I am a woman. I am a daughter. I am a sister. I am a teacher. I am a student. I am a runner. I am a dancer. I am a consumer. I am a producer. I am a worker. I am an entrepreneur. I am a knitter. I am a sewer. I am a builder. I am a photographer. I am a writer. I am a barista. I am a chef. I am a sue chef. I am a clown. I am a director. I am a friend. I am a fighter.
I am NOT a babe. From November 30, 1983 to November 29, 1984, I was a baby. However, NEVER again will I be a babe or a baby.
I am kind. I am affectionate. I am caring. I am creative. I am hopeful. I am optimistic. I am determined. I am resilient. I am relentless. I am patient. I am fun. I am entertaining. I am outgoing. I am inspiring. I am inspired.
I am sweet as honey. I am clever as a fox. I am happy as sunshine. I am cute as a button. I am sharp as a tack. I am wise as an owl.
I am NOT a baby. NEVER again will I be a babe. Do NOT refer to me as such.
When you honk at me, it doesn’t make me feel pretty. It makes me feel trashy. Yes, it makes me feel desired, but in the way a fast car or fancy golf set is desired, the lust adorned on an object, but not the genuine desire for companionship of another human being who happens to be a woman.
When you honk at me, it doesn’t make me happy. It makes me feel angry, enraged, irate. Angry, because quite frankly, you startled me. No one likes being caught off guard. I was going about my day, being me, but you came blaring in, uninvited. Enraged, because you assume your expression via a car horn will bring you positive attention, a woman looking at you? This I don’t understand. You think honking at me is something I want or need to feel worth while, so in return I will give you the affirmation you seek to feel worthwhile…wrong!
Irate, because this happens more often than a dentist filling molars. You’re not the only one honking at me. You’re not special. Yet, at the same time, I know I’m not the only one you’re honking at, so I’m not special either. Quit living in your disillusioned world that when you honk at me, you will win me. Sorry, the game doesn’t work that way….so, quit honking at me!!!
While walking in the crosswalk (with right-of-way with “Walk” sign still lighted) east across the north side of the intersection at 23rd Street and 6th Avenue in the Flatiron District of Manhattan, the driver of a black Chevy Suburban with blacked-out windows turned quickly northbound onto 6th Avenue directly in front of me, narrowly missing me by only three inches!
I then walked north on the east side of 6th Avenue. As luck would have it, or not, when I started crossing 22nd Street, this same SUV and driver started turning east on 22nd Street and pushing his way into the crosswalk where I and others were already half-way across. I yelled out “Hey!” loudly to warn the other pedestrians and the SUV’s driver, only to have him speed up again through the crosswalk, hitting my knee and bags as I was mid-step. As I walked around the SUV to continue across 22nd Street, the driver stopped and jumped out of his car; a middle-aged man ran to within an inch of my face, assaulting me and yelling “Faggot” at me like a madman!
Why do you HOLLA? I Holla because I’m a full human being, not a toy to be played with, or a punching bag for male insecurities.
What’s your craft? I’m a lawyer.
What’s your signature Hollaback? I give them a dirty look or I take their picture.
What was your first experience with street harassment? There were numerous experiences that helped prime me to know my place in public as a young girl, but the first most memorable experience was when I was 14 walking home from high school. It was about a mile walk, and about halfway home I walked down a long stretch of a semi-major street (as major as you really get in a small suburban area). A pickup truck full of men slowed down and drove at a walking pace next to me, shouting out to me “hey beautiful”, “hey talk to me”, and various similar comments trying to get me to respond. Some added kissing sounds to the humiliation. This went on for a few minutes until I turned into a residential neighborhood via sidewalk where they couldn’t follow me. It was embarrassing, stressful, and scary.
Say you’re Queen for the day. What would you do to end street harassment? I’m not sure that any sort of dictates can change a deeply rooted disrespect for women as public beings, so I would dedicate media and public service attention to the issue of street harassment, funds to implement studies and encourage research, with the end goal being to shift the culture of disrespect.
In the year 2020, street harassment… will finally be respected as a mainstream issue, but far from resolved.
What do you collect? Books! My apartment is overflowing with them.
My superheroine power is… that I’m unrelentingly fierce when i’m passionate about something.
