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My girl and I were walking down the street yesterday. As with every day when we/she/I walk down the street, some jerk in a prettied-up car decided it was his business to violate our space by sticking his head out of the window and assaulting us with a list of sleazy, misogynistic, homophobic and idiotic comments. He seemed to think that we wanted to know all about the fact that hot lesbians were part of his heterosexual male fantasy… he was wrong.
In response to his violent penetration of our personal space, my girlfriend and I screamed a list of obsenities at him, telling him exactly what he could do with his fantasy, his over-inflated ego, and his fucked up attitude. Apparently, women getting angry at his harassment was not a response he was used to, so he stuck his head back out the window to let us know that we were “fucked up bitches” and “crazy fucking psychos”. Shit, why hadn’t we noticed? Clearly we were the psychos, considering we were the ones cruising around town and looking to assault vulnerable individuals.
His car paused at a set of lights, and he continued to scream at us, throwing his fist around and piling every swear word he knew into discriptions of us. Fed up, my spunky girlfriend shot a massive glob of spit onto his beautifully painted car. Inspired by her actions, I too walked up to his car, and kicked the back of it as hard as I could. This sent him into a frenzy, and he jumped out of his car to further yell abuse at us. We pointed out that the police were sitting across at the next set of lights, so he backed off, but continued to scream at us as he drove away.
Now, some might think it was a bit of an overreaction to kick someone’s property in response to a “compliment”. I’d like to tell those people to take their ignorant, sexist agendas and shove it up their arses. As a woman and as a lesbian, I spend every day of my life confined by the consequences of men’s belief that it is perfectly acceptable to verbally, physically and sexually assualt, harass, and intimidate me. I spend each day fighting off unwanted physical advances, being powerless to respond to drive-by sexual advances, having to shut up and ignore the endless streams of catcalls and wolf whistles, watching program after program representing women as sexual/domestic play objects for men, and battling with both men and women to convince them that yes, it is important to be aware of the the power issues that surround gender relations. I spend nights crying as a result of the sexual abuse I have experienced, days altering my routes so I can feel safe when walking home, and endless hours being overwhelmed by how much work is yet to be done in order to create a world which is safe, equal and free from violence and intimidation.
That kick to the back of the prettied-up car, therefore, was a kick for every man who has ever intimidated, objectfied, assaulted, abused, taken advantage of, raped, or hit a woman. It was for every catcall, wolf whistle, and unwanted comment any woman has ever received since becoming old enough to be violated. It was also a warning to each individual who thinks it is ok to harass women, whether in public or in private.
And fuck, it felt good.
Watch out world… I’ve discovered the power to holla back, and holla back I will.
Submitted by Sandra
Last night I was rushing to catch the subway at 34th Street. I was rushing down the stairs to the D platform and this little man with a rockin’ mullet, who looked like he has just walked out of Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” Video, stopped, turned around, looked at me, and had the audacity to say “I lick a lot of pussy.” Eww! I have never been so upset in my life that my phone was off so I didn’t get a picture of this creep. As I was in a hurry I only had time to roll my eyes, give him a disgusted look, and flip him off.
Submitted by Rachel
No I will not take off my shirt or show you my ass for your polaroids. Skeevy asshole. I’m so happy to go back to San Francisco and say goodbye to the Bowery’s poetry scene… Where they knowingly tolerate blatant sexual harassers in their scene.
I talked smack right back at you and played along to hear more of the bullshit. And then pointed out to you that craigslist would be a better place to find women for your polaroid exploits. Put up your ad and get the fuck out of poetry.
Dear women in the Bowery Scene and people there who aren’t misogynist fuckheads, I feel sorry for you that you have to put up with that kind of thing. Why do you?
Dear woman with the shaved head who tonight at the poetry club took off your shirt for this dude in the bathroom, did you feel all empowered when this guy went on to harass other people and show your photo in his book and to boast that he likes the authentically dykey ones the best, next to the trannies?
Dear MC dude of the Urbana slam team, nice job of laughing off sexual harassment to my face. Also thanks for letting me know that “that guy hangs out here every single day at the poetry club.” That makes it all better! I’m sure everyone just thinks he’s SO funny and such a character!
Dear guy working the door… I thought you were laughing with me and were complicit in my fool-baiting. “Thanks” for then when I confronted the dude about his fucked-upedness, then acting like you didn’t hear anything wrong… And for saying that you didn’t hear anything hostile. Because we all know that asking all the women in a cafe, or a poetry reading at a bar, to take off their clothes for a camera and if they have any “intimate” piercings or tattoos is just totally FRIENDLY… It makes women feel all appreciated and welcome and stuff…
Oh also? The tempting offer of a free copy of your poetry book in exchange for the polaroids of my naked body… not tempting at all.
