Add to your cellphone and send pics straight to Holla Back NYC

HollabackNYC is now also accepting video submissions: Catch that jerk with your video phone or do journalistic style feature on Street Harassment and we'll post it!

Email your submissions here!

We welcome submissions from everywhere.

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If you have questions about street harassment or about our site, consult our list of Frequently Asked Questions for more information.

For info on HollaBack's commitment to antiracism, click here.


Hollaback on the go by tweeting your street harassment stories! Add #hbnyc to all posts and follow us @iHollaback:



Want HollaBack to come and speak at your school, dorm, or organization? Email Emily at


  • Want a street harassment expert to tell you what it's really like on the streets? Email Emily May at

Articles by HollabackNYC co-founders


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Monday, May 31, 2010

Jerk-off caught in the act and then not charged because of "lack of evidence." Gross on so many levels.

It happened a few years ago while I was in college. I was working as a waitress at a busy restaurant/bar in town and would usually get home around 1:30 am. One night I came home at the usual time, took a shower and went to bed. The next morning I find a business card stuck to my door from a local police officer asking me to contact him ASAP. I called the precinct, and he tells me that a man was arrested the night before for masturbating outside of my window. Apparently, some people at a party in the next building saw him from their balcony and called the police. I was listening to my iPod when I went to bed, so I never heard the cops knock on my door.

Incidentally, I always have my curtains closed, but apparently there was an opening at the bottom where they overlapped (about the size of a quarter, according to the cops who were at the scene), so he could see into my bedroom through this limited space. As the officer is telling me this, I realize that this man saw me completely naked after my shower the night before and watched me rub lotion all over myself, too, so apparently he got quite a show.

The officer tells me the guy's name and asks if I know him. He says that the day before this "peeping" incident the man had been released from prison where he had been serving time for a sex crime. I don't recognize the man's name or description, but now I am panicking. This perv knows where I live, where I work (due to my waitress uniform), what kind of car I drive, and he can probably guess that at the end of the night I come home with an apron full of he's a convicted sex offender. I ask the officer if I can see the guy's mug shot, to see if I recognize him from the restaurant, and so I will know who he is if I see him anywhere near me, and he says no, that he's not allowed to show me a photo because it would be a violation of the guy's rights! So this guy can look at my fully naked body without my knowledge or consent, but I can't look at his face after he's been arrested for peeping and wanking outside of my window. So glad that his rights weren't violated!

I seriously feared for my safety after that. I felt so exposed, and not just because he had seen me naked, but because I felt that I was denied the option to protect myself. This guy was a convicted criminal with a history of sexually assaulting women! I hated not knowing if he was out there following me or watching me again-- maybe I had even unknowingly waited on him? I never spent another night at that apartment and moved three weeks later. I also never heard back from the police about the case. When I called to follow up, I was told that the charges had been dropped due to a lack of "evidence", meaning that he had not left a DNA sample at the scene. He had been interrupted by the police approaching and so he never finished, and apparently the statements from my neighbors weren't proof enough of his crime. I hope with all my heart that I was the last woman he violated, but somehow I doubt it.

Submitted by Anne

"The Last Word" by Maureen K. Doll screens at Tishman Auditorium

Little else is as sweet and satisfying as holla'ing back or attending free film screenings. So do both on Thursday and call it a night.

“Hey, baby.” “How’s it going, puss?” Though women have made enormous progress in public and private domains, the street represents a final frontier, a space where women are routinely hollered after, harassed, and humiliated. The Last Word is an unflinching look at public harassment from the perspective of women who know.

Come mingle with HollaBack staffers, filmmakers, revolutionaries, and other straphangers on Thursday, June 3, for an evening of five free short film screenings at the New School's Tishman Auditorium. Admission is free and no reservations are required.

Tishman Auditorium
66 W. 12th St. (at 5th Ave.)

For more information or to see the festival's full lineup, holla here.

Why I Hollaback: Talia's Story

This is the twelfth video in the "Why I Hollaback" series. "Why I Hollaback" tells the story of how and why folks decide to take the leap, speak up, and start Holla'ing back. We will release a new story every Monday and accept submissions from all over the world. So tell us your story -- Why do you Hollaback?

Friday, May 28, 2010

THIS is what a movement looks like.

Well folks. I'm sorry. It's a sad day....for turds everywhere!


