HOLLA ON THE GO: Harassed in the park

Sitting in the park, reading at 4:00 pm on a Sunday Afternoon. A man walks over and sits next to me on the bench. He starts talking at me…

“You’re gorgeous”

“Why won’t you look at me?”

“You’re making me hard.”

“Mmmmm so good.”


I obviously left. I am in complete disbelief that a woman cannot even sit in a park for 10 minutes without being objectified. It’s 2016: COME ON PEOPLE!

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public masturbation

HOLLA ON THE GO: Indecent exposure

A guy masturbated as he stood in front of me on the subway.

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HOLLA ON THE GO: Bystander intervention

I witnessed a male following a woman and verbally harassing her as she walked down Grand Street around midnight. He impeded her from walking by blocking her. He continually grabbed her by the waist and spun her around. I approached the situation and asked if the woman knew him and she said no.

I told him “Why are you touching a woman you don’t know?” He responded by saying “You talkin crazy*” and putting his hands and cigarette in my face. I slapped his cigarette out of my face to defend myself.

*Apparently he finds it “crazy” that it’s not acceptable to touch strangers. By law, that’s assault.

In the meantime the women was able to get inside her apartment.

Two other bystanders came to support me and then he punched me in the eye and left before I was able to contact the police.

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Groped on the way home

Walking down the street, a block or two from my subway stop in Ditmas Park, Brooklyn, a man approached me from behind and put his hand up my skirt, rubbing his fingers over my genitals through my underwear. I screamed and chased him, but he got away.

In hindsight, I wish I filed a police report, but I didn’t.

It was broad daylight, and there were many people around, though it wasn’t a crowd or throng. One man, a bystander, witnessed the incident and also tried to chase the man but to no avail. He came up to me afterwards and asked me if I was alright. I was too upset to respond appropriately to him or thank him, but bystanders, please know you are appreciated!

I can only hope that the fact that I screamed loudly at my assailant that he was a “fucking pervert” was some kind of deterrent :/

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HOLLA ON THE GO: Honked at and harassed

I was walking home to Bayside from a cafe called Browny, and a silver car full of three men honked at me. The three of them turned their heads and gazed at me at the same time, as I turned my head towards them with an angry facial expression. The interaction was strange and uncomfortable, and if I was a man, I’m positive the men in the car wouldn’t have honked at me.

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groping, nonverbal harassment

Cornered by a biker

I was walking down the path to where I work (inside Flushing Meadow Park) and I noticed a man riding his bicycle in my direction. I am always on high alert because of the frequent episodes of cat calling in this general area and the lack of pedestrians, but it is the only way to get to my office from the train station. I scoot over on the path to make room for the man and his bicycle and as he gets closer to me, he scoots as close as he possibly can to me, cornering me against the gate from the bridge on the Grand Central Parkway. He proceeds to make a kissy face, kiss my cheek and put his hand on my leg before zooming off, towards 111th Street. I screamed out “fuck you” as he rode away, but it was not enough.

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stalking, verbal

Ellie’s Story: “Friendly” neighbor

Street harassment is alive and well in Fort Greene. I have been catcalled, propositioned, and verbally harassed too many times to count. I avoid certain blocks or sides of the street where men congregate in a vain attempt to escape the onslaught of derogatory comments about my “sexy legs” or whatever other feature du jour is arbitrarily chosen for “praise.” One man said “that’s my bitch” as I walked on Myrtle to the subway in business clothes on my way to work. Another whom I had just passed while walking during my morning commute called out after me how much he would pay me for sexual acts. One young man would yell comments every time he would see me coming from or going to work: “I love your sexy legs” or “I love those stockings.” One evening after making comments that I repeatedly ignored, walking resolutely ahead as he and his friends walked behind me, he said “she probably thinks I’m harassing her, but she’s just so beautiful I have to tell her” as though his ersatz rationale and acknowledgment somehow made up for his demeaning behavior and words. After repeated interactions like these he started preceding his barrage of “compliments” with an insidious nod to our repeated proximity, adding the salutation of “neighbor”: “oh that’s my neighbor, she’s so beautiful.” After months of showing no signs of acknowledgment to his comments, our paths crossed one night in front of my apartment building, where he again greeted me as his neighbor and proceeded to make unwanted comments about my body. I was so tired and frustrated I said “can you please stop??!!” He responded by saying “I’m only saying nice things! We’re neighbors, I’m trying to be friendly!” I said, “Well it’s been going on for months and no one asked you to say those things, so, stop!” He yelled back at me as he walked away, “You live in Brooklyn, you can’t be racist!” I responded, “I’m not racist, I just want to be left alone!” The adolescent son of the superintendent for my building was standing just inside the door of the building, and, apparently having witnessed the interaction, asked me, with wide eyes, if that happened to me a lot, to which I unhappily replied, while shaking from the stress of the encounter, “yes.” I have seen that particular harasser several times since this incident and he has never spoken to me again. I was despondent that somehow my decision to finally stand up for my right to walk down the street as a woman without being harassed, to oppose the oppression of sexism, was used as the rationale to label my actions as another form of oppression, racism, against my harasser. Through my work and academic pursuits I strive to oppose social injustice in all its forms every day (including recognizing my own privilege), and believe every human being deserves to be treated with dignity, respect, and compassion. If this young man genuinely wanted to be friendly or neighborly, how hard would it have been to say “good morning, neighbor” or just a simple “hello” without all of the demeaning comments (his supposed “compliments”) about my body? This experience and other instances of being street harassed, which occurs on an almost daily basis in the city, reminds me of how much work there is to do to stop street harassment and oppression in all its forms, and has spurred me to devote more of my time to community organizing endeavors to aid in this effort.

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Feeling like a popped balloon

I just went for a run after work and pushed myself a little harder than usual. I have been feeling really crummy about my body lately, so runs like this make me feel powerful — like I’ve got it under control! But after a man leaned out of his car in rush hour traffic to yell, “you go girl, get that body back,” I feel like a popped balloon.

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groping, nonverbal harassment

Waiting in Line

I went out with my friends to a bar and after drinking a little bit we left to go eat. My friends and I were waiting in line to get our food when a man came up behind me. He smirked and got closer to me but I looked away because I felt uncomfortable. Once I was looking away he got closer and put his hands around my waist and put his hands on my butt. I was tipsy and too scared to do or say anything so I moved away quickly so that I was standing in front of my friends. As I was telling my friends what happened, he ran out and they chased after him. When they approached him he lied and said he had never even been inside. My friends approached the security guard, who saw the guy, but it was too late because he was gone and there was nothing they could do.

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Groped in Radio City

My husband and I were enjoying a performance at Radio City Music Hall. I had my husband to my left and a young fellow maybe 17 or 18 sit to my right and on his right was his father. This kid starts creeping right on to me. I move as far over in my seat as I can, closer to my husband and give the boy “the look” . He starts touching my leg closest to him and leering at me all the while his dad has his eyes forward on the musical. I moved closer to my husbands seat… the kid keeps touching me. All of a sudden the audience stands up to applaud. I stand up all 6′ 3 of me in my 4 inch heels..facing forward and take my right foot and drill my high heel spike right into the top of his left foot. How does he think its okay to do this to women? The young fellow all of a sudden tells his dad he has to leave. My husband asks is everything okay.. yes dear everything is fine. I hope that is the last time he touches any woman like that again.

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