My girl and I were walking down the street yesterday. As with every day when we/she/I walk down the street, some jerk in a prettied-up car decided it was his business to violate our space by sticking his head out of the window and assaulting us with a list of sleazy, misogynistic, homophobic and idiotic comments. He seemed to think that we wanted to know all about the fact that hot lesbians were part of his heterosexual male fantasy… he was wrong.
In response to his violent penetration of our personal space, my girlfriend and I screamed a list of obsenities at him, telling him exactly what he could do with his fantasy, his over-inflated ego, and his fucked up attitude. Apparently, women getting angry at his harassment was not a response he was used to, so he stuck his head back out the window to let us know that we were “fucked up bitches” and “crazy fucking psychos”. Shit, why hadn’t we noticed? Clearly we were the psychos, considering we were the ones cruising around town and looking to assault vulnerable individuals.
His car paused at a set of lights, and he continued to scream at us, throwing his fist around and piling every swear word he knew into discriptions of us. Fed up, my spunky girlfriend shot a massive glob of spit onto his beautifully painted car. Inspired by her actions, I too walked up to his car, and kicked the back of it as hard as I could. This sent him into a frenzy, and he jumped out of his car to further yell abuse at us. We pointed out that the police were sitting across at the next set of lights, so he backed off, but continued to scream at us as he drove away.
Now, some might think it was a bit of an overreaction to kick someone’s property in response to a “compliment”. I’d like to tell those people to take their ignorant, sexist agendas and shove it up their arses. As a woman and as a lesbian, I spend every day of my life confined by the consequences of men’s belief that it is perfectly acceptable to verbally, physically and sexually assualt, harass, and intimidate me. I spend each day fighting off unwanted physical advances, being powerless to respond to drive-by sexual advances, having to shut up and ignore the endless streams of catcalls and wolf whistles, watching program after program representing women as sexual/domestic play objects for men, and battling with both men and women to convince them that yes, it is important to be aware of the the power issues that surround gender relations. I spend nights crying as a result of the sexual abuse I have experienced, days altering my routes so I can feel safe when walking home, and endless hours being overwhelmed by how much work is yet to be done in order to create a world which is safe, equal and free from violence and intimidation.
That kick to the back of the prettied-up car, therefore, was a kick for every man who has ever intimidated, objectfied, assaulted, abused, taken advantage of, raped, or hit a woman. It was for every catcall, wolf whistle, and unwanted comment any woman has ever received since becoming old enough to be violated. It was also a warning to each individual who thinks it is ok to harass women, whether in public or in private.
And fuck, it felt good.
Watch out world… I’ve discovered the power to holla back, and holla back I will.
Submitted by Sandra
No I will not take off my shirt or show you my ass for your polaroids. Skeevy asshole. I’m so happy to go back to San Francisco and say goodbye to the Bowery’s poetry scene… Where they knowingly tolerate blatant sexual harassers in their scene.
I talked smack right back at you and played along to hear more of the bullshit. And then pointed out to you that craigslist would be a better place to find women for your polaroid exploits. Put up your ad and get the fuck out of poetry.
Dear women in the Bowery Scene and people there who aren’t misogynist fuckheads, I feel sorry for you that you have to put up with that kind of thing. Why do you?
Dear woman with the shaved head who tonight at the poetry club took off your shirt for this dude in the bathroom, did you feel all empowered when this guy went on to harass other people and show your photo in his book and to boast that he likes the authentically dykey ones the best, next to the trannies?
Dear MC dude of the Urbana slam team, nice job of laughing off sexual harassment to my face. Also thanks for letting me know that “that guy hangs out here every single day at the poetry club.” That makes it all better! I’m sure everyone just thinks he’s SO funny and such a character!
Dear guy working the door… I thought you were laughing with me and were complicit in my fool-baiting. “Thanks” for then when I confronted the dude about his fucked-upedness, then acting like you didn’t hear anything wrong… And for saying that you didn’t hear anything hostile. Because we all know that asking all the women in a cafe, or a poetry reading at a bar, to take off their clothes for a camera and if they have any “intimate” piercings or tattoos is just totally FRIENDLY… It makes women feel all appreciated and welcome and stuff…
Oh also? The tempting offer of a free copy of your poetry book in exchange for the polaroids of my naked body… not tempting at all.
Submitted by Liz Henry
My dad gave my best friend and I his afternoon tickets for the 9/16 game RED SOX VS YANKEES. We sat for about ½ the game when this guy from behind us started making jokes about “southies” and how much the red sox suck (not to mention they were almost done selling beer and the Yankees were getting spanked). We ignored him for a pretty long time and hoped he would just shut up. Everyone in our section (mostly other season ticket holders) were also getting annoyed by his loud drunken stupidity. We jokingly asked him if he was from Jersey to which he answered “how did you know?” and then continued to call us nasty names. He called us everything in the book including assuming we were there “together” even though we both had our wedding rings prominently displayed. Finally when we had just about had enough he started to throw things at us. It was horrible. My friend was turning bright red. Being that we are both Scorpios you can imagine it was hard for us to sit there so long and listen to this without shouting back at him. Finally my friend turned around and told him to shut up which, admittedly, only made things worse. He screamed louder and louder and splashed beer in our direction, asking us if we liked to be humiliated. I am a military veteran with overseas time we even turned around and told him he was ruining one of my last few days before deployment (which has since been canceled) and even that didn’t shut him up. At one point in time I think he spit on us. At this point even his friends were looking pretty embarrassed but still weren’t attempting to shut him down. We got up and moved (to better seats no less) and enjoyed the rest of our day there—but since I had heard about this site on NPR, I had to snap some pictures of him. Here he is, in the white shirt with blue stripes and glasses on his head.