YOU did it!! YOU donated, YOU thought about donating, YOU wanted to donate, YOU told your friends, YOU blasted your networks, YOU blogged about it, YOU stood up and said NO, I won't sit idly by anymore, YES it is time for some change, YES I WANT TO HELP. So congratulations for supporting this kick-ass, international MOVEMENT. You just made history! And it's not over yet. This is just the beginning. So hollaback and let us know how you want to keep helping!

And most importantly, THANK YOU. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Today is a good day. Music, credits, victory dance, and CELEBRATE.

Final Score: Humans $13,375; Animals ZERO


Thursday, May 27, 2010

Put a perv in a suit and he's still a perv.

Thanks for all the work you are doing in the city. I sent you a story a while back and wanted to relay another disgusting event to you.

I live in Queens and I was going home a little late getting on the 7 at Grand Central and this guy in a suit was like walking really close down the stairs behind me. So I stopped right at the bottom of the stairs where the train pulls up and he walked to my left like 20 feet away and I could tell the perv was staring at me. It took a long time for the train to get there and he was staring at me the whole time. So the train pulls up and all the sudden he is like RIGHT on my ass like pushing me in. I got in and there was a corner seat by the connecting door open so I sat there thinking he couldn't rub up on me there. So he comes and stands right in front of me and is looking right down my top.

He was like 35, 6 feet, really good looking, wavy black hair with a wedding ring on. If you guys see him watch out. So I see that his hand is moving in his right pocket and he starts flicking his tongue at me. I was fuckin repulsed and like no one could even see him cause he had me in the corner. I am like 5'1" and I was scared so I didn't do anything but pretend he wasn't there.

I could see his hard on and him rubbing it in his pants. He was like mumbling stuff too. I know one time he said o so u like that huh? It was so obvious. He was also like tapping my shoe with his foot like HEY look up at me jerking off and staring at you. My stop was 2 stops away but when the next stop came up I got up and got off. He purposely blocked me and groped my boob on the way out. I was scared and pissed too. This was on Monday and I havent seen him since. I cant wait to get the phone app you are putting out. I tried to get a pic but the train pulled away as I was trying to get his picture. You can share this story because I think it might help anyone else on that line at night.

Thanks for all your help.

Submitted by Krista

Only one more day to go!

Today is the last day of our campaign! If you haven't donated yet, do it now. We've got $1700 to raise and only one more day to do it! If we don't raise the remaining $1700, we don't get any of the $10,800 that we've raised from over 299 visionaries. Check out the preliminary photos of the app we released yesterday.

Tell your friends and family about this: email, facebook, and twitter the link to our campaign to let them know you believe a world without street harassment is possible, one hollaback at a time. Also, If you've already donated, consider increasing your donation. If everyone who has already donated increased their donation by $6, we would be there.

You have the power to end street harassment.
Do it!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Curb Your Masturbation, Asshole. P.S. Get an iPod.

Dear HollaBack and all you women who like to chill in Central Park this summer,

I want to warn you about a wanker I encountered this past weekend:

On Saturday afternoon, I went back to a really lovely spot on the shore of the lake just a few paths in from the West 77th Street entrance -- plenty of rocks to climb and sit upon to read or watch the water. There's an area at water-level where I sat down to read -- people were nearby on other rocks and plenty of rowboats were out on the lake, but people kept coming and going in my immediate vicinity. After awhile, this dude sat down a couple rocks away from me and took out an electronic device -- this didn't seem weird to me, since I'd noticed plenty of people come and go with cameras, take some photos of the lake, and leave, but I couldn't figure out if this device was a camera or not. The dude set it in his lap and stayed there for a while, and then moved to a rock right next to me slightly higher up and straddled it, with the device still in his lap. I gave him a dirty look and shifted a little farther away from him when one of his legs was only a few inches away from my head, but otherwise stayed where I was -- why should I have to be the one to move? I was there first, and I was absorbed in my book, so I ignored him, figuring he was just trying to find the most comfortable place to get settled, as I had done when I'd first arrived.

