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On a daily basis I encounter this. Guys slow down in their cars expecting to pick me up. Or they stare. Are they even watching the road? I know its not groping, or stalking, verbal, or assault(though I definitely felt the threat of that before). But it bothers me to no end… I mean, it really gets me down. On days like this when I get home I cry. Because it happens OFTEN. Every time I wait for the bus now, its like its increasing. On a normal week where I do nothing but school that would be maybe 12 times, often more, in a week that I have to face this. The other day I was only standing at my front door to check the weather and this happened…
One of the things that sickens me the most is that I am 19 years old, but I look young, and I think I am being target for that. I seriously look like a freshmen in high school, in other words, a minor. And they still target me! Sick!
It seriously depresses me that this is the kind of world I have to live in for the rest of my life. I feel more afraid of threats then I ever have in my life… or I mean, aware.
I sometimes wish I could pull out a sign that says “Just waiting for the bus, please leave me alone!”
Most of us have heard that Chere’s son, Chaz Bono, is transgender and recently underwent surgery. You might have also seen or heard that Bono is now a contestant on Dancing with the Stars! Well I say, good for him; but not everyone feels that way.
Tranphobic psychiatrist Keith Ablow recently went on The O’Reilly Factor (Fox) and stated that, “Mr. Bono is doing more than dancing, he’s on a campaign to mainstream transgenderism.” Ablow claims that if your children watch a transgender person, such as Chaz Bono, on television, that your kids will be influenced to become transgender.
If you ask me children should watch Chaz Bono on TV. Here’s why: Bono is showing all children that he’s completely comfortable with himself and that he possesses no shame in who he is. How could that possibly be a bad thing? It’s not.
Ablow went on to say on The O’Reilly Factor that Bono being a contestant on Dancing with the Stars is akin to anorexics going on television and saying how wonderful they feel. That would be true if being transgender was a deadly or a disease, but it’s neither. The reality is that if all children were exposed to positive role models from the LGBT community, the rate of bullying would most likely go down, as well as the rate of LGBT teen suicide. Growing up knowing that you’re not different and that you should be accepted for who you are and what you feel, is the best thing for any child, whether they are transgender or not.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the first that we’ve heard from Ablow, and it probably won’t be the last we hear of him and his illogical rants. This past spring Ablow jumped all over a J. Crew advertisement that showed a mother painting her son’s toenails neon pink. And what do you think Ablow had to say about it? No, not that a pastel pink would have gone better with the little boy’s shirt, but yup, you guessed it: painting this boy’s toenails was inevitably going to cause gender confusion!
Despite those like Ablow, there are positive representations of transgender issues in the media. Checkout Transgender kids: Painful quest to be who they are reported on CNN.com; it’s an encouraging counterpoint to the outlandishness of so-called “experts” like Ablow.
As you know may already know, in recent months, there have been more than a dozen instances of sexual assault and harrassment in the Brooklyn neighborhoods of Park Slope, Greenwood Heights, Windsor Terrace, Sunset Park and Bay Ridge. In response to the growing concern for public safety, we worked with Public Advocate Bill deBlasio‘s office in conjunction with Center for Anti-Violence Education, Safe Slope, Girls for Gender Equity, and RightRides, to produce a new guide with tips and resources to help prevent and intervene in sexual assault and harassment.Volunteers from the Public Advocate’s office are teaming up to distribute 3,000 copies of the guide in the area. If you’d like to volunteer, email [email protected]
We are grateful to the Public Advocate’s office for their leadership on this project, and even if you’re not located in the NYC area, we hope you’ll take a look and considering adopting it for use in your own community.
UPDATE! The guide is now in Spanish, too:
Haciendo Nuestros Vecindarios Más Seguros: Cómo Puede Ayudar a Prevenir el Asalto y Acoso Sexual Público
BY EMILY MAY
Last week 6,300 of you rallied and signed a petition on Change.org for the NYPD to have increased sensitivity surrounding the South Brooklyn sexual assault cases, and today we are proud to announce the NYPD listened.
