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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Have some respect!

This happened to me when I went high school on the lower east side. I must have been about 13 or 14 and had a habit of wearing very short skirts to school with some striped or sparkly stockings and a t-shirt. At school, it didn't seem like a big deal because many students wore crazy outfits and I always felt confident and happy in my ensembles. One day after school I was walking along 14th street around 6th avenue in an extremely short denim skirt. It's not a skirt I would ever wear now, but at the time my pre-pubescent stick like body made the skirt more fashionable than sexy. Or so I thought. This tall man came right up to me as I walked past him and whispered very softly in my ear, "I like your skirt." It was so quiet and abrupt and awful. It made me feel disgusting and sad. How had he gotten close enough to whisper in my ear? I hadn't given the skirt a second thought and all of a sudden it felt dirty. That experience scarred me for a long time. I don't remember exactly, but I doubt I wore that skirt again. Whispering dirty comments to a 13 year old on the street, good job street harasser!

Another point I wanted to mention is that although I only get harassed occasionally, seeing the women around get harassed perpetually makes me so angry. I often can't contain myself and end up flipping them the bird or saying something like, "Have some respect!". I always feel bad about flipping the bird, but the, "Have some respect!" line seems to make me feel better.

Submitted by Eve

Monday, August 30, 2010

Ride far, far, away from me, creep.

I have been harassed lots of times but the time that sticks out the most happened a couple of months ago.

I was sitting at the bus stop waiting for my bus when I noticed a skinny man in his 30's walking towards me. The entire time he was walking towards me he was staring at my legs. At this point I already felt suspicious of him, but chose to ignore him when he sat down next to me. For the next ten minutes, while waiting for the bus, he would alternatively stare at my face and then my legs. A couple times he even got up and walked around me, as if inspecting me from all angles. I was freaked out, but still felt a little unsure. When my bus came, I kept sitting and waited for the other passengers to get on first. I wanted to see if he was going to get on. When he didn't move I was relieved and assumed it wasn't his bus. However when I got up to get on the bus he immediately darted from his seat and followed me on the bus.

I went to the back of the bus (stupid me, should have stayed near the driver). He sat in the same row, but on the other side of the aisle. I put in my earphones and started listening to music. I kept feeling weird about him but chose to ignore him. About 20 minutes into the ride I suddenly hear the sound of a camera taking a picture. I glance over at him and lo and behold he has his phone pointed straight at me and has just taken a picture. Now, there is no way he took a picture of anything else other than me. There was nobody else in that section of the bus. There was nothing near me or in my vicinity which could possibly have been something interesting to take a picture of. And in order to take a picture of me he had to shift his body sideways, which he had done. If he had by mistake just clicked the picture taking thing when doing something else on his phone he wouldn't have been turned towards me. I was fuming angry. FUMING. And grossed out and pissed and angry to no extent. And what I can't forgive myself for is what I did next: nothing. I literally just sat there in my seat pissed off and creeped out but didn't want to cause a scene. And there was that tiny nagging voice in my head that said maybe I was wrong, maybe I was just imagining things.

What happened next wasn't my imagination. When I got up to get off the bus, he also got up. I strategically placed myself behind him so that he would have to step off the bus first. That way, he would have to "choose" which direction to start walking in. He chose right, which would have been the direction I would have had to walk to get home, but no way was I going to walk behind him. So I turned left. I went into a little shop a little ways off from where I could still see him. He was back at the bus stop. And looking at the bus schedule. So clearly, he had only gotten off because I was getting off. If he had gotten off because he lived there he wouldn't have stayed at the bus stop. I waited until the next bus, going back to town, came. He got on. Then I went home, annoyed and frustrated. I don't even want to imagine what he did with that picture he took of me.

Submitted by Sonja

Street or no street, harassment hurts.

I was 40 years old living in Encinitas, CA and I had a one year old daughter who was born with GERD. We had to go to the doctor frequently for check-ups and follow-ups and constant ear/sinus infections for her. Her pediatrician was a founding member of an 8 doctor pediatric practice. He complimented me on how I looked every time he saw me but I put it down to being friendly. Then one visit he had me holding my daughter in my lap while he looked into her ears. He straddled my leg to get in close to her and I started to feel uncomfortable. He then started slowly stroking his crotch across my thigh. He spent a long!! time!! looking in one ear!! He then looked in the other ear without straddling my other leg. I was so shocked and disgusted and paralyzed.

