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Man attempted to block my path on the sidewalk and lunged at me, attempting to grab me by the hips.
I live next door to a bar (which is temporarily closed due to a fire), and I couldn’t walk out my own front door without one of the men from the kitchen standing outside, smoking a cigarette, and making some sort of comment about my “big ass thighs.” When confronted, he just said “that’s a compliment, baby” or “you the one wearin them short shorts” like I should feel some sense of pride, or feel sorry, instead of feeling threatened, objectified, and self-conscious.
This could be considered a little thing, but at the time I felt unable to say anything, so I wanted to reclaim my voice and share my story here.
I was taking the Circulator yesterday. Three middle-aged men got on. One was slurring his words to the point of unintelligibility while taking swigs out of a paper bag. All three were talking very loudly and taking up lots of space on the bus. They were telling each other jokes, including one about some woman being “a whore,” and laughing raucously.
I felt angry and unsafe. Two of the men got off at my stop, so I decided to wait another stop before getting off. The last guy, the especially drunk one, got off too, and slurred a comment at me about how my hair was so pretty. Suddenly I was glad he was too drunk to do more than mumble a few words at me.
I wasn’t hurt physically, but this experience really angered me. Men like this are allowed to go around making hostile environments out of public spaces, and no one calls them out on it or inconveniences them in any way as a consequence for their actions. Meanwhile, I have to feel uncomfortable, I have to feel unsafe, I have to listen to people laugh at jokes about people of my sex, I have to change what stop I’m going to get off at, and I have to quicken my step while some guy makes a half-hearted drunken pass at me. That really pisses me off.
I felt like there was nothing for me to say at the time…so thanks for listening to my story here.
Every time I’ve walked somewhere by a road people would either whistle or honk their horn. One time walking home from work in the middle of the afternoon (I work in south Laurel, MD) this one guy opens his window at a red light, whistles and asks if I want to come in for a ride. I walked on by. Others continue to honk and stare and I am literally in a T-shirt and jeans with sneakers in the middle of the day.
I was once followed for 20+ minutes by a guy asking me to marry him, even when my friends told him to stop, or when my friend wanted to pretend to be my boyfriend, he still did not stop.
I went to trivia night with my friend and as we were in the second round, 2 guys at the bar (one of which knew my friend) joined us at our table. The other guy (not the one who knew my friend) was high and drunk had his hands all over my legs. I ended up with bruises from the chair as I tried to minimize what all he was able to grab at. I didn’t say anything to my friend until the next day.
A friend texted to say a customer grabbed her butt at [a discount grocery store] while she was working.
Thanks to a generous grant from The Pollination Project in 2013, we had the opportunity create a program for middle school kids to address street harassment in an age appropriate way. After months and months of planning, we finally had our first real workshop! Here are some photos of our volunteer Rebecca with the kids at St. Francis Neighborhood Center, the amazing community center in Reservoir Hill. We have worked with them before, taking part in anti-street harassment chalk-walks, and speaking as a Power Player for their Power Project, so piloting our own youth program at St. Francis was an obvious choice. Over the course of two seperate one hour sessions, we spoke to these young folks about ways to make a difference in their communities using art activism. Our tool of choice? Self-decorated t-shirts! (Click here for more photos)
Some words from our workshop leader, Rebecca: “We had 8 kids – 5 boys and 3 girls – and had a really active discussion about Street Harassment, Bullying and Art Activism. They were really enthusiastic about the t-shirts and kept talking about the issues while we were working on them. We also had to extend the discussion to make sure that our t-shirts were non-negative responses which I think is important to add. We had a talk about how sometimes we want to respond aggressively, and it’s OK to feel that, but aggression and threats were some of the things we put down as Issues on the Street so it’s probably best not to put them on a t-shirt. I look forward to setting up the next one after Christmas!”
Background: Co-director Shawna took the lead on the Youth Hollaback! project and spoke with many experts on DIY activism, working with youth, art as a tool for social change, and more. She got to interview cool local folks, like Hanna from FORCE, as well as non-Baltimoreans like Tatyana Fazlalizadeh of Stop Telling Women to Smile. While the Pollination Project awarding us the Seed The Change grant made these interviews and practice runs possible, the opportunity to connect with other inspiring folks doing great social justice work has been another surprising benefit to our team personally. We’ve learned a lot, and we’re so happy our volunteer Rebecca will be leading more of these workshops in the future! If you have any interest of bringing our Youth Hollaback! workshop to a group of kids you know, just email us at [email protected]