Verbal

An otherwise lovely, sunny Sunday afternoon

group of awkward teenage boys on bikes with sagging jeans and flat-brimmed hats. Yes, i see you. yes, i walked past you.
no, i don’t need the commentary.
“nice ass!….small tits though!”
calling at me when i’m already past you? why don’t you want to say it to my face?
believe me, i am more than aware of my body. i don’t need observations made in public, on an otherwise lovely, sunny, Sunday afternoon.

Submitted by Danae

one comment 
Verbal

This city I call home

I’m a native New Yorker, born and raised in Brooklyn. I have been harassed throughout my life during train traveling and walking. I have had beer spat on me, due to my ignoring guys saying things from a car to me, while I was at a phone booth. A guy screamed on the train loudly “nice tits”. I even got propositioned on the L train for a threesome. I told the guy I wasn’t interested.

But recollecting, this has to top the list of all time. I was in my 20′s walking in NYC, some guy was walking next to me and tells me “he’d love for me to sit on his face”. I was so terrified. I just kept walking. What kind of human being would tell anyone that?

Submitted by Jill

one comment 
Verbal

Harassment at home, school, work: Where does it stop?

I first heard about HollaBack when someone posted about it on a Xanga forum (Lovelyish). Needless to say, I’m in shock about the countless stories these women have and how closely they parallel my own stories. I’m now thinking twice about my surroundings and the sexually-charged comments that so many say to take as a ‘compliment’.

UNF is known for being a safe campus and I couldn’t agree more (there haven’t been any ‘violent’ occurrences like mugging, fights, etc.), however, when it comes to sexual harassment it’s a different story. There isn’t a day when I walk out of my dorm and get cat-called by guys that bum around on the benches in front of our building. One time, I was walking to the gym with one of my friends. I was stretching out my quads before jogging across the intersection, when a car packed with guys comes racing by, several of them make a ‘smooching’ face out the window. Just because I’m asian doesn’t mean “me love you long time” (which was a long-standing harassment phrase back in highschool).

I gave them two middle fingers (much to pride of my boyfriend).

Catcalls and harassment have become so ridiculous that my boyfriend surprised me the other day when he wanted to get me some pepper spray.

It’s worse when harassment happens in what you thought was the comfort of your own home. I live in a suburban community and my street is really quiet and hardly anyone passes by, unless you live there. I came home one weekend and was unloading my bags from the car when this older guy (must have been in his 40′s or 50′s) comes out of his truck and grins at me. My dad comes out to greet him and the guy asks my dad if “(I’m) the older one?” He starts leering, she’s a pretty thing. What school does she go to? At this point, I’m fed up and walk into the house, an obvious look of disgust on my face.

I hope my dad stood up for me.

Catcalls always escalate at work. I work for retail and there isn’t a day that I greet someone (customer service) and automatically get some leering comment. I can’t fire back and I calmly try to diffuse the situation. I usually work until 9pm and we park out back, so there’s always some sense of foreboding whenever you have to walk at night to the parking lot.

I really hope that sexual harassment laws or some form of enforcement gets passed. It’s scary to think that you can’t be safe at your school, at work, or at your own home. In the meantime, get some pepper spray and don’t walk alone when you can!

Submitted by Alyssa

no comments 
Verbal

Advice needed for nonstop harassment

I’m writing in here because I am a victim of constant verbal abuse.

Every time I step out my front door I can count on some type of verbal harassment, whether it’s an invitation into a car or the more general “Hey baby, come over here”.

This post is not about a specific incident. I seriously need some advice on combatting harassment in a dangerous and overwhelming neighborhood.

Does anyone ever feel like they’re endangering themselves yelling back at these people? How do you keep up your stamina when you have to do it every single day?

Submitted by Maren

4 comments 
Verbal

Nothing says birthday like some ignorant queer bashing

Last night my partner and I went out to dinner in Fort Greene to celebrate her birthday. We were walking home holding hands. A man in his late thirties-early forties started screaming at us about how disgusting we were, how we must have been abused by priests to resort to being with women, how we were going to end up in hell, and how we were an abomination. It continued for at least a minute as he stood on the corner screaming and we continued walking down the street. It was about 8:30 pm and no one did or said a thing as the man screamed profanity at us.

Submitted by Rebecca

Street harassment and other forms of discrimination and abuse go hand in hand. We sure could use your help at ending these offenses. Help us today with $5.

one comment 
Assault, groping, Nonverbal Harassment, public masturbation, Stalking, Street harassment in the media, The Movement, Verbal

SPOILER ALERT: Dozens of women come forward within hours after NYT reporter publishes details of her own hollaback!

In a follow up to her “New Phone Apps Aim to Combat Harassment” article published in the NYT on Monday, reporter and now HollaHERO Karen Zraick publishes her own personal hollaback in today’s City Room blog.

As if we couldn’t have guessed, within hours, there are 47 comments all containing one, two, three, and sometimes more, horrifying stories of women’s own personal experiences with street harassment. And it isn’t over yet. NOW THAT IS ONE HELLUVA HOLLABACK!

“It’s infuriating to see this described as a ‘quality of life issue’, writes one woman. “This isn’t a ‘quality of life’ issue, okay? It’s not my neighbors having a loud party, or a dog barking next door!”

At Hollaback, we couldn’t have said it better.

