Groping, Hollaback! Story

Colleen’s story: “I was told I should have just punched him”

This guy came into my place of work looking to purchase a vehicle. His inappropriate comments and gestures got to the point whereI asked a co-worker to take over for me. Finally someone stepped in however it was after he groped my ass claiming it to be an accident. My manager has made it clear that he will not be allowed back on the lot. I was told I should have just punched him. However strong I feel I am my safest bet is to ‘kill them with kindness’.

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Assault, Green Dot Story, Groping, Hollaback! Story, Homophobic, Racist, Stalking, Transphobic, Verbal

Shelly’s story: “we live like we are in a war zone”

I wrote this in response to The Coast’s July 13th article about taxi drivers and sexual assault.

I doubt they will read it, and I’d like SOMEONE to read it.

Here’s what I wrote:

I have not been physically assaulted by a taxi cab driver, but I have countless experiences with cab drivers saying sexually explicit and super-obviously-creepy things, such as “everything is about sex” and “you just pretend to be a good girl, don’t you?” I don’t buy the scapegoat of blaming cultural differences on this insipid creepiness – the creepiest cab drivers I’ve had were consistently white Nova Scotians. By comparison, the kindest and most professional cab driver I’ve ever had was Iranian.

I’ve had plenty of friends tell me horror stories of rape and attempted rape by their taxi drivers when they were intoxicated, exhausted, or distracted. They told me that even after reporting the incident to the taxi company directly, no actions were ever taken. One friend was told that the cab company denied all responsibility for the behaviours of their drivers. Therefore, I only ever ride in a cab if I’m 100% sober, and ready to fight for my life. There have been a couple of times I needed a taxi to/from the hospital but decided to walk instead because I didn’t want to get raped by a taxi driver. This means that I do not have full access to taxi services because I’m a woman – this is discrimination.

The root of the problem is that any time you have a man in a position of power, the potential for him raping someone is there. Add to the equation police who don’t know how to properly deal with sexual violence, a general mistrust of anything women have to say, and the classic “well she was asking for it” attitude that we witness time and time again, and it’s no surprise that taxi drivers are sexually assaulting their clients.

As women, we live like we are in a war zone. We are constantly managing the potential threat of rape. Laws don’t protect us and cause more distress to the victims of sexual violence than to the perpetrators of sexual violence.

Cameras in taxi cabs could definitely help, as long as there is a way for passengers to verify that the camera is ON and that the video feed is being fed to an external party outside of the taxi cab, with no way for the driver to tamper with the system. There must also be NO period of time where the camera shuts off. I don’t want to say that all men can’t be trusted, but with what I’ve witnessed and how I’ve been treated, I think they’re asking for it, don’t you?

Better yet would be a bus system that runs through the night. It is not fair to impose a midnight curfew simply because the buses stop running and taxi drivers can’t be trusted not to rape people.

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Hollaback! Story, Verbal

Anonymous story: “anger jolted through my body”

I was just harassed on Coburg road. I accidentally glanced at two stupid dudes sitting on a stairway – not even sure why. Then they go “OOOOH BEAUTIFULLLLL I wanna spank you” etc etc and the anger jolted through my body like a strike of lightning.

I really wanted to yell back at them or do SOMETHING, but I know in this particular city, stalking by strangers is a problem, and creepers LOVE to retaliate by stalking. So I kept silent and kept walking. Silence hurts but revenge stalking hurts worse.

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Regarding the trial of Jian Ghomeshi

Hollaback! Canada joint statement

We believe people who share their stories

We stand in solidarity with Lucy DeCoutere, Linda Redgrave, and others who have bravely shared their stories. We stand with Kathryn Borel, Reva Seth, Zoe Kazan, and anyone else who has reported harassment or assault.

We believe there are many stories that have not been shared

This trial offered highly visible examples of injustice, but we recognize that there are many stories going unheard. Stereotypes and snap judgements privilege more powerful voices over others. Many do not feel safe or supported accessing institutions that claim to offer justice, particularly when facing discrimination based on race, ethnicity, poverty, ableism, and/or gender identity and expression. Many have reason to distrust and fear the police, the law, and the courts. These stories are no less true than the few that recently made headlines.

We believe that stories can be imperfect or incomplete without being discredited

We understand that narratives are influenced by trauma, time, and memory. Too often, people are asked to push their own needs aside and ignore abusive behaviour for the sake of harmony. Insisting on automatic, linear storytelling ignores the realities of lived experience, and further prioritizes the stories of people who have access to traditional power structures and institutions. We believe in your process, whatever that might look like for you.

We believe there are people who want change

We know you’re out there. You believe. You remember. You find kindred spirits. You build networks. You share stories and skills. You open doors. You encourage resistance, resilience and persistence. You’re building a better world, one person at a time.

We believe in the people who didn’t make it

Not everyone is a survivor. We acknowledge the lives that have been lost because of this violence.

We believe in the people who are surviving

You don’t have to share your story with us, and you don’t have to give us your reasons, but we’ll hold space for you to breathe. We see you. We hear you. We’re so glad you’re still here.

