Friday, August 21, 2009

Looking for a new Site Moderator

I recently moved out of state and though I can technically moderate HollaBackCT from Maryland, I'd prefer if someone from CT, with more time on their hands, took over the site. If you'd like to be the new site moderator, please email me at for more info. I would love to see this site take off a bit more, and be a safe place where people can tell their story and in order for that to happen, it needs a bit more publicity. If you're a student/staff/faculty at one of the CT schools or universities and want to take over this site, you can advertise by putting fliers up on campus and getting the word out there. I'd love to see this site get more popular and help more people looking for a safe and empowering website.

Even if you've never managed a website or blog before, please don't hesitate to email, i'll tell you everything you need to know and answer any questions you have along the way :)

Saturday, February 21, 2009

New Haven Running

"That lady has a fat ass. Shake it! Shake it! Shake it!" I couldn't STOP shaking it because I was running down the sidewalk minding my damn business. It's especially humiliating when someone's harassment keeps in rhythm with your steps and movement of your body. Should I have stopped and gone back half the block to tell the kid to close his ugly mouth? But there were A LOT of young men on that porch...

"White bitch got back!" Got em that time because there was a young girl in the group laughing along, so I called her out and asked her how she'd like it if strangers were yelling "black bitch" anything at her. She was definitely humbled and her little instigator boyfriends were embarrassed and didn't have anything else to say.

I just moved to New Haven six months ago, and I regularly run a few miles around town for a workout. Every few weeks one of my runs will be interrupted by high school aged boys (different groups) who are compelled to harass me. Interestingly enough, they always wait until I'm fifty yards down the sidewalk before they can get the balls to say anything. Sadly enough, not once has another boy in the clique tried to shut his ignorant friend up. To have had 14 and 15 year old boys feel entitled and excited to humiliate and degrade me as a 25 year old adult on a sidewalk on a sunny afternoon in my own damn neighborhood was really fucking disheartening. I don't have a problem cursing out/flipping off a random single man on a sidewalk who has shit to say, but when it's a gaggle of teenagers I already know I can't win.

Submitted by Allison

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Amateur Photographer

I was headed out to a bar in New Haven Sat night. Walking a few blocks from my apartment I noticed a sketchy looking guy pointing his phone at me. I was almost sure he was trying to get a picture of me so I flipped him off. It felt good to be able to do that but chances are he already snapped the picture. I hope i don't end up on some sex site because of the perv. I didn't think to take my phone out and take a picture of him too, but I should have!

Submitted by Casey

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Message from a Reader

Sexual harassment is around us everywhere we go and ignoring it will not make it go away. Neither will brushing it under a rug. Lawmakers and employers are not doing enough to stop this nauseating behavior so most incidents go unreported giving the harasser a false sense their behavior and harassment is acceptable. What is even worse is when someone actually does speak up and reports harassment they often face retaliatory actions from their harasser, employer and others. These retaliatory actions range from personal threats and stalking to the victim losing their job for reporting the behavior and legal actions against them. Feeling the need to help change these issues, I recently started a grass-roots non-profit organization (The Dogwood Project) that provides aid and support to individuals, both men and women alike, who have reported sexual harassment and now face retaliatory actions. I have also just created a facebook page for the organization. Please come join us in the fight against sexual harassment and for women's rights!!


Friday, November 14, 2008

Grope and Run

As happens all too often, this street harassment occurred on UConn's Storrs campus. I was walking back from a bar (waring flats, jeans, and a VERY modest shirt) to a friend's apartment, chatting casually with my friends as we entered the parking lot to their apartment complex, staying on the designated pedestrian area on the side. All of the sudden, a car slows down, pulls up next to me, and the passenger (white male) leans out of his car AS IT IS IN MOTION, gropes me, and then drives away. As I was just a tad more uninhibited than I normally would be at the time, I yelled "FUCK YOU!" as the car drove away. I wish I could have grabbed his hand and held on as his friend kept driving, or at least have the opportunity to get in his face and yell. Then that guy would not have forgotten me. Unfortunately, because all I was able to do was yell an expletive at a moving car, I'm sure that person thought nothing of it, and that's what makes me angriest.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Public Interactions & Street Harassment Survery

Cross posted on here by request, Please Take the Street Harassment Survey!

