Story, Verbal

HOLLA ON THE GO: Everyday harassment

Exiting the commons when some man comes up behind and says “hey shawty, suck my dick?!”

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demonstration, Stalking, Story, Verbal

Bridget’s Story: Breakdown “Blurred Lines”

(Not So) Blurred Lines

This song was one of my favorites this summer. I loved the beat. Sure, I had read the lyrics. I completely understood what the song was saying. A girl was saying ‘no’ to a guy’s sexual advances. However, because she was dancing with him and wanted to ‘hug’ him, the song says the girl is giving mixed signals–blurred lines. She’s a good girl, you see. Yet she’s an ‘animal’ and it’s in her ‘nature.’ Right. The lyrics proceed as this:

I know you want it. You’re a good girl. Can’t let it get past me. Gotta have it.

I even saw the video of the naked models being surrounded by predatory men, who are fully clothed, dancing. Robin Thicke, the singer, blows smoke into the model’s face and brushes her hair. You know, because, women are not really human. They are objects to be had and abused.

Okay, so I worked out to this song. It’s on my phone. I liked the beat. I laughed off the meaning because, well, I had never been in the situation. At least, I hadn’t been in that situation in a VERY long time. Anytime a man became too friendly, ‘no’ was usually enough for them to leave me alone. If not, I would call over a male friend and that would take care of the problem. This has not happened to me in such a long time, that I had lost a bit of my edge. I even listened to a song that I wouldn’t normally listen to because I had become complacent. I’m not a raging feminist (or maybe I am?) but I am not for women being treated solely as objects of a man’s sexual desires. All the women I have ever met, seen or known have been breathing, comprehending human beings.

Then I moved to the big city of Madrid and everything changed. If this can happen to me in a relatively ‘safe’ city, it can happen anywhere to anyone.I have had some very scary incidents since being here. None of them were because I was being careless or not aware of my surroundings. Nor did I do anything to provoke them yet I found myself in tense situations because of these so called ‘blurred lines’.

I will explain two that have happened to me personally. Let me also make the readers aware that these incidents happened in broad daylight with many people around; I guess you are never truly safe.

I was meeting some friends for drinks one day. It was a warm day and we all agreed it would be nice to share some sangria and tapas. So, I went to meet them. I went to the main metro station in Madrid called Sol. This is by far the busiest metro in Madrid. There were people everywhere, all scurrying to catch the next train. I walked down to Line 3 to catch the train myself. I was on the escalator down when a man on the escalators coming up waved at me and said, ‘Hello beautiful!’ in Spanish. The way he said it made me think he was familiar with me. When I glanced up, I didn’t know him. I thought he had mistaken me for a friend of his or someone he knew. So, I went on down to wait for the metro. Then I feel a tap on my shoulder. I turn around. It’s the man. I was standing against the wall and he proceeds to put a hand on either side of my head, pinning me to the wall. ‘Hello, my name is Juan. I like you a lot. You’re beautiful. Your body drives me crazy. Let’s go get a drink.’ He said this in quick succession, trying to grab my hand.

‘No, I am meeting friends and I have a boyfriend. I am not interested. Thanks,’ I replied. He shook his head.

‘You don’t understand, I like you VERY MUCH. Let’s get a drink.’

‘No, I don’t want to. Like I said, I have a boyfriend and am meeting friends.’ I had to lie about having a partner as I thought this would make him leave me alone. He grabs my arm and people are now starting to notice what is happening. My heart is beating quickly and I can feel the panic in the back of my throat. This man was around 6’3 and at least 220 pounds of muscle. I had to think quickly, so I blurted out, ‘I am going out tonight, let me take your number and I’ll call you and we will go out.’ If someone is crazy enough to pin me in broad daylight with hundreds of people walking about, I didn’t know what else he was capable of. He says, ‘Okay! Here…’ and tells me his number. I show him I am saving it. He bends down to try to kiss me. I duck. Mercifully, the train comes at that moment. I look around me and there are curious faces looking at me as if to ask, ‘What is going on?’ I jump on board quickly and mutter to myself, ‘Thanks for helping guys.’ Needless to say, I never called him and deleted the number. I was still shaky when I met up with my friends.

