demonstration, Verbal

arosechin: Midnight snack turned holla back!

A friend of mine and I decided to grab some McDonalds after a part at approximately 3am in the morning. It was a place that was nearby and was convenient for both of us to get home.

We cruised on in and ordered our meals. We were soon approached by a man who said that we had to meet his friends. We obliged because he asked nicely and we’re the adventurous, outgoing sort. We met his friends/family, and chatted while we waited for our meal.

Once we had our food we sat down kind of near them because of the size of the restaurant, but indicated no interest. For a majority of our meal we enjoyed solitude recanting our individual evenings.

About 3/4 of the way through my big mac one of the guys walks over and starts talking us up, soon after his cousin comes up afterwards and joins in. Both of them are nice enough, so we don’t mind chatting a bit as we end our post festivity meal. But as we near the end they ask us out, ask us what we’re up to, and for our numbers.

We tell them we are done for the evening, have to be up early, and don’t wish to give our number out.

The first guy that approached us walked away and said, “Fuck those fat bitches.”

And I was not having it.

I followed him to his table and confronted him, asking what he’d said. His friend tried to ‘calm me down’ but I told them that I was well within my rights to cause a scene. Quickly the whole McDonalds was cheering me on as I told him that I had no responsibility or obligation to give him my number. That I had been nothing but a lady, and had acted with only respect until he decided that he was too good for basic respect.

All the while he was giving me the finger.

I kept going, and I asked the crowd that was watching. ‘Am I a fat bitch?’ and they said, ‘HELL NO!’ I told him that I was a woman, and a lady. That I had acted with respect, and it would have been my preference to walk out that door without this nonsense. But I was not the kind of person to take that kind of disrespect, and that he had a thing or two to learn about women of substance.

no comments 
Stalking, Verbal

Kate’s Story: You have NO right to yell at me

Last Friday after work I decided to go for a run, it was a cool evening and it was starting to rain, which quickly turned to sleet and then light snow. I was less than a 1/4 mile into my run when I heard yelling — my ipod was between songs, otherwise I might have missed the specifics of it. There was a guy (I am assuming high school age) leaning out the window of a car on the other side of the street who screamed out, “Nice ass………WHORE!!!!!!!!!” I have to be honest, it wasn’t just the words that upset me, it was also how he said it — there was anger in his tone, and it felt threatening.

I tried to shake it off as just a bunch of immature kids with poor judgment and kept running.

Maybe a mile later I was on Beacon St in Cambridge when the same car drove by me again with this guy again hanging out the window screaming at me — I had my ipod cranked up so I don’t know what he said but the tone was, again, unmistakably angry & threatening. I was freaked out that this was the 2nd time they’d driven by me, and I was getting into less residential neighborhoods where there were fewer people on the streets — I had visions of the next time they drove past me, what if they pulled over? got out of the car? pulled me into the car?? I decided to listen to my gut, cut my run short, and turn around & head back for more populated streets & home.

Unfortunately I was not wearing my glasses & did not get the license plate #. I am getting over this but had an anxiety dream about it Friday night that involved me being cornered by a large man and calling for help that never came. I remain disturbed by the fact that somewhere, somehow, the boys/men in that car learned that harassing & threatening a woman in this way is acceptable.

no comments 
Verbal

Margot’s Story: Don’t talk about me like I can’t hear you

I was out on a date, and two men walking past us felt the need to yell ‘Lucky boy, lucky boy!’ I flipped them off and kept walking and they laughed. This is the kind of thing that makes me feel unsafe if I’m not wearing a pair of baggy jeans and a man’s t-shirt. It made me want to punch them, no one should have to put up with that shit. We didn’t even know them.

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demonstration, Stalking, Verbal

Catherine’s story: She’s a hollaback girl now!

