demonstration, groping, Story, Verbal

Wanderer’s Story: “Violated by a couple of punks”

A few months ago, I went out to a Friday night dinner with my husband of 23 years at Rocco’s Tacos on Clematis Street in West Palm Beach, Florida. I wore a new dress and was feeling proud of myself, especially after having worked very hard to lose more then 50 pounds to get back to a healthy weight. After dinner, while my husband visited the restroom and before we walked back to our car for the drive home, rather than wait inside I told him I’d be out front since it was a beautiful evening.

As I strolled a few paces away from those dining on the sidewalk, two men who appeared to be in their twenties were approaching, laughing. I slightly backed up and angled my body to avoid brushing against them or others as they passed, and one of them said something that sounded like ‘Tasty!’ while his knuckles brushed the front of my crotch. He didn’t stop moving but it felt like *very* deliberate contact. I immediately turned after him saying ‘What the fuck?!’ but both of them immediately took off running — and laughing.

My husband arrived a minute after that. I told him I thought I’d just been groped and he really wanted to go after them. I convinced him they were long gone so there wouldn’t be any point. Now I wish I’d let him try, although I still think it wouldn’t have led to finding them in the crowds that were on Clematis that night. I feel violated by a couple of punks who obviously think humiliating and denigrating women at random is a fun game. When I think of putting on that new dress for a second time, I just can’t. I’ll probably end up donating it even though I spent a lot of money on it.

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24+

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Story

HOLLA ON THE GO: Unwanted exposure

I was shopping for stationary in WHSmith and a male approached near to where I was. The magazine rack was just behind. He picked up a copy of Zoo magazine and browsed through the entire magazine stopping to focus on the topless women from time to time before placing the magazine back on the shelf and leaving the shop. He was only interested in the porn. Unwanted exposure to pornography is sexual harassment and this could be raised as such by the staff in this store under UK employment law

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14+

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Assault, racial discrimination, Story, Verbal

Tif’s Story: Harassment on and off the 6 train

Exiting the train on the #6 train platform a few minutes before 8:29PM on Friday night, May 9, 2014, a middle-aged man stepped on my shoe three times and reached near my back pocket to take my smart phone. When I turned around, he said “F*ck you, you b*tch. “You f**king Asian B*tch, I’ll punch you.” I was shocked so I followed him to take photos. He turned around and repeatedly said he would hit me.

At 8:29PM, I took a photo of his back while exiting near the 14th Street exit escalators leading up to The Food Emporium, Union Square location. And another riding up the escalators.

At the crosswalk, outside Panera Bread, I tried to take a photo of his face with the flash when he turned around and lunged at me, trying to punch me in the face and seize my phone. Three people who took the train with me saw what had happened and blocked him from coming at me. The man then tried to go around the two young males and throw a punch. The two males said to stop and kept side-stepping/blocking him to make sure he couldn’t successfully land a hit. They told him they would get the cops if he didn’t stop and he finally backed down.

The attacker was wearing a long-sleeved gray knit shirt under a black zip-up vest, with dark blue jeans folded at the hems, with tan work boots.

A skinny male, age 21-28 with glasses leaning against the Panera Bread had witnessed the attack. I had told him I was trying to take a photo of that man because he tried to rob/grope me on the 6 train. I mentioned him because I wonder if he took a video of what happened.

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31+

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Story, Verbal

Danielle’s Story: Success Story!

I have a success story today y’all!
These 2 loud men down the train from me were singing and yelling real loud and I looked over at them and the one guy blew kisses to me, after which he kept trying to get my attention, making me uncomfortable.
They moved down the car and the one man stood next to me while the other stood across from me. The one across from me motioned to the man next to me that he should move saying “you’re making her nervous bro,” so he moved and then said he was going to sing me a song. I told him “can you stop because you’re really making me uncomfortable.” He felt shut down and his pride was obviously hurt so he shut up immediately. A couple minutes later he tried to talk to me again with the excuse of an Apology and his friend stood up for me and yelled at him, letting him know he was overstepping his boundaries and that he can’t approach all women that way.
After a full day of being harassed by men on the street, this made me feel superb.