After a few more minutes, he moved again, this time to a rock a few feet away, kitty-corner to mine. I thought it was weird that he sat down facing me instead of facing the lake, but again I didn't say anything, because he wasn't actively bothering me and I just wanted to keep reading my book. Still, I was trying to figure out what his device was, because I'm paranoid about strangers taking photos of me without my knowledge, so I wanted to be sure it didn't have a camera -- but every time I looked up, I accidentally caught his eyes through his sunglasses, and he just stared creepily back at me. Of course, that part was not a new experience -- dudes staring creepily -- but I was physically comfortable where I was, relaxing into my first days of summer . . . so despite the slightly uneasy feeling I got, I just chalked it up to him being an awkward dude, your usual guy on the street/subway/wherever who stares but at least doesn't say or do anything about it.

The next time I glanced up, though, I saw that HE HAD HIS DICK OUT. His pants were all the way open, and he was hard and jerking off fast. What. The. Fuck! It was so unexpected and repulsive, all I could do was make a horrified/disgusted face, grab my things, and get the hell away from there as quickly as possible. I was extremely shaken up, so freaked out that I couldn't even scream at him or tell anyone else nearby what was happening. I just left the park as quickly as possible, called a couple of friends to calm me down, and didn't stop walking until I'd walked dozens of blocks back to my apartment. How long had he been doing that and I hadn't even noticed? What kind of person thinks that is remotely okay to do? I felt disgustingly violated, and still wish I could get the nauseating image of his face and his dick out of my head. Part of me started blaming myself for not moving the hell away from there from the moment I noticed that he was sitting on rocks closer to me than any polite person would, and then another part of me has been trying to shut that voice up ever since: There is no excuse for what that dude did. I had every right to be where I was, quietly reading in my own personal space, and he had no right whatsoever to take my presence as a woman as invitation to pull his dick out and wank in front of me.

I just hope that letting other women know about him will prevent this dude from violating anyone else. Assuming that he frequents the park to do this (which of course I have no way of knowing), I hope that somebody will catch him at it and have the power to do something about it. He was a tall, white, brunette, thirtysomething dude in shorts, wearing sunglasses and carrying an Insignia DVD Player (which I finally figured out did not have a camera), if that helps at all. If a dude sits near you when obviously there are other places to sit, I hope you have the voice I didn't to tell him to move the fuck away. I assumed the best in this dude -- that he was just an awkward guy trying to get comfortable on a nice day in the park -- when really there are way more creeps who actually think it's okay to pull their dicks out and do this in public, in front of or even on women. I know there are decent men in this world, but (from my own experiences and from reading other infuriating HollaBack posts here) this city keeps trying to prove me wrong.

Thank you so much for this forum to share my experience, even if you don't end up posting it on the site, although I really hope you will. (I know it's kind of long, but I couldn't figure out how to write about it all more succinctly!)

Submitted by Sarah

St. Marks SMEGMA!

Two vermin on St. Marks in studded leather jackets; I thought they were a couple until....Taller one: "Hey, sexy lady"




Shorter one: "Whore!" He wishes.

I was wearing a 3/4 sleeve top , jeans and carrying a backpack.

Submitted by ninyabruja

note: Never heard of the word smegma? Us either. According to urban dictionary it is a "buildup of skin and other crud found between the foreskin and penis." Um, gross. But whatta great hollaback word. Take that, smegma!

Monday, May 24, 2010

The victim is still never to blame, folks, let's get our shit together here.

Hi HollaBack,

I didn't snap a photo of this guy, because I didn't know/couldn't believe what was happening until much later:

Two friends and I took the downtown 6 train from 86th street to 14th street, about 6:45 on Saturday evening. The train was PACKED. I was pressed up against some dude, my back to his front. I felt something around my butt, but couldn't tell what is was--I suspected a penis, but wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt. I made a face at my friends, who told me to elbow him, but I couldn't really tell what was happening. I could feel his heart beating against my back, but again, it was crowded, sweaty, etc. Eventually I was able to move. Fine. When the train crowds eased up a bit I realized I had something on my backside, and on my legs. We got out at 14th street, went to a restaurant, and I checked the dress in the bathroom--the man definitely came on me.

I called the police the next day, and they came by my apartment to take a report, but it was mortifying--they kept questioning everythinng I said, and one officer "repeated back" to me what I had allegedly told him, not letting me correct his mistakes, and told me "I have a great memory so I know exactly what you said." Eventually his supervisor came by, and she was nicer, and more sympathetic, but the
message was clear: why would you let someone stand that close to you, and why wouldn't you say anything (at the time, or right afterward). The whole experience was awful, but I don't really know what I could have done differently--I didn't want to turn around to face the guy, and figured that SEEING him would be worse than feeling him, but I had no idea that he must have had his penis out.