On Thursday, October 8th – only a week after the petition began – the commanding officers of the NYPD’s 72nd and 78th Precincts held a meeting with members of Hollaback! and Safe Slope, convened by New York City Councilmember Brad Lander, to directly address Safe Slope’s open letter to the NYPD and the 6,300 people (that’s you!) who signed the petition demanding increased sensitivity. As a result of that meeting, we are proud to announce the NYPD has agreed to following improvements:
Clearly, there is still work to be done. But we couldn’t have made it this far without your support.
In addition to your efforts, our heartfelt thanks go to Safe Slope, The Line Campaign, Permanent Wave, the organizers of SlutWalk NYC, and Women in the Media and News for organizing with us to make the petition happen, and Councilmember Lander for setting up the meeting with the NYPD. Shelby Knox, Director of Community Organizing for Women’s Rights at Change.org said, “the coalition of activists that made this happen should be commended for using people power, online and offline, to improve police sensitivity surrounding sexual assault cases. Their work will serve as a blueprint on how residents can respectfully petition the NYPD — and it is my belief that the impact of their efforts will live on long after the South Brooklyn rapist has been caught.”
Keep using your voice to change the world, and remember to always…
A year ago I went on vacation with my dad to Las Vegas, it was the first vacation I’ve had ever since I was a 6, (16 when this happened) and was even able to go with my dad whose job has him all over the world much of the time. So I was trying very hard to make this a good experience for me, one which I would look back fondly on for years. This guy ruined the whole post-harassment part of the vacation for me.
So my dad and I were at the Excalibur Hotel/Casino on the Vegas Strip, we were heading out of the building after a show to go back to our hotel to get dinner and sleep. My dad had to use the bathroom, so I just sat down on the steps by the bathroom, and waited. I was next to the slot machines, and I noticed a man staring at me from there. He was likely in his 40s or 50s, and was balding with gray hair. A bit nervous, I pulled out my phone and tried to look busy. I heard “Hey.” and looked up to see him right above me. It was hard to understand him through his thick accent, but I’ll never forget my heart dropping into my stomach when he said: “You have… very beautiful legs. They’d sure look nice wrapped around me.” (I was wearing jeans and boots, not a skirt or anything revealing.) Luckily, I didn’t need to think about what to do, because my dad came out of the bathroom right after. My dad said “What’s going on? Who’re you?” to him. The man was obviously shaken by the sudden appearance of my 6″1′ tall, 225 lb dad. He said “I wasn’t doin’ nothin’.” and backed off. As we left my dad shot him the most threatening look he could. I remember just getting to our room in the MGM Grand hotel and crying my eyes out, my dad was furious that this was able to happen. I had never experienced anything like this in my hometown, I mean I’ve had catcalls coming from men in cars when I was on the sidewalk here, but I never felt truly threatened. I was genuinely afraid that somehow this man would get into our room and rape me. It was sort of a wake-up call that I’m not as safe in public as I thought. We made a point to never separate for the rest of the vacation, and I’ve been so much more cautious ever since.
Every time this happens to me, I wish I did something different. I was walking home alone at 1am in a nice residential part of the city in a zipped hooded sweatshirt and corduroys, no skin showing by my face. I hear the slowing of a car coming up behind me and I feel this immediate sinking feeling, thinking oh god, here we go. A man in the car rolls his window down as he pulls up next to me, I continue to walk staring straight ahead, hoping he’s stopping for any other reason than to cat call me. “Hey, want a ride?” And immediately, I said “No”, continuing to walk and stare ahead of me. “Really?” I started to seethe. “YEAH, REALLY.” The man scoffs and says, “WOW” and drives away. I flipped him off as he drove away, wishing I had brought my can of pepper spray. It’s an abomination that this happens to women every day in the U.S., the constant degradation of women that is ignored as being harmless. And I wish I could say this were the first (or last time) this happened to me.
