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)
Last month we published an article detailing the heroic actions of Mumbai young men, Keenan Santos and Reuben Fernandez, who were both savagely murdered when they stood up to street Harassment. Just over a week ago Hollaback! Mumbai payed their tributes to these brave souls and a story that was far too close to home:
BY RIYA KARTHA, BLOGGER AT QUAINT MURMUR, FREELANCE WRITER AND LECTURER AT WILSON COLLEGE
If there is anything we are taught from birth it is to avoid confrontation. To look away. We are moulded as a society to ignore, to not take chances with, to leave well enough alone.
Two weeks ago, a casual dinner turned into a nightmare for a group of young Mumbaikars. As they stepped out after dinner, an altercation with a drunk man led to events which nobody could have foreseen. Reuben Fernandez and Keenan Santos died of stab wounds inflicted by one man with an army of thirteen. The latter died soon after the altercation, the former succumbed to his injuries last night.
Well-meaning folks say they could have avoided the altercation. By looking away. By ignoring it. By leaving well enough alone.
I didn’t know either one personally. What I do know is that I am grateful that they existed at all. I have lived in Mumbai for many years now and this is the city I call home. And yet today, in this city, two boys are dead because they took offense to a drunk man making sexual advances towards a girl in their group. Because they didn’t look away.
Too often I have fought my own battles with a niggling feeling that some man would come and get me back for standing up for myself. Too often I have been upset with male friends who ignored a threat, choosing to look away instead. So when people shrug sadly and remark that looking away was a better option, I feel my heart break.
Because there is a fundamental flaw with that logic. If there is anything that we should learn from the deaths of Reuben and Keenan it is that looking away is not the solution. It is that we have lost our voices, our dignity and indeed our conscience by repeatedly looking away each time we are faced with an assault on our individual and collective dignity. Nobody deserves to die for standing up for someone elses dignity. Nobody deserves to die like that. And that we have begun to believe that is the way things are is where the flaw lies.
Any woman who has walked the streets of this city will attest to feeling the humiliation. Because we face these killers every day. They walk among us, talk dirty to us, feel us up, brush against us, pinch us and grope us and every single time we report these, we are asked to keep our mouths shut for fear of swift and painful retribution.
And so by doing so, we have lost our collective voice. We keep our heads down and we shut our eyes and ears and we move on. Oblivious to other people, oblivious to all the injustice around us. And because two boys refused to do so, because they refused to listen to the naysayers, they are dead. What a horrible way to go! Fighting for a society that probably wouldn’t have done the same for them.
So no, I don’t think they should have looked away. I think we should have looked out for them. We should look out for them now. We should stop looking away before Reuben and Keenan seem like a distant memory.
Thank you, Keenan and Reuben. For not looking away.
You are both heroes in my book.
BY ERIN HOLLABACK DES MOINES
Make no mistake, we are at war. We are engaged in battle with gender binaries, expectations of gender presentation, rape culture, and a great many number of things- we are most certainly at war. And in war, there are casualties.
I want to apologize. We at Hollaback! Des Moines have not yet addressed the case of Amber Cole, the 14-year-old Baltimore teen who is depicted in a video performing oral sex on a teen boy. The video went viral, and Amber has faced endless shaming, threats, and harassment. The boys have been arrested, and Cole has decided to press charges against them. This is an important subject to discuss, and I’d like to address it now- better late than never.
The following is an excerpt from the Washington Post’s online blog, written by school psychologist and doctoral student Erin Harper:
“The boys who participated in this act are also children who should not have their human rights violated by dragging their names through the same mud as Amber’s. Instead, they should be taught why their behavior is wrong, why it is “okay” for child pornography to be circulated as entertainment, and why society is so twisted that an internet search for Amber Cole’s name yields an “Official” video when the only thing official about the video is that consumers who “know better” are OFFICIAL FREAKING IDIOTS WHO DESERVE OFFICIAL CHILD PORNOGRAPHY CHARGES AND OFFICIAL TIME IN JAIL.”
Granted, her caps-lock near the end there reveals some heavy bias, but I believe Harper is tackling an issue few people have- why the boys felt it was alright to upload that video onto the Internet. Why we need to educate our children about sex, laws pertaining to sex, and how despite what they may think, there are consequences to one’s actions. So many parents, bloggers, reporters, etc. have been consumed with “choosing a side” that they have not addressed the reason reasons we’re even talking about this case.