Completely disgusting, and the cops' attitude made it worse.

Submitted by Sarah

Why I Hollaback: Jamie's Story

This is the eleventh video in the "Why I Hollaback" series. "Why I Hollaback" tells the story of how and why folks decide to take the leap, speak up, and start Holla'ing back. We will release a new story every Monday and accept submissions from all over the world. So tell us your story -- Why do you Hollaback?

4 days and $3500 between us and a world without street harassment

We have come so far. Now, we have to raise the rest in the next four days, or we lose the money that has already been donated. If you haven't donated yet, do it now.

In the past month, we've had 228 people donate to this campaign. That's 228 people who believe that a world without street harassment is possible; 228 people who are willing to help create that future, one hollaback at a time. You Hollabackers are trailblazers, and the world is watching you do it. In the past few weeks the Hollaback movement has been profiled by Jezebel, CNET, Feministing, The Examiner, BUST,, Huh Magazine, and Planet Green, to name only a few.

The next four days will be critical to our success. If we can raise $3500, we can change the world. How can you help?

1. Donate

2. Email all your friends. Tell them what Hollaback is about. Tell them that you donated, and they should too.

3. Update your facebook status and tweet: 4 days and $3500 between us and a world without street harassment, please RT and donate today:

We can do this. Four days to go.

And your thoughts on solving the AIDS crisis?

Was at the bar last night, and I met a friend of my boyfriend's for the first time. When my boyfriend left to get another drink, I was telling the man I'd just met about my job. He seemed like he was listening, and he was nodding. Then he interrupted me and said "yeah, yeah, blah, you have really nice tits". Everyone around the table seemed a bit uncomfortable, but no one said anything, just laughter. I didn't know what to say, and everyone was laughing. I knew I wasn't going to be leaving the bar anytime soon, so if I said something I would be ensnared into an ethical conversation about "complimenting women". So I just said thank you, in an effort to move the conversation to something other than my "nice tits".

Submitted by Jessi

"Animal control? Yes, hi, I have a stray pervert following me."

I have no picture, because this happened to me back in the nineties. I lived in Ecuador and the harrassment was an everpresent part of my life. So many things happened, and my policy was to be angry and let them have it. This one time, though, this little man was following behind me closely, muttering disgusting things. I yelled, I tried to act intimidating, but he would not stop. Then I noticed that we were alone-it was the middle of the day, and the businesses were closed. So I made a plan. I pretended to give up, and I walked a few blocks, with him muttering the whole way, always trying to get closer. I walked right to a walkway full of people, and when we were in the middle, I yelled "pervert, leave me alone!" at the top of my lungs. He froze, and I saw his eyes darting around in panic. Right before he ran off, he looked at me and I smirked.

Submitted by Ellen

Monday, May 17, 2010

Need a good reason to hollaback? Here's one.

First time to deal with a train masturbator. This guy was on the 6 Local from 42nd street heading downtown. He was jerking off through his jeans, but the gross part was that he wasn't doing it to me, but to the little girl across from him! She must have been 6 yrs old. They got off at the same stop as me and he looked up at me as I was exiting. I politely and discretely gave him the finger. He looked away real fast. I only wish I was brave enough to have gotten a better picture.

Submitted by T.

An Apologetic Snake

I was standing on the corner of 26th st. and 7th ave. in Manhattan enjoying my lunch break on a beautiful day. I heard something hissing from nearby, and turned around to this character nodding and hissing at me. A minute after snapping this photo as he walked off, I stopped him and asked if he had just been hissing at me, and if he was trying to get my attention. Here's what our conversation looked like:

I said "I'm just out here enjoying my lunch break and trying to go about my business and you interrupted me."
He said "What if I had come up to you and said 'I think you're beautiful'?"
And I said "I don't care, I don't want anyone talking to me on the street, I don't like talking to strangers on the street and most women don't."

We went back and forth like this for a couple of minutes and he tried to say he wasn't hissing at me. He said what's the difference between that and telling me I'm beautiful and I said:

"Well at least that would have been better than standing across the street making animal noises at me."
He finally said "I'm sorry."
And I said "Thank You."

