It was during the session with Hollaback that my eyes truly opened. The girls in my class started speaking about their past experiences with street harassment and the stories just didn’t stop. Every time one girl was finished recalling some time some guy did something to her on the street it seemed that another girl would just step in and start telling her story.
The number of stories was never-ending. It seemed as if the stories were only getting worse. I was shocked at the kinds of things that were happening to my classmates and I was more shocked as to how clueless I was during all of this. I was clueless because I never even realized how close street harassment really was to me. It made me wonder about all the women in my own personal life that had been street harassed and all the times that they never even mentioned it to me. Yet it was still those girls in my class who, upon being asked and opening up about these experiences, truly changed my ideals.
If these women have gone through traumatic experiences from which they had lasting memories, then most definitely women I know even more personally have gone through this type of harassment as well. It is scary to think that all of these things are going on without ever being called out. It’s scary to think that a man can completely get away with making a woman feel uncomfortable or unsafe on the street or subway. It made me think that I needed to say something as a male for all of those males that do not believe in street harassment and all those males who think that the rules behind these every day happenings should change. I needed to say that it shocks and appalls me too, as not all guys are like that and we want to help women and girls who have to deal with harassment on a daily basis.
Submitted by Ian, a senior in high school