I had been sitting on a bench reading. I was in full sun and was getting rather hot, so I decided to head back to my dorm. As I got up and started walking along the path, I noticed a man coming towards me in the opposite direction. I didn’t take too much notice of him. Until the moment when I directly past him and noticed he had his penis and balls out of his pants, rubbing one out looking at me as he walked past. It all happened so quickly, I was already past him before I realized exactly what had happened. I suddenly became conscious of how short my shorts were and how a little bit of my mid-drift could be seen. But I told myself that shouldn’t matter. That guy was a pig-headed creep, getting off on girls in a public park. If I had been still sitting, and my experience more prolonged, I would like to think I would have called him out, brought attention to what he was doing in hopes that would shame him into stopping. But seeing as this is my first encounter with street harassment, maybe I wouldn’t have been that gutsy. But it is because of organizations like Hollaback! that I am gaining confidence. After I left the park, I found I was really angry and almost wanted him to come back and try again so I could scream in his face. And because of Hollaback! I know that that anger is justified. Thank you for empowering women to stand up to street harassment and for providing a forum for women to share their stories.
We just wanted to highlight the work of two amazing college-based initiatives – Freeze the Tease and Chappal Maarungi – in the Mumbai-wide and global fight to end street harassment.
Freeze the Tease is the brainchild of six students at St. Andrew’s College – Perma Dsouza, Andrea Fernades, Digi George, Anishka Alvares, Rochelle Barrie and Valeska Reveredo. The initiative began as a response to a class assignment and has solidified into a dynamic, awareness-raising campaign. Their campaign has involved encouraging women to sign a pledge saying that they will not be silent in the face of street harassment and wearing bands that say ‘I pledge to freeze the tease.’ They have also organized outdoor activities, such as a recent outing where they distributed ‘Freeze the Tease’ bands in Bandra and other public spaces. Check out their Facebook page here. Amazing stuff!
Similarly, Chappal Maarungi was started in response to a class assignment at Wilson College and has taken on a life of its own. Their Facebook page states “Chappal Maarungi” as a campaign is not directed towards men, asking them to stop cat calling and eve teasing. Instead, as the name itself suggests, is directed towards women: asking them to raise their voices against inappropriate behavior. The “chappal” here is symbolic for women raising their voices and not necessarily their footwear (unless of course, they need to!)”
Amazing stuff! Their angle is that when women are empowered to take a stand against harassment, men will learn that harassment of any kind in any arena is entirely unacceptable. The group has created a 5-foot tall chappal and placed boxes of chappals around their college campus as an encouragement to women to step up (no pun intended : ) Check out their Facebook page here!
Awesome stuff! So good to see other campaigns working to end street harassment in Mumbai. Together we shall overcome.
Meet Kacie, the social entrepreneur fighting street harassment in Istanbul, Turkey.
Why do you HOLLA? I HOLLA because people just can’t be treated this way.
What’s your craft? Social entrepreneurship, essentially figuring out how to make a living while caring about the world. I’m also a locavor and foodie.
What was your first experience with street harassment? I really don’t remember, but I’m sure it began when I was 12 or 13 years old. When I was 18, I remember realizing that it would become a normal experience of my daily life. I learned that street harassment could be dangerous when I was 20, and now that I’m 24 now I have learned how to respond to it.
Define your style: Tweed, androgyny, nose ring, modesty, and my trusty red cowboy boots. Also trying not to look too American while I’m living abroad.
What do you collect? Postcards from my penpals.
If you could leave the world one piece of advice, what would it be? Make sure that the dreams you dream are big enough for you.
My superheroine power is…that people tend to trust me and believe in me.
What inspires you? Mostly other people’s amazing stories partnered with my pragmatic idealism.
In the year 2020, street harassment…will be apart of legislation that’s enacted in many countries across the world.