I've Got Your Back, Shared Stories

“I was made to look like I was overreacting.” | Natalie’s Story

I was taking a walk with a friend of mine in a very quaint seaside town where you would never expect to get harassed. It was a wealthy coastal neighborhood that we both know well and had often spent time walking or sitting on the pier just catching up. As we walked along a bend in the road a man shouted out his car window “I like your boobs!” We were both startled to realize that he had a young boy in his car, presumably his son. My friend made light of it by acknowledging the fact that he was probably talking to my D cup and not her practically flat chest. I was appalled that he thought it was his right to vocalize his completely objectifying opinion especially in front of an impressionable child. It is never okay to speak to another individual in such a dehumanizing way but even more so in front of someone who views you as an example, be it a friend or a child. What’s worse of it that I was made to look like I was overreacting when I told people how I felt about it. Most people who have heard the story laugh and oftentimes ask what I was wearing….What does it matter “what I was wearing”?!
My breasts exist whether I’m wearing a bikini or a sweater and they were not developed for strange men to oogle and definitely not for them to comment on.

I've got your back!
16+

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I've Got Your Back, Shared Stories

“He grabbed my arms and forced himself on me, sticking his tongue down my throat.” | Kelsey’s Story

I was walking with a friend to the train station and a bunch of drunk guys came up to us. One went to hug my friend. I went to put my hand on her arm to try and help get her out of the situation when another guy from the group approached me from the other side and said, “Goodbye kiss?” I said, “No, thank you.” He grabbed my arms and forced himself on me, sticking his tongue down my throat. I tried pushing him away but he kept making out with my closed lips. He pushed away and rejoined the group.

I've got your back!
31+

Directors’ note: This story was submitted to our site late last week, and has more recently been picked up separately by several local news sources, including BostInno. Their original piece called the assault “weird” and compared it to a completely unrelated incident, which not only minimized the assault, but had the potential to cause harm to the victims who had experienced this. We applaud BostInno for being responsive to feedback about the piece and want to thank them for editing the article to address the concerns of the victim and the community. –Britni + Kate

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I've Got Your Back, Shared Stories

“He grabbed my hand and rubbed it across his groin in public.” | Ginnette’s Story

There was a guy I knew who was overly sexual and graphic, always saying we’ve known each other for a long time and we should have sex… He was very physical pushing me up against a wall once but this time he grabbed my hand and rubbed it across his groin in public. I was so disgusted with him and I told him so; he said, “You liked it…”

Ever since then when I see him I yell out “sex offender” as loud as I can…

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18+

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I've Got Your Back, Shared Stories

HOLLA On the Go: Wolf Whistled

Last summer I was wolf whistled and catcalled as well as leered at by construction workers AND the police with them near North Station. Boston police do little to stop street harassment. I’ve noticed many engage in it.

I've got your back!
17+

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

“Every single time.” | An Anonymous Story

Sometimes when I’m walking home in Allston drunk guys coming out of bars will harass me. Actually, every single time, not sometimes. Occasionally one of their friends will say “okay, enough of that” but not always.

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17+

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I've Got Your Back, Shared Stories

“It’s just not a fun feeling.” | Ivy’s Story

You know when you can just sense that someone is about to say something to you? And so you look away focus on your phone and try your best so steer clear of them?

Then, sure enough, the minute you walk past they yell “Hey Woman!”

It’s just not a fun feeling.

I've got your back!
13+

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I've Got Your Back, Shared Stories

“He positioned himself between me and the exit.” | An Anonymous Story

A man sitting across from me on the orange line asked to take a look at the drawing I had been working on. He was wearing a lanyard and badge from my college, so I felt comfortable enough to let him. He stared at me for the rest of the trip, then followed me off the train to the empty train platform when it was clearly not his original stop.

He asked to exchange numbers, and when I tried to brush past him he positioned himself between me and the exit and put his hand on my arm. I had to give him my real number because he called me to make sure it was correct, but managed to give him a fake name. I finally got around him and left while he waited to get back on the next train. I found a woman with children to walk close to for several minutes after leaving the station.

He texted my number for months afterwards asking for dates, getting angrier and angrier when I did not respond. I was jumpy on campus for a long time because I knew he worked or attended classes there. My male friends didn’t understand why I was so upset.

I've got your back!
8+

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I've Got Your Back, Shared Stories

HOLLA On the Go: Exposed

I was dining at a restaurant with another female friend and a man came up to the window and exposed himself to us briefly. Then he walked away and I ran down the street to take a vid of him. Can’t upload it, though. I tried to take a pic before that, but he left once I took my phone out.

I've got your back!
7+

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

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Shared Stories

“This instance was empowering, but also emotionally jarring for me.” | Elise’s Story

It was October and I had about an hour to kill before I was to babysit two adorable, innocent toddlers in Central Square, Cambridge. I was leisurely walking down Mass Ave to find a bank, enjoying the beautiful weather and some free time to myself, when I felt a presence behind me. I kept a steady pace and realized that the man behind me was quickening his, not in an effort to pass me but seemingly to get closer to me. As I walked slower to confirm this assumption, he got closer, so I became frightened and let it show by jolting across the street and jogging down the sidewalk.

As I slowed down, I passed a man who glared at my breasts. I kept walking. I then passed two men who raised their eyebrows and let out some disgusting, infatuated noises as they both stared at my breasts, then my crotch. I passed a fourth man who gave my body a full scan with his eyes. Fuming with anger, I then walked past a fifth man sitting beneath an umbrella on a patio table who looked my body up and down, narrowed his eyes and said with a smile, “Hey! You’re CUTE!” topping it off with a kissy noise, and a wink. I’ve had enough. “FUCK, OFF.” I screamed as this man’s greasy grin turned into a gaped hole. “JUST FUCK OFF!” I let out again, and he replied with a stutter, “w-what? WHAT? I can’t tell a cute girl she’s cute?!” To which I yelled, “NO, you FUCKING CAN’T you misogynistic PRICK! I’m not a WALKING OBJECT for you to fucking ogle over so STOP fucking TREATING ME LIKE ONE!” I gracefully flipped him the bird as I stomped off infuriatingly, his jaw still dangling on the ground.

I am a 20 year old woman who is street harassed daily, and before this happened, I was more apt to give a dirty look in response to any visual or verbal harassment I received than to vocalize my feelings. This instance was empowering, but also emotionally jarring for me. I called my boyfriend in tears immediately after, explaining what had just happened. Though this experience was traumatizing, I do encourage all victims to speak out against their harassers (if you feel it’s safe!). I am now much more confident in vocally responding to my harassers on the streets of Boston.

I've got your back!
6+

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Shared Stories

“I find it hard to speak up in moment because I fear for my personal safety.” | Jessica’s Story

Today I took a late lunch break and decided to go to the B Good up the street from my office. I was sitting with my body facing toward a wall of windows. As I was sitting, I noticed a man passing by who was staring at me very intensely. We locked eyes for a moment and I immediately tried to look away because his gaze made me very uncomfortable. He then preceded to stop in his tracks and bend over in the window, as if he was trying to look up the skirt I was wearing. He stood there for a minute, licking his lips looking at my knees. I refused to look at him and kept my knees clasped tightly together. He eventually moved on, but in that moment I felt frozen. No one else in the restaurant seemed to notice that this was happening and I felt like acknowledging the man would give him too much satisfaction.

There have been other instances where I’ve experienced street harassment, including men trying to grope me as they walked by. I am always repulsed when something like this happens, but I find it hard to speak up in moment because I fear for my personal safety.

I've got your back!
8+

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