16 Memorable Stories of Standing Up to Street Harassment 2016

holly1-200x300The Pixel Project is pleased to share the sixth annual blog list of 16 memorable stories of women dealing with street harassment, which has been kindly compiled by Holly Kearl, Founder of our partner Stop Street Harassment and one of our 16 Female Role Models of 2010.

Through Facebook and her Stop Street Harassment website, Holly receives and shares stories of women fighting back against street harassment. She shares these stories to help raise awareness of this particular type of violence against women as well as provide inspiration and ideas for everyone on making public places and spaces safe for women. Almost 100% of women and girls experience street harassment in their lifetimes, ranging from the uncomfortable to the downright dangerous.

This list provides a starting point for all to learn about and discuss the impact of street harassment. We hope it’ll inspire you to take action.

It’s time to stop violence against women. Together.

– Regina Yau, Founder and President, The Pixel Project

All visuals courtesy of Stop Street Harassment.

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Empowering Response #1:

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23-year-old Ruhi Rahman was riding the train in Newcastle, England, when a man started making racially threatening comments toward her. A woman sitting next to her jumped up to help her. After she intervened, most of the other passengers also spoke up and forced the man to leave.

Empowering Response #2:

Mercedes in Washington, D.C. faces a lot of catcalls during her early morning commute to work. One morning, men in a truck kept following and harassing her (“Good morning, sexy!” etc). She said, “Normally I would ignore situations like this because men tend to be bold because they’re in their vehicle, a confined space where they feel safe enough to make unflattering remarks. Ironic. I couldn’t keep walking this time, I was so fed up. I snapped and said, ‘Shut-up. Just shut the f*** up!’. Silence. They didn’t say anything else to me. I felt good about speaking up for myself …. Ever since I snapped a lot of the catcalling I normally experience in the morning and leaving work has declined tremendously.”

Empowering Response #3:

kellyIn October after the release of a 2005 recording of American president-elect Donald J. Trump engaging in what he calls “locker room banter” about forcing himself on women, many people spoke out against his behavior. The most visible response was on Twitter.

That night, author Kelly Oxford tweeted, “Women: tweet me your first assaults. They aren’t just stats. I’ll go first: Old man on city bus grabs my ‘pussy’ and smiles at me, I’m 12.” By the next morning, as many as 50 women tweeted their stories per minute of first-person accounts of sexual violence with the hashtag #notokay. Less than three days later, nearly 27 million people had responded or visited Oxford’s Twitter page.

Empowering Response #4:

Deanna Carter called out and shamed a man on the NYC subway who tried to masturbate in front of her. She said, “Rubbing your dick? What the f*ck are you doing? Do it again and I’m getting’ up out of this chair and I’m gonna bust your f*ckin ass on this train.” Then she told him to get off the subway at the next stop – and he did.


Empowering Response #5:

Illustrator Shehzil Malik in Pakistan became so fed up with street harassment that she created a series of images she called #WomenInPublicSpaces to “symbolise the struggle of Pakistani women who feel harassed in public spaces.”

Empowering Response #6:

Thanks to the hard work of activists in Nottingham, UK, the police force began classifying street harassment and other forms of misogyny as a hate crime and police began recording and monitoring it so they can look for trends.

Empowering Response #7:

A woman in Buenos Aires, Argentina, grew sick and tired of men harassing her during her work commute. One day a man on the street made kissy sounds at her. She turned around and told him to “stop harassing women” and “I don’t want to hear any more of your bullshit opinions about my body.” He smiled and started to harass her again. She said “I saw red, took the top off my coffee and threw the full thing in his face!” As she walked away, he called her a “Crazy, dumb bitch” but everyone around them laughed at him.

Empowering Response #8:

Milwaukee bus driver Sharon Chambers saw a girl waving in her direction. When she stopped for her, she saw that she was crying. The girl said a man had been following and harassing her. Chambers told her to get on the bus and that “no one was going to mess with her on my bus.” Chambers called the bus dispatch who notified the police. While they waited for the girl’s grandmother and the police, Chambers said, “Don’t worry about it. You are safe. I will fight for you; no one is going to hurt you.”

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Empowering Response #9:

After a passenger made a lewd comment to an Alaska Airlines flight attendant as she demonstrated how to use a safety vest, she told him to be respectful. When he disagreed, she talked to other staff, and someone came and escorted him off the plane!

Empowering Response #10

A woman was walking home from work when she encountered two men walking toward her. “Hey girl, you look sexy,” said one. She turned toward him and yelled, “Mind your own business!” She said he got the point.

Empowering Response #11:

MJ is a light-skinned Hispanic woman who was at a California fair with her friends when two Hispanic men talked about grabbing her ass in Spanish, not realiaing she could understand them. She turned and screamed, “Go ahead and try!” They literally ran away.

Empowering Response #12:

flA man in Florida liked to start talking to women in stores by asking innocent questions and then escalating quickly to inappropriate and sexually graphic remarks and questions. He filmed the women as he did so. After he did it to a woman for a second time in a few years, she recognised him and remembered his strategy and she began filming him and questioning him and ended up chasing him out of the store. He fled in his car but the police pulled him over and arrested him for reckless driving. He was then charged with video voyeurism too. Many other women came forward to report similar experiences.

Empowering Response #13:

Sarah in Denver, Colorado, was walking across the parking lot to go to work when she saw two boys across the street. One said, “I wanna lick your poop chute” and did an obscene tongue motion. His friend laughed. She noticed no cars on the street and rocks nearby and in a split second decided to cross the street and pick up a rock and threw it near him. He dodged it and ran away screaming, “You’re crazy!” She retorted, “Come back you coward! Come back and say something else to me!”

Empowering Response #14:

S.A. in India was going to meet her tutor when she noticed an ATM guard staring at her in a vulgar way. She was afraid at first but then “gathered courage.” She said, “Stop staring at me that way. It’s inappropriate.” She even threatened to hit him. “He felt quite guilty about what he did,” she wrote.

Empowering Response #15

A woman in Poughkeepsie, NY, was walking to work when two men working on the roof of a building started “hooting and hollering” at her. She stopped and yelled back, “I hope you fall off that building and are crippled for life because you’re already crippled in the head.” That shut them up completely.

Response #16:

luceLucé Tomlin-Brenner said, “I’ve been verbally, emotionally and sexually harassed by men I don’t know for more than half my life. It’s happened while walking down the street, riding on public transportation, working retail/service industry jobs, on college campuses, and while performing on stage. It’s happened in every city I’ve ever lived, visited, or worked in. It’s happened at punk shows that are supposed to be my safe places. These are not compliments, they are violations. They are threats to my mental and physical safety.” In response, artist Olivia Britz-Wheat designed a “Not Your Baby” tattoo for her at Blacklist Tattoo in Portland, Oregon

16 Activists and Organisations Working Online To Stop Violence Against Women

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With the 21st century in full swing, the internet has become an integral part of everyday life for much for the world. From shopping to social lives, we have become increasingly reliant on the internet to get things done, as well as to communicate with other people. The younger generations, starting with Millenials, have never grown up in a world without the internet. With the increasing affordability and ubiquity of portable technology such as laptops, smartphones, and tablets, even the most remote of locations are getting online and getting connected. Indeed, the UN has even declared internet access a universal human right.

