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One of a gang of young men with hooded parkas smoking weed called to me from behind, I ignored them and kept walking. He carried on ‘EXCUSE ME?!, EXCUSE ME!?’ I thought maybe I’d dropped something, cos he sounded so urgent. I turned around ‘Yes?’ he said ‘how are you?’ they all laughed. I said ‘fine thanks’. He said ‘I like your knee socks’ I said ‘thanks’ sarcastically. they kept following me til I went through the barriers at Warren Street station. I’m not saying they had any intention of hurting me, I’m fairly sure they didn’t. Their intention was to dominate me, to intimidate me by taking up my time and assessing my outfit and entering my personal space, asserting their power over me. It isn’t nice. Sorry don’t have a photo, couldn’t even see them cos of their hoods. Just thought I’d share.
Submitted by Jennifer
I had just gotten out of class and I was taking the bus home, and was already in a foul mood , then i notice this man looking me up and down and smiling. i felt violated, but chose to ignore it. until he started looking back at me talking. i took my ear bud out, and he said “how you doing” i said bad, and asked him to leave me alone. he then told me i wasnt hot shit, and that i wasnt even the hottest “piece of ass” on the bus, and i told him to fuck off, and he called me racist, i said “im not fucking racist, im just sick of being looked at as if im only an object fuck off”
i put my music back in, and he yelled at me, and i ignored him. this bus was not empty mind you. people just choose to ignore whats not happening to them. Fuck being harassed and feeling like shit because other people are scumbags.
Submitted by kegan
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
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
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
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
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.
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?
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.
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?