Every morning, I take the city bus to school. The bus terminal near my apartment is pretty busy and it’s not uncommon for me to get verbally harassed by men while I’m there waiting for my bus. Because of this, I was trying to mind my own business the other morning when a man approached me. I had my ipod in when I noticed him coming directly towards me. I avoided looking at him, hoping he would leave me alone, but no such luck. The next thing I knew, he was standing way too close to me and was talking to me. I turned my ipod off and asked him what he had said. He started asking me questions about my ipod and then asked me how old I was. I told him I was 20 and he looked me up and down and said “Some pretty for only 20…” I started to text my friend hoping that if I ignored him he’d move away, but he didn’t. Each time I stepped away from him, he’d step closer again.I was starting to feel threatened so I walked away to the other side of the terminal, pretending to look at the bus schedule. The man followed behind me without hesitation. As I was looking at the schedule he started asking me what bus I was taking, I ignored him and walked away again, back where I had come from. He continued following me. I walked into an area with a larger group of people and he still followed me. He was still standing too close, and was looking me up and down my body. I was so creeped out and my heart was beating so fast. He had this look in his eye that told me there was something not right with him. I wanted to tell him to get away from me, but at the time I was so scared. I was worried that if I told him to leave he may react badly, I didn’t want to escalate the situation.
After what felt like a lifetime, but was really a few minutes, his bus came and he left. Shortly after, a friend of mine arrived and we got on the bus to go to school. On the bus, I told her what had happened and we got to comparing stories about the various times that men have harassed us and about how generally messed up our society is. During this conversation, the man sitting in front of us kept peeking around and looking at us. It was clear that he was eavesdropping. When he got off the bus, he walked by our window and stared at us, then licked his lips and winked as we drove away. We were completely taken aback. After everything he had probably just heard us say, he had the nerve to do that!
I thought about that morning for the rest of the day. I was angry at myself for giving someone else the power to make me feel scared. I was angry at myself for not standing up when I should have. I am constantly being harassed by men, and ignoring it obviously is not working for me. I’m done with keeping my head down and my mouth shut. From now on I WILL hollaback!

one comment 
demonstration, Verbal

Natalie’s story: In the workplace it is illegal to make sexual comments like this, why is it ok in the street?

This isn’t about one particular incident, this is about the overall attitude of men. Today it was sunny so I walked from work to the bus stop without my coat on and I felt vulnerable. Vulnerable! How ridiculous is that.

2 men who I walked past made some sort of sexual animalesque grunt at me just as I passed them and another guy in a group said something offensive. There was the usual classic of a group of builders making comments. I was wearing black tights and a dress with a baggy jumper over the top and I actually caught myself thinking ‘i’ll never wear this dress again without a long coat’. I think it was mainly because I was on my own, as these incidents seem to be about power.

It is intimidating and undermining for this to happen so much that it is normal. The sad fact is that I thought that somehow I had to adapt. I have to have an armour to walk to and from work!!!!!!!!!!

In the workplace it is illegal to make sexual comments like this, why is it ok in the street? Like many of you, I wish I knew what to say. ‘F off’ makes you look angry and mental. A disapproving stare seems to have no affect and the act makes me feel so pathetic that I don’t feel capable of making a witty banterous put down. What shall I do tomorrow?

3 comments 
demonstration, homophobic, Verbal

Melanie’s story: First kiss, violated.

This was fourteen years ago, the fall of 1997. I was nineteen. I was on a date with a girl, walking along the boardwalk – it’s one of the more romantic places in our small city. We found a nice spot to look out over the lake, and sat there talking quietly. We leaned in and began kissing, just an innocent kiss. Not a minute later, some slimebag scared the living hell out of us – he had to sneak up behind us of course – by saying stuff to the effect of, “Wow, do you two want some company? Y’all look good, a couple hot little white girls, you want some big dick to keep you company?” And just on and on.

What pisses me off the most, even after all these years, is that it was our first kiss – my first real kiss with a girl, even – and it was completely ruined. Luckily, my date took me by the hand and we walked to the car, even though I wanted to run. She kept telling me it was okay, that he was just some asshole, that we were okay. But I will hate that crusty old creep for the rest of my life. At the time, it felt like he took maybe the one good thing going in my life and cheapened it, made it a bad memory instead.

Wow, I thought I was over this. Just goes to show you how long those old wounds stay with you. I suppose I’m lucky that he didn’t pursue us or attack us, but I felt, still feel, violated all the same.

no comments 
demonstration, Verbal

SR’s story: I wish I could just shrug it off, but I can’t.

