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I was walking home from work in the dead of winter, and I came to an intersection. The guy driving the pick up truck stopped at the stop sign, and waved me through. As I crossed in front of him, he beeped his truck horn, and I looked at him to see him making a tongue-pass at me. I kept walking, and he rolled down the window and yelled “what’s the matter, bitch? just trying to keep the neighborhood friendly!”
Submitted by Teenie
Yesterday I ran into this guy for the third time in the past couple months on the CTA Brownline. He pretends to be really engrossed in his red flip cell phone (like he’s sending a text or something) but what he’s actually doing is taking photos of young women on the train.
The first time I saw him, I was sitting behind him and could see his screen. The second time I saw him he got on the train the stop before I exited, but when I saw him yesterday – I decided to snap a photo of my own. Long dark hair and wire rim glasses. Pretty sure he was wearing that denim jacket each time as well.
Watch out for this guy. If I’ve seen him three times (on the Brownline headed towards Kimball – twice during evening rush and once later in the evening) he’s got to be out there even more. Every time I see him it makes my blood run thin to know what he’s up to but not have the power to do anything to stop him.
My friend suggested I share with Hollaback! to spread the word.
Submitted by Summer
I am harassed on a daily basis, no matter what I wear or how I look. I take the bus to work everyday and I can’t remember a single time when I was not stared at. Most of the time it’s lewd staring but sometimes men will hiss, make kissing noises, approach me to ask for my number, yell at me from their car window, honk at me when they drive by. I’ve also been groped.
For the longest time I felt embarrassed to talk about how much this bothered me. When I talk about it to male friends, they think I should get used to it. But I don’t think I ever will. It’s not up to me to get used to it, it’s up to them to stop disrespecting me.
I’ve lived in 2 different countries and the same harassment happens in both countries.
It’s very sad that a woman should feel unsafe and uncomfortable every single day on her commute to work.
I feel scared to retaliate because I’m on my own.
Submitted by Sham
I got my fair share of catcalls and unwanted attention when I was a student in New York. I began having a discussion about this with one of my classes. The (male) teacher said in some cultures men giving that kind of attention to women was acceptable, so why did we women get so uptight about it here?
Another boy piped up that in his country, saying hi to a woman he didn’t know was completely acceptable.
I couldn’t manage to get anyone to understand that it wasn’t the attention that bothers me and other women, it’s the blatant sexual come-ons. And the fact that these things start out innocently, but can lead to things much more sinister.
A few days later, I was walking to work and a construction working waved and said a cheery, “Good morning!” to me.
I said good morning back, and that was it. I wonder, if you want to talk to a woman, why can’t it be like that?
Submitted by SJ
When I read one of the stories on here I remembered something that I had kinda pushed out of my mind. I had 30something neighbour that still lived with his parents that used to stare at me. Whenever he saw the lights going on in my bedroom he would go upstairs in his house and look into my window. I was about 15 at the time and only found out when my mum came into my room and told me that she saw him doing it. I don’t know how long that had gone on. I was so shocked at first, but I thought he needs some sort of “virtual slap”. So I pretended to not have noticed and one evening I actually saw him looking I took all my courage and opened the window and asked him if he liked looking at a 15 year old and what he thought his parents might think about it. The look on his face was hilarious! From that day he never looked again and he couldn’t even look into my eyes. Creep!!!
Submitted by Dana
I was on a family vacation in Las Vegas, being 15 at the time and i always looked really childish with chubby cheeks and a baby like face and i was going down the escalator with my mom talking on the phone right next to me!! I’m looking away towards all the stores and I hear “Hey,Hey,Hi,Hi” I look to my left and the guy riding the escalator up is waving at me and saying hi so I look around and noone seems to notice him and he’s staring straight at me, not my mom or anyone else. I make a weird look and he still is staring at me and i run down the escalator being so scared. My mom had no idea what that guy wanted and she thought he mistook me for someone.I doubt that. But he gave me a stare that looked so evil and like he wanted to harm me. I feel like I can’t even be safe with my mom next to me. He looked about 40ish and was balding. I can’t get the mental image of him out of my head.It still scares me so much. What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas…or not.
Submitted by Vicki
Was on the way home at around 9:30. I look up, this guy across me is already staring at me and I continuously stare back at home and he starts smiling and starts mouthing some words to me. He gave me the most disgusting and perverted looks ever. He did this for the whole ride and kept looking back and staring at me, and if I stared at him longer, he would smile. Who does he think he is?
When I left, he told me, “Bye.” Wish I cursed him out.
Submitted by S.T.
The guy is the one sitting in the picture.
So the other day I had what Oprah would call an “A-ha” moment. Though I prefer to refer to it my “Get the fuck out of my personal space you male-privilege-assuming bastard” episode. Just has a nicer ring to it.
Anyways, I was at a gas station and had just finished filling up when an older gentleman clad in overalls (I live in NC) ambled over to stand RIGHT in front of me, blocking my entrance back into the driver’s seat of my beloved automobile.
