demonstration

Samantha’s Story: Song writing

I was riding the commuter rail on the way back from a function in Boston. I’ve taken the rail several times before and typically put my headphones in and write songs or poetry and put my purse or my legs on the rest of the seat to ensure my personal space. The day this happened, the train was very crowded and the only seats free were on the sideways seats, one row facing the other.
I was listening to music and writing a song in my notebook when I noticed a couple boys (about 18ish, maybe early 20s) staring at me. I tried to ignore them and write, but they kept staring. Finally, I heard one start shouting at me.
“Hey.”
I ignored him.
“Hey! What are you writing. Hey! C’mon. Tell me.”
This continued a few more minutes. Not one man or woman on that train stepped in. I rolled my eyes and responded very calmly.
“I’m writing a song about castration. Why?”
The boys looked a bit shocked to say the least. I kept a straight face and stared them down until they lowered their eyes to the floor. I noticed a couple people around me smirking to themselves.
Needless to say, they didn’t bother me the rest of the train ride.
Also, for the record, the song I was writing was not about castration.

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demonstration

Shocked’s Story: Masturbating on bus

So ,umm something happened while I was on the bus yesterday around 8pm and I told one of my guy friends but I’m not able to talk about it to anyone else…and I haven’t got the guts to tell my parents. So here it goes: I was sitting in the bus like I do every day. This guy gets in and sits next to me but not directly. Like there’s a mini-passage between our seats (1 meter approx.). Halfway through the bus ride, I glance at the window and I could see his reflection (because it’s dark outside and there is light inside the bus). What I saw REALLY shocked me. This guy had his dick out and was MASTURBATING. Like really masturbating very openly. I never looked at him directly but I could see everything through the glass window. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I was scared he would cum on me or something plus I was VERY uncomfortable so I changed seats. One minute later, another woman comes and sits next to me traumatized. The f**king pervert got off the bus like 5 minutes after I realized what he was doing.
Now, I don’t want to scare my parents by telling them this story (I’m 21 but still). I thought it wasn’t a big deal (disturbing but no big deal) but I was wrong. Its been like 2 hours and I’m still a little bit shaken by this. I told my friend and asked me if I’m ok and everything but seriously WHO THE HELL does that!!
Thanks for listening. I didn’t know who else to turn to and I HAD to get it off my chest. <3

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demonstration

Tiffany’s story: Free Dinner and Ice Cream

I’ve had long hair all my life, waist/hip length. Unfortunately, around when I turned into a teen it became a bit of a burden. Cat-callers would address me by my hair, calling me Blondie along with other lewd things. There’s been times where strangers, behind my back, have stroked my hair. Some from the top to the very ends (at my butt), then vanishing from sight. I used to think I was imagining things, until my friend who was shopping with me verified it.

On my sixteenth birthday (July 2006) at a restaurant in the Springfield,MA Marriott hotel, the manager came out and chatted up my mother and I. As he was doing this, he was also stroking my hair and said to me, unbeknownst to my mother, “men love long hair…” in my ear. He was a larger man in his 50’s. I wish I reported it. He still worked there as of the second incident described below.

A couple years later (July 2008) there was another incident at this same hotel, same restaurant, where a couple of older business men were asking my mother inappropriate questions. The waitstaff (men and a woman) witnessed this and did nothing, said nothing. We reported it to the front desk and my mother was in tears. The hotel security, a very nice woman, assured us she’d fix this. But she then said she couldn’t/didn’t because these men belonged to a company(unknown) that frequently puts its employees up at the hotel. They gave us the dinner free, threw in a couple of ice cream bars, and sent us back to our room. That’s when I realized how easy it is for people to get away with sexual harassment. Especially at this hotel. Ruined my birthday, twice.

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Article

Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act

VICTORIA TRAVERS

Listen up Hollafollowers the Violence Against Women Act is up for reauthorization and we at Hollaback! implore you to contact your Senators to make sure the bill gets their support.

Since its inception 1994, the VAWA has saved countless lives, providing a lifeline for those that find themselves in situations of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking. It has vastly improved the federal system to meet the needs of victims, BUT, there is more to be done.

The reauthorization of the bill will build upon the act’s existing successes and continue to work toward breaking the cycle and culture of violence. Yesterday Senators Patrick Leahy and Mike Crapo introduced a bipartisan bill to reauthorize and improve the VAWA and they need our help by getting other Senators excited about the bill.

Call your Senator(s) TODAY and ask for them to be original co-sponsors of VAWA.  Let’s keep their phones ringing! Here’s the numbers for all the Senators, so let’s get dialing and release our inner change maker!

Alabama

Sessions, Jeff – (202) 224-4124

Shelby, Richard – (202) 224-5744

Arkansas

Boozman, John – (202) 224-4843

Alaska

Murkowski, Lisa – (202) 224-6665

Arizona

McCain, John – (202) 224-2235

Kyl, Jon – (202) 224-4521

Florida

Rubio, Marco – (202) 224-3041

Georgia

Chambliss, Saxby – (202) 224-3521

Isakson, Johnny – (202) 224-3643

Idaho

Crapo, Mike – (202) 224-6142 – (thank him!)

