Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Vacation Hassle

I am from Oakland, CA and the transgressions I encounter here could take me days to write down, but the most disgusting and humilating one I can remember happened in Hawaii a few years ago. I was on a women's surf retreat in Oahu. The only real vacation I have ever had. One morning we were surfing at this spot where you can paddle into and rest in a cove. I was just sitting there on my board, in my rash guard, which is a long sleeve top and some modest bikini bottoms. Resting and taking in the beach, I looked at the shore and saw this man standing in the bushes. He was wearing the Parks/Beaches employee uniform. I was curious and annoyed because he was just standing there blatantly staring. But as I stared back I saw some movement of his hand and arm. That's when I realized he was masturbating. I was mortified to say the least! I just sat there paralyzed. I thought if I just stared him down he would become embarrassed and stop, but of course he didn't. Finally I was so freaked I just laid back down (something I did not want to do at all since I knew he would be looking at my ass) and paddled out to the waves. I turned around once to see if he was gone but he had just finished his session and waved to me as he walked away, as if thanking me!!!! Repulsive!!! Shame on that fucker, double shame for being an employee of the beach and a dirty asshole. That experience ruined the trip for me.

Submitted by Jenny in Oakland, CA

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

creep at 24th and Bartlett

I walk to BART every morning and have to pass the corner of 24th Street and Bartlett. There's a middle-aged man who stands there, at the liquor store on the corner. He started out simply by saying "good morning," to which, of course, I initially replied "good morning," but it quickly escalated to a mumbled "tu eres muy bonita" and whatever else I couldn't make out. In and of itself the statement didn't feel like harassment except for his using the "tu familiar" form--he couldn't possibly have known that I understand Spanish (when I stopped responding to him altogether he said something about being sorry he didn't speak English) but that made me know that he was being inappropriate and overly friendly. Day in day out of this EVERY DAY and soon enough I came to dread passing this corner. I'm a 41-year old woman and am furious that this man has made me feel so uncomfortable walking in my own neighborhood. I saw him coming up the BART stairs early one morning--does he really take the train from somewhere else to come stand in my neighborhood and harass women? I don't have a camera phone, but if I'm ever carrying a camera when I'm on the street I'm taking his picture and sending it in. Thanks for starting Holla Back-SF!!

Submitted by Carla in San Francisco

Friday, November 17, 2006

Just Gellato

I hadnt stolen a parking spot
hadn’t voiced more than a
“damn”, “traffic”, “san francisco”, “I should have known better”
I had wanted to have ice cream,
to park my damn car,
to have a fun night
Yeah you, CUNT.
he yelled it from his expensive car
like it was a recorded message.
I wore a sweater and jeans,
a sweater and jeans.
I look at him in awe, then, in a beg to stop
then as a “Why?” a kind, gentle “why”

that night, I was his victim
someone to make feel like nothing when he had no idea
I already did

Submitted by Allison in San Fransisco, CA

Friday, October 20, 2006

Hating the Haight

I was visiting my friend in San Fran for the weekend. We were walking down the Haight around 11.30 at night and stopped outside a bar in the midst of deciding what to do. This guy grabs my elbow, I turned and said "yes?" he said, "I just like to touch pretty ladies." I gave him an eye roll and a "whatever," thinking that'd be enough. To my displeasure, he grabbed my upper arm and attempted pulling me towards him. I got fiercely angry, whirred around and started screaming at him. I said, "What the f**k do you think you're doing? Who the f**ck do you think you are?" My two girlfriends were freaked out, as they did not notice this guy's "attempts" with me. They both took me in their arms and escorted me from the bar/sidewalk telling me I couldn't do that in San Fran.
I don't care who you are, you cannot touch me without my permission. I may be small but there is no way I'm going down without a fight!

Submitted by Pamela in San Francisco.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

"Lot" of Harassment

There is an office next to my work where there are often a lot of different men who come there to fill out paperwork. Many of them park in the parking lot that I use, and I have to pass by them in their cars to enter my building. Aside from undressing me with their eyes, some have made lewd comments to me or to another person I am with as I walk by. Although I have been fortunate in not having an experience like the one described on the subway, its made me so uncomfortable that I dread encountering those men in the parking lot every day.

