Here’s a new video from Chescaleigh, better known as the girl who did “Sh*t White Girls Say to Black Girls” — on street harassment! Check it out and let us know what you think!
Cross Posted from Hollaback! Boston
I’ve been looking for a way to describe this feeling that I’ve been thinking a lot about lately. It’s this feeling of always being on guard, of bracing myself for harassment, of anticipation and expectation of my boundaries being disrespected and breached. And I found exactly what I’ve been feeling described more articulately than I would be able to describe it myself.
Men who want to flirt with women have to realize: Women live in a state of continual vigilance about sexual safety. It’s like having a mild case of hay fever that never goes away. It’s not debilitating. You’re not weak. You’re not afraid. You just suck it up and get on with your life. It’s nothing that’s going to stop you from making discoveries, or climbing mountains, or falling in love. Sometimes you can almost forget about it. It doesn’t mean it’s not there, subtly sucking your energy. You learn to avoid situations that make it worse and seek out conditions that make it better.
If a female stranger is wary around you, it is not because she suspects you are a rapist, or that all men are rapists. It’s because a general level of circumspection is what vigilance requires. Don’t take it personally.
If this frustrates you, try to remember that women are blamed for lapsed vigilance. If a woman does get raped, everyone rushes to see where she let her guard down. Was she drinking? Was she alone? Was she wearing a short skirt? Did she go to a strange man’s room for coffee at 4am?
A woman must be seen to be vigilant as well as be vigilant. If she is deemed insufficiently vigilant, she will be at least partly blamed for any sexual violence that befalls her. If she’s regarded as downright reckless, that “evidence” can be used to completely exonerate her rapist. If it comes down to a he said/she said dispute over whether sex was consensual, as so many rape cases do, the dispute becomes a referendum on whether the woman seems like the sort of reckless person who would have sex with a stranger.
If a woman does go back to a strange man’s hotel room at 4am, even if she only wants a coffee and conversation, she’s more or less given him the power to rape her. No jury is going to believe she went up there for anything but sex. So, don’t be surprised if a stranger reacts badly to that suggestion.
Irene is a typical college student. One evening, she and a female friend were waiting outside their classroom, when suddenly, they were accosted by a man. The man told them a sad tale of being unemployed, homeless and hungry. Taking pity on him, the students fed him. After the meal, the man’s demeanor changed. He began to say inappropriate and perverted things to the two students, one of which was:
“Would it turn you on if I spat in your soda?”
Irene felt the tone of the situation change. Her heart began to rattle in her chest. She became frightened and anxious. She knew she and her friend needed to get out of there fast. The two students quickly walked away and called campus security. Although campus security stated that they would handle the situation, they did nothing; the very next day, Irene and her friend saw that same, dangerous man waiting for them after class. Indeed, campus security never located the man.
On this occasion, Irene and her friend escaped. They were lucky. However, after the incident, Irene and her friend were terrified to return to class. The truth is that on campus harassment creates a hostile working environment, which prevents students from focusing on their studies and hinders their ability to learn.
Campus harassment is a pervasive problem. According to the research conducted by the American Association of University Women, 62% of female college students and 61% of male college students report having been sexually harassed on their university campus. A staggering 51% of male college students admit to sexually harassing someone in college, with 22% admitting to harassing someone often or occasionally.
Which category did you fit into? Which category does your son, daughter, niece, nephew, cousin, or friend fit into? We don’t want our students to fail. So don’t fail them today. Donate to Hollaback!’s anti campus harassment campaign. You only have two days left, but that’s still more than enough time for you to make a difference!
Spread the word and you’ll be entered to win a free t-shirt! To enter, you must tag us on facebook or twitter and you must include a link to our indiegogo campaign. You can enter as many times as you like. T-shirts are available in men’s or women’s sizes, and will be mailed to you following the campaign. We’ll be announcing one winner per day until our campaign ends on June 13th.Congrats to all of our winners so far:
Thank you to our supporters so far!
…and all our anonymous donors!
BY DIANA EMIKO TSUCHIDA
The talented movers and shakers of Hollaback! Brussels have made media waves and incredible political progress in the last two weeks, by capturing the backing of Equal Opportunity Minister P. Smet and Brussels’ Parliament Member Yamila Idrissi in the fight to end street harassment in Brussels.
In recent times, Idrissi has observed a distinct increase in street harassment in Brussels, before, she admits that she would walk down the street virtually carefree, but today she reveals being whistled at, which makes her more and more insecure during her city strolls and very enthusiastic about backing Hollaback!.
Both Smet and Idrissi will head up a groundbreaking, year-long initiative where researchers will map out sexual violence incidents and attempt to unveil the root causes of homophobic and misogynistic attitudes in Brussels.
Idrissi will also give the Hollaback! group a chance to appear at a session of parliament to voice their ”demands,” one of which is that the Minister of Education is present along with Smet. This will be an ongoing struggle but full of exciting potential that leads in the right direction.
