“If women on the street said I look nice, it’d make my day”

August 31, 2010

I LOVE this cartoon by @barrydeutsch! (Update: He’s made the cartoon available for purchase. I just bought it as a postcard and print)

It speaks to one of the arguments* I make when men tell me they’ve been whistled at and don’t mind it: there is a difference in the sheer volume of harassment that men and women face.

For example, a running friend of mine has said before that he’s been whistled at a few times over the course of his 15+ year running career.  Hmm. In college, I was harassed more than that in a single hour when I would go running (no exaggeration), including whistling, honking, kissing noises, and sexually explicit comments. I have no idea how many times across my 14 year running career I’ve faced harassment. At least hundreds.

That volume of harassment is annoying in addition to being demeaning and perhaps threatening. It’s hard to get some men to understand that and so I’m grateful for this cartoon.

(*Factors like gender inequality, threat of rape, and victim blaming, all issues I address in chapter two of my book, also make men’s harassment of women  unique compared with the harassment men may face.)

Two jerkoffs in Lebanon

August 31, 2010

Two cases of exhibitionism in one weekend:

Went to Tyr in the South for the weekend with friends. Went to look at some of the greco-roman ruins. As we are walking around the pillars and down to the beach, we hear a strange hissing noise behind us: “ksss…ksss”, as if someone were calling to a cat or a dog. Having lived in NYC for over a decade I’m familiar with all manner of cat-calling and attention-getting-noises, and having noticed a teenager out of the corner of my eye earlier (who I thought belonged to a Lebanese family walking around the ruins, but who was apparently by himself), I did not turn around, but said to my (female and blonde, like me) friend: “Hey, don’t look now, but some little shit is making weird noises behind us.”

He passed us, and walked down towards the beach. I started walking back up in the opposite direction. He kept hissing and my friend turned around and started screaming, “Ewwwww, he’s jerking off! Oh my god, how disgusting!” Apparenty the little shit had not only pulled down his pants to show off his business but started masturbating right then and there. Idiot.

Then, a few hours later, in the early afternoon (read: broad daylight), back in Beirut from our weekend trip in our rental cars, I get dropped off by our friends at the corner and walk up the 100 metres to our front door. Tabaris in Achrafieh is a pretty “posh” neighborhood in a rather nice part of town, mind you. Before I get to the front door, I take my keys out of my bag. The street is deserted; it is Sunday, and this is the Christian part of town, and the shops are closed.

There is a guy sitting on a scooter right in front of the entrance, with his helmet on and everything. I don’t think he can see me as I am coming up the street behind him, but I do think it’s odd that he’s just sitting there on his bike. As I get closer and am about to unlock the front door, I hear that he is muttering to himself and see that he is… jerking off. Another one? Seriously? What is with these people???

Can’t believe this and am shocked (and scared) so I take out my phone and try to call a friend whilst walking away from the door. Not sure where to go at this point, as all the public places — shops, hair salons etc — are closed, so I head back towards the door, and just then I see him speed away. Phew. My hands are shaking and sweaty and I have a hard time opening the front door and I am wondering if he’s just going around the block to come back and harass me, or gone for good. I am utterly disgusted and disturbed.

– i.d.

Location: Beirut, Lebanon

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.

“As soon as I passed, he said, ‘Want some dick?'”

August 30, 2010

I was walking to my office when I passed a man sitting on the side of a pedestrian bridge. He seemed to be talking to himself. Then as soon as I passed, he said, “Want some dick?” I ignored him and kept walking, then he got louder: “Come on!” The further I walked, the less I heard, but he didn’t stop.

I filed a police report.

– Anonymous

Location: 390 North Ave NW, Atlanta, GA

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.

“Treating me as their property”

August 30, 2010

When I was walking home from work, I saw these men hanging out on the street from afar, and I knew, JUST KNEW that they were going to try to “holla” at me. They made it obvious that they were going to catcall because they stopped their inane conversation to stare at me. Yuck. I was already planning what I was going to do to handle them. Do I cross the street or keep on walking? I opted to keep on walking because crossing the street would’ve been an inconvenience to me.

They had started talking again, but now I was close enough for them to make verbal contact with. They once again stop talking to check me out. Ew. And I knew it, they opened their raggedy mouths:

“Heyyyyyyyyy, gurrrrrrrrrrrrrrl!” they said, as if we were longtime friends. I didn’t know these fools, nor did I want to. And I know they were looking at my ass as I passed them…nasty!

