I was walking to school a couple months ago, and as I walked past the public library I watched a tall woman with a Bluetooth and a briefcase get verbally harassed by a man a little shorter than her. He started out by asking her if she played basketball, and continued with sexual threats while following her. She finally turned around and walked into the library to stop the creepy guy from following her any farther.
Harassed while sitting at the bus stop, again. This time it was an “Oooooh she pretty!!” as 2 guys walked by together. It’s cool, just go ahead and comment on me like I’m a zoo animal as you walk by. Of course, none of the men or women around me said or did anything. And all I did was flip them the bird. They didn’t seem like the type who would ever take a woman defending herself seriously no matter what she said, anyway.
This summer I was on holiday with my best friend and in my bikini around my family probably most of the time. One morning when we were walking through the field that belongs to my holiday home, we walked past my grandad who was reading a newspaper and he told us to have fun. When we had walked out of earshot my friend told me that he had been staring at my ass the entire time we were walking past! Not hers but mine! (Not that it would have been acceptable for this 70 year old man to stare at a 17 year old’s butt in such an obvious and perverted way, but it would have been different had it been her since she is not his grandchild…) And my grandma was also in the house. This happened at least three more times that she noticed on the same holiday. I now do not feel comfortable being in swimwear In my family home. I feel completely violated and disgusted, as well as disappointed that this will be what I remember of my grandfather after he passes. I am 17 and do not have a lot of memories with him since I live in the UK and he lives in Greece. I only see him for a few weeks in the summer. I just don’t understand and feel so awful about myself and can’t get the image of him looking at my butt out of my head (I caught him staring one of the times).
A friend and I were walking down the street, after the bars closed, with our boyfriends not far behind us. We started walking down this alley way, our boyfriends about a block behind, and these three guys passed us. One came up, about five inches from my face, and said a very inappropriate sexual comment, which honestly I can’t think of the exact words. Luckily we had a larger group behind us, which we were both able to run back to.
When I first moved to Beaumont I lived with my sister and her husband until I found a job. Their house was directly across the street from a convenience store that I would walk to. Several times I would be stopped, the front door blocked, grabbed by the arm, grabbed by the hair once, forced to listen to sexual comments about my body or what they wanted to do to me. I finally started carrying a knife and occasionally walking my dog (a large Rottweiler/German Shepherd mix) just to feel safe. The harassment never stopped. I never stopped walking across the street though. I refused to be afraid. Most of the men started to leave me alone once they realized I wasn’t afraid of them. Or at least was very good at acting unafraid.
I was on a tram and a young man, disheveled and a bit out of looking was next to me – standing up. He was swaying a bit and I had to move away so he wouldn’t lean on me. He touched a woman on the other side of him on the arm and she shrank back and said ‘don’t touch me’. I confronted him and told him off and that people don’t want to be touched. He said ‘I know, but she’s fascinating’ (!). I said, loudly and looking right at him: “no one cares about what you think stop touching people!”. I then got off. It was my stop. I wasn’t scared of him and I wanted the young woman he’d hassled to know that she had support. I’m a 51 year old woman. My 16 year old daughter gets hassled alot and it makes my blood boil!
A few years ago, I was walking to my partners work to meet him before he finished and a group of guys outside the venue yelled out for me to show them my ‘privates’ (although they used much more colourful language). I could not believe what I was hearing and felt instantly disgusted and uncomfortable.
The ‘funny’ thing was, when my partner walked out with me in the end (after I told him what happened) not one of the jerks said anything. Low life scum bags. Apparently I’m only safe when accompanied by a man.
I wish this was the only encounter I had had with this breed of despicable human, but unfortunately, this has happened countless times.
It needs to stop. It’s not acceptable.
Waiting for the bus a guy was coming up to people asking for change. He was chatting with a young women and put his arm in hers.
I couldn’t hear what he was saying, but was keeping an eye out unsure if I should walk over and check in with her. As soon as he left, she quickly walked over to stand next to me. I asked if she was okay, if she knew the guy.
“No, I don’t know him. I was just trying to be polite and hoping he didn’t get violent”
As we get closer to our International Anti-Street Harassment Rally, things are getting busier and busier around the office! We can’t wait for the rally and hope that anyone who is in the area will join us on Saturday, April 16th at 2:30 in Tompkins Square Park to reclaim our public space!
We are also getting ready for our #hollaback challenge! During International Street Harassment Week, we will be taking back the mental and physical space that is pushed aside by harassment. The week will be focused on reflection, healing and action. By signing up and taking part in our challenge, you will be entered to win some free HOLLA-goodies including buttons, t-shirts, totes, baby onsies and more!
And at Hollaback! sites around the world:
Hollaback! Bahamas site leader, Alicia Wallace, was featured in an article for NPR about street harassment around the world. They also visited College of the Bahamas to give presentations on gender equality and street harassment.
Hollaback! Bmore co-director, Brittany Oliver is featured in the first issue of Hyrsteria Zine. They also co-organized Town Hall for Survivors of Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence this past week.
Hollaback! Vancouver site leaders sat down with Loose Lips Magazine to talks about Hollaback!. They will be hosting a workshop this Sunday. Navigating Ourselves and Our Streets will focus on mapping. They will make life-size maps documenting perceptions of safety in the community. The maps will be posted throughout Vancouver during International Anti-Street Harassment Week.
That’s all for this week! Stay tuned for more great stuff next week as we celebrate International Anti-Street Harassment Week!
Holla and Out!
The office was almost empty this week but Desiree, CJ and the interns held down the fort. Emily, Debjani and Jae were in Italy this week! They attended the first ever international convening on street harassment in Bellagio!
And at Hollaback! sites around the world:
Hollaback! Bmore held a successful StoryTelling as Resistance event. This event is one of three that will lead up to the revealing of The Monument Quilt on April 9th. The quilt will feature the stories of sexual assault survivors.
That’s all for this week! Stay tuned for more next week!
Holla and out!