Story

HOLLA ON THE GO: Walking home

I was walking back to my dorm from town, and I passed a man sitting on his porch. He didn’t look or say anything to me. When I was a few feet from my dorm, the man pulled up next to me in his car and said “hey baby, do you want a ride?”. I responded “no” and walked quickly into my dorm lobby.

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Story

S’ Story: Fear of harassment is nothing to be ashamed of

This happened a couple of years ago. I’m a middle-aged woman, and a little chubby. I was dressed in jeans and a tshirt. I certainly don’t consider myself that sexy anymore (but that’s another issue)…
I’d sprained my ankle about two months before, and my physical therapist was seven blocks from my house.
I think I was still in a walking boot when I was walking home that day. On one side of the street is a tiny little strip of stores and a parking lot – the same side my home is on, and the physical therapist. As I neared this area, a little old man walked toward me on the sidewalk. He was probably around 70 years old, maybe older, shorter and smaller than me. He locked eyes with me when we were about 30 feet apart. I began to get nervous but figured he was harmless. I kept looking away – both to watch the ground (sprained ankle!) and to try to lose the creepy feeling… As we passed each other, he muttered something like “Ay! Mamacita!” and waggled his tongue at me.
I seriously was freaked out by this and hobbled as quickly as I could away, looking back over my shoulder, thinking “well, at least he didn’t grab me”…
I stopped at a coffee shop before going home, hoping that he wouldn’t follow me or watch where I went.

My partner later told me this particular old man has done the same thing to her, as well as some young (middle school?) girls coming from the private school down the street. The girls also ran into that coffee shop to hide.

I haven’t seen him since, but I’ve been ashamed at how frightened I was of a little old man.

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Stalking, Story

Andrea’s Story: “…never have I been that scared.”

This happened when I was 17, I’m now 22 but I remember it like it was yesterday.
I was moving so me and my friends were having a party at my apartment. My older brother ran out of cigarettes and me and my guy friend Christian decided to go with him to the store to grab something to eat. None of us had a car so we decided to skate there. It was only about 3 blocks away. Half way there, my brother realized he forgot his wallet. Him and Christian were in the middle of a conversation I was not a part of and I was on the quickest board so I volunteered to skate back and grab it. I had no trouble getting back. I ran in and out within 30 seconds and took off back toward my brother and friend. I had my head phones blasting music and was cruising at a slower speed than normal, just enjoying the cool California night air. I lived in a less than great area but I have always lived in the more crime ridden areas so I felt comfortable in my knowledge of how to avoid the cat callers or gropers. I had long hair at the time but I always wore baggy shirts and pants so I figured in the dark, I might just look like a shorter guy with long hair.
Then I noticed the headlights from a car behind me had been shining on me for longer than normal. They did not dim as I skated away as if the car was parked and the car never passed me. So I looked back and noticed a car driving slowly, keeping pace right behind me on the opposite side of the road. I’m used to it so I just started skating a bit faster thinking they would lose interest like usual and move on if I did not respond to them. Then a van passed me and I realised the lights were still on and behind me so I looked back and the car had pulled over to let the van pass it and was now picking up speed to be even to me. I could hear someone yelling at me over my head phones but the music was so loud I could not hear exactly what they were saying.
I started skating as fast as I could. There was a small drive way that dead ended into a fence surrounding a field under construction and I figured if they tried anything, I could jump the fence and run the rest of the way to the gas station where the fence was open. It was only about another block left. As I was getting to the driveway, the car sped ahead of me, did a u-turn and parked directly in front of the sidewalk I was skating on so I was facing the passenger side of the car.
That’s when I noticed there were two men in front and one in back, I could hear them yelling to me but from past experience, I knew it was best to ignore them so I kept my headphones in. With them blocking the drive way and sidewalk the only thing I could do was get off my board and walk around them or try to skate around the nose of their car. And I was not about to get off and try to get around them on foot. The man in the passenger side had his window all the way down, his arm hanging out and motioning to me. Thank god my long board was loose because I simply carved the board off the curb, around their car and skated faster than I ever could. I heard their car peel out with them yelling and I was calling out for my brother and friend. Luckily they had been standing near the road waiting for me and had seen the car pull in front of me so they were walking toward me.
They thought it might be a friend talking to me out of their car while it followed me but when it pulled around and they saw me skate around it, they were hurrying toward me.
I was so scared I skated right past them the last couple of yards into the gas station lights. It was one of those gas stations where you cannot come in at night so I stood outside and we all three watched the car slow down because they saw me pass my brother and friend, so I ran back and hugged Christian and the car peeled out again. 30 seconds later, as we were leaving as a group, the same car drove past the station at about 20 miles per hour then take off. We saw it circle the block a couple times just on the way home, but normal speed limit.

