Dear Hollabackers —
We are so grateful for your ongoing support! Here’s what’s new this week:
Campaign success! We rounded out our campaign to end campus harassment — thank you to all who donated!
We held our first-ever city council briefing! We briefed council staff on our newly released research on street harassment with Cornell. Council staffers from 18 offices were in attendance, which was about 13 more than we were expecting considering it was the height of budget season. Big thanks go to KC Wagner from Cornell, and Councilmember Ferreras’ office for helping us to put together the hearing.
We were in ELLE Quebec! Check out the link, here.
We moved into a slightly bigger office! With four of us crowded around one table, it was getting a little cramped. On Thursday we moved into our new office on the 8th floor to make room for all our interns and volunteers! Check out Sunny and Natalie taking care of business:
HOLLA and out —
Today at a corner store in San Francisco my sister was grabbed by this man, whom she had never seen before. He cornered her and tried to hit on her, pulled on her skirt (like one does to see how full the skirt is), then grabbed her hand and kissed her all the way up her arm. She was terrified and broke away, but he followed her when she went out of the store. She called me in a panic. My sister lives in one of the most progressive cities in the country, and this is the second time this week she’s been harassed.
Taking one’s style of dress, appearance, or demeanor into account is irrelevant when talking about sexual harassment – NO ONE wants or invites or deserves this kind of behavior, no matter what they dress like or do on their own time – but even so, my sister dresses conservatively and told the man she had a husband at home. It didn’t matter, he kept going. No one in their right mind could say that this is acceptable behavior or that she “asked for it.”
Street harassment has happened to every woman I know. It’s happened to me. I’ve usually been too scared to say anything: it’s only recently I’ve learned I can tell a man “that’s not OK.” But I shouldn’t need to say that. Women deserve to feel safe when they go to the store. It’s something this schmuck should have learned in preschool: keep your hands to yourself.
They called her a whore her freshman year. Now she wants to bring Hollaback to New York University.
Margaret is a student at a college in New York CIty. During her freshman year, she was walking across campus, when a group of men whom she did not know approached her and shouted that she was a whore. Margaret was confused and did not know what to do. She decided to keep on walking.
Soon, an older man came out of his store. The man, who was a complete stranger to Margaret, looked at her and said simply, “I’m so sorry that you had to go through that.”
In that moment, Margaret realized, “What just happened to me wasn’t okay–and it wasn’t normal.”
In Margaret’s story, a brave bystander intervened in a situation that was clearly wrong, and offered his support to a woman who was being harassed. The bystander’s brief statement created a powerful impact; Margaret immediately understood that sexual harassment was not normal, was not acceptable, and most importantly, was not her fault.
One changemaker creates another. When Margaret realized that what was happened to her was wrong, she decided to support others who were experiencing sexual harassment on campus. Now, Margaret is working with her feminist club to bring Hollaback to New York University this coming fall.
Today we’re asking you, “Can you be that brave bystander who helps stop campus harassment?” Since you don’t all own shops on college campuses, we’re empowering you stop sexual harassment at colleges across America in the following way.
Here’s how you can step up and help students like Margaret: by donating to Hollaback’s campaign to end sexual harassment on college campuses.
We know there are countless individuals out there who are brave enough to intervene when they see something happening that is clearly wrong. Use your voice and your power to show others what’s right, and donate to Hollaback!’s campaign against campus harassement. Our campaign ends tomorrow, so this is your last chance to speak up!
Congrats to all of our t-shirt contest winners:
Thank you to our supporters so far!
Emma McQuade-Terry Laurens Hunt
Safe Streets AZ
Isabel de Koninck
Marlboro College Women’s Resource Center
…and all our anonymous donors!
Here’s a new video from Chescaleigh, better known as the girl who did “Sh*t White Girls Say to Black Girls” — on street harassment! Check it out and let us know what you think!
Cross Posted from Hollaback! Boston
I’ve been looking for a way to describe this feeling that I’ve been thinking a lot about lately. It’s this feeling of always being on guard, of bracing myself for harassment, of anticipation and expectation of my boundaries being disrespected and breached. And I found exactly what I’ve been feeling described more articulately than I would be able to describe it myself.
Men who want to flirt with women have to realize: Women live in a state of continual vigilance about sexual safety. It’s like having a mild case of hay fever that never goes away. It’s not debilitating. You’re not weak. You’re not afraid. You just suck it up and get on with your life. It’s nothing that’s going to stop you from making discoveries, or climbing mountains, or falling in love. Sometimes you can almost forget about it. It doesn’t mean it’s not there, subtly sucking your energy. You learn to avoid situations that make it worse and seek out conditions that make it better.
If a female stranger is wary around you, it is not because she suspects you are a rapist, or that all men are rapists. It’s because a general level of circumspection is what vigilance requires. Don’t take it personally.
If this frustrates you, try to remember that women are blamed for lapsed vigilance. If a woman does get raped, everyone rushes to see where she let her guard down. Was she drinking? Was she alone? Was she wearing a short skirt? Did she go to a strange man’s room for coffee at 4am?
