Before I even say anything about what I’ve experienced, I would just like to thank everyone at Hollaback! for providing me with a support system that no one else can offer. Your stories of countless bravery and people who have experienced the same things I have help me make it through the day.
I have recently experienced and remembered previous experiences of sexual harassment. Five, to be exact. Sorry in advance for the essay of a Holla!
1. This morning, I made the smart decision to wear a dress. It was either a dress or dirty laundry, so I chose a dress and wore bike shorts under them. As I walked up the stairs, getting off the subway, I turned and noticed that the old man behind me had his head eye level with my ass, and his neck craned unnaturally far forward. I instantly pulled my closed and gathered it in front of me. The man groaned, and I told my mom, too late, what had happened.
2. Yesterday, while getting off the subway (92nd St R station in Bay Ridge), I passed a man who I’d seen before in the neighborhood. Whenever people pass him, he mumbles nasty things, so I’ve known for a while that he is a threat. When I passed him on this particular day, he commented very clearly “Ooh, she’s got some of them short shorts!” I was wearing a pair of high waisted shorts with a pair of semi-sheer striped tights underneath them. As a result of walking up stairs like a normal person, they rode up. I turned to my mom when we made it to the top (five feet away from him) and she said that we shouldn’t interfere. For an hour, we argued about whether or not it was sexual harassment – and I definitely believe it was – and whether or not any cop would arrest him. Needless to say, it was an amazingly fun end to my day.
3. Earlier last week, I was walking with my friend to get lunch. While we were waiting for the light to change, a black SUV swerved closer to us. Slowing down and rolling down the windows, they screamed “Look, whore!” I heard the comment but didn’t realize who it was directed at me, as we were in a well-known prostitution area. My friend turned to me, shocked, and told me that the comments were directed at me. I turned to see if they were still there, but when they weren’t, my friend suggested I use Hollaback to get back at them. I’m no stranger to this site, despite being a 13 year old. Actually, I’ve been making lots of complaints in the past week. Guess the perverts mainly come out in the summer. Anyway, I didn’t get a very good look at them, but I did notice that one (the main one screaming) had brown hair.
4. About two weeks ago, while on the R train with my mom, a man came and stood very close to me. His crotch was incredibly close to my face, and though reading a newspaper, he was leering at me. I stopped playing my game and decided to watch the man. This didn’t stop him, but I honestly didn’t expect it to. When I got off the train, the man glared at me. Even being with my mother doesn’t stop perverts and pedophiles.
5. This happened about a year ago. At the time, I didn’t think it had anything to do with gender, but now I realize that it was all about gender. My mom and I were running from one of my classes to another, and we decided to catch a cab on W 81st St. and West End Ave as I needed to be in Astor Place in 20 minutes. We were in a hurry, so my mom asked the driver in a very loud, clear voice NOT to take us through Central Park and instead drive down Broadway. The man agreed to do so, but, cursing as he drove past Broadway, decided to take us through Central Park anyway. My mom asked him why he did so and he replied that it would be faster. About 45 minutes later, we were out of the park, but not out of the traffic. My mom repeated several times that we would have been better off avoiding the park. The man continuously argued with her about this, saying she never told him not to go through the park. When we reached 14th St. 20 minutes after that, we were in a small park. My mom reached for both her wallet and the door and announced that we were getting out. The man refused this and locked the doors. My mom started screaming “If you don’t let us out of here right now, I swear to god, I WILL KICK YOUR FUCKING WINDOWS IN!” The doors unlocked instantly and my mom threw a few dollars at the man. We left, and my mom smacked his window, flicked him off, and screamed “FUCK YOU!!!” A few people cheered, and we walked away. The driver got out of the car, irate, and the people instantly jumped up and surrounded him, saying “Get back in the car, man. Get back in the fucking car.”