Then, this past week, when I was walking to pick up a Western Union transfer from my local post office (Correos), I came across two men seated on a bench. They made some typical remark ‘Hey beautiful! How are YOU doing today?’ I wasn’t feeling well because I had bronchitis and thus, I ignored them. This time, I had a fake wedding band on my hand. As I am walking, I hear footsteps and a bit of shuffling and whispering behind me. I hold my purse tighter and keep my head up. It’s broad daylight, again, with lots of people walking the streets. I glance behind me and it is the two guys from the bench. ‘Hey, gorgeous, come here. Talk with us!’ I keep walking. I think in my head ‘This cannot be happening again. I don’t even look nice and I’m sick.’ It was all I could do to get out of bed. Then as I stop to cross the street, the one named ‘Johnny’ came up to me. ‘I like you! You’re gorgeous. I love your body, honestly. You’re driving me wild. What’s your name? Where are you from?’ I say flatly, ‘I am married,’ and show my ring, ‘and I am not interested. Please leave me alone.’ He shakes his head and smiles, ‘No pasa nada, linda, I am married too! I still want to get to know you.’ I walk. His friend disappears but Johnny keeps walking along side of me, stating all the reasons I should get to know him. He’s a good guy, he works here legally, he’s a good lover, etc. I say nothing other than ‘I am not interested, leave me alone. I am meeting friends. I have a husband.’ Because I was going to pick up money, I start to become frightened again. This man will not leave me alone. I, again, have to think quickly. I see a cafe and had told him I was meeting friends. A lie, but I couldn’t tell him I was going to pick up money. I say to him, ‘Fine, Johnny, go to that cafe and get a pen and paper. I will take your number.’ He does so, leaving me with precious minutes to devise a plan. I walk up to a table of friendly people and explain my situation. They tell me not to worry, they will pretend to be my friends and they will make sure this man goes away. Johnny comes back with his piece of paper and I say, ‘These are my friends. I’m staying here.’ The people look at him without smiling. He smiles a bit and says, ‘Okay, see you later! Please call me beautiful!’

We watch him as he leaves. The one girl, Ana Rosa, tells me when has finally left and gives me a hug. She tells me I can stay with them if I want and drink a coffee. I stay and chit-chat with them, and eventually exchange numbers with the two girls. I tell them thank you so much for saving me and am on my way. I take the bus on the way back, so I don’t have to walk by those guys again.

These are two very real incidents that have happened to me. In both examples, I have clearly said ‘no.’ It wouldn’t matter if I was dressed in a dress cut down to my navel, if I said ‘no’, I mean ‘no.’ There are no blurred lines when it comes to a woman saying ‘no.’ If we do not want to your advances, pushing them will not do you any good. Anything that is not consensual is wrong. Sex without consent is rape. Pinning a scared woman against a wall is perverse and horrid. So, I disagree with blurred lines. The only way to know if she ‘wants it’ is to ask. She is not an ‘animal’ she is a human being. She is to be respected, not to be had. If she says ‘no’ then she means no. Needless to say, I no longer find the ‘Blurred Lines’ song by Robin Thicke funny or even entertaining. It is a degradation to all women who have been put in these types of situations.

This was from my personal travel blog: www.bridgetswanderlust.wordpress.com

Please check it the post and share on twitter, tumblr or on Facebook so we raise awareness and stop the harassment.

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Story, Verbal

HOLLA ON THE GO: Creeper on the walk home

A man said “I’d lick that pussy baby” to me while I was walking home through my neighborhood. I didn’t respond or react at all, just gave him a dirty look.

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demonstration, Nonverbal Harassment, Story, Verbal

Megan’s Story: “It pisses me off that they got away with it”

I was walking from class home when these two guys yelled at me from the car. something about wanting to “break me”. I just gave them a dirty look and kept walking. By the time they had circled back I was livid. When they yelled more obscenities at me I flipped them off. That’s when they threw the bottle at me. I was so shocked at being hit and worried about the broken glass when it hit the concrete that I didn’t get the license plate number. It pisses me off that they got away with it.

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Verbal

z. beck’s Story: “How does one go about combating this unacceptable behaviour?”

Locked my bike up in its usual spot outside the home of a dog I walk. Some guy on the sidewalk was crossing the street in the same direction I was. He sat on some steps on the far side of the street, and I passed, just going about my day. He called out “Hey!” in a low tone. I figured he was just saying hey, as people around here often do in passing, or was making an attempt to beg for money (which happens so often I do tend to ignore it/pretend I didn’t hear). When I didn’t respond, he added “I want to shove my c0ck in you.” I was shocked and thrown off. I’ve been whistled at before, but never victim to verbal attacks like this. He further added “I have to punish you” in an even softer tone.

I hurried to my destination and sat inside for about ten minutes, hoping by the time I went out again to walk the dog, he’d be gone. Thankfully he was.

This happened at an intersection across from a school, which makes it even scarier. I’m trying to find a way to report it, but I didn’t even get a look at him.

My biggest concern is being too afraid to respond in a reprimanding way for fear of being physically assaulted as a result. So how, then, does one go about combating this unacceptable behaviour?

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Assault, Verbal

Bonggirl’s Story: “I felt like I was being watched”

In July 2010, while returning home at around 7:30 pm, I felt like I was being watched.

I realized that these were the same people who always seemed to hang around that place when I returned from my Language studies at the nearby institute. That particular night, I had walked a little forward to catch my bus home. The area was dimly lit and no one was around. There were three men. They started to sing and cat call. I turned around to confront them and was chased and later stabbed with a throw knife. I had to run for my life and I barely made it out. Fortunately, there is a police box very close to that place now. But there are countless such dingy and dark alleyways in our city where people keep harassing women, making them feel unsafe.