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37+

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demonstration, groping, Story, transphobic

RC’s Story: Grab the bread not my butt!

While I was exploring BaoBao Bakery in Chinatown in broad daylight with friends, a middle-aged elderly man groped my butt twice in the middle of the store, first as a “tester” brush to see how I would react and then a later, stronger touch when my confusion at the first contact did not result in negative consequences. At the time, I was not sure whether the crowdedness of the store was what had caused the touches and whether they had been honest mistakes. Looking back, though, I realized the man could have easily grabbed the breads without touching my butt the way he did.

Instead of suffering in silence, I have decided to Hollaback! by posting this story. I had not taken a picture of my harasser but wish I did. This incident happened in Boston Chinatown, and I am not sure if the man spoke English. I don’t think potential language barriers should prevent women from hollering back – in whatever language they choose – and publicly denouncing their harassers for their behavior. If anything like this happens again, I will not hesitate to Hollaback!

Note: BaoBao Bakery does not deserve special blame. It merely was the location I was in at the time of this incident.

I've got your back!
35+

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demonstration, Story, transphobic, Verbal

Alice’s Story: “Scariest encounter with street harassment in my life”

I was maybe eleven or twelve? Either way I was very young and very innocent. I hadn’t properly hit puberty yet and I wasn’t in any way old for my age. In short, I was just a kid. I was walking home by the local shops, right in front of Mcdonalds when a man (35? 40?)hissed “You’re looking great, sweetie, I want you” or words to that effect. I freaked out and ran home, crying, where some friends saw me in the park. I cried and explained what had happened and my girlfriends soothed me and organised a lift home for me. That was upsetting, but not as upsetting as the reaction the next few days. People would come up to me, curiously asking if I had been raped, because that was what they had heard from a friend who heard from a friend who said they were there. Some boys came up to me, teasing me about my older lover. I saw the man again, a few weeks later, and he smirked at me and wiggled his finger for me to come closer. Thankfully I was with a friend and we kept walking until we were out of sight, where I called the police. It was probably the scariest encounter with street harassment in my life, maybe because of my age.

I've got your back!
32+

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demonstration, Story, Verbal

Koko’s Story: Creepers in the park

03/05/14 about midday I was walking through Primrose Hill park and two creepy guys lounging on a bench started wolf whistling at me in front of loads of families and kids, I was so angry and frustrated.

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15+

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demonstration, Nonverbal Harassment, Story

Lisa’s Story: A Success Story!

I’ve been a fan of Hollaback for about a year now, and I finally decided to share a story. There are so many experiences of harassers getting away with their words and/or actions, and leaving the victim feeling powerless and trapped. However, I am happy to say that this is a success story!

I work in an industrial neighborhood in the East Bay, California. Every morning, I take a walk in about a one-mile radius from my workplace. There is a tow-truck company whose trucks frequent the area quite often, as their headquarters are nearby.

Beginning around October of last year, there was one particular driver for the company who, everytime he saw me walking, would blare his horn. A shrill, jarring, airhorn-like sound. Truck horns are designed to startle someone in an urgent situation, and naturally when this first started occurring, I would immediately look towards the sound to see what was happening. When I looked, the driver would have this grin across his face that felt so… Invasive. Sometimes he would wave, as well. My standard reaction was to flip him off, but that wasn’t satisfying the need to make him feel the way that he made me feel. Cornered, on display. I should throw in that this would always happen when he was driving by (in motion), and never when he was stopped. Big surprise, I know.

A few months later, another driver for the company started honking, grinning, waving, etc. as he passed. This happened several times. Everytime an instance occurred with this company, it was one of those two drivers. They were always in separate vehicles, never together at the same time.

So, I began to recognize my options. I thought about notifying the police, but I then realized that harassment in the workplace is taken much more seriously, internally speaking. If a company discovers that one of their employees is harassing others inside or outside of the workplace, there are often serious repercussions. I decided to call the company.

