My photo
Columbia, Missouri, United States
We are a forum for women and the LGBTQ community to stand up against street harassment, both physical and verbal. You have the right to feel safe and happy in public spaces without being the target of objectifying, homophobic or plain offensive speech. Don't walk on, Holla Back!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Charmer Wannabe downtown on Broadway.

A couple of years ago I was walking downtown from my car to a restaurant when a guy hung his head out of his car window and started yelling "hey baby how you doing?"
I was annoyed and so flipped him the bird. Annoyed that I hadn't responded the way he wanted he then started screaming:
"Whatever, keep walking fat ass! Go drink a Slimfast!"

Apparently when I rejected him I became unattractive.

Getting physically attacked in broad daylight isn't my idea of a fun afternoon.

A while back, My friend and I were walking down Broadway towards Osco Drug (close to Broadway and Providence). We saw someone biking behind us, so we each stood on the grass at either side of the sidewalk to let the person go. It took them a while to pass us, but they finally did.
We thought that was a bit weird, like they had wanted to stay behind us or something, but we just kept going.
We went into Osco and spotted the individual from the sidewalk in the store, not too far from us. We walked towards them, to let them know we were aware of their presence, that they couldn't catch us off guard, and they slipped out of the store.
Next we went to the Public Library.
We were there for a bit, when out of the corner of my eye, I spotted the person who had been following us walking through the library.
We thought maybe if we spent enough time in the library, the stalker would give up and leave.
We stayed for a while, but when the person didn't get the hint, we decided our best bet was to leave asap. We walked down Broadway, heading to my friend's house. It was 3 or 4 p.m., pretty good traffic in the streets, broad daylight (it was August). We got to Stewart Park and saw the person heading on their bike towards us. Noticing cars coming our way, we decided to cross the road, in hopes that the stalker wouldn't cross in a busy street.
But they did.
Tired of being frightened, we stopped at McBaine and Broadway and I turned to our stalker and said, "Look, what is your problem? Would you just leave us alone!" They got spooked, and rode away. We thought they were gone for good when suddenly they came up behind us, grabbed my butt and my chest and biked off quickly onto Aldeah street before we got the chance to say anything.
It all just happened so fast. I wanted to stick a foot out and kick them off their bike, but I didn't want to risk any further harm to myself or my friend. We rushed home and stayed inside for a long time.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

3rd time is... STILL not actually charming.

This seems like this happens all the time and until now, I've just brushed it off or ranted to my friends, but I think telling these stories will empower us and help stop street harassment. Here are some of the encounters I've had in the last 6 months. Most of the the harassment I've received has happened during the summer.

I recall one evening I was walking to a friend's house to hang out, it wasn't too terribly late maybe 9ish and the street was pretty quiet.
I live on 5th and my friend lived only a few blocks away on 9th so I wasn't worried about walking alone.
These four dudes were standing in a group and as I passed on the other side of the street they began to yell "Hey, Cutie...What are you doing?" "Where are you headed to all by yourself?"
I didn't know how to respond, so I just played the nice card, politely smiled.
Then one of the dudes came up to me and introduced himself as "Blue", he asked me what I was up to and what I was doing out so late. I felt totally uncomfortable but didn't want to provoke anything so I just said I was going to my friend's and that it wasn't too late at all for me to be out and that I had to get going because I was late. He reached out for my hand saying something about how I'm so beautiful and he just wanted to touch me. I said no thanks and that I had to go because I was so late. I rushed off feeling small and pitiful and had my friend walk me back home later that night.

Another one happened again in the summer when I was leaving my house to walk downtown to the Peace Nook, and two guys were walking towards me. One was visibly drunk and started the cat calling. He stumbled towards me and tried to touch my hair. The other wrangled him in and apologized for his friend's behavior, and then let me go on my way.

And finally, this one happened just two weeks ago...when I was walking home during the snow storm.
My nose was running, my glasses were fogged and as I passed the court house on Walnut street a man walking past remarked, "Girllll, you sure are looking finnnnnnnnnne" and then proceeded to keep saying "Owwww, girllllll" as I passed.
I didn't say anything or really even look at him. I was so angry that this keeps happening to me and that I don't seem to know what do to about it.

Post by Mary

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Hiding doesn't make the harassment stop.

I am Saudi, I grew up in a strict Muslim home. Here is a bit of information about the faith that a lot of people don't know. The practice of hijab, or wearing the veil was actually a measure designed to protect women from harassment and molestation when they left their homes. Back in the day, on the Arabian peninsula, female infanticide and the like was pretty common, and the veiling was supposed to keep the perpetrator accountable for their actions so they couldn't pull the whole "she seduced me" crap. Well, I don't really believe in this method, and I do not now nor will I ever practice hijab. I live in a town in Missouri in the 21st century, every night I take precautions. I walk a familiar way home, I walk very briskly, looking ahead so it is hard for someone to approach me, I keep my headphones in even when I am not listening to music so I have a reason not to respond to the yells out of cars or across the street. But even doing all these things street harassment happens to me on a regular basis and I do worry that something worse than the yells and occasional arm grab will happen. It is frustrating to me that these people have so much control in my life.

Friday, January 7, 2011

No, actually, we aren't hookers.

My friends and I ( two other girls and a guy) were walking down the street back to my house which was less then a block away) when a shady dude pulled alongside us and beckoned my guy friend over to him. He preceded to ask him "how much for one of your girls" And when our friend told him to fuck off and that we weren't "his girls" or for sale he went on to make kissing noises and tongue rolls at us. It was so fucking infuriating but in situations like this I choke up and I don't know how to react. I want to lash out and scream and fight but I'm always afraid of "starting shit" or getting my ass kicked.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Acknowledge, Assess, Act

Streetharassmentdisruption.blogspot.com, a new site has recently come to my attention. The 3A's of Street Harassment blog explains, in great detail, street harassment perpetrators. It seeks to provide women with calculated responses (rather than responses made in the heat of the moment that are angry and unplanned) to harassment based on 3 guidelines: Acknowledge, Assess, Act.
It proceeds to basically profile many different kinds of perpetrators from "Charmer Wannabe" and "Peacocking Showoff" to the "Overgrown Bully" and "Opportunistic Predator".
It also gives an entire commentary on what bystanders, and male bystanders specifically, can do to help end street harassment.
This blog is a great resource for anyone wanting a more in-depth look at the ins, outs, whys, and hows of street harassment.

In other news, unfortunately the plans regarding the Sister Spit workshops have fallen through, but never fear, we are dedicated to getting this project off the ground and into the streets of Columbia, and you KNOW we have a few more tricks up our sleeves.

In the meantime, those who read this blog, please inform your friends and other acquaintances about us and encourage them to post stories about their experiences with street harassment!


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Current projects .

Current projects for HollaBack CoMO:

~Possible map of Columbia to pinpoint street harassment where it happens most frequently.
~ Teaming up with the University of Missouri and Sister Spit and members of INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence to bring workshops on writing and violence against women to the campus (it would be open to anyone!).
~ Working with the Women's Center to do a speaking engagement and get people interested and involved.
~ Movie Night/Happy Hour to communicate with other folks about current projects in a more laid-back atmosphere.
~ We have a New Logo!

Have other Ideas? Email them to:


~ Luci