New submission : Jenna’s story!

I had just gotten a massage on Beechwood Ave at 5:30pm after work. I was leaving on foot, and a man maybe in his 20’s starting yelling at me. He was across the street, I assume waiting for a bus or just hanging out, I’m really not sure. He very clearly said “YOO I love your ass in those leggings! They look so good!” and I looked back and he was yelling it to me. I was really shocked and embarrassed because there was other people around (there are patios and a gas station around where we were, not to mention traffic). I decided not to say anything but walk faster and I could hear him yell “WAIT, WAIT” really loud but I didn’t turn around. I just kept speed walking and took out my phone. I was hoping that if I got on my phone he would leave me alone. When I got to the next corner I checked to see if he was following me and thankfully he didn’t but I was freaked right out because this was so close to my house where I had just moved a week prior.

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New submission : Mary

I can’t say if he is stalking me, because the park is open to everybody. This man, (in his 60’s, I’d guess) has taken a dislike to me and my dog. Our first encounter was with him screaming at me that my dog should be on leash (leash-free park), getting into my personal space and frightening both me and my little companion. I am a woman in her early 70’s, but do not put up with that type of nonsense. There have been five incidents of him calling me names as he passes. I always take my dog aside so he can’t kick out at us. He always appears out of nowhere and I have changed my walking times, but there he is! I went to the Courthouse and told a Judge my story and she took down the info. Police said because I didn’t know his name, what can they do. And, people are allowed to say what they want. I’m careful he doesn’t see my car or follow me. I hear he has changed victims to two young girls walking their dogs.

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New submission : Natalie’s story!

Tonight I was walking home from Rideau after a successful shopping trip with my mom. However, that good mood was soon turned to fear and anger when I was approached by a man. He walked up to me and asked “Can you help me? I’m not from around town,” as he handed me his phone. “Sure,” I said. I’m aware that Confederation Park has become a popular spot for Pokemon Go players having played it myself, so I assumed he wanted to show me his phone so I could direct him to an other Pokemon Go stop. But nope! On his phone was a sexually explicit picture of himself in tiny boxers with a hard on! He then asked, “Can you rate this on a scale from 1 to 10?”. I was frustrated, I was angry, I was scared. But without emotion I replied “I don’t care” as I walked away. He then proceeded to call me a “frigid prude” and yell at me saying “It’s true! All Ottawa women are bitches!”. I believe this is a tactic that he uses on other women who are at Confederation Park playing Pokemon Go or at other popular Pokemon Go stops. He is white with dark hair and brown eyes, about 5 feet 5, and was wearing a baseball cap.

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New submission : Chrissie’s story!

It’s 7:30pm. I’ve been walking the dog and am waiting for the lights to change so I can cross the street. I’m facing the apartment building and something on the second floor balcony that catches my eye. I can’t figure out what it is and am staring at it as I stand there waiting for the lights.

Lights change, I cross the street.

When I get to the other side, I realize it is a completely naked man standing on a cooler on his balcony, bent over with his ass cheeks spread (I’m assuming it was a man as I think I saw testicles). He starts to slap his ass and as I continue to walk my dog “ignoring” him, he rotates his ass in my direction and keeps slapping.

I reported it to the building rental office & superintendent. They phoned the police with me and they reported it with me. It was the second complaint the rental office had gotten about that today (only the first complaint was for a different building and it was only a little old lady who lived there).

The police have since been there and spoken with the building staff, as well as the man renting the apartment (on the phone as he is not currently home… but his son is). I have been told once the man gets home they will go with him to speak to his son to determine if he is psychotic or just behaving in appropriately. I guess they will just talk to him about not doing that again?

I am very embarrassed i was standing there like a doofus for several minutes staring.

I live in the building and am too anxious to go do my laundry in the basement tonight.

I feel like this – but I’ve done nothing wrong.

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New submission : Katie’s story!

I was in the park this afternoon, trying to enjoy my summer before school starts up once again. Out of the corner of my eye I noticed a man, maybe in his thirties, sitting on the bench and playing with his phone. I couldn’t help but notice the way he was holding it, it was a little unnatural.

I then sat up to take off my shoes, because the sun was getting hot at this point and who doesn’t like to feel the cool grass on your feet on a summer day? When I did I noticed the man reach into his bag and quickly tried to put something out of view and under the very same shoulder bag.