Do I respond or ignore them? At first I chose to ignore them. Instead of their dumb behinds catching the hint, they continued to speak to me, but louder.

“How ya doin’, cutie?” they said. I still ignore them.

Now when the one on the right in the photo said, “Boo, did your man hurt you?”, enough with ignoring them. I had to turn around and say something. “One, I AM NOT HIS “BOO”, and two, the assumption that my ignoring them and trying to go about my day meant I was angry and had “man trouble” pissed me off.

“I do not know you,” I said. “You are strangers to me. Don’t talk to black women you don’t know as if you know them. I am not your ‘boo’!”

“You say ‘Hello, Miss’ or ‘Hello, Ma’am,” I continued.

“We said ‘Hello’,” the guy on the right in the photo said.

“But you called me ‘Boo’, and I don’t like being called that, or ‘Shorty’, or ‘Cutie’, or ‘Slim’…learn to respect women!”

I pulled out my phone and snapped a photo of them. I continued chastising them, emphasizing that they were strangers to me and they needed to leave women they didn’t know alone. The reason I emphasized not knowing them is because of the passers-by. People rarely (if ever) help me when I’m dealing with harassers, but I wanted to make the nonexistent relationship between myself and these men regardless.

“Go ahead, take my picture!” the one on the right in the photo said. “There’s a PO-leeeeeeeeeece station down the street. Take dat picture to the PO-leeeeeeeeeeeeeeece!”

I got the photo, put my phone back in my bag, and don’t remember my closing words to them as I continued walking towards home, but I remember the guy on the right went from wanting me to pay him attention to dismissing me with a curt “BYE! BYEEEEEEEEEEEEE!”

I’ve had so much experience with harassers that I should’ve known that was coming too. Just a few seconds prior these pitiful excuses for men were trying hard to get my attention, and when I gave them the type of attention they didn’t want they dismissed me. They continued yelling stuff to my back but I was tired of dealing with them and wanted to get home.

It pisses me off that they singled me out on the street and assumed they could talk to me in any way because we’re the same race. I’m sure they said not a thing to the couples that walked ahead of me, or the girls jogging ahead of me, or the woman who was dressed for a fancy night out who was ahead of me, nor did they say anything to the older couple behind me or the two boys who were headed in their direction. Nope, they had to single me out being the only black woman passing by them, treating me as their property.

I’ve lived in this neighborhood for a year, and I tend to see the same faces more or less and have a feel of who lives here. I have seen the guy leaning on the car before bumming for change. I remember him pretty much ignoring people who walked by him, but he banged on the window of a woman in her car who was about to drive off. She locked the doors and drove off—good for her! I noticed he surely didn’t bug a big, burly guy I saw walking past him that day. I have never seen the other guy until today. Regardless of where they’re from, they need to get lives that don’t involve hanging out on the street corner not doing shit with themselves. They need to leave women alone.

(And no, the irony is not lost on me that these guys were standing near a neighborhood watch sign when I took the photo.)

– Tired of Being Harassed

: Wilson Blvd. & N. Troy Street, 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.

Weekly Round Up: August 29. 2010

August 29, 2010

Story Submissions Recap:

I accept street harassment submissions from anywhere in the world. Share your story!

In the News, On the Blogs:



10 Tweets from the Week:

  • missandrealuise Want to influence mayoral policy on street harassment? See London Anti Street Harassment (LASH) Campaign’s survey: www.lashcampaign.org
  • Elizastreet harassment is on the same spectrum of violence against women” SO TRUE.
  • StreetHarassmnt Man riding bike sneering at Laura & I falls over curb because he was too focused on us hot ladies! There is a god!
  • CatCall “Hey pretty!” on Ave C. I’m starting to think C stands for CatCall.
  • ThatWasLaura Seriously man? “Helloooo nurse?” what the fuck kind of catcall is that? I’m not a cartoon.
  • motheroflight What is it, Catcall Thurs? I guess the men of downtown arent ready 4 the return of skinny jeans&books. #StopCallingMeHoney
  • stephenlacour It’s 2010 and I can’t believe that old gross dudes still catcall random girls so hard.
  • kitchentop fuck u asshole who specifically stuck yr hand out 2 grope me as i passed u on the sidewalk. #streetharassment
  • TheOpEdProject Over 80% of women are harassed, just for walking on the street. Check out new book by @hkearl Stop Street Harassment http://bit.ly/a4E8Mw
  • SakuraChica I will be reading “Stop Street Harassment: Making Public Places Safe and Welcoming for Women” by @hkearl. “catcalling” is NOT a compliment.