demonstration, Nonverbal Harassment

Why we need the “I’ve got your back” campaign: Arielle’s story

After spending a half an hour or so reading the stories on the Holla Back website and watching the videos (“and that’s why I Holla Back”) earlier today, my boyfriend and I went to the park. We were sitting on a blanket in the grass reading our respective books and eating food. I was laying down on the blanket wearing a knee-length summer dress when my boyfriend moved over and asked me to switch sides of the blanket with him. He whispered that the man eating his food about ten feet away from us was staring at me and he wanted to block the guy’s view. I thought he was exaggerating a little, but I felt relieved when the man left. Another 20-30 minutes later, he came back. He was wearing a backpack and had stringy blondish hair. I felt him looking at me, but kept my head down and continued reading. When I got up and walked across the park to get some water from the water fountain and walked back to the blanket, I realized he never took his eyes off of me. He even changed his seating positions to get a better view of me. It was enough, I told my boyfriend that I felt uncomfortable and he agreed that it was time to go, but I couldn’t stop thinking about this website. I stood up and looked him right in the eyes. “Will you please stop staring at me?!” I purposely said it in a loud voice so the couple sitting on the blanket near us and the mothers playing with their children nearby could hear me. He said “I wasn’t staring at you.” My boyfriend and I packed up our stuff to go, but before we left I turned around and told the creep “There’s a whole fucking park, stare somewhere else!” My boyfriend flicked him off and the jerk yelled back “Stop being so self-conscious!” I was being self-conscious? He was way more conscious of my ‘self’ than I was. As we left, a man laying on the grass said “Don’t worry about him, he’s always here. He doesn’t mean anything by it.”

Yes, he was only looking at me. Yes, it’s a public place and he is allowed to be there just as much as I am. But my gender is not an invitation to stare, to evaluate, to fantasize, to fetishize, to stare at my body. As we left the park, my boyfriend told me to stop talking about the incident, not to let that pervert ruin my whole day. But I said no. I want to talk about it, I want to discuss how to deal with a situation like the one we experienced. Is it better to ignore the harasser, allowing them to continue their creepy little game but not giving them the attention they so desperately want? Or is it better to do what I did, calling out their inappropriate behavior to bystanders but giving them more attention than they actually deserve? This website has taught me that the calling them out is more empowering, more influential, it proves that we are not the passive objects that these street harassers think we are. And the fact that he’s ALWAYS there? The fact that the women walking their dogs and little girls running through the water park area in their bathing suits in this park every day are doing so under the watchful eye of a strange staring man DOES NOT make me feel better. It doesn’t make me feel better. It doesn’t make me stop worrying. It makes me want to do more. So thank you, considerate bystander. Thank you for doing nothing, and for proving to me that I must do twice as much, ten times as much, because I live in a world where the only way to stop street harassment is to Holla Back!

 

To help build a world where the may laying in the grass would have said, “I’m so sorry that happened to you, is there anything I can do?” instead of minimizing the situation by saying, “he didn’t mean anything by it,” donate to the “I’ve got your back” campaign today. We’ve only got 11 days to go!

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Nonverbal Harassment

Georgia’s Story: A sad society

I left my house to go to the shop down the road and there were two women jogging, a white van then drives by, toots them with two men leering over them whilst they were just trying to exercise.  So I hollabacked “perverts” at the men in the van.  It’s sad that society tries to teach women that this kind of behaviour is a compliment.

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Nonverbal Harassment

Anonymous’s Story: Scaring the harassers

I was eating breakfast with my friend at Waffle House and having a great time. As we walked out my mom noticed a man taking a picture of my friend and me. She was outraged because he was taking pictures of our butts as we walked by! While my friend promptly freaked out I calmly turned around and took a picture of him. I must also add that we’re fifteen and my mom is an overprotective momma bear so she of course ran to take license plate numbers down when they left. That picture was unfortunately blurry but it achieved the goal I had in mind, scaring him shitless. Thank you hollaback, for reinforcing my ability to react swiftly and speak up.

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demonstration, Nonverbal Harassment

Jayati’s story from Guwahati, India: SNAP!

