HOLLA ON THE GO: Eyes on the road, please.

Usually when I or my female friends are harassed (which happens at least once a day in hot weather) I tell our harassers to “keep their [expletive that varies] eyes ahead.” Well, today on my walk home from the train, a man (speeding waaaaaay too fast before and after the incident) pulled up to me and screamed at me, what I think was “HOE.” It was really primal, loud, and sudden so I am not sure if that was it, but I don’t see what else it could have been (it was definitely not “hey” but even if was, still not ok.) As a result, I scream in shock. He laughs and speeds away. I am too shaken to even curse him out like I normally do to harassers. It was humiliating and so unexpected, happening in my quiet neighborhood. Afterwards I calmed myself down with deep breaths, telling myself that 1. he’s an idiot who will most likely never achieve what I’ve achieved in any given month of the year and 2. his goal was to freak me out and humiliate me, so if I continued hyperventilating and feeling embarrassed and guilty, he wins. This helped me get back to normal as I continued my walk home. After so many incidents of street harassment, I am proud and thankful that I am able to get back to normal quickly and use each incident as motivation for more confidence.

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assault, racist

Followed, grabbed, and stalked by a catcaller

I tried to steady my breath as I hid behind a stairwell on 19th and Gramercy Park West.

My first instinct was to text my friend and roommate Emily. As I typed to her frantically, I watched the flow of pedestrians on the corner of 19th and Park Avenue South. I caught a glimpse of the catcaller walking up Park Avenue South and let out a shaky sigh of relief.

Just a moment before that, I had been walking home from Union Square. It was rush hour and the streets were packed with people. I heard a voice behind me say, “Hey beautiful.” By the time I realized the comment was for me, a man two heads taller than me walked up to my left side. I kept my eyes ahead and I immediately started to think of escape routes. He followed me for a block saying “Hey beautiful” “Where you heading to today” “Hey babe I just wanna talk to you.” He kept dipping his head down and leaning in towards me, trying to catch my line of sight.

I figured I would ditch him at 19th street by going left instead of straight ahead. I made sure to walk at a pace that would ensure me a smooth get away. I picked up my pace and at the curb, I stopped suddenly in hope that it would throw him off guard. It threw him off guard a little, but not enough. As I went behind him and to my left, he grabbed my right arm by the wrist. I tugged hard once and couldn’t free myself from his grip. A fraction of a second after I tugged again and finally broke free. He tried to lurch forwards and grab me again, but I ran as fast as I could across the intersection. The light had just stopped flashing the red hand.

I could hear him shouting after me. “You fucking racist.” “Fuck you cunt.” “Go back to your country.”

When I made it to the other side, I took a short loop and came back out around to Gramercy Park where I texted Emily in a frantic panic and decided to file a police report for an assault. I called 911 and then a police car came and picked me up to do what they call a “canvassing” of the area. The two policemen in the front seat told me to keep a lookout for the guy, but we didn’t find him. 15 minutes later, the policeman told me that unless he saw the act happen the man couldn’t be filed for charges even if we found him. He said this was harassment, not assault. His partner then turned on the radio and asked me where I lived. They took me home.

Everyday I get catcalled at least once. Shorts, jeans, t-shirts, jackets, dresses, parkas…it’s really not a matter of apparel. I’ll be anticipating it as I walk by a group of construction workers or when a man on the subway makes a point to stare at me with inappropriately lingering eyes. I keep my eyes down and my music loud through my earbuds. I hear their shouts and whistles between song lyrics and I shut it out of my mind. Sometimes I can’t help it and my I can feel my face starting to get hot. I’m always torn between snapping back with an insult, but I don’t think it’s ever worth creating an even more dangerous situation.

When the police officers dropped off at home they said a simple, “Bye. Have a nice day.” I closed the door behind me as they sped off. I stood there on the side of the street, my hair getting caught in the wind of passing cars as I found myself being slowly swallowed up by the masses of people getting off work. I slowly crossed the street, feeling strangely alone and very vulnerable. I felt like nothing had changed. Why did I even call the police? I was back on the street with all of the perverts and catcallers and people who make my skin crawl. Looking at all the people swarming around me, I wondered to myself: Why didn’t anybody say something? Why didn’t anybody stop to help?

