Appalachian Ohio, Athens GA, Atlanta, Berkeley, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Columbia MO, Des Moines, Fredericksburgh VA, Jacksonville NC, Los Angeles, New York City, NYU, Philadelphia, Palo Alto, Portland ME, Richmond VA, Rutgers University, San Francisco
Although we welcome anonymous stories on Hollaback Mumbai, since it is the launch of our ‘Main Hoon Na/I’ve Got Your Back campaign, I’m submitting my story with my name on it.
Like many people, I am harassed every day, often multiple times a day. I do not see it as a ‘compliment.’ I see it as a by-product of a culture that accepts gender-based violence and something that prevents me from enjoying this city that I love so deeply.
This was the incident that got me most riled up about starting a Hollaback site: I was at Andheri train station waiting in the line to punch my coupon. When I got to the front, a guy came over and pushed my hand away and started punching his own coupons. I said ‘hey! I was here first.’ He replied: ‘so?’ Great. I punched my coupons and I left. I was walking up the stairs and someone bumps into me, his hand pressing against my butt. I turn around, and it’s the Coupon-Ass. He says sorry and smiles. I keep going. Out of the corner of my eye, I can see him watching me. When I stop to send my friend an SMS and he stops too, watching me from across the bridge, I know he’s following me. I walk towards the train and he follows me. I stop, hoping he will walk past, and he doesn’t. That’s when I started to get really scared. I didn’t say or do anything. I just ran down to the first train I could find, got into the Ladies compartment and hoped that he wouldn’t follow me.
This was pre-Hollaback, pre-learning things to say and do when I was being harassed. The experience sucked – I felt dirty and ashamed and like I had done something wrong. I now know that there is nothing I can do that warrants harassment. But when I read about Hollaback, it was the memory of this experience which pushed me to contact Emily May and start a Hollaback in Mumbai. And I am so grateful for this difficult, inspiring opportunity to be part of something so much bigger than me. The guy was a grade-A asshole, but in a way I am glad that I was propelled to become part of Hollaback because of it.
Author comments are in a darker gray color for you to easily identify the posts author in the comments