The internet, however, is a double-edged sword. While it has helped everything from business to education take massive leaps forward faster than ever, online communication platforms and communities such as blogs, social media networks, chatrooms, and forums have also helped amplify some of the worst aspects of humanity including misogyny and Violence Against Women (VAW). According to UN Women, “cyber VAWG already exists in many forms, including online harassment, public shaming, the desire to inflict physical harm, sexual assaults, murders and induced suicides”.

The anti-VAW movement has taken on the cyber VAW fight in two major ways. They use social media and other online platforms to educate, raise awareness, raise funds, and to turbo charge the fight against VAW and sexism. Crucially, anti-VAW activists are also finding ways to effectively tackle the tidal wave of cyber-VAW using tactics ranging from rallying individuals and organisations to unite against VAW to pushing social media companies to become more accountable for taking action to stamp out VAW in their communities.

The 16 activists and organisations listed below have been at the frontline of digital anti-VAW activism in the last decade as social media started its unstoppable rise to prominence. From providing an anonymous blog platform for survivors to tell their stories to creating viral educational videos to working with Facebook and Twitter to stop VAW on their watch, each of them have stepped up to take on this new frontier in the fight to end VAW. We hope their work inspires you to do so too.

Written and compiled by Samantha Carroll and Regina Yau. Introduction by Regina Yau.

Call To Action: Help us reach the $25,000 fundraising milestone for our Celebrity Male Role Model Pixel Reveal campaign this holiday season by giving generously to our “16 For 16” fundraiser (which also includes #GivingTuesday)! Find out more and donate to get awesome book and music goodies at http://is.gd/16DaysGT2015 

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Recommendation #1: Aimee Smith

Aimee Smith_croppedAimee Smith is the pseudonym of a blogger who shares her story of rape survival.  On her blog One Woman, Smith inspires women to come forward (anonymously if preferred) and share their stories of survival too.  “If we can help even one woman deal with her pain, we will be succeeding”, says Smith.  When she’s not helping others, Smith is teaching, parenting, playing the piano and being nominated for the One Lovely Blog Award.

Recommendation #2: Anita Sarkeesian

Anita Sarkeesian_croppedAnita Sarkeesian is the pop-culture media critic who made headlines when she launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to support her production of a video Web series called Tropes vs Women in Video Games, which explores female stereotypes in the gaming industry. Her feminist critique of the gaming industry has garnered an ongoing vitriolic online backlash, including threats of death, sexual assault and rape, most recently escalating to hounding her out of her home and forcing her to cancel an event at Utah State University due to the threat of a mass gun massacre.

Recommendation #3: Breakthrough

breakthroughBreakthrough is a global human rights organisation based in both the U.S. and India. They work to make violence and discrimination against women and girls unacceptable via cutting-edge multimedia campaigns, community mobilisation, agenda setting, and leadership training equip men and women worldwide to challenge the status quo and take action to address and end violence against women and girls. Online campaigning is one of their key strengths – one of their best known online campaigns is their “Bell Bajao” campaign featuring YouTube videos that encourage the viewer to take action to stop domestic violence by ringing the bell. “Bell Bajao” has been adapted by domestic violence organisations in other countries including China and Vietnam.

Recommendation #4: Caroline Criado-Perez

Caroline Criado PerezCaroline Criado-Perez is a freelance journalist and feminist campaigner who successfully campaigned to persuade the Bank of England to include a prominent woman (Jane Austen) among an otherwise all-male group of British luminaries on the back of British currency. The success of the campaign made her and other women the target of numerous threats of rape and murder on Twitter from the day of the Bank of England’s announcement in July 2013. She fought back against the abuse publicly, which resulted in Twitter’s general manager in Britain, Tony Wang, announcing a one-click option on all posts enabling users to easily report abusive tweets, where previously there was no recourse for victims of online harassment on Twitter.

Recommendation #5: Jessica Valenti

Jessica_Valenti_in_March_2014_croppedJessica Valenti is the founder of Feministing.com and the author of four books on feminism, politics and culture, and. Her newest book, Sex Object, will be out in 2016. She is also a daily columnist and staff writer for Guardian US where she writes about violence against women and gender inequality. The Guardian has named her as one of their “top 100 women” for her work to bring the feminist movement online. Her work has also appeared in Ms.,The Nation, The Washington Post, TPMCafe, and Alternet.

Recommendation #6: June Eric-Udorie

June Eric-UdorieJune Eric-Udorie is a 16 year old campaigner against female genital mutilation, writer, and member of  Plan UK’s Youth Advisory Panel where she sits on the Board of Trustees. She advocates for women’s rights and is passionate about ending violence against women and girls. Udorie protests (both online and offline) against victim blaming, supports the empowerment of girls, blogs for New Statesman, and has written for Girls’ Globe and the Telegraph. In April 2015, Udorie petitioned against Sussex Police after they produced objectionable anti-rape posters. The posters were taken down within 72 hours. She was nominated for the Red Women of the Year Award 2015.

Recommendation #7: Meltem Avcil

Meltem Avcil_croppedIn 2007, at the age of 13, Meltem Avcil was placed in the Yarl’s Wood immigration centre, Bedfordshire, UK, with her mother. There she witnessed women (like her mother) who had fled their home countries due to VAW, and were placed in a prison-like space. In a Cosmo article, Avcil is quoted as saying that, “These women have experienced torture, rape, violence, sexual abuse. They have been tortured mentally and physically. So when they come to this country to seek refuge, they’re being tortured again by being put in prison.” As a result of her experience, Avcil has started a change.org petition and called on the UK’s on Home Secretary Theresa May, to end the incarceration of abused women seeking asylum.

Recommendation #8: Nuala Cabral

Nuala Cabral_croppedNuala Cabral created a short film in 2009 called Walking Home, to address street harassment. The film was uploaded to YouTube and was watched by tens of thousands. After Walking Home went viral, the film won the Speaking Out Award at the non-profit Media That Matters Film Festival.  Cabral is a cofounder of FAAN (Fostering Activism and Alternatives Now), a media literacy and activism project that focuses on transforming the way women of colour are depicted in the media. To achieve this and as part of their community engagement, FAAN offers and facilitates a range of workshops, presentations and professional development around media literacy, social media activism and creating media for social change.

