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I was on my way to the bank and was walking down 15th Street in Park Slope, Brooklyn, between 5th and 6th Aves. Two guys working construction were getting something out of a van. I had my earbuds in so I didn’t hear them, but they definitely stopped what they were doing to stop, watch me walk by, and say something. Then I realized I forgot something so had to turn around and walk past them again, and again they said something I didn’t hear while leering at me as I walked by. When I got the thing I had forgotten, I went around the corner and took the long way to the bank just to avoid them.
Submitted by Blue
Walking west to doctor appointment, pervert stopped to ogle my body as I wondered what could be up with my crazy cramps. Then the beginnings of something perverted beginning with “fuck” trickled out of his mouth but I didn’t wait to hear his poetic vision because I turned so abruptly around to face him and so loudly and angrily shouted HEY! MIND YOUR OWN FUCKING BUSINESS PERVERT! that passersby on the other side of the street stopped to watch and the man jumped. I heard him shouting “bitch” after he gathered his senses as I continued on. A real comedian, too, in addition to being a poet, I guess, because most people would find it funny that someone who just muttered obscenities to a stranger in the street with two young children standing nearby would get angry for being called out on his shit but what do I know. I apologized to the mother of the two young children but the look on her face told me she understood and she just laughed and said don’t worry don’t worry I know. For such a high powered incident I was almost amazed my heart wasn’t racing afterwards but I’m coming to realize that it only races when I walk on and don’t say something to the street turds who harass. When I turn around, confront them, and let them know what’s up I feel pretty good.
Submitted by Ursula
“I want to fuck the shit out of you.”
Where is all the shanti in the world when you need it?
Submitted by Emily
This is my first time writing Hollaback! I’m writing to you as a passive, introverted, fed-up, woman. I’m 24 years old, and I’ve lived in NYC since I was 20. Okay, I get it. Men are going to cat-call me, and it makes me feel….well, you know exactly how it feels. A couple of months ago one of those sketchy $1 pizza places opened up on 38th & 8th and EVERY SINGLE DAY one of the guys who works there whistles SO loud at me- then all of the other workers stare. I’ve seen him do it to other women too, and it is even more annoying because it’s SO busy on that corner and the loud whistle gets the attention of everyone on the block. I’ve googled the business, but I’ve found no corporate or franchise info. However, I absolutely needed to write an angry email to someone… lucky you! Is there anything I can do to regain my dignity at 8:30am every weekday morning? Or do I have to walk out of my way down another block to feel like a decent individual again?
Submitted by Jennifer
“You’re beautiful” he said, running towards me from his concrete truck on my block. Once he stopped running and I stopped worrying that it was going to escalate, I thought to myself: “hell yes I am!” but I’m also smart, loving, and passionate. Why don’t people yell those things at me?
Oh right, I forgot.
All the world is a stage. Unless you’re a woman, in which case it’s a pageant.
The silver car in front of the bus was a symphony of kissy. When will these frogs learn that you’ll never be a ladies prince if you keep making random kissy noises at them on the street?
Introduce yourself. Learn my name. Ask me on a date. I’ll tell you I have a boyfriend, but will admire your chivalry and refer you to my friend. Go on a date with her. Ask her what she thinks about life, politics, love. Play your cards right and then maybe you’ll be able to make some real awesome kissy noises.
Submitted by Emily May
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.