Submitted by V

Why I Hollaback: Natalie's Story

This is the tenth video in the "Why I Hollaback" series. "Why I Hollaback" tells the story of how and why folks decide to take the leap, speak up, and start Holla'ing back. We will release a new story every Monday and accept submissions from all over the world. So tell us your story -- Why do you Hollaback?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

A Martyr of a Man

I've never tried to stand up for someone else getting street harassed (half the time I don't even do it well enough when *I'm* getting harassed)...but last week I couldn't resist. I was standing on 28th st. at the R train stop to go uptown and a girl exited from the stairs. This guy and his friends started saying all sorts of stuff to her. As she walked away I said "Show some respect. Girls don't like to be talked to like that." And the guy said "NO, NEVER!" I pulled out my camera phone and snapped this blurry shot as he was walking away. When he saw it he said, "Take a picture, bitch". OK, thank you, I just did.

Submitted by Anonymous

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

$4,000 down, $8,500 to go on Kickstarter. Did I mention your donations are tax deductible?

In the past few weeks we've had 62 supporters donate to our work. Totally inspiring. Now we've got another 17 days to raise the next $8,500 or we don't get the $4,000 we've already raised. "WHAT?" you're thinking? Yep, those are the rules. Can we do it? Of course we can.

In case you didn't know, because we are a nonprofit ALL DONATIONS are tax deductible. You give and Big Sam gives back. Because you give, we can create a world where everyone has the right to feel safe, confident, and sexy when they walk down the street.

DONATE TODAY! Click here.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Do these rainboots bring out the perv in my eyes?

I was in the lower level of the Century 21 Shoe Department in the Financial District a few weeks ago, where I witnessed a middle-aged man taking photos on his cell phone of a woman in a skirt trying on shoes. Being familiar with your website I tend to be aware of potentially harassing behavior, unfortunately I did not have my phone on me to snap a pic of him. I noticed the man standing behind a circular rack of rainboots doing something with his cell phone, as I looked around I continued to notice his unusual behavior. Then I noticed the woman in the skirt trying on shoes, as she stood up to look in the mirror he stuck his phone below her skirt to snap a photo, at which point I yelled "what do you think you're doing!?!?" He pretended to be bending over to pick up a pair of boots off the rack. I told the woman what he was doing.

Just wanted to let everyone know to beware of this creep the next time you're trying on shoes.

Submitted by Ashley

Why I Hollaback: Polina's Story

This is the ninth video in the "Why I Hollaback" series. "Why I Hollaback" tells the story of how and why folks decide to take the leap, speak up, and start Holla'ing back. We will release a new story every Monday and accept submissions from all over the world. So tell us your story -- Why do you Hollaback?

Nice Peanut, Psycho

I just read about Hollaback on Jezebel. I'm really glad you're doing this - and what perfect timing too!

Two days ago, I was walking to my car after work. A man was walking down the sidewalk in parallel, and I noticed him because he was staring at me intently. I didn't feel comfortable, so I waited for him to pass before I continued to the parking lot. When I reached my car, I saw he had stopped at the parking lot entrance, unzipped his pants, and was shaking his penis at me, making sure I was watching.

Frankly, I've seen this enough times in my life that it doesn't shock me anymore. And I've found it's better not to react - men who do this seem to revel in the attention (although one time when it happened in a safe public place, I did yell out to people nearby to check out the man with the small penis - that shamed him pretty quickly! I would not recommend this in all situations, but boy, was it satisfying).

So I got in my car, followed him down the street, then slowed down long enough to take the attached picture. I didn't really care if I got a clear shot; I just wanted him to think I did. In fact, I never thought I would even look at the photo again.

But now I can do something with this photo. Even if it's never posted, it's heartening to know there are people who take this seriously and are doing something about it. So thank you. Please keep doing what you're doing!

Submitted by Erin

You Want to Lick My Asshole Why?

It was summer 2009, maybe 6pm, and I was walking back from putting my laundry in the wash at a laundry mat right off of Washington Square Park on West 4th street in NYC.