The long train journey was beginning to wear me off. I dosed at my seat only to wake up at some sounds by a man sitting in the opposite seat. I knew he didn’t have a ticket and must have persuaded other travelers to share their seat with him. He was staring at my chest. My dizziness left me that very instant and I started staring at him. He saw I was staring but it didn’t seem to perturb him. I told myself there’s no way I am letting this creep win this power game with me. I snapped my fingers in front of his face. He seemed surprised. I kept staring, anger in my eyes. After some moments of exchanging stares, he looked away. A vendor came by and he purchased some eatables. I kept staring. He could no longer maintain eye contact. He started stuffing them in his mouth while i started. He looked here and there as if wanting to escape. I bet his ego held him at his place. But as soon as his eatables were finished, he got up and left.
Moral of the story: Most people who tease are cowards. Challenge them and you’ll find their hollowness.

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groping, Nonverbal Harassment, Verbal

ARW’s Story: The power dynamics of a man

This seems to be a fortnightly occurrence and I am unable to escape it.
Thank you perverts!

Women are just as much to blame; the social power dynamics have shifted and while employment may be regulated by male approaches dating definitely has a blurred line.

I seem to fairly often be a victim of somebody grabbing or slapping my behind, I have had my testicles cupped and on many occasions experienced inappropriate contact and remarks.

This weekend a young lady pinched my behind while I stood at the bar in the Victoria pub, Birmingham, I turn around and give her a filthy look and ask her to stop but as I turn back to the bar she decided to grab me again; this time when I turn all of her friends are staring at me and making remarks like ‘hey handsome’ or ‘hello cute ass’

Unfortunately as a man I have little support so when I open my mouth to criticize I am immediately set upon by the eyes of every person in the room and offered tokens of aggression by some woman and men who stand up, but why?
Because the power dynamics of a 6″3 athletic man standing over four much smaller females dictates that indeed I should be the aggressor.
So I am oppressed twice simply for buying a drink and standing up for myself.

Power dynamics exist in many facets and social normality, especially for the socially responsible, is damaged when certain power dynamics are ignored; the main reason I wrote this.
The truth is a lot of this is about social molding and in my experience, women can be just as bad as men because they realize how strong the social power dynamic is in supporting them.

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demonstration, Nonverbal Harassment

Phoebe’s story from Boston: Camera-phones used to harass

I was waiting for the bus stop today, around 10:30AM. To pass time I was reading a local paper and was very engrossed. I noticed a man near me but assumed he was also waiting for the bus. A moment later I looked up and he had a digital camera pointed directly at me and had just snapped a picture of me. Shocked, I asked if he had just taken a photo of me and he smirked and said it was a good picture. I took a step towards him and he started backing off immediately- I told him I didn’t want him to take that photo and to delete it. He basically began mocking me and saying it was just a photo and he had the right to and there was nothing I can do. I started shouting at him that it was not his property. He turned and literally started jogging off. I screamed at him that what he did was so disrespectful, and another woman at the bus stop took after him screaming. I stayed put, feeling helpless and that it was pointless to chase him. He laughed at us saying his camera took pictures, didn’t shoot bullets, and that there was nothing illegal about it. He ran away down the street. I felt and feel so humiliated. Maybe it sounds like just a photo, but I don’t know this person, I didn’t consent to this, and he clearly took it to make me uncomfortable and to get off on invading somebody else’s privacy and enjoying their vulnerability. I tried to report it to the police and the (male) office took the perp’s side saying it wasn’t a crime because he didn’t hurt me.

It just feels like such a violation, that as a woman I am never safe, somebody can have my image and jerk off to it or share it on the internet or get off on invading my privacy no matter where I am or what I am doing.

So for anybody traveling through Hynes area in Boston, watch out for a skinny, pathetic, disgusting male, early 30s, 5-7″ish, slimy looking, bad teeth, digital camera, and the support of the Boston Police Department.

