groping, Verbal

Expect it but Don’t Accept it

Perhaps I thought it was normal, or maybe I just accepted it, but I refuse to anymore. 

The first real incidence was when I was 12 or so, kneeling down looking at books in a bookstore. There was a man in sweats reading a book at the same section. I get totally absorbed when I read but he kept moving closer and closer. Next thing I know hes about 2 feet away and has a giant boner sticking out of his sweatpants. I quickly got up and went to a different part of the store (It disturbs me to this day that I didn’t do anything, perhaps because that man has or is molesting a child, and I could have done something to prevent that. I would like nothing better then to go back in time and change my reaction).

The second time it happened I was interning in DC. A man sat down next to me in the metro and proceeded to start asking me all sorts of questions. Did I like to party? What kind of partying? Do I like to have sex? How much do I like to have sex? The metro was extremely crowded and I was afraid of making a scene. I would have made a scene had it happened to me now. Then he started to try and touch my breasts. I jumped up and got the hell out of there. While I probably was in no actual danger, I felt disgusting and shaken.

The third time was a few weeks later when I was in London. My friends and I were in a large group because the premiere of The Last Samurai was in town and we were trying to get a glimpse of tom cruise. There were so many people and we were all crushed up against one another. All of a sudden, I realize that there is someone behind me trying to grab my breasts again, with one hand on my ass. I couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t even tell which person it was, but I freaked out and got out of there quick.

These three accounts don’t even begin to describe all the catcalls and obnoxious words I have heard on the street while just minding my own business, trying to get to or from work up and down Third Avenue. It doesn’t take into account the hundreds of times I have seen men do it to women other then myself. The above stories were simply the most terrifying and disgusting.

I kept running away. Well, I am sick and tired of running away. Hollaback NYC has given me back what was brutally taken from me, and that is my respect and my power. It sickens me to think that these men think they have a right to demean a woman like that. What sickens me more is that I let them up until now. Who teaches them that such a thing is an acceptable way to treat an other human? It is just another example of how, in this world, women very often are not considered human. I have my camera ready to show them next time that not only am I human, but one who is able to Hollaback. As Eleanor Roosevelt said, no one can make you feel inferior without your consent, and I am not giving mine any longer by being a passive observer of abuse.

Submitted by Katie

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My Experience

The recent most recent experience at work and here we go again, another “fortune 500, one of America’s Best Places to Work” and this creep starts in with the catcalling, etc. That quickly escalated to grabbing behind the neck and shoulders. Anything to make contact and get a squeeze. After my avoiding the person and keeping my husband at bay (no, an altercation at work would not be a good idea) I ended up going to HR and filing a complaint. It wasn’t just going to be my problem any more. Having to sit in front of my boss and the rep was embarassing. I couldn’t even admit to them at the time that he started touching me. They asked about witnesses and to tell you the truth, at the time that wasn’t my biggest concern . The “here we go again” light bulb didn’t go off in my brain. It was a busy day before Christmas and like everyone else, I was tired and a bit stressed out. Besides, I didn’t know at the time how quickly this would escalate. While sitting there, I felt almost as if they didn’t believe me and that in itself compounded just how badly I felt. My husband keeps telling me that I cannot imagine how wicked and warped some men’s minds can be. He is trying to protect me and all women with such a statement but getting too paranoid isn’t the answer either. Guess the lesson is to never let your guard down and don’t be afraid to speak up. Also, don’t deny the emotional damage and how it inconveniences your life. From my most recent experience, I felt angry, degraded, shamed, and frustrated. Not being able to just go to work and deal with the issues at hand without having to worry about how to avoid a confrontation and what the next surprise would be. Also, would I be labeled “a bitch” for being too thin skinned or overreactive? The point is, I felt violated and that in itself made it wrong.

Submitted by J.F.

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Nice Ass

Last year i used to have to walk to my highschool. Right across the street there is always a huge group guy just standing there. At first they didn’t bother me when i passed them but after my first few day they used to whistle at me and one of them even grabbed my ass. it was diguesting and i felt so violated. So i turned around and said ” Yea i know my ass is nice but that gives you no reason to teach it.” They all just stood there and stared at me.A few days later my friend who travels the same way as me but has to be in earlier told me that they had grabbed her ass a few times.sS I repoted them to the school security and we never saw them there again.

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Assaulted in Graceland

I’m a NYC resident, and was on a business trip in Memphis this weekend when I was assaulted. I wanted to send a post to Holla Back, because I feel like this will make me feel as if I’ve reclaimed some of my power. I can’t take back what happened and I can’t get it out of my head, I just need to tell the world what he did.

