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Happy Friday Hollaback’ers!
2015 is starting out to be a very busy year. We’ll be hosting our 3rd HOLLA::REVOLUTION here in NYC on March 5th at The New School. Watch out for the official announcement! In other news at the HB HQ, we are joined by 4 new interns, Lauren, Catherine, Katherine and Caroline. A warm welcome to this new group of badasses! They’ve been busy learning the HOLLA ways, but you’ll be meeting them very soon. In partnership news, our program associate Jae Cameron (who celebrates 2 years at Hollaback! this month) attended an annual meeting for the NYC Alliance Against Sexual Assault!
And here’s what’s been up in the rest of Holla Land:
Hollaback! Baltimore is “benefitting” from a benefit show at The Sidebar next Saturday (1/31) featuring Baltimore-based female-fronted bands such as WET BRAIN, Crimson Wave, and The Degenerettes! Rock and roll!
Hollaback! Croatia had coverage of their safer spaces campaign on local radio and two newspapers, and this Saturday they’ll be training a club about how to be a safer space!
Hollaback! Bristol events manager Lea Viljoen participated in a round table discussion on sexual harassment and abuse for Bristol Cable which will be published as a podcast and print article on February 7th in the Bristol Cable.
Holla and Out! Let’s make this a year to remember!
The Hollaback! Team
Walking to college through a shopping centre a “gentleman” held the door for me. Same man then follows me gets ahead of me and constantly kept turning around to make sure I was there this made me anxious but then he walked down and alley and I just thought what a creep so kept walking and he appears at side street looks around for witnesses, asks the time and proceeds to verbally assault me with explicit sexual language. Contacted police all caught on CCTV. No charges. Not my choice. WTF.
My friend and I (females) were walking home around 1am on Main Street. We were walking behind a man who was following two girls. How do I know he was following them? He was walking too close to them for comfort, the girls were looking behind them at the man frequently while walking very fast, and when they started crossing the street he did the exact same thing. They girls noticed, so they came back to the original side where my friend and I were. He disappeared into the neighborhood.
I was 12 or 13 years old shopping downtown and not that it matters but I was wearing jeans and a t shirt. Anyway next thing I see is a guy walking towards me with this creepy deep look in his eyes and says to me “I will have sex with you!” I just kept walking but felt uncomfortable for the rest of the day. This was my first form of harassment in my life. The worst part is I felt like it was my fault, I was apologetic for walking alone down the street.
I was walking along the road on a Sunday morning with an elderly home, school and supermarket beside it. This small, white car slowed down beside me with it’s windows rolled down and the young driver inside wasn’t wearing any pants. He was masturbating and flashed his erected penis and smiled at me at the same time. I looked at him, wasn’t shocked at all( I don’t know why), looked away and kept walking. He drove back from the roundabout and smiled at me from the opposite direction of the road. This happened in Lucerne, Switzerland.
A year ago last September I was on a freshers night out and I kissed a guy a little older than me on the dance floor. I went to the toilets on my own, he followed me into the toilets and pushed me into a cubicle and locked the door behind him. He started trying to kiss me and tried touching me. I remember crying and women comforting me in. This happened in Pop world night club in Swansea, Wales.
I was working a small event at a park registering people to vote, and our local football grizzly bear mascot Monte slapped my butt. Because I was working I didn’t say anything, considering the fact that my job was to appeal to those at the event. I wish I did though. A mask is not an excuse for assault!
I always wanted to be the progressive man— strong enough to open all of the pickle jars yet sensitive enough to cry during Toy’s Story 3. I joined the Men against Patriarchy group on my college campus, attended panels about the experiences of women, was one of two men in my Feminist Psychology of Women class, and wrote my senior thesis on the destructive properties of Black heterosexual masculinity in American society. By any definition, I was on track to become an ally, or at least a man that feminists love.
