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I work as a cashier and about half the men who come through my line call me “honey,” “baby,” “sweetie,” etc. because I’m a young girl.
Worse, though, when I was sixteen and had just started my job, I was selling the store’s debit/credit card to a man in his mid-forties. He replied, “Well I’ll get one if you give me a kiss.” I was speechless. How did he think he had the right to say that to me?
I almost got caught by the city parking enforcement for not switching my car over. I ran outside before he got out of the car and yelled that I was leaving soon, but just switched it over and went back in my apartment. When I was about to leave for good, the parking enforcement guy had pulled his car around behind mine and was leaning against his car. I asked him if he was still going to give me a ticket. He told me no, he wanted to talk to me and then proceeded to hit on me, saying he likes curvy girls and that I have a nice butt. He also asked if I was seeing anyone. I didn’t know what to say so I just said yes and thanks and ran back inside.
For the past two days, construction workers have been refurbishing the facade of a hotel that I pass on the way to my bus stop. Each time I have passed the building, both going and coming home from school and work, I have been whistled at and cat-called by the workers.
I looked up the number for the hotel and asked to speak with a manager. The woman who picked up the phone tried to convince me that I had the wrong hotel, and that no construction workers were working on the building any more. I did not back down. The hotel manager then tried to intimidate me into giving him a description of the man so he could reprimand him. I let him know that I did not entertain my street harasser’s inappropriate behavior by approaching him alone in a parking lot. I then told him that he is responsible for the behavior of his employees, and that it should be a policy for all of his workers not to engage in such inappropriate conduct. The manager told me he would discuss the incident with his workers. I plan on following up with him.
There was standing room only when I got on the bus, so when it cleared, I took the nearest empty seat as soon as it was available. Unfortunately it was next to a man who I quickly realized was staring unapologetically straight at me. After giving him a few seconds and the benefit of doubt, I turned to face him, looked him in the eye, and asked if he was staring at me. He just continued to stare. I stared back, but then decided it would be wise to move out of arm’s reach. Again, he continued to stare directly at me. I stared him down again from across the aisle and asked him to stop staring at me. He pretended to not be able to hear me because he had headphones in. I decided to whip out my phone and take a few pictures in case I might need them as evidence later. By the time I had taken the pictures, I got off the bus and notified the driver. He asked why I hadn’t said anything to him earlier. I thought he had heard me talking to the guy, but I guess not. If it happens again, I will take the pictures right away, notify the driver, and contact DC Metro police to file a harassment report. Here’s a pic of the asshole.
As a study abroad student in Angers, France I experienced quite a bit of street harassment, however, one incident stuck with me more than the others…probably due to how much it scared me.
I was walking down the street by myself going back to my bike to head home (probably not a good call at night, but I thought since it was the street the university was off of it would be fairly safe…). I suddenly had one of the people who I did not know, and had maybe said “hello” to when my friends and I were out because he asked me my name but didn’t have much of a conversation with otherwise, run up to me from down the street trying to convince me to go with him (where exactly wasn’t stated).
When I refused and said I really needed to go he tried to convince me to just “talk” with him in the alley. That was definitely a red flag for me so I kept walking. After that, I turned back to see a huge group of about 10 guys (I came to realize they were his friends when I saw him running to meet up with them) all yelling at me to come with them. I just started walking quickly away, getting more and more nervous seeing as, despite my lack of response to all their calls, they were continuing to follow me and getting closer and closer.
I started to panic and run, and luckily ran into this bar whose owner had been one of the people I had had an extended conversation with already in the town, and came to understand that his bar was where most of the foreign exchange students would come on weekends. Being able to speak French pretty well, I explained my situation. He looked out the door and, after having seen the rowdy, intoxicated group of guys calling out at me, said in a concerned voice “stay here, my sister will come and take you home, this isn’t safe.” His sister (with a baby carriage in the back of her car, which seemed promising) then came and picked me up from the bar where I had been waiting safely. I was so happy for the kindness of a family I had just barely met, and also so grateful I had escaped this situation in which I was VASTLY outnumbered.
I came to learn that this street wasn’t known for being safe at all, despite its extremely close proximity to the school, that that’s no excuse for harassment being allowed to take place.
I said “no.” That should have been the end of that conversation. When that wasn’t respected, it was clear to me that they didn’t care about my opinion on the matter, even thought it was ME they were trying to get to come with them. Not okay.
I went on a walk with my dog wearing long running shorts, an old, baggy t-shirt. A car full of high school boys was at a stop sign while I was a block ahead. They hung halfway out the windows and whistled and yelled at me. It wasn’t much but I was a 13 year old, innocent young girl and it scared the hell out of me. I felt ashamed, embarrassed for there were other cars in the intersection, and I felt like I did something wrong. I started running because I was afraid they would circle the block. I’ve been timid of walking alone ever since (it was a year ago), but finding Hollaback has given me the courage to know that I’m not alone and that I can stand up for myself.
While doing my grocery shopping I look up and see a man looking at me. I’m usually a friendly person and will smile and sometimes say “Hi” or “How are you?”. I smiled at him and he immediately looks at my chest and groin and says “I was wondering if you were going to smile at me.” All the while grinning at my body.
I thought of all kinds of fantastic come backs after the fact, but was too dumbfounded to say a word at the time.
