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Concerning street harassment, one of the major issues people have to deal with is that frequently, the police force won’t help. Especially in countries where women do not have the same rights politically and/or culturally, women must often deal with the fear and trauma while realizing there isn’t a system backing them up. As far as street harassment goes, the news has seen a prevalence of comments by men and women claiming their city’s police force has shrugged their shoulders, or worse, laughed. And let’s not even get started on the security in Cairo…
According to The Daily Star, women in Lebanon have frequently commented on an increased issue with public masturbators. A member of the sexual harassment initiative, Adventures of Salwa, said public masturbation is often discussed in the organization’s workshops and meetings. Furthermore, the web forum Resistant Forum Lebanon has also seen a flurry of comments about the disgust and helplessness victims have felt when dealing with a public masturbator. According to the article, Lebanese law prohibits indecent public exposure, but there is no law to decree this behavior as sexual harassment. Women believe, as one woman tells The Daily Star, that the police will probably laugh at them since reporting it is so unheard of.
If I wanted to write down all the unresolved street/sexual harassment cases occurring in the past day, it would probably take me the entire day to do so. That is why Hollaback! is here. If we all spoke up about what’s actually going on in daily life to women (and more frequently than we think, men), and unified all our efforts, I think the Internet may become the watchdog and security necessary to finally abolishing this problem.no comments
Unfortunately, spring was a busy season for all and not enough posts were published on this website. Good thing summer is a time of rest (somewhat), and we are refreshed and motivated to continue the efforts to challenge street harassment in San Luis Obispo and support our friends nationally and internationally.
I have been noticing a recent spike in articles, blogs and speeches about street harassment, and several factors seem to be pushing for momentum. As noted in the Huffington Post, the voices of women protestors and victims during the Arab Spring charged women all over the world to speak up. More locally, the Senate deliberations on birth control has caused a flurry of (rightfully) furious Americans to start calling out all societal issues affecting women’s rights. Another factor, and maybe I’ve noticed it because I write for this website, is the gaining popularity in American grassroots movements against harassment.
As Hollaback founder Emily May notes in a recent Spin article, America has always been attracted to non-governmental leadership. Just like the protests in the sixties and seventies, Americans find strength in the voices of the people — the civilians who are tired of problems the government hasn’t solved. Hollaback is one great example of a movement emerging from the people and carried on by the people. Except instead of picket signs, Hollaback has the Internet and accessible technology to be loud and say a resounding NO to street harassment. With a smart phone, a computer or really an Internet connection of any sort, you can become another voice and change things for not just San Luis Obispo, but for every victim that needs a support system to back them up.
We have a lot of new ideas for this website and we can’t wait to start including more people in the efforts. If you need a helping hand, a sympathetic ear or a place to vent, please do not hesitate to utilize Hollaback. It is more than just a website; it is the vehicle to end a long-suffered history of danger, discomfort and abuse when a homie simply wants to walk down the street.no comments
The Council of Europe’s recent convention on violence against women decided to further criminalize abhorrent practices such as genital mutilation and forced marriage. Within the news laws, the council also decided to include a clause against harassment. The Telegraph reports Europe (including Britain) will “impose sanctions for ‘unwanted verbal, non-verbal or physical conduct with the purpose or effect of violating the dignity of a person, in particular when creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment.’”
Opinion writer Jenny McCartney seems to oppose the loose definition of harassment in the clause; she notes the many conflicting interpretations that have already emerged since the convention to support her argument. In one instance, the Scotland attorney general said that the law would not criminalize wolf-whistling and teasing. Yet Julia Gray of Hollaback was reported saying, “If you want to tackle it, you tackle all of it—you say no to all forms of unwanted sexual harassment, that includes wolf-whistling, comments, everything.” McCartney’s concerns raise the issue of subjectivity towards harassment amongst different types of people and cultures. In her perspective, something that can be interpreted in multiple ways has to be as objectively defined as possible in order for the law to be fair to everyone.
On the other hand, the council’s definition includes every kind of harassment (verbal, non-verbal, and physical) that should not be left unpunished. It may not be strictly worded and obvious, but it still allows victims to right the injustices they have endured. The harassment clause is an important step towards ending street harassment, but perhaps we need to determine its success based on how the courts will be able to use the clause to judge future sexual harassment cases and consequences.
