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Easter Monday in the Czech Republic: Not All Women Are Celebrating
by Martina Čermáková
Not too rarely, you’ll find the Czech Easter whipping tradition in one of those stories on odd holiday traditions featured in the corky-news section. From my experience, anyone who’s just learnt about the spanking of girls and women with braided willow sticks (pomlázkas) that goes down on Easter Monday will see it as that: an awkward cultural mainstay that’s probably no fun for the female population.
Within the Czech Republic, though, the pagan tradition of boys and men whipping females in exchange for eggs and ribbons doesn’t seem nowhere near as disputable as foreigners might deem it… read more
I was driving home the morning after a really fantastic party at a girlfriend’s house. On my trip a cute guy in a truck passed me. We made eye contact and both smiled and started sort of interacting on the highway. We pulled over and said hello and he more or less asked me to hook up with him. I was completely offended, rejected him outright, got back in my car, and drove away. He quickly caught up with me. I couldn’t lose him. He mouthed words and gestured to let me know he was masturbating. It was disgusting the way he was leering at me while stalking me down the road. It still makes my skin crawl; I can’t remember what he looked like but I remember clearly the way he looked, if that makes sense.
I first want to say that this is just one saturday night and this is not atypical from any other night any time from 6pm to 6am although harassment is common (sadly) during the day too.
As two friends and I (all three of us female) walked down King St. at about 1:30 pm in Charleston last weekend. During our walk there were at least 20 separate incidents of verbal harassment from men who were drunk leaving the bars.
The first man pretended his pretzel was a blunt of marijuana and offered it to my friend. When she refused, knowing it was food, he and his friends shouted “bitch” after us.
The next comment was about 20 seconds later by a group of guys who tried to convince us to stay with them so they could “show us a good time”. One guy even put his arm around my friend while she was trying to pass.
Next, after 1 block, a guy pointed at the three of us and his friend yelled out “the one on the left”, another said “i call the right” and another yelled “i want the middle”. They were obviously talking about having sex with us.
After this one man told my friends that he would only get out of laying in the road in front of traffic if she kissed him, got up while she was crossing the road, and grabbed her waist pulling her in an opposite direction. She got away quickly because the man was drunk and we moved down the street.
Another block down a man pointed at me and told me that I was going home with him that night.
These are specific things they said besides the other catcalls and disgusting comments. We were called sluts three times walking down the street because we ignored the guy’s comments and attempts at touching us.
This behavior is disgusting and frequent in the charleston area and women need to be aware of the danger that can be present in the city or on the College of Charleston campus.
This morning, I took the L train. I had just come from having a wonderful cup of coffee at cute bakery near my boyfriend’s apartment. I was happy when I headed home, though I was mildly annoyed by the ever-jarring automated voice that narrates subway travel.
I was almost home when we stopped at the Lorimer stop and the train doors opened. I saw a man standing on the platform turn around and pull his penis out. He smiled at me and waved it in my direction.
The ever-jarring voice then became my savior. “Stand clear of the closing doors, please,” it said it in it’s non-change human-esque manner.
The man put his “personals” back in and stepped back quickly and creepily smiled at me.
He was lucky that time.
This is the second time I’ve been flashed this year. I’ve been licked by strangers, verbally assualted, holla’ed at, and groped by countless people.
As many of you may know, there is a new MTA plan in the works to change the SubTalk messages concerning sexual harassment, which will add a needed component of bystander involvement to the current message: “Sexual Harassment is a Crime in the subway, too – A crowded train is no excuse for an improper touch. Don’t stand for it or feel ashamed, or be afraid to speak up. Report it to an MTA employee or police officer.” As a frequent rider of New York City mass transit, I’ve been aware of these signs since they were put up in 2008, and my initial reaction was “Wow, how have I managed to dodge that bullet time and again? If the MTA feels the need to create a campaign like this, there must be a serious problem.” Irony, of all ironies.
The MTA’s new public service message will reportedly expand on the pithy “If you see something, say something” campaign, by asking bystanders to get involved and report cases of harassment that they witness. This new approach will be such a refreshing change from the burden always being on the victim or potential victim to protect herself.
In my own situation, I was extremely grateful and fortunate to have the support of my fellow passengers. At one point during the incident, I had to yell “Men, guard the doors!”, which I think made it very clear to everyone within earshot that we were dealing with a dangerous individual that needed to be contained until law enforcement could take over. Without the help of other passengers, the perpetrator would definitely have gotten away with it, just to do it again to someone else. Not only did bystanders help to detain him in that car, they also took my lead and photographed him, shaming him as they did so, which made me feel safer and not so alone in dealing with the situation.
