Assault, Blocking Path, Groping, Homophobic, Leering, Lewd Behavior, Positive Thinking, Public Masturbation, Racist, Stalking, Transphobic, Uncategorized, Verbal

Youth Hollaback!

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Thanks to a generous grant from The Pollination Project in 2013, we had the opportunity create a program for middle school kids to address street harassment in an age appropriate way. After months and months of planning, we finally had our first real workshop! Here are some photos of our volunteer Rebecca with the kids at St. Francis Neighborhood Center, the amazing community center in Reservoir Hill. We have worked with them before, taking part in anti-street harassment chalk-walks, and speaking as a Power Player for their Power Project, so piloting our own youth program  at St. Francis was an obvious choice. Over the course of two seperate one hour sessions, we spoke to these young folks about ways to make a difference in their communities using art activism. Our tool of choice? Self-decorated t-shirts! (Click here for more photos)

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photo 1Some words from our workshop leader, Rebecca: “We had 8 kids – 5 boys and 3 girls – and had a really active discussion about Street Harassment, Bullying and Art Activism. They were really enthusiastic about the t-shirts and kept talking about the issues while we were working on them.  We also had to extend the discussion to make sure that our t-shirts were non-negative responses which I think is important to add. We had a talk about how sometimes we want to respond aggressively, and it’s OK to feel that,  but aggression and threats were some of the things we put down as Issues on the Street so it’s probably best not to put them on a t-shirt.  I look forward to setting up the next one after Christmas!”

 

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Background: Co-director Shawna took the lead on the Youth Hollaback! project and spoke with many experts on DIY activism, working with youth, art as a tool for social change, and more. She got to interview cool local folks, like Hanna from FORCE, as well as non-Baltimoreans like Tatyana Fazlalizadeh of Stop Telling Women to Smile. While the Pollination Project awarding us the Seed The Change grant made these interviews and practice runs possible, the opportunity to connect with other inspiring folks doing great social justice work has been another surprising benefit to our team personally. We’ve learned a lot, and we’re so happy our volunteer Rebecca will be leading more of these workshops in the future! If you have any interest of bringing our Youth Hollaback! workshop to a group of kids you know, just email us at [email protected]

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Groping

“I was ashamed…then I was angry” – am’s story

A man smacked me on the butt as he passed me when we were crossing the street in opposite directions. He laughed. I hid in [a convenience store] as he and his friend sat outside the [convenience store] on the steps of the Peabody. I waited until they left before I left the [convenience store]. I was ashamed that I was so afraid and then I was really, really angry. I carry pepper spray now.

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Assault, Blocking Path, Groping, Homophobic, Leering, Lewd Behavior, Public Masturbation, Racist, Stalking, Transphobic, Verbal

Surprising statistics for sexual harassment in the workplace

We here at Hollaback! Baltimore love having guest bloggers. It not only allows for a wide range of view points on street harassment, but it helps us show that street harassment is part of the spectrum of gender-based violence, and ties street harassment to other issues faced by women and LGBTQ folks. Here, Alice shares some insight on sexual harassment in the workplace. Thanks, Alice!  – Shawna, co-director, Hollaback! Baltimore

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Sexual harassment in the workplace is a larger issue than some of us might think. While there are only a number of us that have to do with sexual harassment directly or indirectly, it happens in workplaces across multiple industries and with multiple levels of severity around the world. California based sexual harassment attorney Frank Nicholas recently collected research into the issue, and some concerning statistics were found.

When surveyed, men were found to be less aware of various forms of sexual harassment in the workplace over women. Some men show almost 0 levels of awareness in instances where there was ongoing sexual harassment in their workplace whereas women seem to have a greater level of awareness as well as a higher level of reporting.

In recent surveys 54% of people have recorded that they’ve experienced some sort of sexual harassment in the workplace. Now this statistic may seem very high especially if you are used to working in a very safe workplace, but it just goes to show how prevalent this workplace issue can be. 17% of these sexual harassment experiences have been caused by a superior person of power where is 27% of sexual harassment in the workplace occurs from colleagues. In extreme cases, 12% of sexual harassment cases continue when the harassed receive threats of termination by not replying to the requests or ongoing advances of sexual harassment.

