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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.
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.
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.
Yesterday there was a public hearing on harassment and assault in the subways. There, the police called sexual harassment “No. 1 Quality of Life Offense.” Hey NYPD, people talking loudly on their cell phones is a quality of life offense. Harassment and assault is violence.
Still, we are glad the NYPD has taken notice and grateful for all the press on the issue:
“Subway Perv Reports Going Up” Metro International. (Check out the sidebar on the next generation of Hollaback!)
“Sexual Harassment Is ‘No. 1 Quality of Life Offense’ on Subways, Police Say” New York Times. (Check out the mention of New Yorkers for Safe Transit, co-founded by HollabackNYC!)
“Complaints of sexual abuse on subway worst in Manhattan” New York Post
“Gal’s wild ‘goosed’ chase” New York Post (Note: Oraia is helping us launch the Hollaback Iphone app!)
“Police: Subway Sexual Harassment the Top Quality of Life Concern” AMNY. (Check out the quote from Tara Rose, who submitted her story to HollabackNYC a couple weeks ago!)
“Sexual Harassment On Subways An ‘Underreported Crime‘” Gothamist.
From the New York Times article:
“Holla Back NYC lets women post pictures of men who harass them on the street. Holla Back struck such a nerve when it was introduced in 2005 (and led to more than one arrest) that now there are 20 Holla Back sites.”
Reposted from the New York Post:
An ex-con is back behind bars for groping a young woman in broad daylight as she walked into her SoHo apartment building, police sources said yesterday.
José Marrero, 32, allegedly stalked the 23-year-old victim for three blocks on Oct. 4 while saying, “Hey beautiful, come with me, let’s go somewhere.”
The suspect, who has done time for drug charges, pounced as she stepped into the lobby of her building on Varick Street near Broome streets at 8:30 a.m., sources said.
The victim tried to fight off the attacker, but Marrero allegedly threw her to the ground, rubbed his body against hers and molested her.
Two witnesses stumbled upon the attack, prompting the suspect to dash off, but the victim picked Marrero out of a photo array.
The suspect was arrested last Wednesday and charged with burglary and sexual abuse.
From the New York Post:
A tech-savvy skirt-chaser fitted his boots with cameras and victimized women as they walked through Union Square Park, cops said yesterday.
Eric Pierson, 43, from Brooklyn, was seen walking behind women near East 15th Street.
He was carrying a viewer, which was connected by wires through his pockets to tiny cameras lodged in the tongues of his boots, cops said.
Police moved in on him on Sept. 2 and found recordings showing the legs and underwear of another eight victims, authorities said.
Pierson was arrested and charged with unlawful surveillance.
The recent story of the perv caught masturbating on the train has hit a nerve. It’s no surprise, it seems like everyone in New York has either seen someone masturbating on the train or knows someone that has. The subway cars are the living rooms of New York: we read, daydream, listen to music, play video games, and sip coffee. Interupting this moment of solice, isn’t just annoying – it’s scary.
Kudos to Amy Zimmer and the Metro for taking another look at this story, here. HollabackNYC’s Emily May is quoted, “the MTA says crime is down over the last three years, but crime to who?,” she asked. the Canadians have also taken note, and recently did this piece on BBN3:
NBC is reporting that the man whose picture was taken while masturbating on the subway was caught. Hollaback’s Emily May was interviewed for the story on behalf of New Yorkers for Safe Transit:
“You know, I’ve seen hundreds of women try and take these reports to the police, and sometimes they are successful. Sometimes they will get someone who is good. Most of the time, they’re not.”
To see the full story, click here. The question is: do you have to take your story to the media for the police to take action? I hope the police will take this story to heart and set protocols and procedures that keep all New Yorkers safe.
Check out our friends at Stop Street Harassment for a comprehensive look at the story.