Stories, street harassment | on July, 22, 2014 | by | 0 Comments

I went out shopping with my family and we entered this really crowded shop. As I tried to squeeze in between people to get to the exit after finding what I had needed, a man came really close and invaded my personal space intentionally. He gave me a once over and then said ʺyou’re prettyʺ while staring at my breasts. I chose to ignore him, but as I went out from the shop, I felt really embarrassed. I was especially shocked by the fact that he acted that way even though he was a grown man (27 ish) and I was only 17. When I stepped out of the shop, I looked back, and there he was standing, and laughing at me, as if he was saying, “I just degraded you and there is nothing you can do about it.”

That laugh is what really set me off, so i stopped, turned around and screamed at the top of my lungs ʺYOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF YOURSELF!!!!!ʺ needless to say, he was really shocked, as if he didn’t realize i actually had a voice and could stand up for myself. he then simply turned around and retreated back into the shop, and i felt very proud of the way i had reacted :)

Optional: What’s one way you think we can make public places safer for everyone?

We should raise awareness of the impact of street harassment on the victims and the way it makes them feel. We also have to teach the younger generations that it’s every human being’s right to feel safe wherever they go, and anyone who tries to change that is going to be punished by the law.

- Eya

Location: Nabel/Tunisia

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Petition stops the wolf-whistle in Colorado

street harassment | on July, 22, 2014 | by | 0 Comments

UPDATE to the Petition!!

Remember this? — “Banjo Billy’s Bus Tours have been helping tourists fall in love with Boulder, Colorado with their nautical bus decorations and fun stories about local folklore since 2005. However, they took their goofy humor too far when they installed a button that the driver can push to make the bus produce a loud and cartoonish wolf whistle towards a women as the bus passes her.”

The woman who started the petition after being the target of their wolf-whistle just sent out this update:

“After my petition reached a few hundred signatures, I contacted my local radio station, KGNU. They featured me on their Friday morning show, and contacted the bus company about my petition. Banjo Billy’s has since commented on the petition “We meant no harm by the wolf whistle. Our female drivers use it with male pedestrians as well. We were an equal opportunity whistlers. The horn also barks, whinnies like a horse and quacks like a duck. Either way, we have removed the wolf whistle from our repertoire.”

Even though I feel as though this is kind of missing the point (it does not matter if men are being wolf whistled at if women are being negatively impacted.)
I am excited that the button has been removed. Thank you so much to all of the supporters of this petition, you have helped to positively effect change in our community.
Esme Rodehaver”

Verbal street harassment is so normalized that it can be hard for people who aren’t impacted by it to understand it at all, so I’m not surprised the company didn’t really get it and why perhaps they shouldn’t honk/make ANY noise at persons walking down the street, female or male. But I’m glad they at least agreed to stop using the wolf whistle; change has to start somewhere. Congrats Esme for bringing this issue forward and holding the company accountable!

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Slam Poet Addresses Street Harassment

Stories, street harassment | on July, 21, 2014 | by | 0 Comments

Anyone like poetry? Venessa Marco, a slam poet, just wrote and performed this poem called “Patriarchy” that addresses street harassment at the 2014 Women of the World Poetry Slam. At this slam, 72 female poets from around the world compete for the honor of being the WoWPS champion.

Via Bustle:

“Although Marco didn’t nab the champion spot, her work still speaks very strongly of the constant sexual harassment and assault women from across the globe face…Work like Marco’s illuminates sexual harassment for what it is: a seemingly casual comment or touch that can be burned into a woman’s memory.”

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Lindsey confronts her harassers

Stories, street harassment | on July, 21, 2014 | by | 0 Comments

Last month Lindsey, the creator of Cards Against Harassment, wrote about her project for our blog.

She’s handed out her cards to 25-30 harassers since then!

Via Buzzfeed:

“She believes her method isn’t for everyone or every situation, especially when personal safety is at risk. But for her, the experience has been an opportunity to tell a man something he may have never heard before.

