Archives for March 2013
I’m almost in shock that there’s a place to write this down. I’ve been harassed more times than I could ever, ever remember. I’m 48 years old. If you assume 52 weeks a year starting at about age 12 to age 42 – that’s 30 years x 52 weeks = 1,560 and that’s not even taking into account that harassment took place absolutely more than once a week; especially at work. Assuming twice a week, that’s 3,120 times in my life from age 12-42. This is not exaggeration; merely fact.
I’m older now and while no one wants to ‘grow old’, less harassment is one benefit. It’s sad that as a woman, I am almost relieved that my youth is gone; simply because I am harassed less which gives me a chance to feel more free to move about without eyes on me, comments, glares. A man could never understand this.
As wrong as I knew it always was, I never thought I’d see the day when there would be a place to talk about it.
My usual response to harassment was loud, angry, cursing, etc. but as I got older, I’d simply ignore it and keep moving or going about my business.
The most recent incident came when the owner of our local gas station sold to new people. From the first time I went into this place I felt immediately uncomfortable. As is the case with gas stations, quite often, more than one man works there. They would all stare at me like they’d never seen a female before. It was quite bizarre. I tried to pay for my gas and go and the guy behind the counter said ‘you’re so beautiful’ which, as these things go, is not the worst thing one can hear, but accompanied by the wolfish look and the fact that it’s 3 or 4 men at once staring at you, it’s very nerve-wracking.
I went back a few weeks later and the same guy who had called me beautiful said it again and this time asked what my nationality was, which is a question I find annoying as I’m mixed heritage and it takes too long to get into when, hello, all I’m trying to do is buy gas and go about my day! Why should my day be interrupted and slowed down? By the third time I went in I was no longer Lisa or Annette or Angela, I was ‘hi beautiful’ then a wolfish stare. I like my anonymity; I don’t crave attention/harassment so I stopped going there and instead drive almost a mile out of my way to get gas without being made to feel like a piece of meat or a treat of some kind. Plus, given this place is not always packed with people, I felt unsafe and simply made up my mind; I’m not going there again.
I doubt men can understand the feeling women have of never being anonymous. I can never just go out without feeling like my presence is being noticed and thought about or commented on.
Being asked to suck someone’s **** or being called pretty or beautiful again and again, surprisingly can make me feel almost the same level of violation and annoyance. Just leave me alone; let me be; let me walk and live my life in peace, without the never ending commentary. Please.
Location: New York City
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Plan to speak out against street harassment, April 7-13, 2013, during International Anti-Street Harassment Week.Share on Facebook
International Anti-Street Harassment Week begins in 8 days. One easy way to participate and help bring awareness to street harassment and empower yourself is by going to a place where you were harassed and reclaiming it with sidewalk chalk messaging!
My mom, Beckie Weinheimer, (pictured on the right) tried this out last night. She went to a place where she’d been harassed before in Florida and took back the sidewalk, took back the street, and reclaimed her right to be there un-harassed. She said, “It felt great!”
This act can also raise other people’s awareness about the problem. My mom said, “A lot of people stopped and two people took Stop Street Harassment stickers and said they will look your site up.”
I love how just one person can have a big impact with this method and I love that it’s easy and quick to do.
Last year, four women from Hollaback Brussels did a chalk walk to reclaim the places where they were harassed and they were able to empower themselves and generate a lot of conversations and consciousness-raising among passersby. View their We Chalk Walk Tumblr of photos!
This year for International Anti-Street Harassment Week, End Violence Against Women Coalition, Hollaback! London, and others are asking people in London to chalk their streets with slogans, experiences and messages of solidarity throughout the week and send them to email@example.com to be tweeted and shared on social media.
No matter where you are for International Anti-Street Harassment Week (April 7-13), you can do the same. Take a photo of your sidewalk chalk message (either with you in the photo or just of the message) and send it to StopStreetHarassment AT yahoo DOT com and let me know where it is, and, if you feel comfortable, share the harassment story that happened to you there.Share on Facebook
By: María Paulina López, SSH Correspondent
‘’The women’s fear to the violence of men, is the mirror of the men’s fear to fearless women.” – Eduardo Galeano
Recently, in the hallmark of a certification degree to educate and create conscience about preventing gender violence, given by the CES University and the Women’s Secretary in Medellín, Colombia, there was published a book titled “Men caring for life.” This proposal of Denis Alonso Geldres, Rosamaría Vargas, Gladys Rocío Ariza y Silvia Gaviria Arbeláez, it’s dedicated to all Colombian women who have been victims of violence, and to the people committed to work for violence-free and equal societies.
