Listen to Me

I was walking back to my apartment after getting take-out chinese for dinner. I was just walking down the street minding my own business and I walked passed this parked limousine. A guy all dressed up in a nice jacket leaned out and said, “hey baby, wanna come take a ride with me?” I kept walking, very angrily, the whole time wondering why I cant just walk down the street just and feel safe and secure. Why do I have to speed past groups of guys and cringe every time I see a man look my way, wondering what he is going to say.

So I got home and wrote this poem, which I later performed at a poetry slam. This is a ‘Holla Back’ to all the harassers and abusers out there….

Listen to Me

No, I will not get into your car just because you ask me to.
No, I will not allow you to put your hand up my skirt.
No, you are not entitled to anything of mine or any part of me.
No, I will not flash you and show you my breasts.
No, you cannot take me home just because you bought me a drink.
No, I will not have your degrading comments hurt me.
No, I will not kiss my girlfriend for your viewing pleasure.
No, I will not tolerate your harassment.
No, I do not wear these clothes for you.
No, I will not change my body to look “hotter” for you.
No, I will not pleasure you and then expect nothing in return.
No, I will not let you use me and discard me.

I am a human being.
I am not an object.
I have a heart that beats,
blood in my veins,
lungs that require air.

I love, I hurt, I feel joy and I feel sadness.
I have dreams and desires.

I have lots to offer,
just take the time to get to know me.

Location: Nebraska and Wisconsin

Submitted by Emily Willard on September 17, 2009
Do you have a personal experience with gender-based public sexual harassment you would like to submit? Just click here and fill out the online submission form. All submissions are posted anonymously unless you specify.

Community Activism

posted in: CASS Updates | 0

We believe this blog reflects a beginning of online community activism. We are brainstorming ways to take it offline and with the assistance of community activists and you, we are slowly getting there. However, community activism is not something our movements do. We are losing many fronts due to non-profits, corporations, law enforcement, and government agencies dictating the way that we should be moving forward.  In the U.S., we don’t talk about this factor in discussing movements. We have a fantasy that we are still moving forward, when, upon further reflection, many people think we are moving back.

John McNight has a plan to get us back on movements:

In many nations local people have been called to come together to pursue a common calling. It would be a mistake to label that calling ABCD, or Community Building. Those are just names. They are inadequate words for groups of local people who have the courage to discover their own way—to create a culture made by their own vision. It is a handmade, homemade vision. And, wherever we look, it is a culture that starts the same way:

First, we see what we have—individually, as neighbors and in this place of ours.

Second, we know that the power of what we have grows from creating new connections and relationships among and between what we have.

Third, we know that these connections happen when we individually or collectively act to make the connections—they don’t just happen by themselves.[Link]

One of the techniques often cited by anti-street harassment activists is to engage the person harassing you. Once they know your name and how you feel about that harassment, they will generally stop harassing you. Of course, this is individual-by-individual change and not systemic, but it is a start.

He goes to give us a great blueprint (a real one, JayZ, a real one) on how to make our movements a reality and in our neighborhoods. We want to start Anti-Gender-Based Violence Neighborhoods. We want to have an anti-violence movement with men, women, transgender, of all races, classes, all orientations, all political theories, and ethnic backgrounds. We want to raise our sons and daughters to be respectful and loving; to be strong and nurturing; to be brave and fearless.

Let’s do it using this blueprint.

Event Announcment: Happy Hour for DC Advocates

posted in: CASS Event, CASS Updates | 0
Happy Hour for young professionals who work in on DC!

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009

Old Dominion Brew House

1219 9th St. NW (near Mt. Vernon/Convention Center Metro stop)

6:00pm


There are lots of “young professionals” in DC, but we all know that most of them work on national issues, or for the federal government, or some other non-DC topic. It’s a select but passionate minority that has either consciously or circumstantially fallen into a role working on things that affect DC residents.

Some of us from DC-focused non-profits, government agencies, or social service organizations thought it’d be great to try and bring together this group of folks for a happy hour – so that’s what we’re doing!

Whether it’s health care, housing, poverty, hunger, homelessness, education, environment, politics, or another advocacy topic, you’ve dedicated some part of your professional time to helping to improve life in the District.  And you’ve also probably had to deal with intense work environments, crazy hours, tough budgets, and under-appreciation. Well, we can’t do anything to fix that right now, but we can at least offer to commiserate over a beer!

“Street Love”

We LOVE the idea of using art and music as a way to raise awareness about gender based public sexual harassment so we were thrilled to stumble across this song on the Stop Street Harassment Blog about street harassment entitled “Street Love” by by Lauri Apple Music Corp. — Annex.

Listen here and share your thoughts under the comment section.

If you know of any other artist raising awareness about gender based violence, let us know about them by leaving us a comment,  emailing us at dchollaback@gmail.com, or sending us a note usingmusic our anonymous online form.

CTA Bus Drivers have Problems with the New Harassment Policies

posted in: WMATA, CASS Updates | 3
Photo by Daquella manera via flickr

Since WMATA doesn’t have its own anti-sexual harassment PSAsor published information about how WMATA employees should handle and respond to sexual harassment on our trains or buses, we follow what is going on in other cities and we LOVE to askWMATA, “what the heck? why are we so far behind?”

Last week we reported on the new policies implemented in Chicago. Thanks to some amazing young activists, the CTA told operators to tell perpetrators to stop their behavior and if needed, call for backup.

Apparently the bus drivers are not so thrilled about this new policy. According to the Chicago Sun-Times:

The head of the CTA bus drivers union said drivers can’t be expected to defend passengers from sexual harassment without proper backup from transit managers and Chicago Police.

“You’re putting our people in more harm by directing them to get involved in curbing harassment on a bus when you’re not offering them any protection,” said Darrell Jefferson, president of the Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 241.

Jefferson was responding to initiatives the CTA unveiled earlier this month to curb sexual and other types of harassment on CTA trains and buses.

Jefferson said he didn’t mind the policy — he wants passengers to be safe. But he doesn’t want bus drivers to get into trouble for telling disruptive passengers to knock it off, and he wants police to come promptly when called. Read the full article here.

What do you think, Washingtonians? What kind of anti-sexual harassment policies and PSAs does WMATA need?

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