However, social change cannot occur without action. Even though I have attended panel and read books, I have not consistently used my power to support the equity of women. I have sat silently while witnessing sexual assault in public in the name of sustaining the code of heterosexual men. Where do I even start? Before chaining myself to abortion clinics or fighting suspected aggressors on the street, I needed to identify how I contribute to our patriarchy.
Around this time of introspection, the infamous “10 hours walking around NYC as a woman” captured the attention of millions. Women effectively carved space for productive dialogue by sharing their personal encounters with street harassment. Although the video has its flaws—it ignored the racial and socioeconomic implications of framing white women as the victim and lower class men of color as the perpetrator—it illuminated a stark contrast between my experience and those of millions of women interacting with public space in New York City [NYC]. It further proved that headphones, novels, cellphones, “bitch faces”, and even significant others are no match for the male need to express admiration for physical beauty. I am guilty of this as well, constantly thinking of clever ways to interrupt the morning commute of attractive women across NYC.
Recognizing my participation, I wanted to reverse my Pavlovian response to seeing a “beautiful” woman; how could I stop salivating long enough to notice that women are more than their beauty? Brainstorming with a close friend about this problem, I suggested doing a social experiment, in which I would document how often I referenced or thought about the physical appearance of women for seven days. She pushed back, suggesting that I make it public and attach a financial stipulation. Together, we transformed this desire to change into a tangible goal.
For one month, I would track any thoughts or references about a woman’s physical appearance, donating $1 to an organization fighting against the effects of street harassment and violence. For accountability, I created a mobile spreadsheet for consistent tracking, enlisted several friends to check on me, and announced the challenge to my Facebook friends. Instead of growing my mustache for Movember, I decided to spend my month examining a large part of my masculine identity and checking my male privilege. November felt like the longest month of my life. From post-Halloween photos, cologne advertisements, alcohol commercials, food commercials, music videos, book covers, bartenders, cashiers, mothers, daughters; I found myself throwing money away. I second-guessed every word to make sure I created genderless conversations. Although difficult, it made me realize the importance of preserving another person’s humanity. Everyone is fighting for acceptance based on his/her character rather than physical appearance. It made me work harder to connect with and learn about the values of others. It made me seek out the experiences and personal stories about harassment and the concept of beauty. At the end of the month, I had made 95 references or thoughts. I decided to round up to 100 and split the money between Safe Horizon, Collective Action for Safe Spaces, and Hollaback!, given each organization’s role in supporting survivors of sexual harassment and assault.
Even though the month is over and the financial stipulations are gone, this work is not done. Although my eyes have been opened recently, I know that women have been grappling with these concepts for centuries. As a man, it is time for me to start listening and to stand behind those who have been on the front line all along.
As you finish reading this post, know that this challenge is for you. It is everyone’s duty to assess his/her participation in the system. This challenge may not be as trendy as ice water buckets, but know that the consequences are just as jarring. If we do not call for change, the rights and safety of women will continue to depend on the benevolence of a man.
So glad to find out that an organization like Hollaback now exists. When I lived in New York, I was followed by men, got cat calls from men in cars and generally harassed on a daily basis. It never occurred to me at the time that it was a form of sexual harassment and in fact, could be dangerous. It is a form of power that some men use over single women. A woman walking alone is an easy target.
After awhile, it makes women afraid to be women. Just going to the grocery store becomes a drama filled occasion. It’s not even about dressing sexy. Women get harassed in just a t-shirt and jeans.
The worse would be when I was groped in a crowd. It’s hard because you really learn not to trust men. Then, you finally meet a good one, like my husband. I’ve always missed my time in New York, but now I remember how hard it can be.
It’s hard to be a single woman in New York. Harassment is never cool. hollaback!
I was walking to the cinema at around 8pm when I passed a group of 6-8 young men that were bouncing a basketball. They started staring at me and yelling “hey, you” “hey, girl” so I told them to fuck off. They then threw a basketball at me, which hit the wall behind me and started telling me to get over there and fuck them. When they started walking closer I yelled “I have pepper spray and I will spray all of you” to which they replied by calling me a “spicy mama” and then rambling in spanish.