We are Hollaback!, an international movement to end street-harassment, and we have heard from thousands of self-respecting women for whom street harassment is a constant struggle: it is scary, it is dehumanizing, and they do not want it. We collect their stories so that their voices will not go silent: we raise their experiences into a collective HOLLABACK!
In today’s Gawker article Mayor Bloomberg was quoted saying, “I know for a fact that any self-respecting woman who walks past a construction site and doesn’t get a whistle will turn around and walk past again and again until she does get one.” This comment wrongly seeks to place responsibility for street harassment in the hands of the person being harassed. Street harassers are in control of and accountable for their own actions. Catcalling is never the “fault” of women, who, according to Bloomberg’s fantasy, demand that attention.
In addition, his words are an ugly attempt to classify a woman’s value on her ability, and willingness, to elicit sexual attention from strangers. Women, and men as well, should not feel forced to make a trade-off about ownership of their bodies in order to pass by a public space.
As the Mayor of a city with vast public spaces enjoyed by men and women alike, Bloomberg has a duty to make it clear that everyone has a right to feel safe as we go about our days in the sidewalks, streets, and subways.
Many Self-Respecting Women