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Thursday, January 01, 2009

Done, for now

No, street harassment in this city is not done or over - especially in these chilly months - but we are...

We, the administrators of, are taking a break from this site. Our lives have taken different paths in the professional, personal, and political spheres, and we wanted to state as much here publicly rather than prolong this virtual silence.

We remain vigilantes about women's rights - especially the right to be really seen in this world, particularly without objectification. And we're committed to continuing our work to surface, highlight, and transform the realities that keep us from our own liberation.

We urge you to never forget conversations about power are happening in real time, all over the globe, between those of all races and classes. Engage them. will remain open, and we will continue to post stories and experiences as they come to us.

In solidarity,
Brittany Shoot & Hilary Allen

Monday, June 30, 2008

I love them, thanks.

Stuck in stupid traffic in Allston today, I've got my car windows down because my AC is busted and no money in sight to fix it. I'm chilling at a red light when some guy who I didn't even bother to look at screams from his truck into my car, "DO YOU LIKE THOSE BOOBS?!" 1. Uh, yes, they're mine, and lucky for me, I don't hate my body. 2. Why, do you? Cause it doesn't matter, fuckface. 3. There are better ways to engage me. Screaming from your car is never. going. to. work.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Walking on green

I was walking on Friday with a good friend from around the Chinatown/Boylston T stop area to Kenmore. We wanted to walk and talk after dinner downtown so made our way along the T path, above ground, and we would eventually go our separate train lines home from Kenmore.

Multiple times, particularly along Boylston street parallel to Newbury, we were accosted. Once, a man with a cup asking for money literally cornered my friend while I scooted out of the way. She got away, but not before having him get in her face and physically block her path.

We also ran into a variety of male post-game Sox celebrants who thought that because we didn't move off the sidewalk that they were completely taking over, we were worth all sorts of demeaning names. My favorite was the simple but loud "WHORE!" we got after passing an enormous group of guys who practically bumped us into the busy street.

Maybe I should be used to it by now, but I never quite get over how unwelcome men make me feel in my own town.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

High school girls strike back

So there's this guy on Dunlap Street in Dorchester who always stands out on his balcony and sleazes on every woman and girl who walks past. One day, his attention was deflected from me to a group of high school girls walking by-- wearing back packs, obviously underage-- who were going about their business when he called out, 'Heey, ladieees!' One of them asked her friends, 'What'd he say?' to which another responded, 'He said "Hey ladies," ... like a faggot.'

Admittedly, queerphobic slurs and gender policing aren't the answer to sexist harassment, but the harasser in question was so upset it was almost worth it.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Counter service

Today I was working in an Allston cafe when a man approached the counter. I was listening to music under headphones, but after several minutes, I realized he hadn't left the counter, even though he had his coffee. He was at least middle aged, and as I took off my headphones, I heard him asking one of the young baristas weird questions about school and her neighborhood. "Better be careful alone in the big city," he said, while continuing to lean in. She smiled patiently, and I couldn't yet tell if the guy was just awkward or super slimy.

Didn't take long to figure it out. About another minute in, he was asking if she'd heard of a certain club, would she like to go there with him, and could he take her to his hotel room while they were at it? I was done, and I could see there was no easy way for her out of the situation. I got up, approached the counter, made a face behind his back, and looked at the girl until she told him, "Let me help her." We then proceeded to talk about tea selection and shop hours for long enough that after she was done talking to me, the girl had an excuse to walk to the back of the store without further addressing the dude. He stood around for a while longer but finally had to sit down again.

On my way out, I stopped to see if she was alright, mouthing to the back of the kitchen area where only she could see me, "Are you okay?" She came up and thanked me, and her coworker came over too, saying, "I'm a chicken." I told them that I wasn't about to disempower them, but it obvious to us all that the douchebaggery guy wasn't about to take a reasonable "no" for an answer. Their manager had left a while ago - I'd seen him go - and I told them I had their back. It's my cafe too, damnit, and if we all aren't safe and happy, no one really is. If we don't watch out for each other, who will?

- Brittany

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Things will be great when you're...

I was at Downtown Crossing heading to a meeting down a side street when a guy yelled, "HEY BABY!" I turned around, but he wasn't even looking back at me anymore. It's not like this encounter ruined my day or hurt me, but what pisses me off is that I looked. He has that power over me - all men do - and that by just randomly screaming at me, he can have my undivided attention. And people think a power imbalance doesn't exist. Hah.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Park it over there

I was walking through the Common this morning, in a hideous mood and on the verge of tears for legitimate personal reasons. As I walked past one of the maintenance buildings, a man came out carrying a huge garbage bag. I had my head down, sunglasses on, and there were quite a few other people around, but - no surprise - he came right at me. "Hey honey, you got a cell phone, wanna make a dollar?" So angry that by being in public, by existing, I was immediately assumed to be available for whatever some man wanted from me, I snapped back loudly, "NO," and kept walking. He said loudly to my retreating back, "Well gee, thanks a lot," as if I'd seriously inconvenienced him. I was furious. Instead of turning around and berating him with tales of my personal sadness, reasons why he should have left me alone; and instead of just letting it go or being afraid, I yelled back, even more loudly, "FUCK YOU!" And it felt really fucking good.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Jerkoff on the Peter Pan

I took the Peter Pan Bus from Port Authority to Providence on Monday, Feb 25 at 8:00pm. The man across the aisle from me got pretty chatty right away, and I was friendly toward him until he started annoying me and I put in my headphones and stopped paying attention. I could feel him staring at me for most of the ride, but I didn't want to encourage him, so I kept my eyes on the road outside. After a couple of hours (and after ignoring several attempts on his part to get my attention) I got fed up and turned to look at him, hoping he'd leave me the fuck alone. No such luck.