About a month ago, I was hanging out with my friends in a fully packed bar. A couple of guys harassed us that night, but I’ll just talk about the three that shocked me the most.
I came out of this toilet cubicle and suddenly this guy walked up to me (it was a boy/girl bathroom) and he kind of cornered me, so I couldn’t go back to the bar where my friends were. He asked my name. I told him my name’s Pauline. He then proceeded to call me Paulientje (which is Dutch for ‘Little Pauline’) and asked me if I had a boyfriend. I told him I was a lesbian and started pushing him away, but he wouldn’t budge. We were also blocking the entrance to the bathroom now and there was quite a queue by now. I was clearly uncomfortable, but no one helped me. He continued talking to me, saying things like ‘Did you fall from heaven?’ and ‘Are you absolutely sure you’re a lesbian? You’re not sure, are you? I can see it, you started questioning the minute you saw my face’ After what must have been ten minutes, my best friend showed up (because she was worried something had happened as it wasn’t the first time that night guys were bothering us) and pulled him away from me.
I was still kind of shocked, when another friend (though I didn’t really know him that well) came up to me and asked me what was wrong. I told him some guy had harassed me in the bathroom, to which he replied ‘Oh, I would’ve wanted to join’. At first I thought he had misunderstood me, so I repeated what I just had said, and his response was ‘I know what you said’. That same ‘friend’ had been groping my breasts, butt and thighs the entire evening, by the way. At first, I’d thought he was doing it by accident, but it happened one too many times. My scarf actually smelled like him up to two days after that night.
Some time later another guy grabbed me, asking for my name and such. I recognized him, as he had slapped my butt earlier that night and I had yelled at him. Once again, I told him my name and that I’m a lesbian and once again, the guy didn’t seem very bothered by that fact. He was actually rather excited by it and he told me it was his dream to fuck a lesbian. I was absolutely horrified, but thank god my best friend and her boyfriend came to my rescue. The guy got somewhat aggressive, so we decided it was time to leave.
Up to this day, I’m still wondering what the hell I’d been doing wrong that night.
I was at my favorite nightclub with a group of friends on a Saturday night, standing on the edge of the dancefloor. I was chatting to one of my male friends when I felt someone pinch my bum. I turned around and the groper and his friend, who I vaguely recognize as being a year older than me at the local boys school, are leering at me. I glared at them and turned around.
Not ten seconds later, it happened again – I turned around and said “Please stop doing that, or I will ask a bouncer to make you leave”. Ten seconds later – again. I turned around and told him bluntly to fuck off, before attempting to walk away.
But before I could, he did it again and attempted to drag my by my top towards him. So I turned around to face him, smiled sweetly, and motioned towards his drink as if I wanted to taste a bit. Confident his stellar pulling technique had struck gold, he handed it to me. I then had the somewhat immature but very satisfying pleasure of watching the creepy grin drain off his face as I dumped his pint of Stella all over his head. I sauntered away to the cheers of the crowd
#don’tmess #HOLLABACK #
First off: I live in the Caribbean, on an island called Dominica (not Dominican Rep.), and harassment is very common here and people act like it’s normal and supposed to happen.
I was walking my dog at night like I always do. He’s rather protective of me so I avoid walking him during the day, and I feel safe with him at night. And I pass a group of boys sitting in a porch, listening to music. I used to go to school with most of them so they call me and I say hi. On my way back, one of their friends that I don’t know calls me, so I turn to wave and move on. He then says, “Let me walk with you too, nuh.” To which I politely replied, “No, thank you. I’m OK.” He can’t take no for an answer and says, “Why you don’t want me to walk with you.” I simply reply that my dog, who is standing nicely beside me because I’m rubbing behind his ear keeping him calm, doesn’t like it when people get close to me. “But he not doing nothing.” “Because I’m keeping him calm. And honestly, I don’t want to walk with you. OK?”
Now this upset him because I’m apparently supposed to feel so flattered by his interest and swoon at his feet, and he starts insulting me.
“FINE! YOU SO FUCKING UGLY NOBODY DIDNT WANT TO WALK WITH YOU ANYWAY! THE FUCK YOU THINK??! SOMEBODY WANT YOU THEN!??! YOU WELL WANT MAN WHERE YOU BE THERE!!! I SURE YOU HAVE TO COME BACK AND BEG ME TO WALK WITH YOU!! FUCKING SALOPE*!!!”
*salope is French/French-Creole for whore (we speak French-Creole on my island).
At this point I stop calming my dog, which would stop working anyway as he has started yelling at me and fake laugh and tell him, “You’re right… PLEASE walk with me next time. But you’ll have to bring your own leash and collar, I don’t have any to fit you.” and start walking away feeling very insulted and displeased, with my equally displeased dog. As I walk away I can hear his friends laughing at him and saying they didn’t know I was “bad” like that, and that he was too rude, and I did the right thing, and as admirable as that is, why didn’t they say anything when it was clear I didn’t want to walk with him.
He was still shouting insults at me when I got home (about 100 feet away I think), and he is probably still cursing at me now wherever he is. Calling me “stuck up” and “fresh” and a slew of other things because he thinks I acted like I was too good for him and dared to respond to his insults and then dared to walk away from him, but I don’t have to take that from any guy, especially after I responded politely and was given back insults in return.