But the unfortunate thing is that I had to make quite a scene, and demand the help I needed from others. It was not immediately forthcoming, and certainly not offered to me. My feeling is that someone else who would not feel as confident speaking up as I did would have had a serious problem seeing justice done on that day. And justice was indeed done, with conviction and deportation of the perpetrator. A definitive result like that shows the power of a compassionate and involved citizenry. However, this outcome was sadly not the norm. What if I hadn’t spoken up about it? Then it might have been business as usual that day, as in “let’s pretend that didn’t happen, and move on with our day.” I’m all for moving on with our day and our lives, but not for playing pretend, which doesn’t help anyone. In fact, this is how sex crimes become normalized.
Many times, an individual is being victimized on mass transit without their knowledge, and the MTA’s most recent initiative will, I believe, be a turning point in combating the problem. More eyes to see what is going on, and a greater sense of overall awareness of the immediate surroundings will no doubt help. If we are to put a stop to this egregious behavior once and for all, so that we may truly call ourselves a civilized society, bystanders must be willing to step up and take some measure of responsibility for the individuals surrounding them, whether they have a personal relationship to them or not.
If a person could just imagine themselves or their loved ones in a similarly terrible situation, they might think of their own need for support from others around them. Empathy is what is called for here. For too long, many have tried to turn the other way and ignore what has been going on right in front of their own eyes, and the MTA campaign now makes it clear, that this issue will not just go away if we continue to “play ostrich” with it. Bravo, MTA ~ you’ve made a step in the right direction.
To submit a question to Nicola for next Monday’s post, please email it to her here.
Two episodes of aggressive, shitty street harassment.
First, outside the Blue Line, this big mean looking dude took off his too-dark shades, wolf-whistled, and started walking towards me. To which I responded “can I fucking HELP YOU?” To which he responded with lots of mean aggressive things (including, but not limited to, calling me a fat bitch and using lots of homophobic slurs). And I just started walking away quickly. Fortunately he didn’t follow me into the train station.
Next, on my way home and right on that same street, some dude did that weird catcall that sounds like they’re calling a dog from his car. I, learning from my earlier lesson, didn’t get aggressive in response and instead just meanmugged as he drove past. He apparently took that as an invitation because he circled the fucking block in his red pick up truck and eventually ended up driving along side me, resuming his catcalling.
This is the point wherein I lost it. I flicked him off and started screaming about he can go to hell and should suck my dick. My face was bright red and I was gesturing aggressively at his car. It was like I was fucking possessed.
Then I saw him do what looked like he was starting to leave his car and it snapped me back to my senses. Fortunately it was a hell of busy street in the middle of the afternoon and all I had to do was walk slowly towards a group of people.
I don’t think that he actually got out of his car but I sure as hell felt weird going home. I actually got into my car and drove around for a bit before I went into my apartment. I know that I’m safe now but my heart is still pounding. I’m so mad, I’m so upset, I feel actually physically dirty.
When my son moved out of the Brook Army Medical Center in San Antonio Texas, he decided to adopt a cat from the local Humane Society. The entire time we are there, this fat white guy wearing a woman’s wig and clothing, follows us from place to place. When my son wheels (he was in a wheelchair at the time) into one of the glass booths to see if he and one of his kitty choices gets along, this creep, goes into the booth directly in front of my son. smiles at him, then bends his fat ass towards my sons face where this enormous blood spot is right in the crack of his ass! After we get an eye full and pull our mouths up from the ground, this freak stands upright, looks at us with a big grin on his face then leaves. I don’t know what it meant, but it was very vulgar. This person is clearly a pervert!
I was sitting on the bus on my way home from work. A man got on and at first I thought I recognized him, so I said a bright, “Hi!” It turned out that I was wrong, but instead of doing what anyone would normally do, such as “Do I know you?” or the like, he took that opportunity to box me into my seat and put his arm around me. From then until my stop came, I endured his touching various parts of my body (my knee, pinkie, the bone of my wrist, and more) and speaking very unintelligibly, but I’m pretty I made out some sexual comments. I felt like I couldn’t ask for help or anything since everyone had seen me initiate with “Hi!”
As I was sitting in my dorm, working on homework, my roommate returned and immediately said to me, “I assume you want me to take this down.” I had no idea what he was talking about, and when I looked up from my computer I noticed he was holding my dorm name tag. Next to my name, I noticed the word “GAY” in bright green. My first thought was, “Who would do this?” As it turns out, this was not targeted at me specifically. Others in my dorm area also had signs vandalized. The timing could not have been any worse, however. I was just starting to ask myself questions regarding my own sexuality. I became paranoid. How could I possibly openly ask myself these questions if where I was living was not a safe space? Thank you, random stranger, for contributing to my insecurities. In case you stumble upon this (however unlikely that may be), I am much more confident now, despite you and others like you who make our society unwelcoming for those who dare to question or explore an identity.
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.