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When I first moved to Beaumont I lived with my sister and her husband until I found a job. Their house was directly across the street from a convenience store that I would walk to. Several times I would be stopped, the front door blocked, grabbed by the arm, grabbed by the hair once, forced to listen to sexual comments about my body or what they wanted to do to me. I finally started carrying a knife and occasionally walking my dog (a large Rottweiler/German Shepherd mix) just to feel safe. The harassment never stopped. I never stopped walking across the street though. I refused to be afraid. Most of the men started to leave me alone once they realized I wasn’t afraid of them. Or at least was very good at acting unafraid.
I was on a tram and a young man, disheveled and a bit out of looking was next to me – standing up. He was swaying a bit and I had to move away so he wouldn’t lean on me. He touched a woman on the other side of him on the arm and she shrank back and said ‘don’t touch me’. I confronted him and told him off and that people don’t want to be touched. He said ‘I know, but she’s fascinating’ (!). I said, loudly and looking right at him: “no one cares about what you think stop touching people!”. I then got off. It was my stop. I wasn’t scared of him and I wanted the young woman he’d hassled to know that she had support. I’m a 51 year old woman. My 16 year old daughter gets hassled alot and it makes my blood boil!
A few years ago, I was walking to my partners work to meet him before he finished and a group of guys outside the venue yelled out for me to show them my ‘privates’ (although they used much more colourful language). I could not believe what I was hearing and felt instantly disgusted and uncomfortable.
The ‘funny’ thing was, when my partner walked out with me in the end (after I told him what happened) not one of the jerks said anything. Low life scum bags. Apparently I’m only safe when accompanied by a man.
I wish this was the only encounter I had had with this breed of despicable human, but unfortunately, this has happened countless times.
It needs to stop. It’s not acceptable.
Waiting for the bus a guy was coming up to people asking for change. He was chatting with a young women and put his arm in hers.
I couldn’t hear what he was saying, but was keeping an eye out unsure if I should walk over and check in with her. As soon as he left, she quickly walked over to stand next to me. I asked if she was okay, if she knew the guy.
“No, I don’t know him. I was just trying to be polite and hoping he didn’t get violent”
As we get closer to our International Anti-Street Harassment Rally, things are getting busier and busier around the office! We can’t wait for the rally and hope that anyone who is in the area will join us on Saturday, April 16th at 2:30 in Tompkins Square Park to reclaim our public space!
We are also getting ready for our #hollaback challenge! During International Street Harassment Week, we will be taking back the mental and physical space that is pushed aside by harassment. The week will be focused on reflection, healing and action. By signing up and taking part in our challenge, you will be entered to win some free HOLLA-goodies including buttons, t-shirts, totes, baby onsies and more!
And at Hollaback! sites around the world:
Hollaback! Bahamas site leader, Alicia Wallace, was featured in an article for NPR about street harassment around the world. They also visited College of the Bahamas to give presentations on gender equality and street harassment.
Hollaback! Bmore co-director, Brittany Oliver is featured in the first issue of Hyrsteria Zine. They also co-organized Town Hall for Survivors of Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence this past week.
Hollaback! Vancouver site leaders sat down with Loose Lips Magazine to talks about Hollaback!. They will be hosting a workshop this Sunday. Navigating Ourselves and Our Streets will focus on mapping. They will make life-size maps documenting perceptions of safety in the community. The maps will be posted throughout Vancouver during International Anti-Street Harassment Week.
That’s all for this week! Stay tuned for more great stuff next week as we celebrate International Anti-Street Harassment Week!
Holla and Out!
The office was almost empty this week but Desiree, CJ and the interns held down the fort. Emily, Debjani and Jae were in Italy this week! They attended the first ever international convening on street harassment in Bellagio!
And at Hollaback! sites around the world:
Hollaback! Bmore held a successful StoryTelling as Resistance event. This event is one of three that will lead up to the revealing of The Monument Quilt on April 9th. The quilt will feature the stories of sexual assault survivors.
That’s all for this week! Stay tuned for more next week!
Holla and out!
I discovered that a man was following young women (girls, actually, ranging from ages 10 to 16) in public, secretly filming them on his phone. He’d pretend to be speaking on the phone or looking at the screen, but surreptitiously angle it toward the girl he was targeting, as he followed her around. The girls all had a similar appearance: extremely skinny and young.
This disturbs, shames, horrifies me even more because I was dating this person. I found hundreds and hundreds of these videos on his phone. I left him in the middle of the night with one suitcase. I didn’t go to the authorities because a) I didn’t have evidence, b) I didn’t know and still don’t know if he broke the law, and c) I was and am scared of retaliation.
I encourage young women, as well as their families, to be on the lookout for men who are following with their phones angled toward them.
Estaba caminando de regreso de la universidad a mi casa cuando un grupo de chicos que caminaban en dirección contraria a la mia comenzaron a silvarme y hacer comentarios sexuales de mi apariencia desde algunos metros antes de que nos cruzaramos. Cuando nos cruzamos, añadieron sonidos como gemidos que me hicieron sentie demasiado incómoda y hasta asustada, ya que yo era la única en la avenida.
I was walking down Hertel Ave by myself this afternoon, on my way home from the bank, minding my own business. I questioned my choice to wear leggings instead of jeans with my tunic before I left the house for this exact reason, but told myself that it shouldn’t matter and that I was strong enough to overcome any unwelcome comments. Well sure enough an older male came up from behind me on his bike and turned as he passed me to get a good up and down as he said “you so fiiine”. He almost hit a pole as he turned to continue on, and I wanted nothing more in that moment than for him to have actually hit it. I was so skeeved out and uncomfortable, but I managed to reply “f*ck you, I hope you get hit by a car”. I continued on my way home but when I saw him get off his bike and stop up ahead of me, I choose to turn down a side street just to avoid going past him again. I hate that I allowed this creep to even affect my day and my route home but it was less painful than passing him again and giving him another opportunity to make more unwanted comments or worse.
I have experienced on more than one occasion inappropriate comments by a male co- worker. The comments have varied and usually are directed by how I look. From simply telling me I look good today to how he was thinking about me recently. It’s subtly but very uncomfortable because not only is he my coworker but he happens to say these things only when no one else is around. I’ve mentioned it to another coworker who said that he’s just a really “nice guy”. My instinct and gut feeling tell me otherwise. I’m married and so is he. I can say that if my husband spoke to the women he worked with the way this guy did I would not be happy. I do think he knows what he is doing and I think he is just pushing to see how far he can get. It’s just uncomfortable but I’ve decided I’m going to say something to him if it continues and I WILL let a superior person at work know.
This is all just not ok and needs to stop!