#KillTheSilence2015 Campaign

street harassment | on May, 18, 2015 | by | 0 Comments

Wear Your Voice Magazine Releases Video PSA to End Sexual Assault Victim Blaming

Oakland, CA: Wear Your Voice Magazine announces the immediate release of #KillTheSilence2015, a yearlong campaign to end the stigma sexual assault and domestic violence survivors face when going forward with their story.

Victim blaming, also called secondary victimization, exposes survivors to additional trauma after their initial assault, making survivors less likely to come forward with their story out of fear of how they’ll be perceived or repercussions they may face from their community and those around them. In fact, rapes and sexual assaults are rarely reported to law enforcement. A 2014 report by the Department of Justice showed that only 34.8% cases of sexual assaults are reported to the authorities, while a staggering 70 percent of domestic violence cases go unreported each year.

#KillTheSilence2015 was conceptualized by Monica Cadena and Ravneet Vohra, both, sexual assault survivors. Three weeks before her 21st birthday, Monica was drugged and raped by three acquaintances. Ravneet’s abuse started at the age of 4, at the hands of a trusted family friend.

In Monica’s case, she immediately went forward to family and local authorities. After coming forward, she was shamed by family, then partner, as well as staff at the hospital that performed her rape kit. For Ravneet, she remained silent for years, internalizing her trauma as something she did wrong. When she did tell those close to her years later, it was brushed aside. In her first marriage, she was plagued with mental abuse, the abuse that leaves no physical scars. She watched as her society turned her back on her as she turned from victim to villain. Years later she would break her silence around her abuse both in childhood and adulthood in order to make impact with a mission that no one should suffer in silence again.

Throughout the year, Wear Your Voice will be releasing video PSAs to kill the silence around sexual and domestic violence. By speaking our truth and telling our story, it is our hope that others will follow suit, continuing the dialogue on how we can best support those in our lives who has been affected by such acts of violence.

We encourage everyone to participate by spreading the word on social media using the hashtag #KillTheSilence2015, answering one of the three prompts below in 140 characters:

Prompt 1 -How you were silenced from going forward with your own story?

Prompt 2-How Sexual or Domestic violence impacted your life?

Prompt 3-How you will do your part to end victimization?

We invite you to participate in this powerful campaign. 

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“I Am Not An Object”

Stories, street harassment | on May, 18, 2015 | by | 0 Comments

I already posted this story on my own personal blog but I also wanted to share it here. Thank you for creating the anti-harassment cards, I will be using them here where I live.

I Am Not An Object

I am so sick of the unwanted attention I receive almost every time I leave my apartment. Scott and I run on different schedules so it’s impossible for him to be with me all the time. But he shouldn’t have to be and I shouldn’t feel the need to always have another person there to feel safe. It’s sad that every time I am going somewhere, even if it’s just the 2-3 blocks up to the grocery store, I have developed the habit of calling my mom or a friend or just anyone so I don’t feel so alone when I am walking by myself. Most days I even try to dress down because I am afraid if I look too nice it will make it worse.

When I am walking alone, men will pull up in cars and call out to me, try to call me over. They tell me they ‘like how I look’ or that ‘I have a nice shape.’ They look me up and down like I am a piece of meat and it turns my stomach. I mean, it’s one thing if a guy wants to ask me out and he does it by striking up a conversation then asks me out. I would obviously decline because I am already spoken for, but that’s the polite way to show a girl interest. Not rolling by and slowly following her in your (serial killer) van repeating over and over ‘I love that ass, I love that ass.” And that is actually what just happened to me as I was coming home from work today.

For some reason, the bus I was riding on my way home was going out of service the stop before mine so everyone had to get off. The weather isn’t too bad so I just decided to walk the one block to our apartment building. Like usual when I have to walk by myself, I was talking to my mom on the phone and I walk by this little strip mall and a white van is just leaving. I hear the guy driving saying something but I don’t really pay attention. Then he gets louder and I hear ʺOH WOW! I love that ass.ʺ And then he just keeps calling that out to me over and over. I tried to tell him to stop, but he didn’t listen and just kept following me in his van slowly, watching me walk and continuing to call out to me. Even though I was on the phone with my mom I felt so vulnerable because there was nothing I could do to make him stop. I felt so violated. I was just walking down the street, and it wasn’t even like he was interested in me, he just saw me as some live entertainment. A white girl with a “ghetto booty” – as people have referred to my backside curve before.

