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I’m only fifteen years old and I was walking on 8th Avenue in downtown Calgary. I walked passed this older man (he looked about early to mid fifties) and I heard him say under his breath “come here you sweet pussy”. I whipped around and told him to fuck off. The first time I was catcalled I was fourteen. I should be able to walk down a busy street without unsolicited vulgar comments from strangers about my body or what they’d like to do mine.
The new Edmonton chapter of the Every Woman Organization is hosting the inaugural Every Woman Festival March 12, 2014, a gala celebrating International Women’s Day while raising funds for the WIN House women’s shelters in Edmonton.
The event will be Emceed by CTV’s Erin Isfeld, and will include a live performance by international concert violinist Sophie Serafino, a WCFW Fashion Show (along with celebrity guest models), a silent auction, keynote by one of Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women: Dr. Margaret-Ann Armour, and much more!
For more event details visit the Facebook event page!
Tickets for the event are available here: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/every-woman-festival-tickets-10260193515?ref=eiosprexshretwtr
Was yelled “dyke” at as I crossed the road.no comments
I was crossing the parking lot from a Macs back to my vehicle, which was parked a whopping 15 meters away. I prepared to cross the road keeping in mind the handy street crossing tips I learned in grade 2; look left, look right, look left again, if clear to do so, cross.
There was a big black truck who had so kindly stopped for me, so I began to cross. Just before I passed in front of the truck, the driver rolled his window down and called me over. I didn’t think twice when approaching the window because the area I live in isn’t exactly easy to navigate and I figured the guy needed directions. No problem. So I walked up to the drivers side and began mentally mapping the area so I could provide the most helpful direction possible to this poor lost soul.
Buddy pulls down his shades, and with the slimiest stare I’ve ever experienced he cooed “Oh my, I just wanted to see if you were as pretty close up as you were from far away. I am not disappointed.
I pull down my shades, and with the ‘fuck-you-est’ stare I’ve ever executed, I reply “Oh my, I just wanted to see if you were as shallow and moronic close up as you were from far away. You’ve far exceeded my exceptions.”
As Buddy sat there with his mouth hanging speechlessly ajar, I was able to complete my expert execution of street crossing abilities and make it safely back to my car.
On Monday November 18th CTV’s Alberta Primetime interviewed Hollaback Alberta co-directors Renée Cabana-Marshall and Lauren Alston for a special feature on street harassment.
The interview included common questions such as defining what street harassment is and what to do if one is a bystander and witnesses street harassment taking place.
Every year the history of Take Back The Night (TBTN) continues in cities around the world with the mission to end sexual violence. This year the Sexual Assault Centre of Edmonton hosted the TBTN in Edmonton while the TBTN in Calgary Committee worked with help from The Women’s Centre of Calgary.
The History of Take Back The Night in Canada:
“Canada has also seen its share of sexual violence against women. As a result, Canadian women held their first march for women in 1978 in Vancouver, British Columbia, organized by the Fly-By-Night Collective. The Vancouver Rape Relief held Take Back The Night marches from 1980-1985. In 1981, The Canadian Association of Sexual Assault Centers declared the third Friday of September to be the evening for Take Back The Night marches nationwide.”
-Official Take Back the Night website
Photos of Hollaback Alberta at Edmonton’s Take Back the Night:
Lily from ConsentEd and Victoria and Lauren from Hollaback Alberta below:
Rally sign for Take Back the Night:
Hollaback Alberta stickers and the new Hollaback Bystander information card:
For more photos of the Edmonton TBTN rally click here!
For more photos of the Calgary TBTN rally click here!
Around 815 this morning, I was rounding the corner by the downtown Library branch in Calgary, on my way to the City Hall LRT platform to catch the train to work. I heard a man ahead of me shouting as he was slowly walking along the platform. Though this isn’t entirely unusual in this part of the city, what became apparent was that he was loudly shouting about sex, primarily to women.
The moment I passed him, he started shouting at me. I kept walking along the platform as I normally would, and stopped where I normally would. I was thankful there were other people there, mostly men. Then, this man caught up to me, walked in front of me, shouted non-verbally at the man to my left (just a loud noise, really). Then, he started in on me. He noticed a scar I have on the left side of my face, and used that to suggest he and I would be “good” together. He started suggesting we have violent sex, he started going on about how he thought I would feel if he would rape me. It was horrible.
The worst part, though, was that the bystanders all moved away. No one would even stand by to silently witness. The bystander reaction is what made this terrifying.