21% of the sexual harassment cases in the workplace were reported by men but 79% of sexual harassment in the workplace involves women making them the most targeted gender.

When it comes to age groups, the most commonly sexual harassed employees are between the ages of 21 and 25 with a moderate prevalent between 26 and 30 and the under 20 group being targeted in the third greatest frequency.

Sexual harassment can take on many forms in the workplace including:

Inappropriate touching of the body

Uncomfortable staring at body parts

Uncomfortable comments on physical appearance

Invasion of comfortable space

Using unwelcome or offensive terms or continuously advancing on someone at work.

By knowing the facts and understanding the frequency of sexual harassment you can find the confidence to make changes in your workplace or proper reporting.

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Assault, Blocking Path, Groping, Homophobic, Leering, Lewd Behavior, Positive Thinking, Public Masturbation, Racist, Stalking, Transphobic, Uncategorized, Verbal

Take Our Street Harassment Survey!

Be Part of an Internationally Coordinated Survey on Street Harassment

In collaboration with our partners at Cornell University, Hollaback! now has a comprehensive, international survey about street harassment! This survey will allow for unprecedented data collection and analysis on street harassment, including data specific to us here in Baltimore!

We need YOU to take the survey in order to meet our 200 response goal. We can do this!

Take the survey in English.
Take the survey in Spanish.

Then please share the links with your social networks, friends, and family. Wanna disseminate it in person? Just email us at [email protected] and we’ll get you printed copies.

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Assault, Groping, Lewd Behavior

“I got away by punching him” – Abby’s story

I was with my friend at the fair about a week or so ago and her friend came up and he started hanging out with us. Soon he had me forced on his lap grabbing my chest and butt. He proceeded to try other things but luckily I got away by punching him in the nose after I got my hand loose from his grip and ran away.

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Assault, Groping

Groped On a Plane! – Dorothy’s story

Return flight on SW Air with friend from West Palm Beach FL to Baltimore I was sitting at the window & she was in the isle hoping to keep middle empty. A 40 something male came up & simply shifted his thumb up as if to say get up so he could sit. I gave him the window & sat in the middle next to my friend. He pulled his baseball cap down over his eyes & pretended to sleep the entire flight. My friend caught him once try to see down her blouse when she bent down to get something out of her purse by her feet. He never took service with the flight attendant & I knew he was pretending to sleep because it felt like he was pressing his knee against mine & I figured either his leg was heavy or he was trying to take my space so I held my leg firm. We landed in BWI & lights on & announcements & the gate wasn’t available yet so we had to wait, cell phones turned on, etc. Still, he’s asleep. Finally we pulled to gate & people stand & get luggage to get off the plane. My friend stood in the isle & I lifted the center arm rest & turned my back to the man “sleeping” at the window. Chatting with my friend I felt my jacket move slightly & I thought it was him sitting up, moving the arm rest, whatever. The next thing I know his hand is fully in the back of my pants!! I whip my head around because I didn’t know what it was & I see him pulling his hand out of my pants!! I was shocked!! I said, What are you doing?!” & He said, “Sorry, I thought you were my wife”, as he’s rubbing his eyes as if to be just waking up. I didn’t know what to do! I mouthed to my friend, “OMG”! & turned back around & said, “I hope you’re really married”! We got off the plane & I rushed out looking over my shoulder wondering if he was following us. He wasn’t. She went to get her luggage & I only had carry on so I met my attorney husband at the curb & immediately told him what happened. He said, “That’s a sexual assault! Call your friend & see if he’s in baggage”! I did & he was. My husband said, “Wait here”! & went in to confront the man. The man, not knowing who he was, admitted to it so my husband asked him to tell the police in the airport & the guy did, again admitting it. I had to park, go in, & I pressed charges as he was locked in a cell (never seeing him again). The FBI was there too. They wanted to know if the plane door was opened or closed. If it was opened it’s state & if closed Federal. We guessed it was opened because we couldn’t tell. The police strongly believed this wasn’t his first time although he didn’t have a record. He went to court & got community service, had to take a drinking class (he said he’d been drinking & golfing earlier). I then sued him & got about seven thousand dollars! I was so bothered by it & wanted to make him pay! Had I punched him in the face in the moment it happened he probably would have denied it & sued me so in the end I’m glad it worked out the way it did but I wish I had told the airline so they could possibly ban the guy. It’s all public record & happened exactly as described.