As I’ve said, I’ve been followed, yelled at constantly and hassled but never have I been that scared. I jumped and avoided certain streets for the last weeks there every time I saw a car similar to theirs. I’ve always lived in places considered not too safe but never has someone taken to following, trying to cut me off, screaming at me and coming back over and over to see if I’m alone before. So even though I’ve been followed and harassed countless times, after that, I carry a taser.

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groping, Stalking, Story

HOLLA ON THE GO: An awful subway experience

He was standing on the stairway entrance into the Myrtle-Willoughby station and said something to me that I couldn’t make out as I passed…he followed me. I purposely moved a few feet away to look for my subway card and as I was rummaging through my purse he ran up behind me and lifted up my sweater and grabbed my butt. I yelled at him to stop and he flashed me a thumbs up sign as he left the station

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Story

HOLLA ON THE GO: Not a laughing matter

I have been harassed multiple times in this plaza, all the way up to the ToysRUs. Sometimes multiple times in a day, but ultimately all from a car. It ranges from intense starring and gestures (teeth sucking and kisses) shouting “HEY!!” to “hey baby, what’s up” then calling it a compliment when getting flipped off.

I feel like for most of the dudes that have harassed me here was about power, humiliation and just the fact that they could mess with me. Just to have something to laugh at.

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demonstration, Story

Madeline’s Story: “How is this any way to talk to somebody!”

I needed to walk two blocks away from my house to the gas station to get a drink. It was ten pm-ish on a friday night. I had been wearing an open back dress all day that showed a lot of skin. I figured since it was late i’d dress down a bit, to attract less attention to myself. jeans and a t-shirt.

I walked down the street and it all went downhill from there. one block away from my house a man crossed the street, walking towards me and aggressively yelled “where you fixin to go, ho1?” ( REALLY!? HOW IS THIS ANYWAY TO TALK TO SOMEBODY! HAS THAT EVER WORKED? SERIOUSLY. I AM SHOCKED.)I kept walking but turned around and yelled “excuse me?!” end of that. I walked another block and into the gas station. Behind me in line was a seemingly inebriated older man. I bought cigarettes. Then I realized, after I paid, that I needed a lighter. I bought a lighter and the man behind me started screaming at me in front of everyone about how I was going too slow. I was taking up time on purpose. And some comment about how I was a racist? which made absolutely no sense at all…I looked around because this stranger was yelling at me in front of 5 or 6 people. No one did anything. I just looked at the guy behind the counter and he kind of just shrugged at me. WHAT. I just start yelling back “this is the 2nd time in 5 minutes that i’ve been harassed by a man! (I think I also starting shaking my finger..it got weird) this is not ok. it’s not ok for you to do this.” I started crying a little so I left quickly.

As I was power-walking home I actually started crying. 1 block left. I can see my house. There are several men in the street. One stands in front of me on the sidewalk as I try to pass and say’s “can I talk to you for a second baby?” and i walk past him. I’m crying a lot at this point. I start walking up my front steps and a car stops at the stop sign right next to my house and a man yells at me from the car, “damn girl! nice legs!” I cry hysterically….I’m not crying because I’m scared or sad. I am so angry that this is “normal.” I get harassed everyday. It happens to everyone. And nobody is doing anything about it. I can’t even take a five minute walk without having four harassing encounters with men. This is not ok. This should not be normal. The worst part about this is that before I went on my journey to the store, I changed my clothes. I took off my dress and I put on something more “decent.” We live in a victim blaming, rape-culture and for that one moment, they even fooled me. They fooled me into changing my clothes and thinking that I could to something about it.

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Jamia’s Story: Harassment in a jam-packed train

The man pictured in this photo harassed me on the subway after work. As I stood in a hot jam-packed train, I coughed as I grasped for air. After I released one cough, this man who reeked of alcohol started screaming at me with garbled words in English and Spanish. He yelled at me for not covering my mouth (which was not true) when I coughed and started nudging the guy next to him to try to get him to gang up on me too. He screamed and yelled and when I stared him down and ignored him with disdain on my face he elevated his tone and tried to get in my face. I continued to ignore his attention-mongering which made him even more irate. He continued to yell and asked me if I understood him. He carried on like this for several stops and started squirming and yelling. When I decided to get off the train because his stench, harassment, and attitude were pissing me off, he got started screaming at me and another woman who didn’t affirm his harassment to “move out, get out of here, get off this train now.” He was completely disgusting and rude and I’m happy a place like Hollaback exists where he can be publicly shamed and held accountable for disturbing the peace and treating women badly.

