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Saturday, December 31, 2005

And You Thought Carnies Were Scary...

First, I'm SO glad to see a site like this! I hate being harassed, by men and women both. It's degrading and insulting, and for me started when I was eight. But this one is about my first truly awful experience.

The reason I'm writing is because of something that happened a few month before MY THIRTEENTH BIRTHDAY and I just can't not say anything anymore. It's time for me to finally holla back.

I was working a game on a carnival for the weekend (parents permission of course, the people that owned the game were friends of the family) and it was getting late. I was sitting there talking with another woman ("Lizzy") working that game, waiting for someone to play. Two men in their mid to late 20's asked how much it was to win a prize. Lizzy told them how many points it'd take, etc, the whole time this guy was looking me up and down. Everyone knows that feeling of being undressed with a look. This guy was a pro. Needless to say, this freaked out my 12 yr old self pretty bad. I avoided eye contact, I did my very best to let him know I wasn't interested. Obviously I didn't have much experience at the time with jackoffs like this.

Then he said something in Spanish. Lizzy tilted her head and asked him to say it in English. He then POINTED AT ME, AND ASKED HOW MUCH FOR ME! I felt my face flush deep red and looked away, scared out of my mind. Lizzy was obviously a bit stunned and tried to make it into a joke.

He then played the game a few times, by the time he left, I was watching someone else play with my back the crowd, when I felt the most creepy experience I can remember. I had hair down to my hips at that time and felt a hand go through my hair and down my back, by the time I realized what happened and turned around, I saw the son of a bitch walking away.

I wish I'd known then what I know now. I wish I had had the guts to tell him exactly what to do with himself. It was an extremely degrading experience for a little girl. Lucky for me, I've gotten better at telling a guy to fuck off. Still very disturbing knowing that men like that are still out there are men that are such cowards they victimize little girls.

Written by Marie.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Time for Therapy

The Hollaback NYC blog reminded me of a scary thing that happened to me when I used to work for an inventory service. I sometimes had to work stores in downtown Denver and we wouldn't get out till after dark. One night as I was leaving, this really freaky dude was standing there on the 16th Street mall. I ignored him and kept walking to get to my car which of course was 5 or so
blocks away.

He suddenly shouted "Hey, Bitch, do you know what time it is?" I ignored him and kept walking. He shouted "Hey, Slut! Yeah, I'm talking to you! Don't ignore me or I'll cut your fuckin' throat!"

I hurried around this corner and was about to duck into a bar and tell them to call the cops. I guess he lost sight of me because he kept walking down 16th street.

I'm sure he was mentally ill but compassion was lost to fear at that point. People like that really shouldn't be out on the street. Who knows if he was just spouting stuff or if he'd really have done it if he'd gotten hold of somebody?

Written by Cie.

Friday, December 23, 2005

3 Days of Harassment

The past three days have been clouded with sexual harassment and I feel like I failed to fight back until today. For some reason men have been making unwarranted passes at me and saying unnecessary comments to me and I just freeze. But today I didn't want to take it anymore.

I've been repeatedly called pet names on the job, a jeweler kissed my neck and rubbed my stomach after a friendly hug, and I was hooted at while running. But in those moments I didn't act as I wish I had now. Hindsight is always 20/20.

But this morning when I was walking to the office and a man working on the building across the street whistled at me, I stopped and turned to him. He waved. I continued walking and stopped again: I should take his photo. So I got out my phone, pointed, and he ducked away.

Then when I was leaving the gym tonight with a friend, a nasty old man with dumbells sneered at us and croaked: "Sexxxy..." Just like this morning, I stopped dead in my tracks and looked right at him. He smiled.
"Did you just say 'sexy'?"
Surprised: "What?"
A little more aggressively: "Did you just say 'sexxy' to her?"
Embarrassed, he choked, "Er, um, no, to myself."
"Oh. To yourself..." and we walked off shaking our heads.

I wish I had my phone.

written by Brigitte.

The Old Man Said...

The old man at the coupon counter yelled, "Hey there, Red!" to me, as I walked through the store at which I work, winking suggestively to top it off. (My hair is dyed bright red.)
I might have let it go, but something about the fact that I was clearly at work (considering that I was wearing a company shirt and all) just ticked me off.

So I turned around. "I have a name, and if you are going to address me, you will address me by my name, and not by my hair color, is that clear?" I replied, putting on my best Frost Queen before stalking away.

It felt pretty good to hear him flapping his gums behind me, caught between embarassment and annoyance at having found a girl with the balls to talk back.

written by Angela.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Different Kind of Pancake Dinner

I was walking to the corner to get eggs and milk for a pancake dinner and some guy says “Hey, Slut” right to me. Without even thinking, I just yelled back “What the fuck is wrong with you?” Actually yelled. Then I was a little scared thinking he might come after me, but he just kicked some trash and kept walking. Perhaps I have a bit of pent up aggression stored up right now. Anyone who has spent a lot of time with me lately is thinking “just a little bit” a la Sixteen Candles church scene. Perhaps I was inspired by Holla Back - my uncle sent me the link a few weeks ago.