Recommendation #9: Raquel Evita Saraswati

Raquel Evita Saraswati is the first woman under the age of 30 to receive a Durga Award for dedication to ending gender-based violence, FGM and forced and child marriages. Saraswati has spoken out publically against honour killings all over the world and has written for prestigious media outlets while campaigning vigorously online via her blog and Twitter where she has over 20,000 followers. Her new initiative is called Adalah: Ending Gender-Based Violence and will focus on “a holistic approach to ending gender-based violence”.

Recommendation #10: Soraya Chemaly

Soraya Chemaly is a feminist media critic and activist whose work focuses on women’s rights, freedom of speech, and the role of gender and violence in politics, religion and pop culture. She is a contributor to Salon, CNN, The Huffington Post, The Guardian, The Nation, Ms. Magazine, and Time and her work is also regularly published in gender-focused media. In May 2013, she teamed up with Women, Action, and The Media (WAM!) to organise a successful global social media campaign demanding that Facebook recognise misogynistic content as hate speech. She works regularly with social media companies to address gender-based inequalities.

Recommendation #11: Stop Street Harassment

SSH-New-LogoStop Street Harassment (SSH) is a non-profit organisation dedicated to documenting and ending gender-based street harassment worldwide. It started as a blog in 2008 by founder Holly Kearl and quickly went from strength to strength over the last 7 years as Kearl built a fast-growing community to push back against street harassment. Today, SSH runs the highly successful International Anti-Street Harassment Week every Spring, using social media, their website resources, and their mailing list to organise groups and tens of thousands of people around the world to take action against street harassment in their community. SSH also continues to collect and document stories of street harassment submitted by women and girls worldwide.

Recommendation #12: Take Back The Tech

Take Back The TechTake Back The Tech! was initiated in 2006 by the Association for Progressive Communications (APC) Women’s Rights Programme and was created as a call to everyone, especially women and girls, to take control of technology to end violence against women. It’s a global, collaborative campaign project that highlights the problem of tech-related violence against women such as cyberstalking, together with research and solutions from different parts of the world. The campaign offers safety roadmaps and information and provides an avenue for taking action. The collective runs several campaigns every year, and their biggest annual campaign takes place during 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence (25 Nov – 10 Dec).

Recommendation #13: The Pixel Project

Pixel Project ThumbnailThe Pixel Project is a global virtual non-profit working to raise awareness, funds, and volunteer power for the cause to end violence against women (VAW) worldwide. They focus on online campaigns which combine social media, new technologies, pop culture, and the arts. Their campaigns span a range of online tools and social media including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google Hangouts, YouTube, and blogs, tailoring these online platforms to reach, involve, and mobilise a wide range of social demographics for the cause including VAW survivors, fathers, music artistes, authors, geeks and book lovers, pet lovers, and foodies. Their flagship campaign is the Celebrity Male Role Model Pixel Reveal campaign – a crowdfunding campaign which aims to get donors worldwide to reveal a million-pixel collage of 4 celebrity male role models by donating a dollar a pixel.

Recommendention #14: UN Women

UNwomen-Logo-Blue-TransparentBackground-enThe United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), is a United Nations entity working for the empowerment of women. One of their key focal issues is violence against women (VAW) and in the last decade, they have successfully leveraged the power of the internet and social media to rally the global community to take action to stop VAW. In 2009, they launched the SayNO – UNiTE to end Violence Against Women campaign which aimed to raise at least 1 million actions to stop VAW (and succeeded). In 2014, they launched the #HeForShe campaign with Harry Potter star Emma Watson as the ambassador to get men and boys to step up to end sexism, misogyny, and VAW.

Recommendation #15: Women, Action, and The Media (WAM!)

WAM! states that they are a “nonprofit dedicated to building a robust, effective, inclusive movement for gender justice in media”. Founded by feminist activist Jaclyn Friedman, WAM! runs a variety of campaigns that aims to change the way online and traditional media treat and portray women and girls. WAM! has broken new ground with getting social media giants such as Facebook and Twitter to become more pro-active in addressing online harassment and misogyny that take place on their sites. In November 2014, WAM! collaborated with Twitter to address the online harassment of female Twitter users. In May 2013, WAM! took on Facebook with an open letter signed by more than 100 anti-Violence Against Women organisations demanding that Facebook recognize misogynistic content as hate speech. They won.

Recommendation #16: Yas Necati

Yas NecatiYas Necati is an 18 year old activist who describes herself as a “full-time patriarchy-smasher”. In 2013, she launched a campaign called #BetterSexEducation due to the UK’s Sex and Relationships Education out-dated curriculum. Nescati helps run the Campaign4Consent, which aims to make consent and information about sexual assault part of the UK’s Sex and Relationships Education curriculum. She is managing editor of Powered By Girl and a member of No More Page 3. And if all of the above isn’t enough, Necati is also writing a book on feminism for teens.

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Photo credits:

The Pixel Project Selection 2015: 16 films about violence against women

Film-Reel-225x300 (1)In this day and age, film is a particularly effective medium for teaching and learning. This is why, for the past four years, The Pixel Project has been publishing lists of powerful films, documentaries and television shows that seek to inform and educate the public about the worldwide scourge of violence against women, its various forms, and what everyone can do to stop and prevent it.

In recent years, mainstream film has been slowly moving away from traditional sexist portrayals of women and VAW, both following and informing a trend in popular culture to be more respectful and aware of women’s rights. This year’s Mad Max: Fury Road, a blockbuster action film starring Charlize Theron and Tom Hardy, is a shining example of a film that used no gender stereotypes and that ignited lots of discussion on gender roles and portrayals. This is certainly a big step in the direction of gender equality but there is still, of course, much more to be achieved.

This year’s list of films and documentaries portray women and girls from diverse backgrounds who all have one thing in common – they are victims and survivors of violence against women. Though many of them may be difficult to watch because they deal with harrowing subjects in an explicit manner, it is important to watch them because they are portrayals of the truth. We hope that they will inspire you to join us in our quest to end violence against women and to be a catalyst of change in your own community.

Written and compiled by Anushia Kandasivam. Additional selections by Catalina Rembuyan and Regina Yau.

Call To Action: Help us reach the $25,000 fundraising milestone for our Celebrity Male Role Model Pixel Reveal campaign this holiday season by giving generously to our “16 For 16” fundraiser (which also includes #GivingTuesday)! Find out more and donate to get awesome book and music goodies at http://is.gd/16DaysGT2015 

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Selection Number 1: A Daughter’s Debt

One of the first films to explore women’s issues among the Hmong people, A Daughter’s Debt follows three generations of Hmong-American women as they talk about cultural practices that include bride purchase, polygamy and marriage by capture, and how these practices affect them in their community in the United States. The film was screened at the recent Cannes Film Festival as part of the Short Film Catalogue.