One of the problems with street harassment is that it has been so rarely researched and written about. I recently had brunch with Holly Kearl, who is currently writing a book about street harassment. Rock on girl.

Help her out by completing this quick online survey about street harassment:

The more folks who take it, the more accurate it is, the more that changes in the world. Hollaback survey-style!


Friday, September 26, 2008

Satisfaction Guaranteed

It was 7:00am on a weekday and i was walking past a school bus stop. There were a few kids standing around waiting for the bus. I didn't think anything of it. Until one of the boys, around 8 years old, began gesturing inappropriately at me and yelling, "satisfaction guaranteed!" over and over. He kept making the jerking off gesture with his hand and thrusting his body back and forth while looking at me. I attempted to walk by but he just followed me up the block, yelling and thrusting. This boy could not have been older than 8. Finally when i had enough and got the courage to say something i turned around and said, "do you even KNOW what you are doing?!" He said, "no, they told me to do it!" and pointed to the older boys standing back at the bus stop laughing. I told him what he was doing was very inappropriate and disrespectful. His eyes swelled up with tears. He was clearly scared and did not think i would reprimand him. I so badly wanted to talk to the older boys and call their parents but i didn't think it was my place. The whole experience left me feeling dirty as well as disappointed in our youth.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Rapes at UConn

A reader sent in the email all UConn students received as a response to the second reported rape at the University within two weeks.

---------------------------- Original Message ----------------------------
Subject: [UCONN_STUDENTS-L] Crime Alert
From: "Blicher, Ronald"
Date: Sat, September 13, 2008 5:49 pm

Crime Alert

September 13, 2008

Criminal Arrest - Sexual Assault

The following incident occurred overnight and is not related to the incident of sexual assault reported to you as a crime alert on Sept. 6. It is important for everyone in the UConn community to remain vigilant and to assist one another by calling the police if someone needs assistance. The person responsible for this incident described below has been arrested and is not considered to be an imminent threat to the community at this time.

On Saturday, Sept. 13 at approx. 2:28 AM, the UConn Police Department received reports of a sexual assault that had just occurred inside a residence at the Celeron Square Apartment complex located on Hunting Lodge Road. An unknown male had unlawfully and forcibly entered the apartment and bedroom of a female victim who was sleeping at the time. This male then sexually assaulted the female who was combative, alerting other people nearby. The male fled the apartment. Officers initially
responding to the incident had located a partially clothed white male in the area who had been attempting to force entry into another nearby apartment. It was determined that this male was the person responsible for the sexual assault.

He was arrested by UConn Police and held on $500,000 bond.

He has since posted that bond and has been released. He has been informed that he is not to be on the property of the University and although I cannot be specific, we have some assurance that this direction is understood and will be complied with.

Frank P. Cirillo, age 21, of 59 Penny Lane, Woodbridge, CT was arrested and charged with Home Invasion, Sexual Assault 1st degree, Burglary 1st, degree, Criminal Attempt Burglary-1st, Criminal Mischief 3rd, Larceny 6th, Breach of Peace 2nd.

Major Ronald Blicher
Division of Public and Environmental Safety
Director of Police Services
UConn Police Department
126 North Eagleville Road
Storrs, CT 06268
Tel. 860-486-4808
Fax. 860-486-2430

Thursday, August 28, 2008

When Should We Get Involved?

A reader sent in this story of a woman who intervened when she saw a girl getting physically abused, and I thought it brought up a lot of interesting questions about when to get involved.

I was waiting for my bus up to Ye Olde Transit Centre early this morning, and I noticed a young couple scuffling outside the Youth Employment Centre near my bus stop. They were older teenagers - the boy was 17 or 18, and the girl looked to be about 16. She was crying and yelling something at the boy, and suddenly they started pushing and shoving.