Submitted by Liz Henry
Passing by the local supermarket this morning on my way to work, one of the stock guys from the market (he was wearing his smock/uniform) got altogether too close to me and called me “chula.” [HB NOTE: For you nonspanish speakers, chula means sexy or hottie]. I told him to shut up, that he should concentrate on his job instead of bothering people. He just stood there and laughed. So I got out my cell phone and aimed. This guy must have some experience dodging cameras because he immediately threw his hood over his head, covered his face with one arm, and started desperately twirling around, looking for his shopping cart, trying to get away from me with his eyes covered up, keeping his face hidden. He looked like such a fool. So, I only got a lousy shot of the back of his head, but at least I got the satisfaction of watching him run and hide, like the cockroach he is.
Submitted by Nancy
I’m only twelve, so I get grossed out pretty easy.
As I was walking home from school one day, a man A LOT older than me stops walking as I walk past. He tries to grab me but I speed up so he misses. “I love your ass!” he calls after me.
Submitted by Fiona
(A special note from the Hollaback team: GO VOTE! Let’s make this world a better place together. New Yorkers: got voting questions? Get them answered here.)
My roommate and I walked twelve blocks to a Halloween party last night, and were harassed by NINE different people. After the first three guys in the first three blocks started calling at us (despite the coats that covered up our costumes!), I remembered hearing about Holla Back and I whipped out my cell phone. These were the only pictures that came out clearly, but the
two doofy old guys were by far my favorite. I walked back to them after they called out to us, and said, “smile. I’m putting you on a website that ridicules creepy people who harrass women on the street.” So what do they do? Smile, of course! I really wish I could say “only in New York City…”
Submitted by Emily
Tom: Can I go in with you?
Me: I don’t think so dude.
Me: (shaking head) No.
Tom: I won’t look. What are you scared I’m going to see something? I won’t look. I’ll pee in the shower.
The door opens and I slip in. As the door shuts behind me he forces it back open and thrusts himself into the bathroom. Next thing I know he’s standing next to me. With reflexes that were must more impressive than my zombie costume might have suggested, I pushed him backwards as hard as I could. He fell outside of the bathroom and I locked the door.
Adrenaline still pumping, I got my boyfriend to take this picture of him. As I stood there shaken and scared, he was dancing.
Submitted by Emily
I was just taking a walk up and down my street (It’s a fairly quiet road, I started just walking there instead of around the block to avoid people harassing me) and as I turn at the end of my street to walk back towards my home, a guy leans out of his car (he’s on an adjacent street) to scream out at me “I WANT TO LICK YOUR PUSSY!”. Wow. I was wearing basketball shorts and an undershirt, but I felt so dirty after he said that. Thanks for ruining my day, jerk.
Submitted by Angela
My dad gave my best friend and I his afternoon tickets for the 9/16 game RED SOX VS YANKEES. We sat for about ½ the game when this guy from behind us started making jokes about “southies” and how much the red sox suck (not to mention they were almost done selling beer and the Yankees were getting spanked). We ignored him for a pretty long time and hoped he would just shut up. Everyone in our section (mostly other season ticket holders) were also getting annoyed by his loud drunken stupidity. We jokingly asked him if he was from Jersey to which he answered “how did you know?” and then continued to call us nasty names. He called us everything in the book including assuming we were there “together” even though we both had our wedding rings prominently displayed. Finally when we had just about had enough he started to throw things at us. It was horrible. My friend was turning bright red. Being that we are both Scorpios you can imagine it was hard for us to sit there so long and listen to this without shouting back at him. Finally my friend turned around and told him to shut up which, admittedly, only made things worse. He screamed louder and louder and splashed beer in our direction, asking us if we liked to be humiliated. I am a military veteran with overseas time we even turned around and told him he was ruining one of my last few days before deployment (which has since been canceled) and even that didn’t shut him up. At one point in time I think he spit on us. At this point even his friends were looking pretty embarrassed but still weren’t attempting to shut him down. We got up and moved (to better seats no less) and enjoyed the rest of our day there—but since I had heard about this site on NPR, I had to snap some pictures of him. Here he is, in the white shirt with blue stripes and glasses on his head.
Submitted by Nicki and Corinne
He still couldn’t take his eyes of a woman’s rear even as my phone was in his face. He and his friend eyed her and he said, “Have a nice day, gorgeous.” But in the way that makes you feel anything but nice.
Submitted by Susan