demonstration

Sophie’s Story: Frightening

I was walking home from the bus stop this morning, and all day I had been stared at and honked at by men in cars, and I’d just about had enough.  I was only wearing a long sleeve top and a skirt!  Anyway, so I was walking along my street which is a main road, and this guy honked at me and shouted something out.  I thought nothing of it.  And then, just as I was about to walk into my house, the guy pulled up beside me and started speaking to me.  There was another guy in the car as well but he looked more awkward and I could tell he didn’t like what this other guy was doing.  He said I looked familiar and asked what my name was and where I went to school. I only gave him brief information, but it was still a bit confronting.  He then asked me how old I was, and I told him my real age, thinking he’d go away because I was way too young for him.  But he kept talking, and eventually asked me for my number.  That was the line. There was no way I was going to even consider handing out my phone number to this creep, he looked about 10 or 15 years older than me!  So I said no and walked off, past my house so he couldn’t follow me, and then some other guy honked at me as well!  By this time I was really fed up and upset, so I went around the corner to a park, and burst into tears.  It was one of the most confronting and upsetting moments of my life.

This sort of thing happens to me too often, and I’m so sick of it, knowing that there are horrible men out there is really frightening.

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demonstration

Casey’s Story: “You have no right to touch me”

As I wad drunkenly leaving Turtle Bay bar, this dude appears next to me, touches my leg and goes “I love you you’re beautiful.”
Dude, F*CK OFF. YOU HAVE NO RIGHT TO TOUCH ME. ALSO YOU HAVE ZERO CHANCE WITH ME. EVEN IF I WERE STRAIGHT. WHICH I’M NOT. I’M GAY AS F*CK. F*CK YOU VERY MUCH.

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demonstration

Cristy’s Story: Objectification

I’m a receptionist at a car dealership. I’m also a book-artist, and I often bring small-scale pieces to my job with me so that I can work on them/fiddle with them in my free time. Today I brought a nice little Coptic-stitched number which I’ve been using as a journal and sketchbook. One of my male coworkers came up to my desk and began to admire it. I allowed it. He opened it up — and asked if he could ‘write me a poem’.

I said sure. This man had made sexualized comments toward me before, in passing — but I thought, ‘surely this guy won’t have the audacity to write something inappropriate in there, while I’m at work. Surely, surely, he isn’t so stupid.’ Welp, I was wrong.

The title of his poem was “Attraction”, and here is how it went:

Attraction
Disturbing yet Alluring
Hot yet dampened by
the look of wet innocence
if only the conversation
could breathe to life into
this daydream

I wrote him a poem in return; titled it “Objectification”:

Objectification
Ain’t no daydream
for the woman
on the receiving end of it.

We hate that shit
More than anything else
in the world.

Believe it.

He was taken aback, and he said that I’d taken the poem ‘the wrong way’. I said ‘I took it like you wrote it.’ And then, we had a conversation about workplace etiquette and the objectification of women. Wasn’t an easy conversation – it made me shake with nerves! But it was EXTREMELY FULFILLING. THANK YOU, hollaback.

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demonstration

Kate’s Story: “I didn’t ask to be assaulted”

I am not beautiful, that I know, but I also know I am no victim. I was walking home from getting dinner, a five minute maybe 100 yard walk and I was surrounded by four drunk guys. They started yelling things like “hideous bitch,””you’re so f*cking manly, people who look like you shouldn’t exist on this earth,” etc. Unfortunately for the last few weeks, I had gotten this verbal abuse before but this night it escalated. I remained stoic, just enduring until it was over as I usually do. That was until they kicked me in the back of the knees. As I was getting back up, another one of them took a swing to my gut, and before I could react another threw a punch at my jaw. They ran away laughing hysterically. I lost a lot that day, but I would lose more. I’ve dealt with verbal abuse like this in the past but the consistency of it and the culmination of the assault was too much this time. I plummeted into a deep depression. This, not during the assault, was when my life got exponentially worse.
Depression, to say the least, takes a toll, and mine was severe. I alienated myself from my friends, as I did not tell anyone what had happened to me. I became a person that the depression made me, an anti-me. Instead of being chill and just going with the flow, I became somewhat paranoid and was convinced that something was inherently wrong with me that I would get such constant, violent attention. I became someone I hated, every day I woke up hating myself. That was the depression. It took my beliefs, my identity, my ambition, my soul, and my life.
My friends left. I assume they didn’t understand, and I was giving them no explanation. My relationship left, citing that we weren’t working anymore. I became even more alone than I already felt. I became completely alone.
I had lost myself, and everything identifying me as myself and there was seemingly no end to pain in my life. I was lost and alone.
I’m a strong person, or at least I was. I am a trained kick boxer but this all happened so fast and I never thought it would escalate into assault. I returned to the place of my assault yesterday, as a fresh face as I like to think, due to a lot of endless work over the summer, that I am somewhat depression free. I returned to this place. I returned to my school, where I still have a year left, and I felt great pain. I felt great betrayal.
I didn’t ask to be depressed, I didn’t ask to be assaulted, and I didn’t ask to be abandoned but it happened.
Am I stronger today because of it? Maybe. But probably not quite yet.