Thankfully, I now have secured parking in a garage away from that lot.

Submitted from San Jose, CA

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Soapbox Harasser

This man is a San Francisco landmark. A hateful, harassing, long-standing landmark that everyone who has been downtown more than twice can probably recognize.

He is the epitomy of street harasser. He is not just preaching on his soapbox, he is calling individual women who pass by him "whores" for presumably having sex before marriage. Not only does he fail to find out if the women he calls out on the street are in fact married, or are in fact having sex, but he stares them down, yelling, "Listen to me, you are a whore for having sex."

I don't care what you beleive, and I don't care if you think women are or aren't sinners, but no one has the right to call a woman a whore for simply walking down the street and being under 30. If you are walking with a man, even worse, as he presumes you are whoring yourself out to said man and shouts it out and points at you.

He also loves to pick on anyone he deems homosexual (based solely on appearance, since he usually lectures me about sex before marriage rather than sex with women, little does he know...). He points, he shouts, he humiliates.

This is a great example of street harassment that many people want to argue is free speech, but slander is not free speech, and pointing out women on the street and calling them whores is not free speech. The cops will never arrest this man, they will never even bother him. He has sat on that corner every week for years and years humiliating and degrading women.

I have friends who yell back at him, and maybe if everyone did, he might shut his fat, slanderous mouth and stop calling women whores on the street.

I'm sure his prime location on Powell & Market Sts. really makes visitors appreciate our fair city. (note the sarcasm).

Submitted from San Francisco

Monday, October 02, 2006


The following 3 encounters are just the most brutal/obscene of daily street
experiences, the cumulative effects of which have turned me into one of
those angry/blank-faced women you pass on the streets. The sad thing is I'm
not angry or blank! I'm kind and loyal and enthusiastic, but if my intended
soul-mate were to bump into me on the street he would likely pass my by
because the thick skin I've grown out of necessity keeps creeps as well as
would-be-friends at bay.

1st: San Fran (Market & 9th) 2003: Crossing 9th towards my building with a
flock of business people, wearing a knee-length camel-hair skirt - a man
crossing the street towards me suddenly stoops and runs his hand up the
inside of my leg before I know what is happening. And then he's gone, we're
on opposite sides of the street and not a single fellow-street-crosser
stopped or noticed.

2nd: Berkeley, 2002, AC transit bus #15: Semi-full bus, plenty seats
available, and I hadn't yet learned to ALWAYS sit on the isle seat. A
disheveled man sits next to me on a bench seat effectively trapping
me in the window seat. Out of the corner of my eye I notice a furitive
motion in the man's lap. In horror I realize he's jerking off. Not eager to
have to squeeze over his lap in order to escape, I sat there shame-faced
until he left the bus.

3rd: Berkeley 2004, AC transit bus #15: VERY full bus, but this time I'm older
and wiser. Man in tattered sweats sitting in one of the side
bench seats begins masturbating - not at me in particular but at the riders
in general. No one does anything. Everyone scoffs, blushes, gasps and
otherwise looks away. I walked up to the driver informed her that a man was
masturbating on the bus, exited the bus and ran like hell.

I can't wait to add pics to this site. This is empowering.

Submitted by Erica in San Francisco

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Don't Be Shy

About a year ago I went to Nations in downtown Oakland with a couple of friends at about 2:30 in the morning. I was sitting down waiting for my food when I heard someone say, "Hey thong, hey thong." I reached around and realized that my underwear was showing. I pulled up my pants without turning around, and he said, "Don't be shy. You weren't shy when you put them on this morning." I couldn't believe it! I turned around and he said, "Is it okay if I call you thong?" I said, "No way!" "Well, Can I get yo number, girl? "No!!" I said sternly "Well then f**k you, bi**h," he yelled.

I just turned around stunned and asked my friends if they heard what he said. I couldn't believe it but I didn't know what to say. He kind of scared me.

