Athens GA, Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Cleveland, Columbia MO, Columbus, Denver, Des Moines, Duke University, NC, Durham & Chapel Hill, East Lansing, Flagstaff, AZ, Houston, Iowa City, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Lubbock TX, Manhattan KS, Muncie IN, New Orleans, New York City, Oneonta, Pittsburgh, Plattsburgh, Providence, Richmond VA, San Fernando Valley, San Francisco, Twin Cities, West Georgia (University)
According to fellow anti-street harassment blog, Stop Street Harassment, new legislation proposed yesterday by Councilwoman Muriel Bowser will make it easier for police to apprehend accused public masturbators and flashers on DC’s transport system. If the bill is passed it means that the perpetrators of such crimes are more likely to face a penalty.
The Washington Examiner reported that the legislation will lower standards for officers to arrest individuals for indecent exposure, bringing D.C in line with procedures in Maryland and Virginia. The bill will enable police to make arrests based on enough circumstantial evidence.
The WMATA are addressing the issue thanks to pressure from Collective Action for Safe Spaces, who have been imploring the organization to do more about sexual harassment and assault on the area’s transport system. The team testified in February before D.C. City Council catching the attention of Ward 4 Council Member Muriel Bowser.
Holly Kearl of Stop Street Harassment out lined the next steps for the bill on her blog:
“The bill has been referred to Council Member Mendelson’s Committee on the Judiciary. They need to hold a hearing and then vote on it in a separate mark-up hearing. The full Council then has to vote on it twice to be submitted to the Mayor for signature.”
So here’s a big Hollaback! shout out to Councilmember Bowser for taking notice and doing something awesome. You Rock!
This is a local old man who seems to think he is gods gift to women. He has asked 2 of the (much younger than he is)women in our office out. He has tried this in the office and while one was in a fast food restaurant…He is old enough to be their grandfather. He leers at you from head to toe. Last weekend, my husband and I were at a local fast food restaurant and there he was 2 customers in front of us, I pointed him out to my husband and filled him in on his tricks,,,meantime this very attractive mother and daughter came in, so creepo, out of the blue, turns around after placing his order and leers them and says “I’m saving a seat for you and your sister with me” of course they looked at him like he had 2 heads and moved on.Meantime, the waiter tries to say “sir, your order is ready” 3 times and creepo is still leering, so I said to the waiter”He obviously can’t hear you, he is too busy flirting to pick up his food” others around me heard what I said and had noticed him trying to pick up the two as well…one of them snickered and rolled his eyes…so what would you have done,,I really wanted to say to these two unsuspecting women, he is a local and he is a creep…I did relay this to the 2 women in the office and they were totally grossed out, this old geezer really thinks that they would be interested in going out with him??? This is a beach community and so who knows how many he reaches for, do you just ignore when you notice him leering at women like this or what could you say??
Why do you HOLLA? Because it makes me feel less a victim. Because it is a way to reclaim my right to be seen as a full human being. And because I like it when I take them by surprise.
What’s your signature Hollaback? Depends on the situation. Sometimes in German, because then no one understands, sometimes just “Fuck off”, sometimes “Don’t harass people”. What I did last time was “Jamais vu une femme? Pauvre!” (“Never seen a woman? Poor guy.”)
HOLLAfact about your city: Brussels has a large amount of beautiful Art Déco and Art Nouveau houses.
What was your first experience with street harassment? I was perhaps around fourteen, walking down the street with a friend of mine. A guy drove past, sounded the horn and yelled something unintelligible.
Define your style: Flowers, flowers, flowers on my clothes!
My superheroine/hero power is…..My dark, loud voice. As no harasser would expect this from the girl with the flower dress.
What do you collect? Memories.
Say you’re Queen for the day. What would you do to end street harassment? This might be a bit nasty, but: Force all the harassers out there to be for one day one of the persons they normally harass: women, LGBTQ people etc. So they see how it feels like.
If you could leave the world one piece of advice, what would it be? Don’t wait for someone else to push for change. Go start it yourself.
What inspires you? My three fellow HollaBrussels! girls. We’re a dreamteam!
BY MARIA LUIZA WELTON
“Texts From Hillary” creators Stacy Lamb and Adam Smith were invited to meet with the Secretary of State last Wednesday so she could congratulate and thank them for “all the LOLZ” produced by their “Hillary”ous meme, which the pair have described as being started “on a whim.”