Normally I just try to ignore this kind of thing, but it happens so often I just got frustrated. Today was the last straw and when I got home, try as I might, I couldn’t hold back the tears and I bawled for a good long while. I hate feeling vulnerable and I resent being treated like less of a person because of women being over-sexualized in the media.

I think women should be free to be who they are, express themselves, dress how they want, and just be without the fear that somehow we are going to attract attention that we don’t want. What drives me crazy is that some people would blame me, as if I have any control over what other people think or how they act. Women are blamed a lot for these kinds of things and worse because people ask things like ‘what was she wearing?’ – In my case, long black pants a coat and scarf (racy, I know *sarcasm*). The bottom line, it isn’t the fault of the person being assaulted – ever. No one asks to be hurt or harassed like that, no one wants that kind of attention forced on them. I certainly didn’t feel like crying after work today – I just wanted some lunch. I don’t want to feel afraid to walk by myself every time I leave my apartment, but experience of living in this area has taught me to be.

One guy got mad at me because apparently he said hi to me a lot and I didn’t remember him and I was also trying to get away from him because I didn’t want to talk to him and he said I was being rude, like I am obligated to be nice and talk to a guy giving me really unwanted attention. Other than having the body type I was born with and you know, going out into society like a normal person, I don’t do anything to consciously attract this attention. Most of the time it feels like a surprise attack.

I don’t know what to do or how to deal with this when it happens because its like a hit-and-run kind of thing. Maybe ignoring it is my best bet until society matures a bit more and the general heterosexual male populous learns that treating women like objects is flat out not okay. That is the kind of mentality that leads to rape.

What makes me really sick is that the media influences people to do all kinds of things. They influence people to look, act, and dress a certain way. It feels like a vicious circle because girls are taught to be a certain way and guys are taught that girls who dress that way are ‘easy pickings’ but girls are just trying to be fashionable. Personally, I don’t follow trends and I dress for myself. Either way, I can’t win.

I just needed to vent and get this out there somehow because what else can I really do? Thanks for reading.

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

Education, Bianca Hall said something to the effect of: ‘we have taught girls to be afraid, stop telling girls to be afraid and start telling boys not to harass girls.’ which I think should translate to ‘teach people to respect one another.’

– Oriona

Location: Toronto, Canada

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Reporter in Canada Stands up to Harassers

News stories, public harassment | on May, 17, 2015 | by | 0 Comments

“F–k her right in the p—y” is a harassing phrase some men have yelled at female reporters across Canada for more than a year. One reporter decided to do something about it and bring this reality to light. Numerous Canadian news outlets covered it last week. Below are excerpts from two papers. And good for her!

But first, the Halifax Police issued this statement (good!):

“If you’re a news consumer and/or on social media, you’re likely aware of a disturbing trend that has been discussed in the media over the past few days where men are yelling vulgarities at women reporters while they’re while they’re on camera in public places. Halifax Regional Police has learned that this is also happening in our community. The individuals who are doing this may think it’s funny and harmless or within the boundaries of their freedom of expression, but we view this type of behaviour as a form of sexualized violence and take it very seriously. We want people to know that aside from being extremely degrading and disrespectful, it could also be criminal. Depending on the circumstances, a person who does this could be charged with mischief, criminal harassment, creating a disturbance or breach of the peace.

We encourage anyone who has had this happen, whether a reporter or otherwise, to report to police if they wish. We also urge those men who would be inclined to make these disgusting comments to think twice about the consequences. “

Via the Globe & Mail:

“‘This has nothing to do with you.”

That was the jarring retort when CityNews reporter Shauna Hunt turned the camera on male soccer fans at a Toronto FC game on Sunday to ask why they were standing around and snickering at her.

Moments earlier, and just before Hunt’s live news hit, a man had waltzed into her interview and uttered a vulgar slur into the microphone – “FHRITP,” an obscene quip calling for the sexual violation of the female broadcaster. The shouting of the sentence began as an online prank in 2014, and grew into a regular occurrence that female television news reporters have come to dread, as men and even young boys will routinely interrupt them to scream it live on the air.

