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Part Two of Kara Lieff’s great documentary!
On April 13, 2013 Philadelphia organizations and community members participated in International Anti-Street Harassment Week. The day consisted of sidewalk chalking, discussing HollabackPhilly’s new SEPTA ads, and a debrief in LOVE Park.
On April 13, 2013, Philadelphia organizations and community members participated in International Anti-Street Harassment Week. The day consisted of sidewalk chalking, discussing HollabackPhilly’s new SEPTA ads, and a debrief in LOVE Park.
A Fallen Leaf Production
A big thank you to Kara Lieff for putting together this wonderful video!!
As HOLLA::Revolution inches closer and closer (July 25th!!), the mothership is busy with final preparations! We’re SO EXCITED because the conference is going to be totally RAD and tickets are selling out fast! There are still a few left, so if you haven’t picked yours up yet, make sure to get ‘em now! And if you can’t make it, join us for our awesome after-party on Saturday!
HOLLA AROUND THE WORLD…
Hollaback! Alberta was featured in the Artery‘s (a popular live music venue’s) 1 year anniversary party! The Artery gave Hollaback! a space to raise awareness about the organization and the problem of street harassment. Look at their awesome pics!
Hollaback! Boston has been up to a lot! This past week they chalked the Freedom Trail (which included daring Bostonians chalking in front of the Massachusetts State House!), and continued their “Introducing” Series, interviewing Boston-based writer and fashion maven, Georgina!
T-MINUS 13 DAYS UNTIL HOLLA::Revolution!!!
HOLLA and out!
Last night, Hollaback! interns Maya and Sarah (that’s us!) spent the evening at The Hatchery’s Women’s Leadership Summit: Empowering Women Forward. It was a night that celebrated all its title would suggest and expressed the importance of women in leadership roles and how to empower one another to reach our goals.
In conversation with the speakers before they took stage, one theme seemed to rule the conversation– the obstacles and challenges in our world that have been left untouched. As part of the movement to end “street what?” we thought that this idea certainly applied to Hollaback! There are moments when tackling street harassment does sometimes feel like a “no one else is doing it” kind of project. From our conversation last night and from the stories that you have shared with Hollaback! about your own experiences of street harassment, we were reminded that it is often those causes that seem least known that are the most important to discuss.
Fortunately for us, this “street what?” is becoming less and less common. The internet has allowed us to connect our incredibly isolating incidences in a way that holla’s back against our harassers. As Yao-Hui Huang, founder of The Hatchery, said to kick off last night’s events, “It’s time to talk about power.”
It is time to talk about the power to stand up for yourself. It is time to talk about the power to respond to your harasser. And it is time to talk about how you can take back the power by telling a story, taking a photo, or standing up for a stranger in need of bystander intervention.
These are the powers we have to combat street harassment. And damnit, we’re going to use them. You go, holla-people!
-Sarah & Maya
LGBT STREET HARASSMENT: A THREAT TO PHYSICAL SAFETY
“Faggot!” (Just ignore them.) “HEY! FAGGOTS!!” (Ok. I guess we should have known better, we shouldn’t be kissing outside.) “I like your watch, fag.” (Please don’t take my watch. Uh oh, they got his phone already! Where did all these other guys come from?)
My friend Rob recently told me how he was street harassed in France last year. A group of men targeted him with antigay slurs, and then immediately escalated into physically attacking Rob, hitting him on the back of his head and trying to pull his watch off of his wrist.
Unfortunately, this is a common pattern, because all forms of street harassment are a type of violence. For people who think it’s alright to invade another’s space with verbal street harassment, it can be a short step to a physical street harassment attack. What do these different types of attacks have in common? They all serve the purpose of making the target feel scared or uncomfortable, and making the harasser feel powerful. Street harassment is about intimidation— putting someone “in their place.”
Many LGBT people have experienced street harassment based on how their sexual orientation or gender is perceived. When an LGBT individual is harassed in this way, the harasser’s message is clear: “You don’t belong here, and this is not your street. I can enter into your space and deny your safety, because you do not fit my personal expectation of sexual orientation/gender.” This denial of the right to exist in public space is directly related to the physical safety of LGBT people.
In New York City, we have seen a scary rise in gay bias-related crimes in 2013, all beginning with street harassment. There was a murder in Greenwich Village earlier this earlier this year, as well as several additional attacks. These hate crimes impact the entire community, laying out a blanket of ever-present discomfort and anxiety. As Jae Cameron of Hollaback! described it,
just as I begin to shake off that sense of self-consciousness and dread that follows me into public spaces, I hear it….just what I’ve been expecting, a shout from the other end of the bar, “sweet, lesbians!”, followed by the usual personal space violation and an unrequested “can I join in?”
The good news is that you can help your public spaces be more LGBT safe. One way you can do this is to take the bystander pledge, and learn how to safely intervene when you see harassment happening. Feeling energetic? Join us in this year’s pride parade – we will have streamers! Let’s make our streets safe and fun for everyone.
Elizabeth Swearingen, a university student in New York City, recently made a film about street harassment featuring Hollaback. As part an assignment for her Feminism, New Media and Health class, Elizabeth created the short documentary to share her own experiences which also reflect the experiences of so many Hollabackers worldwide. Thank you Elizabeth!