So if you haven’t yet checked out “Texts from Hillary”, it’s about time you did! The blog consists of various pictures of “Hilz” captioned with fantastical text-message conversations. The Secretary of State can be seen sass-mouthing Vice President, Joe Biden, accepting a lunch request from Meryl Streep and rejecting Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook friendship request.
As well as inviting them to meet with her, “Hilz” even took the time to create her own version of the meme, an autographed picture, which she posted on twitter:
I for one appreciated the sass, power and bad-ass swag that inventors Stacy Lamb and Adam Smith attributed to our Secretary of State. There is nothing like seeing a strong woman being portrayed with strength and wit. Check out Hilary’s contribution, which she signed “Thanks for the many LOLZ, Hillary “Hilz!”
I was walking to Walgreens from my sorority house dressed in a pair of slacks, heels, and a blouse. I am very busty, and when I wear heels things tend to be more jiggly. An older man in a car was turning at an intersection I was about to cross, so I stopped on the corner to wait. He stopped his vehicle and waited for me to cross so I would walk in front of him and he could watch me pass. After a few moments of both of us awkwardly waiting, I had not other choice but to cross. As I passed he shouted out of his car window: “Damn! You are looking nice!” I’m ashamed of this, but I mumbled a “thank you” in response, because I didn’t know what else to do or say. I’m a feminist who has attended protests and stood up for others, but sometimes I’m still too scared to stand up for myself.
It isn’t enough for you to grope my ass through my skirt. You have to put your hand up my skirt and grab my bare skin.
You have no idea how long I will spend in the shower, scrubbing myself where you touched me, or how many minutes I will spend thinking about the fact that you were that close to my vagina, how almost GRATEFUL I am for the fact that you didn’t touch me there.
How dare people like you have made girls like me grateful you didn’t touch me there.
I work hard for my grades at a top university, I never go out because I prefer reading, chatting to my friends, exercising, cooking, watching movies. I bothered to dress up and go out, and I felt damn good.
You made me feel bad for dressing up.
And then I turn and face you.
And you smile in that way that means you know I know, but you’re going to act like I don’t. Like you never touched me.
If you won’t admit it, why do it? Are you too shy to tell me I’m pretty? Not an excuse. Is the music so loud that you considered THAT the best way to get my attention? Not an excuse. There is no excuse.
I wonder if you have sisters, cousins. A mother.
I want you to imagine someone putting their hands on that woman you love, and I want you to feel sick with yourself.
About a year ago, I was out drinking pretty late in a bar by my college in Manhattan. At about three, I decided I’d close my tab and head out when I was cornered by one of my pool buddies, who decided that because my back was turned, he could grope me. “You have a nice ass.” he was literally rubbing my ass while I was pressed against the bar, waiting and waiting and waiting for my card and bill. I wasn’t really sure what to do, so, I just said, “I know,” and shifted so he couldn’t touch me anymore. He tried to get me to do shots with him but I made a quick exit and got to the train about a block away.
I thought my night was over from there, but! I was approached by a man on the train platform. This is where I should mention that the station I was at is about five or six stories above ground. The man approached me and immediately asked, “do you eat pussy?” being drunk and terrified, I replied, “no.” “Do you have a boyfriend?” “Do you like being eaten out?” (“no” to both) and then, “Can I show you my cock?” I was so scared and I had no idea of what to say. If I said the wrong thing, what if he decided to push me off of the platform? That was the only thing going through my head. I was extremely lucky that night, I said “No, thank you.” and he finally left me alone, but so often I think about next time, because I know there will be a next time. I think almost everyday, “Where will it be? Who will it be? Will the next guy actually kill me?”
I walk my dog around lake merrit almost everyday because it is a beautiful walk in an otherwise urban area. My experience has been that I cannot make it around this three mile loop without a man making some kind of comment to me. It has ranged from “hi beautiful” to grunting noises to comments about my butt or asking me if they can join me on my walk. I had a man step into my path and stop right in front of me to pet my dog, blocking my path and giving me no choice in the interaction. I get angry, scared and embarrassed by these encounters, but above all I feel helpless and that is by far the worst emotion for me. I feel like I have to put up with this in order to walk my dog in a park near my home. I now have to consider what I wear and what time of day I go for a walk in an effort to achieve some sort of anonymity. Some people might think, what’s the big deal if a man wants to tell you you’re attractive or ask you out. Here’s the big deal, it’s unsolicited, unreciprocated and unwanted attention . It can be scary, embarrassing and menacing. Bottom line, I just want to walk my dog in peace and feel safe.
