Appalachian Ohio, Athens GA, Atlanta, Berkeley, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Columbia MO, Des Moines, Fredericksburgh VA, Jacksonville NC, Los Angeles, New York City, NYU, Philadelphia, Palo Alto, Portland ME, Richmond VA, Rutgers University, San Francisco
by Lauren Bedosky, HollaBlogger
Recently, two incidents have occurred aboard the New York City subway system. The first occurred February 16, and might not have come to light had a passenger not uploaded a video recording on YouTube of a preacher shouting anti-gay propaganda to a subway car full of people. In the video, you can hear the preacher shouting homophobic speech to a subway car full of passengers, while another passenger continues to talk over him loudly, repeating phrases such as “Jesus is love,” and “You are a false prophet.” The video is 2 minutes 31 seconds long, and at about the 1:36 mark, the dissenting passenger stands in the middle of the aisle in front of the preacher and declares, “I am a man, and I am a good man, and I am a gay man!” Throughout the video, the other passengers merely look on, some with their phones out to record the scene. By the end, however, the gay man receives cheers and applause for his bravery.
Meanwhile, the second incident had a violent ending. On February 18, Urena Morel Frankelly, 23, was physically assaulted by six passengers while riding the No.2 train with his partner. In the events leading up to the assault, a female passenger took a photo of Frankelly and his partner. When Frankelly confronted the woman, asking why she was taking their picture, the woman and her friend began hurling homophobic slurs at them. An argument ensued, and six passengers attacked Frankelly while the rest of the passengers looked on. Frankelly’s partner attempted to intervene, yet could not prevent Frankelly from getting punched repeatedly. The pair managed to escape the train when it stopped at West 96th St., and immediately called the police. The attack is now being investigated as a hate crime.
In both the events described, bystanders largely failed to take action. Only in the first event did bystanders offer the slightest bit of support, and even then the support was meager. However, the person who uploaded the video of the incident should be thanked for her efforts to promote the man’s bravery. In the second event, it is almost hard to believe that a hateful assault like that could occur aboard a train without interference, yet it is the unfortunate reality that heterosexual women, lesbian women, gay men, transsexual and transgendered individuals, and many others must guard themselves against on a daily basis.
There is a need for more people standing up to those who spread hate and those who harass. Bystander support is invaluable in the fight for claiming safe public space for all.
An older gentleman was walking in the other direction from me and said “Hey sexy hey sexy” over and over. I said in a raised voice, “EW!” Then he said, “I’ll see you in the summer time” almost in a threatening way, to which I responded, “Learn some manners!” It was pretty gross but I’m glad I responded. I always respond to cat-callers! They can’t talk to me like that!
It gets worse — this was not an isolated instance, but a part of a disturbing pattern of sexual misconduct. This past summer, an Assembly Ethics Committee report regarding Lopez and two women who had worked in his office stated: “There were multiple incidents of unwelcome physical conduct toward one complainant, wherein you put your hand on her leg, she removed your hand, and you then put your hand between her upper thighs, putting your hand as far up between her legs as you could go.” Soon after, it was discovered that two different former employees had previously notified the Assembly of Lopez’s sexual harassment, resulting not in a referral to the Assembly Ethics Committee, but rather a confidential settlement which required the employee harassment victims to resign from their jobs. Member Lopez, the harasser, was not required to resign, and he remains in office.
As an organization that combats sexual harassment, Hollaback! finds this completely unacceptable, and we have previously called upon Lopez to resign. We reinstate that call and also demand that the Assembly, the Joint Commission on Public Ethics, the Legislative Ethics Commission, and the public hold Member Lopez accountable for his inexcusable behavior towards his employees. A sexual harasser does not deserve to be in a position of power and public trust. If we tolerate this behavior, it emboldens harassers and silences victims.
We applaud the former employees for their HOLLAs. We’ve got your back.
I was on the M15 bus heading downtown when two loud, rowdy couples got on and sat behind me. One of the women had a cell phone blaring music. I waited a few minutes to see if she was going to turn it off, then turned around and politely asked if she could please turn it down. This was when I noticed that these people were holding actual glasses of what looked like alcohol – yes, on the bus.
The woman sarcastically said, “I’ll try.” I said thank you. The music remained blaring, and I eventually went to the driver and informed him that there were four people drinking alcohol and blaring music in the back of the bus. “I don’t hear any music,” he told me. “I’m telling you that they are,” I replied. “I can’t do anything,” he responded. “So you’re just going to let them scare everyone?” I asked. He shrugged and told me to sit at the front near him if I was afraid. Which I did.
When the group was getting off the bus, they came to the doors closest to me and shouted abuse at me for a solid three minutes. I was called every name in the book. Not one passenger suggested that they leave me alone, or moved to help me in any way. Neither did the driver.
After getting off the bus, the men continued to shout abuse at me. When the bus stopped not far away, at the next red light, they had followed it and began pounding on the windows while screaming at me, threatening me and calling me names.
The entire time, the driver refused to acknowledge that anything was happening. I informed him that I would be reporting the incident to the MTA, though I have no confidence that any action whatsoever will be taken. Meanwhile, these four thugs are emboldened to intimiadate and threaten others, secure in the knowledge that not a thing will be done to stop them.
Lesson learned: I am not safe on MTA buses.
