High Court in Bangladesh outlaws term “eve-teasing”

January 31, 2011

Using terms like “catcalls,” “wolf whistles,” and “eve-teasing” to describe street harassment negates the seriousness of the problem. The terms make the behavior seem funny and cute-sy. The terms make it easy for people to dismiss women’s complaints and to stand by as men continue to harass women. (And can you imagine a similar type of “funny” phraseology for racial harassment? Wouldn’t happen, hasn’t happened.)

I use these terms grudgingly, when I think I must because they’re what people understand or when I’m reporting on a source that’s used them.

So I’m overjoyed by the news that Bangladesh’s high court ordered that incidents of harassment have to be called sexual harassment, not eve-teasing.  (via Dawn.com):

“Bangladesh`s high court recently ruled [that] the term downplays the seriousness of such crimes. The court said this in response to a class action lawsuit filed by legal activists after a number of teenaged women committed suicide, reportedly due to stalking and harassment. Police would often dismiss such crimes as innocent mischief caused by young men.

And here’s more via Sify.com:

“The court also ruled that stalking, either physically or electronically, must be considered sexual harassment.

From January to November 2010, 26 women and one father of a bullied girl committed suicide, and 10 men and two women were murdered after protesting against sexual harassment, according to a Bangladeshi rights group.

Since coming to power in December 2008 the Awami League government has launched a crackdown, including stationing undercover police in playgrounds to prevent young males from molesting female pupils.”

Nice work, Bangladeshi activists!

Now we need to get rid of the term “catcall” in the United States!!

Extensive harassment in Mumbai

January 31, 2011

I’ve been catcalled, rubbed against, uncomfortable staring at inappropriate body parts, & unsolicited flirting

– Anonymous

Location: Mumbai

Share your street harassment story today and help raise awareness about the problem. Find suggestions for what YOU can do about this human rights issue.

Ten new HollaBack websites launch today

January 31, 2011

Congrats to Emily May and the whole HollaBack team on the launch of ten new websites that will help track street harassment globally.

Via a press release from HollaBack:

“Inti Maria Tidball-Binz, the leader of Hollaback Buenos Aires said, ‘For many of us in Buenos Aires “Piropos,” or “catcalls” are aggressive and intrusive. We need a fresh approach to local issues, and knowing that the strength of the international Hollaback movement is behind us gives us the impetus to make changes.’

Inti Maria is one of over 20 activists that are planning to launch Hollaback sites today in six U.S. locations: Atlanta, Baltimore, El Paso, Houston, Portland, and SoCal, and four international locations: Czech Republic, Mumbai, France, and Buenos Aires.  In addition, the New York City and London sites will be moving to the ihollaback.org platform to join the growing global network.

Shawna Potter, the leader of the Hollaback Baltimore said, ‘I’ve traveled a lot over my life and noticed that no matter where I go, street harassment follows. I hope Hollaback Baltimore will help fuel the discussion of appropriate behavior towards women and inspire others who have felt helpless or frightened to know they have a badass response.’

Hollaback is currently recruiting activists for their next launch, which is slated for April.  The group already has been contacted by activists in thirty cities internationally who are interested in bringing Hollaback home this Spring.”


Street harassment snapshot: January 30, 2011

January 30, 2011

Street Harassment Stories:

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

You can read new street harassment stories from the past week on:

From the F Word Blog UK

Street Harassment in the News, on the Blogs:





10 Tweets from the Week:

“The asshole kicked a bunch of slush all up my legs and skirt.”

January 30, 2011

I was in Herald Square and then I hear this guy behind me saying, “Mmmm what a nice ass i would love to f the s(*#t out of you..mmm you like dressing like a slut dont you.”

I was walking to work and I had my cocktail dress on because, duh, I’m a cocktail waitress.

He kept saying this stuff then I feel cold and wet all on the back of my legs and in my boots. The asshole kicked a bunch of slush all up my legs and skirt. I was freezing..I didn’t even see who exactly it was because there were like 5 people there. Didn’t anyone else see this ass do this? What the hell would make someone want to do that?

– Shelly

Location: Herald Square, New York City, New York

Share your street harassment story today and help raise awareness about the problem. Find suggestions for what YOU can do about this human rights issue.

“Men who report more gender-equitable attitudes are more likely to be happy”

January 28, 2011

The International Center for Research on Women does important work to understanding the reasons behind men’s violence against women.

Most recently, on Wednesday, they released the report International Men and Gender Equality Survey. The report covers their three-year study of nearly 12,000 men and women ages 18 to 59 in Brazil, Chile, Croatia, India, Mexico and Rwanda. These 12,000 individuals participated in interviews about their health practices, parenting, relationship dynamics, sexual behavior and use of violence.

Here is one quick snippet of their findings:

“IMAGES results across all countries showed that men who generally view themselves as superior to women are more likely to report physical and sexual violence against an intimate partner. The same was true for men who abused alcohol, witnessed violence in their childhood home and, except for Mexicans surveyed, those who felt stressed about work or income. Rwandan men were not asked about work stress.”

No surprises there, huh? Changing social attitudes and norms regarding gender equality is very important! So is addressing and breaking the cycle of violence between generations.

Here are overall findings in the conclusion of the report that I know may surprise some people — that gender equity doesn’t hurt men! It makes them happier:

“Overall, IMAGES results affirm that gender equality should be promoted as a gain for women and men. Change seems to be happening as younger men and men with higher levels of education show more gender-equitable attitudes and practices. Men who report more gender-equitable attitudes are more likely to be happy, to talk to their partners and to have better sex lives. Women who report that their partners participate in daily care work report higher levels of relationship and sexual satisfaction. Findings suggest that most men in most of the survey sites accept gender equality in the abstract even if they are not yet living it in their daily practices.”

It’s very promising that change in gender attitudes is visible among younger men. Other studies show that younger generations have fewer issues with race and sexual orientation than our parents and grandparents, too. So it’s not unrealistic to think that in a few more decades, our societies may be more equitable all around.

I plan on reading the full report because I think it can provide good guidance around the work we need to do to prevent street harassment. If you want to read the full report too, you can download it for free from the ICRW website.

In Korea, 25 percent of women face harassment on public transportation while commuting

January 27, 2011

From the Korea Times:

“A survey showed that one out of four women who commute using public transportation have experienced sexual harassment, Wednesday.

The survey of 1,500 men and women by the Korea Transport Institute and the Korean Women’s Development Institute also found out that almost half of the female respondents were scared of being harassed or experiencing violent driving when in a taxi.

Men and women showed different results when asked about inconveniences when using subways, buses or taxis.

About 26 percent of the women said they experienced sexual harassment on buses and 21 percent on the subway, compared to 2.3 percent and 2.4 percent of men respectively.

About 52 percent of the female respondents considered taxis as the dangerous means of transportation, citing reasons such as crimes including kidnapping and sexual assaults (31 percent) and violent driving (16 percent).

The institute pointed out the needs of countermeasures regarding harassment, such as reintroducing the women-only subway cars. It also suggested ideas to prevent violence in taxis, including introducing women-only taxis.”

Really? Their only idea for dealing with the high rate of commuter harassment on public transportation is women-only subway cars and taxis?! Arg.