Risch, James – (202) 224-2752

Illinois

Kirk, Mark – (202) 224-2854

Indiana

Lugar, Richard – (202) 224-4814

Coats, Daniel – (202) 224-5623

Iowa

Grassley, Chuck – (202) 224-3744

Louisiana

Vitter, David – (202) 224-4623

Kansas

Moran, Jerry – (202) 224-6521

Roberts, Pat – (202) 224-4774

Kentucky

McConnell, Mitch – (202) 224-2541

Paul, Rand – (202) 224-4343

Maine

Collins, Susan – (202) 224-2523

Snowe, Olympia – (202) 224-5344

Massachusetts

Brown, Scott – (202) 224-4543

Mississippi

Cochran, Thad – (202) 224-5054

Wicker, Roger – (202) 224-6253

Missouri

Blunt, Roy – (202) 224-5721

Nebraska

Johanns, Mike – (202) 224-4224

Nevada

Heller, Dean – (202) 224-6244

New Hampshire

Ayotte, Kelly – (202) 224-3324

North Carolina

Burr, Richard – (202) 224-3154

North Dakota

Hoeven, John – (202) 224-2551

Ohio

Portman, Rob – (202) 224-3353

Oklahoma

Coburn, Tom – (202) 224-5754

Inhofe, James – (202) 224-4721

Pennsylvania

Toomey, Patrick – (202) 224-4254

South Carolina

DeMint, Jim – (202) 224-6121

Graham, Lindsey – (202) 224-5972

South Dakota

Thune, John – (202) 224-2321

Tennessee

Alexander, Lamar – (202) 224-4944

Corker, Bob – (202) 224-3344

Texas

Cornyn, John – (202) 224-2934

Hutchison, Kay Bailey – (202) 224-5922

Utah

Hatch, Orrin – (202) 224-5251

Lee, Mike – (202) 224-5444

Wisconsin

Johnson, Ron – (202) 224-5323

Wyoming

Enzi, Michael – (202) 224-3424

Barrasso, John – (202) 224-6441

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demonstration

Claudia’s Story: “I was 13 years old”

I was walking to school, a car stopped,
the man inside told me: “Come here, I want to suck it”
(oral sex). I wanted to cry, but I was brave, and got far from there.
I was 13 years old.

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demonstration

Hanna’s Story: Not OK

Everyone says Holland is so liberal, so open-minded. Also that sexist harassment is nil here.

Combine Sexist with Racist. Happy Racists.

This happens to me where I live, once a week, but here’s a specific example:

I am on my bicycle on my way to the grocery store. Two teenage boys ride on either side and make mocking “ChingChong” noises.

And they stay there, riding alongside me.

I tell them to go away, (Racists!) – they say, in English, “We’re not racists.”

Yes, I am Asian. No, I am not from China, or of Chinese descent. No, even if I were from China this is not OK.

More often, it’s less but the same:

I am on an errand — someone bikes by and sing-songs “China!” and “NiHao!” at me, and they’re gone. Happy smiling racists.

It ruins my whole walk. It’s racist, and also sexist. Because racism is how they get sexist, and worse.

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Article

A Rose By Any Other Name: Afghanistan’s Answer to SlutWalk

Participants marched against the widespread public sexual harassment of women on the streets of Kabul, Afghanistan, last July. The protest was spearheaded by Noorjahan Akbar, a young woman currently studying in Pennsylvania, and the co-founder of Young Women for Change, an organization advocating against sexual discrimination and inequality in Afghanistan.By Rebecca Katherine Hirsch

On July 14 of this year, co-founder of Young Women for Change, Noorjahan Akbar and 25 others prepared to embark on a rare journey through the streets of Kabul: the organization’s first march against Street Harassment.

Student Noorjahan wrote in her New York Times Opinion Pages blog:

“Every woman I know, whether she wears a burqa or simply dresses conservatively, has told me stories of being harassed in Afghanistan. The harassment ranges from comments on appearance to groping and pushing. Even my mother, who is a 40-plus teacher always dressed in her school uniform, arrives home upset almost every day because of the disgusting comments she receives, sometimes from youth half her age and sometimes from white-bearded men who sit by the roads.”

So, with a scant 10 police officers for protection and armed with a healthy dose of hope, pride and solidarity, Akbar and 25 others marched from the Afghan Culture House, past the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission to Kabul University, where they were joined by more than 50 more supporters and a flurry of media coverage. In the face of criticism these brave activists brandished banners saying “Islam and the law forbid the harassment of women” and “I have the right to walk in my city safely!” The events of July 14 left Akbar brimming with pride she said:

“Thursday, July 14, 2011 was the first day I felt like I belonged to the city I have lived in for most of my life. I realized that the women who were walking in their high heels and headscarves–as well as their male supporters–had so much strength and power waiting to be unleashed, and it made me so proud to be among them.”