Selection Number 2: A Handful of Ash

For almost a decade, reporters Nabez Ahmad and Shara Amin shed light into one of the most taboo topics in Kurdish society: female genital mutilation. They took their documentary, A Handful of Ash, which was produced in 2003, to the Kurdish Parliament, allying with a German-Iraqi non-governmental organisation, Wadi. At first, no one paid attention except for a few female politicians. But the film and the campaign was the start of a movement. Three years later, Human Rights Watch released a report on female genital mutilation in Kurdistan. In 2011, female circumcision was outlawed across Iraqi Kurdistan. In 2013, two years after the campaign’s success, The Guardian released a 17-minute condensed version of A Handful of Ash, viewable of their website.

Selection Number 3: After the Rape: The Mukhtar Mai Story

[Trigger warning: This video contains descriptions of rape] Mukhtar Mai is a Pakistani woman from a rural village who was gang-raped on the orders of a local tribal clan as a form of honour revenge in 2002. Mukhtar defied custom to speak up and report the rapes to the authorities. Mukhtar’s bravery and quest for justice ignited a series of events that has led to more awareness of women’s rights in rural Pakistan. Realising that education holds the key to changing society’s mentality, Mukhtar opened two schools for girls in her village as well as a crisis centre for abused women.  The documentary follows the progress of the school and tracks the profound impact that education and access to the crisis centre has empowered women and girls in this rural part of Pakistan.

Selection Number 4: Daughters of Mother India 

In 2012, a young woman was violently gang-raped and murdered in New Delhi. The incident sparked widespread outrage, generating discussion and criticism of India’s long history of gender violence and inequality, precipitating public protests against the state and central governments for what was seen as continued failure to provide security for women in India. Daughters of Mother India documents the response of Indian policy makers and activists to the epidemic of sexual violence in the country. The film has received strong commendations and high praise from viewers both within India and beyond.

Selection Number 5: Forced 

Calgary filmmaker Iman Bukhari wanted to bring to light the fact that forced marriages happen in a first-world nation such as Canada. Her documentary sheds light on the continuing cycle of forced marriages in families and though the film does emphasise that these marriages can happen to any gender, it follows the story of a female victim and features interviews with a mother who forced her daughter into marriage. Bukhari has stated that her intention for Forced is to open a dialogue about forced marriages with the aim of bringing the issue out into the open and helping to end the cycle.

Selection Number 6: GTFO

This documentary is about the pervasive misogyny and abuse of women in the gaming world. It documents not just gamers but also female game designers, developers, programmers and others in the gaming industry who consistently receive abuse for being the ‘wrong’ gender in what is still a boys’ club, as well as the abuse and intimidation of women who speak out against it. Documentary maker Shannon Sun-Higginson was inspired to make the film after watching a clip from a major gaming competition in which a player repeatedly sexually harassed his teammate.

Selection Number 7: Hey…Shorty

Inspired by the now iconic 1998 documentary on street harassment War Zone, this short documentary was created and produced by five interns at Girls for Gender Equity (GGE), an organisation in Brooklyn, New York, committed to the physical, psychological, social, and economic development of girls and women. The filmmakers, who ranged from 15 to 18 years old, spent eight months interviewing young women of colour in their neighbourhood about the impact of street harassment on their life. The documentary also features interviews with several men of colour, both young and old, about their intentions behind the behaviour, and examines the root causes of the phenomenon of the harassment of women in public spaces.

Selection Number 8: It Happened Here

[Trigger warning: description of rape and examples of rape threats] This documentary is about the pervasive and seemingly unstoppable phenomenon of sexual assault on the campuses of American colleges and the apathy and dismissive behaviour of the authorities involved. The film contains personal testimonials of five survivors and reveals their struggles to get justice and the blame they face from those who should be on their side. It also serves as a mouthpiece for these women and others who are speaking out against the institutionalised cover-ups of campus sexual assaults.

Selection Number 9: Out in the Night

This documentary asks the question: Do women have a right to defend themselves against street harassment? The film follows the story of four young African-American lesbian women who were walking through a New York neighbourhood one night in 2006 when they were confronted, harassed and assaulted by an older man. When the man became violent, the four friends fought back to defend themselves. When the police arrived at the scene, the women were arrested. They were subsequently charged with gang assault, assault and attempted murder. The film follows the lives of the women and explores how race, gender, gender identity and sexuality plays a part in violence perpetrated on strangers, especially women. It also discusses how these factors were sensationalised and criminalised by mainstream news media.

Selection Number 10: Provoked

This 2006 film starring Bollywood leading lady Aishwarya Rai tells the story of Kiranjit Ahluwalia, an Indian woman in an arranged marriage who moves to the UK with her husband, and who later kills him after enduring years of abuse. The film follows her trial, incarceration and subsequent appeal in court. In real life, Ahluwalia’s appeal became a landmark case in British law and is still used as precedent today; it changed the legal definition of the word ‘provocation’ in cases of domestic violence so as to reclassify her crime to manslaughter instead of murder. Ahluwalia’s case also created awareness of domestic violence amongst immigrant families in the UK.

Selection Number 11: Rape on the Night Shift

[Trigger warning: Survivor accounts in this video include vivid descriptions of sexual assault.] This documentary, a collaboration between PBS Frontline and The Center for Investigative Reporting at the University of California Berkley, tackles an issue that probably has never been explored in film before: the sexual abuse of immigrant women in the janitorial industry in the United States. The assaults are perpetrated by co-workers, managers, building supervisors or security guards. The film features firsthand accounts from survivors and explores and reveals the dangers and difficulties confronted by these women working in low-paying jobs in deserted buildings at night.

Selection Number 12: Searching for Angela Shelton

In this award-winning documentary, filmmaker Angela Shelton drives around the United States looking for and surveying other women named Angela Shelton. Shelton’s search for other Angela Sheltons started as a simple effort to locate as many women with the same name across the United States as she could. When speaking with the women, she found that about 70% of them were survivors of childhood sexual abuse or other forms of domestic violence. This, coupled with events in her own childhood, when she and her siblings were sexually molested by her father and stepmother, inspired her to make the documentary wherein she interviews the other Angela Sheltons, culminating in her confrontation with her father. Following the documentary, Shelton created a Survival Manual to help survivors of violence heal: www.survivormanual.com

Selection Number 13: Speak

At first glance, this film seems to be a typical teen movie, but it actually deals with a little covered topic – teen sexual assault. The film is told from the perspective of Melinda Sordino (Kristen Stewart), a sardonic teen who starts a new year of high school as a selective mute. She is ostracised by her peers and labelled her a ‘squealer’ as she had called the police to a house party. The truth about why she did this is not revealed until much later when Melinda herself comes to terms with her trauma and finds the courage to speak out. Based on the Laurie Halse Anderson novel of the same name, the film shows how sexual assault can damage a young person’s sense of identity and explores the difficulties victims face in verbalising their trauma and telling a person in authority what happened.