The story starts – I was at Graceland when it happend yesterday afternoon at around 1:30 pm yesterday with a friend. I was on a tour of the house with about 8 other people. If you havn’t been to Graceland, it is a museum of sorts. The house is pretty small and so the tour group gets herded from one room to the next. I was stopped taking a picture and leaning over a railing . That’s when I felt it. A man, about 40 years old, wearing a blue windbreaker and a buzz cut- walking past with his friend reaches UNDERNEATH ME, between my legs and grabs my ass and reaching the front of my crotch. He keeps walking. I whipped around to scream “Are you fucking kidding me?!?” and everyone in the tour was wearing those stupid tour-headsets and no one said anything. So, I walked into the next room following the guy and tapped him on the shoulder, I didn’t know what I was going to say – so I just kept tapping him on the shoulder. He pretended not to feel my tapping and hear my voice – and continued to take pictures. I asked him a few times “Are you fucking kidding me?! Did you just grab my ass??!!” and he didn’t respond.. I said it again and he responded “No, I was just taking pictures.” He turns around and looks at his child-molester looking friend behind him and asks if it was him.. and he just shrugs his shoulders. Walking around the room, I’m in fucking Elvis’s house here – mind you – and there’s a security guard right there, but I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t want to make a scene more than I already had -it’s this completely silent room with a dozen strangers, and my ass and crotch were just grabbed. The feeling of a complete loss of power and thought and coping skills was just overwhelming. I went and told my friend (loudly) what had just happened and we stood there, in shock, me shaking – not knowing how to feel better about this. The guy was denying anything happened, and I just wanted to cry, but didn’t want to cry in front of him. So I thought it over and decided, it would be worse if no one believed me, or if he got angrier and made me feel worse, so I kept on going and just tried to avoid him the rest of the afternoon.. I think a security guard heard me talking loudly about what had happened, and so next thing I know, I have 2 security guards following me at a distance around the grounds. This made me feel even worse – I thought the guy had told them that I had threatened him or something, and felt so dirty and disgusting and as if somehow, I had done something wrong. I eventually, an hour later – saw him again and told a security guard what had happened. The guard approached the men, who again – denied it was them – and the guard came back to tell me – they had denied it. I’m sorry. I think they should have been kicked out, but it didn’t surprise me that they didn’t do it.

Ever since the moment I was grabbed, I have been replaying the situation over and over in my head, wishing I could have done or said something better than what I did. I wish I could have just kicked him in the nuts, or started screaming and cursing and telling him what a pathetic human being he was that not only does he grab stranger’s crotches, he can’t own up to it. Tell him that because he can grab people doesn’t mean he’s got any sort of power, in fact, it shows how pathetic and powerless he is. I have taken self-defense classes before, but at that moment I was defenseless, speachless. I’ve never been one to have a good one-liner waiting in the wings, but I really wish I had just this once. I’m proud that I at least had the good sense (thanks to some amazing women I know who don’t put up with any shit) to walk up to him and confront him. Hopefully that changed the power dynamic a little bit. I’m also proud that I eventually told a security guard. I guess all I can hope is that The King, up in heaven will defend my honor, I’m almost certain Elvis doesn’t allow sexual assault in his living room. I hope that he can make sure that fuckhead got run over by a go-cart from hell on the way home last night. Hopefully, the spirit of Graceland won’t be ruined for me – or maybe it’s time to move onto another hollywood home, something more empowering, like Dollywood. The worst thing about this, was this was not the first time this has happened, nor will it be the last. This was a particularly aggressive move, but it happens every day to women who were not ‘asking for it.’ Next time, however – if its on the subway, or in a crowd, or in a museum like this was – I will scream, and I will kick and I will punch that asshole and I don’t care if I’m making a scene or not.

Thanks Hollaback for doing what you do, and for making a space for me to reclaim my power.

Submitted by J

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Bad Santa

I was actually not in NYC, but I feel this nasty Santa needs to be exposed! I was with the little girl I nanny for seeing Santa, and Santa insisted I sit on his lap. Since she still believes in Santa, and Santa is supposedly a good authority figure, I followed his directions. Santa then began rubbing my back, holding my waist inappropriated and was just generally nasty! What a horrible man! He needs to be exposed. It frightens me to think such men can have access to children. Yikes! Bad Santa perv!

