I've Got Your Back, Shared Stories

“The fact that other people noticed, watched, and moreover seemed to enjoy the show is simply mortifying.” | Camille’s Story

This morning on my way to work I was playing the timeless game called…

“What’s That Smell?!”

I finally narrowed my suspects down to the smirking business man scarfing down a breakfast sandwich in front of me, or the man who appeared to be a student sitting to my left.

When I looked over at the man to my left, I realized he was watching porn on his phone. Not just watching, but holding his phone out in full view of his activities. There was no question I was meant to see what he was watching, and let’s not even mention that this guy smelled like he may have also crapped his pants in the process of his little game. Where does the sandwich-scarfing business man fit in to all this? He was smirking all the while because he was watching it happen!

Look, I try to mind my own business on the train. Whatever you are reading or watching or listening to is none of my business unless it encroaches on my personal space. Watching hardcore porn holding your screen in front of me is a deliberate act of harassment. The fact that other people noticed, watched, and moreover seemed to enjoy the show is simply mortifying.

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I've Got Your Back, Shared Stories

“It went predicatably…comments, questions, terrible flirtations I responded to politely, at first.” | Marie’s Story

So. I’m going to tell you about a rather tedious and extended bit of annoyance I encountered yesterday, walking through East Boston.

I am generally not one to avert my eyes from passerby, and this at times leads to unwanted social interactions. From men. Especially in my neighborhood, where gender behaviors have a certain anachronistic sexism jacked up on steroids.

I walk along head up, and meet eyes of passerby. Sometimes, it is interpreted as a welcoming, an invitation to a passing man, because I am female, and moreso, because at that moment was dressed as such (happens less in boy drag because then I’m interpreted as more likely to be lesbian…but still doesn’t stop this, just lessens the fequency of it).

And one man…a drunken one at that, takes to my side as I walk. It went predicatably…comments, questions, terrible flirtations I responded to politely, at first. Several blocks later, it turns sexual with outright vulgarity about how skilled at oral he is. I stop being polite and tell him he is wasting his own time, go the fuck home. I am ignored…do I have a boyfriend? I might, but it has no bearing on my lack of desire to have you tailing me like a lost puppy. He might not like it, eh? No, *I* might not like it. He gets huffy but forges onward anyway.

Several MORE blocks later, I finally stop. I ask him if this has EVER, EVER had any success rate? Why on earth would you think a woman would respond positively to this kind of BS? Do you realize what a total IDIOT you sound like? No woman likes to be followed and spoken to like a storybook whore, from a total pig.

He gets confused. Then angry. He looms a bit threateningly, to which I ask if he intends on escalating this to a level of violence….for which he is FUCKED if so, because now we are in a public square, people all around, and he, being drunk, is likely to get fucked up. He backs off seeming embarrassed but STILL lingers after me. But why not? He asks. He genuinely looks confused.

You should really just GO THE FUCK HOME. And never, ever try this approach again. “It makes you so much less of a real man” I say, knowing that particular choice of words will fuck with his reasoning, and seems to create some serious conflict judging from his face.

Then he turned tail and hustled away.

Oh man I am glad it was broad daylight, in retrospect. I don’t back down very well.

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I've Got Your Back, Shared Stories

HOLLA On the Go: “He followed me until I got to the stairs.”

A young male at the T stop harassed me when I got off the train at around midnight. He complimented my outfit and then asked me out, and continued trying to get me to go out with him after I repeatedly told him that I have a boyfriend. He followed me until I got to the stairs leading up to Hammond St.

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HOLLA On the Go posts are those submitted through Hollaback!’s mobile apps – learn more here!

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Britni, Hollaback! Boston, Local News, Shared Stories

Clinic Harassment? Hollaback and Help #ProtectTheZone!

You probably know that the basis of Hollaback! Boston’s work revolves around sharing stories of street harassment on our site. But did you know that we also accept stories of abortion clinic harassment? IT’S TRUE! We do. And if you have one to share, we encourage you to submit it to us. BUT WHY?

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Recently, the Supreme Court of the United States struck down the 35-foot buffer zone that has existed outside Massachusetts abortion clinics since the 1994 shooting of 7 people at 2 Boston-area clinics. They determined that the buffer zone was a violation of protesters’ free speech.

But we all know that abortion clinic protesters are not just politely standing outside clinics asking you nicely to reconsider your decision. They use tactics like intimidation, harassment, and violence. And that makes for some very unsafe public spaces, which is what we are actively working to change here in Boston.

Luckily, Mass politicians are taking this issue seriously and are working on legislation to put protections back in place. This new legislation was filed earlier today by Senator Harriette Chandler. It’s titled An Act to Promote Public Safety and Protect Access to Reproductive Health Care Facilities.

