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By now the story of Cyan Brown, the 16 year old who fatally stabbed a man on Thursday, has been heard around the city. Chased by “seven or eight” men who were trying to drag her off the train and sexually assault her, Cyan had two options: fight back or get hurt.
Like all of us, Cyan had probably been harassed and maybe even assaulted before. She knew what it meant to have lewd comments made about her body. Perhaps she had been stalked before, or been the unwilling witness to public masturbation. Like all of us, Cyan knew very well what the long term emotional impact of harassment and assault felt like, and this time she wanted a different ending.
When we ask our readers why the ‘hollaback,’ the most frequent response is that they were tired of “doing nothing.” This makes sense. Harassment and assault are on a spectrum of violence against women. A study of rape victims found that the ones that fought back – even if they were unsuccessful – were less likely to be depressed or have PTSD afterwards. Fighting back, it seems, is good for you. The problem is – we shouldn’t have to.
While we at HollabackNYC do not support violence in any form, Cyan had no other options. When violence is the only answer, something is terribly, terribly wrong with our city.
We stand in solidarity with Cyan and her family during this difficult time.
Submitted by Jill
Around 4 AM on the 24th– Christmas Eve– I was coming home from a holiday party in Bay Ridge. I took the N train from 59th st to Union Square. He kept staring at me on the train; he followed me out of the 15th street exit, and 5 blocks down 15th street towards 1st avenue. I kept walking faster and faster; I could hear him panting. He must have been less than two feet away from me. I didn’t know what to do, I heard him fiddling with his keys so I didn’t know if he was armed. I ran across the crosswalk at 15th and 2nd Ave., and he was running after me. I half-ran all the way to my dorm, about to dial 911. When I caught the attention of the security guards there, he ran away. He even managed to say “good night!” before disappearing. Why he followed me from Bay Ridge to the East Village I don’t know, but look out for this creeper!
All I want for Christmas is a gun.
Submitted by Suzanne
I am a Bisexual Asian male who has experienced extreme harassment. My neighbor, the elderly man next door– Slandered, harassed and sexually harassed me for 2 years since I moved here from California. At first, when I got here, I was really thin and looked like a girl to most people. He told me he wanted to give me a sex change operation and rape me. For the next several months he slandered me, spread rumors I was a rapist, sex offender, child molester and people called me that in the neighborhood and on the train a few times. He was angry that I was a guy and not a girl and that I was making him gay. When I joined meetup.com and come home late at night, he would wait in front of my house every night ‘til I stop going. I saw him half naked filming me twice from his 3rd floor window a few months ago when I opened my blinds in the morning and I dare not to open my blinds in the morning anymore. People gossiped about seeing videos of me naked or me sleeping, etc in my bedroom on some pervert website. I overheard people talking in Chinatown and on the set of Fordham University during my filming of the “adjustment bureau” a Matt Damon movie where I worked as an extra.
Recently, He and his friends were yelling they want to castrate me, rape me. They called me a queer, fag and chink 2 weeks ago outside my house, heckling me.
I am a victim of racism and sexual harassment. I filed a harassment report by calling 911 on December 10, 2009 Thursday around 9:45PM when 2 female police officers drove to my house and alerted me to come outside to talk to them. The two female police officers is a female Black woman and a Spanish woman. I was told to call 718-627-6611 for Precinct 61 for the status of my complaint. I called again on December 15, 2009 and the officer who answered the phone said the complaint is closed and is on record and no arrests was made because my neighbor harassed me but didn’t assault me. I wrote to NBC news but to no avail. I don’t know who to turn to for help. I am a victim of sexual harassment and video voyeurism and slander and I think he is trying to get me killed because I look feminine and because of my sexual orientation. If this happened to a woman he work be arrested by now, but I am a guy, a bisexual guy and no one cares. I want the harassment to stop.
Submitted by Michael
Thanks to the 3,780 of you who reviewed project, we were just notified that our newest project, Hollaback!, will be moving to the next round of the Knight News Foundation Challenge! Hollaback! was the third most viewed project out of 755 applications. A sincere thank you from our entire team. We couldn’t have done it without your support.
The next generation of Hollaback will allow you to submit, experiences and photos through a Hollaback! IPhone app, online/mobile browser forms, and SMS texts. The submissions will make it easier to Hollaback, allowing us to collect more data which will be mapped on the site using GPS. The project is expected to cost us $20,000 for the technology alone. Thanks to our partners RightRides for Women’s Safety and the Barnard Center for Research on Women, we have already secured $6000. If we are able to secure an additional $12,000 within the next few months, our new mapping system will be up and running by late Spring. From there, we will be expanding to HollabackDC and beyond to countries like India and Saudi Arabia that have expressed interest.
We would like to wish you the happiest of HOLLAdays and a new year free of harassment.
Thanks to all of our male allies who took the survey. The results are here.
We are so happy to hear there was a street harassment conference! Now we just need to figure out how to score an invite to the next one.
“The sexual harassment of women in the streets, schools and work places of the Arab world is driving them to cover up and confine themselves to their homes, said activists at the first-ever regional conference addressing the once taboo topic.
Activists from 17 countries across the region met in Cairo for a two-day conference ending Monday and concluded that harassment was unchecked across the region because laws don’t punish it, women don’t report it and the authorities ignore it.”
To read the rest of the article, click here.
From the New York Daily News today:
Cops are searching for a subway pervert who they say exposed and fondled himself in front of an 18-year-old woman in Queens.
The sicko sat across from the teen on a Queens-bound G train at the Woodhaven Blvd. station in Elmhurst on Nov. 7 at about 3a.m., cops said.
He allegedly stared at the victim and pleasured himself.
The woman bolted from the train when the doors opened and boarded a Brooklyn-bound train out of the station, police said.
I was on the 7 train going into Manhattan a few weeks ago. The car I was in wasn’t very crowded, and there was plenty of room for people to sit, or at least not have to crowd each other while standing. I was sitting on the train playing on my iPhone when we suddenly went underground so I put my phone down and decided to look around the car and people watch. When I looked to my left, I noticed a man in his 30s standing in front of a girl who was sitting on the train. At first I didn’t think much of it, but when I looked a second time I noticed his sweatpants were pulled tight against his crotch. I looked again and saw that he was purposefully standing in front of the girl, pulling his pants tight against his erection. She was trying to look down at her phone to avoid looking at his thingy. I regret not taking his photo because I’m sure he’s done this to others.
Submitted by Alexandra
In a recent report on women’s safety in public transit (found here), author Loukaitou-Sideris, a professor of urban planning at the UCLA School of Public Affairs, was quoted saying:
“The perception that a bus station, train car, parking lot or particular neighborhood is dangerous forces many women to alter their travel patterns. This limits their access to the most basic of rights — to move freely in the public sphere. The situation is worse for low-income and minority women, who may reside in high-crime areas, travel back from work at odd hours, and lack the resources for private transport, such as cars and taxis.”
The report cited HollabackNYC as one of the grassroots groups organizing for improved safety in public transit for women. To read an article in Metro Magazine on the report, click here. To read an article in Physorg, click here.