“A male ally in the construction industry!”

February 28, 2011

I live in Sydney, Australia, and for 98% of the time I can walk the streets feeling very safe. I’ve never had more than a drunkard say, “Woah, look at them breasts!” but have never been physically threatened/touched. And at my 5ft height, that isn’t a hard thing to do. However, I always get the good mornings and hellos from groups of men that my gut instinct says are up to no good, with that long and lingering glare while they look at my body. I feel violated.

When construction for a new apartment building began next to mine, I felt ill. Each morning walking to the train station I’d walk as fast as I could. I’d wear jackets even if it was too warm to do so just to give the men less to look at. Then the “Good morning’s” started by two particular groups of men. I’d cross the road if I saw them and they’d simply laugh knowing they got to me, so a couple of times I stopped and stared them down. It worked, for a few mornings, until they got the guts to wave back as I stared.

One morning I had enough, I was furious so I wrote a letter of complaint to the development company. That was last Friday afternoon, and this Monday morning I was stopped by the foreman and he politely let me know that he will speak to the men and have them stop the harassment and that if it happens again to seek him out or contact the company again. He was very gentlemanly, well-spoken and non-threatening and I repeatedly thanked him. A male ally in the construction industry!

I wondered how I could complain about men simply saying, “Good morning,” and then laughing as I ignored them… how do you complain about a hunch that they are not respecting me?

After finding this website and global movement, I was given the confidence and words to use to strongly construct a good letter. I had obviously done it though, and I hope my morning walks to the station can be enjoyable once more! I will let you know how it all goes.

– Anonymous

Location: Sydney, Australia

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.


Four tips for Anti-Street Harassment Day

February 28, 2011

You may have heard by now that March 20 is the first annual International Anti-Street Harassment Day. I hope you’re considering participating, even if it’s as simple as sharing your stories online or in person.

Here are a few tips to help you as you prepare:

  1. 10 ideas for what YOU can do
  2. Inspiration for your activism
  3. Graphics (in 6 languages, see below), fact sheets & fliers. Download, post & share them widely and/or adapt them to create your own.
  4. A central place to share and to find activism. If you’re organizing an event in your community or doing something solo please post what it is here: http://antistreetharassmentday.crowdmap.com/ And if you’re looking for an event in your area, check it out too in case someone’s posted an event.

If you are participating in International Anti-Street Harassment Day and you’re on FaceBook, be sure to RSVP to receive updates. And of course, please spread the word! This is going to be historic.

Screenshot

 


“I felt like at any moment he might pounce on me”

February 28, 2011

I was waiting for a bus after a business meeting in Midtown one morning and I was wearing a pencil skirt and heels. A short but respectable-looking middle-aged man in a suit walked up to me and, practically panting, said, “You know, you have really nice legs…” as he lecherously looked me up and down.

I just gave him a disgusted look and hoped he would go away, but instead he sidled up really close to me and continued asking questions. “What’s your name? How tall are you? You’re really tall.”

I tried to ignore him and whisper one word responses in hopes he would just leave me alone, since I wasn’t in the mood for a confrontation. Finally he said, “We should really have lunch sometime,” and when I replied that, “My boyfriend really wouldn’t like that,” he finally left me alone, of course muttering as he walked away, “He’s a really lucky guy.”

It’s not so much what this guy actually said, but the way he said it – I felt like at any moment he might pounce on me, which was nauseating. He invaded my personal space and privacy and just didn’t know when to back off. What a pathetic old creep.

– Anonymous

Location: 45th & 6th Ave., 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.

 


Street harassment snapshot: February 27, 2011

February 27, 2011

Read stories, news articles, blog posts, and tweets about street harassment from the past week and find relevant announcements and upcoming street harassment events.

Street Harassment Stories:

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

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

Street Harassment in the News, on the Blogs:

Events:

Announcements:

New:

On-going:

10 Tweets from the Week:


Car tries to run over woman, passengers yell, “We don’t stop for ugly bitches!”

February 27, 2011

I have been harassed an infinite amount of times. The most painful, however, are the occasions where instead of “complimenting” my appearance, the men criticize it.

Just a few days ago on my campus, I was crossing at a crosswalk. A car that was idling rather far down the street suddenly sped up and tried to hit me; as I looked over my shoulder, I saw two male students leaning forward and smiling as they nearly hit me.

