Fiona’s Story: “Even being with my mother doesn’t stop perverts and pedophiles”

Before I even say anything about what I’ve experienced, I would just like to thank everyone at Hollaback! for providing me with a support system that no one else can offer. Your stories of countless bravery and people who have experienced the same things I have help me make it through the day.

I have recently experienced and remembered previous experiences of sexual harassment. Five, to be exact. Sorry in advance for the essay of a Holla!

1. This morning, I made the smart decision to wear a dress. It was either a dress or dirty laundry, so I chose a dress and wore bike shorts under them. As I walked up the stairs, getting off the subway, I turned and noticed that the old man behind me had his head eye level with my ass, and his neck craned unnaturally far forward. I instantly pulled my closed and gathered it in front of me. The man groaned, and I told my mom, too late, what had happened.

2. Yesterday, while getting off the subway (92nd St R station in Bay Ridge), I passed a man who I’d seen before in the neighborhood. Whenever people pass him, he mumbles nasty things, so I’ve known for a while that he is a threat. When I passed him on this particular day, he commented very clearly “Ooh, she’s got some of them short shorts!” I was wearing a pair of high waisted shorts with a pair of semi-sheer striped tights underneath them. As a result of walking up stairs like a normal person, they rode up. I turned to my mom when we made it to the top (five feet away from him) and she said that we shouldn’t interfere. For an hour, we argued about whether or not it was sexual harassment – and I definitely believe it was – and whether or not any cop would arrest him. Needless to say, it was an amazingly fun end to my day.

3. Earlier last week, I was walking with my friend to get lunch. While we were waiting for the light to change, a black SUV swerved closer to us. Slowing down and rolling down the windows, they screamed “Look, whore!” I heard the comment but didn’t realize who it was directed at me, as we were in a well-known prostitution area. My friend turned to me, shocked, and told me that the comments were directed at me. I turned to see if they were still there, but when they weren’t, my friend suggested I use Hollaback to get back at them. I’m no stranger to this site, despite being a 13 year old. Actually, I’ve been making lots of complaints in the past week. Guess the perverts mainly come out in the summer. Anyway, I didn’t get a very good look at them, but I did notice that one (the main one screaming) had brown hair.

4. About two weeks ago, while on the R train with my mom, a man came and stood very close to me. His crotch was incredibly close to my face, and though reading a newspaper, he was leering at me. I stopped playing my game and decided to watch the man. This didn’t stop him, but I honestly didn’t expect it to. When I got off the train, the man glared at me. Even being with my mother doesn’t stop perverts and pedophiles.

5. This happened about a year ago. At the time, I didn’t think it had anything to do with gender, but now I realize that it was all about gender. My mom and I were running from one of my classes to another, and we decided to catch a cab on W 81st St. and West End Ave as I needed to be in Astor Place in 20 minutes. We were in a hurry, so my mom asked the driver in a very loud, clear voice NOT to take us through Central Park and instead drive down Broadway. The man agreed to do so, but, cursing as he drove past Broadway, decided to take us through Central Park anyway. My mom asked him why he did so and he replied that it would be faster. About 45 minutes later, we were out of the park, but not out of the traffic. My mom repeated several times that we would have been better off avoiding the park. The man continuously argued with her about this, saying she never told him not to go through the park. When we reached 14th St. 20 minutes after that, we were in a small park. My mom reached for both her wallet and the door and announced that we were getting out. The man refused this and locked the doors. My mom started screaming “If you don’t let us out of here right now, I swear to god, I WILL KICK YOUR FUCKING WINDOWS IN!” The doors unlocked instantly and my mom threw a few dollars at the man.  We left, and my mom smacked his window, flicked him off, and screamed “FUCK YOU!!!” A few people cheered, and we walked away. The driver got out of the car, irate, and the people instantly jumped up and surrounded him, saying “Get back in the car, man. Get back in the fucking car.”

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Anonymous’s Story: “I was the one made to feel embarrassed”

I was out to dinner with someone and shortly after we sat down, this man walked in alone, sat down, and stared a hard, perverted leer directly into my eyes the whole thirty minutes we were there.  The evil glares I gave in return did nothing.  When the waiter came by to see “how everything was going” I told him that guy wouldn’t stop staring at me, and the waiter seemed irritated with me for caring/trying to drag him into it. Finally I decided to snap one for Hollaback and he took this to mean I was snapping his picture because I was so interested in him.  So even though he was out of what are supposed to be the bounds of social acceptability, I was the one made to feel embarrassed and ashamed for wanting it to stop/having it happen to me in the first place.


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Fiona’s Story: “I wish I was able to walk around and not feel like I will be assaulted.”

