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I am not a stranger to Street Harassment. It happens to me all the time. I can’t step out of my apartment building one block without having someone say or do something to make my skin crawl.
Once, on my way back to work after taking time off after my Aunt Irene passed away, with big puffy eyes and sunglasses on, I took 10 steps outside my apartment, and a man in a work van at the corner stop sign says out his window, “Well aren’t you a sight for sore eyes.” Needless to say that I knew if my Aunt were there she would have flipped him off and shoved her stiletto red high heels in the mans eye. That was her. That’s not me. I don’t like confrontation, and although I never shy away from the truth, I never saw a reason to lash back out at these strange men when they’d say things like, “Smile. You’re too pretty to be angry,” or “Nice tattoo” while staring directly at my cleavage. However this morning I pretty much lost it. I got dressed up nice for work this morning: Skirt, blouse, wedge shoes, and bun. In a rush walking down the sidewalk I spot two nasty, old men staring and hooting at me from their sh*tty white “rape” van (as I’d like to call it. It’s just a work van with no windows.) and I couldn’t help it. I flipped them the bird and yelled “JERKOFFS!” as loud as I could muster while out of breath sprint walking in heels to the subway. And they laughed! That’s funny to them!!
I was so enraged! I called my dad to tell him what I just experienced and he said “Well I’m sure you look very beautiful and that’s their way of telling you…Just be careful,” as he would always tell me. As if my knees are an invitation for cat calls down the street. As if I need their validation to feel pretty. I felt disgusting is what I felt. I KNOW I look pretty! I would not have left the apartment otherwise. I do not need some disgusting, foul, old man’s “compliment” to validate that I look pretty. I know I am, all on my own. (lol.)
Then I proceed to walk down the street, already tense and I avoid eye contact with the large group of Sanitary Workers on their break, sitting by the subway entrance. Everyday I see them, and they never say anything but who can blame me for being over aware of their eyes on me. They are nice enough. Sometimes on their route they greet me with a “Good Morning” or two, which is nice. I’d prefer “Good Morning” to “HEY HONEY, YOU’RE BOYFRIEND’S A LUCKY MAN!” any day. (What if I were a widow or a lesbian?)
When I finally get to the subway I immediately start a rant on my Facebook. I get the usually responses: “Pervs!”, “Stupidity is viral I suppose.” – quoted by my friend Mike), and other long responses about how we should do the same to then, when finally one of my older cousins posted something. She went on to say that in some cities, like Portland, they have laws to stop Street Harassment, and she went on to say that when she lived there she sort of missed street cat calls, and that when you get older you won’t mind the soon to be rare hooting from on lookers. One of my aunts actually told me to get over it because men are all cave men and they will never change. seriously???
An old high school classmate and I eventually got into a conversation about how we should no longer accept “Men Will Be Men” as an excuse for any improper behavior?? They leave their socks on the floor: he’s a guy just pick it up. They get a lap dance while their girlfriend is at home waiting up for them: boys will be boys. They get to hoot and holler at us but it’s OUR fault because we wear skirts and have boobs. If anything, allowing these excuses is an injustice, not just to us, but the men AS WELL. Why belittle men by allowing such behavior? I know plenty of genuine gentlemen that would never do to a woman what has been done to myself or other women, in the past. When will men grow up? I will not wait any more. There has to be an end to the icky, skin crawly feeling that occurs when a man whispers in your ear what he’d do to you in passing. When will the verbal abuse on our gender end?
Hollaback!’s 8th Birthday Party is coming up and we want to celebrate with you!
Join us and Girls Pint Out at the Brooklyn Brewery on October 21st at 7:30 for an unforgettable birthday celebration!
Girls Pint Out is a beer appreciation group for women in an industry that underindexes women [some estimates say women represent ~37% of craft drinkers and ~29% of craft volume]. They strive to hold monthly educational and social events for and by women interested in craft beer, often with a non profit beneficiary.
Girls Pint Out has got your back, and together with Hollaback!, they are throwing an amazing birthday party and inaugural beer tasting event. The party will feature women (and their beers) in craft around The City, including ladies from Sixpoint Brewery, KelSo Beer, 508 GastroBrewery, and Long Island newcomer Moutstache Brewing Co. Brooklyn’s own Mary Wiles, QC director and 30-year industry veteran, will be pouring for the brewery.