Me: crossing Woodward with my boyfriend. Young guy in the passenger seat of car stopped at the Woodward red light: yells “SEXY” etc etc at me while I wait for the Congress light to change. This is about thirty, maybe forty full seconds of yelling. He’s far enough away that I can’t tell what he’s saying, so I ignore him until some other college girls walk towards the intersection and he yells at them too about their clothing (skirts). I turn and yell at him to fuck off, notice the asshole is *holding a camcorder* and presumably had been filming my ass the entire time. Light changes, he laughs with the driver as they zoom off. Wish I had a photo or a license plate number but I don’t, wish I could just shrug it off and forget about it but I can’t. All I can do is sit around thinking of things I wish I had said and I hate that feeling.

one comment 
demonstration, Verbal

Kate’s story: Increased anxiety is a side effect of street harassment

Last Friday after work I decided to go for a run, it was a cool evening and it was starting to rain, which quickly turned to sleet and then light snow. I was less than a 1/4 mile into my run when I heard yelling — my ipod was between songs, otherwise I might have missed the specifics of it. There was a guy (I am assuming high school age) leaning out the window of a car on the other side of the street who screamed out, “Nice ass………WHORE!!!!!!!!!” I have to be honest, it wasn’t just the words that upset me, it was also how he said it — there was anger in his tone, and it felt threatening.

I tried to shake it off as just a bunch of immature kids with poor judgment and kept running.

Maybe a mile later I was on Beacon St in Cambridge when the same car drove by me again with this guy again hanging out the window screaming at me — I had my ipod cranked up so I don’t know what he said but the tone was, again, unmistakably angry & threatening. I was freaked out that this was the 2nd time they’d driven by me, and I was getting into less residential neighborhoods where there were fewer people on the streets — I had visions of the next time they drove past me, what if they pulled over? got out of the car? pulled me into the car?? I decided to listen to my gut, cut my run short, and turn around & head back for more populated streets & home.

Unfortunately I was not wearing my glasses & did not get the license plate #. I am getting over this but had an anxiety dream about it Friday night that involved me being cornered by a large man and calling for help that never came. I remain disturbed by the fact that somewhere, somehow, the boys/men in that car learned that harassing & threatening a woman in this way is ok.

no comments 
homophobic, Verbal

Sandra’s story: Watch out for the stinger!

There are so many incidents I don’t even know where to start, or when it even really all started.

In high school my sophomore year it got around that I was bisexual after some nasty girl found out that I was dating another girl at school. Walking home with her one day we were confronted by a group of guys from our school. They followed us for blocks saying obscene things and trying to get us to “let them show us what it’s like to be with real men since we obviously had never been with any man with a big enough cock.” and asking us how we like being ate out since, y’know, we pee out of there. i got so fed up with it and turned around and asked them if they liked it when their girlfriends gave them head because “y’know, you piss out of that.” After that they just kind of left us alone.

That was the first real time I stood up for myself when it was happening. I was so freaked out.

A few years later (this was right after I’d turned 18 and moved to another town) I was walking to my boyfriend’s work down the road about 12 blocks from where we lived and this group of guys were following me. At this point I was so used to stuff like this that i’d taken to carrying something called a “Stinger” (it’s basically an extendable metal rod with a ball on the tip and a large rubber grip for a handle) with me whenever I walked alone. They just kept leering at me and whistling, making loud comments about my “curves” and my “sway” and talking loudly about how’d they’d “tap that”. At one point they were following too close for comfort and several times it felt like they were trying to sniff my hair or grab my ass. Fed up with it I finally turned around and asked them what they wanted, as I did so I sneakily took my “stinger” out of it’s belt holder (which was hidden under my shirt). When they went to answer one said something like “We just want your attention sweetheart.” some other guy said “You’re so juicy, we just can’t resist.” I flicked the rod out so that it extended out to my side and I glared at them and said “Well, I don’t want yours.” They kind of freaked out and backed away from me. They never bothered me again.

It feels good to be able to do the same thing to them that they do to us women daily: Have some sort of power over them by scaring the crap out of them. It’s a nice turn of the tables, to make them feel like we do every time they do that kind of stuff to us, but at the same time I still think it’s sad that I’ve had to resort to carrying something so dangerous (and I think technically even illegal to own in my state) in order to make sure I can protect myself because stuff like this happens all of the time.

one comment 
The Movement, Verbal

Emmaline’s story: Fifteen and pissed!