It is not about wearing clothes since in our city, most women wear salwar or saree anyway. The fear also arises because mostly who revolt are either beat up badly or in worst cases, shot or stabbed. People are afraid of raising a voice or even share their stories. I feel that if the support behind these harassers is destroyed, our city’d be much safer.

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Story, Uncategorized, Verbal

HOLLA ON THE GO: “Pride in the Park is a day we all should be able to enjoy”

Pride in the Park is a day we all should be able to enjoy.
Some out of state people showed up to prance around with signs and verbally attack Pride-goers.
One man, bible in hand decided me and my friend looked homosexual and proceeded to keep asking why we look as we do. “WHY ARE YOU DRESSED LIKE THAT?!? ARE YOU A HOMOSEXUAL?!?”
They harassed many people present and even brought a bullhorn. So you travel states just spread hate in the name of your god? Logical…

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demonstration, Stalking, Story, Verbal

Glenda’s Story: “Of course it was terrifying”

I just moved to Las Vegas about a month ago to pursue a performance career, I am a fire dancer.

I finished my shift at Paris casino (handing out voucher tickets for the Eiffel Tower experience), and was walking back to the MGM where I parked my car. For those who don’t know what the Vegas strip is like, 11am is no quiet time. Every part is brightly lit up and there are hundreds of people.

As I’m walking, this tall man comes right off my left side behind me and says, “Hey girl, how are you? What are you up to?”

I give him that “oh haha yeah you think I’m cute thanks I’m gonna keep walking bye now smile” and move away from him. I’m sure you ladies know which smile I’m talking about.

He says, “What, you afraid of guys? You afraid of me? You don’t wanna talk to me?”

And, in the same ‘aha yeah sorry I’m just on my way please excuse my rudeness’ fashion, I say, “Sorry, I just don’t talk to random guys I don’t know”. I’m doing that dismissive smiling thing because I’m conditioned to brush guys off gently, to not anger people, to make it seem like I’M the rude person for not responding.

He snaps.

He starts screaming at me at the top of his longs, chasing me for about a block as I try to get away from him as fast as I can.

“FUCK YOU YOU FUCKING GOD DAMN UGLY SLUT, FUCK YOU!!! FUCK YOU!! YOU FUCKING UGLY CUNT WHORE, I’M GONNA KILL YOU, YOU FUCKING UGLY GOD DAMN SLUT! FAGGOT! FAGGOT! YOU’RE GONNA GET RAPED, I HOPE SOMEONE RAPES YOUR FUCKING UGLY ASS, YOU FUCKING DISGUSTING SLUT! FUCK YOU! FUCK YOU! FAGGOT, FUCK YOU!!!!!!”

….and so forth and it just got more angry and colorful from there.

As I’m getting away as fast as I can I’m shouting “Leave me alone! Get away from me!”

I dive off into a food court and hide as soon as I feel like I have enough distance, but I don’t know how far behind me he is because he was screaming so loud I couldn’t gauge the distance very well.

Thankfully there was a police officer in the food court and he was kind enough to call in a couple of security guards to escort me to my car.

I was shaking and crying and I felt ready to puke. Of course it was terrifying. I didn’t know if this was gonna be the one guy that instead of responding with the usual, “Whatever, you’re ugly anyway” that happens when I refuse public advances, he was going to be the one that had a knife or a gun. Because YES that happens to women and YES women have died when they refuse cat call advances.

This is the outfit I was wearing.
Yes I’m flipping off the camera in the photo. I’m angry. I’m angry that this person felt he could treat me this way for simply NOT WANTING TO TALK TO HIM. I’m angry that this is not an isolated incident, that women all over the world experience this every day.

I’m tired of being scared outside. I want to feel safe and free. HOLLABACK.

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Stalking, Story, Verbal

Kk’s Story: “The last thing I wanted was for the situation to turn violent”

I was traveling in Paris, making my way to the Eiffel Tower one bright afternoon. I was looking around, trying to make sure I was going the right way, and, as a result, I made eye contact with a man that was walking past me on the sidewalk.

A few minutes later, he had turned around and caught up to me. He followed me. I was nervous, trying to be polite yet distant while he tried to engage me in conversation. On the way back to the underground, he grabbed my hand and tried to kiss me.

I moved away from him, told him to stop, but he just laughed and kept walking beside me. We were in a part of the park that was virtually empty, so, even though I told him to leave, I didn’t want to stay where I was, with no one else around, until he did.

All the way back to the underground, he continued to try to touch me. I tried to push him away, but didn’t want to strike him. The last thing I wanted was for the situation to turn violent.

Finally, I made it back to one of the main stations, walked over to the police booth and stayed there until he left. Some people have said I should have expected it, traveling alone… Like the unacceptable behavior was mine. But what makes it okay for him to harass me, touch me, stalk me? Why does walking somewhere on my own in broad daylight mean he’s not to blame?

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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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