He had his dick out of his pants and was openly jerking off - while staring at me.
I froze, turned away, looked back out the window; when I glanced back he was pretending to sleep. I sat there for a few minutes trying to will the bus to get to the city quickly, trying to figure out what I should do, and finally I gathered my things and stood up to move toward the front of the bus. He sat up, said "Oh, are we there?" and pulled his dick out and got back to work, this time with eye contact. I don't remember what I said - probably "Oh my god" - before I found a new seat.

I called my best friend & kept him on the phone til I was in a cab on my way home. I felt so ashamed that I hadn't made a scene - I was so shocked that I just sat there, frozen. I didn't know what to do.

The worst part is: this guy is from my town & I have to take the city bus with him every single evening. Last night I talked to the bus driver & supervisor & they're going to help me do something.

In the meantime, I took this picture. Hopefully it'll help somehow.

Amelia Allard
Providence, RI
(there's no Prov hollaback site yet - but I thought maybe it'd be good to post this)

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Even my mental health clinic isn't safe

This is a little different than the usual harassment stories that I have seen on the site, but it's just as frightening.

I live north of Boston. I have Asperger's Syndrome (an Autism Spectrum Disorder), Bipolar Disorder, and slight Agoraphobia (fear of leaving a safe place), and I go to a center in Lawrence for mental health and cognitive care on a weekly basis.

As I was arriving for an appointment a few months ago, I had barely put my car into park, when I looked up and found this strange man staring at me, literally inches from my driver's side window. With my developmental delays and poor mental health, I often have trouble responding to social cues and situations that require quick thinking. So I sat there, my eyes getting huge and paralyzed in my seat. Suddenly, he starts repeatedly knocking on my window, all while staring and nearly breathing on the door.

I abruptly put my car into reverse and backed out of the spot like a bat out of hell. I almost ran over his feet, but I really didn't care. I didn't know where to go - it was a small parking lot, and I was worried that he would catch up to me. Luckily, the front parking space was open, and a few people were standing by the door smoking, so I parked there and booked it, not looking back until I got to the front desk. After my appointment, I had to go through more humiliation and ask my counselor to walk me to my car.

It wasn't that long ago that I couldn't even walk to my mailbox without having a panic attack. Being able to run errands on my own is a huge step. But every time I get harassed, I get afraid that it will cause me to revert back to my old ways. I hated feeling that I needed a chaperon everywhere I went. Having AS and being mentally ill at the same time is already discouraging in many situations. The added trauma of being harassed and having trouble doing something about it is downright dehumanizing.

I hope that this might influence some of you to speak out a little louder, for those of us that need extra help fighting back.

- Sara C.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Never ends

I was visiting from friends in New York city (I live in Boston) and one night, my boyfriend and I went to see a movie in the East Village. It got out pretty late, and as we were trying to hail a cab, one drove past and its passenger screamed at me, "HEY BEAUTIFUL!" It's not like I don't experience harassment that's much worse all the time, but it spooked us both that even another man's presence did nothing to stop this one.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Harassment comes in many forms

I was walking into the Borders at Downtown Crossing and this guy said hello to me and held open the door. I responded, "thank you," and continued into the store. I guess I shouldn't have been so polite, since he followed me all over the store. I even went into the ladies room and stayed there for a few minutes, but when I left he had been standing next to the door and started following me again. I should have gone to a clerk and have them paged the manager or something. I really should have. But instead I was just ducking behind shelves and called one of my friends, letting her know what was going on, and keeping her on the line. I finally made a beeline for the door and when I got outside, I turned around to make sure this guy wasn't following me but sure enough, he was heading down the escalator staring rather evilly at me. I took off in a rather unconventional way to get to the Government Center T stop, absolutely terrified. And when I thought I saw him in the T station, I even got on a different train than the one I needed. Luckily, I heard a guy on the phone behind me calling the MBTA police, and the chaser disappeared. Not so much verbal harassment as stalking, but absolutely terrifying all the same.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Bring it on home

I've experienced many lewd comments whilst living in Boston, but definitely one of the more disturbing incidents of harassment occurred when I was in my hometown for a couple days this past summer. My car was running on empty, so I stopped to get some gas. It was the middle of the of the day, and at a busy suburban intersection. I filled up the tank and walked to the store to pay. A group of guys were sitting in a decrepit vehicle next to the curb, and one shouted at me that I dropped my keys. I looked down and nope, no keys. I threw a withering stare their way and kept walking, to hissing and cackling and "oh come on baby, we just tryin' to have some fun!" No, assholes, not fun. And they just didn't know how to quit. They were still sitting there when I returned to my car and one guy stuck his head out the window and yelled for me to "bring [my] sweet self back over." That did it. Normally, I ignore disgusting creeps like these guys. But I turned around and told them to go fuck themselves, as clearly they didn't know how to respect women enough to actually get one. And with that I got in my car and drove off.

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