My sister's children had the same pediatrician and so I asked her if she had ever noticed anything weird about him. She then revealed to me that one time during an exam of her daughter he had "accidentally" caressed her breast while reaching for her daughter. She said "I felt weird about it at the time, but I didn't really know whether it had happened or not".

This gave me the courage to report it to the other founding member of the practice, a woman, who dismissed my concerns completely. Needless to say I switched doctors. The truth is I know what I know and what I know is that my genitals are never in contact with another person's body without my knowledge/awareness.

I know it's not a street harassment but I needed to Hollaback about it. The creepiness of it still bothers me and I wish I could have done more to protect the next woman.

Submitted by Valerie

This Pirate Fights Back!

This happened a few years ago before I knew of Holla Back. I live in California and a friend and I were taking a trip to a convention. Costumes were encouraged so I dressed up in a pirate costume.

I had a long sleeved shirt, a close to knee length skirt, high boots, and a hat. Not the best pirate costume but it was last minute.

To get back to her car to get home we had to take the bus. After getting on the bus two girls give us these weird looks and asked why I'm dressed up.

I'm about to explain why when I see a flash go off. I turn to see a middle aged man turn off his camera and pocket it.

My friend laughed and said "They only photograph the beautiful ones!"

I, on the other hand, am angry. I shouted at him "What the hell are you doing?!"

Both my friend and the girls were horrified at my behavior and chastised me for yelling at a stranger. My friend told me that I shouldn't be upset because he "only photographs the beautiful ones."

The stranger made no effort to answer me and acted as if I hadn't said anything. He continued to stare at me until our bus stop. On the way out I flipped him the bird which thinking back probably wasn't the best idea in the long run but I was furious. I had been harassed before by boys and it really does take away a sense of safety.

I still do wear skirts but haven't worn that pirate costume since the incident.

Submitted by Erin

Saturday, August 28, 2010

"Want some dick?"

I was walking to my office when I passed a man sitting on the side of a pedestrian bridge. He seemed to be talking to himself. Then as soon as I passed, he said, "Want some dick?" I ignored him and kept walking, then he got louder: "Come on!" The further I walked, the less I heard, but he didn't stop.

I filed a police report.

Submitted by K.
Atlanta, GA

3 beeps, you're a turd.

The other night I was walking into town and got beeped at 3 times within the space of a few seconds, one of them shouting out 'YOU'RE GETTING FUCKED UP THE ASS TONIGHT!'

I actually burst into tears of anger.

Submitted by Nicky

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Be A Part of History: Join Us to Celebrate the Movement's Groundbreaking New Book

When author Holly Kearl wrote her Master's thesis on street harassment she had no idea it would develop into a book, let alone a career. Join us on Friday, September 10 in New York City as we celebrate the release of Stop Street Harassment: Making Public Places Safe and Welcoming for Women, the first book ever to comprehensively address the pandemic street harassment plague that demoralizes women daily around the globe. It has been a long time coming.

Author Holly Kearl will be available to sign copies and activists from HollaBackNYC, RightRides for Women's Safety, and Girls for Gender Equity will be there to help keep the celebration rolling. The event is free and open to the public.

Please join us to celebrate one of the movement's first groundbreaking new developments and let us enjoy the good company of the men and women who have helped make this possible.

Who: This event is free and open to the public!

What: Book signing and release party

Where: Bluestockings, 172 Allen St. (between Stanton and Rivington) New York, New York | Click here for directions.

When: Friday, September 10, 2010; 7:00pm

Monday, August 23, 2010

From "looking good" to "ugly bitch" to "I'm going to fuck that bitch in the face": Street Harassment Escalates

I've been reading Hollaback and I've been holla-ing back daily at harassers for over a year now, but this is the first time I've written to tell my own experience.

Every morning on my way to work, I cut through the J. Hood Wright park on 173rd and Haven Ave to walk up to the GW Bridge to catch the bus. This morning, I was walking to work minding my own business through a mostly empty park, when two jerks sitting on a bench started yelling at me, "Hey baby, lookin good this morning" (or something to that effect). Without stopping, I shouted, "Don't call me baby, asshole," and continued walking through the park. The guys then started screaming things back at me such as, "You ugly bitch, fuck you! You need to go get fucked you stupid fucking bitch!" I never turned around, but gave it right back to them as I kept walking, telling them to F off.