With love and revolution,

Hollaback! Alberta
Hollaback! Halifax
Hollaback! Montreal
Hollaback! Ottawa
Hollaback! Peterborough
Hollaback! Vancouver
Hollaback! Victoria

Hollaback! (NYC Headquarters)

Hollaback! Canada

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Hollaback! Story, Stalking

Rosa’s story, continued


I am sad to say this post serves as a follow up from something I shared with Hollaback more then a month ago. A white man, age late 40s, in a silver Pontiac pursuit, harassed me from his vehicle on two separate occasions in two consecutive days while I was walking in the Barrington/ Morris area. I knew this man was a threat to me… his menacing grin, his driving by my side while I walked… all indications pointed that this man was sick and was actively pursing me. I felt sick to my core. I hoped to get a photo or license plate but he found my residence first.

Two weeks after the street harassment incidents, the man showed up to my house and was peering into my bedroom window from the front lawn at 11:30 at night. His vehicle parked across the street. He ducked and ran towards his vehicle after I screamed and my partner glared out to the window to identify him. This man was arrested, but not charged. He has a history of this activity. I moved houses for my safety. It was two weeks after the voyeurism incident and I had settled into my new residence on the other side of town. I was going about my morning routine grabbing a coffee at the local coffee shop and when drove by. Two days later, decided to shake up my routine and walk to another spot for coffee based on a gut feeling he was going to return to my regular coffee shop. I was walking about down Agricola and Cunard when his car approached me. He glared at me as he drove by.

I don’t know when this terrorizing, stalking, voyeurism will end but this man is a threat to me and all women and he is still a free man.

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Hollaback! Story, Stalking

Rosa’s story: “he didn’t take his eyes off me for a minute”

On Feb 9th at approximately 3pm I was walking home from the Halifax Central Library near the corner of Queen and Morris when a grey car approached me from behind honking to get my attention. As the car approached my side the individual (a white male, approximately 40 years of age) slowed his car to my walking pace and stared at me like he wanted to harm me. As another car followed behind his, he waved goodbye and then sped off before I could see the license plate.

On February 10th at approximately 10:00pm I was walking down Barrington street and approached the corner of Barrington and Morris. THE SAME car approached from behind and sat at the red light as I waited for the walking sign. I looked over to see the man glaring at me like he had done the day before. I stared at him and he didn’t take his eyes off me for a minute. He then gave me a terrifying grin and drove away before I could see the license plate.

I’ve been subjected to street harassment over the years and this individual and their mannerism were extremely menacing. Stay safe and if any other individuals experience something similar in this area please let me know!

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Hollaback! Story, Stalking

Anonymous story: “I immediately sensed that he was watching me”

I was waiting for the the #1 bus on Barrington st, trying to get to a cafe in the North End. It was 4:30pm or so but it was dark. A loud and belligerent man starting yelling at a group of students down the street. I knew he was trouble, so I walked up Barrington a few more blocks to wait for the bus near the Starbucks – I recognize the importance of being near open public places when creepy men are around, especially as a woman on her own. Then, the creepy man walked past me, so I thought I was safe. I remember struggling to keep my eye on him while not giving away the fact I was watching him – it always makes the harassment worse if your potential assailant thinks you’re looking at him.

I got on the #1 bus. A few stops later, the creepy man got on the bus. I wondered if he was following me. I got off the bus one stop later and headed back downtown towards Barrington st, where it was busier and more public, to reform my plan. I hated that I had to change my plans on account of some creep. From Barrington st, I ended up grabbing the #1 going up Spring Garden. Guess who was on the bus? The creepy guy. He’d taken off his jacket so it was hard to recognize him, but I immediately sensed that he was watching me. He was sitting in the front of the bus with a grin.

I got off the bus on Spring Garden to go into the Shoppers Drug Mart. I made the mistake of passing the creepy guy and having my back to him as I exited the front of the bus. He laughed and said to me, “Are you following me?” and exited the bus after me.

I shot straight into the Shoppers and paced until I made sure he hadn’t followed me inside. After like an hour, I found my nerve, called a cab, and went straight back home.

I was most disturbed by how much planning went into this little stalking stint of his.

I was most disturbed by how much planning went into this little stalking stint of his.

There are many ways I wish I’d handled the situation differently, but I mean, come on. This is like a military-zone/spy-movie case of stalking. Do I really need military training to be safe in my everyday life?

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Hollaback! Story, Stalking, Verbal

Jenna’s story: “he rode away… and came back”

One night in September I thought the bus was running later than it was and ended up having to walk home around 12:30am. Around Almon St. a biker drove by me staring, then turned around and came back over by the sidewalk and kept telling me it was such a nice night I should go for a ride with him and he didn’t feel like going home alone, I kept saying no so he rode away… and came back 2 or 3 times telling me to get on his bike and following me along, cutting me off at a driveway so I had to go around him, and he finally gave up.

I was scared he would come back when I got up to the residential area where there’d be nobody out but luckily a cab driver who saw from a parking lot came over and asked if I wanted a drive home, said he saw the man leave the pub before heading my way.

I used to feel somewhat safe walking home at night.

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