A woman must be seen to be vigilant as well as be vigilant. If she is deemed insufficiently vigilant, she will be at least partly blamed for any sexual violence that befalls her. If she’s regarded as downright reckless, that “evidence” can be used to completely exonerate her rapist. If it comes down to a he said/she said dispute over whether sex was consensual, as so many rape cases do, the dispute becomes a referendum on whether the woman seems like the sort of reckless person who would have sex with a stranger.
If a woman does go back to a strange man’s hotel room at 4am, even if she only wants a coffee and conversation, she’s more or less given him the power to rape her. No jury is going to believe she went up there for anything but sex. So, don’t be surprised if a stranger reacts badly to that suggestion.
Irene is a typical college student. One evening, she and a female friend were waiting outside their classroom, when suddenly, they were accosted by a man. The man told them a sad tale of being unemployed, homeless and hungry. Taking pity on him, the students fed him. After the meal, the man’s demeanor changed. He began to say inappropriate and perverted things to the two students, one of which was:
“Would it turn you on if I spat in your soda?”
Irene felt the tone of the situation change. Her heart began to rattle in her chest. She became frightened and anxious. She knew she and her friend needed to get out of there fast. The two students quickly walked away and called campus security. Although campus security stated that they would handle the situation, they did nothing; the very next day, Irene and her friend saw that same, dangerous man waiting for them after class. Indeed, campus security never located the man.
On this occasion, Irene and her friend escaped. They were lucky. However, after the incident, Irene and her friend were terrified to return to class. The truth is that on campus harassment creates a hostile working environment, which prevents students from focusing on their studies and hinders their ability to learn.
Campus harassment is a pervasive problem. According to the research conducted by the American Association of University Women, 62% of female college students and 61% of male college students report having been sexually harassed on their university campus. A staggering 51% of male college students admit to sexually harassing someone in college, with 22% admitting to harassing someone often or occasionally.
Which category did you fit into? Which category does your son, daughter, niece, nephew, cousin, or friend fit into? We don’t want our students to fail. So don’t fail them today. Donate to Hollaback!’s anti campus harassment campaign. You only have two days left, but that’s still more than enough time for you to make a difference!
Spread the word and you’ll be entered to win a free t-shirt! To enter, you must tag us on facebook or twitter and you must include a link to our indiegogo campaign. You can enter as many times as you like. T-shirts are available in men’s or women’s sizes, and will be mailed to you following the campaign. We’ll be announcing one winner per day until our campaign ends on June 13th.Congrats to all of our winners so far:
Thank you to our supporters so far!
…and all our anonymous donors!
BY DIANA EMIKO TSUCHIDA
The talented movers and shakers of Hollaback! Brussels have made media waves and incredible political progress in the last two weeks, by capturing the backing of Equal Opportunity Minister P. Smet and Brussels’ Parliament Member Yamila Idrissi in the fight to end street harassment in Brussels.
In recent times, Idrissi has observed a distinct increase in street harassment in Brussels, before, she admits that she would walk down the street virtually carefree, but today she reveals being whistled at, which makes her more and more insecure during her city strolls and very enthusiastic about backing Hollaback!.
Both Smet and Idrissi will head up a groundbreaking, year-long initiative where researchers will map out sexual violence incidents and attempt to unveil the root causes of homophobic and misogynistic attitudes in Brussels.
Idrissi will also give the Hollaback! group a chance to appear at a session of parliament to voice their ”demands,” one of which is that the Minister of Education is present along with Smet. This will be an ongoing struggle but full of exciting potential that leads in the right direction.
So from all of us here at Hollaback! HQ WELL DONE HOLLABACK! BRUSSELS! It is fantastic to see their fearless endeavors creating social change. The only question left to ask question is when will something this awesome come over to the U.S.?
Check out P.Smet talking about the new initiative here.
My mother always taught me to wear loose clothing, jeans, and high-neck shirts when walking around. I think it’s because she knows people, and knows how horribly they act with young women. However, I go to school in a different area of the state and have become very comfortable running to the store with a summer dress with no sleeves and a lower top. I’ve never once dealt with something like this there, so it was surprising it would happen so close to home.
In a period of a twenty minute walk, I was repeatedly honked at by drivers, some of which slowed to leer at me as I walked to and from the local convenience store to get some milk for my mother. I was with my younger sister, which truly terrified me. She’s only 14, and I don’t think she’s ever seen people act like that. I can also say with certainty (as I lived in a big city for most of my life) that I’ve never felt so uncomfortable before. I’ve never felt so unsafe.
I think the worst part was I left my phone on the counter at my house, so I couldn’t even snap a photo of the guy who really terrified me, or call the police or some of my friends. But you know what scares me more? The fact that I can’t walk a mile in a summer dress without being verbally assaulted and followed around. It’s scary, and I don’t like it. I would even say I live in a decent neighborhood. Now, I don’t feel very comfortable anymore.
Hello! I want to share this cover image I made for facebook users. Please feel free to use it and empower yourself and others around you!