a red light next to one other vehicle. The light had just turned red when I stopped and almost instantaneously the windows of the car next to me rolled down and two men in the car began shouting at me. The driver was quietly saying sexual threats that I could hardly hear under a passenger yelling “I like your bike. Is it a nimbus 2000? Is it Lance Armstrong’s bike? You’re really cute.” It seemed harmless enough until I heard the driver shout “I want to put my dick in your helmet… I want to put my dick in your ass.” As soon as the light changed, I found an alternate way home to ensure that the car couldn’t follow me home. The whole time it was happening I was heartbroken that the woman in the front seat didn’t try to stop them from harassing me. I am a very femme-presenting man and I will not let ignorance keep me from living openly. I holler back.

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Megan’s Story: “He wanted me to be passive”

I was pumping gas when a group of teenage boys pulled up to the intersection. They rolled the windows down and one began yelling things – starting with “pump that gas, girl.” I looked up then turned to ignore him. He kept yelling, getting more suggestive but not explicit.

After months of walking to the bus to yells of “hey, girl” or horns being honked by anonymous drivers, I was fed up. So I flipped him off and yelled, “f**k you, come say it to my face, you little chickenshit.” And there was silence. Then I heard a weak, “that’s not very nice.” And they drove away.

I love his response. He wanted me to be passive, afraid, shamed, an object of his attention. My aggression set him back. I’m sure he won’t forget it soon. I wouldn’t recommend my method to anyone, but considering my audience and genuine willingness to fight it was fitting.

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Julia’s story: “I told him no multiple times”

I was baby sitting for my sister and brother in law while they went out to spend time with my brother in law’s brother who was in town. they came home after a night of partying and while every one else went to bed my brother in laws brother decided to get touchy. I told him no multiple times and he still continued to touch me, kiss me and grope me. He was drunk and wouldnt stop. i didnt sleep at all that night. I just want to find closer with this. it happened about 3 years ago. no charges were ever pressed(family said we would deal with it) I havent seen him since.

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Jordan’s Story: “I still feel good about what I did”

I am 19, and my best friend is 17. While we were picking up a few things at Wal-mart, we noticed three men who were following us around the store. I am a Wal-Mart employee, and Coffeyville is a small town, so I actually recognized the men who were following us because they had given myself and other female employees problems in the past. At first they were just making remarks at my friend and I, so we just ignored it. As we were checking out, the three men got behind my friend and I. At first we just ignored them, but as I was paying for our items, I noticed that the men were standing very close to my friend, and one of them was standing directly behind her, actually touching her with his body. I became very angry, and pushed the man away from my friend who did not know what to do, and then asked for the cashier to call for a manager so they could call the police, because the man was sexually harassing a minor. Unfortunately the three men actually ran out of the store. But even thought they got away, I still feel good about what I did.

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Erin’s Story: “I felt mortified and objectified”

I am so glad I found this space– this experience has left me with a very lonely and awful feeling all day. I am visiting New Orleans for a business convention, so I am required to wear business professional attire. Because I am short, I prefer to wear “skinny jeans” style dress pants because I look like I am swimming in wide leg pants. My clothing was form fitting because, plain simply ,that is more flattering on me and because I feel confident wearing that style.

While walking to lunch in the french quarter I was called to repeatedly by different men. At first it didn’t bother me because I took it as “southern charm,” but when I walked past a convince store in front of a group of men, they literally were screaming at me. One man even said that he “was horny.” I felt mortified and objectified. While I silently stormed away another group of men at the end of the street continued where they left off. Further down a man pulled his car over to ask “if he could walk me home” that night. I could not believe these men had the nerve to make me feel this way. I felt ashamed for the way I was dressed (even though I was completely business appropriate). I wish I had the nerve to say something, but I was honestly scared that I would just provoke them. I am trying not to let this experience taint my otherwise amazing time in New Orleans.

Thank you, Hollaback, for giving me an outlet to vent. These stories are hard to share.

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