Stop bothering me. I don’t know you Mister.
“Hey Baby!” “Sup Angel.” “Hey Ma. You could be my next baby mama.” “DAMN!” “Dat ass tho!”
All words that have been shouted to the heavens by men of all race and age, seeking the attention of the “Hot Tamale” running away in horror or fear. All words I have personally heard or have been told second hand from friends who’ve experienced similar situations. Throughout my life, I haven’t had the luxury of riding in a car. I was forced to travel by public transportation and on several occasions, I’ve gotten approached, whistled at, harassed and scared away many times. I wasn’t looking for it, mind you many times, I was underage, I didn’t get their innuendoes. I wasn’t dressed in any particular way. I was a loner in high school so I had no scene of fashion. By the time I got to college I learned how to match but I wasn’t an extravagant person. I’ve always kept to myself. But without fail, “Hey girl, can I get those digits?” Not everyone that approached was as blunt as others but I learned their innuendoes and what it meant for a “Late Night Study”. On my way to an internship in LA from Pasadena on the Gold Line Metro rail, a nice young gentlemen came and sat in the same area on the train and started a conversation. He rambled on about how he was a medical student and on his way to an internship as well. He talked about how much time he had left and the toughest thing for him was getting down the human anatomy. I should have got up and ran but this was not an innuendo I had learned. Of course he went on to hint that we should meet up and study our anatomies and asked for my number in a very polite, creepy way. In the same polite way, I said no. Again, I should have left a long time ago or by this point I should have been shouting at him to leave me alone. Finally my stop arrived and of course he’s getting off too. I knew I had to act quick as he was still trying to get my phone number. I started to walk down the stairs off the platform, luckily there was a huge crowd, like there always in at Union Station, and I slowed next to another woman with a lot of bags I could hid behind. She kinda looked at me like “May I help you?” but once the guy from the train passed me, as he was looking for me, the woman understood as I hid my face and turned away from.
Recently, a video promoted by Hollaback, a non-profit organization that has taken a stand on catcalling or Street Harassment, shows Shoshanna Roberts, actress, secretly videotaping herself as she silently walks through the Manhattan area in NYC for a period of 10 hours.
The video, less than two minutes, shows different men calling out, trying to get Roberts attention as she continues to walk silently. Some have manners and tell Roberts to have a nice day, a nice evening and that she is beautiful, but when she doesn’t respond, some men call her out, “Somebody’s acknowledging you for being beautiful! You should say thank you more,” one man shouts towards Roberts as she’s already down the street. The video was not created for Hollaback although they do endorse it. There has been speculation that some of those men were planted for dramatic effect for the video but the intentions of this video are real. There are men like this who harass women daily for their own ego. According to stopstreetharrasment.org, international studies show 70–99% of women have experienced street harassment during their lives. More and more people are becoming aware of the harassment thanks to the video and Hollaback has received over $10k in donations from new donors. From 79 cities and 26 countries, women and men from all over are sharing their stories of harassment and assault on Hollaback. CNN captured some of the attention from this video between comedian Amanda Seales and author Steve Santagati, both debating the video created by Rob Bliss whether women like being called out for the sake of attention and compliments and if really is harrassment.
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Seales makes a strong point that this shouldn’t ever happen. EVER. Regardless of the type of guys that do this, like rape culture, an acceptance and normalization of rape in a society, it needs to stop and it starts with other men talking about how “not cool” it is. It’s understandable to look, because women look too. And then we whisper in our friends ear how “foine” his ass looks, it is not announced to the people across the street about how big his ass is or isn’t. Women are speaking up about a problem and are getting attacked for speaking up, not just mentally but physically. Seales mentions a woman who was shot in Detroit for rejecting someones advances. Mary Spears was a 27 year old mother of three boys, enjoying an evening out with family and her fiancé in October when a stranger approached her in the club and asked for her number. When Spears’ fiancé intervened, the man continued to advance causing himself to get ejected from the club. A fight broke out in the front of the club, where the man from earlier, pulled out a handgun and began shooting, killing Spears and wounding five others. A Twitter post by @AnnaVanValin said, “Mary Spears died from not giving a man her phone number. This is every woman’s nightmare”. She couldn’t be anymore correct.
The only strong point Santagati makes is that, it starts with parenting. There has to be some guidance, some direction to point your kids towards, because the fun and easy way isn’t always the best for you or for them. It is scary for todays woman to walk alone anywhere, day or night, without the possibility of being harassed or assaulted.
@I_Am_SubVersive posted “‘I have a boyfriend’ is the easiest way to get a man to leave you alone. Because he respects another man more than you.”
Obviously THAT didn’t help out Spears.