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New submission: Sarah’s story (Yay bystander intervention!)

I was walking toward the bus stop on Rideau Street by the mall, when a man of about 25 yelled loudly at me (I had headphones in and still heard). He was yelling about how I had a “nice ass, and those hips he would like to see move in bed”. I was so shocked, all I could respond was “No thank you, please leave me alone”, as he proceeded to make sexual gestures. I was so disgusted, but when a man came up to me to make sure I was okay my faith in humanity was restored a little.

I've got your back!
3+

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New submission: Rachael’s story!

I was walking along the Canal near Hogsback Falls with my mom and my roommate when an older man riding his bike stopped directly in front of us, stared for a few seconds, and then said “Beautiful women, so many threesomes, so little time.” We didn’t respond (I wish I had), and he stayed on the path and stared at us from behind until we rounded the corner. So gross.

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14+

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New submission: Lauren’s story!

Walking out of Blair station on my way home from work, an older man pulled my purse from behind. When I turned around, he told me my belt was undone. He stood close to me and rubbed my waist and stomach. I tried to push his hand away and check my belt. The belt on my jacket was fine. Meanwhile, he kept grabbing my waist. I pushed him off and was too shocked to do anything else. I actually said “thanks for letting me know. I’ve got it now”. He said “you’re welcome” and walked off.

I've got your back!
16+

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New anonymous submission!

Getting told to suck your dick while on the phone with my grandma was a real class act on rideau & sussex tonight… Real class act dude, I gave him a piece of my mind! Sorry for the language grandma!

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8+

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New submission : Felicity’s story!

A while ago, I was walking home in Sandy Hill, and a couple of guys standing on the steps of a local bar yelled at me, “Hey sexy, where you going!” I proceeded to ignore them. They kept calling after me. When they didn’t get a smile or any flirtatious response back (I’m assuming that’s what they wanted), they proceeded to insult me and say “Fuck you. Bitch.” I was so angry and disgusted, I wanted to turn around and freak out at them, but I was way too scared for my own safety. This is just one instance of many that I have experienced.

I've got your back!
25+

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New submission: Jess’s story!

I was out walking my dog before work this afternoon and passed by the new barbershop, Klipperz, on Bronson Avenue. As I walked past, I noticed movement in the window so glanced over to see a man hanging blinds/doing some sort of work. Once he caught my eye, he banged on the window and motioned for me to go inside. I could hear him (despite the heavy traffic on Bronson and the window between us, no less!) say “C’mere and see me!” while smiling a type of smile I know all too well.
I gave him a look of disgust and kept walking since my dog really needed to pee.
Great business model though, having employees/servicemen harassing passersby – I will definitely be spreading the word about this new shop, but not a positive word.

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16+

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New submission: Melanie’s story!

A couple of years back when I was twelve, I went to Blues Fest to see a concert.

In the crowd there was this guy being loud and drinking. I was just trying to enjoy the concert.

He grabbed my ass. I was really scared to be honest. I tried to keep away from him after that, but he kept on eyeing and looking at me after that. He was probably in his twenties and I was 12.

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11+

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Post: On street harassment & classism

This is a blog post written by Hollaback! Ottawa site director Julie Lalonde & Community Outreach Officer Jess Golden.

Reading a recent editorial about street harassment in the LA Times left us feeling all sorts of things, and none of those feelings were good.

We are part of the amazing Hollaback! Ottawa team. We are activists. We’re shamelessly in love with our pets. We love a good pun, snarky t-shirts and MAC lipstick.

We’re also two barely-making-ends-meet women from blue-collar, working class families.

photo (1)Julie & Jess reppin’ Hollaback! Ottawa at Capital Pride 2014.

So yeah, reading an article about how hating street harassment means you are elitist and hate poor people made us all kinds of ragey.

Jess’ father (before he left them) worked in disaster restoration, cleaning up homes after fires and floods. After her dad left, her mum took on a part time job on top of her full time job in order to make ends meet. Her uncle has been a mechanic since before she was born. Her brother has worked in construction and landscaping since leaving high school before he graduated. And Jess? She’s an addictions counsellor working at a homeless shelter in downtown Ottawa making less than $45,000 a year.

Julie’s story is eerily similar with a family makeup of manual labourers, miners, construction workers, line cooks; textbook working class folks.

To argue that street harassment is unique to construction workers is patently false and is part of a pattern of thinking that states that only “some” men or only men from “some” neighbourhoods engage in street harassing. Hollaback! NYC Deputy Director Debjani Roy recently tore this argument a new one in Xojane. Check it!

“Men that street harass” are just that: men who street harass. The end. C’est tout.

The accusation that a woman who speaks out against street harassment is classist, followed by the statement that education circumvents street harassment, is inherently flawed and classist in and of itself. To think that an educated man is somehow above engaging in street harassment simply because he is educated is malarkey.

Ever taken a strut down Ottawa’s “business” district or walked by a group of Hill staffers on a sunny day? What about all the harassment near campuses? A lot of “classy”, formally educated, well paid dudes think street harassment is their jam.

The men in our family are bread & butter blue collar men. You know, the whole “Workers who shower after work, rather than before” kinda people.

They are lacking in financial opportunities, not manners. Every time you argue that “that’s just how they are”, you are perpetuating classist BS.

And let us tell you something. When we detail to the men in our lives what we endure while we cycle to work, walk to the grocery store or simply leave our front steps, they are appalled. Because, even though our men work with their hands, they understand that neither those hands nor their mouths should be used to bring anything less than love and respect to a woman.

So, the answer is no, snarky LA Times journalist. We are not elitist scumbags when we call out street harassment. We call out all forms of street harassment because we have the right to navigate public space in safety.

We’re going to keep resisting street harassment everywhere we go; from construction sites to the steps of Parliament Hill, we will always, always Hollaback! #SorryNotSorry

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