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· The first ever London-wide campaign to end sexual harassment on nights out launches today, backed by some of London’s most high profile venues including Ministry of Sound and fabric.
· Posters informing patrons of zero-tolerance approach now displayed in bars, clubs and venues across the city with staff resources provided by anti-harassment group Hollaback London
Julia Gray, co-director of Hollaback London, says “Groping, bum-slapping, and sexually aggressive behaviour are all too common aspects of night outs in London. We started this campaign because so many women and LGTBQ people submit stories of harassment and even assault in clubs and pubs to our website; and these experiences are now so commonplace that they’re actually putting people off going out altogether. We’re challenging our nighttime economy to create safer nights out for all their customers. Taking on our up-front, coordinated approach means sending a public message that this behaviour won’t go unchallenged. We’re completely independent and are encouraging everyone to tweet their experiences on #goodnightout so we can ensure the pledge is put into practice.”
Endorsed by End Violence Against Women Coalition and Everyday Sexism, Good Night Out signatories working closely with Hollaback London on their harassment policies already include:
- Shoreditch arts venue Village Underground
- The Alibi, Dalston Superstore, Dance Tunnel and the Shacklewell Arms.
Kirsti Weir from fabric says ““We’ve always had a zero tolerance harassment policy and we’ve been working with Hollaback London to boost our patrons’ awareness of our commitment to stamping it out with our online campaign and highly visible posters. It’s great that the Good Night Out campaign as a collaborative effort across London and it’s something we fully support and endorse.”
Auro Foxcroft, Director, Village Underground says: “We’re supporting Hollaback London and the Good Night Out initiative because we want everyone from the many communities and audiences we work with to feel comfortable and safe from harassment and prejudice.”
Dan Beaumont, owner of Dalston Superstore and the recently opened Dance Tunnel says: “We have worked hard over the years to ensure we’re welcoming in a gay-friendly crowd, so we already operate a zero-tolerance aggressive behaviour policy. Good Night Out and its message chime perfectly with this, so it’s great to see more venues taking this approach.”
Sarah Green from End Violence Against Women Coalition says “This is a brilliant campaign by Hollaback London and we congratulate all the bars and clubs who have signed up for recognising the issues and taking a stand. We asked YouGov to survey London women in 2012 about their experiences of sexual harassment in public places and found that almost half of younger women had experienced it in the last year. Clubs and pubs have a critical role to play in making their spaces intolerant of this behaviour. We wish the campaign every success.”
Any business that is part of the nighttime economy is welcome to sign up for Good Night Out to receive poster series and discuss staff resources and training.
Check out the Good Night Out site for more information on the campaign or get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org
New submission from Shannon
This happened whilst I was walking to catch an early morning bus to an interview in London. My mum had dropped me off about two hundred yards before the stop and as I was walking, there was a man on a bike cycling towards me. As we got closer, he slowed down. I felt uncomfortable, so kept my eyes down and carried on walking. As we were just about to pass he said ‘Morning gorgeous’. I think I weakly mumbled ‘morning’ and was immediately annoyed that I had responded, and so meekly.
I was walking next to the curve of the bus shelter and could see in the glass reflection that he had stopped behind me. I thought for a moment he was going to be on his way, but he then shouted ‘Yeah girl, I’d really like to fuck that arse.’ It was four thirty in the morning and pitch black. I don’t know if he was intoxicated; he was making good work of cycling past someone with enough balance to really slow down and make pleasant chat.
I was only a few metres away from the stop and there were a few people waiting already. I got a few looks of pity, but I think they were as embarrassed as I was and no one said anything, so I just sat down and waited for the bus.
It’s quite hard to know how to react to a situation like this. I was lamenting not having been able to think of a lightening-wit put down, but who knows what the result would have been if I had. This is the problem with street cat-calling; it’s so easy for people to brush it off as harmless if you complain or retort, to brand you uptight, because it’s ‘only words.’ I’m sure if I had replied, he in turn would have told me to calm down, that he was only joking, or maybe what else he’d like to do to someone who opens her mouth to talk back. My most disappointing response when relaying this tale was ‘well, at least he thinks you’ve got a nice arse.’ But what this man said was aggressive and intended to humiliate. And it worked. And what if I had retorted, would that have provoked him further?
Words are signifiers of thoughts. I’m not saying that this man would necessarily have followed aggressive words with aggressive actions. But how was I supposed to know? I do know that if there hadn’t been people waiting at the bus stop, I would have been scared. And maybe he just ‘thought’ that it was ok to lampoon a women with nasty words even though he wouldn’t dream of carrying out these words, maybe because he thought it was funny or because that’s how loads of men show their appreciation of someone’s physique. But of course this isn’t ok either because this form of misogyny has become normal and accepted. What does it teach each next generation of boys about how to interact with women?
I know that this story isn’t out of the ordinary and that these issues have been hugely deliberated over. But it’s not enough yet clearly, because it’s still happening.
New submission from phone app
I was riding my bike passed a car repair garage when a guy cat called me. I had recently heard an awesome poem about a woman who barked back at people who cat called so I did it and it felt sooo good!
