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I was walking to work and a man in a green sweater started talking about my thigh length socks. I told him I didnt want to talk to him and kept walking. He screamed bitch and whore at me as i walked 2 blocks.
I WALKED TWO BLOCKS TODAY!!! I HATE IT. I CRIED AND HAD TO LEAVE WORK. I CANNOT TAKE IT!!!! WHY DO THEY DO THIS?????
Today, in honor of Transgender Day of Remembrance, we’re taking some time to read over a section from our #HarassmentIs publication. These stories highlight many of ways that transfolks experience violence and discrimination in public spaces. At Hollaback!, we believe that everyone should have equal and safe access to public spaces. This Transgender Day of Remembrance we encourage you to share your stories and stand up against street harassment. Let’s work together to make spaces safer for everyone.
From pages 29-31 of Harassment Is: An Exploration of Identity and Street Harassment
“I always fancy myself one of the bros. I’ve struggled with the idea of being transgender, but have a deep rooted belief in loving my body no matter what….but [once I was harassed] ..I didn’t feel fear. What I did feel though was humiliation and disconnect. In one comment a complete stranger disrupted my place in my group.” – Hollaback!’er
Transgender people may feel that their assigned sex at birth does not match their internal sex or gender. Trans identities, like most identities, exist on a wide spectrum.
Many people exist outside of the either/or of man or women, or come to those identities in different ways. Sadly, a lot of people who identify as trans and/or gender-non conforming face violence, harassment, sexualization, fetishization, and discrimination. Sometimes this violence can be physical, and sometimes it can also be psychological. Imagine what it feels like to not be seen for who you are.
The story below highlights some of the anger, sadness, and frustration that can come along with not being seen as your gender and experiencing street harassment. Elizabeth writes,
“I was walking out of Starbucks and two college-age looking guys yelled “faggot” at me. I am a transgender woman and I have no problem with people noticing that I am a transgender woman. I am very offended when people call me things that I am not. I was so angry that I threw my coffee to the ground and just got in my car and left.” http://bit.ly/15U0qMs
The next story sheds light on the very real threat of violence and escalation of street harassment as a trans* person. One Hollaback!’er writes,
“I think often when we speak about transgender issues, that human voice and visibility is missing. Therefore, I feel it is important to share one of my own stories with bathroom harassment. Often when I first was transitioning, I would do my best to avoid public restrooms…When you are transitioning from using the female restrooms to male restrooms a lot changes. You fear going into female restrooms because women constantly tell you that you are in the wrong restroom. They yell at you, and protect their children like you are going to hurt them…See, because as much as we fear that verbal harassment, I now fear the physical assault upon entering the men’s restroom. It’s hard to confront those who know you or strangers when they state you don’t have a penis, this means you are not a man, get out, freak, etc…It’s not only the physical threat that scares me when this happens, but the mental damage of constantly feeling threatened or fearing another assault as I choose what uniform to wear any given day: is it the straight male, the gay male, the butch female that will cause me the least harm, and more so why must we choose what option means least harm. Which option will disarm those directing assaults at me.”
My partner (a guy) and I enjoy making and wearing costumes (and in my city there is no shortage of costumed events). For Halloween, I had decided to be a video game antagonist known for the huge helmet he wears. While the helmet covered my entire face and most of my torso, anyone could still tell I was a woman because the rest of the costume was an A-line undershirt and a butcher’s apron over leggings -not skimpy but you could see my shape.
Because I have a good case of bitch-face and a fast aggressive walk, I rarely get hassled in daily life but while I was an anonymous woman wearing a mask on Halloween, I got the most harassment of my life. Even with my guy standing next to me, randoms would come over to touch me (like I was a Real Doll), to tell me how hot I was even though they couldn’t see what I looked like, and when I tilted the helmet to peer at them they would tell me to leave it on, as if I were a fetish object for their pleasure and confronting them with my personhood would ruin their good time.
Even when my partner would intervene they wouldn’t stop trying to pick me up until we relocated. Of course, when we had successfully gotten away from one jerk, another would take his place. It’s not even as if they knew my character! The worst offenders had no idea what I was even supposed to be, only that I was a woman’s body without a visible head. I have never felt so much like a piece of meat in my life. I’ve never been to a Con but think maybe now I know how the women that attend those might feel.
