New submission from Blair Barnette
Blair is a Londoner who recently reached out to Hollaback to share her story after being harassed at an event in the Netherlands. Her story demonstrates how normalized and ignored harassment can be, even in a professional setting. Thank you for sharing your story, Blair.
I wanted to send you this message. I recently was sexually harassed very publicly, sat on it for a couple of days and then posted on Facebook to see what others might have done differently, or what they felt. I wanted to share my experience with other women, especially since we had a video I could ‘narrate’. After mixed feedback, I was encouraged to tag the company on social media. About 24 hours later someone from the company who hired the man who groped me posted and issued a disclaimer and apology, but referring to me in the third person and seeming to challenge the fact that they were informed immediately ‘on the day’. They have not contacted me directly whatsoever, just copied and pasted the same disclaimer on all 3 public threads where the video is posted. I’ve waiting another 24 hours to see if anyone else would follow up but nothing. I don’t feel they are taking responsibility and I’m not satisfied. It’s not good enough.
Mainly, I highly doubt, with the 50,000 people that attended this 4 day convention, that I was the only woman affronted in the same manner by this man at this display. I can’t believe that mine would be the only time it happened as his routine is so rehearsed, obviously part off his ‘shtick’, which I’m sure they reviewed before employing him. I can’t believe that nobody noticed this happen at all, being that it was on over 40 separate monitors and cameras within their stall displaying at all all times.
This guy is just getting away with it and this company is not taking the situation seriously. I would have expected some kind of positive action in the reverse, a pendulum swing in the other direction to balance out the crappy thing that just happened. They need to be shown doing something proactive and deliberate as an organisation to prevent these things from happening or at least bringing awareness.
At the very least I would have expected a phone call.
Instead, I get what I feel is a brush off. I’m not trying to be ‘that woman’, an angry feminist, but really, why shouldn’t I be angry. Why should I just slink away?
I think more attention needs to be made socially as maybe with more pressure they will give a better HR response. Will you help me?
Thanks for reading!
New submission from AA
During the daytime a man in his early 30s on a bike began to try speak to me, I was late to a lecture and not interested so I ignored him and carried on my way and he then followed me and blocked my way, asking why I was ignoring him and that he “just wanted to talk”. After I said that I didn’t want to, he got aggressive, however I backed away from him and he eventually left me alone
New submission from Anna W
I was walking home from a netball game and someone came up behind me and grabbed my ass. I sort of squeaked – thinking it might have been a friend or my boyfriend (this is not acceptable behaviour but was the only thing I could think of). I turned around and it was a random late 20s/early 30s man, I stared at him. Couldn’t get any words out except for a “What the fuck?”.
He stared at me as if he’d done nothing wrong and said “Sorry” proceeding to turn around and open the door to his apartment block with his keys.
I don’t know if he accidentally bumped me with his keys or whatever (definitely not what I felt when it all first happened), but it terrified me and now I’ll never walk home not wearing a coat to cover my bum in leggings.
I was walking down the street, minding my own business. I hear what I can describe as a loud ‘fake orgasm’ scream, I turn around and I see three men in a car. Dark hair, in their mid or late 30s. I ask them “Are you serious?”. They stare at me and then laugh in my face. They start driving off, for as much as I was upset, I kept it cool, took my phone out and snapped a few photos of the car. I got home, called 101 and reported it. The photo turned very useful as I had registration number, car model and timestamp. I told the police I didn’t need for them to look into it further, but I just wanted the episode logged. The whole thing made me really upset and I ended up staying in even if I had plans to go out. If you experience anything similar and it’s safe to do so, do take photos or take notes straight away and do report the incident!
Yesterday the Evening Standard shared with London the story Pagan Lilley Motlagh-Phillps. The telling of her powerful story is so important and we commend this paper for telling it – more importantly we want to acknowledge Pagan’s strength in speaking out.
Her experience of harassment reminds us to respect survivors and their survival mechanisms. So often women and non-binary people are told that there is a set way to respond to harassment. We are sometimes told that one way to respond is to ignore those who harasses. This does not always work, but sometimes it does.
For Pagan ignoring her harassers did not work, and her story consequently forces us to remember that the onus to respond to harassers should never be on those who experience harassment. Harassment exists upon a continuum of violence against women and girls. It is one of 8 strands of violence which flow between each other, and which women and non-binary people experience every single day.
It is time that we start to truly challenge the roots of this violence rather than staying on the surface. We have to focus our blame and judgement on those who harass and enact this violence. We have to respond to and criticise their choices, not the actions of survivors.
What happened to Pagan was horrendous, but this is the reality of what women and non-binary people live with every day. At Hollaback we stand in solidarity with all who experience harassment and violence, and hope that with constant pressure and the sharing of stories we can alter this system of oppression.
New submission from Anna-Maria G.
I was on my way the gym when I man grabbed my arm really hard. I dropped my water bottle. He said “So you’re throwing stuff on the ground?” then I looked up thinking ‘Do I know this guy?’. I didn’t. He said ‘So now you’re not going to talk to me’. I started walking and he walked away, like nothing happened. So shocked and confused. He was in his 40’s wearing a white shirt. Looked ‘civilized’. Had an evil stare.
New submission from Louise
I was walking out of the building I work out of and got blocked off of the down ramp by a man who grabbed himself then attempted to kiss me whilst saying, “Hello gorgeous”. I have no idea what he was trying to accomplish.
New submission from Nina
I was walking past the roundabout at just after midnight on a Friday night when three teenagers (judging by their voices) cycled past on the road. I didn’t think anything of it til I saw them circle round and cycle on to the pavement where I was, and two of them groped me, as they cycled past. I shouted at them to f**k off at which they laughed and cycled away. It was incredibly intimidating that they were on bikes and could appear and disappear really quickly. Something similar had happened to me last year -I was on the cross trainer at the outdoor gym in Wennington Green in broad daylight when a guy cycled past out of nowhere and groped me. He then circled round and did it again, and on his third circle beckoned me into the bushes. In both cases they were wearing hoodies so it was impossible to see their faces, and maddeningly impossible to be able to report them properly to the police…