I guess maybe I don’t really have a point I’m trying to get at. Of course, women deserve to be respected whether they’re covered from head to toe or wearing absolutely nothing at all. It would be nice for women like me to not have to walk briskly past a group of leering men, ready for the barrage of words we’re already ready to hear. I don’t want to be “used” to verbal and physical harassment. I don’t want to turn up my music and avert my gaze. I don’t want to pretend I can’t hear what they say they wish they could do to me. The nauseous, hot feeling I get in my chest – I can only hope that I never have to feel it for another day of my life. That’s all I have to say for now.

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Stood up for me and my friend

I was walking with my friend at a public garden with not many other people around. A group of loud men entered the vicinity and started commenting on our appearance. Saying things such as “That a** is fat. The purple haired one is cute. Want to come get this d***?” We continued to walk away in silence as one of them continued to yell at us from afar. After reaching a safe distance, I turned around and yelled SHUT UP. The guy made some dejected comment, and later his friend tried to apologize on his behalf. My friend was too shy to say anything, I felt bad for her and she looked disturbed. I tried to avoid them but it bothered me for a while afterward and tainted our outing.

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Harassed on my run

It’s been a long week and I just wanted to go for a run. As I’m ending my run, this asshole starts ringing his bell at me. I yelled at him. He wouldn’t go away. He followed me for a while. I started taking his photo and he turned his head. He ruined my day.

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Harrassed at the laundromat

There was a man sitting about 20 meters from my apartment door on an overturned newspaper dispenser; he was sitting between my apartment and the laundromat where I was doing laundry. During the course of my washing and drying, I walked past him four times. Each time he said, “OH DAMN! LOOK AT THOSE LEGS. YOU BEAUTIFUL. YOU BEAUTIFUL. DAMN. I SEE YOU. I LIKE THAT. OKAY THEN DON’T LOOK AT ME. DAMN. BEAUTIFUL.” I heard him even as I had already rounded the corner or as I was entering my apartment door.

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Yelled at by the subway

This was a while ago. Me and my mom were walking to the subway when a guy came down the street yelling at us.

“Get out of my way, bitch!” Again and again. We walked quickly away and into a 7-11 nearby, but he followed us. I don’t know what I said, but it was really scary.

Some traffic officer talked to him and got him to leave, but I don’t know what happened. I kept pulling my mom to the back of the store and hiding. Scary.

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HOLLA ON THE GO: Vulgar language

A man with a ponytail sitting on a stoop repeated the words “Wanna fuck, mama?” twice as I walked past. This occurred Wednesday (5/11/16) evening around 7pm.

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HOLLA ON THE GO: Typical street harassment

Just walking home from work and this man commented on my “smile.” I had purposefully avoided make eye contact with him because I did not want to engage in conversation. I just want to be left alone.

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groping, nonverbal harassment

HOLLA ON THE GO: Grazed by a passer-by

I was walking to the Astoria Blvd subway stop when I walked by a man. He grazed my hip with his hand and said good morning. He was wearing a brown and black letterman jacket. I said “don’t touch people asshole.”

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HOLLA ON THE GO: My First Experience

I was on my way to the subway with my sister a few days ago. It was the first day that I thought it was warm enough to wear a tank top with nothing over it. I’m still not sure if that was a coincidence or not.
There was this weird, maybe 50 or 55 year old man who was smoking on the street. He was wearing a camouflage jacket. I’m practically exactly 13 years old.
My sister looks a lot like a guy- short hair and all- so I don’t know how he saw her.
As I walked by, he let out some smoke and winked at me. Me. He was almost four times my age– not like it would be okay if he was doing it to someone his own age. I know it’s not as bad as some of the other stories on here, but it really weirded me out. He didn’t follow me or something, still, I felt gross. Who thinks that’s okay? He had a few grey hairs. I’m 13! This was my first experience with this kind of thing and I’ve been dreading it for ages.

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