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Hollaback Statement on Assembly Member Vito Lopez

Organization Combating Sexual Harassment Calls for JCOPE Investigation and Lopez’ Resignation

BROOKLYN, NY (08/25/2012) (readMedia)– Assembly Member Vito Lopez’ shocking and unacceptable sexual misconduct demands a swift and strong penalty. As an organization dedicated to combating sexual harassment, we call on Assemblymember Lopez to resign from the Assembly and from his chairmanship of the Kings County Democratic Party. We also call on the relevant law enforcement agencies, and the Joint Committee for Public Integrity to conduct the necessary broad investigation to assure New Yorkers, and other employees of the State Legislature that such conduct will not be tolerated.

If we allow Lopez to get away with sexual harassment without consequence, we will inevitably embolden harassers and silence victims.

We applaud the courage of the two unnamed employees of the State Assembly for coming forward with their complaints against a powerful senior member of the Assembly. By sharing their experiences, they have done their part to make the world safer for all of us.

It is often the case that those who feel empowered to sexually harass one or two employees are guilty of a broader pattern of behavior. It may well be that this is only the most recent instance of Assembly Member Lopez’ gross misconduct.

For more information on this case, follow the link for the New York Times article. To sign a petition asking for his resignation, click here.

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A week in our shoes: HOLLABACK AT THE NATIONAL SEXUAL ASSAULT CONFERENCE

Hey Hollabackers –

I’m at the National Sexual Assault Conference !  I got to meet Kelly Ziemann from Hollaback Des Moines and gave a presentation to the to 60+ professionals (some are pictured left) from around the country on how to infuse activism and the internet into their work.  It was an honor, a blast, and they had tons of great ideas.

 

Hollaback Baltimore is having a Women’s Equality Day Picnic! It’s this Sunday, check it out! 

 

The soon-to-launch Hollaback Victoria is holding a launch party! It takes takes place September 6th, isfamily friendly, wheelchair accessible, and includes t-shirt screenprinting! Rad! Details are here.

 

Hollaback Philly needs your help!  Support their efforts to end street harassment in Philly by giving them your vote this week.

 

Press!  Hollaback Chennai got a shout-out in the HinduHollaback Boston got a shout-out in the Boston Dig, and  I got profiled in Killer Startups! Also, Hollaback got profiled as an “outstanding organization” by A Woman Phenomenally. YAY!

 

Hollaback NYC holds workshops and gets organized! Hollaback! conducted two workshops at the “Yes She Can” conference for girls on introducing the Hollaback! movement, exploring the meaning and impact of street sexual harassment in their daily lives and provided them with tools to an empowered response to street harassment. We also attended the Women Occupying Wall Street 4th Feminist General Assembly. Hollaback! participated in the assembly focusing on people of Color and joined the education system committee group meeting. We Will Not Be Silent organization also participated in the meeting and provided signs of their inspiring quotes for the group photo.

All this work is possible because you believe in us.  So keep on keepin’ on!

 

HOLLA and out –

Emily

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A week in our shoes: HOT DAYS, COOL DONORS

Hey Hollabackers –

We have the coolest donors in the world.  And no, we don’t just think you all are awesome because you keep us alive and afloat, we think you are awesome because you do things like this - one of my favorite Hollabacks of all time. SuperRavenRay is a repeat donor to Hollaback, and as you can see, a total and complete badass.  Not to be outdone, I also had the honor of meeting with Cynthia Khoo this week.  She’s a repeat donor who runs THIS BLOG.  If you’re a donor and would like to come by and meet us in person, drop me a line!

 

Last week to vote for Hollaback PhillyThey write, “You heard about our advertising campaign for the Philadelphia subway lines. Help us expand that campaign to include more ads, and push us toward our goal of getting ads in bus shelters in Philadelphia!” Visit their project page and click “Vote for this Idea.”  If they win, they’ll recieve the $1000 needed to bring anti-harassment ads to the Philly bus shelters!

 

Welcome, Shahinaz! Shahinaz El Hennawi is our new international movement fellow. She comes to us from Egypt, where she has over eight years experience in projects related to women, youth and peace building. She’s now part of the “Community Solutions Fellows” program, and is with us full-time until the end of November.  You can read her full bio, here, or reach her at shahinaz@ihollaback.org.

 

HOLLA and out –

Emily

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SuperRavenRay’s story: “THIS IS STREET HARASSMENT, MOTHERFUCKER.”

I am proud of the way I handled this. I think if more women fought back and spoke up about this general, pervasive act of violence against us, less of this abuse would happen.

Earlier today, at around 10am, I went to clean off the windows of my car in preparation for going to the beach since they were so dirty, I couldn’t see. I was wearing a bikini tank top with short shorts but that is neither here or there.