The funny part is that I was wearing my hair back, glasses, no makeup, and a big puffy winter coat. I think the guy was seriously drunk. That is why I kind of feel bad for yelling at him. Isn’t it insane that now I feel bad about yelling at the drunk guywho called me a slut on the street? Just a little bit.

Written by Mara in NYC.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Unsexy At Any Speed

Episode 1: This morning I was walking to the donut shop for my daily Boston Cream and kick-off coffee of the day, dressed quite alluringly in several layers of winter garb and thinking about criminal procedure, when I heard beeping and a man's voice. "Hey, hey," yelled a guy who was sitting in the passenger seat of a blue van. Without saying anything, I gave him the finger. "Oh, thank you very much," he responded.

Episode 2: No Hugs

This afternoon I was sitting in a Chinese restaurant in Astoria, eating my dinner, when a man entered carrying a plastic race car that played scratchy "music." I looked up at him and, because I have this weird Tourette's-like illness that causes me to uncontrollably make sarcastic comments to anyone who annoys me, said to the guy, "That's annoying."
"Oh, I'm sorry," he apologized. "Can I get a hug?"
"No." And with that abrupt shut-down, the guy left. When the door closed behind him, I turned to the guy one booth over and smiled. He laughed.
If Creep Valley High School existed, that guy with the car would be stuck in the remedial classes. He would have to go to the pre-9th grade summer program just to catch up to the rest of the student body, and THEN the school administration would place him in the program for low-end creeps.

Written by Lauri.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Friends Don't Let Friends Harrass Women

i'm an american who recently moved to tallinn, estonia. i was surprised to find that it's rare for men to harass women on the street here. apparently, this does not apply in bars. my friend and i were at the counter ordering our drinks when a man seated at a nearby table reached out and grabbed my friend's ass. she was in shock so i turned around and said, "hey, that's not cool" then addressed his friends (the guy was trashed) "please control your friend." we turn back to the bar and drunk guy makes like he's going for attempt #2 so i turn around and say in a slightly more direct tone, "back off!" as we're paying for our drinks, drunk guy grabs my friend's ass again! i'm not in the mood for negotiations at this point so i turn around and yell, "keep your fucking hands off her, asshole!" and to his friends i say, "control your fucking friend." in response, drunk guy tries to say something and stand but winds up just falling backwards in his chair. we take this as our cue to grab our drinks and go. bastard.

written by trudee.

Friday, December 16, 2005

The Infamous Compound Holla

I was living in Astoria, and I use the word 'living' --- Hold the phone. You won't believe this. As I was writing this Hollaback, a guy came into my office and sexually harrassed me. He asked me if I like to be flogged, and since it was hot in the office I should get naked. He asked me to cuss because cussing women turn him on. What a fucking creep. Problem is, since he doesn't work here, or work anywhere, there was nothing I could do. He's a member of the synagogue. I just tried to steer the conversation towards more neutral ground and towards business. And now I feel stupid because I didn't stand up for myself more. So, Hollaback, Shelly! I hope you get a papercut on your dick when your jacking off tonight to Hustler.

Back to my original Hollaback...
I was living in Astoria, and I use the word 'living' loosely as it was wll about 95 degrees and we had no air conditioner. Also, you don't live in Astoria, you kind of just wait around in Astoria until you can move to Brooklyn. Anyway. I went out to the store a block away at around 11pm really just to wander around in the Rite Aid air conditioning. This guy on my way to Rite Aid said something nasty to me, and then turned around and followed me into the store. He continued following me around the store, saying nasty things to me under his breath. I alerted the security guy, and the guy walked outside, standing right in front of the door, waiting for me to come out. The security guard said, "What do you want me to do about it?" I said, "Can you tell him to leave me alone, or walk me out the door or something?" and he said, "Boys will be boys." What a fucking mother fucker. Anyway, I truck it out of the shop, doing my lengthiest stride, and asshole is still following me. I know of an apartment building on my way home where the front door is always unlocked. I decide to go there instead of home. I walk in the front door and disappear into the garden for about 10 minutes. I return to the front door, expecting him to be gone so I can go the fuck home. Nope...

Read More!

He's standing right across the street gawking at me through the front door. Anger grabs a hold of me. I step out the front door, and I point right at him. "YOU!" I say. He looks confused and looks around. I yell at the top of my lungs, "YES, YOU. STOP FUCKING FOLLOWING ME." The guy looks scared and walks away. Just then a Police car drives up. I tell them what happened and they agree to take me home. They just have to take care of a jumper on the roof. HIL-arious. So, they drive me home, and my Landlady gets a nice view of me coming home at midnight in the back of a police car, as they shine their search light full blast at the front door and say in a mega volume loudspeaker, "Can you find your keys?!?" Hollaback to you, asshole mutter-follower. And a special hollaback to that piece of shit guard.