I was walking to my summer camp this morning when I was harassed. First off, I would just like to state that I am a 13 year old girl. I don’t dress provocatively, and the same goes for today. I was wearing a knee length dress with a baggy sweater over it. I was also talking on the phone with my mom, like I always do to feel safer when I walk around by myself. I was walking down the street, and during a lull in my conversation with my mom, I noticed two men (mid 30s, medium build, average height) standing near a truck. Their eyes seemed to glaze over as they looked at my butt and legs, and one commented, “Damn, I’d like to smoke that shit.” I have no idea what it meant, but it didn’t feel right. I felt violated, but I kept walking. I regret not saying and doing all the things that I’ve trained myself to do, like flipping them off or humiliating them. I have been harassed so many other times, but I’ve never had a man say that he’s wanted to do sexual things to me. I wish I was able to walk around and not feel like I will be assaulted. Why are men such animals?


Sara’s Story: Dude jerking off

On Wednesday morning, June 29th during rush hour, I was standing on the platform at Elmhurst Avenue in Queens waiting for the train. The M train had just gone by so I was one of three people waiting for the R. I heard a person gasp behind me and I turned around to see a man standing too close to me. I moved away and didn’t notice what he was doing until I realized he was inching towards to me again. I then quickly noticed was that his shirt was too long for his height and underneath it his hand was moving rapidly. I moved towards the center of the platform and thought that would be the end of him until I turned to my left and there he was again. More people were now on the platform and I walked back towards the front and stood near another woman my age. I figured that if he followed me again this woman would at least notice and validate that I wasn’t imagining things! This is definitely not a common occurrence in my neighborhood. Luckily he didn’t follow me but I remember a friend of mine mentioning a girl once took a picture of a man who had been rubbing up against her on the train and that he was arrested; I thought at the least I could email it to my local precinct. I got my camera ready and started to walk towards the center of the platform, where I had left him, and all-of-a-sudden I saw him sprint up the exit. I looked up the stairs to see if he was gone and he was, but when I turned back around this woman was looking at me with this terrified expression and I knew I had definitely not imagined the whole thing!

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Safe Campus, Strong Voices


The “Safe Campus, Strong Voices” Campaign is a national initiative for Campus Safety Awareness Month in September to raise awareness and increase advocacy on the issue of college sexual violence and the vast amount of under-reported cases as well as the injustices that many survivors face.  This groundbreaking campaign will focus on victim empowerment, prevention, bystander intervention, and provide tangible tools for both men and women to work together to create a safer campus. It will raise awareness and engage students to shatter the silence of campus sexual violence.

We at Security On Campus, Inc. and PAVE: Promoting Awareness, Victim Empowerment cannot do this alone though! We need your help to reach your campus community!  The Safe Campus, Strong Voices Campaign is looking for student leaders and faculty to work with us!  We will provide the tool kit and everything you need to create this on your campus in both September and beyond! Please join us in raising awareness and breaking the silence with students at your school. To get started, please visit our website at www.StrongVoicesCampaign.org. To purchase a tool kit, click on the “Get Involved!” link at the top of our site, or follow this link: http://www.wix.com/ange33/scsv#!contact Tool kits are being sold at a discounted price until July 22! Thank you in advance for your support and dedication to shattering the silence of campus sexual violence!

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Anonymous’s Story: Don’t tell me to smile

A man with a clipboard was blocking women on the sidewalk and demanding that they smile on the sidewalk near the w 4th st station. When I told him to stop harassing women, he started ranting at me. I went into CVS and while I was in there, he came in and tried to scam the cashier into refunding something he hadn’t bought.

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SAFE STREETS AZ: Creating a Community Against LGBTQ Street Harassment


Senior Prevention Educator

Southern Arizona Center Against Sexual Assault


In just the past two years, the level of awareness and support available for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer-identified youth experiencing bullying and harassment in schools has grown astronomically. There are almost no safeguards, however, for the kinds of harassment they encounter in public spaces on a daily basis. From cat calls to physical threats and hate crimes, public harassment is one of the most endemic forms of gender-based violence, and LGBTQ-identified youth are especially vulnerable by virtue of their perceived or actual gender, sexuality or sexual orientation.


In Tucson, Arizona, Safe Streets AZ has emerged to track and address public harassment, and provide a greater network of support for the LGBTQ community. A program of the Southern Arizona Center Against Sexual Assault (SACASA) funded by the Alliance Fund Queer Youth Initiative, Safe Streets AZ provides youth ages 13-23 the opportunity to share their story, get support, and become part of a growing movement to end public and street harassment. Inspired by organizations like Hollaback!, the program combines an interactive Google map and blog to track and share incidences of harassment. Community members can also use the map to locate “Safe Sites”– local businesses and organizations where youth experiencing harassment can go to temporarily feel safe and receive resources.

During conversations with local LGBTQ youth, almost all of the 30 youth that took part had experienced public harassment of some kind. Many said they worry daily about being harassed, and felt that the level of harassment they experience as the result of their perceived gender and sexual orientation is more intense. “You have to take it more seriously if you’re gay,” said one youth. “A lot of the time if someone says they’re going to kill a faggot then they’re probably serious, and you have to treat it that way.”

