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Livia’s story: They’d visually stalk me every time I walked out the door

Hey Hollaback y’alls,

So, I like this. I like this because I thought of waging my own anti-street harassment campaigns the same time you were building this website. Awesome.

I lived in San Francisco, in the deep mission. The men stared at EVERY woman under 30 who walked by. They’d visually stalk me every time I walked out the door.

I had seriously high anxiety in San Francisco because I was always being watched. Walking down the street, men would see me from a block away, and literally turn their bodies toward me while still talking to each other & stare. As I walked past them, they’d turn their bodies so they could watch me walk away.

This was a daily thing. I dreamed of putting up posters that said, ” Staring is rude.” “We think men who stare are unattractive.” Knowing they were total homophobic pigs…”Would you fuck a 68 year old man? Neither would I. Stop Staring.”

I didn’t do it, but I think I still will.

I've got your back!
12+

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Jasmine’s Story: “I’m about to violate you right now.”

I was walking down the street and a boy tried to talk to me (he was with a group of other boys). He asked if he was “valid” (or good enough) to talk to, and I responded “no, I have a boyfriend.” He then said “f@ck your boyfriend, what does he have to do with me, I’m not talking about him. This is why I can’t stand harlem b*tches (the boys joined in by laughing).” I asked “harlem what?” and his friend responded “harlem girls.” The boy then repeated “harlem b*tches” and went on to say, “your on my block talking, I should get you jumped. I’m about to violate you right now.” I tried to verbally defend myself, but then decided to cross the street.

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Jaya’s Story: “Exhausting and frustrating”

I live in UP, North India. It’s a bad place for eve teasing! In my home town which is so small and peaceful, you still get roadside romeos who think it’s a big turn on to follow you home on their bikes yelling things at you all the way. Then when they’ve had enough and are bored they say “Sorry, just having fun!” and zoom off!

Also get all kinds of harassment from every guy who walks past when you go to a park. No matter what you wear, they are drawn like moths to a flame. In shopping malls I have been followed and harassed. These guys just can’t understand why you are scared and have no desire to talk to some stranger who is following you around!

Even older men are up to these tricks. And once common thing you will get is that when you walk past someone will start to sing or play on their phone a raunchy song from some movie. It’s horrible. You feel like everyone is staring at you like a piece of meat.

In places other than my hometown, I have experienced groping. Some guy once followed me trying to talk to me and when I told him to leave me alone he lunged forward and grabbed my breast hard for a moment before racing away. It was painful physically and frustrating too because I didn’t even have time to yell. I felt so used and abused afterwards.

These men should understand how frightening and humiliating it is to go outside on your own streets and be treated this way. It is not a compliment to be noticed, it is exhausting and frustrating to only be seen as a sex object. Would they like their sister, mothers, wives and daughters to be treated that way? I am sick of so many noticing that I am a female with a female body and staring at that as if it is theirs for the taking. I dream of a world where my mind and my actions are more important.

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Natalie’s Story: Not a whore

Jeep pulled over, called me a whore like 4 times, and when I turned around and said what did you say? They said one two three, “WHORE you retard.”

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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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