I was coming home from work at 5PM, and I saw a large group of guys sitting on the same bench. Since I had never turned around this morning to look at the jerks, I couldn't tell if they were the same guys. I was really, really hoping that they hadn't actually sat on the bench all day, waiting for me to come back. But when I walked by, I heard one say, "I'm gonna fuck that bitch in the face," but again I was just hoping they weren't referring to me. Then after I left the park and was walking down 173rd street, I hear, "Hey bitch!" behind me. I turned around and this guy had followed me out of the park and was yelling, "Fuck you, bitch! If you ever disrespect me and my friend again, I'm gonna fuck you up!" I walked right up to him and took the photo below with my camera (sorry such bad quality - I have a really old phone so I had to take a picture of my phone with my boyfriend's iPhone to get it on my computer). He then proceeded to say "Oh yeah? Why don't you take a picture of this, bitch?" at which point he pulled his pants down, bent over, and mooned me.

At this point, I was beyond furious. I was so disgusted, I actually thought I might vomit. I had luckily seen a police van across the street, so I walked as fast as I could to get them. There were 3 cops (2 women and 1 man), who told me to get in the van, and drove me back to the park. We walked past the bench and around the area a little, but of course, the asshole was nowhere to be found. The cops were so amazingly understanding - they even drove me around the neighborhood for about 15 minutes looking for him. They told me if I saw him again, I could call 911 and he would be arrested. They drove me back to my apartment a few blocks away, and even walked me inside my building. I'm so thankful that they took me seriously and made sure I got home safely.

This experience today has left me very shaken up. Even though I know I can get him arrested if I see him, what if I don't have that chance? What if he attacks me first? Street harassment is absolutely about exerting power over people. When I denied his advances this morning, this guy felt the need to wait for me all day long so that he could make sure I knew that he still had control over me. I can only hope that if his friends tell him that I came back to the park with the police, he will be scared enough not to mess with me again, instead of pissed off enough to mess with me even more.

Thank you so much, Hollaback, for providing this forum for us to tell our stories.

Submitted by Marianne

I needed a canvas, I got caressed.

A friend and I went to the Pratt art store (Clinton Hill) to buy canvas and there was a well dressed man standing right in the middle of the store. I needed help and he looked like he worked there.

me: Sir do you work here?
creep: No, but I still want to talk to you
me: No, thanks.

As I walk away he grabs my arm and starts caressing it!! I pulled away.

creep: Oh so it's like that??!!
me: I dont like being touched by strangers!!
creep: Go back to where you came from!! Go back to f*cking Eastern Europe you b*tch, get the f*ck out of here.

(I am from Moscow but I have been here since I was 9 and have had my citizenship for 10 years now.) He kept saying nasty things and I was terrified. So I went to get the store security guard. When we walked over to the racist creep the security guard asked him if there was a problem... creep: "there is no problem, I was just trying to shop and she was talking me up and touching me!!!!"

me:no, you just sexually and racially harassed me.
creep:you don't know what harassment is.. go back to f*cking Eastrern Europe! ect.."

A manager came over and I told her what happened, I was very upset and scared and I couldn't help it when I started to cry. She told me and my friend to wait behind the isles on the other side of the store while she took care of it. My friend who was with me the whole time was very scared too and didn't say much the whole time.

The creep by now was yelling at everyone, saying that "can only Eastern European b*tches shop here???!!" and other nasty things. The manager told him she's going to call the police and he was yelling "yeah call them" Then when she walked away to call the cops he ran out.

The manager was very nice and sympathetic and took my ID to file a report and then let us out the back door. This happened almost a week ago, the first couple of days I didn't think about it because I think I was in shock but now I can't get it out of my head. The store filed a report but I doubt anything will be done about it. I am terrified now because I live 5 minutes away from the store and if I run into him again there will be no security guards to protect me. I decided to go to the police today and file a report. The store has cameras and I'm sure they got the creep on tape.

Hopefully I can get the surveillance video of the creep and post it as well.

Submitted by Tais

Friday, August 20, 2010

Dirty Santa! (At least there are a few heroes left in this world... HOLLAheroes!)

