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As if she couldn’t get any cooler, here is Nicola Briggs on camera for Jezebel with tips and tricks for fending off those creeps. Oh yes. Oh fucking yes.
It was summer years ago and I was about to be a sophomore in high school, and my mom and I went up to the school for a meeting with some other mother music booster. Mom and the other mom started to talk, and I wandered off into the hallway to fool around with the piano.
About this time, a man in his 30s walked past and smiled. I smiled politely back as he headed into the men’s room nearby. I continued playing the piano when a few moments later I heard the man say, “Excuse me.”
I looked up to see him completely naked. I did the only thing I could think off; I slapped my hands over my eyes. He told me I need to look, that he needed me to look at him to get into a fraternity. I kept my eyes covered and told him to go away. He didn’t. I told him again to go away, and he told me, “Just a minute.” I heard a sound that I later realized was masturbation. Eyes still covered, I insisted that he leave or I’ll scream. I finally heard him jog off, and I looked around to make sure he was gone, before rushing back to the safety of my mother in the next room.
I never told her what happened.
Submitted by Becky
I was on the LIRR train on my way home from school when a man sat down next to me and began trying to strike up a conversation. I was cordial, but then began ignoring him as he clearly started trying to hit on me. After about 15 minutes, he took his phone out, tried to casually hold it with his right arm (the side next to me), and slanted it up so that it was angled between my legs and up my dress. This all happened in seconds. Then, I heard the distinctive click of a camera sound.
I was stunned, but after a second or two I stood up and immediately started screaming at the man in front of the other passengers. In my shock that something like this had actually happened to me, it was cathartic to stand in front of him and all the other passengers and recount what he had done. I called him a “disgusting pig” and said “how dare you take an upskirt picture of me.” I wanted all the other passengers to know what he did, in hopes that if nothing else, he would be embarrassed by his perverted act.
Being a law student, I knew that immediately I wanted to create a record of what had happened. After I told the person who had taken tickets for my car, and he alerted the conductor (who, in turn, alerted the police), I turned around and walked back towards the man. He had plugged in his phone to charge it and while he was talking on it I held up my phone and took two pictures of him, while saying “how do you like having your picture taken.”
Although he got off the train at the next stop, I gave the police his pictures and all the information the man had volunteered when he was trying to hit on me on the train. He gave me his nickname (Alejandro) and his Myspace name. I also had gotten contact information from a man sitting in front of me who had witnessed the incident.
Two days later, I took the morning train out of Jamaica on the Ronkonkoma line. A few stops before I got off, Alejandro, the SAME man who had taken a picture up my dress, came up to me and sat down right across from me. Instantly, I was fearful and started looking around to see my options if I had to get away from him or if I needed to alert someone. Remarkably, he didn’t seem to recognize me at all.
I took advantage of this, and when he hit on me, using all the same lines as he had before, I played into it. I kept my head to the side so he could only see my profile and kept my sunglasses on, in case he suddenly had a flash of recognition. I found out his full name, his job, where he lived, and his phone number. I told him fake details about my life when he asked and stared at his phone every time he took it out so that I could give the police its exact details.
When I got off the train, I immediately contacted the detective the police department had put me in touch with and gave him all the information.
I ended up setting up a fake “date” with the man and the detectives I worked with were able to catch him. He had 17 prior convictions on his record, ranging from more benign crimes to violent ones. He also had a warrant out because he had skipped out on his probation meeting. I cooperated with the Assistant District Attorney and told my story to aid in his conviction of “Unlawful Surveillance.”
Women should feel that they have the right and ability to embarrass their harassers; but, it’s also important to follow through and report the incident with the police. Use your words, use your cameras, and use your ability to share your stories.
Submitted by Emily
HarassMap officially announced the release of their SMS text reporting platform yesterday that will allow any cellphone user to report harassment and assault by sending a simple text message. This brings to 2 the number of anti-harassment initiatives launched in the middle east that we’ve written about in the past week. This is the fun part of the job.
HarassMap’s model is unique in that any cell phone user may participate, and not just those with iPhones or Droids. This means that replications in other cities around the world could soon be on their way, paving the way for continued success against public sexual abuse.
Reports are already being accepted . To report by SMS text, send details to 0169870900. To send a report by email, send to [email protected], or you can connect with the group via Facebook and Twitter as well. Visit the HarassMap site in English here.
Congratulations, HarassMap team, and THANK YOU for all that you do.
I had finished work early and was heading to the public library to return a book. I was walking along Cambridge Street, listening to my iPod quite loudly to drown out the sound of the cars. A man (probably late teens/early 20s) walked by me. Because my music was so loud, it was like a whisper, but I could hear him say something along the lines of “You’re beautiful.” It took a few seconds for me to process what happened, and normally in this kind of situation I would just tell him to “fuck off.”
But I decide to try something different. I stopped and turn around. He must have realized that I’d stopped, as he also turned around, and I said, “Does that ever work for you?”
