I've Got Your Back, Shared Stories

“He turned around so his back was to me and said, “selfie!” but I could see that he was only taking a pic of me.” | An Anon Story

So on my way home from work the orange line was having delays so I dozed off. I was sitting toward the middle of the train car. When I woke up right before my transfer, I stood up and this guy, probably around 16 years old, came over to me, turned around so his back was to me, and said, “selfie!” And held up his phone in front of him, but I could see that he was only taking a pic of me. Then he walked back to the end of the car where all his friends were laughing. I got off the train.

I wish I’d held up my hand or a middle finger or something but I’d just woken up and was a little out of it.

I look queer/gender non-conforming and apparently my being on a train was funny somehow. I’m really mad at this kid.

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Gina, Introducing, Shared Stories

Introducing: Gina!

This summer we’re welcoming an inspiring group of interns and fellows to our team to lend a hand. Gina is our summer Communications Intern, a student journalist and member of her campus arts community, and will be taking over social media (among other things) during her break from Amherst College. We’re excited to have her on our team – welcome, Gina!

introducing: gina! // hollaback! boston

Tell us about yourself - what are you into? I’m into online journalism, early twentieth century American literature, and going out for ice cream.

Define your style: I can’t tell if I’ve finally achieved the kind of effortless style that revolves around really great basics …or if I just wear the same clothes every day.

Favorite Boston fact: Milkshakes are called “frappes” here. That’s important to know.

Your favorite place in Boston? The Swan Boats!

Have you experienced/witnessed street harassment in Boston? What stood out most in your memory? I’ve only been in Boston for a few days for the summer, but someone honked at me while I was running the other day. I was so pissed because that type of thing always happens so fast I can’t even flip them off.

What’s your signature response to street harassment – your go-to Hollaback? The disdainful, withering glare, sometimes while shaking my head no. But my favorite move is being an active bystander. Once I was walking with a friend at night and I saw a girl walking alone on the other side of the street – unfortunately, so did a group of rowdy guys, who proceeded to harass her. I won’t write exactly what I yelled at them, but it was something along the lines of “leave her alone.” It wasn’t much, but I just wanted to let her (and them) know that other people were paying attention to the harassment.

Your superpower is… I can get ready really quickly. Like, shower, get dressed, all that. I don’t know how great of a superpower this is because it usually means waiting for other people to finish getting ready but it’s always good in a pinch.

What are you excited about in 2014? I’m studying abroad in France in the fall!

What inspires you? I’ve always been inspired by fiction more than anything – books, movies, and the like. For example, I swear I wouldn’t be the kind of student I am if it weren’t for Hermione Granger and Elle Woods. Fictional characters are inspiring to everyone, I think, and most of all when you can see yourself in them. That’s why representation is so important.

If you could leave the world one piece of advice, what would it be? Don’t be sorry, be better. I read that on the wall of a bathroom stall.

Gina

image credit: Gina Faldetta

“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: Ignored

Walking down the street, 30 seconds into my walk, a guy yells at me from his car. I glare and ignore him and he yells “Fuck!”

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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

“Even on the best days, I feel like this harassment is my own fault.” | Rhea’s Story

i shop at the whole foods right near my house instead of walking the extra few blocks to go to the more affordable stop and shop, which probably makes me a yuppie and contributes to gentrification. i shop there because every time i walk more than a few minutes away from my house, some dude catcalls me, which probably means i’m bragging. i always give a polite thank you wave to the guys who slam on their brakes to let me cross the street, only to have them make kissy noises out the window, which probably means i was asking for it. i wear my headphones so i don’t have to make eye contact with the men looking me up and down and sucking their teeth, which probably means i’m uptight. it’s hot out today so i’m wearing shorts, which only makes these dudes whistle at me more, which probably means i’m an attention whore. on the worst days, i berate myself for being stupid enough to walk in the same neighborhood that always yields responses from these men and expecting different results. if i wasn’t unhealthy and hadn’t gained 10 lbs this winter, my clothes wouldn’t look so indecent. if i didn’t spend so much money on my organic groceries at whole foods, maybe i could afford to buy more conservative clothes. if i had a backbone, i’d tell all of the catcalling men to go fuck themselves. and even on the best days, i feel like this harassment is my own fault. ‪#‎YesAllWomen‬ ‪#‎sincerepost

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I've Got Your Back, Shared Stories

HOLLA On the Go: Quartered

I was jogging through my neighborhood this morning when I heard a construction worker saying he could bounce a quarter off my ass. What a pig.

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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’m aware that it could escalate quickly.” | TL’s Story

I work at a nonprofit in the South End/Roxbury (depends on who’s drawing the neighborhood border). It’s about a five-minute walk from the bus to work, and I generally feel quite safe walking around.

But every day, every single day, on that five-minute walk to or from work, one or more men comments on my appearance. It’s almost always the kind of thing many men think is a compliment: “Hey, baby, you’re beautiful.” “Love your hair.” “Love your dress.” “You’re pretty when you smile.” Of course, when I ignore them, I sometimes get things like, “Stuck up red-headed bitch!” It doesn’t matter what I’m wearing, whether I’m smiling, whether my head is down or facing forwards — winter, summer, every day.

I tend to think of this more as an annoyance than a threat — it’s always broad daylight and the street is busy. But I’m also aware that it could escalate quickly, so I’ve never confronted a single one of these men. In fact I sometimes reflexively say, “thank you,” when they comment on my hair, and then kick myself for it. I do frequently think of the kind of responses I’d like to give, but unfortunately, I know better than to say them.

