Support anti-street harassment efforts this holiday season

December 18, 2010

Lately, I’ve been inundated with e-mails and letters from every organization I donated to during their year + their best friend organizations, asking me to donate again. As much as I obviously care about most of those organizations if I’ve already donated to them, my end of year giving is going to two organizations that do anti-street harassment-related work, RightRides and RAINN. You may be interested in donating to them, too.

  • Right Rides for Women’s Safety: For more than six years RightRides has been giving free rides home to women and male members of the LGBQT community on Friday and Saturday nights in New York City. This free service is particularly helpful to people who cannot afford a cab and are reliant on buses and subways and feel unsafe waiting for or taking these late at night. RightRides has a page about the many ways you can become involved. A new feature is recurring gifts. $10/month can cover rides home for 12 people that year and $25/month covers about 30 people’s rides home. Any amount helps.
  • RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network): Individuals across the United States can seek immediate assistance and advice if they or someone they know are survivors of rape and sexual violence via RAINN’s national phone hotline and online chat feature. While most people know their attacker, about 25 percent do not, and many of those cases are strangers in public places who harass and attack them. When too often survivors of sexual violence are blamed for it and thus are silenced and don’t know what to do, RAINN’s services are very important. RAINN also works on prevention legislation and programming. If you donate by Dec. 31, your donation will be matched dollar for dollar, so you can make double the impact.

Here are additional suggestions for organizations whose work makes public places – and the world in general – safer for women and girls. Not only could you do end-of-year giving to them, but you could make a gift out of donating in honor of family members and friends who care about ending and/or are impacted by street harassment.

  • Blank Noise – Support work in India to raise awareness about and end eve teasing/street harassment through performance art and online activism
  • Defend Yourself – Support the work of a Washington, DC organization that holds community workshops and classes that teach skills to stop harassment, abuse and assault. They particularly focus on girls, women, and LGBQT folks.
  • Girls for Gender Equity – Support a NYC organization that empowers teenage girls and has tackled street harassment through surveys, documentaries, conferences, and books
  • Helping Our Teen Girls – Help fund the programs of an Atlanta, GA, organization that empowers teenage girls and has tackled street harassment through workshops and music.
  • Hollaback – Support the NYC-based organization so they can  fund new Hollaback websites around the world
  • The Line – Help fund programs to raise awareness of healthy sexual boundaries, important work that can help prevent street harassment and sexual assault.
  • Men Can Stop Rape – Support rape prevention programming in middle and high schools and colleges that focuses on providing boys with a safe place to talk about masculinity issues and learn healthy definitions of manhood.
  • The White Ribbon Campaign – Support an international organization that works to educate young men and boys about gender equity, respect and healthy relationships.
  • Women for Women International – Help fund programming that helps women in war-torn areas gain skills and resources necessary to rebuild their lives and increase their safety in their community. You can also sponsor an individual woman as a sister.

And are you looking for other last-minute gift ideas? I can suggest a few:


What were you wearing when you were sexually harassed?

August 10, 2010

Yesterday Jezebel asked this question in an informal poll on their website. Today they posted the results:

I clicked several of the choices and I also clicked “other” and wrote in running clothes because I’ve been harassed the most while running.

Some of the other “other” options they listed include:

  • while picking my nose
  • in a bar, in a car, in a hat, on a mat…
  • carrying stacks of books around from the library
  • in scout uniform, in overalls and in granny jumpers
  • wearing a hijab
  • walking, waiting for a bus, generally being female
  • wearing USMC camo uniform
  • with women/with my girlfriend/at pride and/or queer events
  • walking to a restaurant with my parents at age 13
  • picking up dog poop
  • giving a guy a lapdance.
  • doing the time warp
  • in an ambulance after I broke my LEG.
  • While at the top of a 20 foot ladder.
  • entering a house of worship
  • Unbathed in the aftermath of a hurricane by out of state rescue workers.
  • dressed as the Virgin Mary (not a joke)
  • karate uniform
  • dressed as a toy soldier for a production of The Nutcracker, at age 12
  • crying my eyes out over a family death
  • walking my son in stroller; attending a pro-choice lobby day at my state capital
  • wearing my Arby’s uniform
  • while having a job interview at an outside cafe
  • crying/ about to get an abortion
  • Like a fucking Amish lady
  • As a 9 year old, wearing overalls.
  • with horse-manure stains on my clothes and hay in my hair
  • wearing ann taylor
  • in a gargoyle costume (it was Halloween, and no, I wasn’t a “sexy gargoyle.”

In India, Blank Noise collects articles of clothing to show how men harass women in all sorts of clothes and that women “Never Ask For It.” This poll demonstrates the same thing. What is so frustrating to me about gender-based harassment compared to other forms of harassment is how much time we have to spend undoing victim-blaming, showing that this is an issue that women don’t bring on themselves, and proving its existence.

As hard as it may be for some people to believe or to have to face, the reality is that every day women are harassed by men just because we are women, not because of what we wear!! This is a societal problem and it must end before women will ever have a chance of achieving equality with men.


What has eve-teasing got to do with clothes?

April 15, 2010

The Indian Express has a good article featuring Blank Noise‘s efforts to raise awareness in India about the problem of street harassment by collecting clothing women were wearing while being harassed. Here’s an excerpt:

“We are told that the onus lies on us to prevent its occurrence. We are told to dress appropriately, to come back home on time, to not attract attention to ourselves. And the worst of all, we are expected to accept sexual harassment or forms of eve-teasing as a part and parcel of our societal culture,” says Mariya Salim, a Calcutta University student of human rights who is participating in the drive.