I was walking to go get some coffee in my neighborhood, when some guy driving by yelled “YOU’RE GONNA GET RAPED!!!” extremely aggressively.
It was terrifying and I started crying.
I was waiting for my boyfriend to pick me up after class, near the entrance to the parking lot. I was looking at my phone and into the parking lot, wondering if he had parked and I had not seen him. I wondered around a bit and didn’t see the car, so I started to walk back towards the entrance. As I was walking, a man sitting in a parked truck whistled at me and made some other noises. At first I thought he was calling a DOG, I looked around and then looked at him. He made the same noises along with a come here hand motion. I shook my head and he continued to make the noises and whistle.
I was so offended that he thought it was not only acceptable behavior, but that it would work. I ended up shouting, “I AM NOT A F**KING DOG A**HOLE!” Flipped him off and walked away. Perhaps not the best way to handle the situation, but I was mad. Still makes me mad thinking about it.
At my bus stop a man came up and asked me what school I went to, my name, my age…so I gave him short responses and hoped he would leave.
He got on my bus, sat away for me at first, then moved beside my seat and began making kissy noses at me, snapping fingers, waving hands, trying to get my attention until he grabbed me. I yelled loudly “DON’T FUCKING TOUCH ME”. He got off the bus. No one said anything to me. He was on my bus home. I live by him. I was so scared
Me and my friend were just getting out of a concert and started heading to this marketplace across the street. It was pretty empty by then and we just sat down, having some drinks, looking over our pictures from the concert when some guy started walking towards us. The way he looked at us made us really uncomfortable so we got up and started walking away. We took a turn thinking he would go about the rest of his night but he kept following us. We ended up speed walking until we found some security guards and stood by them. Then we turned around and the man was gone. We were so frightened and I honestly thought we wouldn’t be able to outrun him.
My old neighborhood, the slopes, was awful for street harassment!
One of the worst was when I was having a bad day, trying to keep to myself on the street, and finally perked up and smiled looking at a friendly text, and someone yelled from their car that I had a beautiful smile and was gorgeous.
He probably thought he was being so nice, but that smile was for me, and I want to reclaim it!!
In the past two weeks Hollaback! was featured by Studio B / WOUB, Athens News, Whyy/ News Works , NBC Philadelphia, The Prospect, Think Progress, Calcasa, Omaha Free Press, Parker Country Active Democrats, Feministing , Philadelphia City Paper, Feminist Majority Foundation , Ms. Magazine, Blast Bombshell , Time Out NY, Finding My Feminist Voice, Ashleigh not Ashley, PolicyMic, The Resource, Boston.com, and The Huffington Post!
Hollaback! got some badass research done pro bono on college campus harassment in the United States. Julie, our Hollaback! Berlin site leader, stopped by to visit the mothership after presenting at a conference in Ithaca. Maria Lujan Tubio was invited to talk about Hollaback! as an example of successful net-activism at a conference on Net-Activism in Sao Paulo, Brazil – 3 people approached her after the talk interested in starting a Hollaback chapter in Sao Paulo and doing research on street harassment in a Latin American context at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. We met with community partners at Girls for Gender Equity this week, as well as Tatyana Fazlalizadeh about collaborating more during PRIDE in June. We’ve also began our search for Spring 2014 interns as we get ready for our class 9 launch on December 3rd. Our biggest class yet! Woot!
Hollaback! ED, Emily May, spoke on the Real Safety: Domestic Violence Conference, keynoted an event with Hollaback!’s pro-bono legal researchers “trust law”, and was honored at the Healing Center of NY’s Annual Gala. Emily also held a dinner for Hollback’s Board of Directors.
Deputy Director, Debjani Roy, did two trainings at “Futures Without Violence’s Summit” speak up to take rape culture down” at Harvard University.
Here’s what the HOLLAs around the world have been up to:
Hollaback! Philly was interviewed for WHYY radio and blog (Philly’s local NPR station) and by their local NBC news team! They also held the 2nd ever City Council hearing on street harassment in the US! The hearing seemed to be a successful, highlighting a moment “when a councilman said ‘It’s really all about power, isn’t it?’” Check out the testimony and survey results here!
