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This happened to me before I’d ever heard of this site. I was in a clothing store, and this guy decided to be particularly obnoxious, coming on to me hard. “Hey shawty, what’s your number?” I said, “Didn’t your mother ever tell you not to talk to strangers? I’m as strange as they come in this city. Besides, I don’t give my number out like that.”
“Well, how about your address?” I looked at him like, REALLY? “Uhm…seriously– do you really think I’m gonna give someone I don’t know my address?”
This must not have sat too well with Mr. Obnoxious. “Well how about I call you on your extension–the ones you got in your hair, bitch?”
It was true– I was wearing braids at the time. People heard him, and his boys were laughing. So I said, “I’d tell you to grow a brain, but your dick would be pissed cuz it would then be the smallest organ on your body.” I turned and walked away, hearing his boys laugh again, but at him this time.
Stuff like that happens a lot here. I have tons of war stories: I had a bottle hit a few inches from my head for ignoring a guy, I had my hair literally yanked and then brick fragments thrown at me for not responding to another guy’s advances. It’s madness…
Submitted by Gata
Yesterday I was walking to the post office, feeling strong and standing up straight, happy to be feeling confident and grounded in my body. I recently moved with my partner to Philadelphia from our home in the Bay area Ca, and am still adjusting to a new city, but yesterday for the first time, I felt at home in my body here.
A man took that from me. He was just a random guy on the street, walking back to his car, but he may as well have knocked me over and kicked me. “Wassup Baby,” he said as he passed me. And then as I tried to speed up he watched me from behind and said “Nice ass.” I felt like every inch of my strength deflated with one breath, I was a puddle on the sidewalk.
I could feel his eyes on my body as I walked away, and I just wanted to disappear, but I couldn’t… So I just froze. I stood there, on the street, waiting to get up the courage to turn around and tell him that was NOT ok to talk to me that way. To explain how much his words cut through me like a knife, making me into a naked shell of myself. I stood there for what seemed like forever, as I heard him get into his car and zoom off. I stood there even after he was gone, ashamed of myself that I could not stand up for myself, for women, for our bodies that are forever under attack.
This was not the first time I had been harassed, but somehow it struck me differently, maybe because I am in a new place and far from home. Why is this ok? Why does this happen everywhere? I am now an adult woman, I don’t dress in a way that invites any attention to my body from strangers. I have a loving and respectful boyfriend who affirms my right to own my body every day, and I feel stronger now than when I got harassed as a teenager or even a few years ago. But yesterday, that man made me feel like nothing anyway. I wish there were more places like this website, where the force and weight of street harassment and all it leads to was acknowledged. How can we create more space for this issue to be recognized for the oppression that it is? I’m still searching. For now, thank you for making this space.
Submitted by Reena
Since I moved to New York City from the Midwest four months ago, I’ve been harassed almost every day. I always just try to ignore it. Tonight, I was walking down Seventh Avenue to meet my parents and boyfriend for dinner, when an older guy yelled, “Hey gorgeous, anyone ever tell you you’re beautiful?” As usual, I ignored him and kept walking, but the guy kept following me, yelling out, “Hey beautiful, c’mere,” and the usual stuff like that. I started to get a little scared; the route I’d planned would take me down a quiet street, away from bystanders and lights, and he was still following me closely.
I stopped to wait to cross the street, and the guy stopped with me, still catcalling. Without planning to, I looked the guy straight in the eye, glared, held up my hand, and said, “Dude. Not cool. Go somewhere else.” He looked startled, and I said something like, “You shouldn’t bother people like that. Go away and leave me alone.” I made a shooing gesture–and he left! He turned right around and crossed the street, away from me. I couldn’t believe that it had worked–or that I’d stood up for myself like that!
Thanks for letting me share my story, and for helping me find the confidence to Hollaback. Maybe that guy will think twice before he harasses someone else.
Submitted by Hannah
“Hello.. beautiful, gorgeous..” This guy tried to bother me & my friend and a young woman 15 ft. behind us. I turned around, “Smile!” He said if we waited he’ll take off his shirt.
I have lived in NYC my whole life and as a girl have had to deal with this harassment for years. I always tried every solution to deal with this from yelling back to ignoring. I wanted to share one solution I started a few years ago and have been telling everyone. If you are harassed by a man in a van or car with a company name on it write down the license plate and call the company. Do the same thing with anyone in work clothes with the name of the company. I have spoken to supervisors who are very angry and have let men go over this.
I will be submitting photos of the men who are not in company cars/vans and company clothes here. Great idea!
Submitted by Elspeth
Dressed in my finest power suit, I walked along a tree-lined street in cobble hill, the sun was shining and I felt great as I mentally prepared for my interview. As I passed a brownstone where people were unloading party supplies from a Party Rental LTD truck, you know the one with the pink hippo painted on the trucks, one of the delivery men came close to me and whispered in his best husky voice “hey sexy, i would want to get to know you”, I was shocked, for some silly reason I thought no street predator could possibly bother a woman in a power suit… Normally, I would walk away fuming or give the jerk a dirty look, but I was my power suit damn it, so I walked up to this man and asked him his name and why he felt it was acceptable to degrade women. Robert (no last name) covered his work badge, and cowered away yelling out apologies as I threaten to call his company and report him. Funny enough I drew a mob of woman backing me up – the solidarity of women (and hopefully the firing of Robert) left me feeling empowered, but sadly, this is only one jerk that may second guess harassing women.
Submitted by Gina
His cowardice became larger and much more evident when I asked him if he wouldn’t mind if I took a photo.
“Why do you want my photo? Here, take a photo of this,” he slobbered as he held up the porno mag he’d just been reading in the middle of 6th Ave. at 2pm on a Tuesday afternoon.
“Because I like to take photos of all the men who harass me in the streets.”
“YEAH! look for it online!”
I went back to my comfortable office and sat down at my comfortable desk and enjoyed a good laugh as I uploaded his photo. Street harassment enrages me, but this guy was so pathetic I couldn’t help but chuckle.
Submitted by Betty Sue
I was walking home from class (college), down one of the main streets in town, in the middle of the afternoon, minding my own business, zipped and bundled up against the cold. A nasty, middle aged man approaches me, staring. I glare at him, but as he passes he says, “nice tits”. I was so furious! I have been commented on before, catcalls etc., and always just tried to ignore it and not give it any attention, and felt so angry and humiliated afterward, but this was just too much that day and I finally turned after him and said, “fuck you, asshole!”. It did feel a bit better to say something than to remain passive as I have before, but I hate that I still felt so helpless and humiliated and embarrassed when he was the one who should feel embarrassed not me! Next time I hope I can muster the courage to yell at the next douchebag who says something to me, and louder, and label to him and anyone who might be around, what the hell he thinks he has the right to say to me as the nasty, pathetic harrassment it is.
Submitted by Livia
I was walking down a country road in rural PA with my mother, who is a disabled woman. As we walked a truck full of young men drove past. They then hit their brakes and reversed towards us. One was in the bed of the truck and another hanging out the door leering at me. They asked me who I was and we kept walking. They drove slowly pacing us for about 2 minutes, then called me a bitch for not answering their catcalls and yelled out “We know where you live!” before spinning tire and speeding off.
The one in the bed of the truck acted like he was going to jump out and come up to us at any minute, and there was no where to go. I don’t know how I would have protected my mother if he had tried anything.
It was so scary because it is a small town, we were walking on the road my mother lives on, and they probably did know where we lived!
Submitted by Sabrina