I was on the #1 train yesterday going home from a long day of work. It was already past 8pm and the trains were acting up (many delays on 2/3 and 1. Passengers had to switch at least 3 times!). In any event I was finally settled on the #1 minding my own business when all of a sudden a flash goes off. I looked up and across from me this creepy guy has taken a picture of me with his blackberry. I had noticed earlier that he was looking at his blackberry but I thought he was reading it. I asked him, "what was he taking a picture of?" He responded nervously nothing and then when I repeated the question, he stated that the flash went off accidentally (yeah, it accidentally busted you!). I kept repeating, "what were you taking a picture of?" I told him I did not believe him and asked him to show me the picture. He started fiddling with the camera the blackberry and then claimed he couldn't find it. I told him that was convenient. This conversation was taking place loud enough for other riders to hear and they were paying attention. A gentleman sitting next to the creep got up took the creep's picture with his phone and then the gentleman sat next to me. This gentleman told me that he had noticed the creep taking pictures of me earlier. He gave me his card and told me to email him and he would send me the creep's photo. What a hero!

The creep then became more nervous and showed me the picture on his blackberry. It was picture of my leg and feet (WEIRDO!!!). I had on a short dress and flip flops. I knew he couldn't see anything else because my legs were together. (I know I shouldn't have to say that part but every time I tell the story I feel compelled to explain that I wasn't showing any underwear or something to cause this). I made the creep delete the picture. I asked him were there any other pictures. He then showed me a blurred picture of my leg. My hero had gotten off at this point. The creep started talking to me and said, "You see, I deleted the picture." He repeated that a few times. I told him to stop talking to me. He walked away and stood a few feet. I was nervous about getting off my stop but I didn't want to stay on the train anymore. So I got off. I will be taking another train for the next few weeks. I suspected the police could not do anything but I tried anyway. I spoke to the first police officer I saw. He informed me that no crime was committed. That it was not illegal to take a picture of someone on the subway and unfortunately, the creep can do whatever he wants with whatever other pictures he has on his blackberry. My hero emailed me the photo last night and tipped me about this website. It is good to know that for every creep out there, there are also great men too.

Lesson for the day: Ladies, pay attention. When you think they are reading their blackberries, they may be taking a photo of you.

Submitted by Nancy

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Sometimes a woman's got to do what a woman's got to do...

And report this shit..
Spent less than 10 minutes tracking down the distribution company that works for a pet food company whose drivers were unloading goods to the pet store today on 6th Ave. Took a snapshot in case I needed the truck number but it wasn't even necessary because my quick description of the gentleman whose obscenities interrupted my peaceful and much deserved lunch break yielded a quick and easy identification of the donkey dong. His supervisor said "Yeah I know who that was...he's not right in the head" and thanked me sincerely for calling in to report him. I said I hoped he could understand that workers such as this one are not only harmful to everyone who comes into contact with them throughout the course of their days but also to the pet food company, the pet store, and and most of all, the distributors--the ones who hired the turd. He said "Absolutely, our name is on the truck."

Not only will Mr. Poop Brains get a scolding, and the supervisor schooled a little bit in the importance of hiring humans versus animals, but the pet food company now knows that the distributor hires turds, and one more phone call will ensure that the pet store knows that the distributor hires turds. That's a looooot of people who just got HOLLAed at.

Submitted by Violet

Monday, August 16, 2010

"Too good to talk to me, bitch?"

So here I am in Boston, 17 years old, not at all expecting harassment as I've lived in a small Midwestern town with a population of 8,000 my entire life. I stayed out late in the city with friends and then had to take the train out to the end of the line, and then a bus back to the North Shore. SO I get off the train, walk up to the (completely deserted) bus stop by the highway in the dark, and there's this young, very greasy-haired guy standing up there, and as I walk past him he starts going all, "Hi sweetie, hi baby, come over and sit by me. What, you won't talk to me? Too good to talk to me, bitch?" and so on and so forth. I tried to stand as far away from him as I could, but I couldn't leave the stop because it was the last bus and I certainly didn't want to miss it and be stuck out on the highway all night. He kept muttering and cursing at me until finally some other passengers showed up, and he kind of melted back into the parking lot behind the stop.