He tried to start up some inane conversation about gas prices, which were SO HIGH these days compared to when he was young. Pissed off that he wasn’t getting my subtle “step-back-random-dude” vibes, I thought about asking if his first car was a Model T. But, as he kept inching creepily closer to me, I just said very firmly “I need to get back in my car.”
But that’s not what HE wanted.
The lovely gent actually shook his head no and tried to keep talking, all the while inching closer and closer toward me. In my mind I found myself running through all those perpetrator-excusing things we’re taught to do as women…Maybe this guy was just a little crazy, bless his heart, or actually was trying to pick me up but didn’t know how to go about it…but then IT CLICKED.
I didn’t, and I don’t, give a damn why a STRANGER chooses to disrespect my personal space with unwanted interaction. When I say leave me alone, it means LEAVE ME ALONE.
So I screamed at the top of my lungs “Get out of my way” so loudly the man literally winced, covered his ears and RAN back to his truck that was parked near by. People were looking and he was embarrassed.
It, was awesome.
And empowering. Worse things have happened to me, but this was one of the first times I’ve ever responded so powerfully. It felt good and it balanced out the “ick” factor.
I truly believe that HollaBack helped me to be so assertive. Reading through your blog’s entries and article links has helped me understand what street harassment is really about: Power. Making women feel less than men in public spaces, making us feel like prey, whether we’re in a power suit or a sundress. Making us feel like we’re the property of any and every man on the street.
This won’t be the last time some stranger thinks he can treat me like I exist for his amusement.
But, I’m going to keep being loud. I’m going to keep holding harassers accountable whenever I feel safe enough to do so. And it’s going to feel good, oh so good.
Death to the “good girl,” I say.
Ladies, it’s time for us to get mean.
Submitted by Beth
I am at 14th street with my daughter last week. I was talking to my daughter who is 10 and I notice this guy is flicking his tongue at me and “adjusting his jeans” directly across from me. As soon as I noticed this I took out my phone and tried to get his picture. He looked freaked out and got off at grand central! I didn’t even get a chance to take a picture but it worked and got the perv off the train. My daughter didn’t notice anything because she had her nose in her book. What balls this guy has.
Submitted by Samantha
I was on the LIRR train on my way home from school when a man sat down next to me and began trying to strike up a conversation. I was cordial, but then began ignoring him as he clearly started trying to hit on me. After about 15 minutes, he took his phone out, tried to casually hold it with his right arm (the side next to me), and slanted it up so that it was angled between my legs and up my dress. This all happened in seconds. Then, I heard the distinctive click of a camera sound.
I was stunned, but after a second or two I stood up and immediately started screaming at the man in front of the other passengers. In my shock that something like this had actually happened to me, it was cathartic to stand in front of him and all the other passengers and recount what he had done. I called him a “disgusting pig” and said “how dare you take an upskirt picture of me.” I wanted all the other passengers to know what he did, in hopes that if nothing else, he would be embarrassed by his perverted act.
Being a law student, I knew that immediately I wanted to create a record of what had happened. After I told the person who had taken tickets for my car, and he alerted the conductor (who, in turn, alerted the police), I turned around and walked back towards the man. He had plugged in his phone to charge it and while he was talking on it I held up my phone and took two pictures of him, while saying “how do you like having your picture taken.”
Although he got off the train at the next stop, I gave the police his pictures and all the information the man had volunteered when he was trying to hit on me on the train. He gave me his nickname (Alejandro) and his Myspace name. I also had gotten contact information from a man sitting in front of me who had witnessed the incident.
Two days later, I took the morning train out of Jamaica on the Ronkonkoma line. A few stops before I got off, Alejandro, the SAME man who had taken a picture up my dress, came up to me and sat down right across from me. Instantly, I was fearful and started looking around to see my options if I had to get away from him or if I needed to alert someone. Remarkably, he didn’t seem to recognize me at all.
I took advantage of this, and when he hit on me, using all the same lines as he had before, I played into it. I kept my head to the side so he could only see my profile and kept my sunglasses on, in case he suddenly had a flash of recognition. I found out his full name, his job, where he lived, and his phone number. I told him fake details about my life when he asked and stared at his phone every time he took it out so that I could give the police its exact details.
When I got off the train, I immediately contacted the detective the police department had put me in touch with and gave him all the information.
I ended up setting up a fake “date” with the man and the detectives I worked with were able to catch him. He had 17 prior convictions on his record, ranging from more benign crimes to violent ones. He also had a warrant out because he had skipped out on his probation meeting. I cooperated with the Assistant District Attorney and told my story to aid in his conviction of “Unlawful Surveillance.”
Women should feel that they have the right and ability to embarrass their harassers; but, it’s also important to follow through and report the incident with the police. Use your words, use your cameras, and use your ability to share your stories.
Submitted by Emily