Appalachian Ohio, Athens GA, Atlanta, Berkeley, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Columbia MO, Columbus, Des Moines, Durham & Chapel Hill, East Lansing, Fredericksburgh VA, Houston, Los Angeles, Muncie IN, New York City, NYU, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Plattsburgh, Richmond VA, San Francisco, Tucson, Twin Cities
I was walking in a quiet street when I noticed someone was walking behind me. At first I didn’t pay much notice, but I noticed that when I upped my speed, the person behind me started walking faster as well, and was getting closer to me. Then all of a sudden, I feel a pull on my coat, and in one quick movement this guy just pulls up my skirt and exposes me right in the street. I turned back, stunned, and yelled ‘Jerk!’ while he quickly ran away. I was wearing heels, so it was no use running after him. It was infuriating.
Submitted by Elke
“Hey sexy lady! Check THIS out…”
[Michael Jackson-esque groin thrust in my direction]
‘Ohh please’ I think ‘please wait while I hurry over and give you my phone number, you prehistoric, knuckle-dragging moron’
You may assume that the slimy guy leering at you in the street or beeping his car horn is simply a victim of tragic social ineptitude, but this situation is more sinister. Street harassment ranges from whistles, shouting, and dodgy trouser pocket movements to full blown groping and physical attacks. Where does ‘harmless fun’ end and ‘serious assault’ begin? And exactly how much fun is it for the women who enjoy this uninvited attention?
A victim-blaming culture tends to emerge when we talk about harassment. How many times have you heard someone ask what the woman was wearing when considering a case of sexual violence? I don’t care if she was strutting around naked wearing a pair of stiletto heels, nothing gives one human being the right to attack and violate the personal space (physical or psychological) of another. OK, naked strutting on a Friday night might explain why you get harassed in the UK, but it doesn’t condone it. And what about in Egypt? By this logic we support those who argue that not wearing a veil legitimises physical attacks on women. And – FYI anyone gearing up to have this debate in a pub – the kind of people who dish out the ‘oh but she was in a mini skirt so it’s her own fault she got raped’ argument are often the kind who audibly balk at the idea of Islamic dress codes. The social standards may change, but the argument stays the same – if women don’t wear whatever I think is ‘respectable’, then I have the right to humiliate, intimidate and even hurt them.
This is a story we are all familiar with, and it sucks. Running up against the same outdated responses that demean their significance and often blame the victim, women rarely report these incidents…Until now.
The increasing use of mobile technology and access to the internet has given rise to an interesting phenomenon – people are using cell phones to report harassment and serious sexual attacks in order to alert others, shame perpetrators and, just to be heard, and to have a voice. I don’t yell back if some meat-head shouts obscenities at the bus stop, and it makes me feel small. But reporting it on sites like ihollaback.org gives me a voice again.
In Egypt, blog.harassmap.org uses open source data to create a map of sexual harassment incidents that are experienced by 83% of Egyptian and 98% of foreign women. Users send a text message to central computers and receive resources on how to file a police report, referrals to counselling and more via SMS. Their report is added to data that puts pressure on local authorities to deal with trouble hot spots, and to address a problem that all too often is denied or ignored.
Mobile technology is also being used in Haiti to report gender-based violence, people trafficking and attacks in a country where legal infrastructure is often non-existent. Again, women receive support in the form of referrals, advice, and information, but importantly, their voice is heard and their experience recorded.
Gender-based violence, which is on the rise in the UK (UK Home Office 2011) relies on all of us ignoring and accepting these incidents. Shrugging off the remarks of an obnoxious drunk in a bar might seem OK at the time, but it normalises behaviour that leads to a climate of fear, silence and oppression. Using mobile technology, women can report in safety and confidence, finding help but also finding their voice.
Hollaback welcomes the New Year with strength. We continue to grow and we are rapidly covering the globe. We are experiencing exciting times.
As a result of its international expansion, Hollaback has decided it is time to pass the torch at the local level (NYC) and give 10 youth (ages 18-22) the opportunity to become the leaders of HollabackNYC. We seek a diverse group of youth from the different neighborhoods of NYC, who are committed to making social change. Youth who are eager to learn and are able to invest at least 10 hours a week to this process. The new leadership of HollabackNYC will receive training in social media, community organizing, policy/advocacy, and marketing. They will also become part of an international movement that will broaden their networks and aid their development as agents of social change.
