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As part of Hollaback!’s campaign to end campus harassment, Rutgers University student Megan Pickarski, has shared with us her college harassment stories both on and off campus. And Hollaback! is going to share them with you in four installments all this week to give the masses a taste of what is a stark reality for college students.
Megan is majoring in Women and Gender Studies with a minor in Philosophy. She has a fearless passion for helping people and is dedicated to revealing the harassment that occurs on campus and on the street every day in New Brunswick.
Below is the first story from Megan Pickeraski’s series Men Who Whistle and Howl Like Dogs:
While at a house party with your friends, you decide to walk downstairs to the basement to grab a beer. On your way down, someone grabs your ass. You turn around to say something, but the basement’s too damn dark and crowded to make one person out from another.
Beer in hand, you make your way back up the stairs only to have your ass grabbed again. You turn around and this time find yourself face to face with two greasy muscle heads. They both smirk as one steps closer towards you, you can smell the alcohol on his breath.
“Yo baby, we wer’ just tryin’ to be friendly,” he says as he looks you up and down.
You step forward and try to move through them, telling them to get the hell out of your way, but it’s like trying to move a mountain. The one on your right starts grabbing at you with his coarse hands, the other one stands back and commentates,
“Oh yeah, you like that don’t you. Don’t you.”
Your whole body clenches up in fear as you push yourself against the wall, trying to escape his desperate pawing. Fortunately, only about a minute goes by (although it feels like forever), before a friend comes bounding down the stairs and pulls you to safety.
The grease heads scurry away. You can hear them chuckle like two little school children as they head back downstairs to the basement. You sigh in relief, but leave the party with your friends feeling angry and violated.
Dear Hollabackers —
Our campaign is underway, and we couldn’t be more excited! In the first three days we raised over $3000. To donate or to check it out, click here. We need your support to make this dream a reality!
Permanent Wave hosted a benefit show on our behalf! Big thanks to the team at Permanent Wave, and the bands who played including Leda, Young Unknowns, Emerald Lakes, and Cindy Lou Gooden. We raised $225 towards our campaign to end campus harassment!
We went to the Ms. Foundation Gala! I was joined by our board members Yetta Kurland and Kathleen Adams. It was such an honor to be there — as the Ms. Foundation was our first foundation funder! We are so grateful to them for believing in us from the beginning.
Our site leaders from Baltimore and Brussels were in town! They are amazing, and doing such amazing work. It was so awesome to meet them.
Keep on holla’ing back! And don’t forget to spread the word about our campaign to end campus harassment!
HOLLA and out —
We are taking Hollaback! to the next level, take a minute to watch our campaign video and to donate here. We are in the first week of our campaign and have already raised $2,865 of our $25,000 goal! Help us to end harassment on college campuses! Donate today, every donation counts!
We are taking Hollaback! to the next level, take a minute to watch our campaign video and to donate here. Yesterday was the first day of our campaign and we already raised $1,570 of our $25,000 goal! Help us to end harassment on college campuses! Donate today, every donation counts!
BY EMILY MAY
I grew up on a pretty steady diet of Sesame Street. I moved to New York City from Richmond when I was 18 years old — and as I was exiting my dorm some guy said “hey baby” to me. Assuming New York City was like grown-up Sesame Street, I said “hey” back. He responded, “I want to **** the **** out of you.” The harassment continued throughout my college education, and I figured it was my fault. I didn’t look “tough” enough, and if I was really a strong woman than it wouldn’t hurt so much. But it did.
We started Hollaback! in 2005 thinking that street harassment was an urban problem. Over the past seven years I’ve talked to thousands of college students, and they’ve shown me that street harassment happens all over college campuses. It doesn’t matter how big or small the campus is, or if it’s in a rural or urban area. Studies show that 51% of college men admit to harassing their female counterparts, which of course means the reality is much, much worse.
My sister is going to college next year, and from where I’m sitting enough is enough. In a 2005 study 57% of students said that they wanted an anonymous online reporting platform to address campus harassment. It was by far and away the #1 solution voted for by students. When I called the author of the report, she said that no one ever implemented the recommendation. NO ONE. Luckily, anonymous online reporting is what Hollaback! does best.
We’re taking Hollaback! to the next level, and we need your support. Take two minutes to watch our campaign video and donate here.
This is a long fight — but we’re in it to win it. And with your support, all the baby girls rolling around in strollers today will never have to experience campus harassment the way that we have.
Street harassment is one of the most pervasive forms of gender-based violence and one of the least legislated against – and rarely, if ever, is it linked to masculinity. It’s time to make the connection between our experiences on the street with what society teaches boys about what it means to be a man. And it’s time to offer a positive alternative – healthy masculinity. Now, some of the nation’s leading non-profit organizations are coming together to launch the most comprehensive effort ever centered on centered on non-violent, emotionally healthy masculinity.
What is the Healthy Masculinity Action Project (HMAP)?
The Healthy Masculinity Action Project (HMAP) is a two-year national grassroots initiative to build a new generation of male leaders who will model non-violent, emotionally healthy masculinity and serve as positive change makers in society – helping to take their communities from awareness to action. Everyday men, women, and teens nationwide are all driving HMAP.