“The theme I hear the most often is that they truly, genuinely think it’s a compliment. and they are shocked,” she said. “If that is true, then simply telling people it’s not a compliment may go a long way.”

The Buzzfeed article also posts videos Lindsey shot of her talking to some of her harassers. Note, the men’s reactions may be upsetting. Here is one of the videos -

WAY TO GO LINDSEY for providing us with an empowering way to talk back to our harassers and for exposing the mentality behind some of these men’s behavior.

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“We aren’t puppies”

Stories, street harassment | on July, 21, 2014 | by | 0 Comments

My two friends and I were not old enough to drive, which is why we walked to the coffee shop three blocks from our building. A man walking towards us whistled our way. I responded, ʺ*uck you, we aren’t puppies.” He then asked, “Where is this sexy gaggle of girls going?”

- MM

Location: Minneapolis, MN

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See the book 50 Stories about Stopping Street Harassers for more ideas


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Documentary about Street Harassment in DC

Activist Interviews, Resources, street harassment | on July, 18, 2014 | by | 0 Comments

I first met Dienna Howard in 2008 when I was doing research for my first book. She had run the blog Golden Silence about street harassment for a few years and was outspoken on the issue so I knew she’s be a perfect person to interview. We’ve remained friends and activist allies ever since then, participating in marches, rallies, safety audits, and events together. Recently, she completed a documentary about street harassment and activism to stop it in the Washington, D.C. area. She has no background in making documentaries and learned how to do it in her spare time… and then did it. It was a huge under-taking and I’m so proud of her!!

Here is her documentary and below is an excerpt from her blog post about making the film.

“I became a member of Arlington Independent Media in late 2012. I’d known about it for years (and I attended a comedy screening there once), but I never thought to take advantage of it until then. (Más vale tarde que nunca!) This is an amazing organization that teaches its members how to create their own productions. I took the six-week field production class last spring, an Adobe Premiere Pro editing class last summer, and the six-week studio production class early last fall. Volunteering on a variety of different programs allowed me to develop my skills and do a 180 from “I don’t know what the hell I’m doing!” to “I am growing each day.” AIM’s staff is incredible and its members are wonderful.

After last year’s field production class, I wanted to produce my own show. Summer was on its way, and with summer comes an increase of street harassment, gender-based violence against women in public spaces. I am all too familiar with street harassment and I won’t use the space to get too deep into it here (I’ve talked about it enough), but being harassed on a regular basis is demeaning, frustrating, and humiliating, as well as dealing with the victim blaming responses that come from people who don’t understand it and don’t get it.

Doing a documentary on street harassment was a big challenge for someone who was still new to AIM at the time. I originally wanted to start off with something light. I love comedy, love all the old sitcoms, and wanted to do something humorous. But other than its timeliness, I wanted to do a piece on street harassment because I cannot count the number of documentaries on it that I’ve either been interviewed for or someone said they’d be working on, but they’d never come to fruition. I wanted to fill in that gap. I made a promise to myself to work on it from beginning to end and to get it done. (And as an AIM member, I’m required to get programming completed for them to air regardless!)

It was such a learning process working on this documentary. My confidence behind the camera developed, my ability to lead a team burgeoned, and my editing skills became smooth. I was getting the hang of this!

I don’t have all this fancy-schmancy technology at home, so I spent a lot of my weekends at AIM editing this project. (I know the weekend staff got tired of seeing me…HAHAHA!) Thankfully it’s cheap to rent AIM’s equipment and use of an editing suite, and using volunteer hours in lieu of part of the payment helped to reduce my costs.

I found it hard to give up most of my Saturdays during this time to edit. I’m an insomniac and I rarely sleep enough during the week, so to lose a day of my weekend was a sacrifice….

I never thought this project would end, and at times it was easy to see why others would cease working on similar things. I watched the same timeline footage each session, that I had it memorized by rote. I was beyond ready to move on.