Here: (http://jezebel.com/5853116/i-am-amber-coles-father?tag=amber-cole) is a man who at first claims to be Amber’s father, bashes Amber’s mother, and essentially promotes a “boys will be boys” policy before revealing that is is actually Jimi Izrael. Here: (http://www.amptoons.com/blog/2011/10/26/no-you-arent-amber-coles-father/) is a response by Jeff Fecke, relatively constructive, but still hell-bent on choosing a side.
My personal stance on the Amber Cole case is not to automatically jump on the offensive, bash these boys, and applaud Cole for her bravery; it is instead to examine what deep-seeded issues led to the problem, and how we can address them so things like these cease happening. Amber Cole is not the only teen that has been slandered across the Internet, and yet she has been singled out. Why is that, do we think? Is it her race, her age, her geographic, location, what is it about her?
I don’t know the answer to this question. I have my musings, but no definitive, concrete answer. So I’ll pose the question to you all- why is it, do you think, that among all the American teens who have experienced this type of harassment, we have singled out Amber Cole? Why is it so much easier to either blame her or rally around her, than the address the underlying issues of sexism, racism, and rape culture?
BY SARA SUGAR
Bell Bajao is a series of print, radio and television advertisements produced by global human rights organization Breakthrough, as part of a three-year commitment of the Clinton Global Initiative to end violence against women in India. Breakthrough uses popular culture to mobilize individuals to fight back against human injustices and Bell Bajao is spreading awareness of the prevalence of domestic violence, the societal beliefs surrounding it, and specifically what men are able to do to help end it.
According to Trustlaw, a legal news service run by Thomsom Reuters Foundation, India ranks as one of the world’s five most dangerous countries for women. A poll, conducted by Trustlaw, asked 213 gender experts to rank countries on their overall perception of danger and on six specific risks: health threats, sexual violence, non-sexual violence, cultural or religious factors, lack of access to resources and trafficking. Following Afghanistan, Congo and Pakistan, India was polled as the fourth most dangerous country for women, ranking just one place above Somalia. According to Bell Bajao, more than two-thirds of married women between the ages of 15 and 49 have experience domestic violence, with as much as 40 percent of women and men in India believing that it is at least sometimes justifiable for women to be beaten by their husbands, as well as, 35 percent of women experience domestic violence. But Bell Bajao is working to rewrite these statistics.
Through the use of the Internet, social media, celebrity endorsements and training toolkits, Bell Bajao is calling on men and boys to help put an end to violence aimed at women. Through a series of print, radio and television advertisements that encourage men to step in and help stop violence against women, the Bell Bajao campaign has reached over 130 million people across India and went global in 2010.
The campaign stresses the importance and emphasizes the positive effects that men can have towards ending domestic violence. Bell Bajao, which translates as “ring the bell” in Hindi, is encouraging men to do just that. It uses an education-centric campaign that teaches how to safely speak up against domestic violence, men are seeing that by physically ringing the bell or knocking on the front door where they believe domestic violence is taking place, they are able to interrupt domestic violence and very often save a life.
This year, November 25 through December 10, marks the 2011 Center for Women’s Global Leadership’s 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence Campaign. The campaign, which starts on International Day Against Violence Against Women (November 25), and ends on International Human Rights Day (December 10), is used as a mobilizing tool for organizations and individuals to speak up against violence aimed at women and to advocate for its elimination. Contributing this year, Bell Bajao is holding the campaign’s first-ever fiction (re)writing competition, #Rewrite the Ending.
Everyone has wanted to change the ending of a book, play or movie at some point in their lives, and now’s your chance! Here’s the opportunity to re-write the violent, sexist, misogynistic ending of a novel, play, movie, or anything that spurs your creative juices and inflames your feminist consciousness! Visit the Bell Bajao website at www.bellbajao.org for additional information. The Contest ends November 21 so get writing, and with Bell Bajao, help rewrite the lives of women affected by domestic violence every day.
On November 8th we issued a public statement with OccupyWallSt.org that was co-signed by over 50 organizations and 4 Occupy Sites. One of these sites is Occupy Houston, who used our call to action to write a beautiful internal solidarity statement. We are reprinting it here in hope that is of use to Occupy sites around the world as they look to craft movements that are inclusive of the 99%.
Internal Solidarity Statement:
This is a living document. As the Occupy Houston community,
we have the right and responsibility to edit this document on an ongoing basis.
We welcome feedback and new ideas.