No one should have to put up with nastiness like that. We all deserve to be treated with respect unless we give someone a reason not to.

Submitted by Zephira in Oakland.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Make A Scene!

I was walking down Powell street towards BART late one night after
finishing my closing shift. I was on the phone with my buddy when I
passed some guy who whacked my ass.
I yelled, "don't you fucking touch me, you piece of shit" (which was
the last clear thing my poor friend heard) and he turned around
I've gotten a lot of crap and I believe that the best way to
handle sexism is to make it really unpleasent for the bigot. So I kept
yelling at him and didn't let him get a word in.
By the time I left I had him backing up saying, "sorry, I didn't realize..."
Anyone who is suprised that a stranger groping a woman makes her
disgusted and angry is a sexist piece of garbage.

submitted by Mer in San Francisco.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Peeping Freak

Everyday for an entire week this creep kept coming near my window at night and masterbating while trying to peek into my bedroom. He even got a chair so that way he can stand on it and lean against my window. Sick freak.
Every night at around 12:00 a.m. I'd wake up and freak out. Well, I can tell you it got pretty annoying. After the first couple of days, I called the police and filed a report. However, the creep was not stupid. He came at night, I couldn't see how he looked and even if I wanted to I was too freaked out to look outside my window. So, as you can imagine, the police report didn't help much.

Finally, even though I felt like I was going to shit my pants, I screamed my head off at him. I told him I would find him and I would kill him. No Joke. I was seriously annoyed by then. He never came back but if he does I swear I will go outside and shoot his balls off. Too bad I didn't know about this site 3 months ago.

submitted by Alexandra in San Francisco.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Wishing I Could Have Holla'd Back

This happened to my girlfriend and I about a year ago, but it was the first thing that came to mind when we heard about this site. I wish I had known about Hollaback then, and I wish I could have taken this asshole's picture!

We were riding home on BART to South Berkeley. The train was pretty crowded, and this guy sitting near us was staring nad smiling at us, so we moved a car behind to get away from the creepiness. Not only did we end up in an equally crowded car, but we ended up sitting in the "back" of the same car as the creepiest guy I have ever been forced to share oxygen with.

Hunched over his notebook and leisurely penning entries, this guy kept looking at us, smiling/leering in a way that I can't describe to do it justice, and then hunching back over the notebook to write down whatever sick fantasies he was having about us.

We noticed him get up to get off the train at our stop, and it was clear that he was following us, or at least attempting to convince us that he was. Once off the train, we stalled so that he couldn't walk behind us, and left the station. Out front, we see him standing arms crossed, looking around. We keep walking (opposite of our usual direct route home) and my girlfriend looks back to see whats up. He makes a face at her that she described as "leering and mocking and threatening all at once," obviously enjoying our discomfort. She flips him off and we take off, walking an extra five blocks in a roundabout way home to ensure he doesn't follow us or see where we live.

This occasion was one of the most prolonged situations of harrassment that I have ever been in, and I wish I could have taken this guy's picture. I have never hated a stranger so much as I hated this asshole, and yet we felt powerless to do anything at the time. If I ever see him again, I'll have to make up for the missed opportunity.

Why do men think that two women together is for their sick fantasy pleasure? Doesn't this guy get that he is the reason we try to disband patriarchy? Writing this is making me more angry than I was at the time, so I'll stop.

submitted from Berkeley, CA

Two Jerks for the Price of One

One block over from the lovely block that I call home, there are usually a few (sometimes quite a few) guys hanging on the street. I generally walk on the other side of Market St. because this section (the North side of the street b/w Van Ness and Franklin) is so intolerable for a women walking alone.

Today, however, I was tired and hot and not feeling like the extra walking just to avoid these jerks. I headed home and on the way I had one guy sitting on a crate against a closed sortefront yell, "Nice Tat!" in a less than harmless tone of voice and then mutter under his breath an inaudible remark that I chose to ignore. I was carrying three bags full of groceries, which made my HollaBack photo ops pretty impossible.

