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Hollaback! Des Moines site leaders celebrated National Pride Month this past weekend at Capital City Pride in Des Moines’ downtown East Village! If you didn’t make it to the event, or have never been to a Pridefest, you definitely missed out. Pride Festival is:
a group of proactive individuals who are striving to recognize the importance of gay culture in the Midwest. The annual Pride celebration, held the second weekend in June every summer, consists of a street party, a parade, and a show with all types of community exhibitors and musical performances! Our mission is to promote acceptance, tolerance, and understanding of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community through education, programming, and visibility. For more information, visit http://www.capitalcitypride.org/about.html
There we talked with LGBTA folks and allies from around the state (and beyond!) about what we can do to end all forms of harassment. We also talked to some particularly awesome young folks (ages ranging 5 to 12) about how they would Hollaback! against a harasser or bully. Their responses were both empowering and endearing:
More tips on how to respond to a harasser.
We also talked about bystander intervention — specifically what folks should say/do if they see someone else being harassed. These bright young minds were ready with their answers!
For more information on bystander intervention, check out our resource “Five Ways to Take Action.“
So there you have it! But keep in mind — harassment doesn’t stop with youth, and we need YOUR story–no matter who/how old you are– to help end street harassment. Submit now!
I was walking across 31st and Carpenter at around 9:30 pm when a man in a car began verbally harassing me with comments such as “Hey sexy” and telling me to stop walking, as he and his buddy could show me a “good time.” As I kept walking, the car turned around and followed me into the parking lot I had stepped into. I don’t know what happened to the car following this, as I took out my cell phone and ran to my apartment. I legitimately feared for my own safety, and hope that this will not happen to other women crossing this intersection.
Hollaback! wants to work with you—as a leader of our community—to hold street harassers accountable. One way to get involved is by supporting the work we do with a donation. (I know you already want to stop reading here, but please continue!)
As a volunteer organization, we ourselves foot all costs of travel and materials that it takes to sustain a movement. As we are a small grassroots organization, it doesn’t take much; we work out of our homes and local coffee shops (shout-out to good ole Mars Cafe!), and we basically only need access to the Internet to exist. BUT! To build a real revolution takes more — real on-the-ground activism and a little cash. We do a pretty good job our pooling creative resources to keep costs low, but we’re currently limited by financial constraints and are asking for your support. Your support sustains the movement to end street harassment, and a little goes a long way. Here is what every donation creates right here in our community:
We hope you will consider lending your support to make our streets and public spaces safe for all people. Donations can be made through our online platform. Note: To make sure your donation goes specifically to the work we do in Des Moines, please write Des Moines in the dedication field. Thank you so much for all you do!
Site leaders Becca and Tess took it to the streets this weekend for our first-ever Chalk Walk! Check out the photos below, and be sure to join us for the next one, coming later this spring!
April 7-13 is the second annual International Anti-Street Harassment Week, and to mark the occasion, we are holding a CHALK WALK!
Chalk walks are a super easy, inexpensive way to rally our Des Moines community to take a stance against street harassment. All it takes is some sidewalk chalk, anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours of your time, and some great energy!
WHAT IS A CHALK WALK?
Chalk Walk is your way to Hollaback!, your chance to turn the tables. Chalk Walk is us reclaiming the street, proclaiming our freedom, healing ourselves, and telling the the world, “I have the right to be here. To be me. To walk wherever, whenever, however I please.” We will literally use sidewalk chalk to reclaim our streets, by writing messages about our right to be there and to walk safely, without harassment. (See http://wechalkwalk.tumblr.com/ for examples!) We choose chalk because it isn’t damaging, doesn’t cost us much money, and
HOW DO I GET INVOLVED?
There are two ways to participate – choose one or both!
Please spread the word – come as you are and/or send in your own photos! United we Chalk Walk against street harassment, sexism, racism, homophobia and gender-based violence. We share the streets and we’re all in this together!
For more information, visit http://www.meetusonthestreet.org/
Kate Leth is a webcomic artist, cartoonist, and illustrator based in Halifax, Nova Scotia. We had the privilege of asking her some questions about this particular illustration. Check out how she’s using art to combat street harassment!
What was your inspiration for this comic?
I take the bus almost every day, usually twice, and it’s not that uncommon for people to try and make conversation with me even though I’m reading or have my headphones on. I’ve also gotten a fair bit of that kind of harassment on the street – you know, guys who try and talk to you even though you’re clearly disinterested, and then hurl insults when you ask them to leave you alone. What’s my inspiration? Hah. Being a girl in a city. There are lots of reasons. I write about what’s on my mind, and there was a period of time in the summer where it felt like I was getting chatted up or yelled at everywhere I went. I’ve got a lot of tattoos and people often take that as an invitation to my personal space. I’ve done comics about that, too.
What do you think of the work Hollaback! is doing?
It’s great! Street harassment is a pain, and the reactions to it can be, as well. I remember walking to work one morning (at 9:45am) and having a car pull up beside me and both guys inside gesture for me to take off my headphones. I did, and they proceeded to catcall me and ask me to come for a ride. When I angrily put my headphones back on and started to walk away, they both swore at me and laughed. Later, I told a male friend about it, and he pulled the old “I’d be so flattered if a woman did that to me!” routine. It’s good to talk about why that’s not okay.
Did you know there was a Hollaback! in Halifax too?
I did! The woman running it is a friend of mine online and participated in our Ladies Night event at the comic shop I work in. We talk on twitter! She is awesome.
What is your signature Hollaback!?
My favorite response ever – well, okay, I’m usually kind of irritated and just walk away, but not always. One day last summer a guy pulled up next to me in his car, same deal, and instead of leaving I walked in front of his car, flipped him the bird twice and yelled, “DOES IT FEEL NICE WHEN I DO THIS? DO YOU FEEL PRETTY?” …He swerved around me, swearing, and drove away. I’m particularly proud of that.2 comments