The Movement, Uncategorized

An Opportunity to Get Involved

Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer has been a key ally in our efforts to raise awareness about street harassment.

Please join the Domestic Violence Task Force  on Wednesday, April 27th at 12pm at 1 Centre Street, 19th Floor South for the Manhattan culminating event for Denim Day New York.

Denim Day Manhattan will be a forum on Best Practices for University Sexual Assault Prevention, where university representatives, students and community-based organizations from across the city will come to share ideas, network and strategize about the best ways protect New York’s college students from sexual violence.

In the spirit of Denim Day, please wear jeans!!

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demonstration, groping

ElizaA’s story: This ‘hot piece’ holla’s back, jerks

I live in a town that’s filled, primarily, with bars, places I usually enjoy and have never had a problem (possibly because I usually go out with a group that is primarily male). However, on this particular night it was a friend’s birthday and we decided that getting plastered was a good idea. To avoid spending too much money we went to the local dive bar, somewhere I previously had never set foot in. It’s a strangely dark place (even for a bar) and VERY crowded on weekends.
At one point I, along with three of my friends (all girls) went out onto the dance floor, we were having fun jumping around and dancing with each other for partners when I feel something brush past my ass, initially I dismissed it, it’s a crowded dance floor and you do have to work your way through it to get to the bar, a little awkward jostling is too be expected. However, it turned out to be some guy who started grinding on me, when I tried to gently push him away saying, “no thanks” he just pressed closer when I pushed harder he said “woah, you’re grinding all up on me.” And I glanced over my shoulder to see him and his friends laughing. I was so uncomfortable that I just moved closer to my friends and waited for him to pass.
I wish I’d turned around and told him off for getting in my personal space and then trying to validate himself by saying that I was getting into his.
I felt violated and my friends and I left shortly after this happened. On our way out we reported this to the bouncer (with the friend I’d been dancing with pointing the guy who’d violated me out, as she’d gotten a good look at him.) He just laughed and said a “hot piece” like me should be used to it by now. On of my guy friends told him that he was an asshole and that his job was to protect the clients. He just scoffed and said something along the lines of, “come on, brah.”
Needless to say I’ll never be setting foot in there again.

one comment 
demonstration, Verbal

SR’s story: I wish I could just shrug it off, but I can’t.

Me: crossing Woodward with my boyfriend. Young guy in the passenger seat of car stopped at the Woodward red light: yells “SEXY” etc etc at me while I wait for the Congress light to change. This is about thirty, maybe forty full seconds of yelling. He’s far enough away that I can’t tell what he’s saying, so I ignore him until some other college girls walk towards the intersection and he yells at them too about their clothing (skirts). I turn and yell at him to fuck off, notice the asshole is *holding a camcorder* and presumably had been filming my ass the entire time. Light changes, he laughs with the driver as they zoom off. Wish I had a photo or a license plate number but I don’t, wish I could just shrug it off and forget about it but I can’t. All I can do is sit around thinking of things I wish I had said and I hate that feeling.

one comment 
Assault, demonstration

Lindsay’s story: Robbed at gunpoint

Living in Brooklyn has its ups and downs….this week has most certainly hit a very low point.

The reason I haven’t updated in so long is because as I was coming home from the tattoo shop on Sunday night I was robbed at gunpoint a block away from my apartment. I was walking home on any typical night when I got grabbed from behind and put up a fight…when he realized I was or could be stronger than him (I am a 4’11” tiny girl and he wasn’t very strong and was only 3 inches taller than me) he grabbed my neck, pushed me against a parked SUV, cocked the trigger and stuck the cold barrel of the gun in my temple. At this point he humiliated me by ripping my glasses off and throwing them underneath the car and ripped my grandmothers gold ring off my finger.

“If you turn around and look at me you will fucking die tonight…I will put a bullet in your head”

I proceeded to give him my entire handbag that contained my wallet, credit cards, i.d., only 9 dollars in cash, my salon paycheck, my apartment keys, and old school iPod….but then he disgustingly patted me down…stuck his hands in my back jean pockets and grabbed my iphone G4 out of my front jacket pocket.

“I want you to walk to the end of this block…if you look back…if you look back or turn around…I will fucking kill you right now”

I wanted to break down. I wanted to scream…I went deaf with anxiety and walked to the end of the block as calm as possible…then I crossed the street and ran like I have never ran before in my life…luckily there is a police station a block away…

Getting all my shit back has become an utter nightmare…thank god my parents live in the next couple neighborhoods over so I can stay with them until I get mailed a new phone and my landlord sorts out the key situation of my apartment.

