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New submission from kathleen

At the Safeway, I was drinking a bottled tea and a man came up behind me and said really assertively “I hope you’re planning on paying for that!” I felt really unsafe, and said, “Yup I am” and then walked away.

I saw him about 30 minutes later asking 2 other 20-something women about where they work and offering to give them a ride. (They declined). He asked them a ton of follow up questions about where they worked, where they were going etc.

He was a tall, black man, probably about 65. Wearing black pants, leather coat, and a cowboy hat. Don’t accept rides.

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New submission from Sara

I went on vacation with my family in Sudan two years ago. I went out for a walk one afternoon, wanting to enjoy the sunshine and good weather. I was walking on the sidewalk when I noticed that a car was following me- I made the mistake of turning around to take a better look at the driver. But there wasn’t just one, there was a group of boys (probaby 20 or 21) years old encouraging the driver and sticking their heads out the windows. I think they might have noticed how scared or look because they started laughing. Then, to my horror, the driver started to steer the car towards me, onlly jerking it the other way when he was a few metres away from me. I thought this was a one time, thing. I thought the worse had passed. I thought they would just drive on and leave me alone. But the men persisted in their behaviour, and steered the car towards me another six or seven times. Finally, the car stopped beside me and one of the boys made a lewd gesture. It drove away after that.
I never mentioned this to anyone before.At the time of the incident, I was staying with my extendend family members in Sudan, and I felt like telling them about what happened or reporting the boys would shame them.
I was only 14 and I didn’t know what to do or how to feel and I hate myself for it.

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New submission from Jen

A couple weeks ago, I had a couple friends up to visit me. They hadn’t been to Montage, and I love the food there, so I insisted we go. I had been a few times with my husband and never had a bad experience.

Unfortunately, this was not the case this time. Practically right as we got out of our car, an older, dirty man eyeballed the three of us, and said “damn, you girls are lookin fine tonight.” He continued, but we ignored him and got into the restaurant.

Inside, we were behind three men, waiting to be seated. The waiter politely asked us if we were together. They said no, but after looking at us said they’d love to have us join them. The waiter ushered them away, and asked us if we wanted to sit with them when she returned. We laughed and said no, one of us was in a relationship, and the other two were married. We were seated at the bar, with a view to the kitchen. THIS part, I was happy with. The waiter handled it well.

What she DID NOT handle well, was apparently she told the kitchen staff about it, and for the rest of our meal, two of them were regularly trying to get our attention, even though we were clearly having a conversation, saying things like “I could be the reason you get divorced!” and crap like that. It was really uncomfortable, distracting, unprofessional, and disrespectful. It went on for our entire meal.

The worst part was, I was wearing a new dress that I liked, and I do not usually receive treatment like this. There was a thought that “if I hadn’t worn this, this wouldn’t be happening.” And I hate- HATE that that is true. I hate that it is in fact a reality that if I want to get as little of that type of treatment as I can, I cannot wear what I feel pretty in, because there will always be people out there who also think I look pretty, and feel like they have the right, or obligation to voice that in a rude-ass, disgusting manner.

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Harassment hits close to home

Walking from my house to my car at about 10:30 at night to grab something from my car I hear “Excuse me, beautiful lady” I didn’t turn around. “Excuse me”, the male voice insisted. I turned around because he had been polite and I thought he maybe just needed directions. “How’d you like to come here and bounce that sexy ass hole on my dick tip?” he yelled from across the street. He had 5-6 friends with him. I responded by telling him that I’m sure that kind of comment usually just slays the ladies. His friend responded “apparently not you!”
They were all walking away from me during this entire interaction do by this time they were pretty far away and didn’t warrant a response.
I had walked out of my house in pajama shorts and a t-shirt to my car that was literally 100 feet from my front door. The rage I feel, and in some ways, am still feeling is unbearable. I feel so helpless and violated. I caught myself thinking that perhaps my shorts were too short to have walked out of my house in. I know this wasn’t my fault and I’m glad that these stories are being heard. Keep your chin up, fellow hollabacks.

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How do I go into the world feeling safe in dresses?

It seems that whenever I wear anything but pants, I get street harassed. Especially when I’m riding my bike, but honestly, I can be walking or bus-ing or anything. Its just a thing that happens and will continue to happen until I perhaps get my face plastered on every single wall in Portland that says “don’t harass this person, she will beat your face in with a ULock”, or until patriarchy is officially smashed. Whichever comes first.

I keep my Ulock hanging on my handlebars as I ride for this reason. Not because I actually beat people’s faces in, but I have fantasies about it, and often wish I wasn’t so nervous in the moment to hold it up and ask them to repeat their proposition. I wonder sometimes if carrying around my pocket knife or mace would be better. (I also do that in case a car cuts me off or does something deserving of a dent in their car- beware drivers, treat the bikers nice or you may have a dent in your car).

