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I can’t remember the twists of fate that led me to your website within the past month. I read about your work and the testimonies of many brave women in NYC and around the world.
Your message apparently sank in and yesterday evening on my way home from gamelan practice, I sat down in an S-Bahn station next to three young men who proceeded to wolf-whistle twice at women who walked by. I confronted them about their behavior — told them that women don’t appreciate such attention, that it is not a compliment (as they tried to insist), rather a burden. When they tried in their mediocre way to debate the issue, another woman stepped in and told them if they didn’t agree they were free to leave the station — she’d be happy to call the police to escort them out if they preferred.
We have allies everywhere!
Thanks for helping me to find my voice, and helping me speak out for others who aren’t in a position to do so.
Submitted by Hilary
I just saw this take place — sadly it happened too quickly for me to snap a pic.
I was walking on 11th between 1st and A, when I saw in front of me what appeared to be the start of a street brawl. These two massive dudes were screaming fighting words down the street at someone or something I couldn’t make out, whom I assumed to be another group of equally fired-up guys. “WHO THE F**K DO YOU THINK YOU ARE” and “HOLD ME BACK” and “F**K YOU” came from this one guy as his equally giant/terrifying friend sort of half-assedly tried to “hold him back.” I walked around them, trying to keep my distance but also keep an eye on the seemingly epic street fight that was about to take place. It was at exactly that moment that this guy, now red-faced and sweaty, shouted “IT WAS A F**KING COMPLIMENT!”
Something clicked. I finally see who he’s yelling at. It’s a young woman who cannot be more than 5’2″, who now has her head down and is clearly terrified. She was gone around the corner before I could fully fathom what I was seeing — a grown man screaming at a woman, who had clearly just responded negatively to his street-advances, as though he were in a bar fight in Jersey City. The very slim silver lining was that he was being theatrical (read: horrifying) enough that it attracted a lot of attention on the street. Men and women alike seemed really shocked by what was happening, so maybe, maybe someone who didn’t realize the abusive nature of street harassment which lies just under the thin veil of charm/banter learned something today. Who knows.
To that young woman, red-haired, I believe with dreadlocks, I’m sorry that happened to you, and that dude deserves to be castrated.
Submitted by Arianna
Had to email this in because it was such a ridiculous sequence of events.
Just after speaking on a panel at a HEALTHY TEEN RELATIONSHIPS conference, I walk out the door to a man who says you’re beautiful in a creepy way. I was not on my game so I stood there in disgust and he says well say thank you and walks away. Then as I’m walking to the subway another creepster (this one an old man in work clothes) whispers youre beautiful as he walks by. I clearly need to learn how to summon my reactions better but I just couldn’t believe that I left a conference that educates young people about healthy relationships—and their key feature, respect—and got harassed by two men in a row. If men knew about respect for women, we wouldn’t need conferences to teach teens how to avoid abusive partners. Sigh.
Submitted by Karin
Ugh… lately I’ve been getting harassed so much that it’s become really tiring. Every day for the past week or two I’ve had some pervert say something gross to me or do something creepy. I’m very independent and like to be on my own a lot, but since I’m a young (20) female, I feel like that makes me a prime target for harassment. To sum up the creepiest people:
About two weeks ago I was waiting for a train in a very corporate part of the city. I was standing near another girl, and then a very professional looking man came and stood between the two of us. I wrongly assumed he wouldn’t be creepy because of the way he was dressed. He started pacing back and forth between the two of us, and I also noticed him staring at me. When we got on the train he took a seat, and the girl and I stood across from each other in opposite doorways. He was VERY obviously looking at her and when she darted her head in his direction he quickly looked away. Then she went to a different part of the train, probably because he was freaking her out. Then he turned his attention to me. Okay, whatever, he’s looking at me. Creepy, but I can deal with it. BUT THEN he whipped out his phone and REALLY OBVIOUSLY took a picture of me. I got off at the next stop. Now this creepy asshole has a picture of me and probably jerked off to it. Ugh.
A few days ago I was at Columbus Circle sitting at the fountain. For awhile I noticed that this guy was sitting next to me, not doing anything in particular. But a lot of people were sitting at the fountain so I didn’t think much of it. I was on the phone with someone for a long time, and right when I hung up he tried to start a conversation with me but I could tell he was trying something so I got up and left. As I’m walking away, listening to my music, I notice the same guy walking behind me. He was walking behind me for a few minutes and I could tell he was looking at me… I couldn’t believe he was actually following me. He started asking me questions like my name and what I’m doing in the city. I know I shouldn’t have responded to him and should have just told him to fuck off, but I made up some bullshit and then when I quickly took an unexpected turn he finally left me alone.
Finally, today I was once again at Columbus Circle at the fountain (yeah, maybe I should just stop going there) taking pictures. This guy was trying to talk to me, saying things like “hey, hey girl. Hey, hey, hey!” But I just kept ignoring him and calmly walked away like I couldn’t hear him. As I was walking away though I saw the same guy following me. I thought maybe he just happened to be walking the same direction as me, but that definitely wasn’t the case. At first I wanted to just try to ignore him but I knew it wouldn’t work. He told me something like “Hey, I want to talk to you. You look really good.” I told him twice that I didn’t want to talk to him, but then he started describing the parts of me that looked good to him… gross. Then he asked me if I was single, and even when I said no he asked if I wanted to do something sexual with him (although he didn’t put it so conservatively). I didn’t show my rage because I didn’t want him to know he was affecting me. So I just calmly told him “nope” and he turned around and walked the opposite direction.
