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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
Several years ago, when I was 29 years old, I was seated on a Redline train headed to my mother’s after a job interview. I am an attorney so I was dressed very conservatively in a navy blue suit and pumps. I noticed a scrubby man about my age sitting directly across from me trying to get my attention. When I looked at him he rolled his tongue around against the inside of his cheek, which had been common among juvenile males at my high school for indicating a desire for oral sex, and he mouthed the words to that effect. I was so disgusted I just looked him straight in the eye and said very loudly and meanly “Fuck you.” He looked shocked so I repeated “Fuck you and don’t look at me again.” He mumbled “I’m sorry” but as he was still looking at me I again repeated “Stop looking at me,” which he did. I then stared at him to make sure he didn’t look at me again until we arrived at the next stop where he made a hasty exit.
I felt bad because there were some young children on the train with their dad and I knew they heard me but probably didn’t see the loser pervert so on my way off a few stops later I apologized to the dad for swearing in front of the kids but said that a guy was making rude gestures at me.
What I concluded from the experience is that scrubby stranger stalkers in public places (as opposed to acquaintance stalkers or stalkers when no one else is around) are big cowardly, losers and that they are more afraid of you than you are of them and confronting their disgusting behavior head on will send them scampering away. This really shouldn’t be much of a surprise since if these guys weren’t losers they would have girlfriends or wives to satisfy their sexual needs and wouldn’t have to attempt to get their thrills skeeving out strangers in public.
Submitted by Sara
I find it really annoying when you are running/walking outside and a dude in a car slows down next to undressing you with his eyes. For one thing its obvious they are staring you down and they aren’t being secretive. It makes me feel extremely uncomfortable and its extremely bothersome. Its ridiculous that I have to worry about what this guy is going to do. I should have the freedom to run or do whatever I want without having some disgusting perv stare.
Submitted by Cassie
In a follow up to her “New Phone Apps Aim to Combat Harassment” article published in the NYT on Monday, reporter and now HollaHERO Karen Zraick publishes her own personal hollaback in today’s City Room blog.
As if we couldn’t have guessed, within hours, there are 47 comments all containing one, two, three, and sometimes more, horrifying stories of women’s own personal experiences with street harassment. And it isn’t over yet. NOW THAT IS ONE HELLUVA HOLLABACK!
“It’s infuriating to see this described as a ‘quality of life issue’, writes one woman. “This isn’t a ‘quality of life’ issue, okay? It’s not my neighbors having a loud party, or a dog barking next door!”
At Hollaback, we couldn’t have said it better.
Now this is one holla the city will NOT be able to ignore. Read Karen’s story and the accompanying comments here.
If I had a dollar for every NYT reporter who has come forward with her own hollaback…well, I wouldn’t have very much money. But if I had $5 from every woman who read this story, including you, now I might have something to talk about…raise us $5?
I was influenced by the plight faced by poor Ines Sainz, the reporter who confronted the New York Jets about sexual harassment, to post this. This is for you…
As you’re going to see here, this guy leered at me and, when I approached and confronted him about it, he got pissed and called me a “white girl” and, when he thought the camera wasn”t rolling, he said to me, “Fuck you.” This was not or ever meant to be a compliment. This was male entitlement, sexual harassment and the belief that, because, to him, I am an object, not a human being, a woman, he could intrude into my boundaries as he wished and maybe take my body as he pleased. The days of women being men’s property or second class citizens is over (And DON’T cite my profession (which is acting as a fantasy) because that is the rape mentality by using a woman’s morals to justify the abnegation of a woman’s right to consent – just as the moral police do in Afghanistan ). Little does he know or care that when he does that, he disrespects the very women that gave him life: his mother, sister or daughter. This happens to every woman worldwide, regardless of how they dress, appear, act (Egypt, where burqas are common, instituted a law which mandated a year jail sentence for sexual harassment). Thank goodness a fellow women in a high position to correct this wasn’t brainwashed by misogyny and took the plight of a fellow sister seriously.
In this country, we have an egregious rape epidemic of major proportions. It’s called the rape mentality. Women are being and have been told that if they wear a certain outfit, look attractive or, in any shape, manner and form, appear titilating to men, then they were asking for it! Really, what’s being said is is that, because you are a woman, you were asking for it. The whore/virgin complex is being used to facilitate and justify harm against women with the male entitlement/ rape mentality being used as a system to keep women oppressed and in check.
This is why I DON’T fuck with men unless they are tricks!
The rape mentality has got to go and more women need to start confronting these mofos. To any man who doesn’t understand – thank you for changing my sexual orientation!
This creepy little fuckface in the blue dress shirt was eyeing up every woman who either looked younger than 40 or was wearing anything that showed the vaguest sliver of skin. He seemed to particularly have a leg fetish- like a cutting up legs fetish, seriously, his gaze was so eerily intent. He’s looking over there because there were three teenage girls whose conversation he was actively eavesdropping on. I wanted to scream out, “ASSHOLE WE CAN SEE YOUR WEDDING RING AND WE’RE NOT INTERESTED ANYWAY.” FFS.
Submitted by Lucy
Despite the fact that I don’t live anywhere near New York, I’d like to submit my experience;
I’m a young caucasian girl and pretty oblivious at times. It was dark and I was taking the city bus home from a peer-education group meeting. I nearly always sit in the back of the bus because the drivers like to talk to pretty young girls if they’re sitting close enough. My city is pretty racially segregated and I happen to live in the ‘black’ part of town that’s up at bat for gentrification. The racial tension in the neighborhood is hideous and, at times, I’m ashamed of the color of my skin. This bus was predominately occupied by african-americans. I was feeling eyes crawling on my stupid whit skin and I was trying not to look as uncomfortable or out of place as I felt. I was listening to my ipod and texting my friend and trying to feel ok when I noticed these two older guys looking at my chest. One of them had dreadlocks with a receding hairline and the other had a cigarette tucked behind his ear. About thirty seconds after I noticed them, they both pulled their sunglasses over their eyes. They were talking to each other but I couldn’t hear what they were saying so I casually turned the volume of my music all the way down. Then Mr. Dreads pulled out his phone and they started talking about the camera function. Mr. Cigarette was saying something to the effect of ‘Oh that’s nice! Look at that resolution!’ The camera lens was pointed at my chest. I didn’t want to say anything and I didn’t want to move. I know that if the guys had been my same race, I’d have felt confident enough to yell at them but because of the pre-existing tension, I was unsure of how to deal with them. I didn’t (and don’t) want to be painted as racist but I felt it then. I was a minority in the situation but those men would have claimed me to be the aggressor. After a bit of thinking I worked up the courage to zip up my sweatshirt and turn my body slightly away from them.
I haven’t seen them since and hopefully won’t again. I’ve never been so uncomfortable and unsure of myself. I couldn’t even tell my mom about it for fear she would revoke the little freedom she gives me.
Submitted by Casper
NOTE: As part of our anti-racism policy, we do not identify the race of the harassers in the post, unless the relevance to the story is “clearly and constructively” explained. We felt this was a good example of that.