Appalachian Ohio, Athens GA, Atlanta, Berkeley, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Columbia MO, Des Moines, Durham & Chapel Hill, Fredericksburgh VA, Houston, Los Angeles, Muncie IN, New York City, NYU, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Richmond VA, San Francisco, Tucson, Twin Cities
New submission from Ally
I’m sharing my story as I’m so annoyed with myself for not reacting to the situation. I always have some sort smart arse comeback for verbal street harassment.
A few months ago I was on my way to work, in Westminster, wearing a reasonably short skirt with thick woollen tights. It was about 9am. As I queued to get off of the bus at my stop a man put his hand up my skirt. It happened so quickly and it was so unexpected that I didn’t know what to do or say. It’s awful but I’ve come to expect this kind of behaviour from some drunk guy in a club but at 9am on a bus full of commuters?! Maybe the unfamiliar setting of the harassment threw me.
What annoys me is that I don’t wear that smart, perfectly office appropriate skirt any more. Some pervert has dictated to me what I can wear.
New submission to Jessica
I’ve experienced all sorts of things through the years in the area in which I live, from when I was a child and people would yell ‘Paki!’ at me in the park (I don’t look even faintly foreign, so I just tended to laugh) through to when I’ve come home from nights out to be followed home from the bus stop and shouted at in the street. I got so used to it I just treated it as part of growing up.
Then, a few weeks ago I was on my way to work, walking the normal route down a residential street towards the train station. It was about 7am, and still a bit dark, and I was hurrying down the road when I heard a male voice call out ‘alright darling’ from the other side of the street. I turned to look and this man was standing in his doorway, stark naked, jerking himself off. And calling my attention to it. I was so shocked I just turned tail and continued walking, faster this time, to the station. And then I got on the train and burst into tears. I had no way of knowing if this guy knew I was going to be walking down that street at that time (I do it every day), or whether I was just the chance passer-by that he got the opportunity to abuse. I still feel sick telling the story. I would report it to the police but I was so shocked that I can’t remember which door he was standing in – they all look the same.
I haven’t walked down that street on the way to work since. And I hope that in time Hollaback can effect a change that means nobody else has to experience something so… GROSS!
Walking back from a work meeting at around 11.30am, down a quiet street in the Hammersmith and Fulham area i walked across the road whilst a seemingly innocent removal van waited for me to cross. When i got to the other side, one of the three fat, balding men in the front of the van shouted:
Thinking he was going to ask me for directions or something i stopped and turned around….but nope, he came out with the following:
‘Can I lick your fanny?’
After standing there for probably a lot longer than I should have, I came out with
‘Urm no, because I have a giant cock’
Although this did come out very mumbled and said more to the pavement than the tit in the van!
At what point did it become acceptable to say something that graphic?! I can almost cope with the intelligent and original holla of ‘alright darlin’ or the oh so appealing wolfwhistle but this?! Did he honestly think i was going to turn around say ‘Oh my god, yes of course! I’ve been waiting all week for someone to ask me this, especailly some Sun-reading pillock in a hi-vis coat with a dramatically receding hai line who looks like he’s consumed the entire contents of every Greggs in the West London area – go right ahead!’
I think not.
New submission from Naomi
In the last twelve hours, I have been harrassed by four different groups of men on my way to and from work near Stamford Street in Southwark.
Yesterday evening, I was walking along with two other women. We were all dressed in jeans and black jackets, with little or no makeup: nothing that would usually draw attention. A group of guys was walking towards us, and as they passed one of them slapped me on the ass. I was shocked, took and moment and then turned around and yelled ‘Fuck you!’ The group responded really aggressively, shouting back at me, and then we all walked on.
About 50 metres down the road a lone man called out ‘sexy…’ to us. Then a second later he shouted ‘you CUNTS!’ My friend was particularly furious and had to be calmed and disuaded from contronting him.
This morning, wearing the same jeans and jacket with wet shower hair in a rush to work, I was walking alone in the same area. Two men walked past me wearing high-vis jackets. Once they had passed me one said ‘arrr, sexy’ or similar, and the other made some loud comment about my ass.
Two minutes later, I was walking by a group of men slouching against a fence. I could hear them saying things about me, and then one whistled at me.
Why the deluge?! What’s wrong with these people!
I was in Croydon yesterday evening and came across a group of British Red Cross on street fundraisers. I am not a massive fan of this style of raising money but understand that it is a profitable way for charitable organisations to make money. However last night the tactics used by their representatives was quite shocking.
There were around 5 or so on George Street at the corner with Dingwall Road. Many people were walking down the hill from East Croydon Station towards the Town Centre. Most of the team were acting appropriately but two of the lads were targeting women with phrases like:
“Hello gorgeous are you going to talk to me”
“Oh my god you have beautiful eyes – can you stop for a second”
“Alright Darling, do you have a couple of minutes”
It made me angry, I felt uncomfortable and can only imagine how those targeted must have felt. I witnessed perhaps 30 seconds of their behaviour – how many more women had they harassed and how much more vulgar had they been throughout the day?
