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I just got back to the US after spending three months abroad in South Korea and Japan. I was very excited to spend a week visiting LA for the first time before I return to my hometown on the east coast. Today is my first day back in the states, and I decided to go for a walk to check out the area. Ten minutes after I stepped out the door, a guy waiting at a red light yelled “Slut!” at me out of his car window. As I continued walking, three more cars with men in them honked at me or slowed down to leer out the window. This isn’t a bad neighborhood, but now I feel somewhat uncomfortable walking around by myself. My first reaction was surprise because I didn’t have any experiences like this while in Asia-not that sexual harassment doesn’t happen there, but I always felt very safe walking alone, even at night. Most women I spoke with there felt the same way. I had been back in my own country for less than 24 hours when this happened. It feels like this is just America’s way of saying “Welcome home.”
I was walking home from the bus stop this morning, and all day I had been stared at and honked at by men in cars, and I’d just about had enough. I was only wearing a long sleeve top and a skirt! Anyway, so I was walking along my street which is a main road, and this guy honked at me and shouted something out. I thought nothing of it. And then, just as I was about to walk into my house, the guy pulled up beside me and started speaking to me. There was another guy in the car as well but he looked more awkward and I could tell he didn’t like what this other guy was doing. He said I looked familiar and asked what my name was and where I went to school. I only gave him brief information, but it was still a bit confronting. He then asked me how old I was, and I told him my real age, thinking he’d go away because I was way too young for him. But he kept talking, and eventually asked me for my number. That was the line. There was no way I was going to even consider handing out my phone number to this creep, he looked about 10 or 15 years older than me! So I said no and walked off, past my house so he couldn’t follow me, and then some other guy honked at me as well! By this time I was really fed up and upset, so I went around the corner to a park, and burst into tears. It was one of the most confronting and upsetting moments of my life.
This sort of thing happens to me too often, and I’m so sick of it, knowing that there are horrible men out there is really frightening.
As I wad drunkenly leaving Turtle Bay bar, this dude appears next to me, touches my leg and goes “I love you you’re beautiful.”
Dude, F*CK OFF. YOU HAVE NO RIGHT TO TOUCH ME. ALSO YOU HAVE ZERO CHANCE WITH ME. EVEN IF I WERE STRAIGHT. WHICH I’M NOT. I’M GAY AS F*CK. F*CK YOU VERY MUCH.
I’m a receptionist at a car dealership. I’m also a book-artist, and I often bring small-scale pieces to my job with me so that I can work on them/fiddle with them in my free time. Today I brought a nice little Coptic-stitched number which I’ve been using as a journal and sketchbook. One of my male coworkers came up to my desk and began to admire it. I allowed it. He opened it up — and asked if he could ‘write me a poem’.
I said sure. This man had made sexualized comments toward me before, in passing — but I thought, ‘surely this guy won’t have the audacity to write something inappropriate in there, while I’m at work. Surely, surely, he isn’t so stupid.’ Welp, I was wrong.
The title of his poem was “Attraction”, and here is how it went:
Disturbing yet Alluring
Hot yet dampened by
the look of wet innocence
if only the conversation
could breathe to life into
I wrote him a poem in return; titled it “Objectification”:
Ain’t no daydream
for the woman
on the receiving end of it.
We hate that shit
More than anything else
in the world.
He was taken aback, and he said that I’d taken the poem ‘the wrong way’. I said ‘I took it like you wrote it.’ And then, we had a conversation about workplace etiquette and the objectification of women. Wasn’t an easy conversation – it made me shake with nerves! But it was EXTREMELY FULFILLING. THANK YOU, hollaback.
I was walking with a friend about 5 feet behind another woman who was walking alone. As she walked by two men, one of them began to walk with her and was leaning into her very closely, as if he was going to kiss her. She began walking much more quickly and as she moved ahead of him, he reached out to her and squeezed her butt. She didn’t look back, but began running forward at that point. My friend and I, seeing what had happened, also began running so that we wouldn’t have a similar encounter.
BY ALEX ALSTON
I personally think the idea that only women can be feminists is a myth constructed by a male-dominated society. Quite frankly, it has done much in the way of dividing men and women working toward gender equity, as it is often wielded by patriarchal ways of thinking. However, one of my professors and I recently sat down and began discussing the somewhat problematic, in our respective opinions, phenomenon of men in academia (or any other discipline) promoting themselves as feminists when in fact their actions suggest otherwise.