Selection Number 14: The Hunting Ground

The Hunting Ground is a documentary that exposes and discusses rape culture on American university campuses. Aired at the Sundance Film Festival this year, the film sparked strong reactions, gaining almost unanimous praise from critics and a standing ovation from audiences, but also passionate denial and skepticism from some viewers. Inspired by The Invisible War (selection number 15), The Hunting Ground follows Andrea Pino and Annie E. Clark, two survivors of sexual assault on campus who refused to be intimidated or silenced by their respective school administration and became activists on rape culture. A day before the film was released in theatres, the Campus Accountability and Safety Act was re-introduced by a bipartisan group of US Senators accompanied by Pino and Clark.

Selection Number 15: The Invisible War

This award-winning documentary is an investigation into rape and sexual assault within the United States Armed Forces. It features interviews with veterans from various branches of the armed forces, journalists, advocates, mental health professionals and members of the military justice system, among others, and touches on the inadequate care for survivors of sexual assault, failures to address incidences of sexual assault and forced expulsion of survivors from service. The film, which calls for changes to the way the military handles reports of sexual assault, has won numerous awards and has had some influence on government policies aimed at reducing the prevalence of rape in the armed forces.

Selection number 16: The Storm Makers

This Cambodian-French co-production documents human trafficking in Cambodia where most of the victims of human trafficking are young women who are lured with promises of better opportunities abroad. In reality, they are held prisoner and forced to work in horrific conditions, sometimes as prostitutes.This film follows the story of a particular young peasant woman, Aya, who was sold to work in Malaysia aged 16, where she did not receive any salary and was beaten and abused. She returned to her village with a child, the result of rape. It also documents the lives of two powerful traffickers known as ‘Storm Makers’.

16 Memorable Stories of Standing Up to Street Harassment 2015

holly1-200x300The Pixel Project is pleased to share the fifth annual blog list of 16 memorable stories of women dealing with street harassment which has been kindly compiled by Holly Kearl, Founder of our partner, Stop Street Harassment, and one of our 16 Female Role Models of 2010.

Through Facebook and her Stop Street Harassment website, Holly receives and shares stories of women fighting back against street harassment. She shares these stories to help raise awareness of this particular type of violence against women as well as provide inspiration and ideas for everyone on making public places and spaces safe for women. Almost 100% of women and girls experience street harassment in their lifetimes, ranging from the uncomfortable to the downright dangerous.

This list provides a starting point for all to learn about and discuss the impact of street harassment. We hope it’ll inspire you to take action.

It’s time to stop violence against women. Together.

– Regina Yau, Founder and President, The Pixel Project

All visuals courtesy of Stop Street Harassment.


Empowering Response #1: #WhatMySHSaid – Instagram

Chloe Parker has been harassed since she was 12 years old. Now 17, she started an Instagram hashtag #WhatMySHSaid where people write their age and location and what their street harasser said to them. Many posts are liked thousands of times. Chloe wrote, “The average age is twelve [for the story submissions] and the average reaction is disbelief, but with the topic comes horrible responses as well. I have heard people defending these pedophiles who creep on these girls, or say that street harassment is because of what the girl was wearing. We live in a culture of blaming the victims, and by saying a twelve-year-old is asking to be followed as she walks home from school is a testament to this. We as a society can and should change this culture that we promote and live in. It should not be up to the victims to change their lives and patterns to make harassers comfortable. This is not a problem that should be ignored.”

Empowering Response #2: Parking Attendant Woes – Charlotte, North Carolina, USA

Every day for two weeks as a woman left a parking garage in Charlotte, North Carolina, the parking attendant would stare at her and say he wanted to see her smile and other similar remarks. She felt uneasy, and, as he continued day after day, she felt anxious and stressed. One day she pa0nicked and drove away while he was still talking. She resolved to talk to him and the next day. She asked him to stop telling her to smile as it made her feel uncomfortable. He said okay. She wrote, “I hope he’ll think before he makes these unwanted comments to anyone else. I didn’t complain to the company since he made an indication of respecting my wishes. I don’t plan to park there any more since I don’t want to see him again, but being able to say something took such a weight off my shoulders. I didn’t even realise how much this was affecting me until after I said something.”

Empowering Response #3: Standing Up Against Harassers – Kabul, Afghanistan

After witnessing a friend drop out of school because of harassment, Shafi in Kabul, Afghanistan, began standing up to harassers. She wrote, “Whenever I see people harassing girls or women in streets and university, I go to them and talk reasonably with them to stop them and explain to them that their act is wrong. I ask what if it happens to their sister or mother, what then? Now it is the time for everyone to start vanishing this bad and shameful culture. Yes, if we want to change then we can. We can start it right now!”

Empowering Response #4: Ladders Are Useful Items

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Empowering Response #5: Caught on CCTV

After a drunk man grabbed a woman on a subway and kissed her, she reported him to the transit police. They found him on the train’s CCTV and circulated his image to local police stations. She wrote, “If you experience street harassment, report it to the police. It will make you feel proactive and powerful – and they might even catch the perpetrator.”

Empowering Response #6: No Free Pass for the Police – San Jose, CA, USA

A woman in San Jose, California, noticed a police sergeant (not in uniform) exposing himself and masturbating in a car. She turned away but he drove his car and parked so she had to see him again. She took photos of him and his license plate and he fled. She filed a police report and the investigators discovered he was a 13-year veteran of the police department. He was arrested and placed on administrative leave.

Empowering Response #7: Taking Harassment Seriously – Liverpool, United Kingdom

Two men in a car in Liverpool, UK, harassed a Russian woman. She felt too scared to say anything, but she ran back, called the police, reported what happened and gave their license plate number. She wrote, “The inspector rang me back to make sure I know they take it seriously. Then after an hour a female officer came to see me. It turned out it was a crime as section 5 public order offence, besides it was gender-based. The officer visited his house, etc. He now has a criminal record. Ladies, you don’t have to take this shit!”

Empowering Response #8: Facing Down Harassers… and Winning! – Tennesee, USA

When Bryanna was in college in Tennessee, a group of men would hang out by the door and harass her daily with sexual slurs. She felt humiliated and would try to run past them before they could say anything. But one day she decided to confront them. She wrote, “They whistled and said, ‘Damn!’ really loudly. So I turned around, marched right up to them (at least eight of them) and shouted, ‘What do you expect to happen from this? Do you really think a girl will turn around and say ‘Oh wow that’s such a compliment, being told my ass is fine by these complete strangers. Do you want to hook up?’ Has it worked for you yet?’ By the look on their stunned faces, I answered for them, ‘No, I didn’t think so. Get a life!’ and stormed off. The rush I felt was incomparable to anything else. I felt strong – like I could take care of myself.”

Empowering Response #9: Singing Against Harassment

Singer Empress Of wrote a song about street harassment called “Kitty Kat.” She said in an interview, “I remember a stranger saying something nasty to me on the street while walking home. I was so mad, but I couldn’t say anything back at that moment. What would be the point? When I got back I started to work on this aggressive sound on a track. As soon as I turned the mic on to record, I started to sing what I wanted to say to that guy on the street, but now I get to sing it every night in front of a crowd.”