I got home, really shaken up. There was no one here to talk to, so I got on the internet and just typed "street harassment" into the search engine, and found Hollaback. I didn't take a picture, I was so stunned by being harassed for the first time ever that I didn't even tell him to fuck off; besides, I didn't want to make him angry. But I felt so dirty the whole way home, and so shaken, and it feels a little better to send this off into a cyber-void having gotten it off my chest to people who will care.

Submitted by Katherine

Note: Hollaback accepts posts from around the world in places where other Hollabacks do not exist. BUT! We are so happy to announce that it looks like HollabackBOSTON will be restarting in the next month or so. Stay tuned!

Friday, August 13, 2010

BACK UP! Trailer to new anti-harassment documentary

BACK UP! concrete diaries trailer (2 min) from Monique Hazeur on Vimeo.

Our amazing volunteer Avital tracked down Monique Hazeur, who is in the process of developing a new documentary on street harassment! We couldn't be more pleased. From their site: "This is the official trailer for the feature length documentary that explores how women deal with this daily violence. It will especially look at how women are fighting back and defining their own personal and public spaces.The documentary adds to a bustling dialogue on gender and body politics, as it delves into women’s rights to exist freely in society."

What could be more badass than that? Stay tuned. We'll keep you posted as we figure out ways to collaborate with Monique, our newest HOLLAhero.

Want to join the Hollaback team?

We are seeking a Policy, Research, and Development Intern to join our dynamic team of volunteers. Responsibilities include:
  1. Take the lead in coordinating Hollaback’s work with New Yorkers for Safe Transit, which will include attending monthly meetings, developing testimony, and meeting with legislators.
  2. Research and identify potential individual donors, board members, or high profile engaged individuals; and
  3. Do a review of movement building strategies (especially within the violence against women movement) and make recommendations for how to enhance our overall strategy.
This intern will report directly to Emily May, executive director. This position takes place off-site (we do not have an office yet) and regular check-ins are required. The candidate must have good communication skills, a passion for ending street harassment, and live in the NYC area. We currently are accepting applications for fall 2010 and the preferred arrangement is to extend through Spring 2011. The estimated time commitment is 10-20 hours, and the internship is unpaid. If you are interested, please send a resume and cover letter to holla (at)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Fan Mail that Fuels Us

As many of you know, we are an all-volunteer team that work long hours above and beyond our regular jobs to make Hollaback happen. We are inspired and invigorated by each and every post that comes in, and we respond personally to all the fan mail. The letter below was too honest, too beautiful, and too important to keep to ourselves. I hope you enjoy it, and remember: keep holla'ing back!

Dear Hollaback,

Thank you so much for what you do, I really hope that your website continues to grow and create more awareness for as long as possible.

I'm only 17 years old, and I moved to the city 2 months ago. Every day I've been getting unwanted and unsolicited attention from strange men. I didn't want to tell my parents because I knew they'd either think I was exaggerating or want me to come home as we come from a very small, sweet town where nothing like this has happened in twenty years.

Thankfully, I don't have any horror stories, but I feel like I'm always dealing with 'Hey Beautiful' or 'That's a real nice dress you got there' or 'seductive' stares or 'accidental' subway touching. I'm a ballet dancer and whenever I walk back home beet red and sweaty I always get comments and uncomfortably sexual gestures directed at me.Until I came across your website I didn't know that this constituted as sexual harassment. It's amazing how extensively they cover plagiarism in high school, but not sexual harassment. I knew it made me very uncomfortable, especially men in groups, but I felt like I was making a big deal out of nothing because the words were 'nice' (I've never been sworn at) even though the intent wasn't.

I'm an extremely quiet, shy, insecure person and I feel like these jerks can sense that and prey on girls like me. But when I came across your website, I felt a sense of empowerment and comfort in the knowledge that others recognized that this was really happening and that it was wrong. I feel like a lot of people write off street harassment like it's no big deal, so I was worried that if I told someone, they would just say I was being oversensitive and silly.

God (or whichever deity you do/don't believe in) bless you, what you're doing takes incredible courage. I really can't thank you enough for helping for me to feel justified in my discomfort, to know that I wasn't being oversensitive. Sorry if this is kind of rambling, I just wanted to let you know how much I truly appreciated the work you do.

Thank you,

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Smith Street Stalker

This guy walked after me and kept saying how sexy I was. Corner of Bergen/Smith in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn.

