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Safe Campus, Strong Voices

BY RACHEL JACOBS

The “Safe Campus, Strong Voices” Campaign is a national initiative for Campus Safety Awareness Month in September to raise awareness and increase advocacy on the issue of college sexual violence and the vast amount of under-reported cases as well as the injustices that many survivors face.  This groundbreaking campaign will focus on victim empowerment, prevention, bystander intervention, and provide tangible tools for both men and women to work together to create a safer campus. It will raise awareness and engage students to shatter the silence of campus sexual violence.

We at Security On Campus, Inc. and PAVE: Promoting Awareness, Victim Empowerment cannot do this alone though! We need your help to reach your campus community!  The Safe Campus, Strong Voices Campaign is looking for student leaders and faculty to work with us!  We will provide the tool kit and everything you need to create this on your campus in both September and beyond! Please join us in raising awareness and breaking the silence with students at your school. To get started, please visit our website at www.StrongVoicesCampaign.org. To purchase a tool kit, click on the “Get Involved!” link at the top of our site, or follow this link: http://www.wix.com/ange33/scsv#!contact Tool kits are being sold at a discounted price until July 22! Thank you in advance for your support and dedication to shattering the silence of campus sexual violence!

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Anonymous’s Story: Don’t tell me to smile

A man with a clipboard was blocking women on the sidewalk and demanding that they smile on the sidewalk near the w 4th st station. When I told him to stop harassing women, he started ranting at me. I went into CVS and while I was in there, he came in and tried to scam the cashier into refunding something he hadn’t bought.

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SAFE STREETS AZ: Creating a Community Against LGBTQ Street Harassment

BY STEPHANIE E. ARENDT

Senior Prevention Educator

Southern Arizona Center Against Sexual Assault

 

In just the past two years, the level of awareness and support available for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer-identified youth experiencing bullying and harassment in schools has grown astronomically. There are almost no safeguards, however, for the kinds of harassment they encounter in public spaces on a daily basis. From cat calls to physical threats and hate crimes, public harassment is one of the most endemic forms of gender-based violence, and LGBTQ-identified youth are especially vulnerable by virtue of their perceived or actual gender, sexuality or sexual orientation.

 

In Tucson, Arizona, Safe Streets AZ has emerged to track and address public harassment, and provide a greater network of support for the LGBTQ community. A program of the Southern Arizona Center Against Sexual Assault (SACASA) funded by the Alliance Fund Queer Youth Initiative, Safe Streets AZ provides youth ages 13-23 the opportunity to share their story, get support, and become part of a growing movement to end public and street harassment. Inspired by organizations like Hollaback!, the program combines an interactive Google map and blog to track and share incidences of harassment. Community members can also use the map to locate “Safe Sites”– local businesses and organizations where youth experiencing harassment can go to temporarily feel safe and receive resources.

During conversations with local LGBTQ youth, almost all of the 30 youth that took part had experienced public harassment of some kind. Many said they worry daily about being harassed, and felt that the level of harassment they experience as the result of their perceived gender and sexual orientation is more intense. “You have to take it more seriously if you’re gay,” said one youth. “A lot of the time if someone says they’re going to kill a faggot then they’re probably serious, and you have to treat it that way.”

Despite its prevalence, there is little data on the frequency and impact of public harassment, particularly at the local level. Safe Streets AZ aims to change that. By collecting stories and reports from partner organizations as well as community members, information will be collected and used to hold more perpetrators accountable, and create better systems of support for anyone experiencing harassment.

 

Visit: www.safestreetsaz.wordpress.com to share your story, get support, and –together—help end harassment.

 

 

For more information on the Southern Arizona Center Against Sexual Assault, visit www.sacasa.org

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Anonymous’s Story: Your protection isn’t necessary

I was walking home down Stuyvesant avenue from the A/C train on Utica, it was raining and I was huddling because I had no umbrella. A man came very close to me and whispered that he would “protect me from the rain” and he kept walking. I don’t know what he meant but I felt very uncomfortable and I ducked into a deli to shake the feeling before I continued on home.