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demonstration

Kristin’s Story: “Taken off-guard”

I was walking back to my apartment downtown after a grocery run when I passed a parked car. I was tired from the walk, carrying my heavy bags of groceries and just wanted to get home. But as I walked past the car, I heard a guy’s voice saying, “You’re hot.” He said something before that but I wasn’t paying attention and missed it. Before I could even turn around to see where the catcall was coming from, a girl in the driver’s seat shouted, “Hey! My brother’s talking to you!” as if that made me obligated to respond in some way.

I wish I could’ve thought of something to say back, but I was really taken off-guard and just wanted to get home. It made me really upset for a few reasons. First, I find catcalling to be degrading, misogynistic and generally a tool men use to assert dominance and make females feel small. But I was especially upset because the girl in the driver’s seat, his sister, was an accomplice in the harassment of a fellow woman. I don’t know if this girl has to deal with street harassment on a daily basis the way I do, but it pained me that she would encourage his behavior instead of scolding him for his disrespect toward me and women in general. In addition, I take offense to the idea that just because a man is talking to me that I am somehow obliged to listen. Give me a break. Was I supposed to just stand there with my armful of groceries in the middle of the night and take his BS because it’s my place to do so as a woman?

In the end, I just kept walking and tuned the two out. I wish I could have thought of something to hollaback.

Also, this was just a few minutes after a guy in a big truck honked his horn at me and stuck his head out of the window of his car to smile at me suggestively. Twice in one night, and to have a girl encourage her brother? Gross.

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demonstration

Kayleigh’s story: Hollaback gave me the guts to stand up and say something

Today I was harassed. My harasser thought he was doing me a favour by slapping my ass and telling me how good I looked in my shorts. “It’s a compliment!” He said.
I asked him if he liked harassing women. I asked him if it made him feel like a bigger person to belittle me without knowing anything about me, my opinions, my life. “It was JUST a compliment!” He said.
I told him his version of a compliment was fucked in all directions. I told him that this wouldn’t go under the rug, like so many experiences like this I’ve had before.
He started walking away, I was making a big scene. I started stopping women on University Ave, asking them if they have ever been harassed by this man? None were, and if they were they never told me. I yelled to sisters further up the street to watch out for that 45 year old in the orange shirt with the beer gut. “He harasses women!” I screamed.
He slinked around the corner and away, tail between his legs.

I am livid, hurt, vulnerable and in desperate need of reassurance
This shouldn’t have to happen…to anyone!

If it wasn’t for Hollaback! I would have never had the guts to stand up and say something. I hope this humiliation is something he carries with him everywhere he goes…

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demonstration

Jacqueline’s Story: The “catwalk gauntlet”

Due to flooding, the street where I work has been unusually backed up. I have to walk about ten minutes from the parking lot to my office. This has led to what I refer to as the “catwalk gauntlet.” Men leaning out of their cars, asking for my name, if I have a boyfriend, where I am going, and commenting on my appearance.

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demonstration

Allison’s Story: Harassed while out biking

today was a beautiful hot summer day, and I was wearing a skirt (with shorts underneath) and a tank top and enjoying the sunshine as I biked around doing my errands.  First I got a whistle from a passing truck, which I ignored, then a man approaching in the opposite direction on a bike looked at me, laughed, and yelled “skank!” I was too shocked to give him the finger until it was a little too late.

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demonstration

Carly’s Story: Furious

I was studying abroad in Mexico and got lost trying to find my way back from an internet cafe to the house where I was staying. Two men on bikes groped the shit out of my ass and my breasts, and then sped away laughing. I felt incredibly violated and absolutely furious.

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demonstration

KentuckyWoman’s Story: “I hope they get arrested before their threats escalate into rape”

On September 6, 2011, I was driving to Lexington for groceries and, at the Fayette County line, noticed that a small blue Dodge with four young men (probably early-mid 20s) were yelling something about fucking me, laughing, and making gestures. I am a middle aged woman. Each time I sped up or slowed down, the Dodge car full of men shouting things that sounded like threats of sexual assault did the same until finally I slowed nearly to a stop shortly before Man O’ War Blvd. The blue car pulled in front of me and then turned right onto Man O’ War.

A male neighbor who moved here from a different state recently complained to me about the way men look at and speak to his wife. Since I’ve always lived here and pay little attention to other people unless I feel threatened, I was confused, but after he talked about some things that had happened I started paying attention. Then this happened: a perfect example of what he was talking about. I was confused, angry, and frightened by the young men following me in traffic and shouting about fucking me. I know that they may not have actually intended to assault me, and that if they did they probably didn’t care that I am probably older than some of their mothers.

As a survivor of sexual assault, I moved away from Lexington, a small city, to feel safer. While I’m not still afraid, I’m infuriated. I didn’t get the number of the license plate on the car or what sort of Dodge it was, but I hope that when those men do this again – and I think they will – the next woman gets the information and calls the police. I hope they’re arrested before their threats escalate into rape.

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