The Movement

Ye Olde Street Harassment

Check out this article for a history lesson on dirtbags of yore. The women at the time were clearly asking for it what with their ankle-length skirts and turtleneck shirts.

“Smashing the Masher…”

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Nonverbal Harassment, public masturbation

Sak’s story from India: Repeat offender in the neighborhood

Story of a girl :- One day one of my friends in P.G. got a call from here boy friend. She went out side coz there was some signal problem. When she was romaing at the tarace. A person was also roaming in the opposite building. The persons side’s lights were switched off. As my friend was talking on phone, that guy on opposite building removed all his clothes , and became naked, and started doing masterbation , facing my friend.My friend become awful, she aint was able to understand what is happining. She came running inside and told us the thing. We both went outside , and turned our tarrace light on, the guy quickly put his shorts up and went inside. I was also awful, what is this man doing. Aint he have any sister or mother. After that we share the scene with our fellow P.G. mate. One of them said, its usual that guy always became naked when i came outside on phone, i kust ignore that guy.Till date i have seen that guy doning this shameful act 4 times. I want to ask u. Is there not even single place for us girl to live. Coz of these shame ful act our parents fear to send us outside for studies…. plz do leave a coment.

Dated 19 april 2011

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Verbal

An’s story from India: Crossing the line

Two weeks earlier some guys teased my girlfriend.The were teasing here from a week before, but that day the just crossed their line. The bumped up in front of her 3 ,4 times, still she ignored. And finally they try to stop here and used rash language like “which air you are in girl” etc. She was full of fear that day.She aint replyed those basterd…s any thing. Day after the incident i went to the place where me and my girl friend used to roam. Those basterds also had a P.G. around my Girl friends P.G. , i asked here where they lived, i ponted at those bastereds. She said lets go from here.Mean while I called my friend ,so that together me and my friend cud talk to those bastereds. By the time my friend reached, those bastereds were behind me. One of those said why were u pin ponting towards us. I said wat, my G.F. was showing me ur faces. i was asking which one. Damend they were not shameful of there act. They wanted fight. Meanwhile my G.F. was awful, she was fearful. And said to those bastereds that she is comited. The scene goes on. Me and my friend solved the issue that day. But those bastereds were not seem to be over. And yesterday the strike again. Me and my girlfriend was on that place. I was there to leave her for the P.G.. We were having a normal talk. One of the bastereds from his P.G. shouted “dont stand here”. i said “what happend bro”. bastered replied “shall i come near you, to tell you not to stand here” . i said ” yes why not”. My girl friend was awful, and fearful again. She said leave, kasam and all. I said okay.

Now, i want to ask what to do. I cant go to poloice, neither does she. where to complaint against these bastereds tell me..

Dated 18 april 2011

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demonstration, The Movement, Verbal

Lou LaRoche’s Story: GOOGLE IT, DICKWAD!

Took my son out to the park and to visit with a friend this morning. It’s hot, so I’m wearing a vest and some baggy trousers. On the way home, a driver at the motorway junction beeped, whistled and made a kiss-face at me as I passed him.

Already pissed off (my son had been misbehaving) I stopped walking, turned to look at the “man” and shouted, “Hollaback, asshole!” then continued on my way home – feeling much better.

Only wish I’d told him to google it, too.

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Verbal

ella’s story: slaptick comedy or street harassment?

I’m au pairing in Nantes this year, a city full of bicycles. Riding from work tonight, I just tackled the one hill on the way home and was stoked that I’m getting better at it when two scooter twats start catcalling and riding around me. Instantly too nervous to even try to decipher insults in a language I’m struggling with at the best of times, let alone when my mind is racing with the implications of where this could lead and calculating just what my odds would be… I felt threatened til one of them kicked the other on his scooter and the other fell, stopping them both to collect a piece of scooter and fight between themselves.

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Verbal

Anon’s story: Body shaming doesn’t make anyone feel better

I’m not sure if this really counts as harassment, but it was something that really bothered me as a child. When I was younger, whenever I went out shopping with my mom she would point at other women, nudge me, and say “Am I as fat as that lady?”. My mom had some body issues so she would pick out middle-aged overweight women (or sometimes just slightly chubby ladies), and I’d always be put in the awkward position of having say, “No mom, you’re not as fat as her” or something similar. This was particularly painful because she almost always said it loud enough for the women to hear (maybe on purpose), and when I’d tell her she was being too loud and it was rude, she’d only speak louder and exclaim, “Don’t be ridiculous! She can’t hear me.”

This was harmful behaviour because not only did it do nothing to help my mom’s body issues, but it also taught me as young kid that your worth is determined by your weight (luckily I got over that). It also told the women she picked on that they couldn’t go outside without being judged by their appearance and put into competition with other women on the street… even when they were just trying to shop and minding their own business.

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The Movement, Verbal

Elizabeth’s story from Toronto: A daydreamed hollaback

I was walking to catch a bus in Toronto when a man pulled up beside me in a convertible and said:
“hey, baby, do you like things that go fast?” he then revved his engine.
I flipped him the bird. He had friends in the car and they all said “boooo” and drove away (fast.)

