Belfast, Comment, Hollaback, Verbal

New submission from Kelly*

I was walking home around 8pm from a work event, at which the local sex trade was discussed. A car full of guys rode up beside me and asked ‘here, love, how much do you cost?’. I was too scared and baffled at the irony of the situation to answer.

Not that I really could have, verbally. The thing is when it’s several vs one and you can’t talk down a moving car, it feels like you’ve been robbed of voice & dignity.


*Not real name

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Belfast, Hollaback

Kelly’s Story

I had one of those experiences the other day where no words were exchanged but a guy felt he had the right to stare at me for as long as he wanted, as if that would have no effect on me. I was waiting at the lights at the crossroads on Royal Avenue and he was in his car with the driver’s window down. As I looked up the street one way I noticed he was staring at me and looking me up and down. I looked down the other direction for oncoming cars and then when I looked back I realised he was still staring at me. At a certain point it became uncomfortable because he was making me feel like an inanimate object there for him to just enjoy having a good look at to ease his boredom waiting at the lights. So I started to star back. He caught my eye after a second or two and we were suddenly staring at each other. Then the lights changed for me to cross but instead of walking on the crossing I veered off and headed straight towards his open window. His face started to drop and he shrunk back in his seat as I approached him. I think it’s fair to say he near shat himself. Then just at the last minute I turned to the left and walked around the back of his car. Sometimes you can take power back without even having to open your mouth!

I've got your back!

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Jessica’s Story

On numerous occasions I have been both a victim and an observer. Two that stand out significantly would be the time I was taking the 20 minute walk down the road to meet my friend. listening to my iPod going about my business. I noticed this black car coming towards me. The driver started to slow down and I could see that it was two young guys, the passenger rolled down the window and chucked a bottle at me as I stood there humiliated and in shock that two young fellas went out of there way to hurt a random person. It is astounding, as if I was a piece of crap there for their own amusement. In that moment all I wanted to do was run home and never leave the house, my self esteem had just plummeted to the ground.
Heading out on a Saturday night to meet a few friends, a man in his 60′s looks me and my friend up and down and whistles he then walks in front staring us both out. Why did he felt the need to make us feel uncomfortable and intimidated, we are two young girls going out? why be creepy? just let us be..

I've got your back!

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Assault, Belfast, Verbal

Niamh’s story

I’m 20 yrs old and I had just left the house to go into the town. On my 2 min walk to the bus stop these two small young boys in secondary school uniforms yelled at me, “alright gorgeous!” I’m a young adult, I have a boyfriend and to be called that by 2 very young boys who could not have been more than 14 made me incredibly uncomfortable. I want to avoid interaction with young schoolkids because I see how rude and nasty they can be. There is a thin line between being a schoolkid having a laugh and being nasty. I could sense in their tone that these 2 boys clearly were not having a laugh. I ignored them and went to sit at the bus stop. One of them ran over to me and sat down right beside me and put his arm around me and said, “how’s it goin beautiful” I quickly moved back and stood up and said ” please leave me alone.” He got up and laughed at me. Sitting back down I was so relieved it was over. This made me feel so uncomfortable, I don’t want to be harassed and especially by some little boy that has no manners and no respect. Why on earth do that to someone who is clearly a lot older than you. Then it hit me. Right on the head. A full can of fizzy juice. A woman had been collecting her son from the primary school beside the bus stop and she seen this and got out of the car and shouted at the boys and they ran off. This happened about a month ago but it really upset me. I didn’t ask or provoke those boys. I’m 20 years of age and I felt completely helpless to do anything, I couldn’t be rude or aggressive to some young kid but it makes me so annoyed that young kids nowadays are becoming cheeky, and it’s not funny anymore. They’re rude, they’re offensive and have the worst manners. Anyone could read this and think I’ve over reacted but its awful being attacked by a young secondary school boy. I wish I could find their parents to tell them how they treated me. I’m a young student at university, I work hard at a part time job and I am never rude to anyone. Something really needs to be done about this because even when I get the bus into town I see young school kids misbehaving and it’s not the same as when I grew up. There is a nasty underlying tone to their behaviour and I know it makes everyone feel tense. I also know it isn’t all school kids but there are a number that are completely out of control.

I've got your back!

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Assault, Belfast, Hollaback, Stalking

A Bystander Halloween: Ronan’s Story.

Walking home from work around 2am and in the space of 15 minutes I witnessed 3 random attacks and a girl almost get dragged away by a guy. I was conscious that I was walking the same direction as the girl and may have made her feel uncomfortable but then a guy came along and put his arm round her and tried to take her the other direction. I went over and told him it was my girlfriend and he left her alone.
One of the fights happened shortly after this, where a guy ran across the road and started laying into another guy for no apparent reason.
Needless to say, it was a pretty frightening walk home.

I've got your back!

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Belfast, Hollaback, Verbal

Just let me get on with it – Niamh’s Story

I was out for a run and had only been out for about 10 minutes. I was running up Upper Malone Road, and in the small stretch of that road that I run along, three cars beeped the horn or the people inside shouted “compliments” at me. Three in the space of probably 90 seconds. It’s at times like that when you know it isn’t even about sexual attraction or anything. I’m redfaced, sweaty, wearing baggy clothes, running up hill so I’m probably at an awkward angle. Why would you yell stuff at me? Just let me get on with it.

I've got your back!

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Assault, Belfast, Hollaback, Stalking

“I just froze I was wondering why would he do that”

On Sunday night/early Monday morning I was walking home from a university library at 2am. At the bottom of Elmwood Avenue a guy was bent over a low wall outside one of the houses, I thought he was being sick so I turned off my ipod. Then I realised he was scraping stuff up off the ground – next thing I knew he grabbed my arm and pulled me towards him.

He threw the stuff at my face which I thought was just muck and leaves and I just froze I was wondering why would he do that. Then he scooped up more and threw it at me again – at this point I felt more hard things in the dirt and I realised it was stones as well as bits of broken glass.

I walked across the road and he pulled my arm back again and was trying to pull on my coat I think he was trying to open it up. I hit him with my file and he stepped back then punched me in my left eye. I ran up to the right hand side corner of Elmwood Avenue where it meets the Lisburn Road and realised he was running behind me. Another guy ran up asking was I okay cause he had heard glass breaking then my attacker ran up Lisburn Road and into Dunluce Avenue. The guy who had heard glass breaking asked was I okay and walked me up the Lisburn Road home.

When I got home I had a swollen left eye socket and scratches along my chest where my coat opens. I rang the police and they came and took a statement and went on to speak to the university security that night. My attacker had short dark blonde hair, medium build and height and looked local – probably around 20-23 years old – could be a fellow student? I just wanted to leave this to let other girls walking home to look out!

I've got your back!

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Hollaback, Verbal

Emma’s story

I wasn’t sure where else to share… an exchange with a man in the foyer of a public building that has a shared feminist space. I know it doesn’t seem too awful, but it was a very small space and there was no introduction, just an assumption he could talk to me in a weird flirty way.

Him:”So are you planning to do sports?”
Me: “huh?”
Him: “you have a sporty back, you should do sports!”
Me:”…?” *shifting uncomfortably*
Him: “Are you studying here this year?”
Me: “No, I’m here to use the feminist space.”
Him: “Are they all as pretty as you,¬†maybe I should know more feminists!?”
Me: “!!!!!” *nonplussed face, turns away*

I've got your back!

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