Reading about these events reminded me of SlutWalk, the worldwide series of protests against sexual and domestic violence. I helped to organize the NYC protest and news of this Afghan protest struck me as similar. While this protest doesn’t use clothes as the pretext to introduce the topic of sexual discrimination, the feminist goals of SlutWalk and Young Women for Change are similar: To fight for a world where people are treated with dignity–regardless of appearance, regardless of identity. As these young women and men in Kabul have shown, harassment is not going to be accepted without a fight—or a protest.

I am reminded of the criticism that SlutWalk received: that it was an ignorant parade that unknowingly promulgated the sexist patriarchy by wearing “sexy” clothes or that the protesters were privileged white people who weren’t inclusive of or respectful of the qualms and realities of people of color or that the protesters were disinterested in gender-based violence that occurred in non-Western parts of the world.

Well, I would say that this protest and this kind of sober-minded rebellion against oppression is a great example of people taking a public stand and operating on their own terms, using their own methods. To me, whichever methods people use are ultimately interchangeable. The goal is to draw awareness to an issue that needs correcting. So whether a feminist protest uses flashy clothing, strong chants, meaningful signs or silent solemnity or simply walks in opposition, we’re all challenging the status quo by upsetting the present order with a protest.

SlutWalk was never about provocative clothing, instead it used provocative clothing to draw attention to the culture of victim-blaming, just as Young Women for Change’s march was not just about street harassment. It is about fighting a greater culture that blames victims, and both trivializes and denies the impact of abuse.

Whatever anyone wears, of course, is never an excuse for violence and harassment. These Afghan women are bravely fighting a worldwide system that belittles and ignores harassment. Whether in Afghanistan or New York, we are all fighting the same fight—to retain our dignity and feel confident, safe and free in our homelands.

Solidarity!

2 comments 
Article

Hyatt Housekeepers Sexually Harassed and Sacked: Justice is Just a Click Away

Hyatt CEO: Reinstate Workers Unfairly Fired After Protesting Injustice!

Sisters Martha and Lorena Reyes arrived at the Hyatt Santa Clara, where Lorena had been employed for 24 years and Martha for 7, during “Housekeeper Appreciation Week” to find degrading, sexually suggestive images of their faces photoshopped onto bikini-wearing cartoon women.

Humiliated and outraged, Martha removed the offending articles and refused to return them to a coworker that was insistent on hanging them back up.

Regardless of both sisters’ exemplary records, a few weeks later they were terminated from their jobs at the hotel.

Now, humiliated, furious and jobless, Martha and Lorena are fighting back and they need your help. They’ve started a Change.org petition demanding reinstatement in their former jobs, along with back pay for the hours they’ve missed since being fired. Click here to sign Martha and Lorena’s petition now.

You have the power to make a change today, sign Martha and Lorena’s campaign to get them reinstated in their jobs at the Hyatt Santa Clara with back pay.

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demonstration

Lindsey’s Story: Creep

I left my apartment at about 5:50pm to walk my dog, and it was already pretty dark. Since she had been inside all day, I decided we could walk around to Long Meadow so she could get some exercise. As we started walking that way, a man on a bicycle rode past us from behind. When I turned because I heard him coming from behind me, he smiled and waved a bit, in what seemed like a “Sorry, wasn’t trying to startle you” kind of gesture. Okay, that’s fine. So we kept walking. As we walked a little bit, I noticed this same guy was now standing by the lake, playing with his phone, bike on the ground next to him. Hmm. We kept walking. He rode past us again. I ignored him this time, but he did make some kind of gesture. Then again, we passed him, this time sitting on a bench, playing with his phone. He smiled and waved a little as we passed. This pattern continued for about 20 minutes or so, 2 or 3 more times. He’d ride past, then wait for us to pass him. I was getting annoyed, so I just stopped for a while. He stopped, too, a short way ahead of us. So I started walking back in the opposite direction, but also toward a park exit. Of course, he followed. I walked outside the park, and as I did, warned a couple women that a man had been following me, and asked them to be careful. I decided to linger outside the park to see if he would try to follow them. He didn’t. He just parked his bike next to some exercise bars near the Vanderbilt St. exit, and stared at me while I called the police. He stayed there the entire time I was on the phone, alternating between pretending to “exercise,” playing on his phone, and staring at me. Of course, when the police arrived, he left.

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demonstration

Paulina’s Story: Anger and frustration

Groping and verbal harassment to women is, unfortunately, very common in my country, México. I’m 28 years old now, and I was 13 when for the first time in my life a man showed me his genitals in the bus. Back then I couldn’t do anything but start crying. Since that day on, that has happened to me several times, I’ve been groped on the street and in the bus, and not to tell the verbal harassment, that’s “the usual thing” when you walk on the street. Nowadays, I don’t start crying, I face them, push them or yell to them. Nevertheless, the feeling is always the same: anger and frustration. I try to participate in active ways to stop these things from happening in my country, it is very hard though, when most of the people think: “that’s bad but it’s normal”. I hope that movements like this can help to stop harassment against women.

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