Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Hollaback UK

There is now a Hollaback UK site.  You can find it here.  In addition to that particular resource I urge you to go take a look at this thread located at The F Word, which invites women to post their experiences on street harassment, and this post from the Black Cat.  Street harassment is not to be tolerated.  Visit the links, read, learn, quit harassing women.  What you may think is a compliment is often threatening or just downright rude.  And don't deliberately threaten women.

While we're on the subject, here's an article explaining how to respond to those viral 'rape prevention' emails.  My personal preferential response would be to educate people not to rape other people.  But when I mention that I tend to get withering looks.

Here are sexual assualt prevention tips guruanteed to work.
Here is a guy's guide to approaching strange women without being maced.

Lastly, here is a link to a survey by the Campaign to End Rape which is asking for women's responses to rape (whether you have been attacked or not).

Now, go read.


Red said...

Ah, but asking people not to assault other people makes too much sense and we can't have that!

notintheface said...

The frustrating thing is that most people, even most men, DON'T assault others. So it's mostly preaching to either a) the choir, or b)the unreachable.

I almost made a really dumb mistake on my blog a while back. I had a idea to parody those rape prevention tips by making a list of 10 of my own. Except for mine, all 10 tips were going to be "Go for the balls", each accompanied by a scan from "www.nadshot.wordpress.com" which featured comic characters like the Punisher, Jakita Wagner, Huntress, and others kicking, punching, and grabbing people's nards. I was using comedy, but I was sincere in my advice. The problem? Turns out "going for the balls" is not the most original move and may put the woman MORE at risk. Needless to say, that entry never got created.

I may post a follow-up to this post on my blog, if time permits.

Saranga said...

@ face: I don't know the figures (if there are any) regarding the proportion of men and women who assault others. If there were any figures I'd like to ask what they class as sexual assault. In my mind grabbing at a woman's arse or breasts constitutes assault. Yet there are many people who think pinching a cute woman's bum is acceptable. So I think that it's not always about preaching to the choir or unreachable.

However, there are plenty of people who engage in street harassment. If you read the f word thread you will see that this ranges from yelling things, like nice bum, great tits, cheer up it might never happen, to more obviously sinister things like physical touching, flashing, rape threats or following someone asking for their phone number.

That kind of shit happens all the time and is delivered by a great many people, who seem to think it's ok, and are otherwise nice people. The thing is, it's not always a compliment and very often feels threatening, even if it's done in broad daylight.

Men harassing women comes about because through lack of respect, lack of empathy, and lack care for another person's feelings. or it's done deliberately to intimidate.

I know that women harass women too, but it's got a different power dynamic behind it, so I'm not focusing on that right now.

Either way I don't think it's a case of preaching to the choir or the unreachable. W/o being rude, did you read through the links? Especially the f word thread and the guy's guide to approaching strange women. Normal men do this too. You've probably done it. or your friends have. And I say that with absolutely no disrespect intended - I know I've said inappropriate things before.

The other thing is that it's also about raising awareness, speaking out as an act in itself, and saying we will not stand for this. And the more places we see these kind of statements the better - my hope is that it the idea of all sorts of harassment being wrong will at some point leach into the popular consciousness and then posts such as these will be obsolete, except as historical curiosities.

notintheface said...

I apologize for any misunderstandings my words may have caused, and just wanted to clear a few things up and apologize as necessary:

1. By "frustrating", I didn't mean "hopeless" or "not worth the effort". I was just saying it can be a tough job and was pointing out what I felt was one of the major hurdles. But it's gotta be done. You're right: raising awareness is the key.

2. While my "the choir or the unreachable" may have been too simplistic, please note that I said "MOSTLY preaching to the choir or the unreachable". Meaning the rest may be open to change.

3. While I did include unwanted touching in the assault definition and I did read all the links before my initial comment, I did not factor anything other than physical assault in my comment. However, even factoring in other forms of harassment such as catcalls, threats, and even the various "nice tits/ass" comments (btw, does "cheer up it might never happen" mean what I think it means?), I still stand by my contention about most men.

I agree that street harrassment is widespread and done by a great many people. However, "a great many" and "plenty" is not the same as "the majority". It's the "vocal minority" syndrome, where a "vocal minority" of a group gets mistaken for the majority in others' perceptions.

(BTW, I've never groped any woman who wasn't either a)romantically involved with me or b) had overtly consented. At least not on purpose. And most of my friends have been the same, although there was one time where a friend I'll call "Steve" thought it was soooo funny to knock my hand into some poor woman's butt while I wasn't paying attention. (Hint: it wasn't, at least not to me or the poor woman. At least she knew I was sincere when I apologized profusely.))

Granted, all that means jack shit to a woman being harrassed or in fear of being harrassed by a strange man or men on a public street, and even one case is too many. So I can see where that "Schrodinger's Rapist" lady is coming from, even if I don't completely agree. Women don't have "Spidey-Sense" after all.

Saranga said...

@face: No need to apologise.
I hadn't meant to imply that I thought you had groped someone, I was more thinking along the lines of verbal insults/compliments, I was also mostly thinking of maybe in the past as a teenager, as I reckon that most teenagers are jerks at one point or another. I'm a massive cynic. You may have noticed. ;)

I was trying to find a non condscending way to ask if you'd read the links, but i'm not very good at that :/

Anyway, I look forward to reading your post. Thanks for commenting and coming back to clarify.

notintheface said...

S'ok I'm a big boy! (LOL!)

Whoops! Forgot about teen years. Then you may have a point. I think I may have yelled "you're beautiful" (2 decades before James Blunt) once or twice out of my track team's school bus and uttered the lame pickup line or two (in safe settings).

notintheface said...

It might be a few days on that post. Busy time for me.