I then heard coming from the Ralph’s store unloading dock area someone saying, “Hi”, and then cat calls and wolf whistles. I told them, “You need to respect women!” That is when I heard them call me a “Bitch!” I then walked over and confronted them and said that they need to respect women and to stop thinking that they are entitled to act like animals cause of what a woman wears and that they have no right to bully us around if they think we have “loose morals”.

Wanting to report their behinds to their company for calling me a “Bitch”, I ran back inside, saw their truck was parked next to a red light, and, next thing you know, a guy got out the truck, got in my face in a threatening manner, threatening to hit me – the entire time the tape was rolling – and felt he could intimidate me because of my 5’4, 100lbs frame. Because I was trained in Tae Kwon Do and in hand to hand combat, I stood my ground, I didn’t buldge and I let the film roll because if I were to run, that would show weakeness, a tactic a lot of women use which makes things worse since bullies and aggressors are only scared of aggression being thrown right back at them and so when you run, you show signs of weakness, which is what makes you an easy target since that is what predators like.

Interestingly, he also made racial epithets in terms of putting me down for my hair texture and calling me “manly looking” which further shows sexual Harassment and abuse is about male domination, bullying and control and not about “compliments” because if they felt I looked like a man, why approach me in the first place!?

So the cowardly Bastard jumps back in his truck and go. Fortunately, I got THIS incident on tape. I have a feeling he will be losing his job!

I felt great standing up to this Bastard. I am quite certain this is not the first time he did this but it will be the last with me because maybe he’ll realize some women will fight back and not put up with his Shit! I think if more women stand up to these fucks like I did, less of this would be happening since they do it to bully women since they feel we are physically inferior and weak so they feel we won’t fight back!

Unfortunately, most women don’t as when I spoke to a lady on my block about it, she said, “I would harass you to if I were a man and saw that body of yours”. Goddess, help us!

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HOLLA on the go: drive-by harasser, with heroic bystander intervention!

I was with some friends walking along the street and this truck of guys slows down and they start whistling and making noises. This nice man came to our rescue and told them to ‘f’ off and they drove away but he got their license number and called the cops.

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Kat’s story: “Is this more of an ableist/opportunity thing, or do you guys think there is a sexualized element to it as well?”

Ok, this isn’t exactly a story. Well, it is, but it’s also a question. Sorry if it’s a little long!

So, I am a women who was born with a disability. I am a little person, but I am a proportional one, so I basically look like a little kid. (I think it’s due to an auto-immune disease). I also have Crohn’s disease, which is unrelated, but results in me being unable to eat and digest food properly, so I’m pretty skinny as well. (Now I’ve got some meat on my bones, because I’ve been in remission for almost two years. Go me! But I also swim, so I’m still pretty tiny). Besides that, I’m pretty conventionally attractive. I don’t say that to brag, but just to sort of give a context for my life–as in, I think I would have it worse if I wasn’t conventionally attractive, and it also draws more people to me. (Because society sucks that way)

People often compliment me on various things–my complexion, my hair, my body. Or they will ask/remark on my differences–which is annoying, but tolerable. However, they will then sometimes reach out AND TOUCH ME. They’ll stroke my cheek, or try to run a hand through my hair, or put their hand on the small of my back (still can’t figure that one out). It happens a lot at work (I’ve actually posted about it before.) The worst was a few weeks ago when a man grabbed me on both sides where my neck and shoulder meet and SHOOK me. I don’t know why. Everyone asks, and I honestly could not tell you what the fuck was going through his head.

It’s sometimes women, but it’s mostly men who do this, and my question is two-fold. 1) Is this more of an ableist/opportunity thing, or do you guys think there is a sexualized element to it as well? (When it’s men) 2) Do you guys think that I would experience the same thing if I were a man? (Are there any male posters with experiences of this?) I’m not sure why it matters–I guess I just want to be able to identify the type of harassment, in order to respond properly.

Thanks and sorry this was so long!

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A week in our shoes: HOLLA AROUND THE WORLD

Hey Hollabackers!

Because of your support, we continue to move and shake.  This week:

Hollaback Philly needs your support! They write, “You heard about our advertising campaign for the Philadelphia subway lines. Help us expand that campaign to include more ads, and push us toward our goal of getting ads in bus shelters in Philadelphia!” Visit their project page and click “Vote for this Idea.”  If they win, they’ll recieve the $1000 needed to bring anti-harassment ads to the Philly bus shelters!

 

Hollaback Baltimore went to the Okaton conference in Baltimore to expose the harassment epidemic. They said:

Street harassment happens everywhere. No matter what you wear, what time of day or where you are heading. This video is proof. The attendees of July’s Otakon here at the Baltimore Convention Center had plenty to say about street harassment. They were getting it from strangers back home AND from Baltimore, whether in cosplay or street clothes, and even from some other attendees (who you’d think would be happy enough to be around like-minded people that they wouldn’t ruin it for some fellow nerdy women). This video help shows that it is not the women or lgbtq folks who need to change their behavior, it is the harassers.