The only nice thing he said to me was when a train pulled into the station. He said, “after you, sweet pea.” I told him I wasn’t taking that train (which was true, even outside his stated desire to sexually assault me). He shouted at me again, boarded the train, and immediately began targeting another woman in the train car.
I’ve filed a report with Calgary Transit, but it didn’t even occur to me to find the help phone on the train platform. I guess it didn’t even occur to anyone else there to use it in solidarity.
This past week Amanda Bladon wrote a thought-provoking letter and shared it on Facebook. Within a few days the letter spread with many shares, likes, and comments (of all varieties). The topic of street harassment targeted towards women is still a heated issue. The letter written by Bladon is based on her own specific experiences of street harassment and highlights the importance of respecting people on the street. The letter is specific to her encounters with a handful of straight men, but its message is applicable to all genders interested in women.
Dear Persistent Straight Male of Edmonton,
I bear a heavy heart this afternoon, after numerous encounters with you have left me with feelings of confusion, violation and fear. After nearly ten years of intimate experiences with you, it feels as though every single time we meet, our relationship continues to decline. For me, last night acted as the catalyst and the reason as to why I need to write to you today.
The ways, in which you have behaved towards me as of late, have left me with more than just anxiety, annoyance and frustration; they have left with me utter disgust.
Last night, not only did you stare at me until the point where I felt nauseous, but you also heckled me as I walked to my car and ambushed me as I was quietly sitting next to my fiancée. I never asked for your attention, nor did I want it, but for some reason, you felt it necessary to present yourself and to make your existence known.
Unfortunately, it’s hard for me to break the societal norms that I have become accustomed to over the years and even though you are always the one to back me into a corner that I feel I cannot escape from, I feel the need to continuously treat you with respect. Even though you are the one putting me in an uncomfortable situation, I feel the need to bite my tongue.
You feel compelled to court me and I feel compelled to “put up” with it.
As you know, there have been recent occasions where I have reached my threshold with you and I have acted out against your advances, always keeping my civilized manners intact. This never works well with you, though. No matter how diplomatic I may convey my disinterest, you find it hurtful and feel the need to barrage me with a verbal assault. Even when I attempt to speak to you with the same intensity, hoping to make myself clear, you find my stance threatening and find a way to make the verbal lashings hurt even more.
I fear for the day when the verbal attacks you bombard me with after I ignore you or reject you, are not enough.
With each negative incident, I’m becoming more fearful of you. Now, I not only notice you behaving this way to me, but I notice it with other women too. I see the way you salaciously stare at her, licking your lips like a predator about to devour its prey. I see the way you ignore her refusals, knowing deep down, that if she dressed like that, she’s asking for it.
I see the way you see through her tears and know that she wants it.
I write to you today, to hopefully, help you so you can in turn, help me. I write to you, not only as a woman, but also as a lesbian. I find this information to be imperative to you because we both share something in common – our attraction to women.
When you feel your heart pound in your chest at the sight of a beautiful woman, I feel it too. When you feel your tongue-tie at the thought of talking to her, I feel it too. When you feel your palms sweat and your knees buckle, I feel that too.
When you feel like you want her, I feel like I want her too.
That being said, our shared attraction to women is where our commonalities begin and simultaneously, stop dead. There are vast differences between us and how we handle the feelings of attraction and desire for women. These differences are, unfortunately, partially attributed to our contrasting genders.
While you have spent your life learning how to pursue me, I’ve been learning how to protect myself against you.
Our differences in gender cannot explain all of our differences though, because how I handle my feelings of attraction and desire for women can be boiled down to one thing and one thing only:
I will never stare at a woman, especially not to the point where she needs to move to a new seat in a restaurant.
I will never yell at a woman walking alone to her car at night, because I know she just wants to get home.
I will never approach a woman who is sitting with her hand interlocked in someone else’s, because I know she is in a relationship and I respect that.
I will never whistle or catcall a woman on the street, because I know that is defined as street harassment and I will never put her in a position of fear.
I will never overstay my welcome with a woman and never pressure her into something she doesn’t coherently consent to.
I will never insult her if she rejects my advances, because it’s her choice and I will leave her alone if she doesn’t want me.
I will never make her feel uncomfortable or fearful of me, because she always deserves to feel safe.
I will never force her to cross the street to avoid me, because every place should be a safe place for her.
I will never assume her wardrobe choices reflect her desire for me, because women are allowed to dress however they want and I am a human being who is able to control my urges.
I will respect her because I do respect her. I am her and I hope you learn to respect me too.
I see the good in some of you; let’s see the good in all of you.