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I’m studying abroad in a foreign country so my looks are very different and apparently all the men in this country think that since I’m an American, I must want to sleep around. I’ve been followed, had men sit near me in class to try to touch my hair and one guy actually started smelling it, as well as multiple guys hit on me and proposition me. To tell the truth its really ruining my view of the country, I glare and shout at them, but it doesn’t seem to do anything. Now every time I leave my room I always have my hair pinned up and hidden with an ugly hat. I’m going home soon though, and I can’t wait.
Submitted by Rebecca
This happened several years ago when I was attending USC (as an older student). As I was walking to class one day, I passed a house that was having some construction work done on it. A guy up on the roof yelled some stupid remark at me (can’t remember the exact words but it was something like, “Hey, baby, why don’t you come up here and blah, blah, blah.” I thought about just continuing to walk on and ignore him, but it just made me mad that someone would think that they had the right to try to degrade me in public this way and it was so obvious that it was about a man’s ability to exert power and control and to feel entitled to humiliate a woman. So I stopped, showed him my backpack of text books and yelled back, ” And I’m a college student while you’re up there working for minimum wage, you loser!”
It probably didn’t change him in the long run, but for that one moment, I felt totally empowered and proud of myself for standing up to him.
Submitted by Susan
I was on the L red line train when a disheveled looking man sat down across from me. I could feel him staring at me, but I didn’t want to look up and make eye contact so I kept my eyes on my newspaper. He held up a dirty, folded piece of paper and tried to hand it to me but I wouldn’t take it, so he opened it and shoved it in my face. I still didn’t look up at him, but I could see that it said, “I’m lonely and I need some loving. Will you join me in a group sex orgy?” I didn’t know what to do, so I shook my head very fast and still didn’t want to look at him. I moved to another seat, then got off at the next stop and waited for the next train.
Submitted by Heather
My sister had a concert in Florence, so I went with my brother and my dad. It was in the middle of the day in a huge, fairly crowded piazza and I was standing in between my brother and my dad. Out of nowhere, I felt a hand squeeze my ass and when I turned around, a man was walking away staring at me. I was scared and mortified but all I could do was shoot him a really vicious look. My brother and my dad didn’t see what happened, and I have always been too embarrassed to tell them. I was 21 years old and I wanted to cry like a baby. I felt dirty and begged them to go home and let me change out of my skirt and into pants. I am so glad Hollaback exists and I will never let a street harasser control me like that again!
Submitted by Heather
About 3:25 after school one day my friend calls me up so that I can come over and work on homework with her. So I grab my backpack and walk out the door and start walking over. My road goes up to the top of a hill then splits off to right which was where I was heading. When you go to the right it leads to a separate neighborhood which was where my friend lived. I took the right turn(walking) and began to walk down the road which was a straight shot to my friends house. As I got further and further down the road a white car passed me up. This neighborhood is notorious for having drive by harassments and I hoped to God that this was not going to be the case. Luckily it wasn’t. Then about 30 meters down the road another car is coming. It was a 1995 Mercury La Baron. In the car were two teenage dudes, one was a punk-boy wannabe. The other was a hick wannabe (odd combination, I know) So anyways the car drove by and yelled out the window and called me a fag…..”WELL THEN!”. So after that I simply flipped the mother f*ckers off, because they deserved it. But I regretted it shortly afterwards. They drove up to the end of the road and turned around and started speeding toward me. I calmly moved to the side of the road into someones yard. The car drove at me going about 50 in a 15mph zone. The hick wannabe opened the passenger door and tried to hit me. He missed, and the bastards drove off. About 10 minutes later as I got closer to my friends house the car pulled out of an intersection. Coming from straight ahead now the car followed the speed limit but this time rather than trying to hit me with his car, he threw an opened bottle of Dr. Pepper at me. Just like before he missed his target. Though the harassment was a complete failure in terms of actually affecting me, it was still annoying so I called the cops and the kids car was being watched by multiple police in the town. Word got out to the kid and he told his dad about it. So his dad got rid of the car as soon as possible so they would have no problems. You see I won because the kid lost his car and now has to ride the bus with me. I hope this bastard is ready
Submitted by Cody
My story may technically fall under “domestic violence” but I think once you air your dirty laundry in public it deserves come under censure.
