Don’t call me Sweetheart!

April 28, 2010

Just when I thought I could go almost two weeks free of nonsense!

This morning, I left my apartment to head to work and there was a moving truck outside. Three people (two men, one woman) were trying to help the truck park outside the apartment.

I continue walking, and I hear a loud “HAVE A NICE DAY, SWEETHEART!” barked at me. It was one of the moving men.

“Don’t call me sweetheart!” I snapped, not missing a beat.
“I was just trying to tell you have a nice day,” the guy says.

I hate when they do that. The same thing happened with another guy who was in front of Rosslyn Metro a few weeks back. He says the same thing, I had the same response, and his answer was “What? I can’t say hello?”

It’s as if these men are in denial of their actions. Did you not just call me “SWEETHEART” dummies? It’s not the fact that you said “hello” or “have a nice day” to me, it’s the fact that you had to call me “sweetheart” along with it. Do you not remember doing that?

In both instances, when they had “Can’t I just say hello?” or “I’m just trying to tell you to have a nice day!” responses, I responded back with “If you wanted to say ‘hello’ you would’ve just said hello” and “If you just wanted to wish me a nice day, you would’ve just said ‘have a nice day’.” These men are dense beyond reason.

Dear men who feel obliged to tell women they don’t know to have a nice day: Feel free to tell us to have a nice day, but don’t call us “sweetheart,” especially when we don’t know you.

– Tired of Being Harassed

Location: Arlington, VA

Share your street harassment story today and help raise awareness about the problem. Include your location and it will be added to the Street Harassment Map.

“Don’t shy away – speak out!”

April 27, 2010

Lebanese activists work on anti-harassment campaign, image Via Google

“Don’t shy away – speak out” is an anti-sexual harassment campaign launched by activists in Lebanon to address the problem in public places and the workplace.

“Raghida Ghamlouch, a social worker with the non-governmental Lebanese Council to Resist Violence Against Women, said Lebanon’s social fabric does not encourage victims to speak out.

‘Lebanese society is still macho and systematically places the blame on the woman,’ Ghamlouch told AFP.

‘Women are told it is their fault if they hitch a cab off the street, if they are dressed a certain way, if they come home late, and so forth,’ she added.

‘And for women who are adults, it is even worse: They are accused of having deliberately provoked the man.’

Another factor that silences victims are Lebanon’s unjust laws, which do not explicitly consider harassment a crime.

And a convicted rapist in Lebanon is let off the hook if he consents to marry his victim.

‘Even police mock women who come in to their station to file complaints of harassment or domestic violence,’ Hashem said….

‘If the complaints increase, perhaps then the authorities cannot discount it,’ Hashem said. ‘Perhaps then they will see it is a real problem.'”

So clearly the activists have their work cut out for them and their work is very much needed!

It’s crazy how world-wide victim-blaming for gender-based violence is, huh? From Egypt to India to the UK to the US of A and now Lebanon…I am tired of hearing that women are to blame!

Anyway, bravo to the Lebanese activists and may they help break down the culture of victim-blaming and empower women to come forward against harassers.

Ladies only at all times

April 27, 2010

Malaysia is launching “ladies-only” cars on the KTM Komuter train for the Sentul-Port Klang route. Naturally there are pink stickers and banners to designate the cars as ones that are “Ladies only at all times.” And unsurprisingly, this new initiative is in response to men sexually harassing women on the train.

Segregation on public transportation is not a novel idea. In fact it’s becoming a worn out one. Let’s place the blame and the action on the perpetrators, not the women who are the targets! So here are some novel ideas, brought to you by me, off of the top of my head:

  1. Bar men who harass women from riding the trains.
  2. Give men who harass women citations and make them sit in men-wh0-harass-women cars.
  3. Give all women who ride the train mace to use on men who harass them.

In all seriousness though, check out the subway anti-sexual harassment campaigns occurring in Chicago, NYC, and Boston, which do not place the blame or the onus to avoid harassment on women. Let’s have more of that!

When men are in a group

April 26, 2010

While bike riding with a friend this afternoon, two men in a car honked their horn and shouted “nice ass”. My companion was female but I wonder if I were with a man if this incident would have occurred. This type of thing seems to happen more when “men” are in a group or with another man. It disgusts me how often this type of behavior happens.

– anonymous

Share your street harassment story today and help raise awareness about the problem. Include your location and it will be added to the Street Harassment Map.

Oregon shrubbery harasser

April 21, 2010

I am on a business trip and after I checked into my hotel this evening, I went for a run. I like going running new places. I was on a dead end street off of a busy one when I heard a man’s voice, “Hey girl, run girl, yeah you better run girl!” Then in an increasingly aggressive and louder tone of voice, he started yelling, “Oh yeah! Oh yeah! Oh yeah!”

My heart started pounding. It was an otherwise deserted area and a location unfamiliar to me. I turned around to see who he was and maybe confront him, but he was hidden from view behind shrubbery. As his aggressive tone sunk in a bit more, I felt frightened and I sprinted back to the main road and made my way back to my hotel, trying not to cry.

It may not sound like that big of a deal, but it’s really shaken me up, especially since I am now in an empty hotel room in a new state across the country from where I live. This incident has made me feel vulnerable as a woman out in public on her own and that makes me really mad. I have every right to be in public and not be harassed and frightened! I’m not going to cower and hide and not go for a run or travel by myself but in this society, I know that comes with a risk of being harassed or assaulted by scary, disrespectful men 😦 It makes me so ANGRY!

Shrubbery where the harasser's voice was coming from

Anyway, I drove back there in my rental car and took a quick picture from my window. It’s only of bushes, but it marks the spot.

When will women be safe?


Location: Clay Street SW, Wilsonville, OR

Share your street harassment story today and help raise awareness about the problem. Include your location and it will be added to the Street Harassment Map.