I was wearing shorts, a billowy t-shirt, and flip flops. I had my ipod on. A man who looked to be around 50 years old stood right in my walking line directly in front of me. He motioned for me to remove my headphones, and I assumed he'd ask for directions. "Yes?" I asked. And then he said, "I want to lick your asshole dry." Not knowing what to do, after a second I yelled in his face really loud "Go fuck yourself," and he started walking away. I starred at him and he kept looking back glaring angrily at me. He legitimately seemed surprised by my angry response.

I don't understand why they always seem so shocked when you get pissed off. What do they really think will happen?

In retrospect I wish I had physically assaulted him in some way, and I generally don't ever feel the urge to be violent in life, but when things like this happen, I do.

As women we get stuck in a hard position where, we can't fight back because you never know if the sicko harrassing you is willing to kill you or physically hurt you too. I wish more passersby, men in particular, were willing to step in when they witness this crap. Not that it's fair, but men seem to react to men differently than a woman when they step up in confrontation.

-Pissed Off in the Park

Great Shot! You must have done this before!

Lafayette between Spring and Prince

I'm sick of being harrassed. Love your site and what you're doing for women everywhere. Really makes a difference.

Submitted by Mary

We're Onto You, W-Train Wanker!

Hi Holla Back,

The incident I'm writing to you about happened a few months ago. I wish I had known about your site at the time- I just read about it today on Jezebel. After reading through many entries on your website I decided to write in and tell what happened to me. My story is very similar to Violet's from December 4, 2009. I wonder if perhaps it was the same man.

I was commuting to work one morning last winter on the downtown W train between 59th and 23rd. The train wasn't packed tightly, but it was rush hour so it was standing room only. I had a seat on the bench. I vaguely took note of a man standing a couple of feet away. Not sure why exactly, but I suppose subconsciously alarm bells were going off in my head. He wasn't really dressed appropriately for the season, and he wasn't carrying a bag or anything. He was wearing jeans and a very large baggy hooded sweatshirt with one of those kangaroo pockets in front. When the woman sitting next to me got off he immediately, very quickly, took her seat with his hands in the pocket of his sweatshirt, He sat there, just like that, with his hands on his lap in the pocket of his sweatshirt, the whole time. Out of the corner of my eye I observe his hands moving in his pocket. His head tilts back, his facial expression almost pained, and he moans several times very faintly. Now, a more experienced NYer would have seen this coming a mile ahead. I had only been in the city for about a year at that time and was still incredibly naive. As it slowly dawned on my stupid, sleepy, brain what was happening, I stood up, shocked, and waited by the door for my stop. Still reeling, I continued to observe him. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind he was masturbating. With an entire train of commuters around him. I look back and think what an idiot I was to have done nothing. I should have said something. I should have yelled. I should have taken a picture. I should have immediately gotten off the train and found a cop or told an MTA employee. But in that moment I felt totally powerless by the shock, disbelief, and humiliation. And somewhere in the back of my brainwashed-girl-head I didn't want to embarrass HIM. What the fuck?! I have since observed this same technique of public masturbation on another occasion. I want the women of this city to be aware that this is happening. To know this is unacceptable. And to REACT.

I hope my story can help someone else. It took me far to long to realize what was happening, and I was so shocked by it I couldn't act. I know better now. I'm going to pass along the link to your website to all my lady friends. Hopefully we can make a difference.

Thank you,

Friday, May 07, 2010

"Hollaback Moves Forward" in the American Prospect!

The interview answers all the hard questions that it's taken us five years to sort out: what is street harassment? What's up with that anti-racism policy? What about the men?

Check it out, here.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

D train Dick-aster

I was taking the D train at Coney Island with a friend of mine. We were sitting and chatting, waiting for the train to move. Suddenly a man in his late 50s or early 60s to mid 60s came on the train and sat right across from me and my friend. We didn't take note of it, even though there were clearly many other available seats. So we just ignored it. Anyways, we continued to chat until a few moments later, I felt I was being watched. So I looked across from me and I saw the old guy staring at me. Then I noticed his legs were spread wide open and he had his hands down by his crotch, so I wondered why and looked down. I was disgusted and shocked at the same time. His penis was hanging out of his pants and he was furiously rubbing the head. I freaked out and screamed. My friend asked me what happened cause she wasn't facing the guy. So I told her what I saw and she freaked out as well, too scared to look. We both quickly ran to the end of the train. But still, the guy had his eyes on us and was staring back. In fact, his expression appeared as if he was ready to " release. " After we got to a stop, my friend and I ran to another cart. Thankfully, the old guy didn't follow us. After we got off our stop, I was emotionally and visually scarred for the rest of the day. I can't understand why it happened. I didn't wear anything relieving at all. In fact, I was covered head to toe, the only thing exposed was my face. My clothes were also not form fitting either. It was around winter, in mid February, so I wore lots of layers. I had gloves and hat on. Ever since then, I became even more paranoid about taking the train.. I really wish something could've been done. I'm glad I'm not the only one in NY that has experienced this kind of situation. Better now, we can all work together and fight against this.

