Does my story have to be about an incident in Seattle?
No! Though our focus is on all areas of Washington state, we will accept stories about any location. However, if your story is about an experience in Boston or New York, please feel free to visit Hollaback Boston or Hollaback NYC.
How do I submit a story I have of street harassment?
Email us at HollabackSeattle@gmail.com
What is this?
This is Hollaback Seattle, a watch-dog blog that serves to call out all forms of street harassment that occurs to women and men in Washington. HBS is also a hub for resources and information concerning street harassment as well as men’s violence against women, rape and battering awareness.
What’s the point?
Street harassment (cat-calls, lewd sexual comments, inappropriate gestures, aggressive actions, leering) is something that we must stop. Women (and men) should be able to wear whatever they want however they want, travel to wherever they want without fear of people degrading and objectifying them in public.
What exactly is street harassment?
[HollabackNYC‘s answer to this very important question:] Street harassment is a form of sexual harassment that takes place in public spaces. At its core is a power dynamic that constantly reminds historically subordinated groups (women and LGBTQ folks, for example) of their vulnerability to assault in public spaces. Further, it reinforces the ubiquitous sexual objectification of these groups in everyday life.
At HollaBackNYC, we believe that what specifically counts as street harassment is determined by those who experience it. While there is always the classic, “Hey baby, nice tits” there are so many other forms that go unnoted. If you feel like you have been harassed, HOLLA BACK!
Don’t women like the attention they get? Why else do you think they wear clothes like that?
How a woman (or man) is dressed is never some sort of invitation for street harassment, offensive conversation, flirting, or obligation for groping, sex, or anything for that matter. Worried about offending someone with a comment you think someone might be flattered to hear? Keep it to yourself.
I know some women that love the attention they get from men on the street, thus I refute everything this blog stands for.
Unlike what music videos, strip-clubs, and The Man Show would have you believe, the world is not a 24-7 Deja Vu fantasy in which female bodies serve for men to only grope, degrade, stare at, etc. If you’re a male, and you’re about to make a sexually crude comment to a woman on the street, consider this: what would you think if someone said that to your sister? Your mother? Your daughter? However, I’m not suggesting that we go back to the days of paternalistic chivalry with a tip of the cap and all that but seriously, guys, when you’re out in the public, be respectful and be considerate: keep your comments to yourself.
I didn’t say anything and I still get called for street harassment! What gives?
Yea, you didn’t say anything, but it’s what you did. Karate-chopping your groin area, licking your lips/teeth in some oral sex suggestion, pointing to your groin, making any sort of sexually charged gesture is just as bad as yelling something. Remember, if somebody flipped you off but didn’t say anything, you’d still react right? Keep your fingers, your tongue, your gestures to yourself. You ain’t charming anyone, casanova.
What do things like men’s violence against women have anything to do with this? Why do you have links to anti-rape, anti-battering websites?
You have to remember that social interactions, especially how we engage with the opposite sex, isn’t some natural pre-programmed behavior that comes instinctively. How men are taught and socialized to view and treat women is a learned behavior. Men’s street harassment against women speaks to a larger culture that places the blame and burden of responsibility unfairly on women (remember we talked about how some guys use the “she was wearing sexy clothes, she was asking for it!”?) while it ignores the men who perpetrate such behavior. Street harassment (as with any sort of harassment) is a way in which a group terrorizes another group through intimidation, fear, control, and ultimately the use of power. So, when men sexually harass women on the street, in the subways, on the sidewalks of shops, they aren’t doing it because they want to go on a date with the woman, they’re doing it to exercise power over women as in “your body is for me to degrade, stare at, objectify.” Or even worse, put a bunch of macho men in a group together and you get a recipe for disaster in male-peer culture where “being a man” and showing off means disrespecting women with rude and aggressive behavior.
What’s going on with the law in terms of street harassment?
Aren’t you worried that when some men find out about this, they’re going to react violently when women try to take their pictures?
We ask women, as well as men, to use their better judgement when encountering street harassment. Obviously, safety is the number one concern so if the situation seems dangerous, taking a picture or remembering a description is of little importance. However, if a person feels like that can and want to take a picture or take a mental snap-shot, that’s great.
Women should just ignore street harassment if it happens. You’re only fanning the flames if you respond in any way to the people doing it.
So it’s just going to fizzle out if you don’t pay attention to it? Since when has that worked for any problem ever in life? If you don’t say anything and you don’t challenge something you feel or know is wrong, you’re saying that it’s OK–and it’s not.
Why did you edit my story that I sent about my incident of street harassment?
Stories will be edited for clarity, basic grammar, spelling, and inclusion of unnecessary details such as: the race/ethnic heritage of the street harasser, real name of the street harasser, or any real life information about the street harasser.
Why can’t I include the race/ethnic heritage of the person?
If it’s an important detail to the exchange of dialogue or the story, then it will be included. However, it’s a fine line between being descriptive for the sake of the story’s clarity and racial stereotyping. Obviously for pictures, we won’t edit anything (unless there’s sensitive information like a license plate).