The specific case in question involved Tulane University professor Shayne Lee and his book entitled, Erotic Revolutionaries: Black Women, Sexuality, and Popular Culture. (If you haven’t heard about the debacle please google it.) Lee was once a part of a group of black professors, all men, who very vehemently and consistently articulated their place as “black male-feminists.” The problem arose when Lee’s work was critiqued by a colleague of his, Dr. Tamura Lomax. For whatever reason Lee responded hostilely toward his colleague via text message and facebook. Dr. Lomax expressed that she felt physically threatened and intellectually demeaned by Lee’s comments toward her. Lee, however has defended his position even as the situation has deteriorated and many of his colleagues, both men and women, have firmly denounced his behavior as neither feminist nor professional. The point both my professor and I stressed was that a commitment to feminism from a man, cannot simply be lip service. There are inevitably various ways to practice feminism, but physical intimidation and insults cannot be readily incorporated into a feminist framework of responding to a colleague. Like Lee, there are many “progressive men” operating in different disciplines and different spheres that don’t mind calling themselves feminists. Part of my experience at Hollaback! taught me to value the meaning of the term and to not just lump myself in simply because I could be mildly cognizant of sexism. I certainly don’t claim to be the authority on who is and who is not a feminist, but I will say there is a real problem with the almost flippant use of the word on the part of some men to serve their own ends. A feminist in speech only, is no feminist at all.
T-Mobile has responded to our petition and provided the requested phone numbers to the NYPD. However, T-Mobile slowed down a police investigation of a sexual assault, endangering more people. We continue to be in discussion with T-Mobile to get clarity on their policy.
Hollaback! launches online petition at change.org to demand action from telecommunications giant
(Brooklyn, NY) – Hollaback!, an international movement dedicated to ending street harassment through mobile technology, today called on telecommunications giant T-Mobile to release vital information pertaining to a sexual assault case in New York City. An attack in Brooklyn in July, after which the suspect called the victim’s cell phone from a blocked number, marks the sixth of such assaults to occur in the area since March; the information provided by T-Mobile could be key in leading to the arrest of the perpetrator. The on-line petition is available here.
“Withholding information that could lead to the arrest of a man who poses a violent threat to women across New York is not just irresponsible, it’s unconscionable,” said Hollaback! Executive Director Emily May. “By refusing to assist authorities in this case, T-Mobile is sending a message to sexual predators everywhere that their acts will go unpunished. It’s time the company do the right thing and disclose vital information that will help prevent future rapes.”
The victim, a 22-year old woman, woke up in a car in July with two men on top of her. She screamed and tried to get away, and they let her out of the car — taking only her phone. She was left with bruises and a broken zipper. The details of what happened before she woke up remain unknown.
“As a south Brooklyn resident, I am outraged. T-Mobile’s policy has left my wife, my friends, and all the residents of South Brooklyn at risk,” said Samuel Carter, co-founder and board chair of Hollaback! and publisher of Overflow, a local south Brooklyn magazine.
According to T-Mobile’s Customer Proprietary Network Information (which includes call details and call location information) the company will not disclose such information without a customer’s permission. The NYPD has already submitted one failed subpoena, and is in the process of submitting subpoena’s with higher courts. According to the NYPD, T-Mobile is notorious for their failure to cooperate in criminal investigations.
The most recent reported attack in South Brooklyn occurred on September 6, 2011 and marked the seventh attack since March. Many of the other six attacks happened either late at night or in the early morning. While several women were able to escape, one woman was raped in her apartment vestibule.
BY EMILY MAY
Comedian Alex Carabano points out how completely ridiculous holla’ing is in this little video. And he’s right. If you could take street harassment out of it’s scary/lonely/isolating context it’s freaking ridiculous. Problem is – outside of comedy – you can’t take it out of that context. It’s always gonna be scary. That’s the point.
But what if we took the power out of their words and DID laugh at them? Would it escalate, deter them, or make them cower in shame? HOLLA with your stories of laughing-back. We’d love to hear.
My friend Arielle has never really been harassed before. We were walking, a group of four, around Union Square today, and we saw a man with a “Free Hugs” sign. One of my friends immediately ran up to him and hugged him with no assault involved. Arielle decided to get a hug, too. She hugged him, and I saw him thrust into her and grind. He asked her, “Do you like your new friend?” I said “Okay,” as a way to tell him that it was time to go. He didn’t let go, but Arielle broke free. He said, with a smile, “Bye, new friend!” and walked away. I asked her if he grinded her, to which she said yes, and that he “grinded her really hard.” We called the cops and immediately left. I hope for the sake of her that this scumbag is arrested.