I was walking with my sister, I was a block from my apartment. A group of drunk guys stopped at the red light in a party van. They said “Heyyyyy!” And when we looked at them one yelled at us, “we want to rape you!”. It was very frightening, as we were only a block from where we live and not many people were on the street.
I just finished lunch and was walking back to school (in my uniform) with a cup of tea. Outside of a church, there were two delivery men. The second delivery man said, “oh god, I like your outfit.”
“I am a minor, good lord.”
“So am I.”
The look in that man’s eyes was something I have not seen in a while. It is not unusual for me to be cat called, but it makes it even more gross when I am in my school uniform.
When I was in high school I took the train every day. The stop was only a 10 minute walk from the school, but in the blistering cold it was the worst 10 minutes of your life. Although it was a really nice neighborhood, my first class was later than most students and the side streets were deserted aside from the few of the lingering degenerates who went to their first class late every day, so I usually avoided them and walked on the main road. Almost every single day of my senior year I was honked at on my way to school. And not just by high school creeps, but by grown men on their way to work. The worst time was when it was a large truck, and the horn was so loud I thought they were about to hit me until I heard ‘ey mamacita you lookin fine’ from the window as they passed. My heart didn’t stop pounding for an hour, and the whole walk home I was alert for any repeat performance. The worst is, they had to know they were driving passed a high school, and therefore knew they were catcalling underaged girls.
I’ve become pretty used to be being cat called at on a daily basis, and eventually just learned to ignore it and have never had any problems. However, one day, I was walking to the C station in Hells Kitchen with a girl friend, as we had just met up at a coffee shop. It was 1:30 in the afternoon on a Sunday this past summer. Out of nowhere, someone behind me grabs my ass and squeezes it. I turn around, wondering if its someone I know, to see a young guy smiling at me and I instantly shove him away from him and yell at him “don’t fucking touch me” and start walking away, and he starts following us and trying to talk to me, so once again I tell him to not fucking touch me, to which his response is “you know stuff like this happens all the time.” Furious, but trying to not freak out, I say “It is not ok to sexually harass someone on the street.” His response? “I’ve been through worse shit in my life.” Are you fucking kidding me?! So I say to him “Your shitty life is not my fucking problem, it does not give you the right to sexually harass me or anyone.” And my friend and I crossed the street and left.
Unfortunately there were no cops or people really around or else I would have reported him. I’ve never been so angry, upset or vulnerable in my whole life. I’ve never had anyone deliberately grab my ass before and it made me feel so uncomfortable. Even now when I walk down the street and someone suddenly comes up behind me or walks by real fast, I get freaked out that they’re going to harass me. It’s a terrible feeling to be constantly wondering if that will happen again or worse.
I was on a Brooklyn bound N train. A man gets on and sits in a seat across from me. I think he was 40s or 50s (I’m terrible at guessing age), had curly black hair, and wore sweats and a sweatband on his head. He’s a slob, but that’s not a crime so I ignore him. But after a while, I start to notice he’s making an odd motion with his hands, so I look up at him and realize he’s lowered his pants and he is jacking off in public!
I’m completely disgusted so I turn my head away and notice that there is another girl who noticed him first, but she’s younger than me and doesn’t seem to know what to do. I immediately get up, walk away, and stand at the door. I look through the window to the adjacent subway cars to see if there’s a police officer in sight, but there isn’t. The subway car pulls into the train station, so I exit. The younger girl takes my lead and gets off the train too. The train stays in the station for a minute or two so I peer down the subway platform to see if there is a police officer on the platform. I wanted to reported him and have him arrested for public exposure, but police officers hardly ever patrol the N and R lines or stations.
Just before the train was about to pull out of the station, the man gets off the train and gives me an annoyed look. I was proud of that. People like this guy are cowards; they get off on making other people uncomfortable. They’re also deviants who can’t get off any other way. The annoyed look he gave me confirmed that removing yourself from the situation is the first thing you can do to fight back. So ladies, next time you find yourself in this situation, walk away. And if there’s a police officer around, have the guy arrested.
This morning around 9:45 am I was rushing from my apartment to the train stop on 110th. This is a very high traffic area in general. A single day doesn’t go by when I’m walking to and from my house where I’m not spoken to/harassed. A group of men (about 5) were standing on the corner. I already saw one notice me as I was walking and as I usually do, I walked past them quickly looking straight ahead of me. One of them in ugly green pants says to me “hmm damn girl i wanna lick your ass hole.”… This is the second time this has been said to me on this exact same corner, and I’d had enough. I turned and responded, “That is really gross. That is so fucking gross.” He replies and walks towards me, “Yea i am gross.” I say, “you know what, I’m minding my business, walking to work… what makes you think you have the right to stop me and say disgusting things like that to me!?” He replies repeatedly, “you stopped yourself.” I try to interject, “you don’t have the right to harass me like this,” but I am obviously aware there is no reasoning with him. So as i walk away I say, “whatever, I’m sure your mother would be disgusted to hear you speak to women like that.”
I normally just ignore this type of stuff but I realized that this is definitely a line for me. Thankfully the confrontation ended there, and his friends didn’t chime in. I think they were surprised I said anything honestly. And i know that the safer thing for me to do as a single woman living in NYC is to completely ignore this type of harassment. Lets be honest, people are crazy. But I don’t really care anymore. If standing up for myself in defense of sexual harassment is unwise then so be it. It is his American right to want to lick my tush, but its is MY American right to go to work without being sexually harrased on the streets I live and pay taxes on!