I guess the first guy set the tone for the man walking in front of me, because he then slowed down so that I would pass him and then said, "Hey pretty lady," and proceeded to make kissing noises at me. Had I been more awake and less thrown off guard by the double-whammy they dealt me, I may have been able to muster up a snappy remark. Instead, I juggled my groceries and got this photo of him.

Its far away, but I didn't want to be obvious about confronting men that know where I live, if you get my drift.

submitted by Jessica in SF

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

“Which one of you am I going to RAPE first?”

18 years ago, my girlfriend and I were walking past Dolores Park in San Francisco late one night when some man walked up to us and said, “which one of you am I going to RAPE first?”

My girl is from England and she said “pardon?”, not really sure she heard him right. The asswipe repeated himself and I said to him “OH HELL NO MUTHAFUCKA!!”

It was crazy! My girl and I didn’t even have to look at each other to figure out what to do!! We pushed him back, knocked him off balance, kicked and punched him where we could…..girl, that jerk managed to run off screaming obsencities at us. Both of us were shaking with anger.

I am a middle aged woman now with 2 daughters. I am very proud we were able to handle that ass hole. I pray that our actions stopped him permanently. Women, please remember that YOU ARE POWERFUL!


Originally posted by hollabacknyc.com on August 9, 2006.

Assclowns in Frisco

So, I was walking from the bank near the corner of 4th and King, running morning errands and minding my own business. The pedestrian light starts turning red, and so, I make a run for it. Suddenly I hear, "Where you running to, beautiful?" Ugh. I snap pic 1 of him doing
his cruise walk. I pick up the pace, and my boyfriend calls through, yet this wanker won't give up, as he keeps calling after me, asking, "Hey gorgeous, who you on the phone to?"

Suddenly I think: "Hollaback Moment!"

I hang up with my boyfriend, and when I look up, this guy is STANDING in front of me! I take a step back, hold my phone up and ask, "Can I take your picture?" He gets weird and starts mumbling about why I want to take his picture, but I say, in my sweetest voice, "I MUST take your picture, so I can remember you. You know?" He says his name is "Anie"(Thanks assclown!), and wants to see the pic. I take it (thanks again, assclown) and show him. He's pleased with the way it looks.

But then, he won't leave me alone. He follows me all the way back to my loft, offers me weed, cigarettes, and then says he wants to be my boyfriend(ugh!), and has now managed to get in the front door of my building, and won't leave until I give him a hug.

I can't tell you how satisfying it is to share this experience, and his pics :) Thanks Hollaback!

- Le Anne in San Francisco

Originallt posted by hollabacknyc.com on February 28, 2006.

Shameless Creep

Well, this happened to me last year, but it still CREEPS me out to no end, when I think of it. When it happened, in the moment, I was in shock, and the creep-factor of it really didn't settle in until I was driving home *ewww ewwww fucking YUCK*

So, I had stopped to get some gas, around 11pm or so. I was about an hour north from San Francisco(where I live), and I didn't want to get stuck on the side of the road, out of gas and feeling like a dork. After I gassed up and grabbed some noshe from the gas-mart there, I called my boyfriend from my cell phone, to tell him I was home-bound, and would see him soon. I was climbing into my car, when I hear a voice behind me say:

"I want to lick your pussy."

At first, I thought I was hearing things, but I quickly turned around in the said-direction of the
voice, just to make sure I was still sane..that COULDN'T have been what someone said, right? Unbefuckinglivable!


Standing in front of me was this skinny, creepy dude with longish hair, an oversized forest green parka(I don't even WANT to entertain what he had in there) and baggy jeans. Leering at me, he steps into my comfort center and says again: "I want to lick your pussy."

I stammered, "Wha? WHAT did you say?" Mind you, I am ON THE PHONE with my boyfriend and in a public place(ok, it was dark out, but well-lit)! I actually had to give this guy the cajones award of the year for even asking, but still....

Creepy dude: "I want to get in your car with you, and lick your pussy. Can I?"

I still didn't register the temerity of this creep's question, until my boyfriend, on the other end of the phone yells out, "Did he just ask you what I think he did? Who the fuck is that?"

Me: *Stammering* "Uh, some freak who just walked up to my car!"