He’s asking how what he said was so wrong, that it was a compliment. I told him that I’m a complete stranger walking along the street, listening to my iPod. He said, “Yeah, I saw you with your music. I can’t believe you even heard me,” and I said, “Well, I did, and I don’t need you to compliment me. That’s not why I exist.”
He said that he didn’t mean to offend me, and that he’s sorry if he did. I told him that I appreciate that he’s sorry, but I’m trying to let him know that, even though he didn’t mean to be offensive, many women (including me) do take it that way, so he should watch what he says from now on. He slinks away and says again that he’s sorry that I was offended (which is still missing the point, but it’s a start).
I then walked away feeling like maybe I had overreacted. Even writing this now, I still kind of feel that way. But at the same time I’m thinking, if you know I couldn’t hear you, why were you saying it out loud? To prove something to yourself? Hopefully next time he’s tempted to say something similar to a stranger, he’ll think about it more.
Submitted by G.
This happened a few years ago when I was walking my dog on the golf course. I was just sitting there, daydreaming, when my dog started barking. I looked over to see a man lying on the grass about 10 yards from me, masturbating. I had done self-defense classes at university and I think my reaction surprised this pervert. I got up and ran AT him – I followed him all the way to his car, memorised the license plate as he drove off, then ran to some nearby golfers, asking for a pen and paper to write down the plate.
Later at home, I wrote a quick description of what happened and did a sketch of the man (he had an unusual hair do) I called the cops and gave them the sketch, the number-plate and the written description of what happened.
They later called back and said that they had given this creep a warning. Nothing else. Then I got angry. I started walking the dog with a friend after that.
Submitted by Gilda
Badass subway hero Nicola Briggs is being given an award for standing up to her predator on December 16th. Briggs will receive the first “Shero” from the Professional Women of Westchester and a diamond peace sign necklace from D’Errico’s Jewelry at D’Errico Jewelry’s 25th Anniversary Celebration. Richard D’Errico, co-founder of the store, was impressed with Briggs’s bravery and wants to honor her at the celebration. Briggs, a martial arts and Tai Chi instructor in Bronxville, NY, says, “No one should feel ashamed when they are targeted by a sexual predator. The experience of shame needs to be placed squarely on the shoulders of the perpetrator, where it belongs.” Everyone is welcome to attend. The event will take place at D’Errico’s 25th Anniversary Celebration tomorrow, December 16 at 6PM at their 509 Central Avenue log cabin store in Scarsdale, NY. So, please come out and help celebrate Nicola Briggs’s victory in the fight against street harassment!
For more information, call Tony Seideman at 914-737-8776, or e-mail [email protected].
The first time I remember being harassed was when I was about 12 years old. I was walking along 7th avenue in Brooklyn, NY and a man yelled at me that he would love to pop my cherry. I was with my mother at the time and she reassured me that the harassment was not personal, elaborating that even my grandmother gets yelled at. Though she did not encourage me to confront the man or speak up for myself it was immensely helpful that she told me not to internalize it. I continue to wear whatever I want even though I now live in an area of the city where I regularly get commented on 2 to 6 times during my five block walk to the subway each day.
I feel very privileged to live in a city that holla’s back. The October hearings against street harassment were inspirational regardless of the public backlash. Especially in my neighborhood I regularly see sassy badassy women delivering loud retorts to men who comment on their bodies. Seeing other women speak up gives me the courage to do it too. What really gives me hope is the idea that very young girls will follow our example and no young girl will ever have to bear street harassment is silence if she does not want to.
This idea that women of all ages can start a movement and impress upon very young girls just what it can mean to be a woman has started to guide me more and more in my actions. Recently a group of five female public health students at Hunter College (including myself) made a short film following young women activists who are leading actions to combat the sexualization of women in media and on the streets. These young women work with organizations such as The Line, Hollaback, Hardy Girls Healthy Women, About-Face, and SPARK and are doing great work; I recommend that anyone interested in issues of objectification, sexualization, and harassment check them out!
Submitted by Rebecca Pisciotta
On the way home from a camping trip last summer my boyfriend and I stopped at his work so he could pick up his pay check. We parked way in the back of the parking lot, and I got out of the car to stretch my legs. This guy ran up to me and asked me for my number, and of course I said no. He motioned to a group of guys standing around a car a distance away and said his friends didn’t think he was “fresh enough” to get my number and he wanted to prove them wrong. I said, “You’re NOT fresh enough, and my boyfriend is coming back any minute so just leave me alone.” But he kept hounding me. He even said I could write a fake number to show his friends, so in order to get rid of him, I did. I regret not making more of a scene- yelling really loud to embarrass him in front of his friends, or writing 1-800-fuck-you as my “phone number.” This encounter didn’t make me feel threatened, just annoyed that I was forced into being a pawn in their little dick-measuring contest. Submitted by Brittany