If you could leave the world one piece of advice, what would it be? To find something that you’re willing to fight to the death for, and to then spend your life fighting for it, reminding yourself that your perseverance is what makes the world a place worth protecting. My personal mantra is from Eleanor Roosevelt (many of my mottos and comments to live by are from her) – “When you have decided what you believe, what you feel must be done, have the courage to stand alone and be counted.” THAT is something to live by – because if you know in your gut that something is not right, but you aren’t willing to stand up and fight for it, you can’t expect anyone else to fight for it either. However scary it may be, have the courage to endure the judgment you will inevitably face for having the audacity to “stand alone and be counted” — it is infinitely more glorious than inaction when you give others the courage to join you in righting wrongs, eliminating injustice, and changing the world.
What inspires you? Fearless women inspire me. Feminist men inspire me. But mostly what inspires me to act is the horrific news that I read every day that reminds me why it’s so important to forego sleep and a social life to maintain my involvement in feminist activism.
Walking someone said, “smile you look too pretty to have serious face” when in fact I had my NORMAL & neutral face! I was so aggravated.
January is National Stalking Awareness Month. Stalking is a serious crime that affects 3.4 million adults in the U.S every year. This campaigns aims to raise awareness of stalking so that more can be done to stop it.
Launched in 2004 by the stalking Resource Center, National Center for Victims of Crime and the Office on Violence Against Women, each January communities across the country hold events and share resources to educate the masses and help raise the profile of stalking.
The Stalking Awareness Month website is jam-packed with resources to help you get involved and do your part in the fight against it. Visit the website to download posters, letterheads, fliers, a factsheet, get social networking updates and take a stalking quiz.
“You have the power to help know, name and stop stalking in your community”
BY VICTORIA TRAVERS
Angry School staffers and elected officials will hold a demonstration this afternoon outside Bronxdale High School in the Bronx to call for the Principal’s immediate removal following his outrageously sexually explicit comments to a female staff member in July.
Principal John Chase Jr. was reported to have made several inappropriate statements to female co-workers concerning a new photocopier. According to members of staff concerned he said:
“Have you seen the new copy machine? It does everything. It even has a hole in it where you can stick your d— in it and get a b— job.”
Following an investigation by the Education Department’s Office of Equal Opportunity, Chase, who earns $132,633 a year, was issued with a disciplinary letter in his personal file and was urged to undertake sensitivity training.
But for some co-workers this was not sufficient. One staff worker told the New York Daily News:
“The fact that he’s not being fired is insane. People are very uncomfortable around this guy. He needs to go.”
In a letter from State Sen. Jeffrey Klein (D-Bronx) to city Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott, Klein urges Walcott to remove Chase. He wrote:
“The mere fact that he was found guilty of sexual harassment undermines his authority as head of the school.”
But Walcott is set on leaving Chase in charge, saying:
“I’m not going to remove him, but he knows he cannot have any similar type of comments. He is on a very strict line as far as his behavior.”
Chase declined comment.
The rally is set to start at 3.30 today at 925 Astor Avenue, in the Bronx. The Daily News estimates 250 supporters to show, along with politicians Jeff Klein, Naomi Rivera and Jimmy Vacca.
BY ELIZABETH GYORI
Alcohol abuse and underage drinking are certainly problems faced by many teenagers and young adults across the U.S. We’ve all learned about the effects of excessive alcohol consumption in health class. With excessive drinking comes a decrease in motor skills, negative health effects on the liver, judgment impairment and the possibility of alcohol poisoning. We’ve also been taught that we should always watch our drinks at parties and to never leave our drinks unattended so that no one slips unwanted drugs or substances into our drinks. A new ad by the Pennsylvania state liquor board tries to warn young adults against alcohol abuse by linking excessive drinking with date rape. The ad was eventually pulled after an influx of criticism though.
Yes, that is a real ad that was OK’ed by a government agency to be run as part of the “Control Tonight” online campaign against alcohol abuse.
Not only is this ad very, very racy, but it also does nothing more than blame rape victims (who may have been drinking) for the trauma they suffered. Yes, drinking excessively can severely impair judgment and lead to regrettable mistakes. Yes, alcohol abuse can lead to a decrease in awareness of surroundings, making it easier for someone to slip date rape into your drink. And these are issues that must be addressed. But if someone is sick enough to slip date rape into a person’s drink and then rape him or her, it’s far from the victim’s fault that she or he couldn’t say no.
If Rape is an intentional choice on the part of the rapist, especially if the choice to use date rape drugs is involved. The PA state liquor board should be running ads that tell people to abstain from rape (or they could end up in jail), not telling women that it’ll be their fault they are raped while trying to have a fun and enjoyable night out. The fact that this ad even ran just goes to show how we really do live in a society that teaches, “Don’t get raped,” rather than, “Don’t rape.”