*I mean, with that kind of offer, how could I refuse, right?*


I then turn to the creepy dude and say: Me: "Uh, do you realize I'm on the phone with my
boyfriend? Are you out of your fucking mind....?"

Creepy dude: *interrupting* "Please let me lick your pussy, I want to...."

Suddenly, my boyfriend starts telling me to scare him, by telling creepy dude that he's right down the street, and he's on the way. Before my boyfriend could get the rest of his instructions out, I switch into protection-mode and say:

Me: "You better run muther-fucker, as my boyfriend is right down the street, and he's going to KICK. YOUR. ASS. !!!"

I then started describing what the creep looked like to my boyfriend on the phone, and the creepy dude gets this horrified look on his face and quickly says,

Creepy dude: "I'm sorry, so sorry, it looks like I have the wrong girl...."

He then starts running away, and as he does that I scream at him:

Me: "Yeah, RUN Forest RUN!"

::::Shiver again:::::

written by Le Anne/San Francisco, CA.

Originally posted by hollabacknyc.com on November 27, 2005

Monday, September 11, 2006

HollaBack FAQ

Question: Are you a bunch of crazed feminazis who hate men?

Answer: Actually, HollaBack-SF is a collective comprised of people who believe in building communities where everyone feels comfortable, safe, and respected. Many people, particularly men, are unaware of the frequency and severity of disrespect and intimidation that numerous folks, especially women, experience in public spaces on a daily basis. HollaBack-SF aims to expose and combat street harassment as well as provide an empowering forum in this struggle.

Question: OK, but what exactly is street harassment?

Answer: Street harassment is a form of sexual harassment that takes place in public spaces. At its core is a power dynamic that constantly reminds historically subordinated groups (women and LGBTQ folks, for example) of their vulnerability to assault in public spaces. Further, it reinforces the ubiquitous sexual objectification of these groups in everyday life.

At HollaBack-SF, we believe that what specifically counts as street harassment is determined by those who experience it. While there is always the classic, “Hey baby, nice tits” there are so many other forms that go unnoted. If you feel like you have been harassed, HOLLA BACK!

Question: But aren’t you worried that your site will fuel the latent vindictiveness within women and LGBTQ-identified folks across the country, leading to a massive witch-hunt and rampant Soviet-style denunciations of countless innocents?

Answer: No.

Question: I heard something about your position on antiracism. What’s that about, and what does it have to do with street harassment?

Answer: Replacing sexism with racism is not a proper holla back. Due in part to prevalent stereotypes of men of color as sexual predators or predisposed to violence, HollaBackNYC asks that contributors do not discuss the race of harassers or include other racialized commentary. If you feel that race is important to your story, please make sure its relevance is explained clearly and constructively in your post. Don’t understand? Click here.

Question: But isn’t your idea of “street harassment” just belittling another person’s culture?

Answer: Street harassers occupy the full spectrum of class, race, and ethnicity. Sexual harassment, and street harassment specifically, is resisted around the world. To condense another’s culture into vague assumptions about who and what they are is to generalize dangerously about a wide range of experiences and perspectives.

Question: Confronting street harassers can be dangerous. What about safety issues?

Answer: While everyone is vulnerable to stranger rape and sexual assault, studies show that those who are aware of their surroundings, walk with confidence and, if harassed, respond assertively, are less vulnerable. Nevertheless, direct confrontations with street harassers may prove extremely dangerous, particularly alone or in unpopulated spaces. While it is each individual’s right to decide when, how, and if to Holla Back, do keep issues of safety in mind. Upon deciding to photograph a harasser, you may consider doing so substantially after the initial encounter and from a distance, ensuring the harasser is unaware of your actions.

Question: I am a man who was recently sexually objectified by a woman on the street. I think this is reverse harassment. Why won’t you post my story?

Answer: While a woman making unsolicited sexual remarks to a man is certainly conceivable, the power dynamics of such an encounter are very different in a society where women comprise a historically subordinated group. HollaBack-SF is a project dedicated to combating a particular form of violence that designates subordinated groups (such as women and LGBTQ folks, for example) as targets in public spaces or otherwise vulnerable to unsolicited, nonconsensual encounters with strangers. It is thus not a forum for reporting other unpleasantries.

