Leering, Positive Thinking, Verbal

Street Harassment Diary – European Vacation Edition!

I recently went on a two week vacation with my partner traveling through Barcelona, Paris, and London. As the site leader for Hollaback! Baltimore, I am entrenched in the world of street harassment. I am always talking about it, doing presentations, tabling at events, thinking of ways to gain male allies; it’s always on my brain. So the chance to relax on the beach and see some touristy sites was exciting not only for the obvious reasons, but also because the opportunity to experience and analyze street harassment within three separate foreign countries doesn’t come up every day. Yeah, I was looking forward to being street harassed. I wanted firsthand experiences I could take back to the States with me to draw upon and further my critiques of how we experience it here.

My partner Brooks plays in a band called Office of Future Plans, who were invited to play the Sant Feliu Fest in the Catalonia region of Spain. The flights to and from Europe were taken care of, as well as a lodging. We took that opportunity to build a vacation around those three days of shows since we were already on that side of the pond.

My walk from the hotel to the warehouse show

Sant Feliu, Spain –  We were often surrounded by friendly people involved in the festival and it was a small beach community that relies on tourists to keep itself going. Basically, we felt safe. People are always saying to watch out for “this kind” and “that kind” of men,  including Latino men, because they “harass more” or it is “more acceptable” in their culture. I would (and do) argue that it is pretty darn acceptable here in the States, too, seeing as not many people do much to end street harassment, let alone take it seriously. Regardless, I’d heard enough stories, so my feeling of safety didn’t keep me from expecting street harassment or being on the lookout.

I noticed that the people of Sant Feliu tended to mind their own business. No one was looking around, checking anyone out. They didn’t seem to care what you were wearing or where you were going. It was nice. Also, a small but significant amount of women on the beach did not wear tops. It wasn’t everyone, but those who did seemed very comfortable, they ranged in age and size, and no one stared or seemed to care. It wasn’t shocking. My uneducated impression? These people are not repressed. So when I took a walk by myself from our hotel to a nearby warehouse show, I was surprised to hear “Guapa!” from a guy passing by on a scooter. I decided to check in with a local, originally from England, to confirm what I heard (it means beautiful and/or well dressed) and get her opinion. She said “Oh, good for you!”

My initial thoughts are that if the people of Sant Feliu aren’t sexually repressed, then perhaps their street harassment is less of a power play lashing-out. Maybe it is an innocent compliment. But does that make it OK? Would I appreciate the random yelling of compliments if there were never a threat of violence? Did I feel safer knowing he never had any intention of slowing down?

The shops of Pigalle

Paris, France – We rented a small flat in Montmartre, the same general area of the Sacre Coeur, where actual Parisians live and work. We mostly spent our days in the touristy spots, only coming home for a recharge around dinner time or late at night. I was constantly with my male-bodied partner. Since it was August, the month when most of Europe goes on holiday, sometimes it seemed the tourists outnumbered the locals. Again, we felt safe.

I noted that Parisians were more aware of their surroundings than the Spanish. They looked around more, watched people passing by and yeah, some men stared. It felt like home! The only obvious street harassment I witnessed was a couple young men walking past a couple young women, giving them the up and down eye and saying “Bonsoir” (“Good evening”) in the same way any American man can make “Hel-lo” seem creepy. That personal freedom I had momentarily felt in Spain had officially disappeared.

Parliament from the London Eye

London, England – Very similar to Paris, we rented an apartment in the suburbs (near Catford Bridge), spent our days in the city surrounded by tourists. Our big worry was pickpockets. With the Olympics just ending and the Paralympics about to begin,  there were a lot of people around in general. Here I saw many guys turn their heads behind them like an owl to see a woman or girls butt as she walked the opposite direction, but I heard no verbal harassment, nor did I experience anything.

Conclusion: I realize that an accurate portrayal of any city cannot be achieved in just a few days. In no way can I assume how each of these countries gender-equity issues play out for people on a day to day basis. I also know that my limited experiences overseas would look differently if I was traveling alone or if I were not an able-bodied, white, hetero- presenting cis-woman. On top of it all, I was often, purposefully, in very touristy areas where they are used to visitors. Luckily for me there were no major threats to my physical safety (as so many women face when they travel), but I am still glad to have something to compare to the bratty little country I call home.