Submitted by Elsa

Harassment on Wheels

Shouted at every woman he passed on the street. [This is my] first hollaback despite being verbally intruded upon all day, every day.

Submitted by A.

This took place at the W. 23rd St. and 9th Ave bus stop.

An Open Letter to Men

Dear Men:

It may come as quite a surprise to you to hear this. It may even sting a little. It shouldn't.

There are some places where I fully expect to be hit on (for example, at the bar). I put up with it. Sometimes, I may even enjoy it. I consider the free drinks you buy me payment for the annoyance I deal with. I will (almost) always accept a free drink. Your efforts, while usually not reciprocated, have not gone unnoticed.

However, putting up with getting hit on at a bar is quite different from being harassed in other places. You should be aware that just because I'm female and have boobs doesn't mean that you are allowed to harass me and annoy the fuck out of me wherever I am, and no matter what I am doing. There are some things that should remain sacred.

I know it may be difficult to resist making comments to me while I'm running. I'm sure there's just something about a young woman drenched from head to toe in sweat, hair dripping, breathing heavily and with a face the color of a ripe tomato that you find irresistible. I can only imagine how hard it is for you to hold back when you see me running past in an over-sized sweat stained t-shirt. I sympathize. I really do.

Please, men. I put up with your shit at work. I put up with it at school. I put up with it when I'm driving, and when I'm eating, and when I buy my coffee. I have learned to be prepared when I go to the bar to be approached at least once, usually more. At this point, I pretty much expect it. All women do. But for the LOVE OF GOD, please leave me the fuck alone when I'm running.


P.S. The next guy who harasses me when I'm running is getting kicked in the balls. Consider that your warning.

Reposted from Save Your Wetlands blog.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

"Compliments" aren't part of your job description, buddy.

I walk through what I call "the gauntlet" every day to and from work. It's a stretch of Canal Street from the Canal Street N/Q stop West to the river. At night, it's clogged with vendors hocking all manner of counterfeit goods and tourists getting duped. In the morning, it's an eight block march of cat callers, each seemingly less original than the one before. I never wear headphones through this walk, since I'm constantly on alert for something that could constitute a threat. One morning, I was walking the gauntlet behind a very young woman apparently on her way to work, as she was dressed in a smart business suit. We reached the half way point, when a group of men who constantly give me trouble, started to yell out to her and move toward her on the sidewalk in a threatening manner. She put her head down and continued walking, but I stopped as I pulled up to them. I looked the ring leader in the eye, a older man, late 40's, early 50's around the same age as my father. And told him "have a little respect for her and for yourself. That's not how you treat women." He told me to "take a compliment" and that I was just jealous because I'm fat (which, for the record, I'm a size 8). I told him that despite his complete disrespect for women, I hoped his daughter and wife didn't have to live with the daily fear of being sexually harassed by strangers on their way to work, or the movies or a date. I also explained that "it being part of the job" of a construction worker wouldn't fly, considering my father is a construction worker and would fire and then beat the ass of any of his employees that behaved that way. His cohorts remained silent, but as I walked away, I could hear them all making fun of him by mocking me. I've never seen the men since and I always wondered if the woman in front of me called their employer.

Carroll Street Masturbator, followed by NYPD-fail

This is (a sadly very blurry) photo of a subway masturbator I took on friday night at the Carroll street station. My friend (visiting from boston) and I were heading into the city to meet up with a group for drinks and dancing. Being a friday evening I knew the train would be a while so we sat down on the bench. Across the platform this man was also lounging on a bench. He had made himself comfortable- his bags were strewn around the bench and he was slouched across two seats. Upon seeing us he yelled across the platform "hello ladies" to which I gave him a nod as it had been relatively polite. As it turns out he had bothered my friend as she left the station earlier that evening- asking her where she was going, could he come along etc.

So we ignore him, talk about our new post grad lives blah blah when I hear a rustling which caused me to look at the tracks (I am terrified of getting rabies after a whole other story involving prospect park, a rabid bat and my friends vagina) to make sure nothing is climbing out (I'm aware this is crazy). As I look I notice the man across the platform masturbating furiously! I immediately blurted out, "He's masturbating!" At first I didn't think my friend believed me- so she looked over and I began rummaging for my phone. Of course he had heard me, and knew we saw him but it wasn't until I got my phone out that he covered up! "No pictures" he smirked. To which I responded "no masturbating in public!"