We are excited to be in this recruitment process and to move forward in solidifying youth leadership to continue to build the movement against street harassment. Help us create this pool of youth leaders and spread the news. Our recruitment flyer and our short application are available here for download: Info flyer and iHollabackApplication. If you need more information contact Claudia De la Cruz at email@example.com.
Spread the word… HollabackNYC is on the move!
A few years ago when I was walking to the gym when a group of men sitting outside an apartment building started talking to me. It started out innocently enough with “How are you?” “Have a nice day,” etc. Then one of them got up and followed me and trying to talk to me even though I made it clear I was not interested. He said we should go out and proceeded to grab my ass. I told him not to touch me and jumped away. He replied “But I like touching.” Even when clearly being spurned he kept following me, asking for my number. He didn’t leave me alone until I gave him a phone number…that I made up. What a jerkface.
Submitted by Laura
HOLLABAACK!! I have been repeatedly harassed by a gross guy who works at the public library near my house. He works as “security” but stands around and leers at women and hits on them all day. He would always talk to me in an invasive, macho way, with the tone of voice of “hey, baby” as if he was at a bar and not working as security. I was always cold to him and showed him my disgust. I observed him doing this to other women also. I complained to the library manager and she said other women had complained about him, and that they would address it with him. She told me I should speak to him directly but I didn’t want to make an issue of it at the time. He is a predator and predators are about power and control. At the time a girl I knew had been raped by her bf and we plastered anti rape signs around the town and put anti sexual harassment signs all over the library. It’s not as direct but still empowering as a way to use your voice.
He continued to harass me and nothing changed. A year ago I was on the street downtown with friends and he came up and asked for a hug. I was with other people and laughing/relaxed and he caught me off guard, although my face showed disgust he he gave me a hug which I completely regretted – I felt slimed. Awhile ago walking home in the dark up the street he made a beeline towards me, diagonally from the library, and again made a slimey comment. I gave him a look of extreme disgust and walked away.
I recently had a private meeting with him and the library manager in which I told him his behavior was unacceptable, inappropriate, and must STOP or I would press charges. I told him he disgusted me. He had a typical b.s. response saying he was just being friendly and he didn’t know what I was talking about, I told him he knows EXACTLY what I am talking about; I held him accountable. A short time after the meeting, the library manager told me she had told him directly, that’s it, no more talking to women at all. I thought it would be resolved but his creepy and predatory behavior towards me continued. Recently he was reading his book from across the library, and I was tutoring students at a table, he came to read his book right behind the bookshelf next to me, to be leering at me and invade my space, when he could have chosen to go anywhere in the library and he knows I hate him and he disgusts me, esp. after the meeting. I was busy with students and didn’t speak up at the time. He has continued to speak to me when he was told not to.
The other day I decided to confront him and am glad I did. I got fed up and who cares if I was a little aggressive, he needs to know what it’s like to have his space invaded. I went up to him, said, “I need to speak with you.” He was about to make a call on his cell and he said “wait”, I said, “no, now”, I closed his cell phone cover, got up close in his space (with a sharp pencil on hand if needed) and went off on him, told him I had told him to stay out of my space and to not talk to me, he disrespected that, and he needs to learn respect and as soon as it happens again I’ll call the cops. He started swearing and then ran off. It felt good to be forceful and up in his face. God what a SCUMBAG he is.
The librarian clerk there saw the interaction and protected the predator saying it’s his job to walk around the library, how dare I talk to him like that? (typical bs). I was direct with her as well and she said I couldn’t talk to her like that, she freaked out and was very hostile. I let her know that he acts like it’s his job to harass women, and that this town is full of typical liberal passivity b.s. and that other women have complained. It was frustrating to be attacked by this stupid librarian, but who cares, the main thing is I used my voice and now he knows I will kick his ass and definitely call the cops if it happens again. I have taken my power back. Predators are the scum of the earth. I documented everything on paper on writing and will do everything in my power to get him fired. Thanks for letting me vent and share this story, it’s great to know there are ass kicking chicks out there. The stupid librarian can kiss my ass! It’s ok for women to assert themselves, and it doesn’t matter how they do it, as long as they speak up.