Beyond the victim blaming, this ad doesn’t account for the legality of having sex with someone who is intoxicated. The law states that you cannot consent to sex if you’ve been drinking. That’s the bottom line, no ifs, and’s or buts. If you have sex with someone who has been drinking, that’s rape and you could go to jail for it. Maybe we should be running ads with a picture of someone being put in the back of a police car and big, white, capital letters saying, “Sober consent: the only real and legal way to say ‘yes’ to sex.”
Finally, this ad makes it seem like only women are date raped and only women could possibly make irresponsible sexual choices while drinking. Date rape is not gender neutral. I’ve personally known men who’ve been slipped date rape while out drinking and I’ve known men who’ve been raped while drunk. Furthermore, rape is not only a problem in heterosexual relationships, but it is also an issue in gay and transgender relationships. Perhaps ads need to be more all-inclusive in order to make a real impact.
Date rape drugs, lack of consent during sex, rape and alcohol abuse are all pervasive problems that need to be tackled via a massive public education campaign and other initiatives. But we have to target the source of the problem when it comes to each of these issues. That is, people should be taught: Respect people enough to not slip drugs into others’ drinks; Consenting to sex while intoxicated is not consent at all; And rape is—to put it as simply as possible—bad.
Greetings Hollaback friends, activists and supporters!
As a mighty Phoenix rising up from the ashes of 2011, ignited with the blaze of activism, we have burst through the beginnings of 2012 with the tenacity and fervor that we mean to continue with. 2011 was awesome but 2012 will be super-out-of-this-freakin’-world-awesome!
We have started 2012 with 25 new sites raring to go from all over the globe stretching from Auckland, New Zealand to Glasgow, Scotland, training is due to start on January 14th and will take roughly about three months to complete, so we’ll keep you posted!
Last month we successfully launched sites in Winnipeg, Canada and Chennai, South India. With the launch of the Chennai site, Hollaback! gained international press coverage from online media platform ‘The Alternative’, which seeks to document and support social development in India.
Following the devastating murder of Keenan Santos and Reuben Fernandez in October last year for defending the honor of their girlfriends in the face of street Harassment, Hollaback Mumbai started the petition: Demand Justice for Two Men Killed Trying to Stop Street harassment. The petition has 2,313 signatures so far, but we need 10,000! So get clicking for justice Hollabackers.
On Thursday we said a very tearful goodbye to our intern extraordinaire Amalia Sirica. Here’s a big shout out and massive thank you for all the awesomeness and hard work that you have done for Hollaback! Enjoy Brazil!
AND to my utter astonishment I have been named as one of The Daily Muse’s Women to Watch in 2012. Woop woop! Although, it is my name on the award it could not have been possible without the volunteers, the donors, board members and all the sassy hollabackers that are helping the revolution grow and grow! Thank you so much!
Be sure to tune in next Friday for weekly updates of the Hollaback! movement around the world, change making activism and street harassment news.
Thank you for all your support– and keep holla’ing back!
Holla and Out!!!
BY VICTORIA TRAVERS
By using the Universal Declaration of Human Rights there may be no confusion as to whether Street Harassment is a Human Rights issue. Article 1 states:
“All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.”
By telling a woman she has “ a great rack”, calling a gay man a “fucking faggot”, or removing one’s penis from its appropriate abode in public is not behaving in the “spirit of brotherhood”, not by any stretch of the imagination. Street Harassment is a Human Rights issue.
“Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.”
“Everyone” includes women and LGBTQ individuals, everyone has the right to express themselves freely in public spaces without fear of abuse from strangers. A transgender person has the right to identify his or herself in the way that feels natural to them, as a woman has the right to dress as she pleases without threat or aggravation. Street Harassment is a Human Rights issue.
“Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.”
Women and LGBTQ individuals have the right to live and express themselves in public spaces without worry of being badgered, stalked, flashed, groped, abused, whistled at, masturbated at or raped. Street Harassment is a Human Rights issue.
“No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”
Calling a transgender person ‘it’ a ‘tranny’ or a ‘heshe’ is inhumane, degrading, torturous and cruel. Physically attacking a gay person because of their sexual orientation is inhumane, degrading, torturous and cruel. Putting your hand up a woman’s skirt on the subway is inhumane, degrading, torturous and cruel. Street Harassment is a Human Rights issue.
Perpetrators of Street Harassment may argue that it is their human right to express themselves freely, but at this point it is relevant to refer ‘spirit of brotherhood’ cited in Article 1, the connotations of brotherhood do not include any form of abuse be it physical or verbal. Street Harassment is unquestionably a Human Rights issue.
Question answered. Revolution Started.