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Reprinted from NOW-NYC. For more information, click here.
Tuesday, November 9th, 12:30 pm – 1:30 pm
111 Centre Street, NYC (between Leonard & White;
6, Q, N, R, J, Z to Canal St.)
WHY THIS RALLY IS IMPORTANT:
NOW-NYC and anti-violence advocates from across the city are joining forces to ask Justice Cassandra Mullen to give confessed rapist, Tony Simmons, a sentence with jail time. Recently, the Manhattan Supreme Court Justice proposed a sentence of ten years probation with absolutely no jail time for this court-appointed juvenile counselor who pled guilty to raping one girl and sexually assaulting two others.
If Simmons, who admitted to sexually assaulting three teen girls, can get off without any jail time, what does that mean for women victims of rape across the city? We need to send a message to Justice Mullen, law enforcement, our leaders, and our community to Take Rape Seriously!
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
1) Join our rally and press conference on Tuesday, November 9th 12:30 pm and help us send a strong message! We’ll have signs available, or you can bring your own. Our key messages are: (a) Take Rape Seriously
(b) NO Getting Away With Rape (c) Simmons Should Serve
2) Sign Our Petition NOW to Justice Cassandra Mullen to demand jail time for this violent offender and justice for the victims. We will present our petition to Justice Mullen after the rally.
3) Get more signers on this petition. Send out the link to the petition widely. Forward to friends, bloggers, and post on Facebook and Twitter. URL: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/now-nyc_justiceforassaultvictims/
Street harassment is a gateway crime that creates a culture of violence against women. Sexual harassment and aggression have no place in our homes, our jobs, our classes, our streets. Show your support today, with $5.
I had come downtown to visit my partner while he was on a break from work and he and I separated after he walked me to the bus stop. It was mid-afternoon and I didn’t expect a long wait for a bus as it’s a well-trafficked stop and many routes stop there.
A group of two men jaywalked diagonally across the street and surprised me as they neared by leering at me, coming far too close into my personal space and saying, “Nice legs.”
With big grins plastered on their faces, they moved on rapidly, passing by another woman behind me and commenting, “She has nice legs too.” I watched them walk away and it was obvious that they were continuing on their running commentary with other women at stops further down the street.
Submitted by Ashley
From time to time we get hate mail, but most of the time we just get love mail. Here’s a great piece of love mail we thought you’d appreciate:
I don’t believe there are a great deal of men capable of making cat calls (most of us have at least some kind of impulse control)– but the ones who are shouldn’t be allowed to ruin somebody’s day with a few rude words. It puts too much power in the hands of those who deserve it least. As cell phone cameras get better, and as women become more emboldened by efforts like yours, I hope we can stop cat calls completely.
A frustrated dude
It’s a shame that in this day and age, taking the bus can be a bit of a scary experience. I was on my way from work and had to wait for a while at a connecting stop. A man who I noticed was on the bus earlier had walked over to my stop and sat at the bench with me. He kept his distance but I just tend to stare face forward with my mp3 player on and my phone in my pocket. Eventually he says hello. I say hello back but continue to look forward. Minutes pass and he tells me his name. Noticing he’s waiting for a response I just tell him my name is ‘Marie’. It’s not real, it was just the first random name that came to mind. It got even more uncomfortable when he would periodically ask where’s the computer lab, do I go to school here, and so on. It got worse when another bus showed up but he decided to wait for MY bus to get here. He said, “I WAS going to get on this bus, but do you mind if I get on the same bus as you?” I didn’t answer so he took it upon himself to do so. I should have just walked into one of the university buildings ages ago, but I just wanted to go home. Eventually my bus gets here and I sit near the front so I could be by the driver and he sits towards the back. He later comes to a seat just behind me and asks if I had a place for him to stay during the night and gave him a firmly toned NO. He went back to his seat but it didn’t stop me from getting off my stop and looking around to make sure he didn’t follow me. The walk home was so scary because the apartment complex I’m at seems to have no interest in getting the street lamps fixed and the entire walk was me rushed in a zig zag pattern with my hand on the number 9 on my phone. Later when my boyfriend came back, we went out to get some pepper spray and so far, I will wait for him to give me a ride, even if I have to wait for hours.