I was shaken, but tried to not lose my cool. I continued walking as the car sped away. After a couple minutes, I reached the next crosswalk and heard a car pull up and stop: it was the same men. They had seen that I was headed for the next crosswalk and had waited for me. I motioned for them to pass but they gestured for me to go. I was furious at this point, but noticed that other cars had began to line up behind them and didn’t want to make others wait. I began to cross the street and the car charged me again, yelling out their window, “We don’t stop for ugly bitches!” and holding down their horn, making a spectacle.

I dodged the car and it sped off. As I walked away, I was more distraught to realize that the people surrounding me (almost entirely male engineering students working on projects in the park), were laughing uncontrollably.

I called to police once I got home, and the male police officer took down my report incredulously. I called back later to see if anything had been found on the men (I had a description of the car) and was essentially laughed off.

I haven’t left the house in days, I feel too ugly to be in public… or, or that matter, to live. I don’t have a car so I need to walk places and it feels like a punishment. I just want a mask to wear on my face so no one can judge it as ugly and try to run me over. I feel no protection from others, neither the police nor my peers; no one will stand up for ugly girls.

– Anonymous

Location: On Campus

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.


It’s open season for shooting sperm at women

February 26, 2011

You may remember that last summer, Michael W. Edwards of Maryland was accused of spraying semen from a bottle onto women’s backs in Giant grocery stores and Michael’s craft stores in Gaithersburg, Maryland. At the time, Edwards admitted to the grossness.

When I heard about it, I was not only disgusted by his actions, but I also was annoyed at the reporting. The Washington Post author of the article about it kept mentioning how “normal” Edwards is and how he attends church, etc.

Big whoop-dee-doo. Maybe the writer would feel differently had Edwards shooted semen on HIM at a grocery store.

Well, someone on Facebook gave me a tip that Edwards was recently sentenced to three years in jail for two counts of second-degree assault. But because he attends church and otherwise follows the law, his sentence was reduced to probation, no jail time. The only silver lining is that he has to see a therapist during probation.

Now maybe prison wouldn’t have solved anything either, but shouldn’t he have some other punishment? Especially since it sounds like it was a hate crime.

Edwards claims his “actions” were the result of “misplaced anger after breaking up with his girlfriend.” So because he was upset over a break up, he bottled up some of his semen and went looking for innocent women in stores to shoot it at. That’s a hate crime against women. And yet, again, he faces virtually no consequences.

So guys, go ahead and load up. It’s open season for shooting sperm at women. Well, as long as you attend church, have no prior criminal record, and have “misplaced anger” against women.


A male ally in New Delhi, India, speaks out – part 3

February 25, 2011

[Editor’s Note: This is part 3 in in a 3 part series. Here is part 1 and 2]

For Men:

Each time you don’t have to fight back the guys who harass women on the street or hit them with your cars. I agree what I did back them in the rain was reckless and some serious damage could have been done too. But is sitting quietly in your car with the windows rolled up and the stereo on load the answer to everything?

You don’t have to be super human to fight street harassment too. At times, a simple task like moving in front of the girl and shielding her from the view of those guys is also good enough. We don’t essentially need to pick up a fight each time some guy harasses someone on the street. At times, you could do what I did, go behind the counter and help someone throw groceries in the sack so she doesn’t need to bend down.

Little things, and little efforts at times go a long way in making a woman feel a little more secure. Men need to make a genuine effort to stop street harassment too. This is not a women’s only issue. This is an issue that needs collective effort by both men and women.

Please talk to the woman in front of you, not to her chest. We all understand that you’re fascinated by breasts, but that doesn’t mean you need to talk to a woman looking at her breasts. Check your own actions. Are you making someone feel uncomfortable? Are you standing too close to someone? Is your bag touching anyone while you’re on a public transport? Do some retrospection and decide for yourself how you can make woman feel more comfortable in the office, on the streets, in the markets, on the train, on the bus.

Don’t fight each time or raise a hue and cry each time you’re on the street and you see a women being harassed. We don’t really expect that from men either. That would never work. It would only lead to fights and then that would lead to more fights. But do move a little bit to the left, or to the right, or to the center, if moving a little bit helps a random woman on the train feel a little better from the roving eyes of some ogler.

Small things often go a long way in making someone feel nicer. So do it. Watch out for Street Harassment and devise your own little ways to combat it. We don’t need to fight a world war to solve this issue. Men all by themselves can solve this if they all come together and make a small effort, a small step at a time.

Tbg

@TbgDgc

This post is part of the weekly blog series by male allies. We need men involved in the work to end the social acceptability of street harassment and to stop the practice, period. If you’d like to contribute to this weekly series, please contact me.