I am not sure I will ever be the same again…at least not for a while…you think you are safe until this actually happens to you. I am so lucky to not be killed or raped…I am trying to be strong and resume back to normal life….its been hard to sleep and feel relaxed but if I can’t function then the bastard wins….in the end I will get out on top and this will make me a stronger woman than I already believe I am.

2 comments 
campaign, demonstration, HollaZine, Street harassment in the media

Toronto SlutWalk Draws Hundreds

Toronto Police representative Michael Sanguinetti’s words of wisdom to students at York University in January that “women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized” was the basis for Sunday’s inaugural “SlutWalk,” drawing close to 1000 men and women fed up with institutionalized victim-blaming and shaming.

From the SlutWalk site:

Historically, the term ‘slut’ has carried a predominantly negative connotation. Aimed at those who are sexually promiscuous, be it for work or pleasure, it has primarily been women who have suffered under the burden of this label. And whether dished out as a serious indictment of one’s character or merely as a flippant insult, the intent behind the word is always to wound, so we’re taking it back. “Slut” is being re-appropriated.

Watch MoxNews.com’s report here:

By VK

one comment 
HollaZine, Street harassment in the media

NYT Should Take a Cue from CNN.com

In a post yesterday about New York Times’ coverage of the corpses found on Long Island and the ongoing search for a missing woman, we looked at how reporters Joseph Goldstein and Tim Stelloh’s use of “missing prostitute” instead of “missing woman” in their lead sentence subtly casts a non-unbiased view on the article from the get-go, identifying the missing woman by her profession without good reason to do so.

CNN.com also reported on the crimes, using “four dead prostitutes” in their second paragraph prematurely before explaining how police believe the bodies are connected and why the women’s professions need be mentioned.

We are happy to report that CNN.com HAS CHANGED this sentence and it now reads “four corpses”.

Thank you, CNN, for fair coverage of a tragic story as it unfolds, and your prompt remedy of a careless mistake.

***

Update: Associated Press released an article by Frank Eltman, who goes hog wild with the word “prostitute,” which FoxNews.com appropriated and elevated to an even higher level of sleaziness by changing its headline to include the word yet one more time where it wasn’t already. Our favorite line, though, is this one:

“The four dead prostitutes were found amid a 4-foot-tall tangle of sea grass punctuated by scrubby pine trees.”

Four dead prostitutes…is that like three blind mice and four calling birds and two turtle doves?? Scrubby pine trees? How many?

You would think the most important part of this whole story is that the women involved sold sex for money, not that there is a serial killer on the loose whose private activities—we’re willing to bet—are gravely more controversial.

no comments 
demonstration, Verbal

Kate’s story: Increased anxiety is a side effect of street harassment

Last Friday after work I decided to go for a run, it was a cool evening and it was starting to rain, which quickly turned to sleet and then light snow. I was less than a 1/4 mile into my run when I heard yelling — my ipod was between songs, otherwise I might have missed the specifics of it. There was a guy (I am assuming high school age) leaning out the window of a car on the other side of the street who screamed out, “Nice ass………WHORE!!!!!!!!!” I have to be honest, it wasn’t just the words that upset me, it was also how he said it — there was anger in his tone, and it felt threatening.

I tried to shake it off as just a bunch of immature kids with poor judgment and kept running.

Maybe a mile later I was on Beacon St in Cambridge when the same car drove by me again with this guy again hanging out the window screaming at me — I had my ipod cranked up so I don’t know what he said but the tone was, again, unmistakably angry & threatening. I was freaked out that this was the 2nd time they’d driven by me, and I was getting into less residential neighborhoods where there were fewer people on the streets — I had visions of the next time they drove past me, what if they pulled over? got out of the car? pulled me into the car?? I decided to listen to my gut, cut my run short, and turn around & head back for more populated streets & home.

Unfortunately I was not wearing my glasses & did not get the license plate #. I am getting over this but had an anxiety dream about it Friday night that involved me being cornered by a large man and calling for help that never came. I remain disturbed by the fact that somewhere, somehow, the boys/men in that car learned that harassing & threatening a woman in this way is ok.

no comments 
public masturbation

Julianna’s story: Intercom Hollaback!

I’ve had more experiences with sexual harassment than I can even count, but this one stands out in my mind in particular.

I was eighteen years old, taking the Metro from my apartment in downtown DC to New Carrolton to meet my sister. She needed help with a charity event that her non-profit organization was putting on, and I’d agreed to paint faces of the children in attendance.