So that’s what I actually did in that situation, but here’s how I WISH I had responded to the question “hey, baby, do you like things that go fast”:

“Sir, I don’t think you comprehend exactly how much you have failed at attempting to use what we refer to as the ‘innuendo’. You have asked me if I like things that go fast and then revved the engine of your car, suggesting that you not only care little for the environment, but also that your car does, in fact, go fast. The issue is that you are not only insinuating that I should appreaciate your car, but also you, the instigator of this poorly executed, yet entirely offensive act of sexual harassment. The problem with your innuendo is that you, as I mentioned, are using your car as a metaphor for yourself. This means that by implying that your car goes fast, you are also stating that you “go fast.” Thus, in asking if I like things that “go fast” you are asking me if I enjoy men who “go fast” in a sexual sense, meaning that they orgasm quickly. So, to answer your question honestly, do I like men that “go fast?” No, I don’t. In fact, I feel like most people prefer sex to last over long periods of time. Hardly anybody wants it to be over quickly. You and your car are both equally disappointing. Go fuck yourself.”

I didn’t get to give the above speech, and that made me sad. The moral, my friends, is that things that go fast lead to disappointment.

I feel better getting to write that here. Thanks!

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demonstration, Verbal

Sarah’s story from Mississippi: Lonely party in creeps’ loney pants

Bad: driving out of the Barnes Crossing parking lot, I stopped at the intersection next to one of those lifted trucks with ridiculous shocks. Two young-ish guys were in the cab, & just as I was making my turn, the driver yelled, “There’s gonna be a party in my pants tonight, & you’re invited!” I know, I know, creative come-on, huh???

Worse: my BF was with me, & demanded I pull back around & chase them. I did not, partly because I felt embarrassed enough & just wanted to get away from the scene of the crime, but mostly because I didn’t wanna have to bail him out for assault (I don’t have the $!!!).

Worst: my DAUGHTERS were in the van with us. I now get to try to explain to them everything that was wrong with that whole exchange. F***ing fantastic!

one comment 
Street harassment in the media, The Movement

Just A Smack On The Ass: A Tale Of Sexual Assault, Vengeance And Nervous Swearing

Cross-posted from the ACLU blog

By Robyn Shepherd, ACLU

Last month, the ACLU’s Louise Melling blogged about how street harassment shames and humiliates women, and is underreported because of the stigma attached to it. While that blog was making the editing rounds here at the office, I shared my own story of how I dealt with a particularly obnoxious harasser, and my esteemed colleagues suggested I share it. Since April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, after all, here it is. And there’s gonna be swearing. I’m really sorry in advance (Mom).

I was walking to work last April, listening to a friend’s CD and not thinking of much besides that I was a little late to work, and really ought to hustle to make my train. A dude passed me as I walked, and I didn’t think much of that either.

All of a sudden…WHAM! Dude WALLOPED me on the backside and ran off.

No one saw it happen. But the gentle denizens of the Upper East Side sure knewsomething happened, because I let out an unholy yell and a good, throaty “FUCK YOU!!” I turned to see the dude hustling away in his blue and tan jacket and tan backpack.

I hesitated a moment. Did that really just happen? What should I do? Just go on with my day? I’m not sure I want to do that. And I’m pretty sure that if I just let this go, and act like it’s no big deal, or it was “just a smack on the ass,” I’m gonna feel pretty rotten about it for a long time to come. And my butt was really sore. He really went for it.

So I ran after the dude.

It’s possible this guy was crazy. This was something I needed to determine, and also I wanted to get a description, since by this point I had decided that if I was going to be late to work pursuing this mofo, I was damn well gonna call the police. I caught up to him as he was going into the Citibank.

“Hey asshole!” He looked up. He was about 20. Clean-cut. Like he was on his way to school. He did not look crazy. I think he was surprised. I think he figured the five-foot-tall redhead in the sundress and Mary Janes would have just said “Oh my stars!” and scampered away. He does not know this five-foot-tall redhead.

“You think that shit is funny? You like hitting women, huh? You think that’s the correct way to act? Whatsamatterwityou?” All of a sudden, I was Joe Pesci. I swear a lot when I’m nervous. It’s a terrible habit. Perhaps you’ve caught on.

“Ma’am I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“You know goddamn well what I’m talking about. YOU DON’T HIT WOMEN, ASSHOLE.” At this point I was screaming into the bank. The whole lobby was looking at me.

Dude got in my face. And this is where it gets kind of hilarious. “How dare you disrespect me in public?” he said. Oh. My. God. He. Did. Not. “I mean, call the police or something, but don’t embarrass me like that. Fuck you.”

It was now clear I was not necessarily dealing with a lunatic. But I was dealing with a moron.

“Good idea, buddy. I WILL call the police.” I called 911 and told them about the incident and the coordinates.

While I was on the phone he got in my face again. “Fuck you, bitch.”
Me: “Fuck ME? Fuck YOU!!!…

Me (to operator): “I’m sorry, ma’am it’s just he’s antagonizing me.”

Him: “You calling the police?”

