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?

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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 
Verbal

Sick? You are, and I’m not gonna put up with it.

I was in the elevator at work, coming back from lunch, when I encountered a dude who randomly started talking to me while I was zoning out on phone. First, he called me “toots,” and then he made a kissy face at me. When he asked me how I was doing (my reply: “Just trying to ride the elevator, man”) he smiled and backed me into the corner. Then, his coworker (oh right. Because there were other people in the elevator) said “Oh, haha, just ignore him, he’s sick,” and my new friend leaned in so close I could actually feel his breath on me and said “Is that how you like it? Sick? You into that?” Then he grabbed my badge out of my hands and said “Where do you work?” before butchering the name of my company and sliding off the elevator (which, incidentally, I ride with him roughly twice a week. He works on the floor below mine).

Last week, I ran into him again. This time he oggled me all the way up to his stop, then leaned into my face and said “BYE!” like a 13 year old mean girl, before stepping off the elevator. On a whim, I followed him. He looked startled. “I’m coming with you today,” I said. He looked me up and down. “Lucky me,” he said.

He was a lot less cocky about 10 minutes later, after I’d followed him to his office, demanded to speak to his supervisor, and told his boss – and his boss’ boss – that the next time New Friend tried to make a love connection with me, I’d be calling the cops.

Submitted by Mads

Does this awesome hollaback make you wanna stand up from your desk and throw a few fist pumps in the air? How about donating to show your support? Say it with $5.

8 comments 
Verbal

Enough with the running commentary, this isn’t CNN.

I had come downtown to visit my partner while he was on a break from work and he and I separated after he walked me to the bus stop. It was mid-afternoon and I didn’t expect a long wait for a bus as it’s a well-trafficked stop and many routes stop there.

A group of two men jaywalked diagonally across the street and surprised me as they neared by leering at me, coming far too close into my personal space and saying, “Nice legs.”

With big grins plastered on their faces, they moved on rapidly, passing by another woman behind me and commenting, “She has nice legs too.” I watched them walk away and it was obvious that they were continuing on their running commentary with other women at stops further down the street.

Submitted by Ashley

no comments 
racial discrimination, Verbal

It is not enough that NYC is a hard place to find a good decent man to date, but that we have to be subjected to men we aren’t even dating as well?

It has become a regular occurrence for me to get cat called as I walk to work, go home, or go about doing my business. I am a 29 year old Asian American woman who graduated from Columbia University with a Masters in Urban Planning. I find it deeply demeaning and offensive for men who are ignorant to call out to me in Chinese or some other Asian dialect, as if I don’t speak English. I hate being whistled at, called baby, being asked out jokingly on the street. It is disgusting, and there have been times that I have gotten hostile (throwing my ice cream at someone, or yelling at them) because their remarks just got to me so. How can I go about doing my work, when my day is interrupted by sexual hostility? This is a real problem, especially in a city where smart successful independent women are so visible. These cat calls need to stop. Men need to be made aware that this is an issue. It is not our culture here, and they need to know that what they do is abusive, and uncivilized. It is not enough that NYC is a hard place to find a good decent man to date, but that we have to be subjected to men we aren’t even dating as well?

Submitted by Diana

4 comments 
Stalking, Verbal

Trapped

While walking to my car this morning a man who was driving slowed down his vehicle just to make “smooching” sounds to me. I gave him a disgusted look and got in my car. I sat in my car for a moment, and then realized that the man had driven back around and was sitting in his car, stopping traffic to stare at me. I was very scared because I was trapped between two cars, and him, and had no way of driving away. He eventually left, but it was not the best way to start my day.

Submitted by Desiree

no comments 
Verbal

To be empowered and emboldened to speak the truth

He leered and hissed at me, and said inappropriate things. I asked if he did not have a sister…he was ashamed. I reminded him that God could see him…he averted his eyes. I chided him that his mother knew…and he was embarassed.

Do we really need a law regulating cat calls? Why don’t we as mothers, sisters, aunts, cousins, and friends help to teach both our daughters and sons, nieces and nephews to be respectful of themselves and others? To not be worried about saying “Stop!” To be empowered and emboldened to speak the truth, “The words and sounds coming out of your mouth make you sound like fool!” Carry pepper spray.

I live in a region where female circumcision, honor killings, and child brides are accepted, even if not legal. Catcalls are the least of my worries. A council’s decision will not carry as much weight as your own words and actions. If you want to help women, speak up for yourself and work to end domestic violence, female circumcision and honor killings, they all occur in your city of New York.

Submitted by GypsyRose

NOTE: Although it has been picked up in the press that we are looking for a “law” to end street harassment, that’s actually not what anyone at the hearing asked for. We asked for education, research, and police sensitivity, among other things. To read Hollaback!’s testimony, click here.

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