One of the smirking men explained to Hunt that the prank wasn’t personal and that she should probably lighten up. Soccer fans in Britain do a lot worse to female newscasters, another added creepily.

By Tuesday, one of the fans had been fired from his job at Hydro One for violating the company’s code of conduct, which includes a zero-tolerance policy on harassment. Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne tweeted her support for the journalists, stressing that the “prank” amounts to verbal assault and sexual harassment, on the job no less. Toronto police are reportedly consulting with the Crown attorney’s office on possible charges; police in Kingston tweeted that such hecklers could potentially face a charge of causing disturbance. The men involved also face a minimum one-year ban from all games hosted by the Toronto FC soccer club and the other teams owned by parent company Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment. “We’re appalled that this trend of disrespectful behaviour would make its way to our city, let alone anywhere near our stadium,” an MLSE statement released Tuesday afternoon read.

The sexual harassment of female television reporters using this “crude trend” has been pervasive in North America since the stunt went viral a year and a half ago. Hunt said she’s had obscenities hurled at her up to 10 times a day.”

Via CBC:

“Shannon Martin has had “F–k her right in the p—y” hurled at her from a passing car, in a children’s area at the Exhibition and at a Toronto high school.

It was during that last instance — when several groups of students took turns hurling the crude phrase at her while she worked — that really shocked her.

“I want to curl up in myself. It’s mortifying,” Martin told CBC Radio’s Metro Morning.

“They were trying to get a laugh from their buddies, but I don’t think they were thinking about the words,” she said.

Still shaken days after, Martin alerted the school board of the incident and sent them the video. Eventually, for the students involved, they were able to use it as a learning opportunity.

But Martin says she, and many other female colleagues, encounter someone yelling the phrase at least once a week. Few male colleagues, she said, have similar experiences while reporting in public places.”

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“He was simply told he was not allowed to do that”

Stories, street harassment | on May, 17, 2015 | by | 0 Comments

I live in New York City where walking is my usual means of transport, and harassing comments (of varying degrees of aggressiveness and offensiveness) have unfortunately become a standard part of my daily routine. What prompted me to share on this site was an incident which I am finding difficult to brush off.

I was spending my Sunday afternoon reading in a park, when a female police officer approached me and began to scold me saying things like: ʺYou had no idea what was going on?ʺ ʺYou really need to be more careful!ʺ ʺYou didn’t even know, we just ran him out of the park.ʺ I asked her what she was talking about and she told me that there had been a man who was jerking off, while hiding behind a tree below me on the hill, and trying to take photos up my skirt. This incident made me feel pretty violated and angry but what I found the most distressing was her victim blaming attitude, and the how little the police took the offense seriously. The man was not arrested, his phone was not confiscated, nor did they make him delete the images, and I was not asked if I wanted to file a report. He was simply told he was not allowed to do that and that he must leave the park.

I felt completely powerless as I was not given the opportunity to confront him or even to see his face, and in addition I was told that somehow the blame lay with me for something I had or had not done. I would have expected the police officer to know better, as she has probably experienced similar things in her own day-to-day life.

– Emily P

Location: New York City, NY

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“They might even catch the perpetrator”

Stories, street harassment | on May, 16, 2015 | by | 0 Comments

A drunk man on a train grabbed me and planted a kiss on my cheek. I reported him to the Transport Police, they took a statement two days later, and they found him on the train’s CCTV. They’re now going to circulate those images to local police stations and publish them in the local paper.

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

If you experience street harassment, report it to the police. It will make you feel proactive and powerful – and they might even catch the perpetrator.

– Anonymous

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


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“Make it public, make their behaviour visible.”

Stories, street harassment | on May, 15, 2015 | by | 0 Comments

I was rated by a group of middle-aged builders as I was walking home. After spotting me they started to shout numbers and loudly ‘rate’ my attractiveness out of ten. Pretty sad and intimidating to be walking along and a group of adults actually stop work and start loudly proclaiming your perceived value at you. They do this because they think they can get away with it but also because society at large has allowed this type of behaviour to continue/be acceptable. Nobody said anything to them.