Empowering Response #10: “That’s NOT a compliment!” – San Diego, CA, USA

A woman was walking her dog through downtown San Diego, California, when a man told her, “You have no idea how badly I want to play with your boobs.” She told him that his comment was inappropriate and he apologised. But then he told her she should “take it as a compliment.” She had already passed him, but turned around to yell back, “That’s NOT a compliment!” She wrote, “Let the harasser know what he is doing is wrong and unwelcome and that it’s not a compliment in order to help convert him to viewing it as a bad thing.”

Poppy SmartEmpowering Response #11: Sparking a National Debate – United Kingdom

After weeks of trying various tactics for dealing with street harassers along her route to work in the UK (the harassment included men purposely blocking her path), Poppy Smart took the matter to the police. She said in an interview, “It made me feel really uncomfortable and the fact it went on for so long was the main reason I reported it. If it had just been an isolated incident – one, two, three, four times – maybe I could probably brush it off because these things happen and you have to kind of accept these people’s ignorance.” Poppy says she spoke to the owner of the building site. “He just sort of apologised. He obviously can’t control all of his staff all of the time and I appreciated that. I just wanted them to realise it is offensive and I wanted it to stop.” Her story sparked a national debate about the issue.

Empowering Response #12: Sanctuary from Harassment – New York City, USA

A man on the train in New York City rubbed his penis against a woman’s butt. She elbowed him but he kept doing it. Because of the crowd, she couldn’t easily get away. A woman nearby noticed what was happening and gave up her seat for her saying, “Come sit down, that man is trying to rub himself on you!”

Empowering Response #13: Not Remaining Silent – London, United Kingdom

Y.E. in London, UK, was the target of public masturbation on the Tube. No one else was on and when she moved away, he followed her, only zipping up his pants after a man entered the carriage. When YE got off the train, he followed and she ran to report him to a transit worker. The police took her report. She also decided to write about what happened. “I hesitated several times whilst starting to write this and contemplated just keeping it to myself, considering the crude nature of this incident. However, it has come to my attention that this is no longer becoming a ‘once in a blue moon issue’ and it could have easily been burdened on a child, family member, or another member of the public. Looking back at the past struggles in history, since when has any change occurred from remaining silent?”

smallstepsEmpowering Response #14: Anti-Street Harassment Workshops – Romania

Aila in Romania used to face harassment from high school students as she walked from her hostel to the university. Now she and a group of other women at the NGO FILIA are in the process of working with that high school to bring street harassment awareness workshops to the students. She wrote, “Change can be done. I am not a victim anymore, I am a person who can bring change and can help the other girls who are still living in that hostel.”

Empowering Response #15: Open Letter Tactic – Washington D.C., USA

 Sara in Washington, DC wrote an open letter to the man who harassed her. In it, she thanked a woman who spoke up. “To the woman on the sidewalk who said, ‘That’s so rude’ and shook her head when he drove off, thank you. Your three simple words in solidarity were my saving grace and snap back to reality, that no one, not even myself, has the right to disrespect my body. So, dear man in the blue minivan, I will use my body in the best way I know how — to share this story and inspire others to feel a little braver when they step into a crosswalk. To be what the woman on the sidewalk was to me: solidarity.”

Empowering Response #16: Reporting an Unwanted Grope – San Francisco, CA, USA

After a man groped AB at a shopping mall in San Francisco, California, she dropped her bag and ran after him. She lost him, but filed a police report. She wrote, “I’ve been harassed many times, but I’d never run after someone. Something snapped in me. And something broke when no one would help. I was proud that enough was finally enough, and I did something, even though he got away with it. At the very least, it’s caused me to talk about it and snap back when I get hollered at on the street.”

The Pixel Project’s VAW e-News Digest – The “16 For 16″ 2014 Edition

News-Coffee9-150x150Welcome to our 16 for 16 Special Edition of The Pixel Project’s VAW e-News Digest. In this edition, we bring you the top 16 news headlines in each category related to violence against women over the past year.

2014 can be seen as a banner year for progress in the global fight to end violence against women with the movement to end Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) continuing strong momentum in the UK and debuting in the USA, more people than ever (including ‘Harry Potter’ star Emma Watson) speaking out in support of feminism and stopping violence against women, more educational efforts ranging from schools teaching children about what forced marriage is (Australia) and what FGM is (UK), and what looks like an increasingly number of men getting on board the cause via efforts such as UN Women’s #HeForShe campaign and the White Ribbon campaign.

To kick things off, here are 16 of the biggest trending VAW headlines of 2014:

Every contribution matters. If you have any news you’d like to share about violence against women, please email The Pixel Project at info@thepixelproject.net. If you prefer to receive up-to-the-minute news concerning violence against women, follow us on Twitter . It’s time to stop violence against women together.

Best regards,
The Pixel Project Team


Violence Against Women – General


Domestic Violence


Sexual Assault / Rape


Human / Sex Trafficking


Female Genital Mutilation


Honour Killing and Forced/Child Marriage


Street Harassment


Activism

16 Memorable Stories of Street Harassment 2014

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We are proud today to share the fourth annual blog list of 16 memorable stories of women dealing with street harassment which has been kindly compiled by Holly Kearl, Founder of Stop Street Harassment and one of our 16 Female Role Models of 2010.

Almost 100% of women and girls experience street harassment in their lifetimes, ranging from the uncomfortable to the downright dangerous. Holly receives many stories of women fighting back against street harassment by themselves or with the help of friends, family, and bystanders. She shares them on the Stop Street Harassment website and Facebook page to help raise awareness of this particular type of violence against women as well as provide inspiration and ideas for everyone on making public places and spaces safe for women.

This list provides a starting point for all to learn about and discuss the impact of street harassment. We hope it’ll inspire you to take action.

It’s time to stop violence against women. Together.

– Regina Yau, Founder and President, The Pixel Project

________________________________________________

Empowering Response #1: As Anna was walking to the grocery store in Seattle, two men in a parked car harassed her. She felt safe and decided to respond back. She said, “I gave them a look, yelled back, ‘Don’t harass me!’ and kept walking. A few seconds later I heard a car about to drive past me, and a ‘Sorry!’ called out. I said thanks to the man in the passenger seat who apologised, and he told me to have a good day and I reciprocated.”

Empowering Response #2: Lise was running in a California park when she realised a group of middle school boys was harassing female athletes. After they harassed her, too, she decided to talk to them. Addressing the leader, she said, “Girls don’t like it when you talk to them that way.” She said she used a regular voice, one human being to another: “You see men talk that way, but they aren’t getting anywhere are they?” His friends fell silent and they all listened. She continued, “If you think a girl is pretty just talk to her like a regular person. Say hello, start a conversation. You’ll do a lot better that way.” The leader thought about the grown men he had been imitating. “Then why do they do that?” he asked. Lise said, “They don’t know any better. The ones who act that way are kind of dumb.” One boy called out from the back of the pack. “Yeah, it’s a dumb thing to do.” The leader said thanks – and there were no more inappropriate comments from them that day.

