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
I’m female, middle-aged, and have been tolerating this crap for years. It’s rare that I can walk to the store without individuals leaning out their windows and yelling filthy words and remarks at me. They all appear to be in their late teens or early twenties. While I don’t know whether or not they’re students, it’s always occurred within a couple of blocks from Lincoln High School.
Des Moines, Iowa—Hollaback! Des Moines, a grassroots volunteer organization, has launched a new campaign in partnership with RAYGUN to raise community awareness against street harassment.
“Street harassment is unwanted attention in public spaces, often based on gender expression or perceived sexuality, and it is treated as a given by many women, girls and LGBT individuals. Meanwhile, most people who are not harassed do not realize how much it happens,” said Becca Lee, director of Hollaback! Des Moines.
The movement encourages community members to take a public stance against street harassment, such as catcalling, unwanted sexual comments and disparaging remarks, through sharing stories and creative activism. This month, individuals can purchase a RAYGUN t-shirt, with 50 percent of proceeds benefiting Hollaback! Des Moines.
“There are countless t-shirts that promote sexual harassment, but very few that call out harassing behaviors. We’re proud to partner with RAYGUN to use smart t-shirt humor to put the joke back on the harasser instead of the target,” Lee said.
“People who harassingly shout at others from a distance may be under the impression that’s the best way to communicate. We wanted to have a small part in dissuading that behavior,” said Mike Draper, owner and founder of RAYGUN.
Lee says she founded the Hollaback! Des Moines chapter in 2011 after years of experiencing street harassment as a college student.
“There was a week where I couldn’t go outside my apartment building without hearing a harasser yell something vulgar at me,” says Lee. “The guy knew where I lived, what kind of car I drove, and I felt very unsafe to go about my daily life.”
Hollaback! encourages people to speak out about harassment and see the connection between harassment on the street and sexual assault and other forms of violence.
“Harassment is a gateway crime in that it isn’t illegal, but it creates a cultural environment where gender-based violence and rape is taken less seriously,” says Jessica Staskal, communications specialist at the Iowa Coalition Against Sexual Assault. “By working to bring awareness and an end to street harassment, we hope to create a safer, more welcoming community for all.”
Hollaback! Des Moines is among more than 79 teams across 26 countries who are using grassroots organizing and mobile technology to end street harassment. The movement provides a free mobile app for reporting street harassment safely and anonymously. The app is available in nine languages for iPhone and Droid.
Hollaback! is an international movement dedicated to ending street harassment using mobile technology. By collecting stories from women and LGBTQ individuals in a safe and share-able way, Hollaback! is creating a crowd-sourced initiative to end street harassment.Share your story at desmoines.ihollaback.org, find us on Facebook at facebook.com/HollabackDSM or follow us on Twitter at @Hollaback_DSM.
A man who works in Fairfield, Iowa is a street harasser and abuser. He is short and bald and yells from his apartment window on Broadway.
My runs are typically in the early morning, but this guy I’m seeing always run in the evening. He was telling just how magical neighborhoods can look in the dark and recommended that I should try it (helps that it’s usually cooler at night). I was running down Ingersoll at a pretty slow pace when I heard two men whistle at me. One shouted, “You can’t do this to us! Shame on you!” And that’s exactly what I felt: shame. Shame for being a woman. Shame for having breasts. Shame for being a sexual person. I flicked these men off and shouted “Fuck you!” I realized then that I could be putting myself in very real danger– quickly ditching my light jog for a sprint. I very much considered stopping two women enjoying a drink outside a restaurant in hopes that they would validate my reaction.
I had gotten off work and was waiting for my bus to arrive just up the street. I had my headphones on, listening to music. I saw these two guys across the road, just staring at me, walking slowly. I could hear them whistling and cat calling, but I pretended I was oblivious. They made there way over to where I was just as I got on the bus. They said some inappropriate stuff, and it was obvious they were following me, so the bus driver didn’t let them on!
Jess is the resident crazy cat-lady of the Hollaback! Des Moines team.
So we’ve all heard of Cats Against Catcalling, right? No? THEY’RE AMAZING AND I WANT TO HUG WHOEVER CAME UP WITH THE IDEA. I love feminism. I also love cats. This is like when someone first put cheese on pasta. It was heaven. So I decided to round up my favorite cats + anti-street harassment pictures to share with you (some from CAC, some from elsewhere on the interwebs). Enjoy, Feminist Cat Ladies (And Men!)
Welcome to Lauren’s Kick Ass Cooking series! During this series, we will provide tasty but funny recipes. Please enjoy this unique take on cooking and know that in the end this is all for enjoyment.
Kick Ass Fajitas
(‘Cause every badass needs to have a bomb ass fajita recipe that you can enjoy after you have saved the world from misogynistic assholes.)
1. Take whatever meat you decide to use or use tofu if you would like. Honestly this is your dinner, who the hell am I to dictate what you use. However, you want to make sure that you cut your meat or tofu in even pieces. I cut my meat in slices or I would cube my tofu. I make my slices a 1⁄2 inch thick. However cut those mofos however you want.
2. Now take all of those wonderful vegetables and think of that dumb ass who believes that honking a horn is legitimate way to get your attention. Whatever happened to just saying hi to people? Grab the biggest knife you have because all badasses have badass knives. It is time to get to slicing. So you get to slice all those tasty vegetables for your amazing fajitas.
3. Now it is time to play with fire!!! If you can’t stand the heat, then get the hell out of the kitchen.
4. Grab the largest skillet that you can find and pour the 2 tablespoons of oil on the pan and turn your stove top on medium high and wait a few minutes. The oil needs to get nice and hot.
5. I’m a lazy badass, so I will add my vegetables to the skillet and let them cook for 5-8 minutes.
6. Then I will add my meat because that is how I roll and I cook my food how I want.
7. Now you can add the fajita seasoning with water
8. Or I say fuck that seasoning! I personally don’t use fajita seasoning and just add a seasoning blend of my choice (onion power, garlic power, pepper, salt & chili peppers).
9. I make sure my meat is cooked and my veggies are soft and bam I’m done.
10. Now bump society standards and it is time to dig in. I grab my store bought tortillas, put my meat and veggies on top, add all the toppings a woman could dream of and take a huge bite and think that this is how every day should end: a badass meal, with some badass libations, hanging out with my badass friends.
Like what Lauren is cooking up? Tell her about it in the comments!
Let’s talk about how catalling is trivialized, ok?
I recently had a conversation (one which I’m sure every woman has had) trying to explain that catcalling is NOT A FUCKING COMPLIMENT. Yes, a man shouting things at me isn’t particularly a hanging offence, but what many people don’t realize is that street harassment is on a spectrum of violence, violence that often targets women and LGBTQ folks in particular. It’s so common and so easy for harassers to cross from street harassment to physical and sexual violence.
To explain, check out this infographic that I stole from not-me.org. It explains things pretty well.