We are the 99%, and our task is to unify the 99%. We are a society in which
many are diligently seeking to resolve issues of various forms of oppression.
As the Occupy Houston community, we will consciously and urgently work on
dismantling these systems of oppression even within our movement. We are
working on creating a community where everyone’s rights are respected,
protected, and treated equally. We all have different levels of privilege that
we strive to acknowledge and educate ourselves about in order to ensure that
these privileges are not used to oppress others.
We want to have an inclusive atmosphere of ideas in which we
do not police each other’s thoughts and one in which we reason together without
intimidating words or actions. If a conflict arises it should, if possible, be
settled through democratic discussion or debate; otherwise, it should be
settled with the help of a Conflict Resolution Team, a Support Team, or both,
We are dedicated to reasoning about and resolving issues in our community including:
Discrimination based on Age, on Class, on Culture, on Disability,
on Experiences with the Justice System, on Gender, on Hetero-Normativity, on
Homo-Phobia, on Immigration Status, on Race, on Religious or Non-religious Intolerance,
on Trans-Phobia, and Discrimination based on Weight.
Adopted by Consensus 11-09-11
On Saturday Night Washington DC was pulsing with the heartbeat of 100 awe-inspiring, super-achieving mayors, policymakers, musicians and media stars, as they gathered at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium to celebrate The Root 100 awards 2011. Founded in 2008, The Root is a unique online news publication that offers an African-American perspective on breaking news and aims to raise the profile of the black voice in mainstream media.
Donna L. Byrd, publisher of The Root, in her opening remarks referred to the honorees as the “all-stars of our community’ and judging by the line-up she was not wrong. The list included NAACP President Benjamin Todd Jealous and executive producer of Black Girls Rock, Beverly Bond, both of whom made touching and inspirational speeches. Jealous urged listeners remember the responsibility we all have to speak for those who have no voice,” and Bond told the audience:
“As the most influential of our generation, we must be the frontrunners for change.”
So here’s a huge Hollaback! congratulations to such an awesome cohort of change makers and leaders. You inspire us.
Meet the full list of honorees here!
BY VICTORIA TRAVERS
It is truly awesome to see the creative ways in which activists are making themselves heard! Case in question: Governor Scott Walker and the Trojan Horse breakfast protest.
Last Thursday controversial Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker was shouted into silence by protesters posing as suits as he attempted to give a budget speech at the Chicago Union League Club.
Over 70 members of Stand Up! Chicago and Occupy Chicago ambushed the 11/3 Walker breakfast presentation on “Taxpayers, State Budget Reforms and the New Realities” at the Union League Club of Chicago in order to voice their opinions on Governor Walker’s union-busting and job-cut policies.
Protesters settled themselves down to breakfast and sprang into action following the opening remarks, using what they have dubbed as the “human mic.” The statement began:
“ It is an outrage and a shame, that we sit at this fancy breakfast to listen to someone who has wreaked havoc on the lives of working families. Governor Walker has vilified unions and insulted the 99% who depend on living wages and adequate benefits to support their families, while on the payroll of the right wing billionaire Koch brothers.”
After each statement the crowd repeated it, rendering the remainder of the room speechless. Walker encouraged his supporters to clap out the disruption but the protest continued, forcing the rest of the room to listen.
Check out the video for yourself and be inspired to make your voice heard and be a change maker!
BY VICTORIA TRAVERS
Inspirational and Badass Shyane DeJesus
Brave anthropology student, Shyane DeJesus, hit headlines last week when she fought back against 39-year-old, subway sex pest, Froylan Andrade. DeJesus was groped by Andrade on the 6 platform at Union Square at 9.30 am on October 23. In utter disgust, she punched him with her left hand. Andrade fled onto the train and sat down as if nothing had happened. However, DeJesus was not about to let him get away with this, she followed him and kicked him in the face, she then took his picture as fellow passengers ignored her plight.
And the wonderful thing is that her efforts were not in vain! Once she had the precious picture she got to her office and called the police. According to the NY Post the NYPD were tipped off by Andrade’s brother who recognized the photo and gave them his address. Andrade was arrested and positively identified by courageous DeJesus.
Dejesus’ message to the world is:
“Don’t let them scare you: they are cowards!”
Hopefully this wonderful young lady will give others the courage to find their own voice and say NO to street harassment!
This was originally posted on occupywallst.org.
