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.

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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

“He was forcing his opinion on me, then told me a ‘hilarious’ rape joke.” | Rowan’s Story

I was in Harvard sq and a guy was forcing his opinion that I’m stupid for attending to my service dog’s medical needs on me and then told me a “hilarious joke” about a person in authority raping someone. The punch line was that the rape was actually of an animal.

RAPE IS NEVER FUNNY. ABUSE IS NEVER FUNNY. ABUSE PERPETRATED BY PEOPLE IN POWER IS NEVER FUNNY. ABUSE OF ANIMALS IS NEVER FUNNY.

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I've Got Your Back, Shared Stories

“It is not a compliment. I do not feel empowered. I feel like I need to hide myself away.” | Michelle’s Story

I was walking to Dunkin’ Donuts. I was outside for maybe 5 minutes and I had FOUR separate men hit on me. I told each one of them to fuck off. The first guy told me I shouldn’t be rude and the last guy said I should take it as a compliment. No, I will do none of these things. I do not sit idly by while I’m being harassed, because that’s what this is. It is harassment. It is not a compliment. I do not feel empowered. I feel like I need to hide myself away. I am not wearing make up and I am sick. This is not the face of a person who is looking to get hit on. This is a person who just wants some goddamn coffee and a breakfast sandwich.

I am a rape survivor and catcalling is not harmless. It is detrimental to my psyche, but I’m going to force myself out of the house today because I refuse to feel like a victim again.

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I've Got Your Back, Shared Stories

HOLLA On the Go: “She’s been wearing sweatshirts ever since.”

My best friend has insanely huge boobs, so she falls out of anything she wears. In school one day, she was wearing a tank top. Our chorus teacher threw her his big white button up shirt in front of the whole class and made her put in on. Then he said “don’t worry only 3 girls wore this at the concert” and laughed. Joking about publicly humiliating your 14-year-old student about the size of her breasts. She’s been wearing sweatshirts ever since.

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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

HOLLA On the Go: Followed

A shirtless guy offered me and two friends money for sex then followed us into a restaurant. When I asked an employee to remove him the harasser shouted that I was a liar and 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 was simply walking by for an evening stroll, minding my own business.” | Ryan’s Story

I’m a guy with long hair. Couple of douchebros and douchettes who have no life were talking shit to me. I was simply walking by for an evening stroll, minding my own business, and one of the cowardly women in the group told me to get a haircut when I was about 300 feet away. I have no respect for these people because they have no courage or honor. Especially that one woman. Like I really want to be like you and hang outside of a public bathroom doing drugs and drinking*sarcasm*

Sorry the pic is bad quality. I wanted to get the pic from a safe distance.

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Hollaback! Boston, Introducing, Pinar, Shared Stories

Introducing: Pinar!

We’re continuing to introduce our summer team – including Summer Fellow, Pinar! Pinar is currently a college student in Worcester majoring in Cultural Studies & Communication and minoring in Women’s & Gender Studies. She’ll be designing a series of posters for us this summer to help Hollaback! Boston raise awareness about street harassment, and we are thrilled to have her on board. Welcome, Pinar!

introducing: pinar! // hollaback! boston

Tell us about yourself – what are you into? I’m super into social justice and its activism – hence my summer project with Hollaback! Boston. When I’m not doing activist things, I’m probably either reading about physics, dancing, reading, or watching something!

Define your style: Clothing-wise, I’d say colorful and simple! I love bright-colored clothing items, and match them with accessories. I tend to stand out, which is not always something I like! Behavior-wise, I’d like to believe I’m very open –I’m trying to be less and less prejudiced about all things, so I try to ask questions to understand more about other people’s perspectives before explaining my own. Other than that, cheerful but quiet! J

Favorite Boston fact: That I’ve always felt at home and taken care of whenever I go into Boston! I live an hour and a half away, but whenever I get to go to Boston, I enjoy myself, and Boston somehow manages to work out my problems. I’ve had a lot of efficient thinking sessions on trains to and from, had wonderful days even when I was feeling down, and got help from residents when I needed anything.

Your favorite place in Boston? Although I’ve only been to some parts just yet, I do love Faneuil Hall and the New England Aquarium. I suspect Boston Common will be replacing them as my favorite spot once I get to go on a sunny day, though!

