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!
At school the males always smack the girls butts or even grope our breasts and other things. We are only in 7th grade I think It’s completely uncalled for and the teachers don’t do anything! I think I am about to stand up for us!
I had just left an interview for a summer internship with one of the top International Development Consulting groups in the world. I was excited and anxious about how it went, I called my best friend in California to tell her all about it as I walked home. Nothing could have stopped me in that moment, I felt so empowered, that I could do anything and handle anything. I was wearing my favorite black dress and a beautiful red cowell neck scarf my mom had knitted, I felt comfortable and great.
Anyway, I was as happy as a clam walking back home. I turned left onto P Street, because it was the fastest way for me to get home. As usual I was minding my own business, so wrapped up in the events of the morning to be distracted or bothered my anything. Then I noticed three male construction workers coming up Hopkins Street up to P Street. They were all staring at me, so I ignored them and looked forward, knowing that I would be in the safe, respectful, cozy walls of my tiny studio very soon. But they were staring like they had never seen a girl before, really guys? Never seen a girl in a dress and heels walking around before?
As I got closer, one of them said “All eyes on you.” My face got hot and I just thought “Ew! Ew! NOT EVEN in your dreams, guy!” I typically walk pretty fast, so I thought I would pass right by them, but for some reason we all met at the corner of P and Hopkins at the same moment, so I had to walk through the three of them to keep going. Another one said something to the effect of “Why don’t you say hi?” And I thought “Because I typically avoid talking to creeps and people who don’t respect me!” I just made a disgusted face and I did not say a word and I kept going on my way, tall and with my head up.
This happened a few months ago and to this day I wish I had turned around and said “You should respect women!” or even something less composed as “Get bent, a**hole!” When I got home, I did not feel vulnerable or scared, I was 85% fiery, angry, so riled up and 15% uncomfortable. Those men do not know a thing about me. They have no idea who I am at all, yet they judged me about my body and my appearance. I dress for myself, not for others. If I decide to wear dress and heels, it is for me only.
Between our first-ever board retreat at the OMEGA institute (which got a Wall Street Journal shout-out!) and the American Express/Ashoka Social Entrepreneur Boot Camp (thanks to the Women’s Media Center for promoting this!), last week was a week of strategy, strategy, strategy. So much strategy (and travel), that we missed writing our weekly update. But this week, we’re back with a bang!
A Warm Welcome! to new staff member Amy Klein and also to Duke students Sunny Frothingham and Rikera Taylor. We super-psyched for you to join our team! We were also happy to have Soapbox’s Feminist Summer Camp interns in our office on Tuesday, thanks for the help!
Out and About. Victoria attended a working group at Barnard College on Thursday led by feminist author, speaker and blogger Courtney Martin, to discuss the impact and sustainability of online feminism.
Hollaback! Around the World. The change making ladies of Hollaback! Brussels have gained the support of Flemish minister P. Smet and Parliament member Yamila Idrissi.
In the Press. I was interviewed by Bandit Queen Radio on Monday, I told them all about the college campus campaign, the revolution and the moving and shaking of the Hollaback! movement. We also got press by Fox News Latino, an interview with the Line Campaign, and a shout-out in Jezebel.
We’ve only got 6 days left in our campaign to end campus harassment — PLEASE DONATE and spread the word! We need all the help we can get!
HOLLA and out —
Join us in our fight to bring Hollaback to 10 college campuses over the next year — and bring an end to sexual harassment on college campuses!
I was getting on my bike outside the English Faculty in Oxford and some gross guy yelled from a blue car that I was a “stupid slag”. Considering he was missing half his teeth, I think I’m still winning here.
Take a stand against campus harassment and bullying! Send a tweet or status update about our new college campaign and you’ll be entered to win this sweet Hollaback tee!
Dear supporters —
It’s the final countdown. The clock is racing. We’re only 9 days away from our deadline and time is running out. We’ve still got over $20,000 to raise in order to bring Hollaback to 10 college campuses over the next year. In world where 51% of college men admit to sexually harassing their female counterparts, we don’t have time to spare.We know we can do it, and we’ve done it before. But we’ve never done this without you. So today, we’re turning towards you to ask a favor: can you take a stand against campus harassment and bullying? If you can help us, your ultimate reward is a world where campus harassment is no longer accepted as “normal,” and where everyone has a right to education in a safe environment. As a token of our gratitude, however, we’re giving away some Hollaback prizes as well. Every day that you post about our campaign on your social networks, you’ll automatically be entered to win a free t-shirt from Hollaback. We’ll be announcing one winner per day until our campaign ends on June 13th.
Here are some suggested messages, but feel free to come up with your own:
51% of college men admit to sexually harassing their female counterparts. Donate to end campus harassment now: http://bit.ly/JcLZbT @ihollaback
27% of female students stay away from libraries, canteens, and computer labs on campus bc of sexual harassment http://bit.ly/JcLZbT @ihollaback
9% of female students dropped a course or skipped a class in response to sexual harassment. bit.ly/JrpO39 @ihollaback
16% of female students who have been sexually harassed found it hard to study or pay attention in class. bit.ly/JrpO39 @ihollaback
I just donated to @ihollaback ‘s campaign to end campus harassment! Please consider making a donation here: igg.me/p/107514
Fine print: 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.
Thank you for your ongoing support, and for your donations so far! We’ve got nine days to go, and we know that, if we work together, can do this!!!
With hope and gratitude,
Thank you to our supporters so far!
Andrea C Vial
…and all our anonymous donors!
Upon realizing that I had just missed the bus I had hoped to take and that I would have to walk through a darkly lit stretch of sidewalk to get to my destination, I cursed in frustration. It wasn’t a long walk, but it was still one that I was trying to avoid having to take. My partner said to me, “You don’t need to be taking the bus anyway. It’s a beautiful walk through the park!”
I looked at him and sighed. I was a little exasperated that I had to explain this to him AGAIN. “It’s late. And I’m female.”
It’s not his fault that he is an able-bodied cismale who has the privilege of not having to fear walking in dark places alone at night. And part of that privilege is not having to think about the fact that that privilege exists. It means that he never has to think about where he can and can’t walk and what the safest route for him to take will be, but also that he doesn’t even have to be aware of the fact that he doesn’t have to do that. Unfortunately, I don’t share that privilege. I should, of course. Everyone should. But as a female-bodied person, I am denied that luxury by society.
Not only do I fear walking alone at night because something could happen to me, but I also fear the reaction I would get from people if something did happen to me under those circumstances. “Well, you shouldn’t have been walking through there at night by yourself,” the victim-blaming rhetoric would go. I should have known better. Why would I put myself in that situation? What was I even doing walking in that neighborhood alone? All of these things would inevitably be thought by other people, if not vocalized by them.
And that’s one of the differences between the way I live my life and the way my partner is able to live his. Where he sees a beautiful walk through the park, I see potential danger. That’s what we talk about when we talk about privilege. That’s what we talk about when we talk about rape culture. And that’s what I’m hoping to change by doing the work that I do.
Cross Posted from boston.ihollaback.org