For as long as public space has existed, women and LGBTQ people have been trying to “occupy” it safely — with distressingly little success. Harassing comments, groping, flashing and assault are a daily, global reality for women and LGBTQ individuals. Too often, these injustices are met with little or no response, regarded simply as “the price you pay” for being female, trans, or gay in public. As supporters of the Occupy movement, we believe that a world where everyone has the right to occupy public space safely is not only possible – it is essential to building a strong and lasting movement.
It’s no secret that the Wall Street 1% who wrecked our economy are disproportionately straight and male, despite countless studies showing the less organizations look like the 99%, the less effective they are. As we quicken the pace of social change, we must be careful not to replicate Wall Street’s mistakes. The message is clear: equality means impact.
But for women and LGBTQ people to participate equally in the Occupy movement, we must be safe in occupied spaces. We know that harassment and assault happens everywhere — and that the Occupy movement is no more immune to it than our nation’s parks and parking lots — but we also know that a movement where women and LGBTQ individuals are not safe is not a movement that serves the interests of the 99%.
In solidarity with those who are already working on the ground to make safer spaces, we call on all General Assemblies of the Occupy movement to adopt anti-harassment and anti-assault as core principles of solidarity. To realize these principles within the movement, we call on General Assemblies in every city to empower women and LGBTQ occupiers with the time, space, and resources necessary to ensure that every occupied space is a safe space.
And the following organizations:
The Occupied Wall Street Journal
DC Rape Crisis Center
Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault
National Organization for Men Against Sexism
California Coalition Against Sexual Assault
The Feminist Wire
Barrier Free Living
Crisis Intervention Services, Oskaloosa, IA
Women, Action & the Media
Marriage Equality NY
Joy of Resistance: Multicultural Feminist Radio @ WBAI
Feminist Peace Network
Women In Media & News
The Organization for a Free Society
Julia Barry Productions
Women’s Media Center
AIDS Action Baltimore
Media Equity Collaborative
Veterans News Now
National Organization of Asian Pacific Islanders Ending Sexual Violence
Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault (CCASA)
Spinifex Press, Australia
Women’s Institute for Freedom of the Press (WIFP)
CODEPINK: Women For Peace
Center for the Human Rights of Users and Survivors of Psychiatry
Students Active for Ending Rape (SAFER)
World Can’t Wait
1% A Peace Army
9to5, National Association of Working Women
If your organization supports this call for safer spaces, please email [email protected] or [email protected] to be added to the list of co-signers. If you know other groups that have not yet joined this call to action, please contact them and ask them to stand with us! Let’s work together to make a safer world for everyone!
UPDATE! Thanks to our site leader in Mexico DF, we now have a Spanish translation!
Durante el tiempo en que el espacio público ha existido, las mujeres y las personas LGBT han tratado de “ocuparlo” de manera segura – preocupantemente con muy poco éxito. Los comentarios de acoso, los tocamientos, la exposición de genitales y la violación son una realidad cotidiana y global para las mujeres y las personas LGBT. Con demasiada frecuencia, estas injusticias se atienden con poca o ninguna respuesta, consideradas simplemente como “el precio a pagar” por ser mujer, trans o gay en público. Como partidarios del movimiento “Ocupa”, creemos que un mundo donde todas las personas tienen derecho a ocupar el espacio público con seguridad no sólo es posible – si no que es esencial para construir un movimiento fuerte y duradero.
No es ningún secreto que el 1% de Wall Street que destruyó nuestra economía es de manera desproporcionada heterosexual y masculina, a pesar de numerosos estudios que demuestran las organizaciones que menos reflejan al 99%, tienen menor eficacia. A medida que aceleramos el ritmo del cambio social, debemos tener cuidado de no repetir los errores de Wall Street. El mensaje es claro: equidad significa impacto.
Pero para que las mujeres y las personas LGBT puedan participar igualitariamente en el movimiento “Ocupa”, debemos estar seguros y seguras en los espacios ocupados. Sabemos que el acoso y las violaciones ocurren en todas partes — y que el movimiento “Ocupa” no es más inmune a él que los parques y estacionamientos de nuestra nación — pero también sabemos que un movimiento donde las mujeres y las personas LGBT no están seguras no es un movimiento sirve a los intereses del 99%.