Written by Julie

Nobody Wants to be a Subway Model

So, Toronto is the setting of this disturbing story. I am sitting on the subway with a friend, minding my own business and nobody else's. This guy on one of those motor wheelchairs comes on the train and stops right in the middle of the aisle in front of the doorway, facing me, and me facing another way so that he could see the profile of my face, not my whole face. So I'm talking, when my friend starts saying weird stuff, like 'look at me' and 'wait, wait, stay like that,' which really confused me. When the wheelchair guy finally drove past me and away (staring at me with a weird smile before he left,) my friend turned to me and told me that this guy just took a picture of me with his camera. I was in pure shock, because on the news there was a segment about men who go around taking pictures of females on subways... I hope it was a good picture though... Peace

written by Anya

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Even If They Are Ugly

Two weeks ago Girlfriend and I are walking back from a night at a lesbian club when we get slammed twice.

Incident one: We're walking arm in arm, about to cross 45th st, when a young man bounces over to us. He says to me, "You look nice." Then he looks at Girlfriend and says, "Don't she look nice?" We're just looking at him. He then reaches out his hand and strokes my shoulder. I say "Don't
touch me." And he walks on.

He was a young guy - probably a teenager - and I'm not sure he knew that what he was doing was inappropriate. He looked like he thought I'd be pleased, or respond well, and was surprised when I didn't. Had I been less tipsy, I might have tried to have a little conversation with him, school him a little on how touching a strange woman in a place like Times Square
might lead to said woman and her girlfriend feeling less than safe.

We proceed to the corner of 47th and 7th, where I hail a cab and Incident Two ensues...

Click here to

Two gentlemen in front of me try to take the cab that I've hailed, Mr. Touchy's inappropriate behavior has set me off and I'm having none of it. I say, "Excuse me, that's my cab." Drunk, incoherent stares.

"Excuse me, I hailed that cab."

One of them finally comes to and replies.

"It's alright," he says, "let them have the cab."

The other stares aggressively at me, but decides to let it pass, while his friend opens the cab door for us (totally unsolicited and unnecessarily). Girlfriend and I step in, I go to close the door, and he closes it for me, saying, "Even if they are ugly."

By this point I've had enough, and I scream, "Fuck off!" in the cab with the windows down. There's no point in making the cab driver deaf, so I roll down the window and scream "Fuck off!" at the men walking away. One of them grabs his ass and rubs in my direction.

Some men take advantage of how unsafe some women feel, and some men just don't get it.

Written by Johanna

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Insensitive Creeps

Yesterday, I left work early because my dad called to tell me he just found out he had cancer, and potentially only months to live.

I cried the whole way to my best friend's apartment--about an hour subway ride.

I managed to pull myself together as I got off the train, so I was no longer openly sobbing. As I walked down the platform, a man grinned and said to me, "You got some pussy on you!”

Then he said it to the next woman who walked past him.

I don't care what he said. He was particularly gross, but even if he had just been one of those creepy guys who says "good morning" or "hello" to every woman he sees, it is rude and intrusive and dehumanizing to talk to me with sexual intent when I haven't given any indication of interest. Actually, given the circumstances, if he had been one of those "Smile, beautiful" assholes, I might have clocked him.

It's rude because it doesn't recognize that women are people, with personal lives and feelings and complexities. It was a bad day for me yesterday, but this guy didn't care. Guys who say this stuff don't care how the woman they're harassing feels. They don't care if her kid is sick or she just got raped last night or her dog died or she got laid off. They just care about feeling all masculine and hetero by expressing their 'interest.'

He made the worst day of my life so far a little worse. And he doesn't care.

Written by Ashley

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Pretty in Pink

I live in the crazy college town of Madison, WI. In preparation for Halloween, I took the bus to the mall and got some costume elements. I got off the bus on State Street, only to hear a male voice, "Hey, pink-hair girl!" (My hair is not, in fact, pink, it's bright red.) But I stop and wait for the man to catch up (I can't really remember what he looked like anymore) thinking that I had forgotten something on the bus. So he comes up to me and says, "I just wanted to say that I admired you." Predictably, I'm like, "What for?" He says, "With all the diversity on that weren't intimidated or anything." I am not entirely sure what he means by this, especially since his explanation was far less concise than I have made it, but realize it's a compliment and thank him, although I've started walking home by now and am getting vaguely worried at the way he's following me. He asks if I'm in a hurry, and suddenly he becomes something more sinister than a guy with poor social skills. I tell him I have to go home and walk away very fast.

