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Since the New Year, there have been so many amazing articles written about street harassment. From the Washington Post and Cosmopolitan to Collectively and Backdrop Magazine, we are so grateful to see such engaged media attention on this issue. Here’s to 2015 being the year of in-depth street harassment reporting!
Our Hollaback! sites have been ringing in the New Year with some serious activism, including:
Hollaback! Headquarters executive director Emily May presented at a Knight Foundation conference in Pittsburgh. Deputy director Debjani signed on another NYC public school for our HOLLA 101 pilot school program! On the HR front, we’ve hired on Rachel as our part-time program assistant, and will have four new interns starting next week. And, the team met with Hollaback! New Orleans site leader Nathan for lunch. Busy week!
Hollaback! Appalachian Ohio worked with Dykes and Allies of Columbus to boycott a show with THE WORST flyer. Site leader Sarah also wrote an amazing op-ed critiquing victim-blaming culture in the reporting on a local rape case.
Hollaback! London working in collaboration with the Southwark Council to create the Women’s Safety Charter. Coming up, site leaders are speaking at an upcoming event (January 20th) in Camden focused on Challenging Violence Against Girls and Women on Public Transport.
Hollaback! Des Moines just published their monthly meet up schedule. If you’re in the area, get out and learn more about street harassment from some seriously amazing site leaders! First one’s coming up!
Great work HOLLAS!
HOLLA AND OUT,
I came early to see a Fall Out Boy concert at the Concord Pavilion. I was dressed for the concert in my cat crop top and cat tights (I’m guessing this is why there was a bit of a theme between my catcallers). We were all told that if we had parked at the nearby Safeway parking lot, we needed to repark our cars or they’d be towed. I left my friend and walked alone down to Safeway- it was only like 1 PM so I wasn’t afraid of going alone. As I was walking, I heard a whistle from a car that was sitting at a light. I’d never been catcalled before so I was surprised but didn’t respond. A minute or so later a car slowed down next to me. I didn’t notice it at first, but when I glanced up the driver yelled “Me-yow!” before flooring it and speeding away. I’m almost at Safeway when a guy in a red pick-up truck (white, male, mid-40s at least) slows down next to me, just like the other guy, and yells “Why don’t you just show me your pussy?” I picked up my pace so I could just get to Safeway and away from this street. I wasn’t looking forward to walking back.
Two of my friends and I (ages 16, 17, and 19) were in Asbury Park on a Sunday afternoon. While we were walking the two (relatively) short blocks back to where we had parked, these guys who were probably old enough to be my grandfather or much, much older father stared us down and called after us for the block and a half we had left to walk. Having anxiety, I was petrified so I posted on Facebook about how upsetting it was and I got told to “not look so adult” if I didn’t want that to happen and to “keep my feminist bullshit on Tumblr”.
At 11:52 AM today (1/14/15) in NYC, outside of Pushcart Coffee, I was harassed by a Con Edison employee through his unsolicited video taping of me. I was simply sitting outside of the coffee shop on one of the designated benches, drinking my coffee, when I noticed that the driver of the van, who was parked in front of the shop, had raised his phone up and had begun to film me. After about 30 seconds of this behavior from him, I decided to document his harassment. He not only made eye contact with me at this point, acknowledging that he KNEW I was aware of his harassment, but he continued to film me, and even turned to laugh with his partner, who was sitting in the passenger seat. I felt threatened and unsafe in a place that should have been safe for me. I emailed Con Edison with the video I took, as well as a thorough complaint. This is unacceptable and despicable behavior, and I want everyone to see it.
I was walking in the street when a workman started shouting to get my attention. I ignored him but he kept on shouting, repeatedly asking if I’m lost. I stopped and stared back at him with arms crossed and giving him a chilling glare for a few seconds, just until he started feeling uncomfortable and went silent. Then I told him: “I live here, ok?!” and walked off. I then heard him say “Ah, then WE are lost!” -_-
Dear Man sitting in the back seat of the pickup truck passing me by,
I was walking to a poetry reading, listening to wonderful music, feeling the best I had felt all day when you yelled at me. Not that you would know any of this, as our contact was brief. Not that you would care, as you seemed uninterested in me a a human being, but that’s what I was doing. I couldn’t help but immediately wonder if you had yelled because of my leggings, or had just been more inclined to pick me because I was walking fast. I then spent the rest of my walk wondering if I was going to run into you again and thinking that my shadow was the shadow of someone following. I did not smile again until I had walked two blocks away and changed songs. Whatever thought crossed your mind when you shouted out of the window at me, I hope was worthy of ruining five minutes of my day and making me generally uncomfortable. Next time, just keep your head in the window and your thoughts to yourself.
I was working a small event at a park registering people to vote, and our local football grizzly bear mascot Monte slapped my butt. Because I was working I didn’t say anything, considering the fact that my job was to appeal to those at the event. I wish I did though. A mask is not an excuse for assault!
Just jogging today in my neighborhood and some dude I didn’t know walking half a block behind me started yelling repeatedly, “I’m right behind you!” He may have followed me for a while or maybe just going the same way I was, I’m not sure, but my focus was just to run faster at that point and start heading to a place where I knew more people would be likely doing yard work in case this creep tried to get closer.
It was Halloween night and my friend and I dressed up in our crazy laundrie for the Rocky Horror Picture Show. Before the show we went into our local coffee shop for some tea. In the meantime we thought we would take some pictures of each other in our costumes. After we finished a man old enough to be our grandfather asked “Can I take some pictures of you?” In a very creepy tone. We were both disgusted, and left. Walking back I received five more instances of abuse after walking one block.
Why did you make this video?
We think videos are an awesome tool to raise awareness about the realities of street harassment. This video is the third in a series. Each video aims to explore a different experience with street harassment. One video demonstrated the sheer number of times women are harassed in public space. Another video, “My Sexual Assault: On the Train and in The Media”, depicted one survivor’s, Elisa’s, experience with street harassment. Building on those narratives, this video encourages us to listen to and believe the experiences of each individual.
Who created this video?
Hollaback! sought out Aden Hakimi to direct this video because of his experience working with a queer filmmaking collective. With Hollaback!’s guidance and feedback, Aden shot and edited the video. He worked closely with Michelle Charles, the supporter in the video, to incorporate her experiences with street harassment into the narrative of the video.
Is Michelle’s experience unique?
The experience of street harassment is different for everyone. Street harassment disproportionately impacts women, people of color, LGBTQ individuals, and young people. These forms of harassment are not just sexist — but also racist and homophobic in nature. For more information on how harassment impacts people differently, please read our guide on street harassment and identity called #harassmentis.
What is street harassment?
Street harassment is a form of sexual harassment that takes place in public spaces. At its core is a power dynamic that constantly reminds historically subordinated groups (women and LGBTQ folks, for example) of their vulnerability to assault in public spaces. Further, it reinforces the ubiquitous sexual objectification of these groups in everyday life. At Hollaback!, we believe that what specifically counts as street harassment is determined by those who experience it. While there is always the classic, “Hey baby, nice tits!”, there are many other forms that go unnoted. If you feel like you have been harassed, HOLLABACK!
So you want to criminalize street harassment, right?
No. We believe that it is our role as advocates to steer policy makers away from measures that would increase criminalization, and toward measures that engage communities in prevention.