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On my way home on my bike I stopped at the lights at the Basin Reserve. When they went green, I started off and the car behind me passed me. Someone in the car threw a beer at me. I really wish they hadn’t done that.
Got on the bus at the Basin/Newtown McDonalds about 17:15 last night (04/02) and was greeted by a large group of men and screaming and chanting ‘ON THE BLOCK’ at me. The girls they were with just laughed and ignored it.
It was threatening, it was disgusting and it’s one of the first times I’ve ever felt harassed like that before.
I f*cking hate 7′s weekend because of this shit.
Hey Hollaback friends,
My name is Liv Hall. I’m eighteen years old, a second year Law, Politics and English student at Vic, debater, Harry Potter fanatic and musical theatre lover. I’m also now lucky enough to be part of this amazing project known as Hollaback. Last night I met with some of the wonderful women who have put together the Wellington branch of this international effort to support those who experience street harassment, and as a result I will now be contributing to the blog and website when possible. But I wanted to start by sharing my own story of street harassment and how I came to discover the Hollaback service.
As a first point of reference, if you look slightly further down on the home page you will see “Olivia’s Story”, which is a post I put in to Hollaback a few months ago after an unpleasant experience on Lambton Quay. While I had previously experienced the far too common ordeal of being yelled at or verbally abused on the streets, I’d never had someone invade my personal space in that physical way before, and if I’m honest, it scared me. I felt less safe walking around at night and I became far more aware of the fact that I was a woman on the streets of Wellington, and what that can mean. It took a bit of thinking about to realize that being made to feel that way is really not okay. The problem is it happens so often and is so under-reported that people come to expect it, assuming that it is just one of those things we are supposed to take and roll with. But let me assure you, it’s not.
Then, over Summer, I was in Auckland and had another unpleasant encounter. I was waiting at a large bus stop for my brother. Slightly further down the bench from me was an older man, and on his other side a boy I took to be about my age. I could feel the older man staring at me and while it made me a bit uncomfortable, I tried to ignore it and focus on the email I was reading. He was harder to ignore when he began speaking. From what I recall, his words were “Oi missy, those are some grade A tits you’ve got there. I’d love to put my head between those.” And then he laughed. I had no idea how to react, essentially shocked into silence. The teenage boy on his other side also laughed, and while I appreciate he may not have known how to intervene or how to respond, that hurt me as much as the man’s comment. I felt like I was being ridiculed for my gender, judged based on my body and objectified in a way that I couldn’t stand. However, unable to think of an appropriate response, I chose instead to simply stand up and leave.
Having been pointed to the Hollaback website, I shared the first of those two stories. I received encouraging comments and I was able to read other people’s stories and comment on those as well. I found a community who agreed that what had happened to me was a form of abuse and were willing to stand by me and support me. I’m often asked what Hollaback provides, and that is exactly it. We are a community, a family of people who, while we may not be brought together in the most pleasant of circumstances, are there to make people feel less alone and show them people and organisations who can provide further guidance when necessary. I would encourage you to share the website with friends and family members, whether it be to share a story or simply read others. For now, that is my story. Thank you for giving me a place to share it.
Wellington Police are investigating the indecent assault of a young woman on
Hutchison Road in Newtown on Wednesday night (1 February 2012).
Acting Detective Sergeant Sam Mercer of the Wellington Crime Squad says the
victim was walking on Hutchison Road around 10pm, by the bus stop adjacent to
John Street, when she was approached by three men.
“The men made lewd remarks to her, before one of them assaulted her. Luckily,
the victim was able to defend herself and run to safety.”
Sam Mercer says the main offender is described as being olive skinned, with
short spiky black hair and around six feet tall. He was wearing a baggy, dark
grey hooded top. The other two men are described as wearing dark jeans and
“We believe the three men had been consuming alcohol, and may have been
carrying some with them.”
He says Police are interested in hearing from anyone who was in the area of
Hutchison Rd between 9pm and 11pm on Wednesday night or who might have seen
the men walking in the Newtown or Mt Cook areas.
Anyone with information should phone the Wellington Crime Squad on (04) 802
3606 or phone Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
I was waiting for a bus on Cambridge Terrace when two men sidled up to me. They leered at me and got into my personal space while talking to me in silly, mocking voices: “Dayum girl, you so sexay!” etc. I sort of froze and tuned out some of what they said, and after a minute or so they seemed to lost interest and walked away. It didn’t even occur to me that maybe I should have been scared until afterwards – at the time I felt more bewildered and angry. I thought about yelling something rude after them as they left, but they might have decided to come back and harass me some more.
The movement to end street harassment takes another giant leap forward today as an additional 11 Hollaback! sites launch internationally, adding to an already vibrant network of 34 sites across four continents. Each site is run by a team of local advocates who are deeply committed to working on-line and off-line to end street harassment in their communities.
“I decided to start a Hollaback! because I wanted to be a part of a collective of dedicated and passionate activists fighting to make the streets safe for women all over the world,” said Hollaback! Palo Alto Founder Viviana Arcia. The organization expected to only launch in five cities this year, but is now in 45 cities across 16 countries, with leaders speaking more than nine different languages — each with the same message: street harassment must be put to a stop. New locations include Bogota, Colombia; Boston, MA; San Luis Obispo, CA; Chennai, India; Dusseldorf, Germany; Minneapolis, MN; Montreal, Quebec; Palo Alto, CA; Portland, ME; Santiago, Chile; and Winnipeg, Canada.
