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Dear Hollabackers —
Every week that I compile these I am more amazed than the last week at what our network is able to accomplish. This week is no exception. Here’s what our team has been up to this week:
Research on street harassment released at Cornell!. Last Friday we were joined by Speaker Christine Quinn, Councilmember Ferreras, and some incredible local nonprofits working to address street harassment including STEPS to End Family Violence, New York City Anti-Violence Project, Black Women’s Blueprint, Green Dot Campaign Quentin Walcott, co-executive director, CONNECT, and Transport Workers Union, Local 100 to release two studies on street harassment, available here. Special thanks go to my mentor, KC Wagner, Cornell’s Director of Workplace Issues, for hosting the event and conducting the research. The event was covered by WNYC (NPR).
The party was a RIOT! We raised $491 at our drag show at Stonewall Inn last Saturday! Special thanks to our board member, Raphi Rosenblatt, for representing us at the event, Frostie Flakes for inviting us to come (and putting on an amazing show), and all our fans who came out to support us!
Women and Power: We were there! Strong women, including Hollaback’s International Fellow Shahinaz El Hennawi, were brought together this week to attend The Omega Women’s Leadership Center conference, Women and Power: What’s Possible. Women demonstrated how they are using their power and passion to make real change by sharing their stories.
Justine Dowden: New International Movement Intern! Justine has experience working for the UN and at women-led NGOs around the world. She is excited to begin helping support Hollaback chapters worldwide.
And if that’s not impressive enough, check out what our site leaders around the world are up to this week:
Hollaback Victoria is featured in Monday Magazine!
Hollaback Des Moines Inspires Frat to Raise Funds for Hollaback! We are so grateful to Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity (PIKE) at Drake University in Iowa who raised $497 for Hollaback! Superstar site leader Becca Lee from Hollaback Des Moines gave a presentation at the frat which inspired the fundraiser. Thanks guys!
Hollaback NYC teams up with Public Advocate Bill de Blasio to push for legislation which would protect straphangers from “subway grinders,” a.k.a those who intentionally rub against passengers in a sexual way. Read the article here.
Hollaback Poland was on the news twice this week. Site leader Greta Gober appeared on news channels to speak about her chapter’s efforts to end street harassment. Watch the clips in Polish here and here.
Hollaback Baltimore released two new advocacy videos addressing the intersection between street harassment and homelessness as well as featuring testimonials of women who have experienced street harassment. Favorite quote: “We need male allies to understand that regardless of how we dress we’re not asking to be assaulted or raped. We’re only asking for sex if we actually ask for sex.”
The time to end street harassment is now! Let’s keep this movement moving.
HOLLA and out —
Yesterday, when I was walking towards the train after a meeting in a gentrified and generally considered safe neighborhood in Brooklyn, a young white construction worker started harassing me. He was walking right toward me, arms outstretched, asking me where I was going looking so beautiful. This made me feel threatened and irritated–I was already in a bad mood.
“Women are not just objects to be ogled at.”
“Who’s ogling you? No one’s ogling you! I don’t even like white chicks! I don’t even like white chicks, you ugly bitch!”
“It’s mutual. Get a life! Get a life!”
Of course, those last two transcribed lines were largely yelled at almost the same time, but he did walk away defeated. I don’t care if I’m called ugly right after being called beautiful by a racist sexist construction worker. I felt empowered, and I hope that he doesn’t just assume one can harass any girl walking down the street–she might be a “crazy bitch” like me!
Construction men working on Jared Jewelers in the Target shopping center on Putty Hill whistling and waving at me and a number of other women walking to and from their cars.
I had parked a bit farther away from them and they still proceeded to call attention to themselves. Ridiculous grown men.
I am running with the gang – the rest of my university’s women’s cross-country running team. We’re warming up, heading along a downtown street toward the track for our workout. We pass a group of boys who look like fellow students. No one in our group acknowledges them.
They would have been just a few random strangers among the hundreds I pass every day, except then I hear some noise – garbled talking that I can’t make out, and what might have been a whistle.