Hollaback! Ghent spoke on Thursday in Kortrijk, Belgium for an evening about sexism in the streets. HB! Ghent and Hollaback! Brussels represented HB! together on National Women’s Day, 11 November in a day event called STERE-OH!-TIEP, meetings with feminist organizations. Quentin of Hollaback! Brussels also represented HB on November 11 in a debate on street harassment and sexism. The debate was organized by the City Council of Brussels and the department for Equal Opportunities, for the occasion of International Women’s Day. It’s a debate with the Mayor of Brussels, The Department of Equal Opportunities, Garance asbl (a partner of HB Brussels) and Hollaback. It’s included in a day of events centered on women called “Brussels Celebrates the Women.”
Hollaback! Istanbul’s client (represented by their group’s lawyer) brought their case of harassment to first degree court. The judge ordered 1 year and 8 months prison sentence to the harasser who harassed the client on a public bus.
Hollaback! Boston hosted a very successful HOLLAween party sponsored by local business and Brandie Skorker represented at RI Comic Con!
Hollaback! Ottawa was asked to comment on the latest news that two womyn were sexually assaulted by two separate cab drivers. Site leader, Julie Lalonde was featured in one interview on the subject and got a nice Hollaback! shout out in the second. The Ottawa Police Service also responded to HB!Ottawa’s “Open letter to women in Ottawa,” inviting them to a facilitated discussion on violence against women in their city!
Hollaback! Hamilton is working with McMaster University through a few professors that have been interested in the work of Hollaback and would like their students to gain some experiential education opportunities through working with Hollaback!
Hollback! Halifax represented at the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word and leader, Rebecca Faria, performed her amazing original anti-harassment themed poem as well as gained some possible partnerships in the Canadian cities of Waterloo, Guelph, and London.
It’s pretty clear why we post these updates weekly, amazing work everyone!!!!
HOLLA and out!
-The Hollaback! Team
Former customer Colleen Kiphart joins Hollaback! to demand the company issue a real apology and immediately stop production of products that legitimize street harassment
Colleen Kiphart stewed over the packaging for months before she decided to speak up. Now, Kiphart and Hollaback!, an organization dedicated to ending street harassment, are working together demand that Burt’s Bees apologize and immediately stop production.
The offensive tag line goes as follows: “Soak in the moisturizing seductiveness of shea butter and indulge in the scent of vanilla and rice milk. And let the catcalling commence.”
Colleen Kiphart says, “I deal with catcalling regularly in my neighborhood. It is uninvited, unwanted, and demeaning. I stand up for myself, but many women can’t or don’t know they can. I am frustrated to see a socially-conscious company like Burt’s Bees perpetuate the myth that women want to be objectified by strangers on the street. I look forward to them seeing the error of this labeling, to them changing it, and to them joining the millions who stand against street harassment.”
Street harassment, commonly referred to as catcalling, is the most common form of gender-based violence globally. Long-term impacts include depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and at ihollaback.org, victims report missing school, changing jobs or moving homes to avoid exposure.
“Burt’s Bees and Güd are perpetuating the myth that street harassment is a ‘compliment.’ We’ve received over 5,000 stories from people around the globe telling us that street harassment is scary, demeaning, and traumatizing. Last time I checked, that’s not what a ‘compliment’ feels like,” said Emily May, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Hollaback!.
Güd’s response to Kiphart and Hollaback! was noncommittal, stating, “we apologize if the wording on our Vanilla Flame Body Butter packaging offended anyone.” (Full link: on.fb.me/1e61y1Y). Hollaback! considers this an example of the commonly seen non-apology apology. According to Wikipedia, “A non-apology apology is a statement that has the form of an apology but does not express the expected contrition. It is common in both politics and public relations.”
In light of Güd by Burt’s Bees’ response, Kiphart and Hollaback! have stated that they will remain steadfast in their efforts. A link to the petition demanding that Burt’s Bees apologize and immediately stop producing pro-harassment packaging can be found here: chn.ge/1a8eDHi