Let Me Count the Reasons

You’d thinking riding a bike around a small, mostly farming community in Ohio(county population sits around 53,000) that a gal would be fairly safe.

I followed all the biking rules, including the lesser known one meant for women, the one about not wearing a head set so you can hear the ensuing attacker hiding in bushes.

I should have forgotten that last tid bit and worn headphones anyway because of the constant harassment of whistling, honking horns, and many a suggestive, "Hey baby, ride that thing!”

I rode through lots of stop signs, red lights, and even on the wrong side of the street to avoid creeps who wanted to follow me and continue their harassment unabated.

When it became too much I started forsaking myself the (cough cough) safety of town for country roads.

The decision worked well, at first, there was plenty of peace and quiet, the beautiful landscape of farm country, no hooting and hollering or comments made about my getting it on with the bike.

Then I was hit by a car.

Fortunately, I didn’t end up road kill or smeared across a windshield, just thrown into a ditch. No major injuries, but I was pretty shook up.

The real icing on the cake was that the asshole didn't even bother to stop, not even a glance in his rearview mirror!

I wish to this day I'd gotten the plate number instead of the back of his head forever seared into my memory.

This happened a little more than ten years ago and I've not ridden my bike since; unless you count a few loops in my driveway, and to this day my family believes I won't ride my bike because of getting hit by a car.

Well, that's one reason out of two!

Written by Beth

Thanks for the awesome picture Beth!

From the Rooftops...

"Hey, darlin'."

Not your darlin', creep! (Bad picture, but I wanted to be outta there fast.)

- Anonymous

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

They Can't Stop Stair-ing!

I spent my college years in Boston and had an apartment in Kenmore Square. I was coming home from my summer job as a hostess and began to wearily climb the steep steps from the T station up to the street. After the third or fourth step I heard the familiar sound of a polaroid camera --click-whirrrr. I whipped around in time to catch a textbook creepy-looking pervert pulling his camera back toward him after having stuck it under my mini-skirt to get a crotch shot. (I was wearing underwear, thank god.) He fled and I hurried the rest of the way up the stairs to relative safety. It was so disturbing and so close to where I lived that I felt I had to report the incident. I called the campus safety office and was asked to come in to go through a book of mug shots. Apparently, this guy was a bigger problem than I had originally thought. I don't know if they ever caught him, but almost ten years later it still turns my stomach to think about those few seconds.

A similar thing happened when I was in Bangkok a couple of months ago--only this time I was descending a staircase to the street from an overpass, and there they were, two shifty, watery eyes aimed up my skirt and between my legs. He concentrating so hard on getting a good look, he didn't even know I watched him the whole time!

Written by Andrea

Monday, December 05, 2005

Crotchedy Old Man

One day, a year or so ago, I was walking along 11th or 12th street, right off Broadway with Suzanne. We were happily chatting away after having done some shopping, or some activity of that ilk.

Then, a crazy old hobo man passes by, and as he does, grabs my crotch and says, "Fucking cunt!"

I was too shocked to say or do anything. Moments after, it felt so unreal. Could that really have just happened, out in public?

He wasn't in his right mind anyway, but god men can be such assholes!

written by Christine.

Mr. Gray Teeth

In the summer of 1996 I was 20 years old and living in the northern end of Prague. I was young and living it up, working in bars, spending them on beer. Around the corner from my workplace -- which closed at 3 a.m. -- was this cheesy, crowded bar called Le Chapeau Rouge where you could hang out all night and watch German guys hit on Czech girls, and Czech girls hit on Italian guys, and Italian guys hit on American and British girls, and so on. One night I stayed until closing time -- about 7 a.m. When the bar let out it was light outside. As I walked to the subway, across Old Town Square, this guy who was at Le C.R. approaches and starts talking to me. He was French and he had gray teeth. He was shorter than I am (5'3").

The conversation started off rather blase: "Where are you from?" "US ... you?" and so on. Boring boring boring small talk. Until the guy says: "I would like to come home with you."

"Oh, you can't," I said.

"Oh, come on."

It seems to be a joke on his part. Then we get to the subway station. He tells me that his hostel is at such-and-such a place. It's in the direction opposite from where I'm going. He continues talking to me and following me along the platform.

"You should get on the other side of the station -- your train's going that way," I tell him. Rien.

When the train comes I get on ... and so does he! That freaks me out. When we get to the next stop, I get out of the car and run like hell to the next car. We get to the next stop and I run into the next car after that one. My getaway is successful, and I get home alone.

Almost ten years later, I can still see that guy's creepy gray smile.

Posted by Lauri

Friday, December 02, 2005

HollaFAQ! Brand Spankin New!

Team HollaBack gets an awful lot of questions via email and on other blogs. In response we've developed the:


A permanent link is in the sidebar, but please take some time now to review our responses to some of the most frequently asked questions.