Appalachian Ohio, Athens GA, Atlanta, Berkeley, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Columbia MO, Columbus, Des Moines, Durham & Chapel Hill, East Lansing, Fredericksburgh VA, Houston, Los Angeles, Muncie IN, New York City, NYU, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Plattsburgh, Richmond VA, San Francisco, Tucson, Twin Cities
I’m a New Yorker living in France and I was wondering if you had any information/statistics/articles on street harassment in France. The reason I’m inquiring is because, yes, obviously as a woman (of color) I’ve experienced this type of thing everywhere, but I’ve seriously never experienced it to the degree that I do in France and I’m wondering what is up. Just today, during my 1.5 hour trip grocery shopping, I was followed by a guy who kept telling me I was elegant, a guy stopped dead in his tracks to watch me walk by, a guy yelled from across the street that I was “ravishing”, a guy purposely (and obviously) went out of his way to brush up against me while with his WIFE in the pasta aisle, and the finale: a man waiting at a stop light in his car psssssssssst-ed and called me over.. as if!! I’m tired of people telling me I should feel complimented or that it’s because I’m attractive or because of what I’m wearing. I hadn’t showered, had no make up on, had my hair up and was wearing a T-shirt, cardigan, jeans, flats. It’s seriously at the point where I HATE leaving my house and it doesn’t help that a month ago a guy in a secluded area of a park approached me and lifted up my skirt. I’ve started warning friends that I can’t stay out past dark bc I already know I WILL BE harassed by someone on my way home. I want to think that there’s no difference in male privilege/entitlement between the two countries, but my experience is telling me otherwise. I have never felt so intimidated by this type of harassment.
Submitted by Sabriya
EDITOR’S NOTE: We don’t speak french, but if you know of any resources please send them to us and we’ll pass them along to Sabriya.
September 14, 2010
This letter is in response to your Officer inquiry dated September 7, 2010 regarding sexual harassment by a postal employee.
The issue you raise about employee behavior is one that concerns every postal manager. Postmaster General John Potter has continually stressed the seriousness of sexual harassment against or by any employee.
Every customers should immediately report such incident of unacceptable behavior immediately to a supervisor, station manager, or a postal official that is on the premises who can promptly address the issue, such as you have done. The manager has taken the appropriate action to ensure that this employee’s behavior is corrected.
If you experience such an incident in the future, please do not hesitate to contact the to ensure that immediate action is taken.
Please accept our apologies for having to endure such unacceptable behavior.
Submitted by Raven
EDITOR’S NOTE: When you experience harassment by someone working for a company that you can hold accountable – by all means do so! We’ve had a lot of success with that on the site – and this is another great example of it.
The deadline for the Justmeans Paperless Challenge is Wednesday the 15th, and Hollaback! is so close to winning! But we need your help. To help us reach our goal, we are giving away FIVE Hollaback iPhone 3GS covers.
1. Vote for Hollaback!, and comment on why street harassment matters or why Hollaback! rocks.
2. Link to the competition on your facebook or twitter page, using this link (http://www.justmeans.com/contestidea?ideaid=ODU4) and our handle. We are @ihollaback on twitter, or Hollaback! on facebook.
If we win, we’ll use the funds to overhaul our website (and say goodbye and good riddens to pepto-bismol pink). We’ll announce the winners of the competition on September 16th.
Thank you for all your support. We couldn’t do it without you!
On October 12th, we are collaborating with Envision Williamsburg and Feministing to bring you the best happy hour ever! Envision Williamsburg recently completed a community research project that showed street harassment as the form of sexual violence that caused the most concern for Williamsburg residents. To tackle this, Envision Williamsburg is looking to do a number of community-based interventions, but their awesome efforts have been stifled by a cut in funding to their parent organization, the New York City Alliance Against Sexual Assault. Your $5 suggested donation will go towards directly supporting Hollaback! and Envision Williamsburg’s efforts to build a street harassment free city.
If you are able to volunteer for this event, we need your help. We’re holding a silent auction at the event, and we’ll be giving free Hollaback! iPhone covers to anyone who brings an item (or items) valued at over $50. Can you contribute? Contact us at holla (at) ihollaback.org.
If you’ve complained to others about street harassment, you’ve probably been told to “toughen up” or “get a thicker skin.” Like as if somehow, the fact that street harassment hurts is your fault. It’s a decision that you make, and if you were just a little stronger, and a little less of a “girl,” the problem would be solved.
When street harassment hurts, it’s not because we’re not strong enough. In fact, I think it’s our strength that makes it hurt more. Street harassment shatters our perspectives on who we are: smart, dynamic, bold; and instead focuses on who we aren’t: bitches, whores, and pairs of tits. So — too often — we just try to ignore it. And it works, sometimes. But most of the time it doesn’t, and the hurt just sits inside us, “like molton lava boiling right underneath the surface of my skin.”
In this incredible piece called “Thinner Skin” the writer talks eloquently about how you can’t just make the hurt of street harassment go away. How it lives inside us. She tells the story of her own sexual assault and writes: ” I’ve been threatened. I’ve been hurt. My friends have been threatened and hurt. I regard any man invading my space and disrespecting me as a direct threat to my well being. Every single time I get verbally accosted, every single time a man sits too close on purpose. Every single time I catch a man, out of the corner of my eyes, sizing me up as bait. I feel that same rage. I am there again.” For survivors of sexual assault, street harassment can feel like ripping a scab off – three, four, five times a day. Any doctor will tell you that’s no way to heal.
