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New submission : Felicity’s story!

A while ago, I was walking home in Sandy Hill, and a couple of guys standing on the steps of a local bar yelled at me, “Hey sexy, where you going!” I proceeded to ignore them. They kept calling after me. When they didn’t get a smile or any flirtatious response back (I’m assuming that’s what they wanted), they proceeded to insult me and say “Fuck you. Bitch.” I was so angry and disgusted, I wanted to turn around and freak out at them, but I was way too scared for my own safety. This is just one instance of many that I have experienced.

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19+

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New submission: Jess’s story!

I was out walking my dog before work this afternoon and passed by the new barbershop, Klipperz, on Bronson Avenue. As I walked past, I noticed movement in the window so glanced over to see a man hanging blinds/doing some sort of work. Once he caught my eye, he banged on the window and motioned for me to go inside. I could hear him (despite the heavy traffic on Bronson and the window between us, no less!) say “C’mere and see me!” while smiling a type of smile I know all too well.
I gave him a look of disgust and kept walking since my dog really needed to pee.
Great business model though, having employees/servicemen harassing passersby – I will definitely be spreading the word about this new shop, but not a positive word.

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12+

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New submission: Melanie’s story!

A couple of years back when I was twelve, I went to Blues Fest to see a concert.

In the crowd there was this guy being loud and drinking. I was just trying to enjoy the concert.

He grabbed my ass. I was really scared to be honest. I tried to keep away from him after that, but he kept on eyeing and looking at me after that. He was probably in his twenties and I was 12.

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7+

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Post: On street harassment & classism

This is a blog post written by Hollaback! Ottawa site director Julie Lalonde & Community Outreach Officer Jess Golden.

Reading a recent editorial about street harassment in the LA Times left us feeling all sorts of things, and none of those feelings were good.

We are part of the amazing Hollaback! Ottawa team. We are activists. We’re shamelessly in love with our pets. We love a good pun, snarky t-shirts and MAC lipstick.

We’re also two barely-making-ends-meet women from blue-collar, working class families.

photo (1)Julie & Jess reppin’ Hollaback! Ottawa at Capital Pride 2014.

So yeah, reading an article about how hating street harassment means you are elitist and hate poor people made us all kinds of ragey.

Jess’ father (before he left them) worked in disaster restoration, cleaning up homes after fires and floods. After her dad left, her mum took on a part time job on top of her full time job in order to make ends meet. Her uncle has been a mechanic since before she was born. Her brother has worked in construction and landscaping since leaving high school before he graduated. And Jess? She’s an addictions counsellor working at a homeless shelter in downtown Ottawa making less than $45,000 a year.

Julie’s story is eerily similar with a family makeup of manual labourers, miners, construction workers, line cooks; textbook working class folks.

To argue that street harassment is unique to construction workers is patently false and is part of a pattern of thinking that states that only “some” men or only men from “some” neighbourhoods engage in street harassing. Hollaback! NYC Deputy Director Debjani Roy recently tore this argument a new one in Xojane. Check it!

“Men that street harass” are just that: men who street harass. The end. C’est tout.

The accusation that a woman who speaks out against street harassment is classist, followed by the statement that education circumvents street harassment, is inherently flawed and classist in and of itself. To think that an educated man is somehow above engaging in street harassment simply because he is educated is malarkey.

Ever taken a strut down Ottawa’s “business” district or walked by a group of Hill staffers on a sunny day? What about all the harassment near campuses? A lot of “classy”, formally educated, well paid dudes think street harassment is their jam.

The men in our family are bread & butter blue collar men. You know, the whole “Workers who shower after work, rather than before” kinda people.

They are lacking in financial opportunities, not manners. Every time you argue that “that’s just how they are”, you are perpetuating classist BS.

And let us tell you something. When we detail to the men in our lives what we endure while we cycle to work, walk to the grocery store or simply leave our front steps, they are appalled. Because, even though our men work with their hands, they understand that neither those hands nor their mouths should be used to bring anything less than love and respect to a woman.

So, the answer is no, snarky LA Times journalist. We are not elitist scumbags when we call out street harassment. We call out all forms of street harassment because we have the right to navigate public space in safety.

We’re going to keep resisting street harassment everywhere we go; from construction sites to the steps of Parliament Hill, we will always, always Hollaback! #SorryNotSorry

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New submission: Mary’s story!

I was sitting at the bus stop in a sundress waiting for my bus on a sweltering day. Some dude yelled something out of his car window that I couldn’t quite decipher, but it was in an extremely angry tone and included the words “your dress.” Gross. I didn’t have time to catch his license plate or even flip him the bird before his car was around the corner.

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8+

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New submission: Kyla’s story!

I cross this busy intersection at the median almost everyday and more often than not some work truck or moving van full of guys will whistle, yell or honk at me. This morning at 6:45 am this truck was behind me and he screamed (no idea what he said) at me while I was trying to pay attention to traffic while crossing this busy street!

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14+

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New submission: Liz’s story!

Just after finishing Rebecca Solnit’s awesome “Wanderlust: A History of Walking”, which includes a great chapter “Walking After Midnight: Women, Sex, and Public Space” with a history of violence and harassment back centuries, “Women’s presence in public becomes with startling frequency an invasion of their private parts”….I went for a walk before dinner – around 6 pm – along the Rideau River to the falls emptying into the Ottawa River and on my way back on Sussex Drive – just after I passed the Pearson Building (DFATD) a guy leans out of a car and shouts ‘I got the big dick!’. After a weekend of claiming the streets & public spaces – Capital Pride, People’s Social Forum – clearly ‘We’ve got each others’ backs !’

I've got your back!
18+

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New submission: Harassed on the #97

I was on the 97 Bayshore/Bells Corner bus a few weeks back. I went on it around 9:00 a.m.

I got on and there was this guy who kept ringing the bell. Fistpumping people. Asking for a massage. I fist pumped him but then was grabbing my hand and I told him No. He was doing it to everyone. Nobody complained. I went to the front of the bus nearing my stop to ask the bus driver if he knew where my stop was. The bus broke down when I asked and he kicked the guy off. I got off too and walked.

I've got your back!
13+

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