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A couple of months ago I was walking toward Botanic Gardens at about 2pm. From a distance, I could see that there was a group of 3/4 men, either late teens or early twenties sitting on the benches, clearly drinking. This in itself is disturbing enough considering it was a public park, at 2pm, with children around. I knew that they were going to say something as I walked past, as it seemed they were engaging most people who were walking by alone, but definitely mostly women. They had positioned themselves so 2 were on the bench & 1 was actually on the other side of the path, effectively leaving people surrounded as they passed.
When I first approached they were saying relatively common things like “Hey” “How’s it going?” “Where are you going?” “Wanna sit and have a drink?” “Come and have a drink” but when i realised I wasn’t going to respond in any way they became more mocking, & began shouting things like “Wanna taste my dick?” “I bet you’d love my dick” and laughing amongst themselves. I reiterate, there were children all around the park.
Unfortunately, I only needed to do one errand & had to walk back the same way about 20 minutes later. This time, the man who was standing opposite the bench from his friends tried to stand in front of me to block my way & just kept saying “Hey, can I talk to you?” “We just wanna talk to you”. Luckily he didn’t persist in trying to block my way & it was easy enough for me to just keep walking.
I did consider stopping and having a go at them but with the amount of children around I just was not interested in making a scene & decided to completely ignore them. I’m fortunate in that this is a relatively rare occurrence but it’s still an absolute disgrace.
Over the last few days, a video of a woman, Shoshana B. Roberts, being harassed over 100 times in 10 hours while walking through Lower Manhattan has been getting a huge amount of attention. This video was produced in collaboration between Rob Bliss Creative and Hollaback headquarters in New York.
Hollaback’s presence in Ireland, North and South, want to clarify that this was created and distributed without our input and while it has been associated with Hollaback, we do not condone the racial bias shown in the video.
Rob reached out to Hollaback! New York about creating a video as a result of witnessing the amount of street harassment his girlfriend was experiencing in New York. Hollaback! New York came to the agreement that Rob would have complete creative control over the video and owns the video, with unlimited usage rights for Hollaback.
The virality of this video has led to a public conversation about street harassment in a way that was unimaginable even a few years ago. This video is causing people to discuss street harassment and share their experiences of street harassment, which is a core part of Hollabacks’ aims.
However, while we are grateful for the conversation this video is creating we are also aware that this video perpetuates some harmful myths about race, class and street harassment.
Hollaback! Belfast and Hollaback! Dublin want to make it clear that we realise street harassment is perpetrated by people of all races and social classes, all over the world. You can read many examples of street harassment in Dublin and Belfast on our websites.
It has been reported that many white mens’ comments were edited out of the video due to issues of production quality, an action which we do not condone. We can’t say anything to justify or make up for the upset this video has caused. We want to make clear that we work against racism and myths of cultural street harassment. We are saddened that the editing decisions made regarding the video have allowed so many people have used this video to perpetuate these myths.
We also want to say that these criticisms of the video itself in no way take away from Shoshana’s experience that day and every day. We stand in solidarity with her as she receives rape threats for simply appearing in the video: no one deserves that, and her experience that day looked truly frightening and exhausting.
The best ways to help us to silence the myths around race and street harassment is by sharing your story of street harassment and taking our survey on street harassment. Collecting data in this way will help us to show that street harassment happens here in our own cities and is perpetrated and experienced by people of all races.
For the statement on the video from Hollaback! headquarters see here.
First thing in the morning – walk out of where I was staying for a night in Manchester and two guys approached and looked me up and down before one of them and ‘hello lovely’ in a creepy voice
Minor but not a good start to the day!
I was in my students union and I was approached by three guys. One asked ‘will you fuck me?’ whilst the other three pretended I was on camera and the subject of a ‘student union’ prank. I told them to fuck off but they got more insistent and one placed his hand firmly on my shoulder. They claimed that I could watch myself and the sex videos on YouTube the next day- and that I couldn’t take a joke and was obviously too drunk.
I was kissing my then girlfriend at a local gay club when she suddenly jumped and started crying and shouting. It turned out that as we kissed some guy had put his hand up her skirt and inside her underwear whilst his friend filmed it on his phone. I screamed at them and grabbed the phone and broke it. We were asked by secuirity to leave the bar.
This has happened to me many times in different places. almost every time i’m out running, I get honked at – by a lorry, a car, whatever – and sometimes they shout out hte window. Running is my “me” time but this takes it away and males it about my body rather than my strength, determination and time for me to de-stress.
My daugher’s friend (17) was walking home from town toward south belfast when she stopped to take off her crippling high heel shoes. As she leaned over, one of 3 young male students came past and grabbed her mid waist and pushed himself against her. She fell to the ground. Thankfully she screamed – they moved on, drunk and oblivious.She was scared and upset- no one came to her aid. I wanted her to report it but she felt it was her fault walkig home alone. GRR! So mad!
I was at the limelight and saw a guy grab a girl’s bum (I thought). she grabbed his hand and told him to F off. I approached her and said “I saw what happened”, she sad “he grabbed my vagina!” I checked she felt ok and told her about hollaback to share her story and said well done for her reaction, mre than I would have felt comfortable doing at her age.