Appalachian Ohio, Athens GA, Atlanta, Berkeley, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Columbia MO, Columbus, Des Moines, Durham & Chapel Hill, East Lansing, Fredericksburgh VA, Houston, Los Angeles, Muncie IN, New York City, NYU, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Plattsburgh, Richmond VA, San Francisco, Tucson, Twin Cities
Site Leader, Hollaback! Bangalore
Street harassment, eve teasing, cat calling or whatever word is more into use in your region, is often not taken as a “real” problem. I understand that in popular culture, casual teasing as they term it, is considered harmless. While we are fighting to prove that wrong, what makes me go really crazy, is when someone considers harassment stories as a brag.
“LOL. He thinks you’re hot.”
“It’s a compliment.”
“Be grateful. At least someone thinks you’re pretty.”
And the worse, that eye roll you give that you think we did not notice.
Let me say this one more time. No, harassment stories are not a brag. It’s not high school(or our girl’s night out) gossip. Our stories of street harassment and stories of that guy that we like or likes us, are NOT the same. The former, is in no way a compliment- it doesn’t flatter us. All it does is makes us angry and scared.
“Women logic: It’s flirting if it’s a good looking guy and harassment if he’s not”
It’s not about how the harasser looks. It’s about what the person does that categories into harassment or flirting. It’s flirting if you gently approach someone and compliment them, tell them a joke or innocently smile at them. It’s harassment if you go “Hey baby!” to a stranger. Or, call out “Oyee Short skirt!”, or “Chammak challo” (the indian style). It’s harassment if you smack them in the ass, try to touch them anywhere inappropriately, if you stalk them, if you sing out the DDLJ song to them on the street or the bus or anywhere in public space.
It’s basic common sense.
“People who complain about street harassment are usually the ones who aren’t pretty enough to get catcalled”.
“I got harassed on the street today” does NOT translate to “OMG I am so pretty people can’t stop staring at me. *blush* *blush*. ”
Being commented on weight or skin color or sexual orientation is also harassment.
“Knock off the attitude already. That guy doesn’t want to date you. He was just having fun.”
My story is my anger and frustration and fear. It’s not playing “hard to get”. Oh, we don’t want to date him either. And he can go have fun with acceptable activities that do not make others feel vulnerable.
“Work on real issues like domestic violence and rape.”
Street harassment is a real issue as well. When street harassment becomes a habit, women avoid late night shifts, late night classes, and any other productive activity that they could be doing but cannot because of the timing or company. Also, street harassment has been recorded to quickly escalate to rape and violence on street. I shouldn’t even be giving the reasons of classes or work. Hell yeah, I should be safe to go clubbing at night too.
Making streets safer means giving people the liberty to walk alone or late at night carefree.
Few days back me and my frnds went to jayanagar 4th block area for shopping,there we saw a man staring at us.We started ignoring him and when he saw that,he came close to us ,took out something from his pocket and started smelling it.At first we thought that it was a napkin but later we realised that it was a girl’s panty.He was a middle aged man wearing decent clothes and it seemed that he was an educated man.He did not stop,he continued doing that for 2-3 times But still how could he do that.When itold my friend infront of him “hey some crazy people use panties instead of napkins” then he just went away…how shameless some people can be..!!!!
At 5 in the evening, my friend and I decided to walk down to ulsoor to have pani-puri. we entered the cut just next to the ulsoor police station, my friend just screamed and said – “don’t look towards your right”.. so i didn’t.. after a while i asked her y did she say tat?.. she said some guy was showing his penis so i saw thats y i warned you not to look towards your right… I was like at 5p.m…. just next to a police station??-like seriously?? – heights of guts these f***** beast have…
I have been a victim of street harassment many a times…one day while i was on my way back home around 7 in the evening a guy came out no where and started abusing me verbally.. He gave me a dirty look .. As i was alone ,i was helpless…I didnt know what to do.. I thought the best way to escape was to run from that place and reach a crowded area..i did that and saved myself for the moment….
first of all,i am totally new here in Bangalore.so when i came for the first time here, i didn’t expect that will happen with me.just 3 or 4 months back,one of my cousin sister, took me to visit her brothers place in Shantinagar.while we were walking by the road an aged man(may be 50+) just came suddenly and pushed me.i thought it was crowded enough so it happened mistakenly.but while we were returning back from there that man again came from the opposite site,he saw me and came beside me and just pushed me intentionally and walked away just like nothing happened.i couldn’t tolerate that time so i shouted at him telling that”son of a bitch,can’t you see while walking? saala ,kamina” and all those.as i said that place was crowded,so everyone was staring at me and that man.so after that he didn’t look back and walked away.
This happened couple of months ago. We were walking home from the Corporation bus stand and were just intently talking. Then, I looked over at my friend’s face; she was facing forward and was gasping. I got curious, and turned where she was facing, there stood a man in his late 30s, with his fly open, flashing at us. Not just that, he was touching himself and calling it “an ice-cream”. He was rambling” Do you like the ice-cream? Which flavor would you prefer?” We started freaking out and walked as fast as we could. He still wouldn’t quit, he kept tailing us till the end of the street and while still rambling what he was rambling earlier. But, as we reached near the signal, we realized that we could get some help and that strangely gave us some courage. We turned around and started shouting at him, on the top of our voices threatened to call the police. It was apparent that he wasn’t expecting this, as a result he got startled and started running away!!
Hollaback! Bengaluru is just about to start up and we are so excited! Check in soon!