I am a student in Bristol and In the last year I have been assaulted twice on the same street in the town centre and both assaults were similar. Both assaults happened between midnight and 2.00am but the street is well lit and there are usually lots of people about as there are several venues on the street. Both times I was walking along the road on my own and a group of young men were walking towards me, and I kept walking past them but as they approached me one blocked my path and reach out and grabbed by crotch. I was so shocked and humiliated that I just kept walking and I didn’t look back because I didn’t want to give them the satisfaction of my response. I was so ashamed I didn’t even tell the two guys I was out with when I met up with them inside the venue, and when it happened the second time I wanted to stand up for myself and tell them where to go, but instead I found myself instinctively withdrawing into myself. I had not been drinking on either of these occasions because I was cycling home, and neither was I wearing provocative clothing.
I was angry that no-one saw and that I felt powerless, I would like to see more police around in the centre of town at night, then maybe I would feel safer.
Today activists from eight cities around the world are bringing the movement to end street harassment to their communities. We are honored to be able to continue this work and we thank you for helping us make this happen!
Meet our new site leaders by watching this one minute video here, and take a minute to support their work by visiting their city-specific web pages and sharing your story, clicking the “I’ve Got Your Back” button on others stories, and/or posting words of encouragement.
Hollaback! works, and if you’re looking for evidence go no farther than our new site leaders:
“Brighton has a reputation as a party destination, and we fully embrace its fun, lively and naughty aspects. However we also need to ensure that the streets are safe for women and LGBTQ individuals, whether they’re out jogging on the seafront or walking to work in the morning” says Karis Ferguson, Director of Hollaback! Brighton.
“Street harassment is a big problem for women in Brussels and also for LGBTQI people. If it is a ‘Bounjour’ in a sleezy voice, whistles by groups of men or even groping – nearly every woman in Brussels knows it. LGBTQI folks on the other hand are often insulted or threatened” explains Julie, Director of Hollaback! Brussels.
“Street harassment does happen in Halifax, but it isn’t widely spoken of, everyone should be able to walk our streets without fear of harassment, intimidation or assault,” said Hollaback! Halifax Director, Rebecca Faria.
These leaders will join our robust community of activists around the world who are committed to ending street harassment. And the movement won’t stop there. Already, activists from an additional 36 cities have contacted us expressing interest bringing the movement to their communities as part of our next training class, which starts starts May 1st and will launch in August.
We couldn’t have done this without you, and we couldn’t be more grateful for your ongoing support. Thank you for helping us expand the movement to end street harassment and we will keep you posted on our progress!
Thanks to Hollaback Ottawa for finding this!
Hollaback in the HOUSE! The White House, that is. Vice President Joe Biden, Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett, and White House Advisor on Violence Against Women Lynn Rosenthal, spoke about the importance of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and the Administration’s efforts to reduce domestic and dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking victimization. What an honor! Biden’s speech is above — you gotta watch it — it’s amazing.
Our Green Dot partnership grows! Veronica went to a week-long Green Dot training. Afterwards, Dorothy Edwards and Jenn Sayre from Green Dot came into the city and we schemed about how to take our partnership to the next level.
Victoria went to SAY-SO! Victoria joined several other organizations to celebrate survival over rape and sexual assault at Safe Horizon‘s Brooklyn Community Program at the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office.
In the Press! I was interviewed for an article in the Mother Nature Network. Hollaback! London was on BBC Radio 4 and the BBC Women’s Hour.
We Are Losing Catherine! Our wonderful blogging intern Catherine Favorite is leaving us. So here’s a huge thank you to Catherine for all the great work she has done. Thank you, good luck and guest blog for us soon!
HOLLA and out —
I was sitting down for lunch at a small Muslim restaurant (one of my favorites), when a man came to sit at my table. There were other empty tables, so I thought this was a little strange, but didn’t comment on it. Because I am a white woman, Chinese people occasionally approach me to strike up a conversation or practice their English. Most of the time, I don’t mind this much, and often enjoy the opportunity to practice my Chinese and/or help someone practice English, and make new friends (since many of my friends are foreign students like me). But on this particular day, I wanted to eat lunch alone so I could eat quickly and get back to my dorm to do some studying. So I ignored the man sitting next to me. He leaned over and asked (in English) “what country are you from?”. Because my program involved a language pledge where I could not speak any English, I responded in Chinese. He began to ask me more questions and comment on my looks, and I responded (again, in Chinese), “I don’t want to talk to you, I just want to eat my lunch”. This did not deter him. I made my answers shorter and more curt, and asked him why he was still talking to me even though I had told him I did not want to talk to him. I repeated that I wanted to eat my lunch in peace. He then called me a b****, and said that I would “relax” if I spoke to him in English. I reached into my bag for my wallet to pay for my meal and get the hell out, and realized I had left my wallet in my dorm. I cursed in English, and went to find the proprietor to explain the situation. In the time that I was pawing through my bag, the man who had been harassing me paid for my meal. Oh hell no. I explained to the proprietor (who knew me because I was a regular customer) my money situation, and told him that I would pay for my meal myself. I told him to give the man his money back. I then managed to find 5 kuai in my purse (half the cost of the meal), and ran back to my dorm to get my wallet so I could pay him the other 5. I looked over my shoulder the whole way back because I was terrified that that creepy guy was going to follow me. Thank god he didn’t.