She took a swing and he grabbed her hand (he was easily 6' and she must have been 5'2 and about 100lbs) and he threw her up against the building and grabbed her throat. I was alone at the stop and reacted instinctively: I pushed my way between them and told the boy to back off. Predictably he started screaming at me to "stay out of his business" but I ignored him and worked on leading the girl away. She kept sobbing in apology, and flinched when the boy tried to grab her hand. The boy kept yelling at me to "stay out of it" and I told him that he if was going to assault his girlfriend on a public street than it damn well was my business, and that if he didn't back off and move away I was going to call the police.

...He muttered, "Fucking feminist bitch!" and moved away up the street.

Telling that he called her a feminist as a pejorative, but I digress. I've often seen things in public spaces that I found upsetting and/or well, criminal, and I've spoken up when I've felt safe. But how can we gauge safety, or if other women want us to get involved?

I'm reminded of two stories...

A women's studies professor I had as an undergrad told my class about how her sister was in an abusive relationship - his battering her was so loud that the neighbors called often the police. However, the police generally made things worse: Not just because they didn't arrest her boyfriend and treated her as if she was the criminal - not believing her, asking if she had attacked him - but also because once they left, she was beaten even worse. My prof went on to say that from then on whenever she saw or heard a woman being abused, she asked if the woman would like her to call the police - assuming that she knew what was best for her own situation.

Another one (apologies, can't find a link to the original article anywhere) was from a couple of years ago when a woman was grabbed on a crowded subway platform by a strange man who was attempting to drag her away. As she fought him, he pretended that they were having a "lover's quarrel" - saying things like, "Oh honey, I'm sorry, come on now!" - so that the surrounding crowd wouldn't help her. The victim ended up grabbing another woman passing by and saying to her, "I don't know this man." The woman beat him off of her and held him until police came. (It was a good story!) But I remember asking myself why people wouldn't stop to intervene even if they did think it was a fight between a couple.

When do we help? How can we assess a situation and react accordingly?


Join the conversation here

Monday, August 11, 2008

Locally and Abroad...

Street harassment is not funny, it's not flattering, and it should be publicly acknowledged for what it is - making women and other minority groups feel like shit. Harassers do it because they believe that their victims won't speak up or resist....I have found that one of the best things you can do is publicly, loudly call them out on their behavior. I have been harassed on various occasions in Storrs, CT, even in broad daylight, by guys shouting things from their cars or walking by. It is frightening and humiliating, and it makes me angry as hell. About two weeks ago I was walking across campus and crossed a main road at 9 a.m., only to have some guy drive behind me and yell at me to turn around. I honestly was so shocked the only thing I could do was ignore him and keep walking. In retrospect, I wish I had given him the middle finger but it just didn't occur to me at the time.

I have also experienced street harassment in Europe. In London this summer my friend and I were approached in a public park where we were sitting on the grass, eating dinner, by two teenage guys who said "hey sexy" etc. We rolled our eyes and left the park, only to have them follow us for blocks. As we were familiar with the area and
were on a crowded street around dinnertime I just thought their behavior was annoying but then they continued to stalk us for about 20 minutes. My friend and I began to get frightened and ran into a pub to use the bathroom and avoid them. When we left the pub they were waiting outside for this point I was so fed up with their
crass remarks and disgusting behavior that I got in one guy's face and started screaming at him to leave us the f*** alone. The guy looked embarrassed at me making a scene and he and his friend walked away laughing. My friend and I were so shaken up about it, we mistakenly thought that because we were in a public place, we were minding our own business, and we weren't dressed provocatively, that we wouldn't
be a target. THIS IS NOT TRUE. You can't prevent yourself from street harassment - it can happen anytime, anywhere, and honestly why should you have to change your behavior to avoid assholes like this in the first place??

Thank you for drawing attention to this...people need to understand that it happens all the time.