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Assault, Blocking Path, Leering, Lewd Behavior, Positive Thinking, Stalking, Transphobic, Verbal

Street Harassment at Otakon & Beyond

Street harassment happens everywhere. No matter what you wear, what time of day or where you are heading. This video is proof. The attendees of July’s Otakon here at the Baltimore Convention Center had plenty to say about street harassment. They were getting it from strangers back home AND from Baltimore, whether in cosplay or street clothes, and even from some other attendees (who you’d think would be happy enough to be around like-minded people that they wouldn’t ruin it for some fellow nerdy women). This video help shows that it is not the women or lgbtq folks who need to change their behavior, it is the harassers.

Thanks again to all those who volunteered to share their stories, on screen or off. You are flipping the power!

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

A Healthy Expression of Street-Harasser-Frustration!

The latest mental disorder SHF (or Street Harasser Frustration) has few remedies. The cure is less street harassment in the world. Until scientists come up with the eradication cure, women, girls, and lgbtq folks are forced to administer their own treatments. Here is one such treatment, courtesy of the girls from St. Francis Community Center:

 

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Positive Thinking

Team Member Jenn: Our Exit Interview!

Our first official regular volunteer is moving away after months and months of dedicated service. Her pursuit of more love, more money, and less stress is worthwhile so we’re not too mad. Jenn was a driving force behind this years Anti-Street Harassment Day and her availability to table is the reason we were able to attend so many awesome events this year (like PRIDE!). So, if you never got to meet her, here’s a little exit interview. Read on to see her advice to those who experience street harassment, and where she’ll be taking her holla-skills in the future.

 

 

Why do you insist on making us sad by moving away?  :**(
What sparked your interest in Hollaback!? Originally it was Slutwalk Baltimore that I read about and wanted to get involved in that movement. When I learned all about Hollaback! and the rad stuff they were doing, I know I had to be a part of it!
Has your perspective on street harassment changed since you started volunteering?  Yes! I am much more aware of it now! I also feel confident that we can all DO something about it rather then accept it as a social norm.
You’ve done some great work while at Hollaback Bmore! What moments stick out in your mind as the most fun or meaningful? The mud stenciling in the Inner Harbor was a lot of fun! I also really enjoyed all the tabling we did and the diverse amount of people we met and stories that we heard about street harassment impacting them. Slutwalk Bmore was also extremely powerful marching in the street and shouting with my friends!
What do you wish you could have done differently? Had more time to devote to Hollaback! Stupid job and having to pay bills!
Even though you won’t be around to help us make them, what changes or improvements could we implement to become even more badass? Keep reaching out to EVERYONE who experiences street harassment including people of color.
Will you be taking your skills to another Hollaback!? I plan to get involved with Hollaback Richmond!
Do you know that we’ll miss you? Oh Don’t make me cry. I will miss you too!
What parting words would you like to share with all the women and lgbtq folks of Baltimore who experience street harassment? ” No one can make you feel inferior without your consent”  Street Harassment sucks and can make us feel pretty fucking shitty. But remember, this isn’t our fault, it is the Harassers fault. Shift the blame from us to THEM!
What parting words would you like to share with all the harassers in Baltimore? We are coming for you!

 

Jenn Gallienne, School Outreach Coordinator. August 2011 to August 2012. Although Jenn only moved to Baltimore in August of 2011, she has experienced countless forms of harassment as a woman and member of the LGBTQQIA community in her lifetime. She is a Licensed Graduate Social Worker with an emphasis on supporting survivors of sexual violence, domestic violence and harassment. Jenn has a multitude of experience organizing and participating in social justice awareness events and she proudly led a county-wide sexual assault response team in West Virginia. Jenn is super excited to be doing school outreach to help spread the message of Hollaback! She has a cat named wasabi and an intense love for cupcakes!

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Positive Thinking

Hollaback! Supports Healthy Masculinity

In the twenty-first century, no brand, company, organization, or movement is complete without some visual representation. The Healthy Masculinity Action Project is no different. Now, with the “I Support Healthy Masculinity” icon, you can promote healthy masculinity and the Healthy Masculinity Action Project.

