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Sitting on the (nearly empty) bus, a man came and sat behind me. He greeted me and I politely greeted him too, but fully aware of where he’d be going next. “You look good,” he said. I told him no and covered up as much as I could.
It’s that time of week again! Time to find out what’s happening at Hollaback sites around the world!
Emily traveled all around this week–from Columbus, Ohio to Grand Rapids, Michigan! She spoke for both the Ohio Alliance Against Sexual Violence and the Michigan Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence!
The rest of the New York office checked out the space for HOLLA::Revolution and the site leader conference to follow (The space is totally rad!!). Remember, tickets for HOLLA::Revolution are still available online! Trust us, you don’t want to miss it!
Hollaback! Around the Globe…
Check out this amazing video, “Smile for me Baby”, filmed and edited by Hollaback! supporter Ceclia Wachter.
The video has scenes from Hollaback!’s Anti-Street Harassment Rally in Washington Square Park and interviews folks who experienced and respond to street harassment.
A documentary about street harassment, created by the one and only Cecilia Wachter! Check it out:
I was waiting at the bus stop on Fifth and Bellefonte, as I’ve done many times before, when I heard a person come out of the Victorian house whose fence borders the bus stop. The man was making weird noises, then walked closer to the fence. He was covering his face with a clothe held up by one hand while he was masturbating with the other hand. He asked me if I would stand there until he came. I said no, walked away, I called the police and they HAVEN’T DONE SHIT.
I was followed home as I zig-zagged across the street and stood at the bottom of my steps–watching me fumble for my keys
I was 10 years old in New York City. One day my family and I took the subway home. I walked over to a trash can and a man stood behind me and whispered “I’d love to lick your tight little pussy” when I turned and noticed he was talking to me I gasped but he smelt so awful! I immediately bent over and started gagging, I almost threw up on him! I guess this really made him mad because he walked away cursing. I will never forget that smell, still to this day if i think about it, it makes me gag!
I was just walking back toward my dorm alone at 3 in the afternoon when two men (adults, clearly NOT Brown students) stopped me under the pretense of asking directions to the pool. What followed was a string of incredibly creepy innuendoes, ogling, and clearly unwanted, inappropriate advances, which thankfully ceased after I walked away, feeling totally disgusted.
We were walking down the street and a man honked at us as he drove past
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.