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demonstration, Nonverbal Harassment

Lisa’s story from San Diego: Leering trolley men

I try to avoid taking the San Diego MTS trolley and buses for that matter because of the rampant undesirable, creepy, criminalistic men who take the trolley. These men will come and try to sit next to me when there are lots of open seats, when this happens, i just move to another seat and sit by a woman who seems sane or if there aren’t any available safe seats, I stand until I reach my destination. These men stare at you, undress you with their eyes, try to start a conversation with you, their attention is totally unwanted. The trolley and bus is not a great ave place to meet men, usually these men have criminal records, do not drive because they owe back child support, are extremely unattractive, unintelligent and do not have legitimate income. I loathe taking public transportation because these are the only types of men you will run into. They know that they have no chance, they are totally out of their league. I have learned to be assertive and not afraid to shout at them to stay the hell away from me if they are persistent, this usually works.

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groping, Nonverbal Harassment, Verbal

Angela’s Story: Drunken street harassment in Charleston

I first want to say that this is just one saturday night and this is not atypical from any other night any time from 6pm to 6am although harassment is common (sadly) during the day too.

As two friends and I (all three of us female) walked down King St. at about 1:30 pm in Charleston last weekend. During our walk there were at least 20 separate incidents of verbal harassment from men who were drunk leaving the bars.
The first man pretended his pretzel was a blunt of marijuana and offered it to my friend. When she refused, knowing it was food, he and his friends shouted “bitch” after us.
The next comment was about 20 seconds later by a group of guys who tried to convince us to stay with them so they could “show us a good time”. One guy even put his arm around my friend while she was trying to pass.
Next, after 1 block, a guy pointed at the three of us and his friend yelled out “the one on the left”, another said “i call the right” and another yelled “i want the middle”. They were obviously talking about having sex with us.
After this one man told my friends that he would only get out of laying in the road in front of traffic if she kissed him, got up while she was crossing the road, and grabbed her waist pulling her in an opposite direction. She got away quickly because the man was drunk and we moved down the street.
Another block down a man pointed at me and told me that I was going home with him that night.
These are specific things they said besides the other catcalls and disgusting comments. We were called sluts three times walking down the street because we ignored the guy’s comments and attempts at touching us.
This behavior is disgusting and frequent in the charleston area and women need to be aware of the danger that can be present in the city or on the College of Charleston campus.

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Nonverbal Harassment

Tim’s Story: “I am much more confident now, despite you and others like you”

As I was sitting in my dorm, working on homework, my roommate returned and immediately said to me, “I assume you want me to take this down.” I had no idea what he was talking about, and when I looked up from my computer I noticed he was holding my dorm name tag. Next to my name, I noticed the word “GAY” in bright green. My first thought was, “Who would do this?” As it turns out, this was not targeted at me specifically. Others in my dorm area also had signs vandalized. The timing could not have been any worse, however. I was just starting to ask myself questions regarding my own sexuality. I became paranoid. How could I possibly openly ask myself these questions if where I was living was not a safe space? Thank you, random stranger, for contributing to my insecurities. In case you stumble upon this (however unlikely that may be), I am much more confident now, despite you and others like you who make our society unwelcoming for those who dare to question or explore an identity.

one comment 
Nonverbal Harassment, public masturbation

Sak’s story from India: Repeat offender in the neighborhood

Story of a girl :- One day one of my friends in P.G. got a call from here boy friend. She went out side coz there was some signal problem. When she was romaing at the tarace. A person was also roaming in the opposite building. The persons side’s lights were switched off. As my friend was talking on phone, that guy on opposite building removed all his clothes , and became naked, and started doing masterbation , facing my friend.My friend become awful, she aint was able to understand what is happining. She came running inside and told us the thing. We both went outside , and turned our tarrace light on, the guy quickly put his shorts up and went inside. I was also awful, what is this man doing. Aint he have any sister or mother. After that we share the scene with our fellow P.G. mate. One of them said, its usual that guy always became naked when i came outside on phone, i kust ignore that guy.Till date i have seen that guy doning this shameful act 4 times. I want to ask u. Is there not even single place for us girl to live. Coz of these shame ful act our parents fear to send us outside for studies…. plz do leave a coment.

Dated 19 april 2011

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