Empowering Response #3: Robbie is in her 50s and lives in Colorado. She says she does not experience street harassment anymore, but she won’t stay silent when she sees it happening to someone else. When she saw construction workers harassing a young woman, she checked in to make sure the woman was okay. Then she asked the men why they harassed the woman. They were dismissive of her, so she called 911 and the company they work for. She made both calls in front of them saying, “I think I gave them a tiny scare.”

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Empowering Response #4: After a construction worker catcalled her during her walk to work, Anonymous confronted him and asked him why he thought that was appropriate to do. His colleague stepped in and apologised. She said, “Afterwards, I felt empowered for sticking up for myself.”

Empowering Response #5: Lee is frequently harassed and decided to start pushing back. After a man at a bus stop near her house harassed her, she walked up to him and let him know that this was where she lived. She told him this was her home and asked, “How dare he come to her neighborhood and disrespect her and make her feel less than safe?” She said, “I scared the crap out him and he seemed to decide that he didn’t need to wait for the bus, to skedaddle on home as he backed away apologising. Boy, was that satisfying. Speaking out then became something I could do (if I felt safe to) and it was empowering. It was like a first step toward taking back full ownership of my own body.”

Empowering Response #6: Anonymous was walking home from college in Utah when a man called out to her. She was tired of being harassed so she said, in a firm voice, “Excuse you?!” The man and his friends were silent and she walked home. She says they have never bothered her again when she’s walked by.

Empowering Response #7: S has been harassed on three continents and in her frustration one day, penned this letter to men. She concludes it by writing, “This dehumanisation of women based solely on their outward appearance is sexism. We’re people, not objects built solely to display clothes or sexually please men, so please do not treat us as such.”

4.4.14 HB Gent's Chalk Walk - Belgium 4

Empowering Response #8: After experiencing street harassment in Edinburgh, Scotland, Anna called the police. The police looked into the incident but the officer who called her back said it was “probably just men being men.” Anna was frustrated by that comment and so wrote to the Chief Constable – and shared her letter online – to highlight the harmful attitude and to ask for more sensitivity around street harassment and related issues.

Empowering Response #9: Eya was shopping with her family in Tunisia when a man harassed her. She at first pretended to ignore him, but when she saw him laughing about getting away with it, she turned around and screamed at the top of her lungs, “YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF YOURSELF!” He was really shocked, she said, “as if he didn’t realise I actually had a voice and could stand up for myself. He then simply turned around and retreated back into the shop, and I felt very proud of the way I had reacted.”

Empowering Response #10: SSH board member Lindsey launched “Cards Against Harassment” as a way to use messages on cards to respond to harassers. “I decided that a card would be the ideal middle ground, allowing me to provide feedback that harassment is unwanted without necessarily sticking around for an extended encounter.” After launching the cards, some of her male friends doubted she experienced street harassment as much as she does, so she started filming her harassers. Her videos were featured on numerous media sites over the summer, receiving hundreds of thousands of views.

Empowering Response #11: Greta was walking through the Scottsdale Hilton in Arizona to meet a friend staying there when two men whistled at her. Tired of dealing with harassment, she decided to talk to them about it. “Hi,” she said. “I notice you’re the only two people out here, and I’m the only person walking past. I just wanted to let you know when you whistle at women, it’s incredibly offensive and demeaning. I am a human being, not an object that exists for your viewing pleasure.” They retorted, “It’s okay, you’ll get over it.” So she continued to educate them: “Well actually, no, you’ll get over it. Because as straight white males with enough money to stay at the Hilton, you have the privilege of being able to choose how you address people around you. YOU get to make the choice. I don’t. So no, I won’t get over it. I’ve been dealing with it for years.” She then left, saying, “it felt really good to be able to call them on it.”

4.4.14 University of Central Florida mamiEmpowering Response #12: SVN in Massachusetts as walking home at night when he yelled out to her. No one was around and she feared for her safety. “Yes?” She asked him. “How you doing?” he asked, crossing the street to get closer to her. She held up her hand saying, “I’m going to need you to leave me alone – I’m a woman walking by myself at night, and this is a little scary.” She said he stopped in his tracks, and said, “Oh, I didn’t mean it like that!” “That’s okay,” she said, “I’m going to keep walking, and you can go back to whatever you were doing.” And he sat back down, and she kept walking.

Empowering Response #13: As Anonymous was walking away from a bar with friends in Washington, a man grabbed her butt. She grabbed his shirt and slapped him and yelled, “You cannot touch me! You cannot just grab someone’s ass. That is not okay!” He ran away.

Empowering Response #14: An older man in Italy yelled, “Hey baby” to EZ as she walked to work. She pretended not to hear. He continued: “Hey, need a ride? Come here I’ll PAY you! How much is it?” She decided to fight back. She turned around, a big smile on her face, and said with loud voice, “Hey you! How old are you? 80? Your life is very near to the [natural] end, so why don’t you think about your health instead of bothering young ladies?” His face turned from red to purple. She walked away, smiling.

Empowering Response #15: After never responding to street harassers, A in Pakistan took a stand when a man touched her hip on the pedestrian bridge as he tried to walk past her. She screamed out “Beghairat” (“shameless” in Urdu). “I did something about street harassment,” she wrote. “After all these years, I finally did it tonight. I took a stand.”

Empowering Response #16: As Anonymous entered a New York subway car, a guy on the left of her pretended to “help” her into the train by grabbing her lower back and grazing it saying, “Here you go, sweetie.” When she told him, “Please don’t touch me,” he proceeded to insult her body, saying, “There’s not much to touch,” and laugh with his friend and make insulting comments about her race loudly so everyone on the train could hear. When he and his friends continued to harass her, she took his photo. He was surprised and stopped.

16 Memorable Stories of Standing Up Against Street Harassment 2013

BraveHeartHawaii group - Anti-Street Harassment Week 4.7.13We are proud today to share the third annual blog list of 16 memorable stories of women dealing with street harassment which has been kindly compiled by Holly Kearl, Founder of Stop Street Harassment and one of our 16 Female Role Models of 2010.

Almost 100% of women and girls experience street harassment in their lifetimes ranging from the uncomfortable to the downright dangerous. Holly receives many stories of women fighting back against street harassment by themselves or with the help of friends, family and bystanders which is shared on the Stop Street Harassment website and Facebook page to help raise awareness of this particular type of violence against women as well as provide inspiration and ideas for everyone on making public places and spaces safe ones for women.

This list provides a starting point for all to learn about and discuss the impact of street harassment. We hope it’ll inspire you to take action.

It’s time to stop violence against women. Together.