This morning I was biking to school, wearing one of my favorite dresses. Not that I feel the need to really explain myself and what I was wearing because I honestly feel that I should be able to ride around fucking naked if I so wished and still not be harassed, but its one of my more “conservative” dresses. Its button-up and I have it buttoned all the way up today. It goes a couple inches above my knee, but I guess maybe a little higher when I’m riding. I’m wearing high socks and thigh garters- I’m doing the trick where I safety pin my dress to the garter so my dress doesn’t fly up. So I come up to Broadway and Grand, and I see these two dudes approaching me and kind of eyeballing me from the sidewalk. There was another biker in front of me. One of them got SUPER close to me, and way in my space, like within 5-10 inches of me on my right (bear in mind, I was a couple feet away from the sidewalk, they had purposefully walked into the bike lane), and one said, “hello young lady…” My heart was already pounding at this point, not sure what their intentions were or what would even happen- when the light turned green. I said, “hello…” in a really irritated/nervous tone I’m sure, as I sped off on my bike, pedaling as fast as I could while also being conscious that I was super nervous and need to be alert while riding on a busy street like Broadway.

On the way to school, I was considering all of the things I could have done. I’m done considering that I don’t wear dresses or skirts anymore. I like wearing them. Particularly on my femme days, of which I have a lot, especially in the last year or so. They’re comfortable and for me, they’re expressive of how I feel in a way I can’t quite articulate but in how I adorn myself. I think that’s how fashion and gender works…? So I spent most of my ride flustered and wondering how I can deal with this- except for the part where I had to do a high-speed-dodge of the stupid car that stopped in the bike lane, and ring my bell insistently before yelling at the post man with the huge dolly of crap that I was on his left (read: get the fuck out of the bike lane, asshole, you have a whole sidewalk for this). A lot of my thoughts were trying to convince myself that its not my fault for wearing a dress, and trying to deal with the fact that if it is their fault, and it is, then what does that mean if I have to enter the world with a barrage of boundary-crossing people who, while always being mental and emotional threats, may or may not be physical threats. How do I go into the world feeling safe in dresses? Or I guess, at all for that matter?

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Want to help fight street harassment?

We are looking for a volunteer to manage the PDX hollaback site — basically its writing a few posts a week and managing the hollaback posts.  Email us for more details: pdx@ihollaback.org

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Changing routes to avoid harassment

I live in the outer SE of Portland – a good 45 minute bus ride home from work for me. So the last thing after a long day I want is to be dealing with street harassers. I get off the bus at SE 136th & Powell and a few blocks to where I live. Unfortunately this means walking by two strip joints, a pawn shop, bar and two mini-mart type stores. In the last week I’ve been harassed by the same man outside of the Plaid Pantry.

He starts with “Hey Baby.” I don’t respond and keep walking.
“HEY BABY!” (getting louder) I don’t respond and walk faster.
“HEY LADY!!!!” (practically screaming at me) I don’t respond and walk even faster.

I’m tired of not feeling safe walking home. I’m not sure how angry this man will get by my not responding. I’m going to be looking for a new way home today – even if it means an even longer commute.

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New submission from Mesha

I have many experiences with some group of kids/teens that have been harassing me and my dogs for over a year and half. I’m a dog walker and trainer. I have one dog that is mine and another I’m keeping for a soldier until she gets released from active duty. I have been injured and every dog I’ve walked has been injured by these stupid kids. They drive up and down Molalla in a green Jeep Cherokee type vehicle, license plate starting with 484, mostly screaming at us. They yell and bark and rev the engine, but they sometimes swerve at us and I have to haul 2-5 scared dogs out of the way. They’ve scared two of my boys so bad with air horns and firecrackers that they don’t want to go for walks because they keep getting hurt (twisting/spraining ankles, pulling muscles, hurting back and hips, ect.) They threw a firecracker at us when I only had my service dog with me and now she is partially blind. She can’t be a service dog if she can’t see. Since they aren’t physically touching me, the cops won’t do anything about it. The kids think it’s funny when my dogs scatter, I don’t think animal is funny in any sense! My dogs deserve justice and so do I! It isn’t fair that my boys have to live in pain for the rest of their lives because of these stupid kids! It isn’t fair that my service dog that is the most loving and tolerant dog in the world has to become afraid and distressed because of losing her sight suddenly for no reason! No one stops to help us when they see I’m trying to lift an injured 110lb lab to get him home and trying to console the other dogs to not pull me over anymore. My smallest(43lbs) can pull over 300lbs and he’s afraid of his own shadow.
My service dog is a Collie, LadyBug, and has always had my back when people fail me. She chased away a stalker that the cops wouldn’t do anything about either. I couldn’t lose this creep. I thought I had lost him at one point so I continued on to the park and let Lady off to do her thing, but she just stood giving the eye behind me. I thought she was staring down a squirrel, but when I turned around that creep was standing staring at me with his hands in his pockets. Before I could react, Lady took off and chased him. I called her off, I didn’t want her to soil her mouth with scum, but she refused to be leashed up again. She patrolled the park for 2hr before allowing me to leash her up. She lead me a women in distress and saved her life. A complete stranger! Lady lives how people should, but don’t. She doesn’t deserve to be abused by scum like them, she deserves justice!

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