I live right in downtown Columbia and one day, about a week ago, I was sitting on the steps to my porch, enjoying the weather and a drink with my boyfriend.
I live right on a street corner, so anyone who stops at the stop sign is directly in front of me if I'm outside.
A car pulled up, and since we were sitting facing the street, I had to look into the car. There was a man in the passenger seat who turned to his right staring at me, with his head completely out the window. He winked at me and over-exaggerated liking his lips and air kissed me. I just raised my hands up and shook my head as if to say "What the hell are you doing? Can I help you?". The car finally pulled away, and I saw the man physically turn around in his seat to continue staring at me, so I circled my finger to say "Turn back around in your seat". This made him mad and he yelled from almost a block away, "I'LL BE BACK FOR YOU TONIGHT, BITCH", and with that the car sped off.
All I had time to do was yell "FUCK YOU" at him, and I'm sure he didn't hear me.
Obviously he was threatening me. He knew where I lived, or was staying, and he wanted me to think he would come back later to.....have a nice conversation? I don't think so! He wanted me to feel scared of him, and to worry that he would come back to harm me.
Well guess what, it didn't work. He made me think he was a loser and an idiot. Good job buddy!
- 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!
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
My name is Luci, and I'm one of the people that runs this site.
I'm so glad you're here! Here's some info about us as we get started with this project.
HollabackCoMo is a branch of a larger network of websites. We provide a place for women and the LGBTQ community to fight back against street harassment.
Street harassment...you know... when you're walking down the street and some idiot yells out to you "I want to fuck the shit out of you".
When you're trying to buy a soda and the guy standing in front of you turns around and after obviously checking out your breasts, says "What, you can't smile?" or when you're trying to go on a date with your partner but some drunk person keeps asking you if you'll make out because "lesbo's are totally hot", or you're walking to work and someone yells "Faggot" at you out their car window.
These are just examples, but they're equally frustrating, and part of a much larger spectrum of harassment that eventually leads to physical abuse and/or rape.
Often times, when these comments are made to us, we are told/taught to accept them graciously for they are only meant as harmless compliments.
We are told "hey, boys will be boys" and "if you're going to wear that, you should shut up if you get catcalled".
We are taught that it's part of our reality as minorities of this society to accept any kind of harassment we receive, and to pardon our harassers at the expense of our own well-being.
Well not anymore.
Usually when this kind of situation happens, it seems easier to ignore it.
This can be for multiple reasons. You may feel that if you respond, you are inviting more conversation with someone you didn't even want to talk to in the first place. You might understand that you'll have to explain yourself, and/or get into an argument that is frustrating and pointless. You might be alone on a deserted block and be worried that if you acknowledge the person, it could become a physical encounter. You might just not have a good comeback, or be so frustrated at the situation that you want to escape it asap.
Now you have Hollaback to support you!
We believe that if you feel it's safe, and you'd like to do something about it, that you should stand up for yourself in these situations.
There are many ways you can do this, by yelling or speaking "holla-ing" back at the harasser, by taking a picture of the harasser and posting it here for everyone to see, or simply by coming home, getting online and posting your story here for support and understanding.
No matter what you do, we want to hear about it. We want to form a community of people in Columbia who have experienced street harassment and who've had ENOUGH and want it to STOP RIGHT NOW!
We can work towards that goal by creating a support network through this website.
Your posts will be anonymous unless otherwise specified, and the comments will be disabled so no one can put their two cents in about your experiences, but just knowing there are other people experiencing these injustices, makes you feel empowered to create change.
So welcome to HollaBack, and I'll start with the first story so you all can follow suit!!
<3 a safer Columbia, Mo.