BY ELIZABETH SCHULTZ
This was originally posted on econgirl and sent to us by Carey Tan.
My last night in Ouagadougou, I enjoyed a lovely Vietnamese dinner, then went to the street to find a taxi to my hotel. It wasn’t late, but it was just starting to rain, and taxis were scarce, so I started walking in the direction of the hotel, knowing I would be more likely to find a taxi that way.
I was crossing an intersection when a man started yelling “La blanche! La blanche” (White! White!) I decided to ignore him, as this rude by any measure. The man then ran up behind me, and grabbed me around the neck with both arms.
I had no idea what he was doing, so to be on the safe side, I screamed. I was able to duck out of his arms and push him away. He didn’t put up much resistance, so I decided this was just his idea of sport. I hit him across the face, then walked away, and he let me go.
Hitting an assailant wasn’t the smartest thing—I probably should have taken off running—but I’m glad I did. What was he thinking? He didn’t strike me as being mentally ill in any way. The only conclusion that I can come to is that since I was clearly a foreigner, and because he thought I was physically weak, he felt like he could get away behavior that would be unacceptable in his own community.
The more disturbing thing is that, even though there were half a dozen people in the immediate vicinity, no one did anything. No one tried to help, or even asked if I was okay. This was shocking to me, especially because in Ghana, people would have come running from all around. I’m not sure why no one helped—if it was because it was beginning to rain and they wanted to go home, or if it was because I was a foreigner, or if that’s just the culture in Ouagadougou.
If you are reading this and thinking, “Poor Liz—what a god-awful country!”, then I have news for you: men do stuff like this to women all the time in the United States, and they get away with it. Ask any young woman living in a city like New York or DC when the last time was that she was catcalled on the street, or grabbed in a bar or club. Ask her if anyone said anything to the person who did it.
The fact is, wherever conditions exist that allow people to harass others without consequence, there will be people who take advantage of that. I think there are two cultural tendencies that contribute to those conditions:
1. A general tendency not to get involved. This is something that you see a lot more in the west than in places like Ghana, where society values individualism less and communities are tightly-knit, creating more incentive to enforce good behavior. But everywhere, to some extent, people are often hesitant to get involved, either because of fear, or because of inconvenience. The result is that bad behavior goes unpunished. This is especially consequential in places where formal law and order is lacking.
2. In-group bias. I think that everywhere, people who are “different” are more likely to be targeted and less likely to be helped. (They are probably more likely to be targeted BECAUSE they are less likely to be helped.) These people might be vulnerable because they don’t speak the local language, and don’t have local social connections or social standing, but I think there is also a tendency for people who are different to be more objectified—they are seen first as “a white” or “a black”, rather than as another person. People have less problem with them being objects for others’ amusement, and they are less concerned with their welfare than they would be someone who appears to be from their same community. There are people who would argue that in-group bias is okay or even good, and that it encourages social cohesion. I argue that the cost of in-group bias is that the most vulnerable people are ignored when they need help.
So if you don’t like what happened to me, I urge you to do two things. First, make yourself more of a “social enforcer.” Being a social enforcer can be intimidating. Natural social enforcers often have a high tolerance for stress. But generally, a person who enforces good social behavior, for example by chiding someone who cuts in line, are viewed favorably by everyone who observes the interaction.
Second, try to fight your own in-group bias, and make an effort to reach out to those people who seem especially out of place. If they look out of place, they probably feel that way even more so. Treat them the way you would want your mother, or your sister, or your daughter treated if she were alone someplace strange.
Interestingly, the two things I am encouraging—social enforcement and reducing in-group bias—are typically associated with opposite sides of the political and social spectrum. Social enforcement tends to be associated with conventional, authoritarian, and duty-oriented attitudes. Reduced in-group bias tends to be associated with liberal, individualistic, and intellectually-oriented attitudes. I don’t think this is an accident: all of these values are good; that’s why there are people that value them. If we all ascribe to each other’s values a little more—if social enforcers can apply their protections to a wider group of people, and if those who care about people who are different can make themselves into social enforcers—I think we would do better at protecting the most vulnerable from those people who have no values at all.