Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Street wankers

Well happy new year everyone. Doesn't really feel like the end of the holidays to me yet even though I'm back at work, because I'm about to go dance in the sun at Kaikoura Roots. After which no doubt I'll be beyond compare as a wage slave. Really.

But I digress.

Fantastic series of posts at Stop Street Harassment which I'm only just now catching up with, and which complements nicely the fabulous work of the Wellington Young Feminist Collective in bringing Hollaback to Wellie.

Stop Street Harassment is:
a resource center where visitors can access lists of statistics, articles, films, and campaigns around street harassment as well as ideas for action to stop street harassment in their community.
Stop Street Harassment also provides people with a place to share their stories. International Anti-Street Harassment Week is one of Stop Street Harassment’s campaigns.
So the posts I enjoyed - post one details international successes in stopping street harassment, from new laws in Chile and Saudi Arabia to UN awards for Egyptian groups combating street harassment.

Post two lists new or expanded campaigns world-wide, including of course the extraordinary phenomena for 2011 that was Slutwalk.

Post three shares new creative initiatives focussing on street harassment - films, cartoons, posters, placards, and maybe my fave, the Catcaller Form from The Riot.

Post four are street harassment stories from people who stood up to harassers. Inspiring and fabulous, and brings me to my last feminist act for 2011.

Walking home after eating ripe strawberries in the spa in the local aquatic centre (read on, that's not the feminist act :-)), I notice a man with both hands down his pants sitting at my local bus stop, masturbating and leering at me as I walk past.

I sneer - which believe me, is quite fearsome - walk on for twenty metres, call the police, then follow him down the road when he starts to move so that when the police arrive, they can take a statement from me and deal with him. I did have to discuss the law with the police officer, but all in all, while not the loveliest way to wind down the year, far better than letting the guy get away with taking over my neighbourhood.

Let's hope 2012 has more lying in spa pools with strawberries, and less wankers in my street.


I.M Fletcher said...

I wish some of these groups would focus more on the plight of women in Eastern or Islamic countries who face more extreme discrimination eg, acid thrown in their faces if they refuse to marry a man, forced circumcision (in some cases complete infibulation), imprisonment because of rape (75% of women in Pakistan prisons are there because they have been raped but it takes four male witnesses to prove it. If they cannot prove it, the women are jailed for adultery or illicit sex).

eg, this was on One News the other night -

These women face far more trials than being whistled at in the street. Does Hand Mirror support them?

Scuba Nurse said...

I know that as an NZ feminist I certainly dont care a jot about people outside my own neighborhood.
Silly question Fletcher

Scuba Nurse said...

On a more serious note, it isnt deranged individuals making these atrocities occur over seas.
Communities as a whole de-value women and allow policies to work against them, from something as simple as "She was asking for it" crap that we hear here when a girl was drunk and in a short skirt, through to being jailed after a rape because of "lack of proof".
If we dont fight the small fights as individuals, how do we fight the big one's as a community.

How in hell am I supposed to convince you that my safety is paramount, when you dont even think it is a problem that a stranger would sexually harrass me in public.

You want to know how atrocities happen? Because assholes stand around and say "yeah, but its worse in X and she kinda had it coming."

LudditeJourno said...

Extraordinary approach, IM Fletcher. "More extreme discrimination"? Than a woman being murdered by her partner or ex-partner every five weeks? Which is a NZ stat btw. Discrimination happens in lots of ways, I'm happy to support feminists in other places in their campaigns (as the post here shows I think....) I'm not happy to be directed to what I'll be active on though, because the kinds of discrimination here in Aotearoa are not taken seriously by you or anyone else. I suggest you read the links in this post if you're not clear on the impacts street harassment has on women, queer people, people with a range of gender identities which challenge our cis norms etc etc etc.
And I'll leave other Hand Mirror writers to respond to this if they wish, us all being of independent thought what with the feminism :-)
Ta Scube, with ya :-)

Robotbaby said...

@I M Fletcher

It's Anti-feminism 101 to say women shouldn't care about discrimination/harrassment against them because someone else is suffering more.

You may be deeply surprised to discover that there are a couple of feminists around who are kind of aware of misogynist laws and behaviour in other countries. This may come as a shock, but many NZ women who fight against harrassment here are also active in organisations that support the fight against misogynist harrassment in other countries.

You may also be surprised to learn that street harrassment in NZ isn't just wolf whistling (though that's bad enough). Growing up in Wellington, I had men completely unknown to me grab me on the street, kiss me, crawl between shelves in public libraries so they could look up my skirt while I was reading, and come up to me on the street and show me porn (needless to say, unsolicited). Street harrassment often blurs into assault; it's a lot more serious than you obviously believe - and, as Scuba Nurse says, lies on a continuum with the hideous violence against women overseas.

I'm glad, though, that you're worried about what women overseas endure because of sexism and misogyny. (BTW, it doesn't just happen in "Eastern and Islamic" countries - women actually get raped and are deprived of basic rights in Western countries that NZ has cosy political relationships with, too.) Could I suggest you get active in organisations that support these women? That would be much more profitable than telling other people what to do.

A Nonny Moose said...

stargazer said...

and isn't just absolutely wonderful (meaning disgustingly stupid) that i.m fletcher totally ignores the work of women in "eastern or islamic countries" who are actively fighting the patriarchy and slowly making progress in a number of ways. no, i.m fletcher can't get out of his colonial mind set where the crusading white people have to go save the natives because the natives are so uncivilised and the white people so enlightened. or something.

no, women in "eastern and islamic countries" are all, 100% of them sitting back being victims and waiting for glorious westerners to come and save them. and unless us women in western countries ignore every instance of sexism, harassment, abuse or violence in the west and concentrate our efforts solely on women in "eastern or islamic countries", those poor women will never be saved.

i believe richard dawkins, the misgynist atheist, made exactly that point not so long ago. and had many women (including those in "eastern or islamic countries") shoot his argument down in flames for the stupidity and misogyny it so clearly contained.

Kriegslist said...

"i believe richard dawkins, the misgynist atheist, made exactly that point not so long ago."

How is his atheism relevant?

Are you trying to tie atheism to misogyny?

stargazer said...

@kreiglist: i mentioned his atheism because he made a comment on an atheist blog (skepchick) in response to discussion on misogyny within the atheist community. that's why it's relevant in this instance.

Lucia Maria said...


Good on you for phoning the police on the guy masturbating in the street!

Ange said...

"being whistled at in the street" - you're an asshole. And you have no idea how utterly demoralising and terrifying it is to have men harass you in the street - to actually be afraid for your life. That's what street harassment is - it's horrible. It's awful. How dare you reduce it to "wolf-whistles". What an arrogant thing to say. Men like you are exactly why street harassment is such a problem. But I'm glad there are many men out there who are apalled and disgusted by street harassment and they cancel out people like you.