Besides acting as testimonies of eve-teasing all voluntarily donated garments exhibited at public places in Kolkata since last month, also serve as a sort of an outlet for the victims to purge their pent-up feelings.

Jasmeen Patheja, founder member of ‘Blank Noise’, a Bangalore-based volunteer led community arts collective, says it is a violation of a girl’s liberty when she has to think twice before going out of her house alone.

“Isn’t the perpetrator responsible for his own action irrespective of what time we go out on the roads wearing the kind of attire we want to,” she said.

Very true. Women who are harassed are not to blame, the men who harass them are! Learn more about the work Blank Noise is doing.

Via Blank Noise


Blank Noise & Safe Delhi Campaign

March 4, 2010

“Every day, I attract unwanted attention from Indian men — even if I am drenched in sweat and sporting a parachute’s worth of cloth (for modesty of course). Cars slow down to pass me, roadside workers stop, and groups of guys get the giggles when I traipse by. Sometimes they whisper. Sometimes they ask for a photo. Sometimes they touch me. Once a man in the market, after staring for some time, threw a grape at my roommate’s chest and winked.

At first I thought it was because of my fair skin. But sexual harassment is rampant throughout India for all young women, regardless of race or nationality.”

This excerpt is from Riane Menardi’s piece in Politics Daily about street harassment, or eve teasing, in India. In the article, she shares her own experiences, covers how men’s violence against women is the fastest-growing crime in India, and discusses the specific problem of eve teasing.

Eve teasing is a big problem in India.

If you’re in India and want to do something about it, you can join Blank Noise to engage in on-the-ground activism. They hold street demonstrations, use art to challenge men’s domination of public spaces, and encourage action heroes to speak out against the harassment.

Also, today a Facebook fan of Stop Street Harassment alerted me to a Safe Delhi Campaign you can join if you’re in that region. They have a funny PSA about making public places safe for girls and women and lots of campaign components you can participate in.


Weekly Round Up Feb. 21, 2010

February 21, 2010

Stories:

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

  • On this blog, a woman talks about how early street harassment began and how she cranks up her ipod when she passes a regular harasser in her neighborhood, and a woman in Seattle, WA, shares the gamut of harassment she’s experienced.
  • On DC Hollaback! a harasser tells the contributor that she could “at least say hi.”
  • On Hollaback NYC a woman shares how she cannot leave her house in the Bronx without being harassed and another woman shares how a few years ago a man raped her and then she faced victim blaming from the cops.

In the News:

Announcements:


Tweet #ineveraskforit

February 17, 2010

Image from Blank Noise

Blank Noise is in the midst of a new component of their “I Never Ask for It” campaign.

Background: To counter the insane amount of victim-blaming that goes on in India (and most other countries, including the USA) when women are sexually assaulted and harassed (or eve teased), they are collecting clothing to show the range of clothing women are wearing when they are harassed. People who engage in victim-blaming tend to say women were wearing Western or revealing clothes.

Image from Blank Noise

Latest campaign info: Anyone with a twitter account can help with their campaign by tweeting what they wore when they experienced any kind of sexual harassment, along with #ineveraskforit. They also offer a range of background images you can use for your twitter account. The campaign starts today and continues until Feb. 27.

If you are in India, here is information about how to be involved:

METHOD 1
1. collect clothes from friends and family
2. bring them to the venue
venues will be updated on the blank noise blog:
http://blog.blanknoise.org/2010/02/clothes-collection-drive-date-location.html

METHOD 2

1. organize a clothes collection drive in your college, city, office, neighbourhood
2. give us venue details and we will send you material required for an event.
3. inform us a week in advance
Method 2 is most challenging and Action Heroes will be given a certificate for participation.

METHOD 3
take a photo of the garment you wore when you experienced harassment. make that your facebook profile photo + status should read : I never ask for it.
Please upload the photo in the event’s album too and spread the word- I never ask for it.

Next clothes collection drives are on Feb 20, Bangalore, and Feb. 27, Delhi.


I Never Ask For It – Blank Noise Clothing Drive

February 9, 2010

Cross-posted from Blank Noise (in India)

I do not deserve to be violated because of what I wear: I NEVER ASK FOR IT.
We are having a clothes collection drive.

All Action Heroes will bring the garment worn at the time of experiencing street sexual harassment, street sexual intimidation, street sexual violence, or being ‘eve-teased’.

All Action Heroes will come wearing a garment they’ve always wanted to wear but did not wear before .

All Action Heroes will be agents, and spread the word, * bring a friend, start collecting clothes as they read this.

*Action Heroes can be male too- we call them the BN guy- and yes all BN guys can contribute too. We want our BN guys to propose ideas via which men can be involved, addressed in the issue of street sexual harassment. All ideas will be published on the blog and followed up if you commit! Are you a BN guy yet?

A big thank you in advance for linking, tweeting, facebooking and making it happen.
tweet with us at twitter.com/blank_noise

CLOTHES COLLECTION DRIVE DETAILS:

week 1
Saturday Feb 13. 2009
time: noon-4 pm
Bangalore: MG Road

week 2
Feb 20
Bangalore: Majestic

week 3
Feb 27
Delhi:

week 4
March 7
Calcutta/Bombay

More details coming up. Stay tuned.
email: blurtblanknoise @gmail.com for any thoughts, ideas, questions, suggestions