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groping, Nonverbal Harassment, Uncategorized

Angela’s Story: “I am afraid to be walking my own streets by myself”

My timeline of secrecy… I will not keep it to myself anymore.
I have been sexually harassed times before in public places.
The first time when I was 11 or 12, after school a friend and I were standing at a Walgreens photo kiosk and a man was pretending to grab a snack on the lower shelf, when I realize that he has been there way too long to get something. I look again and see that he has a video camera aimed up our catholic school skirts. I yelled “Hey!” and he ran. I didn’t know what to think. I explained what I saw to my friend and aside from how barbaric that is, we’re glad we always have shorts under these skirts.
After that, about the rest of the time I have spent my middle school and high school days in San Francisco, I may have been “goosed” on my rear end maybe a total of 4 times by middle aged men way older than I was. The places that this occurred usually were in crowded places like a Chinatown street or store, or on public transportation. Quite frankly I’ve been paranoid since of people sliding past behind me. I’ve been more cautious; I trust no one and assume every man can and will potentially do that.
I’ve told my family once about an incident and they laughed at me and said, “the next time that happens, make sure you step on them hard and make it public.” I was embarrassed and a little mad that they even laughed and dismissed it so easily; logically, yes, it’s that simple, but it altered my perception of safety being female.
I left to a university in Southern California and felt completely safe, or safer to much greater degree. For one thing, shorts and tanks were everywhere; everyone was my age with young bodies. Sexual violations were rare especially with the amount of hormones and alcohol involved, it seemed like it gave permission to do something stupid today and regret it tomorrow (I may be over-exaggerating, but it is what it seems). Plus, there’s an escort program provided by the school that aided in that security.
And then I came back to San Francisco. I am now 23. I’ve forgotten how it is. In my neighborhood, never ever has it happened so close to home. I was walking back and a man on a bike, with a cap and a messenger bag groped me from behind and sped off. My reaction was not quick enough. I looked around and there was no one. I am afraid to be walking my own streets by myself… Two days ago I saw this same man speed off in front of my house window. There was no time for me to snap a picture, but I felt like I would see him again. I wondered if police did anything about these cases of sexual harassment or if there isn’t enough proof to do anything about it. Then I found this site.
This picture I took of this man today didn’t physically or verbally do anything to me. I was waiting for a bus alone and I could tell from my periphery he was staring at me, you cannot mistake it because traffic comes the other direction. I was texting meanwhile to speak to someone so I can feel a tad safer. A woman and her family decided to stand around me thankfully. But as I was out of his gaze hiding behind this woman, he stepped back to get a good view of me as I pretended to constantly look up to check for a bus, but really checking to see if he was still looking; he would advert his eyes each time I looked up his direction. I didn’t want to be followed. I remembered the Hollaback site. So I held my smartphone up to snap a picture. He turned around to dodge it and I was afraid I wasn’t going to get a clear picture. But the shutter time was perfect. I sent the picture to a friend in case anything was to happen to me, or if this man was offended and decided to take my phone, etc. After that, he crossed the street and left. He didn’t even bother to wait for a bus anymore. I was relieved. Now I wonder, taking a picture so openly and obviously, if I was creeping on a creeper, a little ironic. Technically in this last story I have told, nothing happened. It doesn’t neatly fall under a definition of harassment that I can bubble in. I was only fearful and creeped out. I may have prevented something from happening; I’ll never be sure of that. But if I did, this picture is of a man that I (or anyone) may be careful watch out for.

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Uncategorized

Anonymous’s Story: Take the hint!

Friday night some friends and I set a picnic in the park for an outdoor movie screening.  No more than ten minutes after we got comfortable to enjoy the evening, this guy and his buddy come over and asked if they could sit with us and eat our food.  We turned our backs and deliberately ignored them for several minutes, but they continued to hover and smirk with a goofy grin.  Even after we took the first photo, they still didn’t catch on, and actually started to pose together for a second shot.  Idiots!  Finally, we turned and said in the “I mean business” tone that they were bothering us, and NO we would NOT appreciate their company!

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Our Streets Too: Philly’s Anti-Street Harassment Day 2011 with Nuala Cabral

Reposted from Hollaback! Philly

On March 20, 2011, Nuala Cabral organized the Philadelphia celebration of International Anti-Street Harassment Day, and HollabackPhilly was lucky enough to have participated with her. Cabral recently released footage of the day with commentary by the activists involved in the awareness raising event. The video (below) involves a discussion of street harassment, followed by footage of the Anti-Street Harassment Day events and commentary on the day’s successes and lessons. The event occurred in Rittenhouse Square and El Stops in West Philadelphia, and engaged men, young girls, parents, and various other women.