I immediately- but non-confrontationally- asked to speak to a manager. I told the receptionist that I had been experiencing harassment from two of their employees for approximately four months, and that I was fairly confident the company was unaware that this was happening. The woman I spoke to seemed to understand the urgency, and transferred me to the manager’s phone line. He was not in the office, but I did seize the opportunity to leave an in-depth message. I addressed everything that had happened with the honking and smiling, and let him know how these actions affected my feelings and sense of safety. I noted the times that these instances occurred, and the drivers’ appearances.

I never did receive a phone call back from the company, but I am ecstatic to say that not one single harassment incident, from either driver, has occurred since. I still see the same drivers when I go for a walk, and they will look, but will not say or do a thing. In fact, the majority of the time, they can’t even look me in the eye anymore.

People need to know that they CAN make a difference. They DO have the power to change things. They need not be afraid to use their voice and take action. The harassers do not have any more power than those who are harassed, and this story proves that those who choose to victimize others will endure justified consequences, if we speak up!

I've got your back!
20+

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Story, transphobic, Verbal

Charlotte’s Story: “gone by the time I turned the corner”

I go to The University of Texas in Austin and it’s hella expensive to park your car on campus. Usually I just park my car across 35 and take the shuttle back to campus, but I had just gotten back to town and it was a Sunday, so the shuttle wasn’t running a full schedule. Because the next bus wouldn’t arrive for another 45 minutes (and because it was early March and 30 degrees outside), I decided to walk back to campus rather than wait.

I was walking down MLK, having almost made it back to my dorm without incident, when a silver PT cruiser sped past me. Some guy stuck his head out the window and yelled “SLUT,” started laughing, and pulled his head back into the car.

They turned onto the same street as my dorm and I tried to chase after them, but they were gone by the time I turned the corner.

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42+

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demonstration, Story, transphobic, Verbal

Kellissa’s Story: Harasser in the workplace

He appears at my work every single day.
Criticizing the women I work with, including me, he reaches a topic that is a personal and gender-based insecurity to every woman, sex. The way women look and dress is always a sexual concern in the publicity of men, which he makes apparent.
Questioning the way my co-workers and I present ourselves, he makes comments like, “So when are you going to make a sex tape?” “You look tense, you should purchase a vibrator”, and, “When am I going to see you as the center-fold for Playboy?” These questions do not contribute to women as an individual, but as sexual fixations, enabling us to believe that being a sexual object for men is the purpose of women’s existence.
He does not pass up the opportunity to lower one’s mental health; he attacks even men as well. Commenting on a man’s hopes and aspirations, he belies, “You’re a beatnik and will never amount to anything.” For men, not “amounting to anything” results in a gender-based insecurity of failure. Men value their work ethic and aspirations as a reflection of their selves, because essentially men are taught that they will be relied on later in life. If someone doubts their accomplishments or determination, they take it as a personal threat of their inability to provide for others in life.
He doesn’t need to know someone as a person, only how to make generalized comments towards their gender. The University of Oregon recognizes this behavior as gender harassment, defining it as, “Generalized sexist statements and behavior that covey insulting or degrading attitudes about women [or men]” (University Counseling & Testing Center, 2010).
Making note of his appearance and the way he confidently fabricates his life as successful, this explains why he must mentally flagellate those around him. He struggles with his own heightened insecurities and belittling others creates the illusion that he feels superior; by recognizing that others have insecurities of their own. He heightens his perception of his own self-worth when verbalizing false statements to those around him.
The use of harassment in the workplace causes my co-workers and me to develop effects of drop in work performance due to stress, decrease in job satisfaction, depression, self-consciousness, frustration, and unfavorable work conditions. The comments that he makes cause psychological damage and sustain us from not performing our best while at work.
A lot of victims hide in terror and denial from their harassers, unable to tell anyone or change the outcome. Victims may feel powerless; an imbalance of power between the harasser and the victim is just a disconnected form of reality. When in actuality, the harasser holds no more power over the victim. In this case, he has no greater power over me or my co-workers.

I've got your back!
27+

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