Now this is one holla the city will NOT be able to ignore. Read Karen’s story and the accompanying comments here.

If I had a dollar for every NYT reporter who has come forward with her own hollaback…well, I wouldn’t have very much money. But if I had $5 from every woman who read this story, including you, now I might have something to talk about…raise us $5?

no comments 
Verbal

Is every woman you meet a porn star to you?

I was going home, not even late (8.30-9 pm) on Friday, and debating whether to walk along the park, which can be a bit dark, or make a big detour. I opted for the former as there were enough people passing through for it to look relatively safe. Two men approached me, introduced themselves, saying they were from Belgium and were shooting a porn film in one of the hotels nearby, and proceeded to ask me if I could replace an actress for a scene for 5000 euros. I said I wasn’t interested; they tried to insist; I reiterated and walked away.

I felt insulted that they would attempt to recruit a woman on the street. Plus this sounds seriously dodgy: what were they really looking for? I hate that I cannot feel safe walking down the street at night, or even sitting anywhere by day. Who does public space belong to? Certainly not non-accompanied women, who are invariably read as “available”.

Submitted by Anne

What would you have told those scumbags to do? Do Anne’s harassers sound like any underworld creatures you’ve had the misfortune of running into? How about showing your solidarity and donating $5 today.

2 comments 
Stalking, Verbal

1-800-MOM: It works!

In NYC it seems like I can’t step outside of my house without being verbally attacked, but the scariest attack happened to me when I was going to the Jacobi hospital on a Saturday. It was around 10. I came out from the hospital and I’m walking through the back of the hospital building trying to get to the bus stop. All of a sudden I feel a something following me when I look to my side there’s a van right next to me, the guy has his window down and he started screaming “Honey, I was checking you out your so fine come over here mamacita”. I was terrified shitless all I could do was grab my phone and call my mom. He probably thought I was gonna call the cops, but what were the cops gonna do? When the guy saw me take that action he just left really quickly. Through all of this all I could think was “OMG I could have been kidnapped”.

Submitted by Shani

A little donation goes a long away—we developed the new iPhone app using $5 and $10 donations from friends and lovers. What can we develop next? A LOT—new international Hollaback sites, to be exact! Wanna help?

one comment 
Verbal

If street harassment is supposed to be a dating tactic, it’s a terrible one.

Middle aged guy in white Boston hoodie, with green letters and a shamrock got up in my face and growled, “you wanna go on a date?!”

Submitted by Megan

Sorry, Boston, for the bad PR. We know he sucks, too. How about a little show of support today? $5 will do the trick.

no comments 
Verbal

The Power of Power

Erik Kondo runs a nonprofit called NOT-ME!. He is a tremendous ally in the movement to end street harassment and recently developed this blog, loaded with resources on how to deal with street harassment. He also sent us the following story where he describes the harassment he receives because of his disability. Although we primarily focus on sexual harassment, this story is a powerful reminder that harassment is about power, in its many, many forms. Whether that is power related to your gender, your race, your class, your abilities, your weight, your age, or whatever, it’s still about power.
Here’s Erik’s story:
Yesterday I went for a short bike ride. I ride a two-wheeled handed cycle that is the height of a standard recumbent bicycle. During that period of time, I received three unsolicited comments:
1. A middle aged women in a car on her phone yelled at me as I rode by “GET A FLAG!!!”
2. A male biker said “That looks hard.”
3. Some kids yelled “Wow, cool bike.”
My responses were as follows:
1. The Finger
2. “It’s not, really”
3. A wave
Here is my point, regardless of whether or not I should have a flag on my bicycle: it is DISRESPECTFUL to yell at me. And I don’t like it. And I don’t care or want to hear the driver’s opinion even if it is good advice. It is OBNOXIOUS AND RUDE to make unsolicited comments to people you don’t know.
The 2nd issue is WHY this woman choose to yell at ME. I don’t believe that this woman yells at all men on recumbent bicycles. She was comfortable yelling at me because she saw it was a handcycle and therefore, I was not threatening to her. So she yelled.
What I am getting at is this issue of disrespect is something that most men can relate to. They get it. They know when someone is doing it to them. You want to get men to understand that unsolicited comments to women that they don’t know, regardless of whether they are complimentary or not, is disrespectful and inappropriate behavior. This is an effective strategy for going after the “Charmer Wannabe”-type harasser and the “Peacocking Showoff” [for definitions of these types of harassers and others, please see Erik's work here]. Trying to paint these men as “sexual terrorists” will only alienate potential male allies.
From the male viewpoint, there is nothing more ego-inflating than a bunch of young women you don’t know publicly commenting on how good you look. In fact, I would say that for the average guy, a car load of women driving by hooting and hollering at him would be the highlight of his day/week/year. He would proudly tell all his male friends about it. But if he felt that the women were being disrespectful to him, he would be furious and embarrassed.
Therefore, I am saying that focusing on how SH makes women feel is much more powerful than focusing on the specifics of the behavior.
For creating SH-free zones, I suggest not trying to ban specific actions such as hooting & hollering. Make them DISRESPECT-free zones—or RESPECT zones—where any type of disrespectful behavior to girls and women is not tolerated.
Ever been shouted at like Erik for the way you look, the way you were dressed, or the way you were breathing? Help us give those wankers a real run for their money. Do it with $5.

2 comments 
Powered by WordPress