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“Street Harassment is No Compliment” in YCteen

 

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Margaret Heftler’s article “Street Harassment is No Compliment” in YCTeen talks about her experiences of street harassment as a teenager in NYC.

Heftler writes,

“We need to talk about it in our every day conversations with one another so public awareness will grow. We can create a public conversation about it and demand change. So, girls, if you have been harassed, even if it’s just a catcall that made you uncomfortable, talk about your experiences with your family and friends”

Check out her amazing article here

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It’s National GIVE OUT Day!

Give OUT Day is a new national initiative that will engage hundreds of organizations and mobilize thousands of people on a single day across the country to give in support of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender & queer community. It is a chance for LGBTQ groups large and small, to work across the wide range of issues and activities that matter to the LGBTQ community from sports to policy change, families to the arts. It is a chance for members of the LGBTQ community and our many allies to stand up and show our support for our community together on one day. It is a chance to make history, we hope you’ll join us in making streets safer for LGBTQ individuals by donating here:

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USC Student’s “Cat Calling” Video

Check out “Cat Calling”, a powerful video created by students from the University of Southern California.

USC: Take Back the Night – “Cat Calling” from Hunter Elijah Bryce on Vimeo.

USC students created “Cat Calling” as part of a Take Back the Week initiative to raise awareness and to protest against sexual violence.
The “Cat Calling” video is a collection of interviews on student experiences of harassment or cat calling on the streets. Their objective is to explore the effects that cat-calling has and to advocate that this form of harassment is not flattering or empowering.

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Dear Men, Street Harassment Sucks pt. 2

Thanks to our friends at the Thee Kats Meoww for awesome breakdown!

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Deputy Director Debjani Roy Speaks Out in the Huffington Post

Hollaback!’s Deputy Director, Debjani Roy, wrote an amazing op-ed in the Huffington Post last week discussing criminalization and street harassment.  Check it out below!

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When it comes to combating street harassment, increasing criminalization is not the answer.

I have been working as an advocate to end gender-based violence for 10 years with a focus on domestic violence, widows’ rights, forced marriage, sexual trafficking, forced prostitution, and other issues affecting women and girls globally. I currently work to end street harassment or sexual harassment in public spaces.

Street harassment is a widespread and global problem, defined as unwelcome and unwanted attention of a sexual nature, objectifying and targeting both women and men. The wide spectrum of actions ranges from leering, catcalling and whistling to public exposure and masturbation to groping, touching and grabbing. While some forms of street harassment, such as the overt physical acts, do fall under statutory penal codes, others including the ‘hey baby’s,’ the ‘can I get a smile?’, or even the reactive, ‘you’re so ugly, I wouldn’t touch you with a stick,’ do not. These commonplace comments and actions, some of which are claimed to be compliments, are belittling, offensive, intimidating and discriminatory. The 4,500-plus experiences of street harassment shared on the blogging platform of Hollaback!, the anti-street harassment organization, confirm that.

It is a commonly held myth that street harassment happens in low income communities and communities of color. Mapping incidents of street harassment shows it is prevalent in high density areas, such as Times Square in New York City or the West End in London. It makes sense — the more people present in a locale, the more likely harassment will occur, especially in a world that accepts it as a normal and everyday part of life.

When speaking about street harassment at trainings, panels and other outreach efforts, one question repeatedly asked by participants is, ‘How do you criminalize catcalling?’ Criminalizing verbal harassment and unwanted gestures is neither the final goal nor the ultimate solution to this problem and can, in fact, inadvertently work against the growth of an inclusive anti-harassment movement. The criminal justice system disproportionately targets and affects low-income communities and communities of color, as evidenced by more recent policies such as New York City’s Stop and Frisk program and other degrading forms of racial profiling. Our objective is to address and shift cultural and social dialogues and attitudes of patriarchy that purport street harassment as simply the price you pay for being a woman or being LBGTQ. It is not to re-victimize men already discriminated against by the system.

Further criminalizing street harassment can have a negative impact on families and communities within already marginalized and targeted groups. As a South Asian American immigrant woman who has been harassed by men of all backgrounds, including South Asian men, the thought of reporting men who already face institutional and systematic discrimination carries with it a personal sense of responsibility. Having been an advocate for survivors of domestic violence within the South Asian community, I understand the repercussions that families within my community face in the hands of the legal system. A family may depend on a harasser due to certain institutional and cultural barriers, including immigration status (dependent visas, lack of documentation, etc.), linguistic barriers or economic dependency. Say, for example, the harasser has a spouse who is on a dependent visa that does not allow her to work in the United States. Criminalization of the harasser, will directly affect the family that relies on him for their livelihood, potentially resulting in dependent family members losing legal status in the United States, being separated in the case of removal proceedings or economic hardships due to lost income. As advocates, our job is to consider the immediate and long-term impacts of criminalization, knowing that we are working with a flawed and discriminatory system.