A thick skin would be helpful if we wanted to ignore the world’s problems, internalize our pain, and just stay at home. But for the world we’re trying to create, the skin we’ve got will do just fine. We need to be OK with the fact that it hurts because we’re strong, not in spite of it. Because if we keep this myth up that street harassment hurts because we’re weak, it will continue to get passed down generation to generation. Just like it did to us.
We have an unprecedented opportunity to transform street harassment from something that is lonely and isolating, to something that is shareable. The internet is our new campfire, and if we’re going to solve this we have to start by talking about it, by responding to it, by holla’ing back. The world won’t listen if we keep pretending that our silence means it doesn’t hurt.
If you’re not getting an ample supply of street harassment during your commute, while biking, while walking, while shopping, eating, praying, loving, or just generally breathing, then print out this new game from Scary Godmother and enjoy round-the-clock misogyny. Wait, what’s that? You already do? Well maybe you’ll just have to send this link to anyone who’s ever asked why you can’t just take a compliment, then, and hope they’ll get the hint.
In London, Vicki Simister from the LASH campaign has been meeting with policy makers for Oona King (pictured here). King is running for Mayor in the 2012 election – and has recently promised to write street harassment into her policy!
To our knowledge, this is the first time that street harassment has become a major campaign issue. This tremendous leadership is incredible for London, but it is also a model for how street harassment can be addressed in other cities. Her policy even proclaims that street harassment is a “gateway to more serious forms of violence,” something that we’ve been shouting off the rooftops for years now.
Reading policy has never made us swoon more:
“Commission Police reports across the capital about the extent of street harassment, and include it within anti-social behaviour programmes”
The policy also says:
“Taking street harassment seriously
Street harassment is a regular occurrence for women in London, but is barely mentioned in government policy in the past. It is completely unacceptable that women should be expected to put up with casual intimidation, from unwanted sexual comments to being followed or even groped, simply as a result of going out in public. It is also likely that this behaviour acts as a gateway to more serious forms of violence, and so we simply cannot afford to let it go unchallenged. The Mayor should promote a culture in which street harassment is recognised as unacceptable, and women do not have to suffer it in silence. Working with police, boroughs and Transport for London, effective action should include:
• Ensuring that local authorities recognise sexual harassment as a from of violence
against women, and incorporate it into their training and policies
• Identifying London’s “harassment hotspots” and putting more police and community
support officers where they are needed
• Coordinating a poster campaign to challenge this form of behaviour and encourage
women to report it
• Establishing best practice in police responses, including consistent monitoring and
enforcement where there is evidence of persistent harassment
• Working with local councils and community groups to ensure consensus on the unacceptability of street harassment”
Kudos to Vicki from the LASH campaign for making this happen!
After a short hiatus, ‘this week in street harassment’ is back with a whole bunch of updates.
First of all, we have two internship opportunities for anyone who is interested in getting more involved in the movement to end street harassment:
Hollaback!NYC is looking for a Policy, Research and Development Intern to join our team of volunteers. Check out the details here and send cover letters to firstname.lastname@example.org.
RightRides for Women’s Safety is currently looking for a Media and Outreach Intern. RightRides for Women’s Safety builds safer communities for women and LGBTQ individuals through community organizing, policy advocacy, direct service programs, and anti-violence education with the goal of fostering greater safety awareness and individual empowerment in New York City. The full job description is available here.
Check out this fantastic article on street harassment in London. This piece in The Guardian discusses how widespread street harassment is and the impact it has on women, as well as providing information about the anti-street harassment movement. Organizations like Hollaback! and the LASH campaign are leading the charge as women and LGBTQ folks speak out and the world starts to pay attention.
Also from the Guardian, some women, tired of being harassed while biking around the city, have started a Hollaback! style mapping project! Awesome. Also, why are there so many men out there who think that “hey- you should ride me” is a good line to use on cyclists???
Our own Emily May is interviewed at No Country for Young Women and reminds us that Hollaback! is all about creating a response. The situation can escalate if you yell and walking away gives you that horrible I-can’t-believe-I-have-to-internalize-this-crap-everyday feeling, but Hollaback gives you a way to respond and a community to support you!
This street harassment based webcomic could be my life on a bad day. Thank to the always entertaining and irreverent ladies at Jezebel for posting it – as they point out, having your experience dismissed and belittled can be as frustrating and painful as the original harassment.
Indonesia is the latest country to introduce women-only spaces on public transportation. While this obviously doesn’t do anything to address the larger issues that have made groping on trains such a problem (except perhaps for acknowledging that harassment is a serious and wide-spread issue that affects numerous women), it is a welcome relief in the mean time.
Finally, I know that this creep who has been walking around squirting semen on women is old news at this point, but on behalf of everyone here at Hollaback!, let me say EW.
When author Holly Kearl wrote her Master’s thesis on street harassment she had no idea it would develop into a book, let alone a career. Join us on Friday, September 10 in New York City as we celebrate the release of Stop Street Harassment: Making Public Places Safe and Welcoming for Women, the first book ever to comprehensively address the pandemic street harassment plague that demoralizes women daily around the globe. It has been a long time coming.
Author Holly Kearl will be available to sign copies and activists from HollaBackNYC, RightRides for Women’s Safety, and Girls for Gender Equity will be there to help keep the celebration rolling. The event is free and open to the public.
Please join us to celebrate one of the movement’s first groundbreaking new developments and let us enjoy the good company of the men and women who have helped make this possible.
Who: This event is free and open to the public!
What: Book signing and release party
When: Friday, September 10, 2010; 7:00pm