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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.
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 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 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.
Not everyone is a survivor. We acknowledge the lives that have been lost because of this violence.
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.
I’d just finished work and was on the #26 bus heading to a friend’s house. The bus was almost empty just one or two people at the front. I walked right to the back and sat in the corner seat. A man got on after me and to my surprise he not only sat beside me but pretty much half on top of me. He threw his backpack on the empty seat beside him and seemed oblivious to my personal space. After about two stops he shifted his weight to one side and put his hand on the side of his leg and against my leg. He ran his hand slowly down my leg. I blurted out “Excuse me” in a clearly irritated tone but still he didn’t break contact. After another stop he reached over me, practically grazing my face with his, to ring the bell. He then got off the bus without a word.
It was about 11 o’clock at night and I was on my way to meet a friend when I passed a group of about five guys drinking beers on the sidewalk in front of an apartment building. I excused myself and walked through them but as I passed I could hear them laughing and whistling. I kept my head down and just keep walking but to my horror they followed. By the time I turned the corners they were just a step or two behind me and they were reaching out to grab my butt. I called my friend and stepped off the sidewalk. Thankfully they kept walking.
I was just waiting for the bus here when a guy in the passenger side of a car called me a cunt. Having a bad day but trying not to let this get to me. Shits bunk.
I’m a young lady like most ladies that like to walk alone at night when getting from A to B. I consider it a valuable part of my independence that I refuse to be scared out of. So one night, I was wearing a new outfit, feeling pretty confident and walking down to Swans to meet friends for a fun night out. This guy, wearing a long dark jacket, yells at me from across the street “Why do you always look so unhappy all the time! If I looked like THAT, I’d be so happy!” I felt angry, that he felt the need to insult my facial expression, because I wasn’t cheery enough for him, like I exist to look good for him and not carry any of my own emotions like any other human being- anyways, my instant reaction was “fuck off.” (which surprised me even a little bit, I didn’t yell it at him, it was more of a dismissive statement. I kept walking, thinking that it was over. But no, he became really aggressive- “WHAT did you say to me? Get back here!” and he started following me down Yates street. I walked faster and scanned the street, there were people around but nobody was noticing what was going on. I just kept walking, until he eventually lost interest and left me alone. When I got to Swans, I was really shaken up. I’d rather not admit it, but it really frightened me. I told the story to a friend of mine-he said I should feel bad for the guy and consider what his reason might be for doing something like that, a bad childhood or something. This made me really angry so I was like “No, I don’t feel bad for him at all. Its not my responsibility to empathize and create excuses- what he did to me is not okay.” Despite my friend trying to be helpful, it devalued my experience and turned the responsibility back on me. Then he said “aw, I wish I had been there walking with you, next time if you ever want to walk down together…” And although he meant well, I was still angry and said “That’s NOT the point! I don’t want a chaperone, I want to be able to safely walk on my own if I choose to.” Anyhow..I just had a lot of anger that night, and wasn’t myself. Completely wrecked my night, and I wish that I had called the police on him while it was happening. We can’t let this happen to other people out there- this is not okay! I don’t want to create ways to ‘adapt’ to this and be street-smart, putting it all on women to change, but I do think we need to come together and develop a real solid resource of available strategies for responding to these moments while they happen to us. I feel like in the past when I’ve just ignored crass comments, it made me feel really crappy and disempowered, so I’d like to say something back, but apparently ‘f off’ does not work so great, at at least not in this one scenario.
I am a mid-40’s longtime transgender female and have had many horrible instances of harassment, assault, and stalking. One in particular was very disturbing: in October 2013 I was harassed, assaulted and groped at a bus stop in broad daylight by three twenty-somethings. At first they thought I was a cisgender female and were ogling me and making lewd remarks that I chose to ignore. I positioned myself so that the bus shelter was between me and them. I was looking in my purse for bus change when one came over and made a lewd comment about my ass. I told him to leave me alone and he then realized I was transgender, at which point their “macho sensibilities” kicked in and they began hurling transphobic insults at me. Next thing I knew, one had his arm around my neck and was groping my breasts, and another tries to pull down my capri pants saying “what the f— you got in there DUDE”. They were all laughing and continuing with transphobic sexual remarks while I screamed and tried to fight them off. An old lady across the street yelled and of course they all took off up Discovery yelling transphobic and sexual profanities and laughing. I then flagged down a Saanich cop car and gave a report to them. The two cops were younger fellows and didn’t seem to take me seriously, despite my obvious state of physical and psychological distress. The two cops even looked at each other and rolled their eyes, and after taking my statement just got in their car and drove away. They didn’t even ask if I needed medical or psychological help… they just went on their merry way! I called the Saanich police department the next day for follow up and THEY HAD NO RECORD OF IT!!!!! SANNICH POLICE ARE INSENSITIVE IDIOTS and just as guilty as those three creeps as far as I’m concerned….I still have nightmares about that event and am scared of groups of similar looking guys….
I was walking to Habit coffee shop today at about 8:30pm when I started getting harassed by a drunk guy. He was being really creepy and kept yelling comments about how I look and telling me that I should go hang out with him and all this shit. When I ignored him, he got increasingly aggressive. I told him to “fuck off” and he tried to turn it around by calling me a rich asshole who’s “too good to hang out with street people” and all this shit. He was being extremely verbally aggressive until the second I got inside the coffee shop. I’m pretty sure he kept yelling at me from outside actually. It made me feel really uncomfortable and unsafe. I am a young female-bodied person in a very vulnerable period of my life. This sucked.
I was walking alone in broad daylight along Blanchard towards Yates when I noticed 3 men in about their mid-20s walking towards me. They were talking amongst themselves and laughing while watching me approach. This put me on alert. The guy closest to me started leering at me and, as he got closer, my crotch specifically. I became aware that his arm had stopped swinging with his gait and sure enough, as they walked past me he reached over to grab my pubic area. Sheer instinct made me swiftly bring my arm up, knocking his hand away. At the same time I jumped out of his reach. They laughed and kept walking. I felt grateful that something in me reacted in this automatic manner. At the same time, though, I felt disgusted at the audacity of this guy who felt entitled to grab at my body. I felt shaken and violated.
Hollaback Victoria would like to acknowledge the Host Communities and Nations in whose territories we work and live. Details