Submitted by A.
Thanks for all the work you are doing in the city. I sent you a story a while back and wanted to relay another disgusting event to you.
I live in Queens and I was going home a little late getting on the 7 at Grand Central and this guy in a suit was like walking really close down the stairs behind me. So I stopped right at the bottom of the stairs where the train pulls up and he walked to my left like 20 feet away and I could tell the perv was staring at me. It took a long time for the train to get there and he was staring at me the whole time. So the train pulls up and all the sudden he is like RIGHT on my ass like pushing me in. I got in and there was a corner seat by the connecting door open so I sat there thinking he couldn’t rub up on me there. So he comes and stands right in front of me and is looking right down my top.
He was like 35, 6 feet, really good looking, wavy black hair with a wedding ring on. If you guys see him watch out. So I see that his hand is moving in his right pocket and he starts flicking his tongue at me. I was fuckin repulsed and like no one could even see him cause he had me in the corner. I am like 5’1″ and I was scared so I didn’t do anything but pretend he wasn’t there.
I could see his hard on and him rubbing it in his pants. He was like mumbling stuff too. I know one time he said o so u like that huh? It was so obvious. He was also like tapping my shoe with his foot like HEY look up at me jerking off and staring at you. My stop was 2 stops away but when the next stop came up I got up and got off. He purposely blocked me and groped my boob on the way out. I was scared and pissed too. This was on Monday and I havent seen him since. I cant wait to get the phone app you are putting out. I tried to get a pic but the train pulled away as I was trying to get his picture. You can share this story because I think it might help anyone else on that line at night.
Thanks for all your help.
Submitted by Krista
Two vermin on St. Marks in studded leather jackets; I thought they were a couple until….Taller one: “Hey, sexy lady”
I yelled “STOP HARASSING WOMEN! NO ONE LIKES IT! YOU’RE GOING UP ON THE INTERNET!!”
“SEE YOU ON HOLLABACKNYC.COM, SMEGMA!!!”
Shorter one: “Whore!” He wishes.
I was wearing a 3/4 sleeve top , jeans and carrying a backpack.
Submitted by ninyabruja
note: Never heard of the word smegma? Us either. According to urban dictionary it is a “buildup of skin and other crud found between the foreskin and penis.” Um, gross. But whatta great hollaback word. Take that, smegma!
Was at the bar last night, and I met a friend of my boyfriend’s for the first time. When my boyfriend left to get another drink, I was telling the man I’d just met about my job. He seemed like he was listening, and he was nodding. Then he interrupted me and said “yeah, yeah, blah, you have really nice tits”. Everyone around the table seemed a bit uncomfortable, but no one said anything, just laughter. I didn’t know what to say, and everyone was laughing. I knew I wasn’t going to be leaving the bar anytime soon, so if I said something I would be ensnared into an ethical conversation about “complimenting women”. So I just said thank you, in an effort to move the conversation to something other than my “nice tits”.
Submitted by Jessi
I have no picture, because this happened to me back in the nineties. I lived in Ecuador and the harrassment was an everpresent part of my life. So many things happened, and my policy was to be angry and let them have it. This one time, though, this little man was following behind me closely, muttering disgusting things. I yelled, I tried to act intimidating, but he would not stop. Then I noticed that we were alone-it was the middle of the day, and the businesses were closed. So I made a plan. I pretended to give up, and I walked a few blocks, with him muttering the whole way, always trying to get closer. I walked right to a walkway full of people, and when we were in the middle, I yelled “pervert, leave me alone!” at the top of my lungs. He froze, and I saw his eyes darting around in panic. Right before he ran off, he looked at me and I smirked.
Submitted by Ellen
I was standing on the corner of 26th st. and 7th ave. in Manhattan enjoying my lunch break on a beautiful day. I heard something hissing from nearby, and turned around to this character nodding and hissing at me. A minute after snapping this photo as he walked off, I stopped him and asked if he had just been hissing at me, and if he was trying to get my attention. Here’s what our conversation looked like:
I said “I’m just out here enjoying my lunch break and trying to go about my business and you interrupted me.”
He said “What if I had come up to you and said ‘I think you’re beautiful’?”
And I said “I don’t care, I don’t want anyone talking to me on the street, I don’t like talking to strangers on the street and most women don’t.”
We went back and forth like this for a couple of minutes and he tried to say he wasn’t hissing at me. He said what’s the difference between that and telling me I’m beautiful and I said:
“Well at least that would have been better than standing across the street making animal noises at me.”
He finally said “I’m sorry.”
And I said “Thank You.”
Submitted by V
I’ve never tried to stand up for someone else getting street harassed (half the time I don’t even do it well enough when *I’m* getting harassed)…but last week I couldn’t resist. I was standing on 28th st. at the R train stop to go uptown and a girl exited from the stairs. This guy and his friends started saying all sorts of stuff to her. As she walked away I said “Show some respect. Girls don’t like to be talked to like that.” And the guy said “NO, NEVER!” I pulled out my camera phone and snapped this blurry shot as he was walking away. When he saw it he said, “Take a picture, bitch”. OK, thank you, I just did.
Submitted by Anonymous