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groping, Story, Verbal

Caitlain’s Story: A woman walking down the street IS NOT an invitation

I was walking back from a party with friends- we were going to try and get a late night bus. Just as we’re approaching the bus stop, a group of guys started running at us yelling “BITCHEEES”. I wasn’t really appalled until one of them ran past me, and as he did so, he ran his hand up my leg and grabbed my butt. I always thought I would be able to say something in that kind of situation, one that was more than verbal abuse, but I didn’t. I sort of froze and just said something to my friends. I’m disappointed in myself, but I’m more disappointed in the fact that women simply walking down the street is apparently an invitation to grope and touch them.

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Story, Verbal

Veronica’s Story: Unacceptable in-school harassment

So, I’m a fifteen year old girl…and I was going to my third period class yesterday (friday). I was wearing a red cotton dress with an over sized tee shirt on top so I wasn’t breaking the dress code that I completely disagree with. The dress goes down to about an inch or so above my knee and my shirt goes down to a little lower than my clavicle. Well my history teacher put me in a group with three other people and I was explaining what was on the homework because of course I’m the only one to do it and I notice my at least sixty year old teacher keep looking at me and hanging around close to my group and he the entire time is looking me over, and I don’t think of myself as a particularly sexy TEEN but I am curvy so I generally catch on when guys stare at my boobs or ass and he was staring at my boobs a lot and when I crossed my arms he called me out of the room. And as always this will inspire an immature ooooooh from my classmates and i walked out embarrassed into the hall with an OPEN DOOR and was quite loud about how I was not appropriately dressed for school and I was distracting the other students, a lady of my age and intelligence (as if letting air touch your skin is harmful to your brain cells)shouldn’t be wearing such apearal blah blah blah and I nodded wanting it to be over and agreed to dress more appropriately on monday because what else can I do? Its not like I can tell him to go fuck himself instead of staring at my tits all 45 minutes of the class. And after I walked into class again i see the two boys in my group grin at me and I raised my eyebrow at them, when I sat down they started to ask all sorts of inappropriate questions like “so did he bust you for being a coke whore yet?” “hey I got five dollars on me is that enough for a blowjob?” “So is there some kind of slut academy where a guy can get a girl a bit thinner than you for cheap?” I fucking kid you not…and no one did anything…so I looked over at my teacher’s desk, guess what? HE WAS FUCKING SMIRKING AT ME WHAT THE FUCK? And so for the rest of the day these boys saw me in the halls and coughed “slut” “bitch” “hoe” “fat cunt” and some of their inbred jerk-off chauvinist pigs of friends joined in…Well I survived friday, can’t wait till monday…

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Story

Abbey’s Story: “We cannot make excuses for men, just because they are men.”

It was a girl’s night. I was out with my friends and we were walking around the city town’s square around 9pm, scouting out stores we wanted to go into. I was walking in front, and my friends were walking and talking behind me. As we kept walking there was a group of 3 guys coming our way and when we were about to pass them on the sidewalk the guy in the middle says “oh yay hug” and forces himself on to me, giving me a hug thinking he is funny. I didn’t hug back, as a matter of fact I pushed him off of me and said “no” As I kept walking, I heard him go “what’s your problem?”, or something along the lines of that, while his friends laughed in encouragement. It angered me that a person, especially a boy I did not know, thought he was in the right by trying to touch me in any way. Out of annoyance and anger, I flipped him off and continued walking down the sidewalk without looking back. At first I sort of felt bad for being so harsh with this guy. I found myself not blaming him at all and making up excuses for him to my friends, saying “Oh he’s just a boy. It’s not that big of a deal. I overreacted.” But my best friend stopped me after I said that and started telling me I was absolutely wrong. That it was an extremely big deal that he thinks he can get away with harassing me in public when it was unwanted. She made the point to tell me that WE CANNOT MAKE EXCUSES FOR MEN, JUST BECAUSE THEY ARE MEN (I put that in all caps because I think it is the most valid point of this story). And I believe what she said is 100% true. He was pushing boundaries, making me feel uncomfortable, and then acting like I did something wrong when I got mad. Thankfully my friend was able to help me realize that I wasn’t the antagonist at all. I now understand why it is wrong for men to think it is okay to whistle at women, or honk at them when they are walking by, or yell things at them, or even try and force themselves onto you. This is not right that women brush the situation off, while thinking “Oh he’s just a guy”; because it is still street harassment, and whatever it may be, it needs to stop.

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