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“I don’t have a voice and it’s scary”

Stories, street harassment | on July, 26, 2014 | by | 0 Comments

I live in Washington Heights on 184th and Audubon. Not a day goes by that I am not harassed on the street and it’s usually more than once. Usually it’s inappropriate sexual comments and remarks about my looks. These men listen to my conversation while I am on the phone and think it’s okay to interrupt. Then they continue to get angry when I don’t stop everything I am doing and respond. It really amazes me that these men find any excuse to harass a young woman and they think it’s acceptable behavior.

Not only am I uncomfortable, but I am ashamed to walk around and I can not say anything back to them because I fear for my safety. I don’t have a voice and it’s scary.

I’m also called “white girl” in Spanish as I walk down the street. My room-mate and I were leaving the subway station and a man bumped into her in the rain. Instead of apologizing and moving on he screamed “move it you dumb blonde bimbo.” What happened to manners? Treating a woman with respect?

Treating EVERYONE with respect no matter what color or gender.

Washington Heights is living in a bubble separate from the rest of the integrated word and they need a huge wake up call. It’s 2014 NEW YORK CITY.

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

More police outside on the streets. Make pepper spray more easily accessible to women. I would love if “Stop telling women to smile” would come uptown and do some artwork on Audubon. We need to spread the message.

- Anonymous

Location: New York City, NY

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

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Stopping Harassment at Comic-Con

Activist Interviews, News stories, public harassment, Resources | on July, 25, 2014 | by | 0 Comments

Via Geeks for CONsent’s Facebook Page

In San Diego, there are 130,000 people at Comic-Con International, a place, the LA Times says, “where fans celebrate superheroes and science fiction and Hollywood studios promote their upcoming geek-friendly fare. As comic book characters have broadened, so too has their fan base. More women have begun attending Comic-Con in recent years, and now comprise about 40% of convention-goers, according to Glanzer.”

But even with the increase in women attending, sexual harassment continues to be a problem. For example, Janelle Asselin, who the LA Times writes “has edited comics for DC and Disney, said she has been groped at half a dozen conventions. She said a male comic book artist once told her he would like to eat her ‘like a pie,’ and she received rape threats in comments posted online after she had written a critique of a comic on her blog.”

In response, our friends at Feminist Public Works/Geeks for CONsent submitted a petition with 2,500 signatures calling on organizers to post signs in the convention halls detailing its anti-harassment policies. It also wants convention volunteers trained on how to respond to harassment incidents.

Comic-Con feels it’s already doing enough as they “already posts its policy, that “harassing or offensive behavior will not be tolerated,” on its website and in a printed events guide.”

Geeks for CONsent disagree and since Comic-Con isn’t doing more, they are in San Diego now, handing out anti-sexual harassment information to attendees. They’ve also developed an anti-harassment training manual for convention use. We support them in their effort!

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Sexual Harassment isn’t “Natural”

Resources, street harassment | on July, 25, 2014 | by | 0 Comments

In conversations around street harassment, sexual violence, domestic violence and rape, inevitably someone will say, well, men are “natural predators” and “biologically wired to be violent” etc. UGH. Guess what? It’s simply not true.

Agustín Fuentes, trained in Zoology and Anthropology, is a Professor of Anthropology at the University of Notre Dame. His research delves into the how and why of being human and he breaks down why it is wrong.

Check out the article and perhaps bookmark it so next time someone tries to tell you men can’t help saying sexually explicit things or grabbing you on the street you can tell them why that is wrong.

He ends with:

“…when men’s rights groups bemoan the oppression of their ‘nature’ by women they are wrong. When anyone asserts that sexual coercion, harassment, or even rape is, at least in part, driven by biological prerogatives, they are wrong—and no one can use biology and evolution as an excuse for being a jerk. But that does not mean that such behavior is not an ongoing reality—it just means that it is a reality that we can alter.

Most men aren’t sexual predators. But we need to be more active when someone is—especially in regards to sexual harassment, coercion and assault on women. Society needs to own up to the fact that sexual aggression is not inevitable—but it is predictable, explicable, and in most cases avoidable.”

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Puerto Rico: World Cup Sexism

correspondents, street harassment | on July, 24, 2014 | by | 0 Comments

Cristina del Mar Quiles, Puerto Rico, SSH Blog Correspondent

El resultado de un juego de fútbol como pretexto para el acoso callejero

En el primer juego de la semifinal de la Copa del Mundo que se celebró desde junio en Brasil, el equipo de Alemania sacó al anfitrión de su propia cancha: siete goles por uno. Como decimos en Puerto Rico, Alemania le dio senda pela a Brasil, le dio duro, eso fue una saaaaalsa.

Por supuesto que los memes no se hicieron esperar. Las redes sociales explotaron. Que si Alemania estaba vengando a Colombia, la selección a la que Brasil había eliminado días antes, que si era una humillación a la selección que más copas había ganado…

Entonces la frase, “Te quiero dar como a Brasil, duro y en tu casa” se regó como un chiste en redes sociales. Apareció como una de esas fotos de frases bonitas pintadas en paredes a la vista de todos que publican con frecuencia las distintas locales del movimiento Acción Poética. Si una anda por la calle y se topa con un muro que lee “Te quiero dar como a Brasil, duro y en tu casa”, estará experimentando el acoso callejero.

