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Toronto Police representative Michael Sanguinetti’s words of wisdom to students at York University in January that “women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized” was the basis for Sunday’s inaugural “SlutWalk,” drawing close to 1000 men and women fed up with institutionalized victim-blaming and shaming.
From the SlutWalk site:
Historically, the term ‘slut’ has carried a predominantly negative connotation. Aimed at those who are sexually promiscuous, be it for work or pleasure, it has primarily been women who have suffered under the burden of this label. And whether dished out as a serious indictment of one’s character or merely as a flippant insult, the intent behind the word is always to wound, so we’re taking it back. “Slut” is being re-appropriated.
Watch MoxNews.com’s report here:
Last Friday after work I decided to go for a run, it was a cool evening and it was starting to rain, which quickly turned to sleet and then light snow. I was less than a 1/4 mile into my run when I heard yelling — my ipod was between songs, otherwise I might have missed the specifics of it. There was a guy (I am assuming high school age) leaning out the window of a car on the other side of the street who screamed out, “Nice ass………WHORE!!!!!!!!!” I have to be honest, it wasn’t just the words that upset me, it was also how he said it — there was anger in his tone, and it felt threatening.
I tried to shake it off as just a bunch of immature kids with poor judgment and kept running.
Maybe a mile later I was on Beacon St in Cambridge when the same car drove by me again with this guy again hanging out the window screaming at me — I had my ipod cranked up so I don’t know what he said but the tone was, again, unmistakably angry & threatening. I was freaked out that this was the 2nd time they’d driven by me, and I was getting into less residential neighborhoods where there were fewer people on the streets — I had visions of the next time they drove past me, what if they pulled over? got out of the car? pulled me into the car?? I decided to listen to my gut, cut my run short, and turn around & head back for more populated streets & home.
Unfortunately I was not wearing my glasses & did not get the license plate #. I am getting over this but had an anxiety dream about it Friday night that involved me being cornered by a large man and calling for help that never came. I remain disturbed by the fact that somewhere, somehow, the boys/men in that car learned that harassing & threatening a woman in this way is ok.
Ironically enough last month we had a sexual harassment class. You know when they tell you what is appropriate and what isnt. I thought oh that would never happen in my school. Little did I know that it did. As I was leaving early i see this three kids that were younger than me yet bigger (I am really small) walking up the stairs as I am going down.
I am looking at my phone texting a friend, when this kid calls back “i said hey”. I turn around thinking i might know this person, and i stupidly answered “i dont even know you” he starts getting all worked up saying that i should still say hi and not be rude. That just because im hot and he likes my curves doesnt mean i have to be a stuck up chick.
I just walked away and ignored him, but it bugged me. The whole way down the stairs he kept shouting stuff.
The worst thing is that if i report it the kid will prob just get a detention (if that). Cause my school (a catholic one) does the most retarded punishments, once a kid handcuff some grade 7s to a toilet, punishment: oh a 3 day suspension, no biggie. You steal something, oh no punishment if you give it back, no questions will be asked
This happened the day before spring break, before I found this site, and I feel terrible for not saying something.
I’m new at my school, so I don’t get a lot of attention, which is a good thing. I was sitting next to this girl, looking out the window, minding my own business, when I overhear a guy in the seat behind me say, “Hey girl, you wanna get with this?” The girl sitting next to me said, “No, thanks,” and turned back around. For the rest of the ride, he kept asking her if she wanted to have sex with him, how big his penis was, and at one point he even said, “What, you a lesbo or something?” She kept quietly saying, “No,” but he wouldn’t leave her alone. I wanted so badly to turn to her and say, “You don’t have to put up with this, there’s an empty seat up front, you can move,” but I was just too afraid. He kept harassing her the whole ride, even as I was getting off.
I really wish I had said something, but now I promise myself that the next time I see another woman being harassed, I will stand up and I will speak.
This April marks the tenth anniversary of SAAM (Sexual Assault Awareness Month), and the awesome activists at SAFER (Students Active For Ending Rape) are calling for a push from awareness to activism, making this years’ SAAM stand for Sexual Assault ACTIVISM Month. Students, recent alumni, parents, and teachers are encouraged to participate by “pledging” a direct action against sexual assault this month, whether by fundraising, submitting their definition of accountability to the SAFER website, or checking up on their schools’ sexual assault policy and pushing for reform where necessary.
Check out this video for some student submissions of what accountability looks like to them:
One day I came back home from work and went to the drugstore to get myself something for my contact lenses since they kinda blurry that day. I was wearing the same clothes I went to work: black skirt (down to my knees) and a black tank top. Everywhere men were shouting sexual words. I’ve heard that kinda stuff since I can remember, so I just ignored them and even put my suit on so they’d leave me alone. I crossed the street and kept walking, but one of them must have followed. I don’t know because I never look straight at them so I won’t encourage them to keep talking to me like that. The guy was very quite, I didn’t hear anything. At some point when he noticed there was another path to run at the left, he grabbed my left butt cheek and ran but stopped with his back at me. He wanted to see my reaction. It was part of it. I couldn’t see his face but he stopped to hear me. I just said: Idiot! And kept walking. He wanted to feel powerful over me, but I didn’t give him that. Didn’t give him that power. It happened during daylight! And when I told my dad who is a lawyer, he was so mad and told me that our laws have changed and that is now considered rape here. No man can touch a woman without her permission. It’s very serious and if I had told the police he would be charged with rape.
Women everywhere, this is not normal! We have to step out and talk about this and tell the world how we feel. This is unacceptable. Nowadays I never wear nice clothes when I go out shopping or whatever, if I have to walk… It’s frustrating. Let’s turn the table! Let them know we are coming for them!