Despite its prevalence, there is little data on the frequency and impact of public harassment, particularly at the local level. Safe Streets AZ aims to change that. By collecting stories and reports from partner organizations as well as community members, information will be collected and used to hold more perpetrators accountable, and create better systems of support for anyone experiencing harassment.


Visit: www.safestreetsaz.wordpress.com to share your story, get support, and –together—help end harassment.



For more information on the Southern Arizona Center Against Sexual Assault, visit www.sacasa.org

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Anonymous’s Story: Your protection isn’t necessary

I was walking home down Stuyvesant avenue from the A/C train on Utica, it was raining and I was huddling because I had no umbrella. A man came very close to me and whispered that he would “protect me from the rain” and he kept walking. I don’t know what he meant but I felt very uncomfortable and I ducked into a deli to shake the feeling before I continued on home.

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groping, Nonverbal Harassment, Uncategorized

Angela’s Story: “I am afraid to be walking my own streets by myself”

My timeline of secrecy… I will not keep it to myself anymore.
I have been sexually harassed times before in public places.
The first time when I was 11 or 12, after school a friend and I were standing at a Walgreens photo kiosk and a man was pretending to grab a snack on the lower shelf, when I realize that he has been there way too long to get something. I look again and see that he has a video camera aimed up our catholic school skirts. I yelled “Hey!” and he ran. I didn’t know what to think. I explained what I saw to my friend and aside from how barbaric that is, we’re glad we always have shorts under these skirts.
After that, about the rest of the time I have spent my middle school and high school days in San Francisco, I may have been “goosed” on my rear end maybe a total of 4 times by middle aged men way older than I was. The places that this occurred usually were in crowded places like a Chinatown street or store, or on public transportation. Quite frankly I’ve been paranoid since of people sliding past behind me. I’ve been more cautious; I trust no one and assume every man can and will potentially do that.
I’ve told my family once about an incident and they laughed at me and said, “the next time that happens, make sure you step on them hard and make it public.” I was embarrassed and a little mad that they even laughed and dismissed it so easily; logically, yes, it’s that simple, but it altered my perception of safety being female.
I left to a university in Southern California and felt completely safe, or safer to much greater degree. For one thing, shorts and tanks were everywhere; everyone was my age with young bodies. Sexual violations were rare especially with the amount of hormones and alcohol involved, it seemed like it gave permission to do something stupid today and regret it tomorrow (I may be over-exaggerating, but it is what it seems). Plus, there’s an escort program provided by the school that aided in that security.
And then I came back to San Francisco. I am now 23. I’ve forgotten how it is. In my neighborhood, never ever has it happened so close to home. I was walking back and a man on a bike, with a cap and a messenger bag groped me from behind and sped off. My reaction was not quick enough. I looked around and there was no one. I am afraid to be walking my own streets by myself… Two days ago I saw this same man speed off in front of my house window. There was no time for me to snap a picture, but I felt like I would see him again. I wondered if police did anything about these cases of sexual harassment or if there isn’t enough proof to do anything about it. Then I found this site.
This picture I took of this man today didn’t physically or verbally do anything to me. I was waiting for a bus alone and I could tell from my periphery he was staring at me, you cannot mistake it because traffic comes the other direction. I was texting meanwhile to speak to someone so I can feel a tad safer. A woman and her family decided to stand around me thankfully. But as I was out of his gaze hiding behind this woman, he stepped back to get a good view of me as I pretended to constantly look up to check for a bus, but really checking to see if he was still looking; he would advert his eyes each time I looked up his direction. I didn’t want to be followed. I remembered the Hollaback site. So I held my smartphone up to snap a picture. He turned around to dodge it and I was afraid I wasn’t going to get a clear picture. But the shutter time was perfect. I sent the picture to a friend in case anything was to happen to me, or if this man was offended and decided to take my phone, etc. After that, he crossed the street and left. He didn’t even bother to wait for a bus anymore. I was relieved. Now I wonder, taking a picture so openly and obviously, if I was creeping on a creeper, a little ironic. Technically in this last story I have told, nothing happened. It doesn’t neatly fall under a definition of harassment that I can bubble in. I was only fearful and creeped out. I may have prevented something from happening; I’ll never be sure of that. But if I did, this picture is of a man that I (or anyone) may be careful watch out for.

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Anonymous’s Story: Take the hint!

Friday night some friends and I set a picnic in the park for an outdoor movie screening.  No more than ten minutes after we got comfortable to enjoy the evening, this guy and his buddy come over and asked if they could sit with us and eat our food.  We turned our backs and deliberately ignored them for several minutes, but they continued to hover and smirk with a goofy grin.  Even after we took the first photo, they still didn’t catch on, and actually started to pose together for a second shot.  Idiots!  Finally, we turned and said in the “I mean business” tone that they were bothering us, and NO we would NOT appreciate their company!

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