Well done Hollaback Bmore! Check out their video, above.

 

Thank you, Amy! We were very sad to say goodbye to our summer staff member, Amy Klein. Amy is the co-founder of Permanent Wave, an amazing network of feminist activists and artists. This summer, Amy authored our new guide for activists interested in launching Hollaback sites on college campuses. We are honored to have worked with her, and she will surely have a lasting impact on our organization and the movement.

 

Hollaback Boston Chalks it Up! Join them in their direct action sidewalk chalking on August 11th — and send us the photos! We’ll post them here on ihollaback.org.

 

Hollaback Brussels issues a public statement in response to the government’s new 250 euro street harassment fines. They write, “We are very happy to witness how Belgian Politicians are acknowledging the issue and making legislative plans to address sexism and street harassment. We’d like to encourage them further but we also would like to see a deeper analysis and research for the problem at hand.” They offer a ton of great suggestions and alternatives to criminalization. Check them out, here.

 

We’re all in this together, so thanks again for your support.

 

HOLLA and out -

Emily

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Brian’s story: “A bunch of faggots”

I was walking with two male friends and we happened to be walking very close together. I’m female-bodied but present ambiguously. A car drove by and slowed down, calling us “A bunch of faggots,” and then sped away really quickly.

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Nicolette’s story: “SLUTS”

My roommate and I were walking down the street back to our apartment from our local Kwik Trip in t-shirts and athletic shorts around 11:45 pm. We were minding our own business, clearly, simply walking and talk about our plans for the rest of the evening. As we crossed and intersection a car turned, slowed down, and a young male (presumably college age) yelled “SLUTS!” at us and him and his friend proceeded to laugh at that. As I turned around to respond– to be honest, i didn’t even know what I’d say– they were already gone. My roommate and I didn’t speak for a few moments, embarrassed and hurt by what had happened. When we got home, we turned from embarrassment, to anger, to sadness. My friend showed me this website after I posted the story to my facebook page. This is what I posted:

I am deeply distressed and frustrated with the fact that as a 22 year old female college student I cannot even walk down the street with my roommate in a t-shirt and athletic shorts without being called “SLUTS!” by passing cars. Besides pointing out the fact that there is a very blatant double standard being promoted with that comment, one that is still incredibly evident in our society today, I have a few more things to say.

FOR REAL?!?!? I know this type of shit happens everywhere and to everyone, but it is upsetting regardless. To the guys who yelled that at us tonight, how did it make you feel? Did it make you feel better about yourself or more empowered? Do you REALLY think its OKAY to yell at two girls walking down the sidewalk from YOUR CAR without giving us a chance to respond?! What if someone said that to your sister? Your female friends? Your mother? Or other women in your life that you love and respect dearly?

You don’t even know us, dude. Not a damn thing about us. And I’ll admit, it hurt my damn feelings and I don’t even know YOU. But these things happen. And I’ll recover, while you’ll remain an insensitive and disrespectful individual.

So while you can laugh about this with all your friends for a mere second and probably forget about the whole incident, I will not. And I’ll use it as motivation to keep spreading my truth, keep studying what I’m studying, and keep on my path of treating others well, even strangers walking down the street. It is NOT OKAY to yell degrading comments to women. EVER. It’s not funny, it’s hurtful and silencing. Peace and Love, yo.

I think this website is absolutely amazing. Thanks for being a place where I feel I can be heard. Infinite love

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A week in our shoes: KAMAU BELL RULES EDITION

Hey Hollabackers!

Because of your ongoing support, we’ve had a rockin’ week! Here’s what’s new:

Street harassment expert Vicky Simister joins our team for the month!  The UK Anti Street Harassment Campaign was founded in 2010 by Vicky after she was harassed and subsequently assaulted on a North London street. When the police were called, Vicky was told “boys will be boys” and that she had brought about her own assault by not accepting her harassers “compliments”. Since then she’s won tons of awards and has become a spokesperson against street harassment. She’s working with us this summer on our campaign against campus harassment, and we’re so honored to have her!

“A Shit Sandwich of Oppression.” On Wednesday, Vicky and I were interviewed by Kamau Bell for his new show on F/X called “Totally Biased.”  After learning about the root causes of street harassment, Kamau responded, “so basically, it’s a shit sandwich of oppression.” Vicky and I fell immediately in love.  A photo of the interview is above, and the show premiers on Thursday, August 9th.

Brooklyn Magazine thinks were “culture changers.” OH YES WE ARE. Brooklyn magazine is honoring us with a bunch of other artists and creative types, because like them, we’re changing the culture [that makes street harassment OK].  To celebrate our success, they dolled me up and put clothes on me that cost more than my monthly salary.  Seriously.

Thanks for your ongoing support, and if you get a chance this weekend: tell someone about Hollaback. No one deserves to deal with street harassment alone.

HOLLA and out –

Emily

 

 

 

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