“What we tend to forget is that preventing sexual harassment in the long run is about changing our attitudes, not just ensuring physical safety. This is where we come in with Hollaback!” said Hamsini Ravi, Project Coordinator Hollaback! Chennai.
Local Hollaback! site leaders run their local blogs and organize their communities through advocacy, community partnerships, and direct action. Site leaders are as diverse in their backgrounds as they are in their experiences of harassment. Hollaback! reports that 44% lesbian, gay, bisexual, and queer, 26% identify as people of color, 76% are under the age of 30, and 90% are women.
“Women and members of the LGBTQ community have always been taught that street harassment is inevitable and something that we need to accept, smile at, or ignore,” says Cara Courchesne, Director of Hollaback! Portland, Maine. “Hollaback! changes that storyline.”
Hollaback!’s international sites are already having an impact. In Querétaro, Mexico, site leaders have developed a workshop to promote cities free of harassment for all people. In the last two months, 600 young people have taken part. In Baltimore, MD, the site leader has organized several successful events, including an Anti-hate Prom and the Baltimore SlutWalk. In Croatia, site leaders are creating a survey that will allow them to collect data on street harassment that will then be used across the Hollaback! network, giving Hollaback! an ability to compare street harassment across cultures.
My flatmate and I caught the bus out to Kilbirnie then walked through some shops for an Opportunity for Animals opshop sale which was on. A car full of young men drove past and suddenly we heard a “rrrrrrrrrrrrrrr” gross gurgling sound and cat-calls coming out of a speaker on the car, and saw them laughing while talked in to a mouthpiece connected to something on the roof by a wire. They had actually invested money and resources in their objectification of women and installed a megaphone to harass women with. This was at like 5pm in broad daylight, too.
I hope they had a minor, non-serious, accident which didn’t hurt them as people but destroyed their stupid speaker thing. Why are people so awful?!
This is a link to an article about Zac Guildford returning home and apologising for some his inappropriate behaviour while in Rarotonga.
I think Zac Guildford’s apology regarding assaulting two men is a very good one, and I am really pleased to see that he is open about needing to put steps in place to get well.
However, I really wish while publicly apologising for his first inappropriate incident, he had also apologised for harassing a female athlete – other than just mentioning he “tried” to meet with her and “she declined”. I’m hugely disappointed that this incident is seen as being less worthy of apology than him punching two men.
The woman who reported being harassed has talked about fearing for her safety after she asked Guildford to stop yelling sexual obscenities and comments about her body while he followed her in his car as she went for a run. She has talked about how he became aggressive, and how she hid in a shop until he left.
Since then not only has she been pressured to meet with him by his manager (really empathetic move to try and push someone to meet with the person who harassed them and made them feel unsafe, thanks All Blacks management), but she has been pressured to drop the charges by All Blacks management and had Acting Police Commissioner Akatauira Matapo refer to her complaint as a waste of police time.
It seems to me that Guildford is a clever guy who understands that he’s in a bad place (especially in regards to his relationship with alcohol) and that he has let a lot of people down with his actions. I’m not sure whether not specifically apologising for acting in a deplorable way toward this woman is due to a decision by All Blacks management or Zac Guildford himself, but I hope that her refusal to meet with him, compared with the men he assaulted agreeing to meet with him, is not the reason why she has not received a public apology and they have.
I also have to question the mentality behind All Blacks management pressuring the victim of harassment to meet with her harasser. In the interests of wanting to deal with this in a tidy, private way, they have effectively attempted to erase her right to lay a complaint and let the police deal with it. They have ignored the (fairly common sense) need for distance from the person that made her feel unsafe, and THEN publicly discussed her refusal to do what they asked, which is a judgement on her ‘willingness to cooperate’ regardless of whether they frame it as such.
All Blacks management pressuring her to drop the complaint is further harassment as far as I’m concerned. It’s the big boys vs one lone woman, whose own police commissioner thinks her grievance is not worthy of anyone’s time.
People with power trying to silence women who have experienced harassment or abuse is not new, but frankly I feel that Zac’s attitude is new. In the hyper-masculine culture of Rugby Union in New Zealand, it’s rare to see someone mess up and talk frankly about needing to put steps in place, draw on his support systems and take one step at a time to get better.
So I hope with all my might that Zac will realise he has every young rugby fan watching him. He has office workers discussing him over the water cooler, and radio commentators filling their inane timeslots with every juicy detail of his fall from grace.
I hope he realises his lack of apology makes women who get harassed on the street every day feel like even if their harasser is famous no one will care. And that his comments about her refusing to meet with him make women feel like we are obligated to face the people who make us feel unsafe or else we’re not ‘moving on’ or ‘being fair’.
All Blacks management might continue to throw their clout around and try and nip ‘problems’ like this in the bud while denying victims justice or due process, but Zac actually has the power here. If he apologises as openly and genuinely for harassment as he has done for assault, then people might actually start to see that harassment is violence.