Meet the Correspondents of the Third Cohort of 2016
Zoe Biel, Minnesota, USA
Zoe is a student at Macalester College in Saint Paul, MN. She grew up in Oakland, CA in a family full of crazy feminists and is frequently surprised by the way people behave in the “real world”. She is currently a member of the “Sssnake Goddesss Art Collective” and plans to produce a zine focused on the female experience in coming months.
Alys C.R., Barcelona, Spain
Alys was born and raised in France, lived for a time in Denmark and has lived in Spain for the past seven years. She likes researching, analyzing and writing about Women’s Rights, gender bias, and intersectionalism with a special focus on sexual violence, rape, rape culture, the impact of street harassment and how the media deals with these issues. She is currently working on a new project focused on how some media participate in the revictimization of victims. The objective will be to offer an alternative by rewriting the incriminated articles. She follows the work and activities of various organisations, especially l’Aadas which provides help and support to victims of sexual violence in Barcelona. Apart from that she loves travelling, learning new languages, ballet and flamenco. You will be able to follow her and her projects in her brand new Facebook page and twitter @Alyselily.
Grace Gageby, Dublin, Ireland
Grace is a student. She writes regularly for her school newsletter and yearbook, and has been published in Inis Magazine. Grace is currently involved with the socialist feminist group ROSA (for Reproductive rights, against Oppression, Sexism & Austerity), and their campaign for abortion rights in Ireland. Part of ROSA’s 15 point plan is to end the social ills of macho culture, and end street harassment and victim- blaming. Grace is particularly interested in intersectional feminism, and how street harassment affects teenagers. Grace is interested in understanding rape culture and how young people can fight this. She enjoys playing classical guitar and reading.
Alexandra Jurecko, Montreal, Canada
Alexandra is a freelance writer and recent graduate of Heidelberg University in Germany, where she earned a BA in South Asian Studies and English Literature. During her time at university, Alexandra started her research on the role of women’s activism in post-colonial India. Inspired by this work, she’s committed to advancing the conversation around gender-based discrimination and sexual harassment across all societies, starting with her new home in Canada. Having moved across the pond to live and work in Montreal, she now focuses on refreshing her French skills while volunteering her time to various community-outreach programs. Here, she also hopes to pursue a degree in visual journalism, so she can tell her stories in colour. Alexandra drinks a lot of coffee, listens to a lot of podcasts and loves the great outdoors. You can follow her on twitter @alexjurecko.
Suchita Kotnala, Texas, USA
Suchita was raised in western India by loving and supportive parents who helped her and her sister to grow into strong, independent and career-oriented women. She’s a registered general practitioner in India and is currently preparing to obtain medical residency in the United States. She is passionate about women’s rights especially because she has had firsthand experiences of harassment and sexist behavior at public spaces, school and work. She believes that in order for women to enjoy equal rights and opportunities, the society needs to recognize that it’s a problem first. In her spare time, Suchita loves playing scrabble, hiking in woods and baking vegan double chocolate chip cookies.
Sequoya Lajoy, Louisiana, USA
Sequoya is a Native American and Italian woman from Chicago who fell in love with New Orleans. She’s currently a Sociology Major at Loyola University New Orleans and supports her higher education habit by slinging drinks to the masses. She aspires to attain a PhD and write a best seller. She currently operates a small blog and writes weekly at and hopes to expand her writing and artistic ventures. She is undecided about law school but would like to use her knowledge and skills to bring attention to issues close to her heart such as sexual assault, racial and gender equality, domestic violence, immigration rights, indigenous rights, health care, reproductive rights, human trafficking, mass incarceration, police brutality, and addressing economic and social inequalities. Her dream job would be to do international research and make a global impact. She loves the ocean, mountains, live music, street artists, poetry, and making community and sisterhood.
Nyasha Joyce Mukuwane, Johannesburg, South Africa
Nyasha is the public awareness coordinator at the Nisaa Institute for Women’s Development in Johannesburg, South Africa, where the main goal is counselling and sheltering survivors of domestic abuse. In 2013 she facilitated a book titled; “Rising Up, Moving On: Women writing our lives,’ written by survivors of domestic violence and again facilitated a book written by young adolescent South African girls in June 2016 titled “We are those girls: writing our stories.” Both books are available to download for free from the website www.nisaa.org.za. She is passionate about advocating for women’s rights and the war of ownership of women’s bodies is a harrowing one in SA as harassment often turns violent and may lead to sexual assault.
Priyanka Nandy, Mumbai, India
Priyanka is a researcher at the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay. She is interested in the intersection of public health, gender/sexuality/reproductivity, and modes of violence. In her spare time, she likes to translate her favourite bits of Bengali genre-fiction to English, some of them can be found at https://priyankanandy.com. Despite a steady exposure to street harassment since she was a child, Priyanka still enjoys walking about alone, and loves every form of mass-transportation, except airplanes.
Shawn Ray, Croatia, Macedonia, Greece, Turkey, Iran
Shawn Ray is an avid traveler and freelance writer/photojournalist. Also a TEFL instructor, Shawn has visited over 70 countries and lived for a year or more in several foreign communities. In 2015, Shawn followed the migration of Syrian asylum seekers from Turkey through the Netherlands. A member of GoTravelBroad, (a solo-female travel support and advocacy group) Shawn is focused on creating awareness to end violence against women worldwide, through empowering women to travel without apology.