It was about 10 am on a Sunday morning, so the train was pretty empty. The only other person on the car with me was a male, approximately 35 years old, about 5’10”, 180 lbs. He was wearing a dark red dress shirt, a patterned tie, and black slacks. I was sitting at the far end of the car, and he was sitting in the middle, talking on his cell phone.

He got on the car at Stadium Armory, but I’d been on since Foggy Bottom. For the first few minutes he sat down while talking on his phone, but then got up and started pacing the car. Every time he got to the end of the car where I was seated, he would linger, blocking the aisle from my seat, and leaning over me. This creeped me out, so I got out my phone and started texting my sister and my boyfriend so that I would look busy and he would hopefully leave me alone.

My seat faced the rest of the car. There was another bench in front of me facing the same direction, than a space for the doors, and a bench facing me. He sat down on that bench, so that he was facing me. I tried to keep my head down and look engrossed with my phone, but I could see out of the corner of my eye that he was staring at me.

I detected movement, so I glanced up for a second. He had his penis out and was masturbating, still staring at me, still talking on his phone. I could hardly believe what I was seeing. I immediately felt EXTREMELY uncomfortable and unsafe. I didn’t know what this was going to escalate into, I felt endangered all alone on the train, and I wanted to cry.

I pressed the emergency intercom button that goes to the conductor which was right behind my head. The conductor asked what I needed, and I said that there was a man exposing himself on my car. At the next stop, the conductor came down to the car, but by that time the man had plenty of time to leave.

So, no police report or anything ever came of it.

no comments 
HollaZine, The Movement

Maggie’s Question: On Other Forms of Harassment

I want to ask if you have a category for non-gender/sexuality based harassment? Because I’ve seen a lot of the same general kind of power dynamic in the verbal harassment given by some able-bodied people to people in wheelchairs, people on crutches (except if it looks obviously temporary, like a leg in a cast), people with visible challenges of cognitive function, people with speech issues.

Is there a Hollaback for those folks? Because some of those stories need to be told, too.

Hi Maggie,

Thanks for your awesome question!  We totally accept and welcome stories about street harassment in all its forms.  While we focus on sex and gender based harassment, we know that street harassment is one of the most basic ways our culture keeps oppressed people of all kinds down, and that we are all in it together.  We’re basically interested in the way power dynamics play out in all aspects of life in the public realm.
In terms of other resources that are more specifically geared toward people that are visibly physically challenged check out our friend Eva’s blog that focuses on the way people treat her as someone who’s physically disabled.  It’s an amazing blog!

-Hollaback

no comments 
Nonverbal Harassment, public masturbation

Ewa’s story: Streetcar creep

About half an hour ago I got on the back of the Spadina Streetcar at Spadina Station. A short (5.6″) man wearing jeans and a dark jacket was sitting in an aisle seat. He followed me to the back of the streetcar, sat down, spread his legs with one on the seat in front of him and began touching his genitals through his pants while looking over at me. This only lasted a few seconds before I looked him in the eyes getting ready to yell. He saw the provoked expression on my face and took his hands of his crotch and put his legs in front of him. I kept looking at him until I was sure he would not begin masturbating. Other male passengers got on the back of the streetcar and this pervert kept his eyes off me and his hands at his sides.

This man got off at College Street. To add to the above description, he looked rough: his hair was messy and he had stubble. He also talked to himself at one point in a South Asian accent.

I chose not to call the police because my previous experiences of reporting to the police were not satisfactory. I have experienced sexual assault and harassment many times in Toronto. In one instance, after being assaulted by a group of teenage boys, I had the experience of being intimidated by a police officer as he took my statement in my apartment: he kept inching closer to me until I was pressed up against my oven feeling unsafe. On another occasion I had police show up 20 minutes after a 911 call even though there was a police station less than 5 minutes away. The two officers who showed up appeared not to have any training around sexual violence and could not give any information about witness safety to a woman who was experiencing partner violence and stalking. I had called 911 on behalf of this woman after I had tried to help her, and after her partner nearly hit us with his car.

Regarding the man on the streetcar today, if you see this man masturbating on the TTC do not let him get away with it. If he touching himself (for more than a few seconds as in my case) and there are people around I would yell at him and draw others’ attention to him. I would also tell the driver. If you feel comfortable dealing with the police then place a call to them right away before this man leaves the streetcar. I understand that some people would not feel comfortable yelling, in this case just tell the driver and/or call the police.

one comment 
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