Storybank

These are stories we’ve collected talking with others about harassment in our community. Story telling is a powerful form of activism that allows personal narrative to illustrate the impact of social justice issues. We are both overwhelmed by the stories we have received and hopeful that enough people speaking out about what happens to them will help us create a safer culture in our city. We update this as often as possible with new contributions.

 

“I was at my grandma’s house in the back yard playing with my aunt and sister and these two guys were on the sidewalk cussing at us. I was uncomfortable because at the time I didn’t know what it meant. My aunt started cussing at them back because we didn’t know what else to do.” Age 12

 

“I don’t know how to help but the harassment I’ve seen is downtown on Mass street.” Age 12

 

“When I was downtown I saw some teenager talking mean things about anyone who walked by.” Age 13

 

“I was in the hallway at school walking to my class and people kept saying stuff, calling me bad names. My ex-boyfriend always calls me slut and whore and bitch. Even though teachers talk to him about it, it happens on a daily basis and I want a way to make it stop as soon as it happens.

“I was in a store with my sister and I was holding a baby and someone followed us whispering and pointing. I don’t know what they said but I wanted to talk to them and ask why they were pointing at me. But I didn’t. I let my sister look at them and she grabbed her baby and they stopped.”

 

“I was in the hallway at school and a guy came up to me and grabbed my arm and hollered at me and whistled at me. It happened again and I was with my friend and he did it to both of us. When it happened it made me feel pretty uncomfortable and also I had never had that happen so it felt kinda weird.” Age 14

 

“I’m 14. My ex-boyfriend had bad intentions. Rarely did he look me in the eyes, he was too busy looking at my chest. One time, he attempted to put his hand down my shirt. I told him that it made me uncomfortable. And yet, later he hit and groped my butt. That’s why I broke up with him. He still looks at my chest, as do many people. I deserve more respect than that.”

 

“I’m 13 and this one time I was at Worlds of Fun and I was waiting in line for a ride. There was this really creepy (around 50 year old) guy that was staring at me and my friend. He winked at us and it made us feel really uncomfortable. I’m not sure if this is harassment but I would have really liked to have had something to say. I was also recently at my brother’s concert and a dad winked at me.”

 

“It happens a lot at school. Someone put their arms around me and it made me uncomfortable.” Age 13

 

“I was walking out of dance class and somebody (a guy) and his friends were walking by me and they were hollering and shouting at me. I was wearing a tank top and leggings.” Age 12

 

“In the hallways guys always call girls bitches and hoes.” Age 12

 

“When I was at Schliterbhaan during the summer there was a girl with a bikini top and these two guys told her to pull her top down because she had boobs. But when she said no they would call her a bitch and a slut.” Age 13

 

“Me and two other people were walking to the gas station and these two guys we didn’t even know kept following us and said ‘I’ll give you a penny for anything you give me’.” Age 12

 

“Me and someone were jogging around our neighborhood and we were in a tank top and spandex and a guy drove passed us and called us sluts. People walking behind me and my sister hoes. Also just me, usually when I’m walking home from school.” Age 12

 

“Once I was on my porch at my house and I saw this guy yelling at this girl about a dog and he kept following her. She kept ignoring him then she finally said something and I went inside.” Age 11

 

“I always see people staring at other people who aren’t the same as everyone else. One time when I was walking home these two teenage boys told me to walk faster/run or they were going to “catch me.” At the time I was younger and I was alone and this was really scarey to me.” Age 13

 

“When I was downtown with my friend and these group of guys said “would you like to come home with me.’ And we said no. And then they were just following us. So we went by the police and they turned around and left.” Age 13

 

“While walking downtown at night we were catcalled by a group of men. Things like “How are you tonight? Hey ladies. Where are you going? How old are you?” Age 17

 

“My friend and I were hanging out and when I had to leave we were sitting on a bench waiting for my mom (her dad was on his way to pick her up). When I left she was texting me and told me she was scared. I asked why. She said a car full of guys drove by her and started catcalling at her while she was sitting on the bench. She said they turned around and drove by again. As they drove by at a slower pace, they threw money at her while shouting things like “Show us your body!” and other things like that. She said she was terrified they would turn around and do something else. I was going to turn around and pick her up but her father arrived. It made me angry that they would do that to her. She gets catcalled a lot and because of that she dressed differently and acts differently to try to avoid being harassed by strangers.” -High school student

 

“Street harassment must stop because doing things that can very well be offensive is not okay and I am not an object and I am not interested. I have been followed by tow guys at school and didn’t respond  which apparently means they should keep trying to ask my name. Also, honking and commenting on the clothes I’m wearing is not something that anyone wants or needs from 20 year old strangers. Don’t ask my friends for my name or number because if I wanted you to have it, I would have given it to you. No thanks, pal.” Age 15

 

“Examples of my experience: A car full of people drive past and lean out while whistling and making comments. I made my friend call me while walking home from the bus stop because the day previous a creepy person in a car made me feel unsafe. A car on my street stopped to watch me walk down the street, they had no business to attend to, I watched them watch me. A friend was catcalled gour times while walking alone downtown one of those, a man, circled her on a bike. A man followed me and friend downtown, then confronted us and asked for our numbers. One time a teacher told me I was “looking nice today” in a tone that made me uncomfortable. My response to people who don’t think it’s a problem: To me, it is not a compliment. I have been made uncomfortable to the point where I do not like walking by myself in certain parts of town. I do not feel safe and I am not alone in these feelings. We cannot be ignored.” Age 15

 

“Examples of my experience: A car following my friend slowly to her house. Old woman downtown talking about young girls sexualized bodies. A car drove past four times and honked and whistled. Creepy older people following groups of my friends. A compliment is someone coming up to you and saying “hey, your hair looks nice today.” A compliment is NOT yelled and shouted, it is NOT comprised of offensive words. A person leaning out of a car whistling is not a compliment. Mainly thought of as male to female but all genders are harassers and victims. Creepy drunk guy on a bench while on vacation trying to kidnap my younger brother while hitting on my older cousin.” Age 14

 

“I’m a privileged, straight, cis male and have never been harassed. So I don’t have the right to talk about these problems as though they are mine. However, these are valid problems that people are facing and as a community we need to fight for the safety of our fellow human beings. My sisters deserve to live in a world where they don’t have to be embarrassed or afraid in a public environment. My sisters deserve to feel safe and express their basic human freedoms without being put down and viewed as objects.” Age 15

 

“I’ve had street harassment happen to me so many times that I just start to kind of dismiss it. But it is not okay and there needs to be a better way to address and stop it. That’s what hollaback is going to do.”

 

“I support Hollaback because catcalling is not okay. I have been catcalled multiple times just walking downtown or home after school It’s unacceptable, disgusting and I hope that change can happen and there’s something I can do rather than just brush it off like it doesn’t matter. Most women and girls do NOT appreciate being called out. We are not “asking for it” by what we are wearing or at all. It isn’t a compliment, it is disrespectful and needs to hopefully stop.”

 

“In my country (Denmark) street harassment is tackled a different way then over here. When you get called out on something like that we usually will talk back to the people who called you out. Like say stuff like “oh that was smart” or “wow you came up with that yourself” and we do this from a very young age. I know a lot of girls that have been called out on the streets and they either don’t care of will say something back. We are also a very free country where men and women are very close to equal. And we don’t discriminate against anyone (most people). We do have girls and boys with bad body image and people with issues. But when it comes to harassment on the street we are pretty good at helping others out. Once one of my friends got called out, we started laughing and just said “You too honey” and they got mad but didn’t do anything. We help each other in my country.” 11th grader