HOOLLLLLLLAAA BACK!!!!!!! Kick ass and speak up, use your voice!
Reposted from our friends at Gothamist.
While in Queens last night, Bloomberg bragged, “Today, a woman could walk in virtually every neighborhood in this city during the day and not look over her shoulder, and most neighborhoods at night.” But many of the city’s women question how a middle aged man living on the UES (and Bermuda) could know that. Carla Banks of Kingsbridge Heights said, “Bloomberg’s trippin’. This isn’t the upper East Side. He’s definitely out of touch with what women deal with in the Bronx.” Please let him get back in touch with the people by pulling a Bulworth.
Nora Nestor of Crown Heights agrees: “I love my neighborhood. I feel safe in it, but I wouldn’t walk anywhere in New York without being aware of what’s behind my shoulder.” But according to women on the Upper East Side, Bloomberg is totally right! Theresa Ackerly said, “Yes, it has gotten better. This nabe changed a lot. Back in the ’80s, there were a lot of gangs. Mayor Bloomberg is doing all right in terms of crime.” Except that murders and rapes are up.
Sexual exploitation stemmed in gender oppression is a phenomenon that is generally hidden under a blanket of reticence due to the challenge of addressing issues of sexism under a larger context of racism.
Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration will open Sex Crimes Against Black Girls, a multimedia exhibit curated by Shantrelle P. Lewis and featuring the works of Nyoka Acevedo, Kimberly Kimabe Becoat, Frances Bradley, Delphine Fawundu Buford, Tracee Worley, Numa Perrier, Wahala Temi, Noelle Lorraine Williams, that investigates the various levels of sexual exploitation and oppression that are suffered by young Black girls across the African Diaspora.
February 5 – April 2
Skylight Gallery, 3rd Floor | 1368 Fulton Street, Brooklyn, NY 11216 | 718.636.6949 | www.restorationplaza.org
Hollaback embodies all that is strong, powerful, and badass about being a woman today, and reflects a global female solidarity that knows no racial, age, or geographic boundaries. As such, we seek three men or women who can represent and illustrate these values in written form.
Selected writers need to be able to commit to blogging a minimum of twice per week about key stories and milestones in the anti-harassment movement in a voice that is bold and street harassment savvy.
Interested candidates should submit a sample piece for publication by February 10, 2011 on a topic that you feel is important, timely, and of interest to Hollaback readers. Accompanying your piece should be a brief description of you, why the anti-harassment movement is important to you, and how you represent a unique voice.
Bloggers will be selected for diversity of voice and quality of writing and can hail from anywhere in the world. To submit your sample piece and accompanying information, please email everything in the body of an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
DePaul University Junior Betsy Huigens has developed and released Bluelight, a free app that allows women to check in with family and friends after making it home on time.
Think of it as “I’ll call you when I get there 2.0″ says the app’s storefront download info.
– First, enter your travel time – say 15 minutes for the walk home from the library at night.
– Next, select someone from your address book, such as a parent or roommate, to be your Bluelight contact.
– Set the alert and start walking.
– When you arrive home safely, cancel the alert, and your contact is never bothered. If you do not cancel the alert, Bluelight will let your contact know the route you took home via text message or email.
Film 678, a stark portrayal of street harassment by director Mohamed Diab (currently showing in Egyptian cinemas), is causing growing discomfort among Egypt’s top offices.
Bureaucrat Mahmoud Hanfy Mahmoud, head of the complaints department at the Egyptian Association for Human Rights and Social Justice, has filed an official complaint about the film, citing potential harm to men’s ‘sensitive spots.’
The film depicts women physically defending themselves against harassment and abuse.
In a separate case, the film faces legal action by lawyers Mohammed Hanafi and Melad George, who charge Diab and his cast with tarnishing Egypt’s reputation.
Coverage to date has not included follow up reports of complainants also taking action against perpetrators of sexual harassment and abuse.
Watch the trailer here