The Healthy Masculinity Action Project (HMAP) is a two-year national movement to develop new male leadership that role models strength without violence. The Healthy Masculinity Action Project begins in October with the Healthy Masculinity Summit in Washington, DC.

Despite only four words in the statement, “I Support Healthy Masculinity,” it says so much more. Supporting healthy masculinity is supporting communities that are free from street harassment and domestic violence, and lives that are better for women, children, and men. Generating conversations about healthy masculinity is a vital step in creating healthy relationships of all kinds.

As the weeks leading up to the Healthy Masculinity Summit continue, your support of HMAP will become increasingly critical in spreading the message of healthy masculinity.

So, do you support healthy masculinity?

Show it with the “I Support Healthy Masculinity” icon!

For more information, contact: info@healthymasculinity.org

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Positive Thinking

Hollaback! Offline!

Need an excuse to get out of the chat room and actually chat with real human beings? Well, this is it!

We want to be in the same room with our volunteers, supporters, fellow awesome ladies and lgbtq folks who experience street harassment. This is a casual gathering for us to vent, share tips, swap stories, and just laugh about the ridiculousness of it all.

So, over awesome coffee/pastries/dinner let’s sit around a table and do something truly revolutionary: share our stories.

*We would like to make this a semi-regular event, so we will see how it goes this first time. One of the purposes of this event is to recognize that not everyone who experiences street harassment has the privilege of access to the technology that Hollaback! uses to empower folks, so we want to bring that empowerment out of the virtual world into the real world.
*For a menu of available items for sale please visit http://www.bmorebohemian.com/menu.html
We know not everyone will be able to purchase something, but it is important that we support this locally owned business in Station North for allowing us to take over the place for a couple hours.

When: This Wednesday June 13th, 7pm.

Where: Bohemian Coffee House, 1821 N. Charles St., Baltimore, MD 21201

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Positive Thinking

New Facebook Cover Photos!

Check out these awesome designs by supporter Sarah Foye. Now you can tell the virtual world that you don’t stand for street harassment, you Hollaback! at it! Download directly from this post , our multimedia page, or see all 7 designs on our Facebook page!

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Positive Thinking, Verbal

Brussels and Baltimore in Brooklyn!

We had a chance to sit down with Anna, a native Baltimorean and current site leader for Hollaback! Brussels. Awesome! We interviewed each other about all kinds of things, including the differences in street harassment styles in our respective cities, community involvement, future projects, how an empowered individual can make a difference for many, and why Hollaback! is so awesome!

This is part one of a 3 part series. You can find Anna turning the tables on Shawna by interviewing her here and here!

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Positive Thinking

We visited Hollaback! HQ

Yep, while on a trip to NYC we stopped by the Hollaback! headquarters and had lunch with Executive Director Emily May and International Movement Coordinator Veronica Pinto. We talked about the latest campaign, an initiative to get Hollaback! onto school campuses, that is currently in fundraising mode. With statistics like this:

According to the AAUW, 62% of women and 61% of men report being sexually harassed on college campuses. 57% of students say they would like their college to offer a confidential web-based method for submitting complaints.

it should be easy to convince people that an empowering tool like Hollaback! is necessary to keep women and LGBTQIA folks feeling safe at school. Finals are hard enough, so street harassment is the last thing these young people should be worrying about.

Of course, we’re set to launch another “class” of Hollaback! sites as well so look out for a bunch of new cities around the world to holla from!

Also, you can tell Emily is the Exec. Director because she is dressed fancy, whereas I’m in punk rock casual.

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Groping, Leering, Lewd Behavior, Positive Thinking, Stalking, Verbal

Stuff People Say to Teen Girls

Yeah, girls. Not women. Girls. Girls as young as 7 have submitted stories to Hollaback! Now, we could wallow in sad facts like that, but we’d rather get out there and do something about it. Lucky for us, Hollaback! Philly feels the same way. They made this honest, funny and yeah, sad video about the things people say to young girls. Sure, this meme came and went but the message that street harassment is detrimental to the well being of over half the world still needs to be heard. So, enjoy:

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