This does not excuse the behavior and actions of harassers, but rather promotes the opportunity for more effective ways to let them know that street harassment is unacceptable and furthermore, prevent it from occurring in the first place.

A better approach would require devoting time, energy and effort toward creating social and cultural change. An example of these methods include going out to schools to talk to girls and boys about appropriate ways of treating one another; going out in our communities to engage members on how harassment affects their mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, daughters and sons; training individuals on bystander intervention, showing that we all have a role to play in having each other’s backs; creating communities of people who stand up against behavior that is demeaning, discriminating, sexist and homophobic; working through community-based organizations to discuss how masculinity is shaped and actively redefining what it means to be a man across cultures.

Change will not happen overnight, but we intend to continue with this work of changing minds amongst individuals, communities and institutions about the acceptability of street harassment, while simultaneously empowering and strengthening the community of those of us who are targeted. Together we must focus our energies into laying the groundwork so that street harassment is no longer a part of any of our lives.”

– Debjani Roy

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HOLLA ON THE GO: “picture this”

So I was walking downtown Toronto today back from a workshop and was cat-called. But it felt like more than that. Picture this, I’m walking down the street and some guy stops his bike just in front of where I’m walking but on the road (I’m on the sidewalk) and not only catcalls me but also proceeds to whisper in a really creepy serial killer in the movies kind of way. Ugh!

I've got your back!
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HOLLA ON THE GO: “he did not stop”

I was on an expense paid trip with a school group, and as we walked back to our hotel a man approached my roommate. He started to come on to her and put his arm around her waist. When a chaperone and I yelled at him, he did not stop. He was with a group of friends that did nothing but watched as he harassed my friend. He followed us nearly all the way to the hotel until another chaperone confronted him. I was outraged by the blatant disrespect and entitlement that the guy showed.

I've got your back!
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Raven’s Story: Recorded harassment

This bastard was leering me. I stared back to let him know I was aware and that SHIT AIN’T COOL! This bastard then let’s out a nervous laugh, then calls me a “bitch”, then hurries back to his car. He then, WHILE IN HIS CAR, TOO, flips me the “bird”. I then approach his car, he rolls down the windows and, as you will hear, calls me a “bitch”, again before hurrying off.
I got this on tape as well. When I called the restaurant, all of which I have on tape as well, the FEMALE manager there said that she would merely sit down and talk with him as well as the manager. She also LIED earlier, saying that she was in charge there, insinuating that she in fact was the manager!
I've got your back!
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Support the HOLLA::Revolution!

Support the HOLLA::Revolution

Help young people around the world lead the way for the next generation to live without fear of harassment in public spaces.

Why we care: Street harassment–ranging from comments like “You’d look good on me” to groping, flashing and assault–is a daily, global reality for many girls and women and fuels a cultural environment that condones gender-based violence.

How we’re solving this: Uniting a network of leaders from 25 countries in New York City to establish a global strategy to end street harassment.

Hollaback! will host HOLLA::Revolution, an international conference to establish a global strategy to disrupt the normalization of street harassment, in New York City this July. The conference will bring together 250 leaders, who have been trained by Hollaback! to fight street harassment in their local communities.

Hollaback! has trained young leaders—who come from 62 cities and 25 countries—to build skills in on-the-ground activism and digital storytelling to create powerful change. Collectively, they have performed more than 25 research projects, met with 150 legislators, collected 4,000 stories, trained more than 2,500 people, held 50 rallies and walks, spoken with more than 750 media outlets, and brought the issue of street harassment into the limelight in their communities and on-line. But the power of the Internet only extends so far.

HOLLA::Revolution will have two parts:

  • HOLLA::Revolution: A forum for critical dialogues on street harassment and international movement building in a digital age. Leading street harassment thinkers and activists will inspire and empower through multimedia talks, performances, presentations, and readings on subjects ranging from street harassment, the future of activism, online organizing, local and international movement building, and more! The event will be hosted by Jamia Wilson, chief storyteller at TED, and will be live-streamed internationally on July 25th from 2-5pm at New York University.
  • HOLLA::Revolution Retreat: Immediately following the public event, Hollaback!’s international leaders will gather to establish a global strategy to disrupt the normalization of street harassment. The three-day retreat will engage young leaders to collaborate and find new solutions and responses to the epidemic of street harassment. The retreat will be packed with skill sharing opportunities, workshops, on the ground activism, and talks to discuss the future of the global movement to end street harassment once and for all.

We aim to create the next generation of feminist leaders, to develop a global agenda to end street harassment and to build the community support necessary for the movement’s long-term success. From California to Mumbai and London to South Africa, help us put an end, once and for all, to street harassment.

 

Link to video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=woWtFsePJiY

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HOLLA ON THE GO: staring on public transit

A man in a business suit stared at my breasts for the whole time I was on the bus home. Asshole.

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