There will be beer tasting, celebration, and birthday cake – what more could you ask for?
Tickets are $35 and proceeds will go to Hollaback!. We hope you’ll join us for an excellent 8th birthday party! Pick you your tickets here!
On October 19th, 2013, hundreds are taking to Brooklyn stoops for Suzanne Lacy’s first public art event in New York, “Between the Door and the Street“. Lacy’s participatory artwork will bring together New York based feminists and activists to participate in live, unscripted dialogues on Brooklyn’s most iconic architectural feature – the stoop.
The public art project will feature folks from a cross-section of ages, backgrounds, and perspectives engaging in conversations around gender politics and feminism. Suzanne Lacy invites you to wander among the groups, talk with the organizations, and form your own opinions.
Hollaback! will be one of the groups represented and we’ll be talking about street harassment, bystander awareness, and movement building. Come on by and chat with us.
Suzanne Lacy will be giving a talk about “Between the Door and the Street” at 2pm on October 12th at the Brooklyn Museum. The event will take place on October 19th in Park Place, Brooklyn (Between Underhill and Vanderbilt Avenues).
If you want to join in, check out our Facebook Event Page for more information!
You can find out more about the event and Suzanne Lacy’s work on the Creative Time website.
Walking home in a hoodie and loose cargo pants, and I still got whistled at. There may have been more to it, but my Spanish isn’t that great.
I was in Astoria Queens on 31st ave between 21st st and 23rd st when a man on a bicycle rode close to me and grabbed my ass. He then rode off so all I saw was a grey hoodie. I yelled loudly so a few people stopped to help but he was already gone. Another lady said she recognized him because once he whispered something creepy in her ear. This happened at 6:45 AM on Friday September 20, 2013. I want it reported in case it is a habit.
I get a lot of unwanted comments walking around in this neighborhood. Last week around in the late afternoon I walked by three men who made hooting noises and lewd comments as I passed, and one of them said “I’d like to milk that.” I have no idea what that means, but they acted as if I was a sexual object instead of a person standing right there, and it made me very uncomfortable.
A man yelled “hey sexy” from his car.
On July 25th, 2013, Hollaback! hosted the first ever international speakers series on street harassment, HOLLA::Revolution. The event was emceed by Jamia Wilson and featured leading local and international leaders in the fight against gender-based violence.
The historic event featured 18 badass speakers and performers representing organizations such as: Bklyn Boihood, Sassafrass Tech Collective, Women in Media News, Girls for Gender Equity, Cornell University, Feministing, the Man Up Campaign, the Novo foundation, and Hollaback!.
Presenters discussed a wide range of diverse and engaging topics around street harassment, from Technology & Storytelling and The Importance of Online Movement Building to Un/Doing Masculinities and Youth Organizing Around Street Harassment.
HOLLA::Revolution had 150 (amazing) supporters in the audience of the sold out event. It was live-streamed at: ihollaback.org/hollarevolution/ with over 570 viewers watching the livestream around the world. Audience members described the event as “inspiring”, “diverse”, “intersectional”, and “educational”.
You can check out a promo video for the event, created by video editor Corinne Colgan, below.
Hollaback! is beginning their plans for the next #hollarev and we want to hear from you! If you attended HOLLA::Revolution on July 25th, or joined us on the livestream, let us know how next year’s speakers series can grow by filling out this survey.
A group of men hangs out on the stoop in the evening. They are more likely to harass me when I am with my husband than when I am alone. It seems like they are trying to express anger at him (he does not know them) because when I am alone, these same guys are pretty civil. The harassment is relatively mild – intended to upset, but not graphic. Harassment not too frequent – maybe once a month or so.
Every morning since the beginning of June/2013, at the Gun Hill Road (IRT Dyre Avenue Line) train station, this man has tried to talk to me and blatantly stares in my face. I never speak back nor do I engage in any other way. He makes me nervous & uncomfortable with the way he watches me. I wish he would leave me alone and I don’t want to have to speak to him to tell him that.