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I moved to NYC in March and beginning in May I was living in a sublet in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn. Not my ideal choice, but cheap and with a friend, so not a bad deal for a couple of months, or so I thought. I have never been harassed so much in my life as in the 8-block, 10-minute walk it took me to get from my front door to the train and back. I have lived in Brazil before and there the men constantly catcall, so even though this neighborhood was annoying, I figured I could deal. Now, I have big curly brown hair and a generous behind, and this definitely attracted attention in that area but what am I supposed to do, dress in a brown sack? Like I said, I figured I could deal with it. One night, however, I was walking home along Nostrand Ave. and a big SUV full of guys, windows down and music blasting, drives in the opposite direction and pulls into a side street right into my path, so that I have to walk around the back of the car. As I walk up to it, they start the customary, “Oooh, girl, mmm hmm!” and all of that typical bullshit, and of course I pretend like I can’t hear them because that’s what I always do. I also wasn’t frightened they were going to physically assault me because the street itself is pretty busy, and even though it was after midnight there were some other people, including men in suits and other people coming home from work. Anyway, I walk behind the car ignoring them, but as I get around it and start walking away from them, one of them shouts (and I mean he screamed it), “I would SUCK your little pink clit. YES I WOULD!” and then he and his buddies just laughed, didn’t even drive away, just sat there laughing. It was the most invasive, disturbing and disgusting thing anyone has ever said to me, and I was absolutely shocked at the nerve of these men. I mean, how would they feel if someone talked to their mothers or sisters that way? What’s worse, none of the men walking near me said anything back to them. I mean, I don’t expect anyone to stick up for me per se, but would it kill you to reprimand the members of your gender that are giving all of you a bad reputation? I mean, grow a pair and tell these assholes you don’t talk to women like that, since lord knows that won’t listen to us! After that night, I started staying at my sister’s place when I got out of work late, and by July I had moved out. I will never ever live in that neighborhood or any other where I feel threatened on a constant basis. EVER. Unfortunately I just found out this site exists, otherwise I would have definitely taken their picture. Hopefully there won’t be a next time….
Submitted by Sage
I’m 13 years old and I was over my friend Monica’s house and she lives about 2 miles away from a 7/11 and she decides we should walk there. I thought it would be fun. (we live in MD in baltimore city) and it wasn’t really late at night or anything either, it was at about 5pm and cars were honking at us and I turned to Monica and said “you know, these guys are pigs its making me frustrated” and just then a guy across the street sitting in front of his house says “hey sexy ladies how are you doin?” and I didn’t hear the entire phrase so I said “hey!” and monica said “shut up! don’t talk to him he wants you to come over there so he can rape you or something!” and then we kept on walking and he kept on talking but his voice faded as we walked. Then later, a car came by and honked at us and it scared me so I flipped him off and he turned on the next open road abruptly and turn around and waited for us to catch up with him. So when we realized this we went across to the other side. Then we were near him and right before he turned we ran back over to the other side of the street and he went in the other direction so I guess he gave up on it. I was extremely scared though. I almost started crying because I was so overwhelmed. That had never happened before.
Submitted by Jessie
NOTE: We don’t usually accept second hand stories, but this sweet and observant post from a man working in Soho caught our eye.
I work at 305 Hudson, which is on the corner of Hudson and Canal. Every night, there are a group of traffic cops there directing the traffic into the tunnel. The other night, there was a woman walking a few yards in front of me, crossing Hudson, going east on Canal, and someone was whistling at her. I thought “Oh no, she’s gonna turn around and think it was me”… but it wasn’t me, it was the 4 cops standing looking at her! I would have loved to taken a picture, but that would just have left me beat up on the ground. Good luck, women.
Submitted by Anonymous
This guy was sitting across from me on the train taking up two seats. this was the 4 train around 4 pm on november 24th (08). he started off my incessantly muttering ‘bitches are gonna get it today, bitches are gonna get it today’ and staring / leering at every girl on the train. then he honed in on me, just staring at my face and smiling, licking his lips, mouthing the word ‘bitch’. finally he started leaning across the aisle with his legs trying to trip girls up walking past him, and then started kicking the sole of my foot. i said ‘what’s wrong with you??? stop touching me!’ and i snapped his picture. i don’t think he noticed because i have a touch screen phone that looked like i was playing a game on it.
i ran to the door at my stop but he followed me off at the last second, sneaking through the doors right before they closed. i ran across the platform (at franklin avenue, brooklyn) and asked two teenage high schoolers for help because i thought the guy was going to follow me. so they pretended like they knew me and walked me up the stairs, stopping at the turnstiles to talk to me for a while. all the while this giant creepy f*ck was standing there watching us. finally he got sick of standing there, threw his hands forward and said ‘forget you bitch! i’ll fuck you another time!’