It was very awkward because he would go back to his phone and then adjust his bag oddly on and off for the longest while. I was getting a odd vibe, not sure why. When the sun had emerged from a cloud I seen the glare of a camera lens under his bag pointing directly at me.

The man was recording me, maybe using his phone app to try and not be too noticeable. I felt disgusted at how he had been recording me and probably zoomed into and past my personal space. I never felt so sick because of a human, I quickly left and after I got home I couldn’t stop thinking about what he was going to do with the footage. I even am scared to wear short shorts now. I feel so violated.

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New submission from a bystander: Jason

3am on a Friday night: I’m walking down the sidewalk to a 24 hour gym and a woman yells at me to slow down. I glanced in her direction and see a couple figures outside a bar, she’s half running towards me but I pay her no mind thinking it’s just drunk people. She continues yelling at me, singling me out by what I’m wearing. There’s a couple guys across the street outside another bar and they don’t seem concerned. She begins cursing at me to stop while I’m walking away. Her insistence intensified but there was alarm in her voice so this time I stopped and she caught up with me.

She’s mid to late 20’s tells me to keep walking and quickly explained that there was a guy following her home and she just wanted to be taken to the front door of her building. She was so matter of fact about it but clearly relieved. I walked her to her building and she politely thanked me and we exchanged first names.

It happened very fast and there wasn’t much time for Q & A I just wanted to say I was very proud of this girl for how she handled herself (I forgive the swearing and insults) and really all I did was just not make the situation worse she didn’t ask anything of me other than a short escort home. I’m glad I was there, though.

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New submission : Bee’s story!

I live near Dundonald Park, and while it has been better lately (sadly, it may have to do with Pokemon Go bringing more people there late at night) I had another bad incident recently.

Last night I was walking home down Somerset at around midnight when two guys started following me and yelling at me to slow down and talk to them. I ignored them for a block and then I turned around and yelled at them to go away, that I was not interested and to stop talking to me. Their harassment turned to insults (c-word, b-word) and they started walking towards me faster.

I was scared for a second but there was a group of people on the corner playing Pokemon that I walked through and the guys turned around when they saw that. It didn’t stop me from checking behind me and taking a longer way home just in case they were still following me from afar.

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We all deserve to feel safe in public spaces

As an organization dedicated to ending street harassment and making public spaces safe and accessible, Hollaback! Ottawa would like to offer our public support to everyone affected by the arrest and death of Abdirahman Abdi. It was a horrific and avoidable situation.


It is very clear that police interactions with people struggling with mental health issues requires immediate re-addressing and rectification. It is evident that anti-black racism exists within Ottawa Police Services and needs immediate acknowledgement from its top ranks. What is also clear to us is that when police assistance is required to deal with instances of sexual harassment and/or assault, the victims should not be blamed for attempting to ensure their protection and wellbeing.


Women reported being harassed and assaulted by Mr. Abdi. We believe them. It was also reported that Abdirahman Abdi’s family had made a concerted effort to put de-escalation and community-based measures in place to ensure both his mobility in the community and the safety of others. We think measures such as this are incredible and vital to creating safer and more empathetic communities.


In the absence of such measures, the onus is on individual women to decide whether to prioritize their own safety or the safety of their community. We reject an either/or solution.


It’s completely unacceptable that women are expected to sacrifice themselves to abuse, over and over, for the good of their community. We don’t want to tell women they aren’t allowed to ask for help if they’re afraid. We don’t want to tell bystanders they can’t ask for backup if they’re overwhelmed. Calling the police was an act of desperation in an escalating situation, not meant to be a death sentence.


We all deserve to feel safe in public spaces.


The police’s failure to handle this call with the care it deserved does not rest upon the Bridgehead employees’ shoulders, individual women who were targeted, Abdirahman Abdi or his family.  We should not be afraid to call the police, yet due to their storied history of revictimization, racism, ableism, misogyny and escalation of violence of those most in need, we all too commonly are.


We condemn the Ottawa Police’s treatment of Abdirahman Abdi and extend our deepest sympathies to his family for their loss. We are here for you. We also support the women who were harassed and assaulted by Abdirahman Abdi and extend our support to them. We are here for you.


We can, and should, hold both these thoughts at once. Doing so is the only way we’ll create a safer community together.


In solidarity and resistance,

  • The Hollaback! Ottawa Crew


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