And then I can make it out, can tell exactly what it is, and I’m furious but we’re past them and it’s too late to say anything without getting left behind.
I resign myself to doing nothing and moving on. But these guys aren’t done yet. The vocal one and his “pack” follow us around the corner, and I hear him shout “can I get a number ladies?”
Because clearly those of us on the VARSITY WOMEN’S CROSS-COUNTRY RUNNING TEAM have NOTHING better to do than stop to exchange contact info with some stranger in the middle of our workout. Clearly.
I keep running, afraid of what might happen if I stop – for whatever reason. And I don’t yell back, unwilling to start something and involve the whole team. But I refuse to roll over completely. Without even looking back, I raise my hand high and I give him the finger.
I don’t know if he sees, or knows what I’m trying to convey, but I feel better after taking some action. I doubt I changed anything today, but it’s not about that – it’s about there being a record of someone having said: this is not okay.
BY TANISHA LOVE RAMIREZ
Back to school means back to harassment for 61% of men and 62% of women on college campuses. This year, we’ve decided to poke a little fun at the harassers by developing fake facebook profiles of all the different types of harassers we’ve come to know and hate over the years.
Name: Bump and Grind From Behind
Favorite Quote: “I don’t see nothin’ wrong with a lil’ bump and grind, baby”~By the King of R&Baby-Making R Kelly!
About You: I’m a quiet guy who likes to let my hands and hips do the talking. I’ve got the moves like Jagger.
Political Views: My views are always from behind! Dayum, girl!
Relationship Status: Single, but looking 😉
Work/ Education: B.A. in Anthropology.
(Please note, the pictures are fake too. No dudes were harmed in the making of this spoof).
More than once as I’ve walked to and from TAFE I’ve had the people who approach you on the street (to sign you up to a charity, to make donations etcetc) actually stand in front of me and not allow me to walk past. The first time it happened I was terrified. It was 2 in the afternoon, there was a lot of people walking around and this guy was shouting at me trying to get my attention, demanding to know why I wouldn’t stop and speak to him about (whoever he was working for) and it wasn’t until I looked up at him, and he saw how frightened I was and he looked around and saw all the people staring at him that he actually stood aside and let me walk past, still shouting after me.
As my fiancé and I walked into our neighborhood Grocery store for our usual Sunday morning grocery trip, my fiancé got me to grab the cart while he walked ahead to print out MVP coupons. As I took the cart out and started walking to find him, I passed by a man exiting the store, carrying nothing, wearing a white polo and jeans. As he exited, and I entered the store, I felt a hand grab my ass…
I turned around and yelled “EXCUSE ME?!” The man looked back at me out of the corner of his eye.. I said “did you just touch me?!” He averted his attention to some magazines near the exit door, looking very guilty. without making much eye contact with me he mumbled “I don’t know what happened, I was just walking by, I must have accidentally brushed you.”
At this point, my fiancé joins me, looking confused.. I tell him this man grabbed my ass and he starts loudly cursing at the guy. Whoever in the checkout lines wasn’t already witnessing what was going on definitely was at this point! Caught red-handed the man VERY AWKWARDLY re-entered the store and headed toward the beer section.
At this point, we aren’t exactly in the mood to grocery shop beside this guy as if nothing happened.. So we notify the cashiers who call management up. They get to us quickly & we identify the man. They assure us they’ll make sure the man leaves after purchasing his Budweiser. Then Dave asks me if I want to call the police…
For some reason the flurry of emotion (anger, violation, disgust, confusion) made me forget about this option. I did NOT want to be a girl who does nothing… And regret it. So we called 911 as the man stood in the checkout line. The managers of the store confronted him as he was leaving to let him know the police were on their way and to stick around.
Our (female) police officer arrived soon after and handled the situation. She asked if I wanted to press charges and I said yes. she wasn’t sure whether it could be filed as assault or sexual assault (forcible), but is going to let me know tomorrow.