Since then, I’ve been immensely distrustful of strange men approaching me or talking to me, and I’ve become much more hostile towards catcalls or men who try to grind with me in nightclubs. I also try to go to restaurants that have at least one other empty table so I’m certain that a stranger won’t sit with me. I still travel around Beijing alone, but I’m always very much “on guard”, and prefer to travel or go out to clubs and bars with male friends, since this does a fairly good job of deterring harassers. I love Beijing and I love studying here, but I hate that I don’t feel safe walking down the street or eating by myself.
I was in school in 6th grade. I was really, really late for P.E. I begin walking to the gym, when suddenly, I see this group of 7th grade boys appear out of nowhere. They’re laughing at something. And one of them says…. he actually says this: “You’re gonna be all up in my balls!”
What the Fluff?
I was kind of frozen there, as he and his buddies walked away, laughing. Were they on drugs or something? I began to shout “What is WRONG with you!?” and stuff to them, but they didn’t hear.
So I told on them.
The 7th graders are messed up. One of my friends who’s more developed got asked by one of them, in a rude manner, “What bra size do you wear?”
This angers me.
I live in a relatively small town, and my friends and I go walking a lot for entertainment.
It was about 8pm at the time this occurred and dark, but there are A LOT of lights so it might as well have been daytime. Myself, two other girls, and one guy. Girl 1 and the guy were maybe 10-15 feet in front of myself and the Girl 2. We were walking down the sidewalk on a busy intersection on our way to a gas station, almost there. As me and girl 2 were walking, we were only wearing skinny jeans, sneakers, t-shirts, and over sized jackets. A jeep drove past us very slowly (No need for them to be going slowly other than for us, as it is a very busy, fast paced street) and honked at us twice. We were unnerved by it as we had both read this site.
Then, no more than 30 seconds later, the same jeep turns around and honks at us several times more as it slowly passes us. We ended up running to the gas station in a bit of a panic because it made us feel very nervous, seeing as we are only 14/15 and we worried it would come back and try something else.
I’ve recently started going to the gym while my sister goes swimming and normally my dad comes with me but he was working late so I had to go by myself. As I walked in two guys stared at me walking in. Later I was walking over to another machine and the same guy stood in my way and said ‘hey there’. I ignored him and walked on. As I was walking back he again step in front of me and told me his friend wanted to know my name. I said no and continued walking and then came after mew and asked why, I said I’m only fourteen. I then half ran to a busier part of the gym and both guys went on the bikes on either side of me. I felt so trapped and I literally couldn’t speak. I then just walked away. I can’t even tell my parents or I’ll never be able to go the gym again. I told my sister and she said they were probably just ‘taking the piss’ my own sister thought it was acceptable, I’m not sure whats worse the men thinking the could do that or sister thinking it’s okay.
Writer/podcast producer Mur Lafferty penned a fantastic letter to her daughter that reads both brutally honest and sweetly optimistic. The whole letter is worth reading by anyone who has ever been a little girl or known someone with a daughter. In other words, you should read it.
“You will not change their mind by arguing, by telling them they are wrong. You change their mind by showing them how being a girl is awesome. You show them by not hiding, by not being demure.
“I gotta say, you are the prettiest little girl I ever did see!”
“‘Thanks?’ You’re awfully matter of fact about that. I guess when a boy tells you how pretty you are, you’ll come home and be like, ‘Oh MOM! He said I was PRETTY!’”
– An older man and my daughter, this weekend
You show them by being more than your looks, even if that’s all people comment on. You show them by your independence. You show them by being more than they expect to see. You show them by not taking their shit.
When I think of little girls, I think of you. I think of perfect math scores, a passion for science, a love of My Little Pony, swords, dressing up as Cleopatra, and having absolutely no shyness or fear. I think of someone with a sharp wit, and frightening skills with a stunt kite. I think of someone with determination – even if you don’t know it yet, I’ve seen it. Whatever you’re determined to do, you manage to do it.”
BY CATHERINE FAVORITE
It’s not every day we come across a political campaign that makes street harassment one of the central points of their platform. In London, however, two of the candidates running for mayor are doing just that. Siobhan Benita, an independent and Ken Livingstone, the Labor Party candidate, have both come out in favor of doing more to prevent street harassment, as a part of their efforts to address violence against women and girls.
Both Livingstone and Benita recently issued their own crime manifestos promising to address street harassment and street violence in London.
Three tenets from Benita’s manifesto include:
• Guaranteed continuation of funding for all four Rape Crisis Centres in London for at least the length of my mayoralty and work with London boroughs to expand provision across the Capital.
• Tackle harassment of women and girls in public spaces in London and on our transport system.
• Develop a London-wide plan to combat forced marriage, honour- based violence and female genital mutilation, including evaluating the effectiveness of current approaches.
Ken Livingstone’s crime manifesto, meanwhile, offers suggestions for more community-organized watches for safer streets and wants to create a public campaign against sexual harassment in London’s public spaces.
Ms. Benita cited the End Violence Against Women (EVAW) coalition, when referencing her reasons for taking an active stance against street harassment, which says: “The four million women and girls who live in London have the right to feel and be safe in their communities, workplaces, at school, on public transport, in the street and at home.”
“As a mother of two daughters, I couldn’t agree more. Furthermore, I believe this statement applies equally to every person living in London, regardless of their sexuality, gender, age, race, faith, or disability.”
If every person with a daughter thought the way Ms. Benita does about making the world a better place for girls to grow up in, or pushed for more public responsibility, like Mr. Livingstone, street harassment would no longer exist. Regardless of who becomes London’s next mayor, this issue now has the potential to become part of the wider discussion on gender and sexuality inequality.