En solidaridad con quienes ya están trabajando en cada movilización para crear espacios más seguros, Hollaback Internacional en conjunto con otras 25+ organizaciones está haciendo un llamado a todas las Asambleas Generales del Movimiento “Ocupa” a adoptar principios básicos de solidaridad de anti-acoso y anti-abuso. Para hacer realidad estos principios dentro del movimiento, hacemos un llamado a las Asambleas Generales en cada ciudad para empoderar a las mujeres y los y las ocupantes LGBT con el tiempo, el espacio y los recursos necesarios para asegurar que cada espacio ocupado sea un lugar seguro.
Si tu organización apoya la convocatoria de los espacios más seguros, por favor, envía un correo electrónico a [email protected]
BY VICTORIA FITZGERALD
Second year Film and Media Arts and Women’s Studies student at Temple University, Kara Lieff, originally produced the short film for a class to highlight the common misconception of a direct correlation between a woman’s choice of clothing and her sexual availability. Lieff gave this background information to street harassment blog Stop Street Harassment:
“‘Asking For It’ was made for those who believe that there is a definitive connection between a woman’s clothing choice and her sexual availability. Many people think that women who dress a certain way are asking to be, or wouldn’t mind being, bothered, but this satirical take on street harassment shows that what a women really wants does not coincide with her attire.
This video was created for a class, and the assignment was to make a video that would get viewers to accomplish a certain action. I knew that I wanted my video to be a conversation starter – for my viewers to discuss street harassment, their experiences, why it happens, who is to blame, and what can be done to combat this problem. By featuring college-aged adults, I especially hope to reach out to my peers early on.
Street harassment is a huge problem, and any method used – whether it be talking back, writing, art, or videos – to fight back is a step in the right direction.”
BY NICOLA BRIGGS
In 2004, I went to Bangkok to give a Tai Chi presentation at the 15th International AIDS Conference, and while I was there I noticed an interesting bill-board. It depicted a young girl kneeling in front of a man, with her head bowed and hands clasped in the prayer position. I asked the driver what it meant, and he replied in a matter-of-fact tone that the girl was pleading with her father not to sell her into prostitution to support their family. Needless to say, I was deeply shocked, but thought that perhaps it was a problem isolated to poorer societies than those in the U.S. Some of the statistics are startling: over 32 million people are enslaved around the world, and 80% percent of these victims are forced into sexual servitude. Sex trafficking is the second most profitable illicit business globally. And it’s not just a problem overseas, it’s increasing in severity right here in the United States. When I got back to the States from Thailand, I found out that there are 100,000-300,000 American children forced into prostitution. Young girls in every state, some not even twelve years old, have been targeted for kidnapping on their way home from school, or taken in as runaways by pimps, who then sell them into sexual slavery.
I think it would be very helpful to raise awareness of this crime, which very often has subtle indicators. This is especially true, because it may not be obvious who is a victim of sex trafficking, and many times victims try to hide their victimhood for their own safety. The life of a sex trafficking victim is narrow in scope and possibility, and they live a strictly regimented existence. Usually this entails seeing “customers,” working their day jobs, which they have been forced to perform with coercion, and sleeping and living under close supervision in the brothel, hotel, apartment, or restaurant where they work. They are not permitted to go out on their own, for fear that they might escape, and the slave master will lose his (or in rare cases, her) investment. Many times, victims are charged “fees” by their slave masters for the slightest transgression, which even further hobbles their ability to become independent. They are routinely threatened with injury, death, deportation, not only to themselves, but to their families back in their home countries. This is one of the strongest deterrents to escape, and only the strongest and most desperate victims are able to overcome the severe psychological abuses, which keep them locked in their situation. Sex trafficking victims in the United States work in many jobs right under our noses, including office cleaners, landscapers, street vendors, wait staff, bus boys, and hotel cleaning crews.
Frequently, someone is rescued from this type of abuse only after a call is made to law enforcement when an observant and intuitive person sees something that doesn’t add up. Perhaps it’s a massage parlor that’s open 24 hours per day, or a waiter or waitress that seems afraid to speak to you if you ask about what it’s like living in the U.S., as compared to back home in Thailand, for instance. Sometimes it might be just as subtle as a stern look from someone’s boss that elicits an actual look of fear. If your gut is telling you that something is wrong, and you suspect that a worker around you is being exploited, whether a minor, or not, you may be saving a person’s life by alerting the authorities. The National Human Trafficking Resource Center has a hotline: (888) 373-7888 to call in tips, or to file an anonymous report. The sooner we start waking up to the prevalence of this situation in the United States and around the globe, the sooner we’ll be able to ensure a safe and wholesome childhood for the next generation of girls.