It took me about a minute to even find the camera setting and the pictures aren't good, but I wanted to freak him out. I then loudly told my friend about hollaback and how useful these pictures will be to the cops when I contact them. Seeing that my pictures were so bad she pulled out her own camera, snapped a few which she intends to touch up so they are more visible.

Thinking that was over, we started talking about street harassment. How common it was in the city. Her own terrifying experiences with men in cars. Then we heard some muttering and looked across the platform to find him at it again! Looking straight at us and mumbling "I like you both... Boobs... Bubble" (couldn't really understand him). Again we yell at him- there are more people in the station now so I am hoping we can embarrass him. No such luck. We take out our cameras. He covers himself again. Still for the next 30 minutes that we wait for the train he keeps talking to us "I love you... Bubble.. Etc". Now the normal thing would have been to move but I imagined that as backing down so we stayed, I yelled at him a few times, pretended to have reception and called the cops etc.

The train finally comes, we get to the city and I immediately try and report him. Of course no one is picking up and I keep mysteriously being redirected. My friend is on her phone trying to find the group we were meant to hang out with. It turns out that they had had to leave, as one girl had been roofied (she was thankfully with observant friends who took care of her).

Submitted by Kate

Groping, leads to murder threats, leads to arrest.

I thought I was wearing a particularly unflattering outfit to work that day, but apparently Mr. S. didn't agree. He was sitting on a bench on the subway platform and slapped my ass as I walked past him on the subway platform. When I yelled at him, he jumped up and started screaming at me and saying he was going to throw me in front of the next train. All the men on the platform started to surround him, one woman grabbed me and pulled me back, and other passengers got two police officers. He was chasing after me screaming about how he was going to kill me when the police approached him from behind. He told the cops I was lying - why would he touch a woman he doesn't even know? That's a fantastic question, Mr. S.

This man will be going to the Criminal Court of the City of New York on charges of Forcible Touching (PL130.52), Sexual Abuse in the 3rd Degree (PL130.55) and Unlawful Possession of Marijuana (PL221.05).

Monday, August 09, 2010

Money can't buy you everything, Mr. Cadillac.

A few months ago, I was riding my bike from my boyfriend's house at the time in Bushwick, to my apartment in South Park Slope. We'd been packing up things in his place and it was during one of the first heat waves of the summer, so I was dripping with sweat by the time I finally climbed on my bike and headed back. It was still light out, as I won't ride through that area at night by myself. I was pulling onto Franklin Avenue and noticed a black Cadillac SUV in front of me - all shiny and chrome and clearly not cheap. The street is wide, so I was able to pull ahead of it while it stopped for a red light and noticed two 30-ish men in the front seat. The light turned green and the SUV pulled in front. I then noticed the driver sticking his hand out of the window with a camera pointed at me. The flash flickered a few times in rapid succession while I tried to hide my face. The SUV hit another red light and I allowed my handlebars to scrape that beautiful, shiny chrome bumper while telling the drivers to "get f*cked." The pair just laughed as I sprinted passed them and turned the corner.

Submitted by Erin

Friday, August 06, 2010


So this happened to me a couple of years ago, but it still bothers me so I felt like I should submit it. I was 17 at the time and walking down the street in my own neighborhood when two men in their mid thirties early forties pass by me and stop me. This was on a fairly crowded street during the daytime so I was a taken aback but not really scared. One of the men asks me how old I am, and without thinking I answer truthfully because I was so flustered by them stopping me. He then proceeds to say, "Oh man in a couple of months..." leers at me and walks away chuckling to his sidekick. I wish I had responded to him, and hadn't treated it like a joke when I told people about it later. I had no clue what to do, I mean what did he think? That if I was 18 that I would magically be interested in him, go somewhere with him? Sleep with him? How is it that he thought it was acceptable to treat me like on object just because I walked by him? No one should treat another human being that way let alone someone who stated they were underage. I don't walk on the streets for your pleasure, or dress for you, I don't live for you so don't interrupt my life because you feel you have the right to. If anything like that ever happens again to me that is what I hope I will say, followed by "You're an asshole."

Submitted by Shannon

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Is the butt-slapper back?