Another builder in Bristol shouted patronizing comments at me as I walked down a side road near the University. The pavement had been blocked but I couldn’t see that from where I was walking. I heard, “Oh, well done sweetheart” (sarcastically) and when I did see the sign he shouted, “Well done, that’s it” (sarcastic). Absolutely no problem was caused by my actions. There was no need at all for a professional to shout such sarcastic comments except for the fact he knew he would get away with it and I am a woman in the street, therefore fair game.

There have been a depressing amount of times in my life where similar instances have occurred. I know this is also true of many female friends.

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

I honestly believe that men (but people generally) conduct poor behaviour in the street towards others because they feel they have a right to/can get away with it/society doesn’t do anything to them. Men who go for women in the street know there behaviour is not challenged in society. This is the root cause of much of street harassment – no punishment or shame comes back on those that do it.

We need to educate people in schools/universities, but make it visible in society generally, that any form of street harassment is just that: Harassment.

Educate that such behaviour isn’t correct but further, ask those around the people who do harass to step up. If a guys mates actually told him to stop, that would be powerful.

If someone in any professional capacity harasses you, do not be submissive. Take a picture of the person/where it happened or a company van or whatever and contact that company directly explaining what happened and make a complaint. Write a review explaining what happened on their company website. Make it public, make their behaviour visible.

– Miss Student

Location: Bristol UK

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“Hid in the grounds for three hours before I felt safe enough to come out.”

LGBTQ, Stories, street harassment | on May, 14, 2015 | by | 0 Comments

I am a transgender man (pre-hormones and surgery) and I have been homeless since November 2014. I have spent some time on the streets and one day I was sitting under a shelter at the beach, smoking a cigarette and taking in the sea air and just relaxing for a while before having to think about finding a place to sleep for the night.

These two young cisgender men came and sat on the bench next to the one I was sitting on, in spite of there being other free benches further from me, and I felt uneasy about them from the second they sat down. Maybe because they were both drinking beer and being quite brash in their manner. I didn’t want to move though in case they followed me, so I put in my headphones and just stared ahead at the water, although I could feel their eyes on me as they talked to each other in what sounded like South African accents.

Eventually I couldn’t help but look back at them because they’ve been gawping at me for the past 20 minutes, and one of them says, ʺAre you going to get yourself sorted out?ʺ gesturing to my backpack and sleeping bag. I feign ignorance and say, ʺWhat do you mean?ʺ He says ʺI see you have a sleeping bag thereʺ, and I tell him I’ve been camping. He wants to know where, and I tell him it’s none of his business and look away. But I know they have clocked me as a rough sleeper and by now I am really scared because I don’t know what their intentions are. I want to leave but I am still afraid of them following me, so I watch a long YouTube video on my phone and try to distract myself while sending out very clear ʺI don’t want to talkʺ vibes.

The video was 45min long and when it was finished they were still there, still looking. I took my headphones out and one of them asked me if I’m all right and they didn’t mean to make me uncomfortable. (Evidently they knew what they were doing, and if they cared that much they would have moved or at least stopped ogling me!). I lied and said they didn’t, and then said, ʺI am going home nowʺ and got up and started walking off. The seafront road is long and straight and I could feel them watching me still. I tried to walk confidently and forced myself not to look back until I could turn off the main road. They hadn’t followed me, but even so I ducked into a church and hid in the grounds for three hours before I felt safe enough to come out.

I do not identify as female, but I am still read as female and as such I face many of the same issues. One day I will start hormones and eventually I will pass as male 100% of the time. When that happens I will be even more mindful of how I interact with women and those with feminine gender expressions in order to ensure their comfort and safety. I just wish I had told those men that yes, they WERE making me uncomfortable and I would appreciate being left alone. But maybe if I had, the outcome would have been worse. Who knows?

I am moving to a new town soon and will no longer be homeless homeless, and when I am settled I will become involved in starting a new Hollaback group. I want people to know that street harassment is not something that only happens to women and for other trans/queer people to see one of their own community at the forefront of this issue.

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

Make harassers directly and immediately accountable for their actions. Introduce on-the-spot fines for street harassers and make citizen’s arrests an option, with incentives to encourage intervention and prevent ‘bystander syndrome’. If the harassment occurs from a vehicle, the offender should incur penalty points on their driving licenses. The UK has so much camera surveillance already in place that gathering evidence should not be a problem in most areas.

– Vince

Location: Worthing, England

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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.