 

I contacted Cabral to get some insight into what inspired her to not only celebrate Anti-Street Harassment Day here in Philadelphia, but also what inspires her to use film as a means of advocacy. Cabral responded:

Creating Walking Home connected me with a community of folks who are addressing street harassment through writing, art, film, education and community action. When I heard about Holly Kearl’s book and the Anti Street Harassment Day she was spearheading, I knew I had to be involved. Screening Walking Home or viewing it online has been a great way to reach a wide audience and spark dialogue. However, a film, a book, an online magazine does not reach all audiences. Therefore  it is necessary to go beyond media and engage with people face to face about this issue.

 

She also describes many lessons the group learned throughout the day, about the community’s response and ourselves.

 

We learned that many women and men have a story to share about street harassment. Engaging in conversation was a way to validate those stories and voices. Experiencing push back from some people reminded us that we still have work to do, in terms of shifting norms and expectations around street harassment and simply taking a stand.
It felt good that we had numbers–solidarity. It was inspiring. Street harassment can make you feel alone and dis-empowered. When we were out there together, I felt empowered and supported.

Chalking on the streets drew people in and led to conversations about why were were there.

The drum also created an environment that was upbeat and energizing. For those of us who are shy, that pulsing beat helped us get out of our comfort zone.

I agree with her that the drums energized the event, not only for the activists but also for the surrounding community. It also made us more approachable and less intimidating. The chalk had a similar effect while also making the discussion interactive and engaging.

I was part of the Rittenhouse portion of the event and many women shared stories with us about prior street harassment incidents, a few men pushed back and told us the line is too blurry between harassment and a compliment, and a few parents went on to explain street harassment to their daughters as their daughters drew pictures with the chalk.

All in all, it was an effective day of awareness raising in a city that needs the anti-street harassment discussion. We look forward to working with Cabral in the future to continue bringing the discussion to the streets!

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Anonymous’s Story: Hey harassers, your comments are unnecessary

I was verbally harassed and ogled on Patrick St. in Old Town, Alexandria, VA by a man in a black t-shirt, green shorts, short hair, wearing headphones.  He stated, “lookin’ good. There she goes with her fine self.”  He was waking into the Henry St. parking lot from Patrick St. while I was exiting.

If you want to live in a world where you dress to look good for you, not for some man on the street, donate now to our “I’ve Got Your Back” campaign.

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Uncategorized

La Diablita’s Story: “I don’t walk down the street or wait at the bust stop for your approval”

I have to walk and take buses every day to work, run errands, etc. and
just about every day, some asshole has to honk his horn at me when
driving by. I usually ignore this, thinking I’m not going to give them
the attention they want but I’m sick of just doing nothing so lately
I’ve been flipping the bird at them. What do these jerks get out of honking
at women, anyway? And it especially pisses me off when I’m just
walking down the street, lost in my own thoughts and then,
“BEEEEEEEEEP!!!” and it startles the bejesus out of me. It’s like I
have no fucking right to leave my apartment and walk down the street
in peace. And it’s NOT what I’m wearing because I’ll be heading to
work wearing my boring, loose-fitting, conservative work
clothes…pants, long skirts, all topped off by a baggy hoodie to
cover my ample chest when I’m out and about since I HAVE had comments
made about my breasts by total strangers. With all the unwanted
attention I get, I feel like I’m stark-naked and spread-eagle in the
middle of the sidewalk with a huge neon sign above my head saying “DO
ME!” If you are a man who harasses women on the street, FUCK YOU! I
don’t walk down the street or wait at the bus stop for your approval
or commentary. I have work to go to and shit to get done. And thanks,
Hollaback! What an awesome way to get this off my chest and to know I
am not alone.

La Diablita isn’t alone! And you should be either.  Donate to the “I’ve got your back” campaign to make this dream a reality.

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Uncategorized

Dinah’s Story: “Making faces like he wanted to eat me”

He was staring me down, making faces like he wanted to eat me and then I crossed the street and walked the opposite of him. Trying to hail a cab and I turn around and he was right in back of me!! Totally disrespecting me the way he was staring at me and making motions with his tongue. Very disturbing and uncomfortable.

Chances are Dinah wasn’t alone with this happened. Someone should have had her back and offered to help.  But no one did.  To change this terrifying dynamic, donate to the “I’ve Got Your Back” campaign today.

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