Have you experienced/witnessed street harassment in Boston? What stood out most in your memory? On my (unfortunately rare) visits to Boston, I usually take the T and walk very little, so I haven’t had to experience or witness any street harassment… yet? I hope not to, I have had enough of them in Worcester, where I live. Just the other day me and my friend were sprayed with water after being catcalled by two men in a car, which was more disturbing than any street harassment I have had to deal with.

What’s your signature response to street harassment – your go-to Hollaback? A lot of the harassment I deal with is verbal, and most from people in their cars. I don’t feel safe enough to respond unless the person’s in a car, and when they are, I usually yell some sort of insult or gesture – and that’s only because I’d hate to let them get away without any reaction. If I felt safe enough I would challenge those people and ask why they do it, what they hope to gain… not that it would be a reasonable answer in any case.

Your superpower is… self-control. I can control my feelings/thoughts/actions really well, which has become very useful in a lot of situations! I can usually tone down everything and think logically, which helps me assess my security when I’m harassed, or come up with an eloquent response even when frustrated or upset.

What are you excited about in 2014? Apart from my project with Hollaback! Boston? Just being in the US, I guess! I have always been back home in Cyprus for the summers, but this year I get to live in my first apartment, cook for myself, own furniture and all those adult things! (The sad part is not getting to see my family a lot L)

What inspires you? Physics. Thinking about the universe, all that is out there, and what we are.

If you could leave the world one piece of advice, what would it be? Stop and think. Why do you think or do the things you do? What could make things better for everyone? Do that.

Pinar

image credit: Pinar Barlas

“Introducing” is an ongoing series in which we ask bloggers, activists, allies, entrepreneurs and assorted Bostonians about their inspirations, motivations, super powers and experiences with street harassment. If you know someone you think we should feature here, please drop us a line!

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I've Got Your Back, Shared Stories

HOLLA On the Go: You Wish

Already harassed twice this morning, running to catch a train at South Station and from a parking lot attendant as I pass an unmistakeable hiss: “Mmm yea, I’d like to get with that.”

Not likely. Poor manners. Want to change now.

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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

“It’s not about what we look like or what we wear or how we behave. Catcalling isn’t okay.” | Courtney’s Story

I walk to and from work every day, and this stretch of road [Dane Street/Somerville Ave] near the Somerville/Cambridge border always amounts to some sort of catcalling.

Last week, I was yelled at by three different men in three different vehicles within the 5 min stretch of road.

The first honked and yelled something indistinguishable like “woohoo!”

The second was aggressive and yelled, “Ho!”

The third (two men in the vehicle) yelled, “Hey girl!” laughing as they sped past me.

I would have most likely shrugged off one instance, but three instances–one after the other–made me angry, and near tears. I relayed the scenario to my boyfriend, who was angry for me. And has remarked how often I get yelled at as I walk.

Now, my boyfriend is good-hearted and respectful and considers himself a feminist, but after relaying this harassment, he responded by telling me about this woman who used to work with him was always complaining how men yelled at her on the street, but he (my boyfriend) thought she was making it up, because she was obnoxious, not attractive and overweight.

Needless to say, this comment infuriated me. I heatedly told him that it’s not about what we look like or what we wear or how we behave. Catcalling isn’t okay. Period.

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

“I was already completely devastated and traumatized, but I had to endure catcalls, groping, and students telling me that I’m lucky.” | Rachel’s Story

(tw: rape)

First of all, I want to thank Hollaback! Boston for reaching out and making me aware during the Pride parade!

As for my story, I’m a 15-year-old girl who came out this past year to my friends at school. Unfortunately, this came across as a “challenge” to a senior boy who’s been known for assaulting girls. He sat next to me every day in class, texted me creepy things, and followed me around everywhere. I didn’t respond, so he followed me to my house one afternoon and raped me. I was already completely devastated and traumatized, but I had to endure catcalls, groping, and telling me that I’m lucky from so many students and the perpetrator even tried to pimp me out to other students. I began to wear only baggy sweaters and sweatpants to stop drawing attention to myself. I even got threats from the gay community at my school, saying that I’m “not really gay” if I let myself get raped.

I am in ninth grade.

But thanks to amazing people like those at Hollaback!, I’ve realized my body is my OWN, regardless of its past. I will wear what I want and be who I am with pride, because nothing entitles anyone to my body like that. Everyone deserves to be safe on the streets and in their hallways. Let’s build a culture where that’s a reality for girls and women like me :)

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