In the end, I questioned myself at LEAST 100 times about whether I was doing the right thing. It’s so true that as the victim you still feel at fault somehow.. You question what you were wearing and you also go through phases where you feel sorry for the attacker. But I’m so glad I handled it the way I did… And that my fiancé didn’t beat the man’s ass as he was about to!
I hope that my story inspires someone to do the same & that my actions prevent this man from having a chance to victimize someone else.
PS. The manager of Food Lion who detained the man until the policewoman came said the man was bragging about how he’d been drinking at the bar already (the attack happened at 12:30pm on a Sunday)
I was walking with a friend of mine through a park and we approached a group of guys in their mid to late 20’s, all obviously dressed up for a night out, cans of drink in their hands. We both tensed up and walked a bit closer together as we walked past(within a metre or two) them one of them screamed “GIRLS!” at us. My friend drawled “‘sup” and I just gave them my snootiest “seriously? you’re going to shout at us?” look and we kept walking. We could hear them laughing and shouting as they walked in the opposite direction and we mocked them, but all I could think was “why did they feel the need to shout at us when they were standing right next to us? why did they feel the need to say anything to us?”
Another exciting week here at Hollaback! We’re gearing up for our big event with Cornell tomorrow, where we will release somepowerful research on street harassment, and then celebrate our success with a benefit dra g show (what else?). On Saturday, September 22nd, join us at Stonewall for RIOT! A drag show and benefit. Also this week, I was named one of Brooklyn Magazine’s “Brooklyn 20.” To congratulate me they dressed me up as a hipster super villain. Seriously. Check the picture (right).
Check out what our site leaders around the world have been up to this week:
Hollaback NYC Calls on State Leaders to Pass New Law Protecting Straphangers from Sexual Assault. In the current lawsubway “grinding” (also known as masturbating against someone) isn’t considered “forcible,” which means that it’s not categorized as sexual assault. We’re working with Public Advocate DeBlasio to close the loophole — check out our letter here.
Hollaback Czech holds its first workshop! It took place this week at the QueerFEM*Days conference and was a huge success.
Hollaback joins V-DAY’s “One Billion Rising” campaign! Want to join, too? Make a “Why I am Rising” video and they will post it!
Hollaback was at the Congress of Women in Poland! A video of us was shown at a panel called, “No more violence against women,” (Saturday, 15/09/2012, 12 – 1.30 pm), during which Greta, one of our site leader in Poland, also briefly spoke about Hollaback Polska, its goals and achievements so far. Among others, she presented some of the data from their recently conducted study on street harassment in Poland. Joanna, our other site leader in Poland, also spoke about Hollaback Polska and the notion of street harassment, why it is so harmful, etc., during another event at the Congress. Hollaback Poleska also had a stand where we conducted various activities, discussed street harassment, presented the results of our study, gave out leaflets and badges, and made contacts. Go Hollaback Poleska!
Hollaback Des Moines is running a HOLLAween campaign, and they need your help! Last year, they spoke at Iowa Pride Network Leadership Summit, partnered with the Iowa Coalition Against Sexual Assault to make street harassment part of SAAT programming, worked with Drake University student activists and tabled at their “Vagina Carnival,” prior to three performances of Eve Ensler’s play, partnered with the Chrysalis Foundation to facilitate a screening of the documentary, “Miss Representation.” Check out their website for information on how you can help their efforts this year!
Hollaback UK site leaders met this week at feminist summer school in Bristol! They are collaborating on developing policy recommendations, campaigns, and garnering media attention. Stay tuned for more awesome updates coming from the UK!
Hollaback NYU in BUST online! Site leader Catie Brown talks about NYU’s plan for the future: “We’re going to be popping up all over campus this semester, getting the word out about our site and encouraging submissions. We’re also planning a fundraiser concert for the spring, and we’re always reaching out to and looking to collaborate with other campus organizations.” To read the full article, click here.
Did you miss Hollaback Edinburgh‘s launch party? Watch it here:
Last but not least, you’ve gotta check out our “Cats Against Catcalls” tumblr if you haven’t already. Here’s Kitty Gaga as a teaser:
HOLLA and out —