Who is behind HMAP?
Men Can Stop Rape, the project leader, is joined by HMAP’s organizing partners: the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence, Men Stopping Violence, Coach for America, Women of Color Network, and A CALL TO MEN.
A number of organizations are helping by promoting HMAP to their national networks. Hollaback! is among them.
We hope you will join us in this effort. Ultimately, it will take everyone for HMAP to be a success.
The Healthy Masculinity Summit will kick off HMAP this October. Watch for more information in upcoming weeks.
Not gonna lie. Hillary Clinton is a childhood hero of mine. When I was little, I only knew about three women who wanted to change the world. There was Susan B. Anthony, but she was way before my time. There was Mother Theresa, but I thought I liked boys too much for that path. And then, there was Hillary Clinton. I read “It Takes a Village” cover to cover when I was fourteen, and I’ve been watching and admiring ever since. Who knew, that I’d grow up to co-found a nonprofit that got funded by the AMAZING New York Women’s Foundation — and that I’d get to share a stage with Hillary Clinton.
Thank you all for your ongoing support that makes Hollaback! happen, and without further ado, updates!
We held our first safety audit in Queens! We want to thank Councilmember Ferreras and her team for partnering with us — it was a total success! Details are here.
We presented at the New York State Coalition Against Sexual Violence Conference! I kicked of the conference with a keynote about our work to end street harassment. It was their first conference in six years, and over 200 people were there. WOOT!
We’re expanding to address campus harassment! We met with students from NYU, Rutgers, and Western Carolina who are going to pilot our new campus harassment initiative. Our indiegogo campaign to support our work with campus harassment starts next week — stay tuned!
If you’re in New York, join us at our benefit show hosted by our friends at Permanent Wave next Tuesday (the 15th) and sign up to march with us in the Pride Parade on June 24th.
HOLLA and out!
While we don’t think that violence is any answer to street harassment, we do understand where these women are coming from. Street harassment is scary, and our studies show that speaking up and speaking out about minimizes the emotional trauma. So keep it up, ladies! We’re fighting right alongside of you.
Council Member Julissa Ferreras and the nonprofit organization Hollaback! (that’s us!) led an historic community safety audit on Saturday, May 5th in Queens from 10:00am to 2:00pm. Community members met at The Transfiguration Of Christ Greek Orthodox Church, 3805 98th Street, Corona, New York for training. Afterwards they surveyed blocks in their neighborhood where residents expressed safety concerns and developed a concrete plan to address those concerns.
“This audit focused on women’s safety is a key step in the crime prevention effort in my district. We hope to develop a better understanding of the community’s needs and concerns to help reduce the risk of crime against women in the future and I am proud to collaborate with Hollaback! in this effort,” stated Council Member Julissa Ferreras.
The audit gathered important information from the community including the ratio of men to women, how public space is being utilized and details on how well roads, parks and public transit stops are lit at nighttime. In addition, audit participants answered questions on how safe they feel when occupying public spaces.
“It takes a community to make communities safer. Block by block, we’re going to work together with community members, organizations, and government to develop concrete improvements for how we can make Queens safer,” says Hollaback! Executive Director Emily May. Community safety audits are an UN-identified best practice to address street harassment in communities across the world.
“You will find no bigger fan of Hollaback than myself,” said Council Member Letitia James. “Street harassment remains a common occurrence for women throughout New York City, and I commend Council Member Julissa Ferreras for collaborating with them to bring the discussion to her Queens district. I hope this leads to a larger conversation on how to effectively combat public harassment against women, LGBT, and non-gender-conforming persons throughout our City streets.”
Following an assessment of the audit data, recommendations to create safer spaces for women in Queens will be submitted to the city agencies. Council Member Ferreras and Hollaback! have already discussed plans to paint over graffiti, increase street lighting, create harassment-free zones around public schools and install an anti-harassment PSA campaign in public spaces such as parks and bus stops.
Representatives from NYC agencies attended including NYPD, NYC Department of Transportation, and the Mayor’s Community Affairs Unit. Collaborating community organizations include Elmcor Senior Services, Dominican American Society (DAS), Ecuadorian Civic Committee, Make the Road New York, and Community Board 3 members. This event was generously supported by: Health First, Dominicana Radio Dispatcher, Mama’s Leo’s Latticini, Transfiguration of Christ Greek Orthodox Church, and SD Printing.
From the filmmaker:
It is the story of a creepy man who, on a quiet night on a Parisian street, starts following a lone woman. As he gets closer and closer, he notices that he himself is being followed – first by one woman, then two, then more and more women until it seems that an endless stream of women are pursuing him. For the first time he feels the fear of how it is to be hunted…
“Turn Around” is set in modern day Paris, France. It will be shot over two nights in several quiet streets and alleys of Paris. The genre of the film is a mix of noir, thriller and satire. There is no dialogue in the film, making it universally understandable. The sound design will focus on creating the atmosphere and enhancing the tense dramatic moments in the empty, windy streets, full of echoing high heels and a breathless, petrified man on the run.
Sounds pretty awesome to us! They are running a campaign on Indiegogo right now to raise the funds for the project — check it out!