I’m guessing that’s not Proust he’s reading.

This snake hissed as I walked past. When I turned around to not-so-nicely ask him what he needed and how could I help him today he immediately shrunk back and said “Nah, nah, I was just kidding.”

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.”

“Ha-RASS you?!

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

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Street harassment isn’t seasonal

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

one comment 

Small town, Big Harassment

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

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groping, Stalking, Verbal

Note to kid: my ass isn’t your playground. Run along.

I was walking home from [law] school last night around 10:20 p.m. My walk is only about 15 minutes, from Tribeca to the Financial District, and I normally walk very rapidly.

I’m always aware of my surroundings, especially at night, and am careful to remain in well-lit areas where other people are as well. As I was walking down Broadway, I noticed 2 boys in front of me. One was on a razr-type scooter, the other one (orange polo) was just walking.

Eventually I passed them, and as I did, the one of the scooter, who had been going around in a circle said, “Hey gorgeous.” I ignored him and walked faster. After about 30 seconds I could hear both of them behind me, and they were beginning to keep pace with me. They followed me all the way down Broadway, to Fulton Street. Along the way, they were muttering things to each other like “Yeah, she does have a nice ass though.” I probably behaved pretty stupidly, but I thought because there were people all around me, that these guys would give up and leave eventually. They seemed younger and weren’t overly intimidating. I pulled my phone out and had 911 ready-dialed in case it escalated too quickly. They continued to follow me down Fulton Street, but eventually the guy on the scooter pulled back. The second guy was still keeping stride, though, and as I neared a cross street, I heard the scooter guy yell, “Now, Man (Max, Mac?)” and the guy in the orange polo said “Now?,” began running past me, and grabbed my ass. He then slowed, stood at the next corner, and watched me pass. I felt so violated and completely degraded. I took a picture of him with my camera phone as I walked by him, because it\’s all I could think to do, but it came out very blurry.

groping, Verbal

Erie, PA gets… erie.

I was out jogging on a Sunday morning around 11:00 AM while visiting my in-laws, who live 2 blocks from Frontier Park in Erie, PA. A tall, brown-fuzzy-haired, fit, attractive college-y looking guy in his early 20’s with wire-frame glasses in red basketball shorts and a grey t-shirt passed me, smiled, and said “hi.” I’m a New Yorker so I don’t usually greet strangers but I figured it was probably common courtesy in Erie, so I said “hello.”

A split second later he came up from behind me, pulled me up against him, and groped my crotch. I elbowed him and he bolted down the street where my in-laws live. My husband and his family drove around the neighborhood searching for hours and never saw him. To my knowledge the cops never caught him either.

Submitted Sarah

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Hot Tea Hollaback

Living in New York (and Philadelphia before that) I’ve been harassed almost on a daily basis. Most of the time I walk away from the incident feeling upset that I didn’t or couldn’t make my harasser feel as violated and threatened as he made me feel. So not too long ago, as I was returning to my office from a Starbucks break, a man leaned into my path and loudly said “SEXY.” He began to walk behind me. I wish there were a way to describe how thick and disgusting his voice was. Combined with the fact that he was raping me with his eyes and that at least 3 other men had tried to talk to me on my way to Starbucks, I was enraged. I turned around immediately and made like I was going to throw my hot tea into his face. He shrieked, apologized, and backed off.

I’ve been getting a ton of backlash for doing this (especially from male friends, no surprise there), although I never would have actually thrown the tea on him–not unless he had put his hands on me. He was following me, and was behaving the same way as men who had grabbed or touched me in the past. I have a right to walk wherever I please without being sexually harassed, and I also reserve the right to pose a physical threat to anyone who poses one to me. The only thing I’m sorry for is that I couldn’t snap a picture of him too.

Submitted by Gabrielle

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Coffee, Muffin, Keys, and Harassers

Walked to get my coffee, man on the corner makes sounds at me. Walk back home and he starts his own monologue about how I’m looking good, etc, etc… It just kept going! I shouted behind me for him to  “Shut up!” Had my hands not been full of coffee, muffin, and keys, I would have taken a picture. It was ridiculous.

Submitted by Rebekah

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Race and Harassment: What do you think?

So up until a few moments ago I was having a very good day. Today was my first day at a new job which I love and this morning I spoke with someone regarding some freelance work that might be in my near future. So you would think that after all that I would be a good mood…guess again. I got harassed on my way home from my great, wonderful day. I walked by this man with his friend and he said “Lovely” to me. I as usual told him to go fuck himself. Now many my not think that the word lovely isn’t all that offensive but I don’t need hear constant compliments on my looks to validate who I am just because I am a woman. Now in response he got very upset told me to “get out of the hood”. Now this brings me to something that I have always wondered about: why does street harassment seem unusually high in the “hood”? And why is it a practice that is becoming increasingly popular among young black men? It has been in my entire life’s experience that 95% of the men to harass me have been black and most of those experiences have happened in poorer black communities. Its entirely safe to say that although I run a risk of being harassed everywhere and most women are I feel safer in Park Slope or Williamsburg as oppose to Bed-Stuy where I currently reside. I even dress a little different knowing that I wont get harassed. I know that whenever race gets brought up it can be a rather touchy subject but I cant help but wonder if more women in the NYC area other myself have noticed this trend or if it is at all significant to bring it up. Should race be tackled in the “Stop Street Harassment” movement? Should it be addressed? The problem that I think this blog is trying to resolve is to get women talking to realize that it happens to women everywhere and with that realization women can stop internalizing. But I wonder if it would serve a better purpose to speak of the harassers. Who are they are and why do they do this. The way I have rationalized my own experiences has been thinking of the black men who do this as an exercise in a power struggle in which they feel as though they are losing. Is it simply one oppressed group trying to oppress another? What that guy said to me resonated because it seemed like he was saying that in the “hood” things are done a certain way and how dare I challenge it by talking back to him. I may be over thinking this it was though he was trying to make some sort of comment on gentrification. I do look like an outsider in my neighborhood and even though I am perceived as minority myself being Hispanic, its obvious by how I dress that I am probably part of the gentrification movement that is slowly but inevitably affecting Bed-Stuy. Are these men noticing this trend and is this a source of anger? I hope this will inspire some feedback because either rude black men are just what I am attracting or this might have some larger significance.

– E.

NOTE: Hollaback! believes that street harassment stems from a culture of violence against women, but we don’t believe it stems from anyone’s culture in particular. Our blog shows that men of all races harass women, and our work shows that it happens in all countries. Still, E. isn’t the only one who has asked this question. What do you think?


Portland Potty-mouth

Portland, OR is a place where I actually encountered little sexual harassment on the street! Is it ironic that I am grateful I was able to exist in public without visual appraisal? After a few weeks I stopped expecting it. Then one day, as I was walking my bike down a fairly unpopulated sidewalk in the middle of the afternoon, a man who had been walking behind me caught up and said,

“Not to be disrespectful, but that is a very pretty backside.” UGH. As I biked by him on the way up the block, I yelled back, “it IS disrespectful!!” and I could hear him murmur, “well, it’s still pretty.”

Submitted by Esther

one comment 
No Zen for me Verbal

No Zen for me

I was walking home from yoga when I heard “I want to fuck the shit out of you.”

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