Reading the rest of these entries makes me feel more empowered, but there needs to be more! I want to do my part for this website and tell my friends about it. I also think it would be a wonderful idea to have this for all universities and public transportation systems. Thanks.
Submitted by Menia
It has become a regular occurrence for me to get cat called as I walk to work, go home, or go about doing my business. I am a 29 year old Asian American woman who graduated from Columbia University with a Masters in Urban Planning. I find it deeply demeaning and offensive for men who are ignorant to call out to me in Chinese or some other Asian dialect, as if I don’t speak English. I hate being whistled at, called baby, being asked out jokingly on the street. It is disgusting, and there have been times that I have gotten hostile (throwing my ice cream at someone, or yelling at them) because their remarks just got to me so. How can I go about doing my work, when my day is interrupted by sexual hostility? This is a real problem, especially in a city where smart successful independent women are so visible. These cat calls need to stop. Men need to be made aware that this is an issue. It is not our culture here, and they need to know that what they do is abusive, and uncivilized. It is not enough that NYC is a hard place to find a good decent man to date, but that we have to be subjected to men we aren’t even dating as well?
Submitted by Diana
While walking to my car this morning a man who was driving slowed down his vehicle just to make “smooching” sounds to me. I gave him a disgusted look and got in my car. I sat in my car for a moment, and then realized that the man had driven back around and was sitting in his car, stopping traffic to stare at me. I was very scared because I was trapped between two cars, and him, and had no way of driving away. He eventually left, but it was not the best way to start my day.
Submitted by Desiree
He leered and hissed at me, and said inappropriate things. I asked if he did not have a sister…he was ashamed. I reminded him that God could see him…he averted his eyes. I chided him that his mother knew…and he was embarassed.
Do we really need a law regulating cat calls? Why don’t we as mothers, sisters, aunts, cousins, and friends help to teach both our daughters and sons, nieces and nephews to be respectful of themselves and others? To not be worried about saying “Stop!” To be empowered and emboldened to speak the truth, “The words and sounds coming out of your mouth make you sound like fool!” Carry pepper spray.
I live in a region where female circumcision, honor killings, and child brides are accepted, even if not legal. Catcalls are the least of my worries. A council’s decision will not carry as much weight as your own words and actions. If you want to help women, speak up for yourself and work to end domestic violence, female circumcision and honor killings, they all occur in your city of New York.
Submitted by GypsyRose
NOTE: Although it has been picked up in the press that we are looking for a “law” to end street harassment, that’s actually not what anyone at the hearing asked for. We asked for education, research, and police sensitivity, among other things. To read Hollaback!’s testimony, click here.
The description reads, “In this segment Sistah Girl and her friend Dante discuss the many reasons Black men give to justify their cat calls, profanity, physical assaults and verbal abuse of Black females on public transit and on the streets of cities across the U.S. Sistah Girl breaks down the behaviors and the sense of entitlement to women’s time, attention and bodies that Black men believe they deserve to have. From the creative mind of advice columnist Deborrah Cooper. Visit her blog at www.survivingdating.com.”
The computer voices are a little distracting, but the point that harassment hurts is well made. And although I don’t think this is the point the video is trying to make, I feel a need to point out that black men are statistically no more likely to harass than any other color or men. Like all forms of violence against women, street harassment crosses lines of race and class, and to call it a “cultural thing” minimizes the experiences of women of all colors and cultures who believe that street harassment is appalling and disgusting.
In addition to giving this testimony, Elizabeth also wrote the op-ed that inspired the hearing! Her op-ed was published in El Diario, but a reprint in English is here. Having had the pleasure of meeting Elizabeth, I can also tell you that she is a true advocate in the fight against street harassment and an incredible, gifted woman. Her leadership in this movement couldn’t come at more important time.
p.s. thanks for the link, NewBlackMan!
I met the AHAlife team at an 85broads event. At the end of her speech, their founder and CEO Shauna Mei quoted Madeline Albright who famously said: “There is a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.”
Now that’s my kinda woman.