Question: Isn’t street harassment the price you pay for living in a city?

Answer: No, local taxes are the price you pay for living in a city. We would love to see some portion of our local taxes go towards preventing street harassment, but alas, they don’t.

In fact, street harassment is not confined to urban areas. It occurs in shopping malls, cars, parking lots, public parks, airplanes, fast-food restaurants, gas stations, churches, and numerous other public spaces.

Question: So let’s say a man sees a woman he thinks is attractive and tells her so. Are you saying that makes him a harasser?

Answer: Some do not find comments such as “Hello, beautiful” or “Hey, gorgeous” offensive. Many do. Others may find them intimidating, intrusive, or just an annoying pain in the ass. Keep in mind that many women experience unsolicited comments, as well as violent verbal assault, from men in public spaces on a regular basis. Rather than deliberating the “gray areas” of street harassment, treat everyone you encounter with respect.

Question: If you show off your boobage, shouldn’t you expect some compliments?

Answer: Sure, expect them, but don’t accept them! Just because it happens doesn’t mean it’s okay. A compliment is not a compliment if it makes the recipient feel bad.

Question: Sure, but if “the harasser” were hot, wouldn’t you like it?

Answer: This has nothing to do with sex, and everything to do with power.

Question: You’re just a bunch of prudes, then?

Answer: Like we said, this has nothing to do with sex, and everything to do with power.

Question: Street harassment sucks, but it’s only a small part of the patriarchy. Doesn’t focusing on this specific issue detract from everything else we're up against?

Answer: The violence and disrespect experienced daily by countless people in public spaces is a serious problem with real, material consequences. While HollaBack-SF is a project dedicated to this particular issue, it is committed to a coalitional approach and situates street harassment within a larger framework of social and economic questions. Thus, the collective collaborates with a diverse range of feminist, queer and antiracist initiatives. To see what we’re up to, subscribe to our mailing list!

Disclaimer: HollaBack-SF is not responsible for the accuracy of individual postings. All views and positions expressed in posted submissions are those of individual contributors only.


Replacing sexism with racism is not a proper holla back.

Due in part to prevalent stereotypes of men of color as sexual predators or predisposed to violence, HollaBack-SF asks that contributors do not discuss the race of harassers or include other racialized commentary.

If you feel that race is important to your story, please make sure its relevance is explained clearly and constructively in your post or comments.

Initiatives combating various forms of sexual harassment and assault have continually struggled against the perpetuation of racist stereotypes, in particular the construction of men of color as sexual predators. There exist widespread fictions regarding who perpetrators are: the myth of racial minorities, particularly latino and black men, as prototypical rapists as well as more prone to violence is quite common. This stems in part from a tragic and violent history, where black men in the U.S. were commonly and unjustly accused of assaulting white women as well as lynched by mobs and “tried” in biased courts.

Because of the complexity of institutional and socially ingrained prejudices, HollaBack prioritizes resisting both direct as well as unconscious and unintentional reinforcement of social hierarchies. Simultaneously, HollaBack aims to highlight the interrelations between sexism, racism and other forms of bias and violence.

Further Reading:

“White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack”


“I was taught to see racism only in individual acts of meanness, not in invisible systems conferring dominance on my group.” Short, accessible piece on white privilege and male privilege.

“A Black Feminist Critique of Same-Race Street Harassment”


Focuses on the experiences of black lesbians and the need for black women to hold black men accountable for upholding black patriarchy.

“Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics, and Violence Against Women of Color”


Considers the intersections of racism and patriarchy, and how the experiences of women of color remain unrepresented within the discourses of both feminism and antiracism.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Almost Time to Holla Back

As you can see, there's not much here yet. That's because we are just warming up. Please be patient and check back in to see our site up and running soon...

Meanwhile, starting shooting those harrassers- with your camera phone!

*Don't forget to keep your safety first while crusading against street harrassment.