What really makes me sad is that my mother, who is 70 and who taught me how to be a feminist, thinks this is normal and I just have to learn to live with it.

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I've Got Your Back, Shared Stories

HOLLA On the Go: Smile Honey

A truck pulled out suddenly into the sidewalk in front of me and I had to stop short. I glared and shook my head.

“Smile honey, it ain’t that bad.” Cackles as they drove away. Fuck you.

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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 enough to make a gal regret doing a good deed.” | Jess’s Story

I saw a man drop a bunch of cash, so I ran over to him to tell him he dropped his money. He was really thankful, but he was making too big a deal about it. He said things like, “Oh you’re so sweet. You’re so nice. I’ll buy you an ice cream,” and I tried to laugh it off, like, no, that’s fine. He kept going with stuff like, “Ha. I’ll buy you an ice cream. I’ll buy you a Mercedes!” And I was still trying to laugh it off. And then he said “You’re so great. I love you.” And I just laughed uncomfortably, really hoping he would go. But he didn’t. Then he said “I’m going to dream about you tonight.”

Thankfully, a guy friend stepped in and told him that was creepy, and it was crossing the line. The creep got really angry at my friend and told him, “Well I’m not going to dream about you!” (Like my friend even cares.) But as he was leaving, he mumbled that he was still going to dream about me. I felt so grossed out and embarrassed. It’s enough to make a gal regret doing a good deed.

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I've Got Your Back, Shared Stories

“I become more and more uneasy and feel I have to leave.” | Morgan’s Story

I had been working 29 days straight, finally had a minute to myself, so I went running and was lying on a towel getting some sun in running long leggings, purple shorts over and a sports bra. I had my earphones on and sunglasses on.

A man comes out of nowhere. Wearing white baseball cap, blue polo shirt, khaki shorts and red sneakers. Very clean cut.

I open my eyes and he is crouching next to me and tries to start a conversation. I politely say “I’m sorry, I can’t talk to you right now” He moves back and watches me from ten feet away for about 15 minutes.

I become more and more uneasy and feel I have to leave. Before leaving I turn around and pointed to him and yelled the following,

“Do not harass women! Do not talk to women! Do not stalk women! I was here first. There are a million places for you to stand. Why do you have to stand so close to me and watch me? Stop harassing women!”

He refused to move and clearly didn’t realize he was acting like a stalking predator.

I walked away and he started to follow me so I called the cops. My cell phone battery died while I was talking to them. I waited for them to show for 15 minutes. I walked closer to the T station and the guy kept walking closer and closer to me. I waited until he was within 50 yards to me and I started running away to my apartment.

I called the police and I had to explain to the MBTA that this guy crouching at my side at a park was harassment.

He said, “What if it had been a woman crouching to another woman?” I told him it would be harassment. I told him it is different for women because men are stronger than women. And the majority of all predators are men. And 1 in 4 or 5 women get raped in this country.

I have dealt with so much street harassment and attempted assault on my street and in this area over the past 3-4 years. I have learned to report everything and expect to get dismissed and use it as a chance to educate the responders that it doesn’t matter what they think, I feel threatened and it is a real thing.

I get targeted a lot because I look younger than I am and guys tend to think I’m in high school and am a good target.

I’ve been explaining your mission to stand up to harassment and not let your experiences get dismissed.. but most people say “There isn’t anything the police can do unless they touch you.”
I really feel like there needs to be laws in place that encourage police to investigate men that are stalking/harassing you or at least respond to the scene of the call.

I hoped to stay in urban areas, but I don’t like to be bullied as I go about my day in and outside of my apartment, and I feel since I look young and often move around doing my freelance work by myself, they see me as an easy target. It brings up my anxiety level for many days and makes me paranoid, angry and suspicious of all men. This anger affects my relationship with my fiance and my friends and family, because they worry about me and my sanity. I know I am sensitive and these incidents make me more easily scared and paranoid. Since it is a daily issue for me because of the street I live on and my family is another state, far away, it just builds until it brings me psychological pain.

Despite all of what I just said, I am proud of how I handled that situation and I am frustrated that there isn’t a public harassment/stalking law that requires police response and investigation to calls from people like me. It is annoying to get into a dispute and eventually have to run away from the harasser you are calling out because you are waiting with him for the police to come and they don’t come. I feel like it undoes the work I did to point out to the harasser what he is doing.
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I've Got Your Back, Shared Stories

“No form of harassment is acceptable but the straws these shmucks had to grasp at to feel powerful are truly depressing.” | Noah’s Story

I was visiting my step-mom in Connecticut a few weeks ago when we decided to get some late-night food in New Haven. As we were leaving the restaurant, a car of 4 bros slows down next to us. Conversation as follows:

Bro: “Hey, do you know how to get to BONNER street?”
Me: “Bonner street? No sorry, I don’t”
Bro: “We’re looking for BONNER street.”
Me: “Yeah sorry I don’t know”
Bro: “It’s spelt B-O-N-E-R!!!!!!!”
*car drives off, bros cackling in delight*

WTF. My step-mom and I were just overwhelmed with incredulous shock. Are these dudes straight from the 50s or something?! THAT is their idea of amusement?? No form of harassment is acceptable but the straws these shmucks had to grasp at to feel powerful are truly depressing.

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