My Holla Back Story

Photo by Kat... via Flickr

Here’s a story about how Holla Back has inspired me to speak up.

I was waiting for the light to change at 6th and D NW. I had my cell phone in my hand about to send a text. I see a car with two young men in it probably around 20 years old pull up to the red light. They notice me. I brace for it, look down, and start writing the text I intended to send. I hear one of them shout, “Hey, I want you to give me your phone number!”

I was going to ignore it, but I just couldn’t. I had spent a lot of time in the past few months thinking about how I hate being shouted at or evaluatively commented on just because I’m in public. And after following HollaBack for a while, I felt I had to say something.

I look up. I see that the messy kid in the passenger seat is looking at me expectantly. I also notice two children in the backseat. One is about 5 and the other is an infant. I yell back, “Yeah, and I’d like you to get a haircut and take a shower. And maybe think about not hitting on women when there are babies in your car, cuz that’s just inappropriate.”

He shouts, “Hey, I was just asking you for directions!”

I look back down at my phone to finish my text and shout, “I heard what you said, so you can just take your bruised ego and go elsewhere.” I hear a woman across the street laugh loudly (that felt pretty awesome).

I just told the guy what I saw, like I guess men do when they say, “hey sexy.” I just want to give men in general an accurate idea of what they’re doing. It’s like me randomly saying, “hey creepy old guy,” or “hey you need a shirt that covers that gut” to some guy I don’t know. In this case, I guess it either worked or the kid was too surprised to call me a “bitch,” or some of the other things I hear when I pretend to ignore it or scowl.

I told a couple people what happened. They laughed. They also told me to be careful because they read Holla Back too, and know that those who Holla Back don’t always walk away unharmed.

Submitted by Nafas on 6/1/2010

Location: About 6th & D NW, near DC Superior Court

Do you have a personal experience with gender-based public sexual harassment or assault you would like to submit? Just click here and fill out the online submission form. All submissions are posted anonymously unless you specify.

3 responses to “My Holla Back Story

  1. Good on you for standing up for yourself.

    The guy has two babies in the car and think it’s a good idea to hit on women..tsk I’m sure the babies mother would just love that. ugh

  2. Golden Silence

    I told a couple people what happened. They laughed. They also told me to be careful because they read Holla Back too…

    I love that Hollaback has become this big movement in DC and that many people know about it. Harassers, you can run but you can’t hide!

    And brava to you for standing up to that harasser. Harassing in front of kids, at that! Serves his fool butt right!

  3. Good. For. You. I know people are afraid, but we have to start speaking up for ourselves when we feel comfortable enough to do so. They could hurt us even if we don’t say a word, yo never know.

    Very funny, well done!

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