The Hollaback! Effect: Have You Felt It?

Please welcome our newest Hollaback! Maria Luiza Welton! Maria is a Hunter College Honors graduate that is currently studying at Columbia University for her Masters in social work. Maria lives in New York and is super-psyched to be joining the Hollaback! blogging team. Read on to see what drew Maria and why she always is inclined to Hollaback!:


“The Hollaback! Effect

I’m very excited to be joining the Hollaback! blogging team. Having experienced firsthand how pervasive the issue of street-harassment is and how it can wear you down, I feel very passionate about becoming one of the many voices already taking part in anti-street harassment the movement. I strongly support speaking up, and my experience in taking action is my proof it creates positive change.

I first learned about Hollaback! when searching for ways to stop the daily street harassment I’d been facing since I was 12. In reading through the personal accounts, I felt so empowered by how much I saw my own experiences in other people’s stories.

Shortly after, I mustered up the courage to Hollaback! for the first time. My first target was a scrap metal shop where I would get my early morning harassment. As I walked by the kissy noises and teeth sucking, I walked up to one of them and boomed “That’s enough!”  I was stunned at myself that I did it, and the group of dudes were equally frozen. They never bothered me again.

I started noticing changes in myself after I started to Hollaback! My body was more relaxed when I went out, I stopped hiding in my clothes and I stopped feeling ashamed. I felt like I had taken back my space and my right to exist without it meaning other people be entitled to disrespect me. And I don’t know if this is some kind of Hollaback! sorcery or if I started to give off different vibes and body language, but the street harassment went from happening at least once a day, to happening maybe a few times a year. I can’t explain how this happened,  but everywhere I went, it stopped.

Has anyone else had this Hollaback! effect?”



2 responses to “The Hollaback! Effect: Have You Felt It?

  1. Hi,

    I noticed the Hollaback! effect too. I had a similar situation with a group of males that harrassed me daily too & would cuss at me if I didn’t response in some extremely deferrential way. They constantly needed validation from every attractive young female that walked by. Finally, one day I walked by when they did it again & I had enough. I walked up to them & said, “you’re desperate for my attention. I’m here. What do u want?” They were like, “We’re not desperate.” I said, “well, you’ve been calling for my attention everyday for the past however many weeks. Obviously, I see u as desperate for my attention. What do u want?” And they were like, “you shouldn’t let what we say get to u. u should be strong.” I said, “Well, if I shouldn’t take what you say seriously then why are u saying it? You’re just desperate for my attention. So, I’m here. What do u want?” they chewed on this for a bit. Once, I walked right up to them they were no longer pretending to be bad-a*s. they actually got oddly respectful themselves. Eventually, I had to go. One guy even claimed he would protect me from anyone else cause I was cool. I said, “no, you guys just behave that’s all.” The next day I walked by & to my surprise they didn’t say a word & never did & a week later they stopped hanging on that corner. I don’t know where they moved to & that was a few years ago. I ignore the guys on the street now- I don’t care who it is. A few guys had temper tandrams & would cuss at me & say I should speak when spoken to. I completely ignore them & let other ppl look at them like they’re crazy. This has made the men in my neighborhood near skid row behave very well. Every blue moon or so, some older homeless-ish guy will mumble, “hey, beautiful,” or “hey, gorgeous,” as we pass each other on the sidewalk but I act like I didn’t hear them & they never do anything else. I guess they learned that I don’t care about their temper tandrums. I notice that I also don’t see them acting out with other females which is nice.

  2. As more & more women handle themselves well with guys & speak up or report any illegal behavior it will make public spaces safer for all.

    Twice, I reported when security guards were sexually harrassing the women that live in the apartment complexes that they were security guards for. I figured these men were looking for rape victims & reported their inappropriate & sometimes scary behavior. Both times, the offending guard was fired.

    I think my landlord was fired because someone reported his sexual harassment. I ignored it because it was never really inappropriate to me. Although, one time he gave me his phone number & said if I’m interested… any time… I just ignored it but I believe another female complained. I didn’t realize the effect his presence had on me but now that he’s gone, I feel so much better- I feel lighter, safer, & happier. wow. 🙂

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