With this model of awareness and formation they question the socialization of gender in the patriarchal model, educate men who multiply the feminist projects, involve them in the active struggle of women for equality and avoiding attitudes responsible for constant harassment.
One of the most important goals of this project is to make men conscious of the self-righteous respect women deserve in their constant interaction in the group they live in, and prevent street harassment. This abusive acts affects millions of people around the world, although there are a lot of actions we can take to try to stop street harassment, we can also make social conscience by community projects, and promote masculinities that search for inclusion and equality, compromised with women’s right to walk for our streets, to occupy freely our public spaces, to live safe and happy relationships and to have the same opportunities.
Maria is a psychology student, social investigator, and sexual educator. Follow her on Twitter, @MPaulinaLopez.
“El miedo de la mujer a la violencia del hombre, es el espejo del miedo del hombre a la mujer sin miedo.” – Eduardo Galeano
Recientemente, en el marco del Diplomado de sensibilización y formación en masculinidades género sensibles y prevención de las violencias hacía las mujeres”, en convenio de la Universidad CES con la Secretaría de la Mujer de la Alcaldía de Medellín, se ha publicado un libro titulado “Hombres cuidadores de vida”. Esta propuesta de Denis Alonso Geldres, Rosamaría Vargas, Gladys Rocío Ariza y Silvia Gaviria Arbeláez, está dedicada a “las mujeres colombianas que han sido víctimas de feminicidios y a las mujeres y los hombres que están trabajando en pro de una sociedad equitativa, incluyente y sin violencia”
Con este modelo de sensibilización y formación se busca cuestionar la socialización de género en el modelo patriarcal y formar hombres multiplicadores de propuestas feministas, involucrarlos para fomentar una transformación sostenible en el empoderamiento de las mujeres.
La importancia de esta iniciativa radica en la posibilidad de trabajar con los hombres para la prevención de la violencia hacia las mujeres, una de estas violencias es el acoso callejero, estos actos abusivos afectan a millones de personas en el mundo, y aunque existen muchas maneras de actuar cuando presenciamos que alguien está siendo acosada en la calle, también podemos realizar este tipo de ideas como una acción colectiva para prevenir el acoso callejero.
Sensibilizar y formar en nuevas masculinidades, es la manera de prevenir la violencia contra la mujer, incluyendo el acoso callejero. Masculinidades amantes de la inclusión y de una vida equitativa para todos, que se comprometan con los derechos de las mujeres a caminar tranquilas por la calle, a ocupar libremente los espacios públicos, a vivir relaciones de pareja seguras y felices y a tener igualdad de oportunidades.
Estudiante de psicología, investigadora social, educadora sexual MPaulinaLopez.Share on Facebook
This video contains two entire minutes of a man committing sexual harassment multiple times, and has almost a million views, and over 5,000 likes vs. 1,400 dislikes. Some of the comments thankfully call this video out for what it is, but many others insist that it’s ‘funny’ or that the guy doing this is ‘brave.’
The man in this video doesn’t ask for permission, he just walks right up, grabs the person and kisses them. Most of the kisses are on the cheek, but with several of the girls on the beach, he kisses them on the lips. Clearly, none of the people he kisses are enjoying this, most are confused if not angry, and this video is certainly not ‘harmless fun.’ It’s street harassment, it’s sexual harassment, and it is not a joke.
A lot of his videos deal with trying to make people uncomfortable, and this isn’t the only disturbing video he has. There is another set of videos, “Walk by Pickup Lines 1 and 2,” where he walks up to women and at best just asks for their number, and at worst throws objectifying or disgusting pickup lines at them (From Pickup Lines 2: “If you were a fire hydrant I’d pee on you” What?).
It does not matter that this is intended to be a ‘joke,’ it’s harassment, and he’s contributing to why so many women and some men are wary of public spaces and often feel unsafe or unwelcome in them. I’m surprised I haven’t heard about these videos before considering how boldly they display sexual harassment. This is an ugly reminder of what many, many women (and men) are subject to daily when they go out in public, and a reminder that we’re no where near finished in the fight against street harassment and it’s continued social acceptability.
This guest blog post is written by a SSH community member who wishes to remain anonymous.Share on Facebook