Please welcome our newest Hollaback! Maria Luiza Welton! Maria is a Hunter College Honors graduate that is currently studying at Columbia University for her Masters in social work. Maria lives in New York and is super-psyched to be joining the Hollaback! blogging team. Read on to see what drew Maria and why she always is inclined to Hollaback!:
“The Hollaback! Effect
I’m very excited to be joining the Hollaback! blogging team. Having experienced firsthand how pervasive the issue of street-harassment is and how it can wear you down, I feel very passionate about becoming one of the many voices already taking part in anti-street harassment the movement. I strongly support speaking up, and my experience in taking action is my proof it creates positive change.
I first learned about Hollaback! when searching for ways to stop the daily street harassment I’d been facing since I was 12. In reading through the personal accounts, I felt so empowered by how much I saw my own experiences in other people’s stories.
Shortly after, I mustered up the courage to Hollaback! for the first time. My first target was a scrap metal shop where I would get my early morning harassment. As I walked by the kissy noises and teeth sucking, I walked up to one of them and boomed “That’s enough!” I was stunned at myself that I did it, and the group of dudes were equally frozen. They never bothered me again.
I started noticing changes in myself after I started to Hollaback! My body was more relaxed when I went out, I stopped hiding in my clothes and I stopped feeling ashamed. I felt like I had taken back my space and my right to exist without it meaning other people be entitled to disrespect me. And I don’t know if this is some kind of Hollaback! sorcery or if I started to give off different vibes and body language, but the street harassment went from happening at least once a day, to happening maybe a few times a year. I can’t explain how this happened, but everywhere I went, it stopped.
Has anyone else had this Hollaback! effect?”
I was coming home from my gym class when I stumbled upon a group of young men. Probably in their early twenties or late teens. I am in the midst of a project I am working on so I didn’t pay much attention to what was going on around me on the street. Until I noticed one of the guys was walking on to me, grabbing his crotch. I passed by him and then another guy, from the same group stormed on me, doing the same thing. Holding and massaging his crotch. The third one was making a movie with his phone while those two were obviously trying to intimidate me. I passed them by and they started laughing and asking if I liked it. Before I got home I regretted I didn’t turn around to ask them if they actually knew what they were doing and that it was street harassment and they COULD get in trouble for that. I hope they post this video somewhere so someone could report it as abuse and take action. Their faces are in the movie.
I was eating at a restaurant when I noticed a man masturbating at a table near me. I called the cops and the man was arrested. He has since plead guilty, turns out he did this to another woman.
GOOD Maker have joined forces with Jumo to further their mission to help people take meaningful action in the world. They are offering $2,500 in grant funding for projects that are exclusively from organizations who are former Jumo members and we have entered!
Voting opened on April 3 and ends on April 17 at noon PT, so get clicking and give us your support. YOU do have the power to end street harassment.
Cross-posted from Hollaback! San José.
End Street Harassment Room in the 8th Annual Tunnel of Oppression
Tuesday April 3, 2012 // 9am-8pm,
Wednesday April 4, 2012 // 9am-8pm,
Thursday April 5, 2012 // 9am-12pm.
SJSU Student Union Ballroom
We have the power to end street harassment. For the full experience, visit SJSU V-Day‘s Hollaback San José: End Street Harassment room in the 8th Annual Tunnel of Oppression.
This spring break, we created a film with women bystanders and Yan Yin K. Choy’s spoken word, “You Wanted to See My Vagina: We Have the Power To End Street Harassment.”
Chara Bui also animated a video to End Street Harassment.
We also worked with male-identified allies to inspire bystander prevention, ”Shit Men Say to Men Who Say Shit to Women on the Streets of San José!
We also created a mural. Thanks to Joshi, Sharon Singh, Alessa Baldonado, Mirna Mendoza, Lauren Doyle, Eva Roa, Lindsay Sporleder, and Chara Bui for your help with the mixed media. Drawn by yours truly, Yan Yin K. Choy.
The Tunnel of Oppression is free, and open to the public.
This April, the 2012 Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) campaign centers on promoting healthy sexuality to prevent sexual violence.
One time I was just walking down the Ave and a group of girls were standing outside a Thai restaurant. One of them slapped my butt as I passed and said “nice ass baby”. I felt like turning around and kicking her in the cooch but I resisted because I didn’t want to lower myself to her level. It just makes me so irate when women put their hands on me without asking.
It’s been a fairly typical Saturday, and I’ve been out and about all day. I happened to notice a few men look at me and smile earlier, I didn’t pay much attention – they were looking at my face after all. It’s just nice to see people smile, sometimes.
To get home, I walk down a steep hill with a number of bars on it. I walk this way every day, so I know the pavements are narrow, and I keep an eye out for people coming the other way, especially big groups. So when I stepped aside to make way for a group of half a dozen lads in their 20s and 30s to get past earlier, I was not expecting one of them to stand in my way, stare at my chest, lick his lips, and then proclaim, ‘Wow. They’re massive, darlin’.’ Once he’d said that, I was expecting his mates to laugh, which they did.
Now, I could make allowances for the fact he was probably trying to impress his mates, and I can’t really dispute the factual content of his observation. But the tone and gesture made me feel objectified and, if I am honest, sullied. I am ashamed to say that the first thing I did when I got home was to verify that I was not wearing ‘provocative’ clothing. I wasn’t, but that really isn’t the point: after all, what the hell should it matter what I am wearing when I go out to buy groceries, as long as I am not breaking any decency laws?
I was minding my own business, and now I won’t be able to walk up my own street without thinking of this incident. I’m in my 30s, I’ve lived all over the world, and I can take most things on the chin. But this has really upset me – and I wish that guy stops and thinks the next time he wants to pay a ‘compliment’.
Welcome to this week’s west coast edition! I’m on a plane, heading back back from a week in San Francisco as we speak. Veronica, Natalie, Victoria, and Catherine have been holding down for the fort in New York, and of course, our site leaders continue to kick street harassment to the curb internationally. Here’s the roundup!
I talked, a lot! I was invited to speak on a killer panel with Shelby Knox (of Change.org and “The Miseducation of Shelby Knox fame) and Jamia Wilson (VP of Programs at the Women’s Media Center) at SEX::TECH, a conference put on by ISIS and dedicated to using technology to spread the gospel about sexual health to youth. I also spoke at the City College of San Francisco and UC Berkeley. At Berkeley, I got to meet our UH-MAZ-ING site leaders, Ian and Tiffany. They are working on getting harassment education instituted for incoming freshman. Totally revolutionary.
The tour-du-legislators continues! In my absence, Natalie boldly took the reigns and presented to the entire Brooklyn delegation of the New York City Council! Go Natalie!
The international movement is rocking and rolling! Our Southern California site leader Shira Tarrant has been blogging about street harassment for Ms. Magazine’s Ms. Blog. Also in California, we got a mention in The Gothamist this week after a woman snapped a picture of a creepy man that tried to kidnap her in LA. On the other side of the country, a french documentary company is coming to interview me tonight for their documentary on street harassment. A little look at france.ihollaback.org, and yep, I’d say they could use it.
And if you’re in the New York City area, please join us for our screening of War Zone, a documentary about street harassment. We’re co-hosting it with our friends (and former office-mates) Women’s eNews. Tickets are $10 and are on sale now.
HOLLA and out!