Submitted by Sarah

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I’ve Just Been Groped

Hello, I’ve just been gropped on 16th St. and 8th Ave. It was 4pm- bright sunny day, and I can’t believe this just happened to me. I have my wits about me always and I walk confidently with a sort of ‘don’t fuck with me’ look on my face, but it still happened! I was just walking, and this guy walking by, out of no where, stuck his hand out and felt my vagina. I just can’t believe it. If there’s anybody with any encouraging words, I’d love to hear them, because right now, I just feal like I never want to walk outside by myself again- and I hate that. Dammit.

Submitted by Kathleen

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Assault, groping, Verbal

Whatever Happened to the World that was Promised to Us?

I’m only twelve, so I get grossed out pretty easy.

As I was walking home from school one day, a man A LOT older than me stops walking as I walk past. He tries to grab me but I speed up so he misses. “I love your ass!” he calls after me.

Submitted by Fiona

(A special note from the Hollaback team: GO VOTE! Let’s make this world a better place together. New Yorkers: got voting questions? Get them answered here.)

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Subway Groper on the 6 Train

I was running late to work and jumped onto a 6 train at 86th street just before the doors were closing. A tall guy jumps in right behind me. The car was extremely crowded, almost no room to move whatsoever, but I was able to move a little further in to give the guy behind me some room. So we’re riding and I feel something graze my butt, but as quickly as it happened it went away. I’m thinking to myself, that better not be his hand and I try and look down and see some form of a briefcase in his hand. The subway lurches and I feel something on my butt again, and this time it lasts a little longer so I move forward as much as I can, but there is a girl in front of me, a girl to the left of me, and a pole to the right of me, so there’s really nowhere to go. The guy lets go but then puts his hand back on me (at this point I’ve figured out that it’s not his briefcase, he is grabbing my butt instead of grabbing the pole right next to him). He mutters to me “excuse me” and takes his hand off. I am thinking to myself: Can this really be happening to me right now? What do I do? Do I scream at him? Do I wait it out? Do I shove him off of me?” We kept going like that until 51st street where I got off, thoroughly disgusted, him grabbing me and saying excuse me and me trying to pretend I wasn’t in my body. I wish so much that I had said something to him or done something to end it, but I was paralyzed with fear. I know it sounds kind of stupid to just stand there and let it happen, but I was so scared of what he might do to me if I embarassed him or said something. Since that happened, I’ve told myself I will never let myself be a victim of Subway Groping again. I only wish I had known to take a picture of him! Fucking creep.
Submitted by Molly

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No Vacation from Harassment

I recently returned from a trip to Turkey, where the people were, most of the time, charming and pleasant. Except for one, however.

I was at a mosque in Istanbul with my parents, and we were walking around the grounds. The mosque is on a hill, and I was standing on a ledge to get a better look of the city below. As I turned around to step off the ledge, I saw a young man with his camera cellphone out, taking a picture of me. I just walked away and joined my parents, thinking that there would be safety in numbers.

We were walking down a flight of stairs when the same young man slipped past me on my left, reached behind him, and grabbed my crotch.

Without even thinking, I punched him on the shoulder as hard as I could. My mom turned to me and said, “What did you do that for?” I told her that he grabbed me. He then had the audacity to walk past us one more time, which is when my mom and I glared at him and told him, “No.” I then held eye contact with him and gave him the finger until he looked away.

I have been the object of visual and verbal harassment before, but I’ve never been groped and it left me shaken and feeling almost guilty, just for being female and somehow attracting that kind of attention.

Submitted by Tasha.

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Assault, groping

Rehoboth Beach Jerk

This jerk accosted me in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, but unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be a Holla Back, Delaware. (Yet.)

I was out at a *very* crowded concert with a bunch of friends when this guy not only grabbed my ass, but actually did some kind of a slimy under-reach. It was awful. I knocked my elbow back so that I could immediately turn around and see who had done it. I then leaned over and told my friend, a kick-ass gal who immediately came over and got in the guy’s face, and told him to get away from us. He actually refused to move! He said, “Why should I move? I’ve been here for an hour.” She said, “You groped my friend, you need to get away from us now.” He wouldn’t deny the groping, but refused to move. It was so frustrating, and made us feel so vulnerable. Especially when we tried to appeal to others around us for help, and everyone stared at us blankly, like, “Well, what do you expect?” 

Finally I remembered an article I’d read about Holla Back NYC, so I walked up to the guy and started snapping away! When he saw me coming he immediately turned away, but I tapped him on the arm, snapped a few, and yelled, “I’m putting you on the web!” He looked startled at that point, and I felt great. Thank you for creating this site!!! It changes everything to be able to turn the tables once in a while, even just a little. 

Submitted by Bec.

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