New submission from Rebecca
My friend and I were waiting for a night bus after a night in Camden. A young man and his friend came to the bus stop, where we were waiting alone. The man began to make a series of sexual comments about how my friend and I should hook up, whivh proceeded to get more and more explicit in content. He also referred to himself as a rapist, as if that were a joke.
Well, on Friday 7th,we’ll be launching a brand new campaign. It’s all about getting clubs, pubs, bars and venues to tackle and prevent harassment, keep an eye on the hashtag #goodnightout for details and check here.
Then, from Friday 7th from 8pm at ULU (Malet Street) we’ll be joining our Hollaback ULU (University of London Union) for an 80s Themed Good Night Out club night with feminist DJs at ULU.
On Saturday 8th we’ll be marching at Million Women Rise with thousands of other women to demand and end to violence against women and girls, to honour the memory of women killed by male violence and patriarchal systems of oppression and generally have a good old stomp/shout. Come with us and march in the #hollabloc ! Leaves from Duke St next to Selfridges at Midday, we’ll have hollabanners if you look out for us, or drop us a line on email@example.com if you want to get a number for us. FACEBOOK EVENT
Then on Sunday 9th, just when you thought it was all over we’ll be leading a Free Workshop at the WOWZERS Festival at LSE on Sunday. The workshop will be an informal, friendly safe space to discuss your experiences of street harassment, take on some of the myths, hear about the work we do and hear about how to get involved if you would like to volunteer with us. Here’s the Facebook event, grab a free ticket to WOWZERS in order to attend, and then come to a free feminist punk gig at Wowzers featuring the awesome WOOLF, Actual Crimes and many more!
Phew! Add yourselves to our mailing list to stay in touch about these events.
To kick off International Women’s Day on March 8th an amazing group of women have set up a two day community-led feminist arts and music festival, running alongside the Southbank Centre’s Women of the World festival. But they need your help! They have just 61 hours (as of 7pm GMT 18/2/14) To raise £429 to ensure that they can make the festival FREE for all participants.
Can you help them make it happen? Donate here, follow them on twitter and facebook. and remember every little helps! If the festival reaches it’s goal, Hollaback London will be giving a workshop, so come along! The workshop will take the form of a focus group, where we’re inviting women, LGBTQ folks to come along and tell us what they think about Street Harassment, what they’d like to see change in London, and contribute their opinions to the movement to end street harassment!
New submission from Marta
I was walking to the university when a guy stopped me with a “hello”. I thought maybe he wanted to ask for the way or something. No, well of course, it was because I “look really nice”. I said thank you and started walking.
The exchange continued just as I sensed it would, he asked my name and what I was studying. I was (of course!) being polite and asked him back. As clearly he was not going to leave me alone, better fill the silence with some “neutral talk” I thought, before we go to the inevitable “can I have your number”. He said:
- I think you’d look cute dressed as a pussycat.
The inappropriateness of this utterance made me laugh.
- It’s a good pick up line, right? I read it online.
- I don’t think I appreciate it, you see, it objectifies me as a person.
He clearly found the wrong recipient for his “courting”. There is much more that is wrong with this line, but I don’t think he would be ready to understand my language and gender related stance, I just wanted him to away at this point.
He seemed apologetic and confused, but continued:
- Isn’t it awkward talking to me like this?
I think it was meant to suggest it was also awkward for him to chat up girls in the street, but who knows, let’s leave it open to interpretation. At this point we were already entering the Russel Square park.
-Yes. And if you are going to ask for my number or sth, I’m not going to give it to you.
- No, I don’t want your number, I just want a blowjob in the park.
At this point all my (at least semi-) level-headed approach evaporated and I was left with a blank space in my head. All the readings on assaults and verbal violence, readings of hollaback stories and great “what would I do if this or that happens” scenarios evaporated from my head, leaving a black hole.
- Well now that was subtle. [trying to be funny and alleviate my own tension.]
- It’s a joke.
[It clearly wasn't.]
- I don’t think any woman would appreciate these kind of jokes.
- But seriously what should I do to get it? Do get down to your pants?
- I don’t think that should be your objective.
- What should be my objective?
An further and irrelevant short exchange followed where the phrases: “blowjob”, and “get down to your pants” were used again. Then we reached my uni:
- It was nice meeting you, hug? [making a hug gesture]
I turned around and went into the building, only slowly realising what has just happened and still a bit to shocked to think straight. A random guy. In public. Feeling he had the RIGHT to offer me a possibility of giving him a blowjob. I know, worse things happen, but it made me feel so vulnerable, threatened and just so… exposed, I guess would be the word,
I should have stopped this “conversation” much earlier. I shouldn’t have answered any questions. I should have stopped, point at him and say loud that he is assaulting me and that I wish him to leave me alone immediately. I didn’t. Maybe next time. Because there is always a next time.
And his name was Nick, was probably about 19-20 (I’m 25), maybe max 170cm, South American/Spanish looking type with dark hair, he said he studied engineering at South Bank University. If you happen to see him, punch him in the face for me. Cheers.
New submission from phone app
Man in middle of the road outside Strongbird ogled then said ‘sexy body’ and I shouted at him. Old man, black, with bicycle.