UNmuted Productions, UK
UNmuted Productions is a small multi-disciplinary production company founded by Ness Lyons and April Hughes in March 2016 to make punchy work about legal and social issues affecting women and young people. it’s debut short film, ‘I Smile Politely’, about street harassment, is being screened in competition at the prestigious international Encounters Short Film & Animation Festival on the 23rd September 2016. Ness wrote ‘I Smile Politely’, which is performed by April, after her young daughter experienced street harassment. Ness and April wish to encourage women and girls to speak up about all forms of sexual harassment and discrimination. Follow them on Twitter: @unmutedprods and Facebook.
Ness Lyons is a playwright, filmmaker and spoken word poet. She runs UNmuted Productions, is a member of Soho Theatre Writers’ Lab and is currently developing a script with an award-winning production company. Ness’s plays have been performed at The Criterion Theatre and various Off-West End theatres, and her spoken word poetry’s been performed at The Southbank Centre as part of Women of the World Festival and at a cross-arts event hosted by filmmakers Shorts on Tap and the charity English PEN. Ness will be performing her new spoken word piece at the enat a cros. Her writing’s been published on The Pool website and as part of an online anthology of monologues. A former employment & discrimination lawyer, Ness also works as a freelance Legal Consultant and Storyline Creator for the LLB Legal Practice degree at City Law School, University of London. Follow her work at: nesslyons.net and on Twitter: @lyonsness
April Hughes studied at East 15 School for Acting. TV Credits include 3 series of Dixi for Kindle Entertainment and CBBC. Theatre credits include ‘Girls Like That’ by Synergy Theatre and ‘Freak’ by Anna Jordan, for which April won The Stage Award for Acting Excellence. April is currently playing Sandra in the West End’s ‘The Play That goes Wrong’. Follow her on Twitter: @hughesaprilShare on Facebook
Hearing about so many incidents of groping and verbal street harassment (before I even knew the term) in Italy made me change my mind about studying abroad there as a college student. If you dislike street harassment, now there’s even more reason to want to avoid going there.
Italy’s supreme court justices ruled that unless it’s done in front of a minor, public masturbation is perfectly legal — even if it is done with the clear aim of being seen by other members of the public without their permission or consent! The silver lining is it sounds like there still may be a fine for the act.
Still, since I have yet to hear about a woman publicly masturbating non-consensually at a person in a public place, I think it’s safe to say this is a good example of how laws usually benefit those in power: men.
This also reminds me of the Italian court ruling on a rape case 17 years ago. They came up with the ”denim defense” or the ”jeans alibi,” suggesting that a woman cannot be raped if she was wearing jeans because “they are impossible to remove unless she helps.”
Come on Italy, do better.Share on Facebook
Street harassment can escalate without warning. That’s what makes it so scary. These three stories from this past week alone clearly illustrate this:
“22-year-old Tiarah Poyau was fatally shot at the J’ouvert festival in Brooklyn over the weekend. NYPD said the fatal altercation occurred after Poyau asked a man to stop grinding on her, according to the New York Post.
She was walking down the street with three friends during the pre-West Indian Day celebration when she told the man who invaded her space “get off me.”
Poyau was shot in the eye at close range.
20-year-old Reginald Moise was apprehended. He has five prior arrests. Police say they found the gun used in the shooting at Moise’s girlfriend’s apartment.
Moise was charged with second-degree murder, criminal possession of a weapon and reckless endangerment.”
“A 23-year-old American tourist suffers spinal injuries falling down a ravine in Krabi while she was fleeing from an alleged sexual assault late Thursday night….
According to the Phuket Gazette, the man who attempted to molest her, identified as Apai Ruangwong, has been charged with committing obscene behaviour toward another person and causing serious injury.
‘He said that he had known the victim for a day. He volunteered to walk her to her place, but couldn’t stop himself from touching her inappropriately.
‘The victim was frightened and ran away to escape him,’ Piyapong Boonkaew, superintendent of Ao Nang Police Station, told the Phuket Gazette.
Apai called rescue workers for his victim, who fell off the high cliff, the officer said.
It was only on Friday that rescue workers could reach her.”
“Police arrested a 31-year-old man Sunday after he approached a woman as she was working in her yard, told her he wanted to have sex with her, and then returned hours later and broke into her home as she was showering.
The victim told police the suspect approached around 3 PM her as she was working in her garden near the 5100 block of 12th Avenue Northeast and informed her he wanted to have sex.
The woman immediately left her yard and went inside her home.
Hours later, around 7 PM, the woman was taking a shower when she heard someone trying to get into the bathroom.
The woman thought it might be one of her roommates and opened the door, only to find the suspect standing inside her home.
The woman began screaming for help, and one of her roommates grabbed the suspect and shoved him out the door of the home.
Officers arrived on scene minutes later and arrested the suspect in a nearby alley.”Share on Facebook
In France, police are literally policing women’s bodies.
“Photographs have emerged of armed French police confronting a woman on a beach and making her remove some of her clothing as part of a controversial ban on the burkini.
Authorities in several French towns have implemented bans on the Burkini, which covers the body and head, citing concerns about religious clothing in the wake of recent terrorist killings in the country.
The images of police confronting the woman in Nice on Tuesday show at least four police officers standing over a woman who was resting on the shore at the town’s Promenade des Anglais, the scene of last month’s Bastille Day lorry attack.
After they arrive, she appears to remove a blue long-sleeved tunic, although one of the officers appears to take notes or issue an on-the-spot fine.
The photographs emerged as a mother of two also told on Tuesday how she had been fined on the beach in nearby Cannes wearing leggings, a tunic and a headscarf.
Her ticket, seen by French news agency AFP, read that she was not wearing “an outfit respecting good morals and secularism”.Share on Facebook