First off, may I say that I am 15 years old, and I have been harassed on the street since I was 12 years old! My most memorable experiences:
I was 12 and walking back from a Neighbourhood festival with a friend of mine and this beat up pickup truck drove by; some 40-something year old guy with a cowboy hat honked, and leaned out the window to shout some obscene remark to us and took off.
Two summers ago (age 14), I had finished up a play at the local high school, and a friend and I were walking to a Culvers a few blocks over. It was about 10:30pm and we had one block of a dark, deserted street. This Honda Pilot drove down the street, and we saw the driver look out his window, slow down, and deliberately whistle at us. He then drove to the end of the street, made a U-turn, and drive even more slowly past us AGAIN, and whistled once more. Luckily the director of the play pulled up next to us and asked if we wanted a ride, so we didn’t have to risk him passing us again.
This past summer (age 15), I was at a metro bus transfer point and was waiting for my mother to pick me up, and some guy started to walk towards me. The alarms went off in my head, so I grabbed my bag and walked to the Walgreens across the street. Lo and behold – he followed! I tried to trip him up by weaving randomly through several aisles, but he still followed. I finally ducked into the bathroom for about 10 minutes and waited till he left. He never said anything, but that was the creepiest part!
About two months ago (still 15) I was taking a bus out to my theater (I’m in a youth Shakespeare group) with a friend to watch a rehearsal because we had school off, and this guy was on the bus. At first he overheard us talking about the theater and asked some polite questions, but then he started asking our names and where we went to school, and it felt too personal. I shortly afterwards became homeschooled, and take a bus out to the school each day for a chemistry class. I saw him again frequently, and he would always smile and stare at me, and stand or sit in a way so as to always have a clear view. One time, in a nearly empty bus, he sat down right in front of me, then turned his entire torso around to face me, and smiled at me while staring at my chest. It wasn’t a glance, either – this stare was for several minutes! He never said anything, and didn’t touch, but his very presence and the way he was blatantly staring just made me feel violated. I finally told him “Okay, stop.” And got up to get off the bus (thankfully my stop wasn’t to far after he got on. I haven’t seen him since, but the experience always sticks with me as my creepiest.
A very recent one (this past Friday), I was on State Street with my dad and sister to see a movie as part of the Wisconsin Film Festival. It was about 9 at night, and we had stopped in a little market to buy my sister something to eat, and I stood near the door looking at magazines. As I was flipping through one, I heard something along the lines of “come here, sexy!”, I look up and there are some college age guys passing the door and staring at me. When they saw that I heard them, another leers at me and calls out “HHEEEEYYOOO” and they leave. It was unnerving – even if they couldn’t see my dad – that this would happen when I was with family, and even more that my dad didn’t hear it.

Other less creepy ones, but still unnerving nonetheless was when actors of my theater gather to perform scenes on Capital Square (during the Farmer’s Market) in order to advertise the Theater, there have been several instances when an elderly man would walk up and give me money – to “support the arts” they say – while leering at my chest. Some old sweaty man was staring a friend and my chests while trying to find out our schools and where we live. We brushed him off.
Also, once, when I was still in school, I was walking to my health class, and there were two classmates of mine and some random other friend of theres sitting on the floor in the hallway. I was wearing a dress that day, and the random guy leaned forward, then looked at my face and asked my name. I realized he had looked up my skirt (sucks for him – I wear shorts under all dresses or skirts).
One time I was at the mall and I went to a store in the food court to buy some water. I didn’t have the right amount of money with the tax added in (about 50 cents short), so I was trying to say “nevermind” and go somewhere else, when the guy insisted to chip in for me and wished me “a nice day, gorgeous” as I left. Slightly flattering if by someone my age who I knew, but out-of-line in the circumstance.
Last one: When I was still in public school, I was walking back to class from the bathroom, and there was this kid (freshman) standing in the hall with a friend of his. As I passed, he said “hey” and I responded accordingly. He then proceeded to plant himself in my path, forcing me to stop, and asked me how I was. I shortly replied that I was fine, annoyed by then. Not getting the message, he then decided to inform me that “I like how you mooove” in a ridiculous voice, making it clear he had been watching my ass as I had was walking by him. I gave him a dirty look and went around him, and that was the end of it.

I don’t get where men have decided that now, today, in the 21st Century, women are to be treated as pieces of meat solely there for the male viewing pleasure, and that we don’t care when we are catcalled, whistled, followed, “complimented” and in any other way violated. It’s awful that it’s become so ingrained in society that when I confided in a friend, she told me to “flip him off, laugh and let it be. It happens”. It happens BECAUSE we let it be! Unfortunately none of my incidents had been easy to report – or reportable at all, in the eyes of the cops – or had happened to quickly for me to actually berate, so they’ve gone without punishment.

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