Ahora voy a hacer un paréntesis.

Para entender esto hay que partir de la premisa de que el Mundial de Fútbol es un evento hipermasculino, y que su tratamiento mediático es además machista y homofóbico. Notemos que la participación de las mujeres en la cobertura se limitó a poses en traje de baños, ropa interior y “bodypainting”. Los artículos resaltados en los medios sociales por los periódicos en Puerto Rico: mujeres que ofrecen sexo gratis si su equipo gana, mujeres que “pelarán pa’ bajo” si pierde el contrincante de su favorito. Como siempre ellos ejecutan, ellas satisfarán.

Cierro paréntesis.

Ya establecido el contexto del Mundial de Fútbol, debemos recordar que arrastramos toda una historia de chistes misóginos que connotan la agresión sexual a las mujeres como motivo de risa y de burla hacia los perdedores, los débiles, los diferentes. Entonces, no podemos pensar otra cosa que una frase como “Voy a darte como a Brasil, duro y en tu casa” es otro tipo de “piropo chistoso” en el que el emisor es un hombre y en el que la receptora debe ser una mujer.

La imagen que circuló por las redes sociales con la frase “Voy a darte como a Brasil duro y en tu casa” aparecía firmada por “Atsión Poética Tepito”. Evidentemente, no es un mural real, sino una composición digital. Aún así, desde la página de “Atsión Poética Tepito” ha sido compartida 7,000 veces y aprobada con un “like” por casi 6,000.

No sé si Atsión Poética Tepito es endosado por el movimiento original de Acción Poética, una iniciativa noble, que nació en 1996 para llevar la poesía a las calles, a espacios públicos, a la vista de todos y que según se establece en el portal www.accionpoetica.com, “el contenido de las frases son generalmente pensamientos de amor y frases optimistas, citas de poetas, escritores, músicos… Firmadas con el sello y formato de Acción Poética”. Lo que sí sé es que el contenido de Atsión Poética Tepito dista mucho de “pensamientos de amor y frases optimistas, citas de poetas, escritores, músicos…” Es más una retahíla de sandeces, de chistes machistas, sexistas y que de optimista tienen muy poco.

Vayamos al contenido. En el deporte “dar una pela”, “dar duro” o “dar una salsa” al contrincante es ganarle con gran ventaja. En las relaciones, “darle duro” a una mujer puede significar una de dos cosas, agredirla físicamente o tener una relación sexual intensa con ella con la ideología de que el hombre asume una posición activa y ella una de receptora pasiva. En ambos casos, se trata de una cuestión bastante machista. Y si relacionamos el resultado del juego según lo reportaron múltiples medios con la frase en cuestión, estamos hablando de que la persona que quiere “darle duro” a la otra, como lo hizo Alemania con Brasil, realmente lo que quiere es humillarla. Implica una amenaza de intromisión al el espacio privado.

La frase resulta ser el reflejo de una sociedad en la que el “macho” expresa su deseo carnal sobre “la hembra” y en la que poco importa lo que ella piensa.

Entonces, ¿qué tal si dejamos de estar compartiendo chistecitos machistas a nombre del deporte que en realidad son un atentado a costa de la mujer? Ya está bueno.

Cristina es una periodista y productora de noticias de San Juan, Puerto Rico. Posee un bachillerato de la Universidad de Puerto Rico, Recinto de Río Piedras, donde también completa su maestría en Consejería. Puedes seguirla en Twitter en @cristinadelmarq

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The is how the outcome of a football [soccer] game was used as an excuse for street harassment…

In the first semifinal match of the World Cup held in Brazil, the German team took the host out of his own court: seven goals to one. As we say in Puerto Rico, Germany “le dio una pela” to Brazil, hit Brazi hard, that was a saaaaalsa.

Of course social networks exploded. Some said that Germany was avenging Colombia, the selection Brazil had eliminated days ago. Some others said that it was a humiliation to the team that had won more titles.

Then, an image of the phrase “Te quiero dar como a Brasil, duro y en tu casa” was spread all over Facebook and Twitter.  “Te quiero dar como a Brasil, duro y en tu casa” can be translated as “I want to fuck you like Germany fucked Brazil, hard and in your own house” or “I want to give it to you like Germany to Brazil, hard and in your own house”

It looked like a picture of a graffiti that could have been taken in any street. If someone walks down the street and runs into a wall that reads “I want to give it to you like Germany to Brazil, hard and in your own house” that person will be experiencing a form of street harassment.

Let’s break down why this is a problem.

To understand this, we must establish first that the World Cup is a hypermasculine event and its media coverage is also sexist and homophobic. Note that the participation of women in the coverage was reduced to merely poses in bathing suits, underwear and “bodypainting”. -Items highlighted in social media for newspapers in Puerto Rico: “This woman offers free sex if her team wins” or “This woman will strip if the challenger loses to her favorite”.