I didn’t have a deadline for it, which was partly why the project seemed to never end….

So I put my foot down. It’s going to be done by the end of May, and I will make it happen.

Last month it was down to the wire. I was in that editing suite every Saturday, fine-tuning and finishing things. I’d been in contact with those who were involved in the program, doing things such as getting updates, getting photos, and verifying spelling and credits. I set a deadline with them too, because if I didn’t, I never would’ve gotten things done…

After what felt like an eternity, the video was completed and AIM saved a copy to their hard drive. I filled out the requisite forms, and was on my way. Nine is my favorite number, and 5/24/2014 – 5+2+4+2+0+1+4=18, 1+8=9. I spent another week nervous about whether the program was suitable to air. As long as the content wasn’t severely vulgar, it should be good to go, but there are scenes of a harasser using vulgar language against me, mentions of harassers masturbating, and cursing used when quoting the harassers. Would it fit their standards?

I got that e-mail from AIM stating that the program would air, starting June 5, 2014. 6+0+5+2+0+1+4=18, 1+8=9. Someone up there was on my side, rooting for me to achieve.

I don’t have a TV at home, but watched the live stream when it aired on the 5th. Though I had a saved copy of the video and that I would put on YouTube after it aired (AIM has a policy that nothing can be shared on other sites until it’s aired on their channel), I still watched it because I was finally watching this piece as a viewer, not as an interviewer or interview subject, not as a camera person, not as an editor, and not as a producer. I was watching it through new eyes. And as a viewer, I was proud of what I accomplished while wearing all of those other hats….

It’s been a few weeks since the program started airing on the station (three times a week!) and I finally got to put it on YouTube. The reception has been positive, which is a sigh of relief. I personally know most of the people that I interviewed for this documentary, and was worried they’d react with, “I don’t like how I was edited!” That would’ve been rough to hear. Years ago, when I was in college, I wrote an article about someone who was president of the student council. He got mad and said, “She misquoted me!” in front of me as if I weren’t even there. I didn’t want a repeat of that. Luckily everyone involved in the project has been very supportive…

I’ve finished this piece and am ready to move on, though I wouldn’t mind having a screening of it in the future. People have asked me what my next steps are. I’m currently helping a friend from my field production class co-produce a series of pieces and I’m looking forward to seeing how this project unfolds…

After everything’s said and done, I’m proud of myself for sticking with something, even when it seemed like no end was in sight. I’m looking forward to whatever else comes my way. Bring it on!”

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“Evidently I was a terrible woman because I was bending him to my will”

Stories, street harassment | on July, 17, 2014 | by | 0 Comments

I was walking casually downtown with a male friend of mine who came to visit the area and his family. We were walking along in a section along 4th Street and between Pike & Pine I believe and this man who looked like a drug addict walked towards us and stood within hearing distance and then started grumbling and practically hissing (I don’t remember his exact wording) that my male friend was a lesser man because he was walking with his woman who was clearly making him subservient to herself. Evidently I was a terrible woman because I was bending him to my will and he was a terrible man because I was crushing him with my feminine magical powers and he didn’t have the balls to put me in my place…. Or something.

He was ANGRY for no damn reason other than a man was walking with a woman. His stance and tone were so aggressive I was bracing for him to get physical with us.

I don’t know if he was trying to harass me or my male friend or both. I don’t walk in that area any longer. The number of streets downtown that I can usually reliably walk on without getting harassed … are becoming scarce.

- Anonymous

Location: Seattle, WA

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See the book 50 Stories about Stopping Street Harassers for more ideas

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SSH will not publish any comment that is offensive or hateful and does not add to a thoughtful discussion of street harassment. Racism, homophobia, transphobia, disabalism, classism, and sexism will not be tolerated. Disclaimer: SSH may use any stories submitted to the blog in future scholarly publications on street harassment.