Submitted by Nicki and Corinne
Submitted by Nica
What is it with me and bad men in Briton? So I’m there on business again and am having an Archers Aqua outside a bar on Poland Street and gossiping with some of the girls here when I notice that this guy in another group (we are outside as its one of those crowded places) and he’s giving me the eye – I’m not showing off except up top and I’m feeling confident – he’s pretty cute but is drunk and swaying a bit. We carry on drinking and laughing and dancing around a bit outside because its that kind of place and he starts dancing closer with his back to me making these weird sounds like “ummmm…ummmmm.ungh unga..ungh” and thrusting his groin forward (away from me thankfully). I don’t think much of it and he seems more stupid than cute then, especially when he starts to rub his own butt in a nasty way and boogies over to his small group. As we get pushed closer to his group by the crowd I see he keeps looking right at me, leering and I catch bits of his drunken conversation in which he looks at me and mumbles something about a ‘hot carl’ and a ‘cleveland steamer’ and (most scary – I’m sure its about
me but couldn’t prove it) “I’ll put that booty in a wheelchair like a batty boy” in between gross oogling. I come from quite a conservative background and I haven’t heard some of this stuff before I’m feeling a bit uncomfortable but am tipsy and am waiting for someone to call a cab. More people are leaving and this guy just keeps looking at me and I’m sure I he’s still rubbing his butt as he does this little dance. The cab pulls up – one of those VW vans as there are a bunch of us. I’m feeling happy – its been a good night overall with my local girlfriends – then this FREAK looks straight at me and says “I’d reckoned you’d come back to me gaff for a spot of ice docking” and keeps doing his butt dance mumbling “rimm it rimm me off batty bitches”. I have my camera phone with a zoom in my handbag and pull it out as we pull off – think I have the bastards face but all I got is this blur of him doing his butt dance pointing at himself.
We talk about it safe in the back of the cab and apparently these kind of guys are all over Soho. I ask the girls what those terms mean and it is the grossest, most degrading crap I have ever heard. It all involves faeces and is not funny – horrible and violating. I wanted to vomit when I thought about the ice docking. You think you wouldn’t run into poop obsessed street harassers that need to be put away in a nice part of London. I’m so angry…Yuck!
Submitted by Roxie
On the way we pass these guys drinking in their front garden (which is full of flags for the soccer match) and they are giggling, belching and farting (yuck!!) cause they think that’s funny. One of them makes a noise like ‘Ooooo! Ooooo!’ as we go past but I rise above it.
After we have a few Breezers outside (and no Hugh Grants were in there!) and watch the silly soccer its time to go back to the hotel but I see this lanky guy in shades who was part of that group looking at us and making humping noises. Then I see he is actually grabbing his crotch quite violently and jumping up and down! He’s pretty drunk but I can just hear him shout stuff like ‘play with me mansack!’ and ‘Eat it!’.
That was it – time to Hollaback at this jerk! I put my cameraphone on max zoom from across the street and walked by pretending not to look but I caught him still grabbing and shouting about his ‘sack’. What a loser and it ruined my trip. At least I remembered I’m now empowered to Hollaback at asshats that can’t keep it to themselves!
Submitted by Roxanne.
Grad school, Eugene Oregon- cutting through the graveyard behind the library, trying to get back from class to chat the bus in time, so as to not have to pay my sitter extra. Wearing a backpack with probably 40 lbs of books in it. Bunch of frat boys knocking down 40s and sitting on gravestones, see me and start up with the catcalls. One of them pull down his sweats, and whips out his penis. “Betcha want some of _that_, doncha?” His buddies are laughing. I stopped looked at his penis, looked him in the face and said: “Isn’t that cute! Why, it’s just like a penis, only smaller!” and went on my way. No more catcalls, a couple of “Bitch…” as I passed them.
Submitted by Laura.
Okay, so it’s not New York or even America but whatever, it still irritated the hell out of me. I am 13. I moved to Barcelona a few months ago from London and I have found the attention here to be a lot more blatant than in England. For example: The other day I was in the park going for a walk. I was strolling through, enjoying the sights as one does when a guy of about 25 walks past, stares at me and goes “Hollllaaaaa’. When I ignore him he goes “Hola, guapa!” (Hello beautiful) and WINKS at me. I walk faster and get away, feeling freaked out but glad I’m
safe. A few minutes later, I come across him again, this time sitting on a bench. At which point he ponts his middle finger at me, SUCKS IT and gives me the most lecherous stare I have ever seen. It was only after I’d got away that I realised I should have taken a picture. It wasn’t only the way he talked to me that bothered me, it was the fact that I am blatantly a 13 year old girl, and not going to screw him. I guess the fact that afterwards I felt like kicking his head in for treating me like an object didn’t bother him.