Inappropriate remark and grab on a bus

April 30, 2011

I was on the bus with my boys and we were discussing weight lifting techniques and toning muscles. I was showing off my progress letting them check the tome in my arms by punching them. Some lady gets out of her seat and tells me that it sounds hard then helps herself to a feel. She tells me that it feels hard as she exits the bus. I was too shocked to react. Not sure what I would have done anyway. We kind of ignored it and changed topics.

– Anonymous

Location: The bus

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.

“Love, drop your jeans”

April 30, 2011

I was walking home on a Sunday evening, it wasn’t that late maybe half past ten at the latest. I was dressed quite casually, I had jeans on, a top and a cardigan buttoned up all the way. This skinhead guy who was a passenger in a taxi I think shouted the most disgusting thing at me, he said something along the lines of “Love, drop your jeans so I can see your pussy.”

I was so taken aback by what that lowlife said that I didn’t respond. It was the most vile comment I’ve ever had directed at me. A couple walked by just after this and I think the girl made it clear what she thought of this, the lowlife responded by shouting at her.

– Anonymous

Location: Kingsway, Cardiff

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.

“When women are harassed … they’re denied an equal place in that society.”

April 29, 2011

“When women are harassed … they’re denied an equal place in that society. Public spaces don’t belong to them. Men control it. It reaffirms the oppressive role of men in the society.”

This powerful quote is by CBS News correspondent Lara Logan from her interview for The New York Times yesterday.

On Feb. 11, Logan, who was in Cairo covering the fall of Hosni Mubarak’s government, was sexually assaulted by a mob of at least 200 men across a 25 minute period.

Logan’s attack was not made public for several days and even then, we learned very little about what happened to her. Still, her story immediately focused international attention on the rampant problem of sexual harassment and assault in Egypt and to the dangers many female journalists face while on the job.

Logan will talk at length about what happened to her on Feb. 11, during a “60 Minutes” segment on Sunday. I plan to watch it. Already from reading the New York Times interview I have a better understanding of what she faced. Please note the rest of this post may be triggering.

Via The New York Times:

“There was a moment that everything went wrong,” she recalled.

As the cameraman, Richard Butler, was swapping out a battery, Egyptian colleagues who were accompanying the camera crew heard men nearby talking about wanting to take Ms. Logan’s pants off. She said: “Our local people with us said, ‘We’ve gotta get out of here.’ That was literally the moment the mob set on me.”

Mr. Butler, Ms. Logan’s producer, Max McClellan, and two locally hired drivers were “helpless,” Mr. Jeff Fager [the chairperson of CBS News] said, “because the mob was just so powerful.”…They estimated that they were separated from her for about 25 minutes.

“My clothes were torn to pieces,” Ms. Logan said.

She declined to go into more detail about the assault but said: “What really struck me was how merciless they were. They really enjoyed my pain and suffering. It incited them to more violence.”

After being rescued by a group of civilians and Egyptian soldiers, she was swiftly flown back to the United States. “She was quite traumatized, as you can imagine, for a period of time,” Mr. Fager said. Ms. Logan said she decided almost immediately that she would speak out about sexual violence both on behalf of other journalists and on behalf of “millions of voiceless women who are subjected to attacks like this and worse.”

What an utterly horrific experience and what bravery she has shown in the aftermath as she struggles to heal and recover.

Understandably, Logan said she will not give any more interviews on the topic after the “60 Minutes” segment because she doesn’t want the traumatic crime to define her.

Something Logan said near the end of the New York Times interview struck me. She noted she did not know about the levels of harassment and abuse that women in Egypt and other countries regularly experience. That surprises me given how much media attention street harassment in Egypt has received for at least three years since the release of the Egyptian Centre for Women’s Rights report stating 83% of Egyptian women and 98% of foreign women experience street harassment.

How was that stark information not part of the background research or briefing she received or conducted before going on this assignment? How can all reporters accurately report on issues without that kind of culture context and how else can female reporters prepare themselves for how they may be treated by the men they encounter?