I was surprised yet pleased to find that a site such as this exists. I have been experiencing street harassment all my life. It almost seems normal. From the time I turned 13 I’ve had to put up with cat calls. I’d hear them every day on my way walking home from school. I’d meet the same people and hear the same calls. ‘My sexy bow foot friend’ was usually the annoying mantra I endured for years at school. It still continues to date. Whenever I pass guys on the street, I hear ridiculous statements and lame pick up lines. It happens to all women everywhere. I try my best to ignore only to be cursed, called unmannerly and rude names when I don’t respond. If I’m in a bad mood, I snap and curse back. In a few cases, this has caused the other guys watching the exchange to laugh at me and further cursing from the offender. Feels like there’s no option out of this treatment. I just feel like a victim. Besides this street harassment, there have been several instances where I have been walking along a not so busy street and had a car slow down next to me and some idiot try to pick me up. Refuse to drive off even when I try their advances. This usually happens when its dark outside. The streets are well lit but it doesn’t help me feeling violated when it happens. Whenever it does, I wonder what if the guy doubles back and tries to kidnap me. On one occasion, I was on the bus coming home after dark from university. There was this guy who was not from my country I could tell from my skin colour and hair who kept staring at me. It was the second time I caught the bus and noticed the same guy staring. I got off the bus alone and started walking up a short hill to my home. I turned around and saw this guy following me. He was staring directly at me each time I checked. After a few minutes, I saw him make a turn behind me and disappear. I made it home safe but I was still very fearful. Since that night, I stopped catching the bus late at night and got a ride instead. I have not seen the creep since, not even during the day. I’ve lived in this same area for 24 years and have never seen this guy except that night. He does not live in my area. I believe that if I continued to ride the bus, the guy would have continued to stalk and tried to rape me. Another instance on the bus, I was sitting next to this jerk who was trying to chat me up. I ignored his advances and later got up and moved further down in the bus only to hear even more jeering. His friends also in the front of bus laughed out loud to every rude statement. There was a comment that women of my complexion have foul smelling vaginas. A few other women looked embarrassed but did nothing. I don’t blame them. Don’t think I would be brave enough to make a stance either. Luckily they got off shortly with even more rude statements, laughing and glances at me for my reaction. Maybe I stop catching the bus for I have just one instance to share which occurred there. Found myself sitting next to a middle aged fat guy who propositioned me to spend a day with him and he’d pay me as much as I get at work. I also get these propositions while walking the street. I work in the heart of town and one night the taxi while is usually on time was 30 minutes late. Every guy/group of guys had a dirty comment to make as they passed. I felt like I was losing a part of me with every comment. A bit of my happiness and piece of mind drifting away. I am fed up with feeling so alone and helpless just walking ordinarily and dressed ordinarily. What do guys think will happen if I or any other woman responds to their dirty comment? It certainly won’t land them in bed. Just go away jerks.
By Sarah Merriman
As in most countries across the world, Russia has been conservative in its’ approach to stopping street harassment. Now, however, that’s finally changing.
Thanks to the guerrilla efforts of RosNahal, an anti-sexism group, the current ruling party of Russia seems to have realized the damaging effects that street harassment has on women in their cities. RosNahal recently released a video that depicts acts of street harassment to expose its’ aggressive and hurtful nature; and this time, activism worked.
Though a fine for harassers is still in the discussion stages and the harassment must be documented, this is a huge step in Russia, a country where there is no law against verbal harassment in the workplace or otherwise. The possible law is also potentially revolutionary on the global stage.
The Duma (Russia’s legislative body) is taking more of a feminist stance on harassment than most countries. The path to formalized legislative support appears to be informal proof that street harassment compromises women’s safety. Hollaback! is encouraging that “proof” through video and text documentation every day. In Belgium, a fine was just instated for harassers after a woman documented her “day of harassment;” and recently Saudi Arabia outlawed harassment. Slowly legislation and daily realities are beginning to match up.
We shouldn’t have to work so hard prove that a phenomenon which has been happening to our grandmothers, mothers, and now our daughters and friends is truly threatening. As long as we do though, we can continue to fight for breakthroughs such as Russia’s where the actions of our lawmaking bodies match women’s need for everyday safety.
For the full story on RosNahal, click here.
This blog, by Nicola Briggs, is part of a series on perspectives about street harassment.
A man asked me the other day, upon learning of my years of training in Tai Chi movement and meditation, “Do you know how to fight?” I told him that I would do anything I had to in order to secure my physical and psychological safety in that moment, and so would anyone else with a healthy appetite for life, and that I’ve devoted more time developing training and awareness in that area than the average person. I think he may have been disappointed in this response, perhaps expecting me to flip him over my shoulder and prove myself to him, but I wanted to make clear the implications of what he was asking.
Do I have a repertoire of techniques practiced over many years which have become instinctual by now? Yes. Do I, or does anyone else truly have what it takes to react fluidly and appropriately the moment danger is there? Hopefully, yes. But even people with many years of training in this arena can freeze, so anyone without that training has got to realize that the equalizing factor in that type of stressful situation is not necessarily experience, but mindset.
Having what it takes to survive and even take control of a threatening situation is a matter of mental preparation. This doesn’t mean that you’re looking around every corner or over your shoulder all the time in a paranoid way. It just means that you know yourself, and that you’re willing to get in touch with something I like to call your ‘Inner Tiger,’ if necessary, which I’ll explain further in future postings. It also means you are willing to become even more open to the signals that your environment is sending you at every moment: who is close to you, who has their eyes on you, and what is the nature of their intention? Only an increased sensitivity to your surroundings will provide you with the correct answers to those critical questions, and ultimately give you the best chance of staying out of harm’s way.