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Groping

“He put his arm around my waist” – phone app submission

The other day I was along around with my friend. We’re both teenage girls and we were mid-conversation in a large space that was crowded but not immediately around us. All of a sudden a guy walks up right next to me from behind, put his arm around my waist, pulled me CLOSER and said “Excuse me” then walked off. It was incredibly horrifying/upsetting for several reasons.

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Assault, Blocking Path, Groping, Homophobic, Leering, Lewd Behavior, Positive Thinking, Public Masturbation, Racist, Stalking, Transphobic, Verbal

One Small Step – Guest Blog Post!

Guest blog post by our volunteer, Corrine:

So I’m hanging out in a bar with some friends. It’s happy hour. People are drinking. We’re talking, we’re laughing, we’re having a good old time. Everything is great. Then out of nowhere this guy comes over to my friends, grabs my crotch, tries to kiss me, and licks my face. Licks…my…face!

Not only was it gross and humiliating, it made me think I did something wrong. Maybe I accidentally made eye contact, maybe I smiled at him (I smile at everyone, I think someone told me once that it was being polite. I don’t smile so much anymore), maybe my pinstriped button down starched collared shirt and jeans and flip flops was too provocative of an outfit. Who knows?

The point is, he felt that something warranted him putting his hands on me. We weren’t in the workplace, I didn’t know him, we weren’t friends. Unfortunately, this was not my first time being harassed on the street by a complete stranger.

 

What exactly is street harassment?

At Hollaback Baltimore, we define street harassment as a form of sexual harassment that takes place in public spaces. At its core is a power dynamic that constantly reminds historically subordinated groups (women and LGBTQ folks, for example) of their vulnerability to assault in public spaces. Further, it reinforces the ubiquitous sexual objectification of these groups in everyday life.

In a nutshell: it’s when you say or do something to someone that is disrespectful, unwelcome, threatening and/or harassing and those actions are motivated by a person’s gender.

 

Get to the point…

The point? Street harassment takes away an individual’s ability to be comfortable in their skin. It says, because you have these physical features and/or because you are of this specific sexual orientation, I can do and say anything I want to you, any time I want to. Street harassment can be sexist, racist, transphobic, homophobic, ableist, sizeist and/or classist. – See more at: http://www.ihollaback.org/about/

It says “Because you’re a woman, because you’re gay, because you’re a transgender person, you can’t just go anywhere and do anything without a consequence. You are not free to come and go as you please. You have to think about the places you go, you have to decide if its worth it. Otherwise, stay your ass at home.”

 

A step forward…

On Tuesday, May 21st, Governor Martin O’Malley signed into law the  Fairness for All Marylanders Act (FAMA) of 2014 . Essentially, this law bans discrimination of any person based on sexual orientation and sexual identity. Further, this past week President Obama signed an executive order, also banning discrimination of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees of federal contractors and the federal government.

The Presidential Executive Order (Cliff Note’s Version)

  • It is now illegal for government agencies and federal contractors to discriminate against anyone who identifies (publically or privately) as LBGT
  • Effects 28 million people (one fifth of the American workforce)
  • Effective immediately for federal employees, contractors have until early next year to get their ducks in a row
  • Adapted from a previous executive order signed by President George Bush in 2002 that adds sexual orientation and gender identity as additional categories protected under the order

 

Pretty cool, right? This legislation is most certainly is a step in the right direction with regards to making the workplace safer for all people. Despite this, the order still makes it perfectly legal for non-government employees and contractors to continue discriminating against a lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender person in the workplace. And don’t even get me started about what happens outside of the workplace. What about on the street? How can we make public spaces safer? What constitutes safe or unsafe? When does behavior become threatening?

 

Why can’t you just take it as a compliment?