I’m regularly reminded by something someone will say or something I read – such as this article – just how much education and awareness about street harassment is necessary.

Really, for so many people, we have to get basic with this issue and focus on awareness and education before we will be successful at prevention methods. If no one knows or believes there is a problem, no one will be willing to do anything about it and nothing will change.

So let’s keep speaking out and informing our circle of friends and family members and our communities that public places are not safe and welcoming for women, but that they should be.

“I exist beyond being an object to be gazed upon”

April 29, 2011

On Saturday I suffered street harassment for the third time in two months.

The first time I was walking in the street one afternoon, minding my own business. A stranger cycled past me, leaned over and shouted, “Ugly!” I shouted back, “W@nker!” but I felt humiliated, and intruded upon. I was enraged – it is not my duty to decorate the street for the benefit of passing men, I exist beyond being an object to be gazed upon. That man knew nothing of me, but still felt perfectly entitled to pass loud judgement upon my attractiveness, and worth.

The latest incident happened again as I was walking home, this time after dark. I passed a couple, male and female, they heckled me, pointed and laughed and started singing, “Who let the dogs out?”

This is the second time this month that song has been sung at me in public. I feel totally humiliated. I cancelled plans to go out with friends this weekend because I don’t want to put myself in public situations where I will be looked at and judged. I feel my confidence is totally ravaged.

After thirty years of being called ugly, or “plain,” even by my own father, this doesn’t get any easier.

– CE

Location: North East England

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.

“I loudly informed him that I do not go to the supermarket to be harassed”

April 28, 2011

Hello. I’ve experienced street harrassment alot. I’ve been grabbed in a bar, grabbed in the street and followed to my door step. I get stared at and approached by men almost on a daily basis, and it’s no exaggeration. You would think that somewhere as lovely as Oxford that you would escape it. It’s not true. It’s happened to me more in three years living here than my whole life in South East London.

The worst time was in November. I just fractured my wrist a few days before and I had just sung in a concert and was feeling really proud of myself for doing the solo with a cast on! I decided to walk home at about 11 pm, just down the road.

A man walked towards me, so fast. He was short, and wearing a hat. He walked into me and grabbed me invbetween my legs. I automatically pushed him away but that was all I could remember. He carried on walking as if nothing had happened. I stood and watched him walk away. I was frozen, violated, my pride knocked out of me.

I ran home and called my boyfriend. My mother asked me why I didn’t hit him. I was afraid he might have been carrying a knife. I didn’t report it to the police. I don’t know why. I was just frozen and I didn’t want to be touched by anyone.

I tried to get in touch with my local MP after experiencing daily harrassment, shouting, being approached, and worst of all being followed. He never got in touch with me. The police said that all I can do is call them when I feel threatened. I feel like they wont take it seriously.

I was in Tesco the other day and this disgusting slimey man came up to me and winked and me and tried to talk to me – i had been running. I embarrased the hell out of him- I loudly informed him that I do not go to the supermarket to be harassed by disgusting men. A women behind me whispered ‘what a douche’, but no one did anything to see if I was okay. They never do.

I fear that if I carry pepper spray I will be the one arrested. I spoke to my local community police who said they would call me about this and send me information about protecting myself, but nothing has arrived.

I’m furious for every person that this happens to. I’m furious with the disgusting scum of the earth who think it’s okay. I’m furious that I’m scared of going out and it’s normal for me to be harassed. and I’m scared because part of me has accepted that something much worse will happen eventually.

I’m also sick of being accused of being a feminist or a sexist for being passionate about this ending. The reality is that mens attitudes towards women needs to change. When I spoke to the police officer the first thing he actually said ‘theres a big problem round here with different ethnic groups disrespecting women’. I don’t know what to think about a police officer saying this. I am certainly against any discrimination and I think racism is absolutely disgusting. I’m not really sure how relevant it is.

– Anonymous

Location: Cowley Road, Oxford, United Kingdom

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.