Me: “Goddamn right I am.”

Him: “Fine. Fuck the police. Fuck you.”

Me: “Tell ‘em so yourself!”

He started walking away after that. The 911 lady advised me to stay put. Good call. I figured I had enough of him without backup. The police came a few minutes later, and I told them the story. I told them I knew they dealt with bigger things than this. But if it doesn’t get reported, it will keep happening. And maybe we can scare this dude enough that that will be one less guy hitting women in the street. The cops had me ride around in the car with them to see if we could find them. (Incidentally, those squad cars? Absolutely no legroom to speak of. In case you ever need extra incentive to not get arrested. Not comfy.)

We couldn’t find him, but the cops (there were four of them by the end of this) took my statement and contact info. They commended me on my description. Which is good, as that validates a lot of Law and Order viewing.

I’m realistic. I knew they were never going to arrest this guy. But here’s the thing, and the point to this whole long, profane story. I know there are a lot of people who think it wasn’t that big a deal. But the truth of the matter is, what this guy did was sexual assault. “Forcible touching and harassment,” if you want to get specific.

Sexual assault doesn’t always necessarily mean something as horrible as rape. And too often street harassment is unreported, and douchebags like this think they can get away with it because the girl is gonna be too embarrassed or too meek to do anything about it. Or they think it’s “just a slap on the ass.” And that’s not right, you guys. I don’t know how other women feel about their posteriors, but you don’t very well get to smack the hell out of it willy-nilly because you feel entitled to do so. There will be repercussions.

To the NYPD’s credit, they did follow up, and the detective told me that if I really wanted to press charges, she would help me do that, even if it meant looking through a lot of surveillance tape and looking at lineups and all that stuff. I opted not to, figuring that they had this guy’s description, and if he did it again, he’d be in a lot of trouble. But something tells me he’s not going to. I think I scared him. Or as the detective said, “So you ran up and confronted him and screamed at him in a bank.”

“Yep.”

“…Awesome.”

I know what happened to me could have been a lot, lot worse. But someone doesn’t have to be raped to be humiliated, violated and hurt. Sometimes, all it takes is a smack on the ass.

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The Movement

Nicola’s Got Nerve | Issue 2

“Darling, is it the way you dress?”

This was the response a man gave to me on a Paris metro car, after I shouted at him, “Why are you bothering me?” For the past several minutes, he’d made sure to stand too close to me, causing me to move away from him twice, and put his hand on top of mine, while holding the support pole in the middle of the car. All threatening behavior ~ claiming space, pushing my boundaries, seeing how far he could go. I remember looking around, but no one else was in the car to see what was happening. It made me so angry and resentful to think that I would have to change cars and essentially run away from this creep, but I did.

At the time, I was just twenty years old, living abroad for my junior year in college. I had come from the protected and respectful environment of my college campus, Sarah Lawrence, and wasn’t used to this type of treatment at all.

However, it was his WORDS, perhaps even more than his actions that shocked the hell out of me. I’m embarrassed to say that instead of instantly recognizing his statement for what it was ~ a dangerous manipulation ~ I immediately took stock of what I was wearing, which I still remember to this day: black opaque stockings, black high-heeled Mary Janes, a black turtleneck with a cream-striped wool skirt with attached suspenders that my grandmother had made for me. It was above-the-knee, but I thought the sensibility was more cute than come-hither.

Now admit it, did you find yourself, even for just a second, evaluating the modesty of my outfit, even if it was to agree with me about the “un-sexiness” of it? If so, you are not alone, because it’s the tendency of every human being to wonder how WE could have controlled circumstances better, how WE could be less vulnerable to attack, and of course, to ask ourselves why WE were the unlucky target of a predator.

We, We, We, indeed.

We are assaulted in the street because we are women, not because we are “packaged” like women. Assault and harassment are about domination, not about sexual attraction, but it’s still so easy to fall into internalizing responsibility for an attack. One of the reasons that it’s so hard to get beyond this, is the fact that so many powerful segments of society still believe a woman can defend herself merely by putting on the “right” piece of clothing when she walks out the door.

Just this February, a member of the Toronto police force was censured for making the comment to Osgoode Hall Law School students that “women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized.” Yes, he really went there. Let’s take yet another ride on the victim-blaming carousel. This did not occur in some backwater, but on the campus of a major metropolitan center which had been the scene of violent sexual attacks in recent years.

Mistreating people, then informing them that it’s their fault are the actions of an abuser. This manipulation is designed to cause guilt, shame, and a sense of responsibility in the victim. If there are even small pockets of law enforcement that still feel the way this officer did, then we’ve got an entirely new class of abusers to deal with ~ the second tier, so to speak, which we’ve got to educate and at the same time, mentally steel ourselves against, if we are victims. This is imperative, because it’s clear that predators are just one link in the cycle of violence against women.

What will it take for us to wake up, to stop shifting responsibility away from predators? Perhaps a sense of empathy for others, and the certain knowledge that self-expression in the form of dress can never be an acceptable excuse to victimize someone, not in a truly free society.

Peace and Balance,

Nicola

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