Harassment of this sort is of course wrong, but they were harassing women with the intention of then asking them to part with a significant amount of cash. I was wondering if the Red Cross approves of this sort of sexist behaviour in order to raise funds, What their policy with regard to this sort of behaviour from staff or contractors? I have raised the issue directly with them.
Does anyone know the agency that the Red Cross use? I would like to bring the issue up with them as well.
New submission from Jessica
A male friend and I were looking at a t-shirt market stand on Camden High Street on a really busy Sunday afternoon. Getting bored, I stepped away from the crowded stall and noticed a ‘normal’ looking guy staring at me.
Routinely, I looked away but could hear him asking me something, I looked back to see him pointing to one of his friends (who was suddenly) standing on the other side of me and in broken English asked me to ”Have sex with them both now” and to ”Come back to their flat now for sex.” I felt surrounded with one either side and froze for a moment, wishing I could see my friend in the crowd!
They were both smiling creepily, looking me up and down- but dead serious and kept repeating it until I snapped out of my shock and squealed ”No, you’re disgusting!”
I dived back into the crowd and grabbed my friend and told him what had happened, we could see the men still looking at me but I told him to ‘leave it’ out of embarassment…
New submission from MC
I went for a run this evening, just as it was getting dark. I run on well lit streets with plenty of traffic for safety. I was half way through my run when a guy on a bike passed me. He was cycling on the footpath in the opposite direction to me. I ran on, a few seconds later I heard a bike behind me and moved over to let the bike pass. The bike came right up beside me, close to the fence and I thought I was going to be mugged. I turned around just as he was getting close and he grabbed my arse. I screamed at him asking him what he was doing. He said ” You have a nice booty”, he was completely indignant at being challenged, as if it was his God given right to grab me in the street. I was in such shock I just kept screaming at him “how dare you”. He cycled off in the direction he was going in. I was really shaken by the incident.
Not all men are harassers (duh) and these guys are marching to prove just that. Amazing dudes taking to the streets in heels = our new heroes. (Picture brought to our attention by Lenny Dutton)
Walk a Mile in her Shoes campaign is ten year’s old this year. From their website:
“Co-creating a United Gender Movement, men will be a part of the solution to ending sexualized violence.
Our events are political and performance art with public, personal and existential messages. [..] There is no distinction between performer and audience. Our mission is to create a unique and powerful public experience that educates individuals and communities about the causes of sexualized violence, provides them with prevention and remediation strategies and empowers them to further develop and implement these knowledges and skills interpersonally and politically.”
I’ve never worn high heels in my life, but this still rules.
I’m 17 years old and try to be independant. I don’t like the whole idea of hassling my parents for lifts home or the whole ‘girls need walking to the bus stop and looked after by men’ prinicple. I was walking home around 12 o clock at night, my friends had come with me to the bus stop but i decided to walk my journey as it wasn’t far. The road is quite quiet but it’s so familiar and near to me, and nothings ever happened to me before when walking home. I was walking past a bus stop and then suddenely noticed that the person waiting at the bus stop was not in fact waiting for a bus but was ‘pleasuring himself’ very publicly, not even trying to disguise it. Immediatley I panicked and started running (I was by myself and didnt know whether he was going to grab me or soemthing horrible, and frankly I was scared!). My dad came to meet me and luckily there was a police car down the road for unrelated reasons and they took my details and what I’d seen. This is the second time something like this has happened to me, the first time was around when I was 13 and in school uniform with a friend. I really wish I’d had the courage to say something to him or he’d had been there still when the police arrived (I saw a silver car drive off minutes after the incident). I really think it’s disgusting that people are getting away with that sort of behaviour, making people feel so small and like they have to live in fear. I really hope the police manage to find the creep. To top it all it happened on a sunday night! If you’re gonna do that creepy shit at least don’t do it on the day of God.
New submission from Claire
I get verbal abuse most days. I’ve been living and working in London for the last 6 years and suffering this constant harassment but I think I reached my limit today.
I was walking down a side street right by Kings Cross, in broad daylight, plenty of people around, wearing normal work clothes. A taxi caught up to me and drove alongside me all the way down the road, asking me stupid questions which I ignored at first, then I totally snapped and swore at him at the top of my lungs, which he laughed at and repeated his question. He continued to follow me down the road but drove off when I got my phone out. None of the people around me reacted in any way. Cheers guys.
He was a licensed TFL taxi driver – they’re the ones we’re supposed to be able to trust! I wouldn’t want to get in his cab after dark.
I don’t usually react to my harassers, but two days ago I had two guys saying revolting things to me in South Kensington, and yesterday a guy in Whitechapel grabbed my arm as I was going into the tube and when I pulled away from him, he called me a fucking bitch. It’s becoming routine.
I never feel like my safety is at risk, but it ruins my day and makes me so angry I usually snap at the next person I meet. I NEVER make eye contact with men in the street as that seems to be tantamount to asking for it. I don’t know whether to let them get away with it or shout back and give them the reaction they might have been looking for.
Either way, I’m fed up of London.