I really wish I knew about this website before the incident happened. I wish I did something at the time, but like many other women here, it's a powerless situation.

Submitted by Virginia

Tuesday, May 04, 2010


Something bizarre and scary happened to me yesterday. I've spoken to the police, but there's nothing they can do. I feel like people need to know that this happened so that, if it happens again, perhaps they'll think more quickly than me and someone can catch the person who hurt me.

On Sunday, May 2, somewhere between 11 and 11:15 am, I was walking up the steps to the 7 train subway platform on 46th Street in Sunnyside, Queens. I noticed a man who I felt was walking too close to me, but didn't think much of it.

I then felt a burning and a thick dripping on the back of my right thigh. This is gross, but the only way I can explain it is it felt like I'd shat my pants and it was aflame somehow. I reached back and felt that my jeans were not wet but had become partially solid. I know that doesn't make a lot of sense, and it didn't make sense to me either. All I could think was "someone threw hot wax on me" or "could something in my jeans have spontaneously melted?" I looked for the man who had been too close, but he was gone. I was alarmed, but mostly confused.. I can't really explain what it felt like, but all I kept thinking was "why did someone throw wax on me?" and wondering how they could have done that, short of carrying around a lit candle.

I was traveling to the LIRR station at Woodside to commute to work on Long Island so I couldn't go home to change my pants. I was extremely uncomfortable the entire ride and when I got to work I told a friend what had happened. He pointed out that if my jeans had a polyester content, a flame or acid could have caused them to melt and solidify. His first guess was that someone had held a lighter or cigarette to my pants. When I took off my pants I found two raised singe/burn marks on the back of my leg. There was no hole in my jeans. I believe that someone threw a chemical on me which burned me through my pants and also caused my pants to melt/solidify where the chemical had been.

I didn't get back to the city until around 11 pm and so couldn't call 311 until this morning. When I told them what happened they forwarded me to 911 who sent two officers to my apartment. The policemen agreed that it seemed like I'd been attacked with a chemical. They said that I was welcome to file a report but that since I didn't actually see anything it didn't make a lot of sense. They said what they usually do in such a situation is spread the word through their precinct so that people will keep their eyes and ears open.

Much as I wish they'd taken my pants to forensics or something, I do agree that filing a report is kind of pointless beyond recording that it happened, and I'm frustrated and confused. All I can think to do to make myself feel better is to spread the word myself. Maybe if another woman feels a strange burning through her clothes, she'll think faster than I did. It was just such a strange thing (whose pants burn and solidify as they walk down the street?) that I couldn't even process that this was any sort of attack until I was able to remove my pants and check my skin.. but unfortunately, by that time it was hours later and I was in another county.

I wish I had been paying more attention to the guy (not that I can say for sure it was him, but I don't know who else could have done it..), or snapped him with my camera, or something.. he was almost completely nondescript: mid-height, mid-weight, probably in his 30s, wearing a red shirt. I've attached pictures of my jeans, and also one of my burn (which has proven virtually impossible to photograph.. the attached photo is after I removed my bandaid).

Thank you so much for helping me warn other women!

Submitted by Shoshanna

Monday, May 03, 2010

Welcome to the Movement, from Hollaback's new Executive Director

We've come a long way, baby. We've come so far that it's time for Hollaback to move from being a blog to a full fledged organization. You can get a sneak peak of our new site on

You have the power to end street harassment, and it starts right here.

Why I Hollaback: Samantha's Story

This is the eighth video in the "Why I Hollaback" series. "Why I Hollaback" tells the story of how and why folks decide to take the leap, speak up, and start Holla'ing back. We will release a new story every Monday and accept submissions from all over the world. So tell us your story -- Why do you Hollaback?