The Metro Station and the citizens of DC are in a current debate over what constitutes as sexual harassment: is it mere flirtation or unwanted attention? Surprisingly, many officials have defended the right to sexually harass, implying that too much sensitivity has blurred the distinction between compliments and harassment. They have yet to explore how someone might feel when a stranger approaches them in a confined space (often at night) and makes them feel uncomfortable and scared.
The DC chapter of Hollaback, also known locally as CASS (Collective Action for Safe Spaces), has decided to take the matter to local government. With claims that transit police are not tracking reports of harassment and giving little consideration to gender-based harassment, activists are seeking out transit employee training, governmental action, and awareness. Hollaback has also pointed out that while New York, Boston, and Chicago have all instituted PSA campaigns against this issue, DC is still lacking anything to address a serious and frequent problem.
When reading Hollaback reports in cities where public transportation is an essential part of daily life, it is evident that there have been countless situations where a person feels violated, vulnerable, and unsafe. The DC chapter is commendable for taking action and going to their government. The Gender Equity Center for Cal Poly is also planning to talk to our city council on how to make this town safer for all people. If you feel that you have something to say about town safety, harassment, or you just want to show support, it is highly suggested that you attend this meeting. More information will be released in the coming weeks.
Read All About It!
December 7, 2011 (San Luis Obispo) – The movement to end street harassment takes another impressive leap today as an additional 11 Hollaback! sites launch internationally, including one in San Luis Obispo. The San Luis Obispo site is run by a team of local activists who are deeply committed to working on-line and off-line to end street harassment in San Luis Obispo.
Hollaback! San Luis Obispo Co-Director, Jane Lehr, said that “Street harassment is one of the most pervasive forms of social violence in this country, and one of the least legislated against. It is rarely reported, and is too often accepted as the ‘price you pay’ simply for being a woman, a person of color, an immigrant, dis/abled, a poor person, or lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer in this community.”
“The Hollaback! project makes patterns and instances of street harassment visible using mobile- and web-based technology,” said Lauren Monn, the second Hollaback! San Luis Obispo Co-Director. Monn, a Cal Poly student, added that, “We believe that street harassment is a gateway crime that normalizes gender, race, class, dis/ability, religion, and sexual orientation-based violence. Our goal is to use the knowledge gained about where and when local street harassment happens via real-time reports to our site – slo.ihollaback.org – to facilitate community-wide efforts to end this type of violence.”
“Hollaback! isn’t just an app or a map – it’s a movement,” said Hollaback! Board Chair, Samuel Carter. The organization is now in 45 cities and 16 countries, with leaders speaking more than nine different languages.
Local Hollaback! site leaders run their local blog and organize their communities through advocacy, community partnerships, and direct action. Site leaders are as diverse in their backgrounds as they are in their experiences of harassment. Hollaback! reports that 44% identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and queer, 26% identify as people of color, 76% are under the age of 30, and 90% are women.
Hollaback!’s international sites are already having an impact. In Querétaro, Mexico, site leaders have developed a workshop to promote cities free of harassment for all people. In the last two months, 600 young people have taken part. In Croatia, site leaders are creating a survey that will allow them to collect data on street harassment that will then be used across the Hollaback! network, giving Hollaback! an ability to compare street harassment across national contexts.
About Hollaback! Hollaback! (ihollaback.org) is a global movement dedicated to ending street harassment using mobile technology. Launched in 2005 as a New York City blog, Hollaback! has expanded and now has iPhone and Droid apps that give victims a real-time, crowd-sourced response to street harassment. New locations include Bogota, Colombia; Boston, MA; San Luis Obispo, CA; Chennai, India; Düsseldorf, Germany; Minneapolis, MN; Montreal, Quebec; Palo Alto, CA; Portland, ME; Santiago, Chile; and Winnipeg, Canada.no comments
Hollaback! is a movement to end street harassment powered by local activists in 45 cities, 16 countries, and in 9 different languages around the world.
Don’t see a Hollaback in your city? Start one.no comments