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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?
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.
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.
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