I was walking through my boyfriend’s apartment complex, headed towards his unit when I heard angry screaming echoing through the parking lot. I stopped walking, wondering if I could make out what was going on and didn’t have to look far before I noticed a girl sitting behind the wheel of a parked car, sobbing her eyes out. All the yelling was coming from her passenger seat. I was immediately concerned even though I didn’t know what was going on, but it looked and sounded like she was getting verbally attacked. So I head back to my car, hoping to buy some time and see if I needed to call authorities. Some scary guy is walking in and out of her car, screaming insults at her, making a scene, and even brought his room mate out to the car so he could justify whatever tirade he was on about (She had called him a liar or something? I would have called him unstable).
It’s only been 30 seconds or so, but I’ve already decided to call security when I see him grab her face, yelling “Look at me! Look at me, bitch!” I was so angry by this point I stomped over and started yelling HEY to get his attention off of her. It worked, probably a little too well. Luckily we were on opposite sides of the car but that didn’t stop him from trying to scare me too. Calling me names, and saying how this was none of my business. I said none of that mattered and “You DON’T. TOUCH. HER.” and that I’d be calling someone to the scene. Now that I look back, he responded in probably the most ridiculous way possible, “Go ahead and call the cops. I don’t give a fuck! I’ve BEEN in prison before!” If I hadn’t been so mad I might have laughed in his face. I gave him a pointed look, flipped open my phone in the bitchiest way possible, and stomped away to grab the number for security.
When I met the guards a minute later the couple was gone. Luckily, since I’d seen the Screamer pull his friend outside I knew which apartment they lived in. The guards confronted the guys but I saw no sign of the girl. I’m still worried about her and I only hope that by sticking up for her, maybe she’ll learn that no one deserves to be treated like that.
Submitted by Katherine
This happened about 5 years ago. I was going home by the subway, and after Yorkdale station, the cart became really empty, and there were just myself and an older (looked to be in his 60s) man in the cart.
He began by being rather grandfatherly (I was 19, but looked much younger), asking if I go to school, and how my summer was. He then asked if I had a boyfriend. I was rather confused and naive, so I just answered honestly, saying no, I do not. He then smiled really big, went “yeah?”, and proceeded to fondle himself through his pants. I was really scared at this point, but I was sorta paralyzed and just didn’t know what to do. Finally, the train pulled into Downsview station (last one on the line) and I just bolted out the door.
I didn’t tell anyone about this because I rationalized that it wasn’t a big deal, he didn’t touch me, and it’s not like I have any proof. Looking back at it now, I know I should have tried to get a conductor, but the fact that I had no proof still would make me hesitate to tell another stranger.
Another thing that really stuck with me about this incident is how small that man is. His dick was literally the size of my thumb. This information doesn’t have much relevance to the story, but I somehow remember it quite distinctly.
Submitted by Anne
I was walking out of Taco Bell while talking to my husband on my phone. As I was passing by a beat up looking white car, a guy asked out the window: “Hey, can I use your phone?” I responded with “No, I’m talking business with my husband,” automatically. He was a younger white guy in the driver’s seat. His buddy was inside and conversing with the manager of the place. The guy said a few more things but like I said, I was talking to my husband so I wasn’t paying attention.
As I got to my car door, the other guy came out and said very suggestively “Hey, can I get something *else*?”. Unfortunately I got very pissed off and said f you to him. I realize now I shouldn’t have; but I can’t change the past.
As I was backing out, another car came around the corner very fast and because of that I almost hit him; the harassers were in their car and one got out, and said something (I do not know what), because they were also involved. I saw them stop their car a bit away while I was pulling out, and then of course like I knew they would, they started following me. I intentionally drove through the parking lot the complete opposite way towards the office store’s part of the parking lot; they followed me. So I turned to get onto Calumet Avenue, and they still followed me. This entire time I was on the phone with my husband, and he told me to go directly to where he worked.