I guess I could, couldn’t I? But tell me this, is it a compliment when someone follows you off the subway when you’re alone at night? Is it a compliment when someone stalks you? What about when someone decides to beat you bloody and leave you for dead on the street, is that a compliment too? Where do we draw the line between harmless fun vs. criminal act? Its legislation like FAMA and the most recent presidential executive order that are allowing us all to more easily navigate these gray areas. The more that we can advocate to specify the illegality of things like discrimination, harassment, rape, etc., in the workplace or at school, the safer the streets and other public spaces will be.

As we recognize the important acknowledgements being made with the passing of this bill and the signing of this executive order, street harassment is still a huge problem, not just in Maryland but internationally. Get involved and tell your story: If you’re a person who has experienced street harassment, Hollaback! While you’re at it, check out some of the other stories and maybe they will inspire you to take action. If you’re a person who has street harassed (knowingly or unknowingly), stop and check out the stories on our website to get a real picture of the message you send when you say and do those things.

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Assault, Groping, Uncategorized, Verbal

“Why are you touching me?” – Anna’s story

I am waiting in line at the grocery store and at first this guy touches my shoulder to say “excuse me” to apparently get out of the way of someone that is passing by. First, when people do this I find it completely unnecessary to touch me. Then he touches me again as he points to his friend, so as to suggest his friend as a prospect for me, raising his eyebrows and saying “eh?! eh?!” I felt really violated. I somehow was able to say “why are you touching me?” as he walked away, but still feel gross.

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Assault, Groping, Leering, Lewd Behavior, Positive Thinking, Racist, Verbal

Summer Safety

Guest blog post by volunteers Tegan & Corrine

 

Summer; warm weather, a glorious time to be outside, enjoying the outdoors, going for walks, sitting out under the sun. At least, until someone decides to invade on your private space in a public area. Street harassment (being harassed or assaulted in a public space) unfortunately seems to increase as the weather warms, and with the increase comes a need for some safety tips.

Baltimore Skyline1

Tip # 1: Recognizing a Roofying & Intervention

 

There have already been a rash of reports of people being roofied in bars this season, and paramount to those situations is bystander intervention and knowing how to identify if someone has been drugged. While under the effects of the drug, the victim does not know they have been drugged and is most likely unable to ask for help themselves.

 

It is crucial if you witness someone who seems confused, sleepy, and has severe lack of motor control to ask them if they are ok, and ask the bar staff or security to call the necessary services. The effects of the drug begin within 30 minutes of ingestion, peak within 2 hours, and can persist for up to eight hours. The drug effects may seem similar to those of excessive alcohol consumption (which should also warrant an “Are you ok?”) and are actually aggravated by concurrent use. If a person is exhibiting symptoms, be aware of any suspicious behavior by other patrons around this person. In this situation, it is key that bystanders intervene as the victim is unknowingly under the influence of a potent drug.

 

Tip # 2: Know Thyself

 

While bystander intervention in cases of rohypnol (roofie) use is key, you can also take precautions to ensure your own safety. If you suspect you have been drugged, notify the staff immediately, as the effects can quickly take hold. Before heading out, let your friends know about the effects of the drug, so everyone in your crew can look out for each other. Lastly, only accept drinks directly from the bar staff. That cutie can still offer to buy you a drink, you just want to watch the bartender make it.

 

Tip #3: Candid Camera

 

Another form of harassment to be aware of during the summer is people who might be trying to inappropriately record or video women in an indecent manner (delicately put) without their knowledge. This has been known to occur at outdoor venues such as concerts, festivals, and in parks. In Baltimore there is one individual in particular who has been known to do this in various places, carrying an over the shoulder camera bag and usually dressed the same whenever they are out. As the corny slogan says: “if you see something, say something” (thanks Homeland Security). Get police, tell a friend, or respond to the person directly if you’re comfortable.

If you don’t feel comfortable approaching the person directly:

  • Find a security guard
  • Contact police (especially if you’re alone)
  • Have a friend confront the person
  • Call the person out by telling those around you what they are doing
  • Hollaback!

Being aware of your surroundings and stepping in as an active bystander can help keep you and those around you safe this summer. If something does happen to you or a friend, just know it is not your fault and you deserve to be believed, supported, and to seek justice (however you define it). Call TurnAround’s 24 Hour Sexual Assault Hotline: 410-828-6390 if you need someone to talk to, or check out our Support Resources page for more info.

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