– Regina Yau, Founder and President, The Pixel Project

———————————————————————————————————-

Empowering Response #1:  When a man began openly staring at EM’s friend’s breasts, she said really loudly to him as they passed him on the New Jersey street, “You should look where you’re going or you might fall.” He looked at her and she repeated, “Look where you’re walking.” Her friend laughed and he looked embarrassed.

HannahPrice-Story2-ImageViaBuzzFeedEmpowering Response #2: Photographer and Yale School of Art MFA student Hannah Price made international news this year with her series of stunning photos of the men who harassed her on the streets of Philadelphia, turning the lens and attention on them instead of her.

Empowering Response #3: Phillip in San Francisco, California, observed a man harassing every woman in the area. A few construction workers suggested the man stop, but he didn’t. So Philip got in his space and began making remarks about that man’s body and returned his misogyny. He said the harasser took off, almost running, while the construction workers high-fived Philip!

Empowering Response #4: Penelope lives in Sydney, Australia, and when construction for a new apartment building began next to where she lived, the constant harassment by the workers made her feel ill. She tried lots of tactics to avoid harassment but finally, she wrote a letter to the development company. It worked. She said, “I was stopped by the foreman and he politely let me know that he spoke to the men and have them stop the harassment and that if it happens again to seek him out or contact the company again.”

Empowering Response #5: Nayana was walking down a very busy road in Delhi, India. Suddenly, she felt a man “feeling up her front” with his hand. She said she was shocked! When she saw him smirking because he felt he was going to get away it, she grabbed hold of his collar and screamed at the top of her voice, “Police! Police! Help!” People gathered around her to help. The police arrived and she reported him. He ended up spending the night in jail.

Empowering Response #6: A woman was at the Metro in Virginia when she saw two guards harassing another woman. That woman cringed and walked quickly away. One of the guards then told the woman who observed it, “Let me see a SMILE on that pretty face.” She made eye contact and told him firmly, “Mind your business.” He giggled nervously and shut up.

Empowering Response #7: One day Irem was riding a city bus with her sister in Izmir, Turkey. A man would not stop staring at them. She stared back to try to make him feel uncomfortable and stop, but he just kept staring. So then Irem stood up and said to him, “Do you know us from somewhere else because you’ve been looking at us for ten minutes.” She said he was very embarrassed and that the other passengers, especially the women, laughed at him. He looked down at the floor for the rest of the ride.

Empowering Response #8: Emily pulled up beside a pickup truck at a traffic light in Sarasota, Florida. Her windows were rolled down and the two men in the truck whistled at her, laughing. She turned off her radio, turned to them and said, “You know, it’s really offensive when men whistle at a woman like she’s an animal. I don’t appreciate that. What you’re doing is called street harassment and it is unacceptable.” The driver apologized saying, “I’m sorry, ma’am. I’ll stop tonight.”

Empowering Response #9: A woman was harassed by a man in an SUV while she wanted to cross the street in Minnesota, and then he drove away before she could respond, she wrote an open letter to him in the “Missed Connections” section of Craigstlist.com. Her amazing letter was shared all over the Internet and it ended with this good advice:If you really find a woman beautiful, don’t choose the juvenile selfish route that makes her feel weird and you look like an asshole. Just take a deep breath, commit the image to memory, and get on with your life. Or, if it’s really that great of an ass that you can’t possibly survive without commenting on it, post about it on CL missed connections after the fact and let her decide what to do about it.”

SarahStoryEmpowering Response #10: Sarah was visiting a friend in Buffalo, New York. As she walked through a parking garage to meet her friend, two men sitting in a truck rolled down their windows and shouted inappropriate sexual remarks at her. She turned around and walked up to the window, looked them both in the eye and calmly said, “I just wanted to let you know it is really rude to shout at someone like that, and most women do not appreciate it.” They apologized to her and said they were just trying to be nice and say hi. She told them how that behavior can be perceived as threatening. She says she “walked away feeling so positive and empowered, and I hope what I said had some impact on those men and their future behavior.”

Empowering Response #11: Robyn lives in Portland, Oregon. She was walking home from the grocery store with her seven-year-old stepson and her infant daughter when a man slowed down in his car to talk to her through his window. She felt hesitant to confront him with her kids there.  Instead of driving away, the man followed and then paced his car alongside her and her kids. “How are you doing?” he asked. She stopped and said, “I’d be a whole lot better if you weren’t doing this.” He said, “I understand,” and drove away.

Empowering Response #12: A woman in Harrogate, UK, was harassed in the morning by a fundraiser. It bothered her all day that he’d done this and when she went home that evening, she confronted him. She wrote, “He turned out to be a very nice guy who was very apologetic- he hadn’t realised how intimidating his behaviour was and was glad that I had gone back to speak to him. Being the older brother of 4 sisters he was keen to express his abhorrence of men that harass women. I was pleasantly surprised at his attitude- he was happy to listen and learn. It gave me hope!

Empowering Response #13: Each time Maria’s sister walked from the bus stop to her home in Colombia, a man across the street yelled sexual comments at her. His harassment upset her a lot. Maria was worried that since the man knew where she and her sister lived, it could be unsafe for her to talk to him, so she talked to her sister’s boyfriend and he said we would talk to him. The boyfriend asked the man to please show respect for the women walking on the streets and to consider their safety. His admonition worked and the man never harassed Maria’s sister again.

EndSH_Flier4 photo credit Julie and Amy MastrineEmpowering Response #14:  Christine was at a nightclub with a friend in Maynooth, Ireland, when a man groped her friend’s breast, then smiled as he walked away. Her friend froze in shock, but Christine “saw red.” She ran after him, matched his pace, and then reached around and grabbed his balls. She said, “He doubled over and I held on as I leaned in and spoke directly into his ear: ‘It’s not so nice when someone touches you without your permission, is it?’” She said she walked away and when she turned back, he looked very confused and uncomfortable.

Empowering Response #15: When D was street harassed by two different men in a short distance, she said, “No!” loudly to them each. A woman nearby saw both interactions and said, “Thank god for you!” and said something about how more people need to speak up against this. “I have to,” I said. “It [street harassment] is ridiculous.” D wrote, “I didn’t get a chance to thank her for supporting me in standing up against harassment. Usually when people see me standing up to harassers they either ignore it, think it’s funny, or tell me that I bring this stuff upon myself for taking harassment too seriously. So when I do encounter people who support standing up against street harassment, it feels great to know that there are people who think that this is a problem.”

Empowering Response #16: Fern was dressed up for an interview when two men on the street commented about her looks. She ignored them and one of them yelled, “What, you can say thank you?” She felt angry that a man expected her to thank him for his unsolicited and unwanted comments and asked him, “Why do I need to thank you? Did you do me a favor? Did you help me?” He was surprised and told her not to be uptight. She said, “I didn’t ask you to look at me. In fact, I wish you wouldn’t.” She then left.