Oh, by the way? He owns a gun shop and gun range. A tiny sliver of me was hoping that if they continued to follow me, they’d see my husband and his other worker standing outside with their hands on their guns.
Luckily, the idiots ended up turning off very quickly, before I even turned onto the expressway. Just shows that I need to get up off my lazy butt and learn to shoot and get a permit to carry, like my husband keeps telling me to.
Submitted by Kristen
I was minding my own business when out of no where this guy started making sexual joke about my boyfriend and I; and then he proceed to tell my boyfriend and I that he (my boyfriend) must have slipped me a date rape drug last night.
Submitted by Summer
I have been repeatedly harassed by a gross guy who works at the public library near my house. He works as “security” but stands around and leers at women and hits on them all day. He would always talk to me in an invasive, macho way, with the tone of voice of “hey, baby” as if he was at a bar and not working as security. I was always cold to him and showed him my disgust. I observed him doing this to other women also. I complained to the library manager and she said other women had complained about him, and that they would address it with him. She told me I should speak to him directly but I didn’t want to make an issue of it at the time. He is a predator and predators are about power and control. At the time a girl I knew had been raped by her bf and we plastered anti rape signs around the town and put anti sexual harassment signs all over the library. It’s not as direct but still empowering as a way to use your voice.
He continued to harass me and nothing changed. A year ago I was on the street downtown with friends and he came up and asked for a hug. I was with other people and laughing/relaxed and he caught me off guard, although my face showed disgust he he gave me a hug which I completely regretted – I felt slimed. Awhile ago walking home in the dark up the street he made a beeline towards me, diagonally from the library, and again made a slimey comment. I gave him a look of extreme disgust and walked away.
I recently had a private meeting with him and the library manager in which I told him his behavior was unacceptable, inappropriate, and must STOP or I would press charges. I told him he disgusted me. He had a typical b.s. response saying he was just being friendly and he didn’t know what I was talking about, I told him he knows EXACTLY what I am talking about; I held him accountable. A short time after the meeting, the library manager told me she had told him directly, that’s it, no more talking to women at all. I thought it would be resolved but his creepy and predatory behavior towards me continued. Recently he was reading his book from across the library, and I was tutoring students at a table, he came to read his book right behind the bookshelf next to me, to be leering at me and invade my space, when he could have chosen to go anywhere in the library and he knows I hate him and he disgusts me, esp. after the meeting. I was busy with students and didn’t speak up at the time. He has continued to speak to me when he was told not to.
The other day I decided to confront him and am glad I did. I got fed up and who cares if I was a little aggressive, he needs to know what it’s like to have his space invaded. I went up to him, said, “I need to speak with you.” He was about to make a call on his cell and he said “wait”, I said, “no, now”, I closed his cell phone cover, got up close in his space and went off on him, told him I had told him to stay out of my space and to not talk to me, he disrespected that, and he needs to learn respect and as soon as it happens again I’ll call the cops. He started swearing and then ran off. It felt good to be forceful and up in his face. God what a SCUMBAG he is.
The librarian clerk there saw the interaction and protected the predator saying it’s his job to walk around the library, how dare I talk to him like that? (typical b.s.). I was direct with her as well and she said I couldn’t talk to her like that, she freaked out and was very hostile. I let her know that he acts like it’s his job to harass women, and that this town is full of typical passivity b.s. and that other women have complained. It was frustrating to be attacked by this librarian, but who cares, the main thing is I used my voice and now he knows I will kick his ass and definitely call the cops if it happens again. I have taken my power back. Predators are the scum of the earth. I documented everything on paper on writing and will do everything in my power to get him fired. Thanks for letting me vent and share this story, it’s great to know there are ass kicking chicks out there. It’s OK for women to assert themselves, and it doesn’t matter how they do it, as long as they speak up. Kick ass and speak up, use your voice!
Submitted by Carolyn B.