Submitted by A.T.S.
Just happened- guy harasses me from van- oops, it’s the company van w/phone number. He saw me calling and i watched his face shift from arrogant confidence to sheer panic. Manager apologizes profusely. one point for justice!
-Texted from the streets of New York City
I was riding my bike and I stopped in DUMBO to figure out directions on my silly phone, when two guys started making kissy noises from the top of this building. I looked up and I couldn’t see them anywhere, so I just kept waiting for ever-so-slow google maps to load. After two minutes, they were still making kissy noises. Impressive I thought. Eventually one of two things will happen:
1. They will get tired. Making kissy noises is a very exhausting mouth maneuver.
2. They will realize that they are two dudes who have been making kissy noises at some girl who oh-so-far away for extended periods of time, their masculinity will come into question, and they will go back to drinking their beers quietly.
This little social experiment lasted for a full five minutes, with no conclusion. Finally, I gave up and left to a chorus of “Oh no don’t leave! Come back baby!” Wow.
Submitted by Emily
The other night I was walking home and some dude was standing outside of one of those odd private party club places. He said, “there’s a party in there, you should come in and dance with me.” I laughed warmly, looked over at the man that I didn’t recognize but assumed I’d met before at some point, and said “no thanks.”
As I made my way halfway down the block I heard “fucking bitch!” Not in my neighborhood, buddy. Choosing between the delightful options of this big city girl crushing his small town balls or snapping this picture, I decided to Hollaback.
Submitted by Emily
This morning I got on an elevator with a female colleague on our way to a meeting. A man joined us and as the door closed said “You have beautiful eyes” in a very dirty voice. I said a muffled “thank you”, avoiding eye contact. He then had time to say “you’re pretty and “I want to talk to you” all in a very disturbing voice. He even said hello to my collegaue, and asked her to tell “her friend” that she had beautiful eyes.
I was only going to the 2nd floor but it felt like the 20th. After my colleague and I got off, I was utterly perturbed. I felt like he had violated me. Looking back, this would have been a perfect time to “hollaback”- I had my cellphone camera easily accessible in my pocket, and a good 30 seconds of captivity with him to get a good shot. But I was so mortified I didnt think of it- I wasn’t thinking at all. All I could do was stare ahead at the door, waiting for my floor, hoping he would stop. On one hand I am glad I wasn’t alone with him- god only knows what could have happened. On the other hand, it was embarrassing to be treated like that in front of a colleague, without defending myself or speaking out against what was happening to me. I fret that I may have lost her respect- or more, that he took my dignity from me in front of her.
I hope next time I will find the strength and the power to take action. To speak up and to hollaback.
Submitted by Kate
I’m writing with a story that got me so mad, and I was so furious that I didn’t have any recourse. I’m glad to have found this blog.
I recently began riding a bike around in Brooklyn. I’m a violin teacher. I dress like a teacher, and had my instrument and a backpack, and was wearing a helmet.
I swear to god, as I was riding in the bike lane on Pacific Avenue in Prospect Heights, a truck driver literally BARKED at me. Repeatedly.
As traffic went forward, his truck got ahead of me. When I passed him again, he did it again. Barking? What the hell? I’m a teacher!!!!
I have felt angry about the “hey beautifuls” I get all the time, but this is absolutely outrageous. I seriously wanted to harm that guy. I didn’t have my phone out, or I would’ve done the photo thing. I could’ve gotten his license plate too. Next time, I will be prepared.
The weird thing is, my boyfriend, who is really sensitive and wonderful, has never heard most of these comments. He is still surprised when I tell him what someone just said to me. He believes me, but he just doesn’t hear them.
Thanks for listening. I hope we can pass more laws that will criminalize this behavior. It really sucks.
Submitted by Anonymous
I was walking back to the Credit Suisse building from lunch through Madison Sq Park, and one walkway out was filled with construction workers on both sides. As women walked by, this group of 15+ men would hold up placards with numbers written on them (1-10)— and that’s not the most ridiculous part. I asked a “ranger” in a pimped out smart cart to intervene, and he replied, “Well, what did you get? You know you’re a 10 in my book”. I told the security officer in my building the same thing, who answered in the EXACT same way, with an extra “baby” thrown in at the end (for good measure).
Submitted by Laura and also covered by our friends at Gothamist.