However, in order to strengthen the case for protections outside of clinics, the courts need to know how necessary these protections are. And the way that we can let them know is to hear from YOU! Your stories can change the world and here is an opportunity to do just that.

Have you been harassed outside of an abortion clinic? Tell us about it. Feel free to submit anonymously if you’d like. Tweet us @HollabackBoston. Tweet using the hashtags #protectthezone, #jointhedissent, and #notmybossbusiness.

Every story matters, and every story makes our case stronger. Protecting the zone starts with telling your story to the world. You have the power to help us ensure that everyone in Mass can seek reproductive healthcare in safety.

Not sure what we’re talking about? Here are some resources:

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And don’t forget to check out coverage of the Supreme Rally, which we were proud to co-sponsor!

-Britni

image credits: 1-NARAL Pro Choice MA; 2-Kate Ziegler

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I've Got Your Back, Shared Stories

“He grabbed me again and said ‘Just wait a minute, come on.’” | Katy’s Story

A guy approached me at the T stop and started a friendly conversation, mostly appropriate small talk. Quickly turned a bit more flirty, and then he asked if I had plans tonight – I said yes and explained that I’m leaving Boston soon so I have to pack. He asked if I’d be back and I said yes, at which point he grabbed my hand and said “Well then we have to hang out!” I laughed it off and tried to let go of his hand but he still held it, and kept holding it as we got off the train. I said “I’m not going to hold your hand” and “I’m sure my boyfriend wouldn’t like seeing me holding someone else’s hand” (which in retrospect implies that a man’s ‘ownership’ of me is more important than my own objection, which is lame, but anyway), I then aggressively removed my hand. He grabbed it again and said “I’m sure it’s fine” to which I replied “Nope it isn’t” and tore my hand away again. I pointed in the direction I was leaving and said bye, but he was going that way too, so I turned and tried to go another way, but he grabbed me again and said “Just wait a minute, come on” and I said no, I had to meet my friends. He then tried to hug me and I pushed him away and he said “Come on, you’re not going to hug me goodbye?” and pulled me in again, and I said NO, pushed him away and left the T station quickly.

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I've Got Your Back, Shared Stories

HOLLA On the Go: “There was no reason for him to be sitting so close.”

I was taking a nap on the Common and woke up to find this middle-aged man sitting beside me, staring at me. It was especially bizarre because the hill was fairly empty, so there was no reason for him to be sitting so close to me. When he noticed I woke up, he left.

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HOLLA On the Go posts are those submitted through Hollaback!’s mobile apps – learn more here!

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I've Got Your Back, Shared Stories

“I felt so helpless and pissed off.” | ASH’s Story

Getting catcalled an harassed on the street is a daily experience for me living in the city (from Colorado, to Orlando, to Chicago, to here in Boston). Got a lovely wake-up honk 10 steps outside my door yesterday morning. Because that’s just what every lady needs at 8am to feel “beautiful”!

While this sort of thing happens daily, one particular night sticks in my mind. It was the middle of winter and I was coming home from the gym & grocery store, laden with grocery bags, many layers of clothing, wearing my old winter coat with the hood up, my face & figure obscured.

As I came to the intersection of Warren, a one way street turning out onto Gore/Medford, an SUV pulls up and 2-3 males in it that start immediately cat calling me “Hey baby” “Come over here” etc. etc.; the usual comments. It was after dark and the street was deserted, not to mention I had my arms full of bags. I quickly crossed in front of their car and kept walking, only to have them continue to whistle and shout at me as they turned onto the street and drove slowly past me. I was terrified they were going to follow me home and felt trapped, like I couldn’t run away with all the things I was carrying and them being in a car and me on foot. Thankfully they drove off. When I got home I burst into tears telling my boyfriend what had happened (I can’t remember the last time I cried, and I was embarrassed that they had gotten to me like that). I felt so helpless and pissed off. I now always go with my boyfriend to the grocery store at night. It’s depressing that I can’t walk three blocks to my house alone.

I've got your back!
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I've Got Your Back, Shared Stories

HOLLA On the Go: Acceptance

My best friend got called down to the principal, and was told that her clothes were “distracting to her male peers” and that she needed to get a “new wardrobe” by Monday. The way she dresses is exactly the same way most girls do, the only difference is that she’s a D cup. The next week, two boys told her that she “had a nice package”. When I told her about reporting them, she said that it was useless because it’s always going to happen–the school made her accept the catcalling.

I've got your back!
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HOLLA On the Go posts are those submitted through Hollaback!’s mobile apps – learn more here!

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