I was walking home from work yesterday - in fact, on the very block on which I live in Astoria, Queens - when I felt a hard slap on my ass. Stunned, I watched a man whizz by me on his bike. I managed to sputter "fuck you," but I was so shocked that it didn't come out nearly as loudly or aggressively as I would have liked. He was on a bike, so I barely got a glimpse at him - although he did look back briefly and I flipped him off. I've been subject to catcalls before, but never had I been inappropriately touched by a stranger, not even on a crowded subway.

Later, I wished I'd cursed him out louder and with more anger, but I was too shocked at the time to form a coherent response. My first instinct was to just go home and lock the door against the outside world, but I realized that letting this man's behavior affect my own wasn't the answer. So I changed into my workout clothes and went to the gym like I'd planned, trying not to worry that another stranger would see my loose yoga pants and spandex top as an invitation to assault or harass me. I'm still furious that someone would touch me without my consent, but I'm not going to stop wearing what I like or worry about walking home by myself. I'm not the one who should have to change my behavior.

Submitted by Sara

Editor's Note: Last summer, a man was convicted of a rash of "butt-slapping" (AKA assault) in the Crown Heights area. For more information, check out this and this. We're hoping what happened with Sara is an isolated incident and the guy is not out and about again, but if you experience something similar please let us know.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

"I love you"

I was sitting on the E train today, heading back to Queens from the city. I had a book out but I was taking a break from reading it. I was looking around the train and noticed this man mouthing "I love you" to me and then winking at me. I was pissed off from harassment my friend and I endured earlier in the day. So, I responded to him with a death stare. I had an angry, angry face that I made and I just kept staring at him for what felt like 10 minutes, meanwhile, he was still winking at me and mouthing "I love you". I was completely creeped out because he's old enough to be my father. I grimaced at tuned away from him and went back to my book. I took a quick picture of him when I left the train so I could hollaback.

Submitted by Mariya

Monday, August 02, 2010

She is only 14...

Earlier this year on a chilly, windy day, I, a girl who had yet to turn 15, was walking through the parking lot of a store. I was wearing a dress and some thick tights but had no coat, so I walked fast to get to my car. As I am walking I hear a car slowly driving behind me but I think little of it, assuming that they only want the parking space that I am walking through. I notice that the car is still there but still don’t pay much attention. When I get to my car I turn around and see a van full of perverted men hanging out the windows ogling my butt. They start to drive away and I am so shocked that all I have time to do is give them an angry look. I wish I had done more but I was too embarrassed and angry to.

Submitted by Shelby

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Lost in Translation

Recently I had the experience of traveling to Turkey with a university team. Being Canadian I was extremely excited for my first trip beyond North America. Overall it was a very pleasant adventure, and I could focus on one of the many positive memories that resulted, but there is another that always gets me.

Istanbul has a decent transit system, or at least the impression of one for tourists. After a day on the town we had accidentally timed our return on the train with rush hour. As warm bodies squeezed in, we huddled together as it can be uncomfortable isolated speaking only English and being the only white person to illicit stares. As the train started moving again I thought I felt something. I shrugged it off at first, with everything so packed the jostling can be confusing. Shortly after, my bum has been grabbed.

I was a little in shock. I moved quickly, to see an unassuming business man acting as if nothing has happened. The pervert just touched my ass! Not only that, he assaulted me in front of my friends AND boyfriend. I couldn't believe it, told them in English, and everyone just stood confused. I wanted to punch him in the face, but by the time I had worked up the courage it was too late. If someone touches you and it is unwanted, that is physical assault, the end.

The worst part is that I started asking myself what I could have done differently. Knowing we were in a conservative country, we girls had dressed to show minimal (as in none) skin. I had a coat on at the time. Were my jeans too tight, was that asking for it in Turkey? I felt like it was my fault for trespassing with Western fashion in their country. Like the man just thought all white women were harlots. As if it was okay the man figured a woman should hide herself under swarths of cloth or be fair game for attack.

Even months afterward I still feel unsure of the incident. Am I bigoted for hating any Muslim stricture that has a line about being humble? I know that Islam is not exactly a feminist’s favourite religion, but we can’t liberalize such a widespread belief system by fighting it by banning minarets in Switzerland or whatever. But it feels right because I am so angry. All because some middle-aged pervert couldn’t keep his hands to himself, my views on so many issues have been changed.

That being said, I am thankful to be Canadian. There’s a long way to go, even here, but I can appreciate my daily commute far more now.