I was walking over a bridge with narrow pavements either side, on my way to work. I saw three young guys walking towards me, as we got closer he stopped abruptly in my way, and said ‘do you want to move out of the way, you slag’. I was infuriated, I stared him in the face but my heart was pounding so hard because I was so angry that someone could talk to a stranger like that. I actually remember that I said ‘no, I don’t’ (I now know that wasn’t the best thing to do but I was so angry). They looked at each other, smirking and walked around me, shouting abuse as they walked away. I turned around and replied with my own array of insults, but for the rest of the walk to work and back I was on edge and frankly, a bit scared.
I was walking back to my house when I saw two builder types each old enough to be my father walking towards me sniggering, and my instant reaction was ‘they’re going to say something to me, I should cross the road’, but foolishly out of some kind of mad hope that the human race might not be full of wankers I stayed, and of course as they walked past one of them made kissing noises at me. Was so angry that I shouted ‘Dream on mate’ at them, cue much fake laughter from the two. The one silver lining is I then passed another man who I think overheard who gave me what might have been an encouraging smile. Unfortunately my sense of what was going on was so warped by my anger he could have been another pervert for all I know…Shame that I have to question even possible acts of kindness because of all the horrible idiots.
I was on my way home from work yesterday – a sunny and pleasant afternoon – when I alighted from the Capitol Theatre Light Rail stop (in Sydney, Australia) near a busy intersection in the CBD at around 4.30pm.
The sunlight was quite bright and I’d forgotten my sunglasses, so I raised my hand to block the sun from my eyes and started to make my way towards the intersection.
Out of the corner of my eye I saw a normal-looking man walking towards me (he was wearing a collared green shirt and black pants) and he locked his eyes on me and changed his walking pace and even side-shuffled a little so that he could force himself into my path.
I tried to move out of his way but her kept blocking me, then said quietly in my ear so no one else would hear: “sexy armpit.”
My face automatically scrunched up in disbelief, and my the time I processed what this perve had said and done, he was starting to power walk off. I turned around and yelled at the top of my lungs and called him a wanker in front of the small crowd that was waiting to cross the road at the same intersection I was standing at, but he didn’t look back and kept briskly walking away like nothing had happened.
Of course everyone looked at me like I was a psycho, because to them it would look like I’d yelled at him simply for walking into me, they wouldn’t have heard what he said.
It wasn’t that confronting or lewd, but I felt shaken up nonetheless and spent the next few hours going over it in my mind and what I wish I’d said/done.
It’s been a while since I’ve been street harassed, but it was a familiar feeling; like I’d had my dignity snatched away against my will and I felt like a piece of meat there to be judged and commented on by men.
I’d started reading Hollaback a couple of months before this incident occurred, and I thank this website for giving me the courage to turn around and yell at this perve to let him know it wasn’t ok – normally I would have just stayed quiet with shock and scampered away, but not anymore. My only regret is that I didn’t get a photo of the prick.
Thanks Hollaback for making me a braver woman!
I actually have two situations that seemed harmless, and perhaps I would be overreacting but I think it keeps me alert and on my toes.
The first incident happened Fall 2010. I usually go to BP, the gas station near my university, before I go home (two hours away). I gave the cashier my money to gas up. He had this really happy look on his face, like way-too-happy-to-be-working-at-a-gas-station look, but I shrugged it off, thinking he was probably one of those people that smiled all the time and were polite. For some reason when I went back to the pump, it wasn’t letting me gas up. I went back in as the cashier for some reason was coming out. I stopped him and he recognized me saying “Yes, sweetheart?” I was taken aback by this but ignored him and explained what happened. He asked me which pump it was and as I turned to point at it, I felt a hand on my shoulder, too weirded out (the man was at least twice my age). He told me to move forward and take a another pump. After I gassed up, I called my then boyfriend and explained what happened. It doesn’t scare me today because he doesn’t work there anymore but it is creepy and made me feel uncomfortable.
The second incident happened last weekend. My boyfriend and I were at the movie theater. After we saw our film, we went to the arcade like always, and I head straight to the Galaga machine. There was a group of teenage boys around the area where the game was but I didn’t pay them any attention. My boyfriend went off to refill our soda and I began to play. Not soon after he left, this kid (and I say kid because I’m nearly twenty and he looked and sounded like he was 13) came up next to the machine and poked his head out to watch the screen as I played. He was blocking my view so I said “Do you mind?” He looked at me and goes “I just wanted to watch. Am I allowed to watch?” He was very cocky and reminded me of guys I went to high school with that had that tone of voice to pick up girls. I ignored him and he went away, talking with his buddies about me.
It came to the challenging stage which if you’ve played, means no enemies shoot at you. I keep the joystick in the middle and just kept pressing the fire button. All of a sudden this kid come back and starts moving the joystick back and forth and messing me up. I grabbed his wrist and passed him away telling him to stop. I wondered why he was acting so rude. As I continued to play, his other friends would be on either side of me and behind me, making comments about me and my purple bunny hat (“Are you going to a sleepover later?) Lame insults but all I could think about is why me? Why are they targetting me when clearly I’m a lot older than them and I definitely wasn’t wearing anything to give me unwanted attention (aside from the hat, which is my favorite hat). All I could say to these kids were “Kids today”.
Luckily my boyfriend came back and I explained to him the situation, loudly so the kids could hear I was talking about them. They soon left.
It makes me angry that kids are acting like that at such an early age. Just because I’m a woman, minding my own business playing an arcade game makes me vulnerable and perfect target? It’s bullshit.