So from all of us here at Hollaback! HQ WELL DONE HOLLABACK! BRUSSELS! It is fantastic to see their fearless endeavors creating social change. The only question left to ask question is when will something this awesome come over to the U.S.?
Check out P.Smet talking about the new initiative here.
My mother always taught me to wear loose clothing, jeans, and high-neck shirts when walking around. I think it’s because she knows people, and knows how horribly they act with young women. However, I go to school in a different area of the state and have become very comfortable running to the store with a summer dress with no sleeves and a lower top. I’ve never once dealt with something like this there, so it was surprising it would happen so close to home.
In a period of a twenty minute walk, I was repeatedly honked at by drivers, some of which slowed to leer at me as I walked to and from the local convenience store to get some milk for my mother. I was with my younger sister, which truly terrified me. She’s only 14, and I don’t think she’s ever seen people act like that. I can also say with certainty (as I lived in a big city for most of my life) that I’ve never felt so uncomfortable before. I’ve never felt so unsafe.
I think the worst part was I left my phone on the counter at my house, so I couldn’t even snap a photo of the guy who really terrified me, or call the police or some of my friends. But you know what scares me more? The fact that I can’t walk a mile in a summer dress without being verbally assaulted and followed around. It’s scary, and I don’t like it. I would even say I live in a decent neighborhood. Now, I don’t feel very comfortable anymore.
Hello! I want to share this cover image I made for facebook users. Please feel free to use it and empower yourself and others around you!
At school the males always smack the girls butts or even grope our breasts and other things. We are only in 7th grade I think It’s completely uncalled for and the teachers don’t do anything! I think I am about to stand up for us!
I had just left an interview for a summer internship with one of the top International Development Consulting groups in the world. I was excited and anxious about how it went, I called my best friend in California to tell her all about it as I walked home. Nothing could have stopped me in that moment, I felt so empowered, that I could do anything and handle anything. I was wearing my favorite black dress and a beautiful red cowell neck scarf my mom had knitted, I felt comfortable and great.
Anyway, I was as happy as a clam walking back home. I turned left onto P Street, because it was the fastest way for me to get home. As usual I was minding my own business, so wrapped up in the events of the morning to be distracted or bothered my anything. Then I noticed three male construction workers coming up Hopkins Street up to P Street. They were all staring at me, so I ignored them and looked forward, knowing that I would be in the safe, respectful, cozy walls of my tiny studio very soon. But they were staring like they had never seen a girl before, really guys? Never seen a girl in a dress and heels walking around before?
As I got closer, one of them said “All eyes on you.” My face got hot and I just thought “Ew! Ew! NOT EVEN in your dreams, guy!” I typically walk pretty fast, so I thought I would pass right by them, but for some reason we all met at the corner of P and Hopkins at the same moment, so I had to walk through the three of them to keep going. Another one said something to the effect of “Why don’t you say hi?” And I thought “Because I typically avoid talking to creeps and people who don’t respect me!” I just made a disgusted face and I did not say a word and I kept going on my way, tall and with my head up.
This happened a few months ago and to this day I wish I had turned around and said “You should respect women!” or even something less composed as “Get bent, a**hole!” When I got home, I did not feel vulnerable or scared, I was 85% fiery, angry, so riled up and 15% uncomfortable. Those men do not know a thing about me. They have no idea who I am at all, yet they judged me about my body and my appearance. I dress for myself, not for others. If I decide to wear dress and heels, it is for me only.
Between our first-ever board retreat at the OMEGA institute (which got a Wall Street Journal shout-out!) and the American Express/Ashoka Social Entrepreneur Boot Camp (thanks to the Women’s Media Center for promoting this!), last week was a week of strategy, strategy, strategy. So much strategy (and travel), that we missed writing our weekly update. But this week, we’re back with a bang!
A Warm Welcome! to new staff member Amy Klein and also to Duke students Sunny Frothingham and Rikera Taylor. We super-psyched for you to join our team! We were also happy to have Soapbox’s Feminist Summer Camp interns in our office on Tuesday, thanks for the help!
Out and About. Victoria attended a working group at Barnard College on Thursday led by feminist author, speaker and blogger Courtney Martin, to discuss the impact and sustainability of online feminism.
Hollaback! Around the World. The change making ladies of Hollaback! Brussels have gained the support of Flemish minister P. Smet and Parliament member Yamila Idrissi.
In the Press. I was interviewed by Bandit Queen Radio on Monday, I told them all about the college campus campaign, the revolution and the moving and shaking of the Hollaback! movement. We also got press by Fox News Latino, an interview with the Line Campaign, and a shout-out in Jezebel.
We’ve only got 6 days left in our campaign to end campus harassment — PLEASE DONATE and spread the word! We need all the help we can get!
HOLLA and out —