For the context of the World Cup, we can remember that we carry a history of misogynist jokes connoting sexual assault to ridicule the losers, the weak, the different. So we can easily imagine that a phrase like “I want to fuck you as Germany fucked Brazil, hard and in your own house” is another type of “humorous wink” in which the issuer is a man and that the recipient must be a woman. It involves an intrusion into the private sphere.

The picture circulated on social network with the phrase appeared signed by “Acción Poética Tepito”. It’s obvious the image is not a photograph of an actual mural, but a digital composition. Still, it has been shared 7,000 times and liked 6,000.

I do not know if Acción Poética Tepito is endorsed by the original Acción Poética, a noble initiative born in 1996 to take poetry to the streets and public spaces. As it is stated in the website www.accionpoetica.com, “the content of the sentences are generally optimistic thoughts of love and phrases, quotes of poets, writers, musicians … Signed with the stamp format of Acción Poética.” What I do know is that the content of Atsion Poética Tepito is far from “love thoughts and optimistic phrases, quotations from poets, writers, musicians …” It’s a string of gibberish, of sexist jokes.

Let’s go to content. In sports “dar una pela”, “dar duro” o “dar una salsa”  is to beat the opponent with great advantage. In relationships, “darle duro” to a woman can mean one of two things, physical assault or an intense sexual relationship in which the man takes an active position and she is only passive recipient. In both cases, it is a pretty sexist saying. The phrase appears to be the reflection of a society in which the “male” expresses his carnal desire for the “female” no matter what she thinks.

So, what would happen if we stop sharing and liking images and sexual jokes that are clearly an offense to women?

We’ve had enough!

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New Yorkers, Gather Tomorrow at 10 a.m.

Events, street harassment | on July, 24, 2014 | by | 0 Comments
New Yorkers — Tomorrow at 10 a.m. is an event to address sexual harassment on public transit.
Via Center for Anti-Education (CAE):
Tomorrow morning we’ll join Public Advocate Letitia James, HollaBack! and other anti-sexual violence orgs. to push for increased NYPD & MTA accountability regarding sexual violations on public transit. Friday, July 25, at the 4/5/6 subway station entrance closest to Chambers and Centre Street in Manhattan, 10 a.m. Join us!
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“It was a huge trigger for me”

Stories, street harassment | on July, 24, 2014 | by | 0 Comments

One time when I was 19 in Oakland, CA. I was walking down the street toward the MLK Museum and four guys in a car drove up and starting cat calling me. They said things like, ʺHey baby,ʺ ʺYou should be mine,ʺ ʺYou’re sexy,ʺ ʺI want that,ʺ ʺLet me hit that.ʺ I tried to ignore them but they kept following me.

I felt very afraid. I turned around and said, ʺI’m not interested, please goʺ and suddenly the driver got very mad and said, ʺYOU ARE GONNA GIVE ME YOUR NUMBER!ʺ and he acted like he was pulling the car toward the curb. I ran and he followed me in his car yelling, ʺGIVE ME YOUR NUMBER. I WANT IT NOWʺ. Luckily, I was two blocks from the museum and I just ran in, shaking. I was terrified. I didn’t know if they would follow me or wait for me.

I stayed in the museum for hours, hearing my heart race.

Especially, as someone who has been sexually assaulted in the past, it was a huge trigger for me. To this day, almost ten years later, when I see a car full of young men and I’m walking by myself, my heart starts racing.

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

Bring awareness. I think so many people think it’s normal and they think it’s a way of life. They do not fully understand how this affects women and women know they feel bad, but it’s hard to verbalize what happened. It’s a type of trauma sometimes. Sometimes women blame themselves based on how they are dressed, etc. We need to raise more awareness, and let people know what is acceptable and what isn’t. We also need to get women’s stories out there so we can bring a sense of compassion to those who harass us.

- Jasmine Nears

Location: Oakland, CA

 

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“Confront the person and let them know this is NOT ok”

Stories, street harassment | on July, 23, 2014 | by | 0 Comments

I was a 19-year-old girl from a small town in the big city going to college.  I was already scared to death.  My apartment was six blocks from school and we walked every day.  Many times men shouted lewd things from cars or from construction jobs nearby.  It was a business college and we were required to wear dresses every day.

I always tried to walk to school as part of a group but one day during finals I was alone.  A car with several men in it drove by me slowly and shouted something about my “fine ass.’”  The went around the block and came by again slower, and shouted again, I was so scared, after they went by I ran the last couple of blocks in high heels.

I was 18 at the time, I’m 52 now and I can still remember this plain as day.  We do not or did NOT want the unwanted attention, it’s degrading, and inhumane!!  I felt like a piece of meat.

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

By doing just what you’re doing and what most of us wanted to do but were by ourselves and scared. Confront the person and let them know this is NOT ok. I am also a child sexual abuse survivor and it’s empowering to watch you tell someone this is NOT ok, I wanted to do that as a child and was too scared. Giving women power is a great thing.

- Lynn

Location: Downtown St. Louis, MO

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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.