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In a recent video, local Edmonton musician and total badass Marlaena Moore released a video excitedly explaining her response to an incident of street harassment she experienced in Edmonton, AB. Marlaena calls for people to call out their catcallers, emphasizing when it is safe to do so. Also note that Marlaena confronted her harassers in a way she was most comfortable. Calling out or confronting a harasser can take many forms and it is important to make sure that you are safe if you chose to do so. That being said, it can be incredibly empowering to flip the power dynamic and have a harasser reflect on their actions. The following video is a great example of this:
At around 11:45pm last night, I was crossing the street & a car didn’t slow down for me. If I hadn’t stopped in the middle of the road, it probably would have hit me. I gave a sarcastic wave and continued on my way- my house was less than a block away. As I walked up to my front door, I heard someone yell, “hey!” I turned around and a dude in a car yelled, “Sorry for cutting you off back there.” Even though he was apologizing, I was really uncomfortable with the fact that he had circled around and followed me home to do so. I felt super weird and all I could stammer out was, “Oh, it happens.” I appreciate that he felt the need to say sorry, but the way it happened did not make me feel any better.
I was coming home from school one day and I was waiting for the train. When I entered the train station there was a group of 15 men, they all stopped their conversation and stared at me. Creeped out I just kept walked away from them, I had a rough day and wanted to be alone so I walked out onto the platform where very few others were because it was so cold. A man approached me alone (one of the guys from the group) and said “I’d offer you a smoke or something else but you’re too athletic and beautiful to do drugs.” I gave him a tight lip smile and looked away because I felt uncomfortable with the comment. He was agitated that I didn’t respond. He aggressively said “Come on baby. Smile!” With a stern look. I still ignored him, at this point 5-7 of the other guys he was with before walked up. One of them said “If it wasn’t so f*ckin cold, I’d f*ck the sh*t out of that b*tch. right here. right. now.” he gave me a very serious death stare and kept strong eye contact, his friends laughed and agreed. The rest of them also gave me a death stare, They tried to get me to get on the train headed to downtown with them. I didn’t know what to do so I just nodded. I pretended I was getting on the same train, but instead when they all were on I quickly hid behind a sign until the train left, less than a minuet later my train came and I headed home. I’ve never been so grateful for -25C weather. I am mortified of taking public transport, but I take it to and from school everyday. I miss a day of school a week because I’m too scared to take transit.
Surprisingly as they threatened me I didn’t freak out, I was unnervingly calm. I just gave them the death stare back, I was so befuddled and shocked that those things actually left someones mouth I had no clue how to respond.
Student blogger Immaterial Grrl raised their voice and posted their views on stalking for a class project. Check out their post here: Immaterial Grrl: Funny You Should Mention Stalking
Recently I was away in America, but I’ve had very similar situations happen here at home in Calgary.
I was waiting for my male friend in the hallway outside the restrooms. I was amusing myself by looking at some very interesting old photographs that had been framed along the halls. Almost subconsciously (because it’s happened so often) I was ignoring another young male who was very clearly intoxicated and was trying to get my attention. I continued to wander looking at the pictures continuing to ignore his cat calls, when finally he decided to get up off his stool and approach me.
As he approached (again this happen so often that I was not alarmed) my male companion had come out of the bathroom and join me in the hall. Well, it was the exact moment that this cat caller had made the adventure all the way to me. At that point the cat caller realized I was with a man (this was not a boy friend, just a male friend).
The very drunk cat caller then proceeded to apologize to my male friend for approaching me. This included fist bumps and jeering, a lot of “Sorry, Man”… and laughs…. I was not laughing.
Initially I didn’t think too much of this because it’s such a common occurrence but the fact is is the man was apologizing to the other man for approaching me, harassing me and what ever else he had in mind.
This was offensive on many levels.
Walking down a residential street mid afternoon in Saskatoon, SK. I was followed by a man who began to call to me. He followed me and it went on for many blocks while I called 911 and had them on the phone urging them to hurry and get to me because I eventually was running.
Investigating Street Harassment: Internationally!
Hollaback is a movement to end street harassment powered by a network of local
activists around the world. Hollaback has teamed up with Cornell University’s
ILR School professor Beth Livingston to study the experiences and impacts of
street harassment internationally, through cooperation with Hollaback’s many local
What are we doing? On October 15th, online surveys were launched in countries on
six continents, translated into multiple languages. Links to these surveys will be
tweeted, blogged, facebook’ed and emailed worldwide with the hope of gathering
data on street harassment that can be used to better understand its impacts in an
international context. Links specific to your location are provided below.
What can you do to help? Complete a survey! Send the link on to others who may or may not be familiar
with the movement. The more respondents—men, women, and all gender identifications—the better.
What can you expect? The survey asks about demographics, experiences with
harassment, reactions to it, and other questions. It is completely anonymous.
Summary reports and press releases can be expected early in 2015.
What if I have questions? You can ask your site leader in your local area, or reach out to Hollaback!
([email protected]). If you want more info on the survey itself, contact Prof. Beth
Livingston ([email protected]).
LINK TO SURVEY HERE:
– For more information check out : more survey details!
Walking at lunch along a crowded stretch in downtown YYC (I am a middle-aged woman and was dressed in business attire). I was called “a fucking bitch” and threatened with assault by a group of 7-8 men.
THANK YOU to the male bystander who saw these men get in my face and approached a uniformed parking attendant to say it wasn’t OK.
THANK YOU to the parking attendant for going above and beyond her duties to stay with me while I collected myself and for helping me get to my destination safely.
Going to Scotia Centre at 12:00 noon in bustling downtown Calgary shouldn’t be a terrifying experience because you are woman. I can only imagine what could have happened if had been 12:00 at night….