The harasser is to blame!

For some reason I thought that starting a Hollaback! in Baltimore (launching later this month!) would make me invisible to street harassment. Like, for the greater good, karma would do me a favor and let me pass. Well, I was wrong. A young-20’s guy looked me over and said “sexy” right as we passed shoulder to shoulder on the street- while I was FLYERING FOR THE HOLLABACK BMORE! LAUNCH PARTY. Ugh. I change it up, but my first response this time was a forceful “Shut Up!”. Then he says, “you shut up, bitch!”, then I say “let me take a picture of you so I can show everyone what an asshole is..(silence while walking away)…don’t worry, I got it” (my phone sucks, so I didn’t get it, but I made the gesture anyway). I felt ok about the whole thing b/c Hollaback has given me the confidence that the streets are mine just as much as they are his, but then later I passed by a bank security guard who saw the incident. He asked exactly what the guy said and made sure I was ok, which I thought was pretty cool, but then he gave me that same old, “you gotta watch what you say to people so you don’t get hurt”. I’m not an idiot, it was the middle of the day with plenty of people around and I’ve taken a self-defense class. If the situation escalated and someone did get hurt, it would absolutely be the HARASSER’S fault, not mine. Really tired of the victim-blaming mentality. Perhaps if the other two women on the street and that security guy had all responded to that jerks rude behavior, then HE would have to worry about what he said to people, not me.

Submitted by Shawna

3 responses to “The harasser is to blame!

  1. Yeah? What the hell is with that whole “You gotta be careful how you talk to people little lady” BS? Would people say that to a man who stood up to someone disrespecting him on the street? No. And if the man getting harassed stood up to someone potentially bigger and stronger he would get even more props. I think it comes down to peeps wanting women to stay in the “nice box,” so we’re easier to handle. It’s great that you stood up for yourself. It wasn’t stupid, it was brave and awesome.

  2. I stood up for a young girl who was being harassed by a creepy guy while we were all waiting for the light rail in Hunt Valley. It was about 7am and there were no other people around, so I felt nervous that the guy would retaliate. But I couldn’t let that girl get harassed like that. She didn’t say anything when I stepped in, but the look on her face said, “thank you.” The guy got in my face and I got really scared, but I stood my ground and he finally moved down the platform. Why do women have to be “Careful” about what they say??? The entire reason this site exists is because men are completely care-less with their words.

    Sidenote: I am elated to hear that a Hollaback chapter is coming to Baltimore. I literally cannot walk in the street anywhere in the city without a whistle, hiss, cat call, “hey sexy,” “smile for me pretty,” and I’m pretty fucking sick of it. I often listen to music so I can block out the harassment, but it makes me angry that I cannot enjoy the chaotic hum of city noise (which is one of my favorite parts of living in the city) without a man invading my personal space and shattering my sense of safety and confidence with an unwelcome comment about me.

  3. Well don’t worry ladies, the Bmore chapter will be live on January 31st. Keep posting your stories and spreading the word and we’ll start some real change in Charm City.

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