Talking about Street Harassment

Image from HollabackLDN

I was supposed to start writing this blog post hours ago, but predictably I got distracted on the time zapping compendium that is Internet.  However, it wasn’t the latest Internet cat meme that got me distracted, it was what is fast becoming my favourite reading material; descriptions from women of their daily encounters with catcallers.

Hollaback LDN is the latest site to allow women to post these encounters and in the short space it has been up and running, has already amassed quite the collection of perverts who think its their duty to make women feel uncomfortable in public spaces as they go about their daily business. Like the rest of the Hollaback family, Hollaback LDN helps women to share their experiences and stand up to these men who use sexual comments as intimidation. It  decrees “London is not a playground for pervy dudes to call out at us when we’re going about our daily business. So stop walkin’ on and ignoring it and Holla Back: Submit your stories and share your experiences”.

Similar to Hollaback LDN, LASH (London Anti-Street Harassment), previously blogged about here, has, due to the success of its campaign now gone national with the slightly less catchy acronym of UK ASH. Which will act as an umbrella organisation to support local level anti-street harassment initiatives.  Further, London Mayoral candidates Oona King and Ken Livingstone have pledged their support to LASH. King has written street harassment into her policy, promising to commission a police report into the matter, a poster education campaign and training for local councils on the issue.

Thanks to LASH and HollabackLDN street harassment has moved from being talked about in the pub on Friday night to the being talked about in the mainstream media. Both The Independent and The Guardian have published pieces on the issue, with the vast majority of the comments being supportive, helping to raise the profile of the growing anti street harassment movement.

More talking is taking place on Monday the 18th, as  HollabackLDN and LASH team up for a discussion night at WAH nails, which promises to be interesting evening (details above). It definitely seems the long held onto belief that street harassment is just one of those things women have to put up with is on the way out. Whodathunkit; turns out slapping a strangers bum is not appropriate!

By: Dearbhaile Kitt, 10.10.2010 | Comments (3)
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Women, Power and Politics

As our minds are still firmly engaged with political matters (I am red eyed, in front of the election results on the telly at 2am, as I type this!) the timing is perfect to hear of an upcoming drama season at London’s Tricycle theatre entitled Women, Power and Politics.  The season, which looks at women in politics (from Elizabeth I, through the Suffragettes, the Thatcher years, Greenham Common, and up to women in politics today), is created by twelve playwrights and designed to ‘challenge, create debate and help to bring about change’.

The Women, Power and Politics season is scheduled to start on June the 4th but, in the mean-time, Tricycle are hoping to raise £25,000 for this very ambitious season. You can lend your support by donating online here. All donors will be acknowledged in the WPP programme and will receive invitations to special WPP events.

Find out more about Women, Power and Politics here.

By: Sarah Barnes, 07.05.2010 | Comments (0)
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World Wide Women on BBC3

Although BBC Three does churn out some rather under-nourishing (and yet, admittedly, rather damn tasty) junk food for the mind, it does occasionally come up with some really remarkable programmes. Two recent documentaries have really stood out, revealing the lives of women around the world in both an illuminating and accessible way.

The World’s Most Dangerous Place For Women followed Judith Wanga, a young London based woman who was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, as she made her journey back to DRC to visit the parents she hadn’t seen for 20 years.  Whilst in Congo, Jude was determined to learn about the plight of women living in a country devastated by war where rape is used as a weapon. Judith ended her eye-opening journey at the V-Day meeting at the Royal Albert Hall, sharing her stories with the hopes for a brighter future and a world more enlightened about the situation in Congo.

Women, Weddings, War and Me ran along similar lines to Judith’s story, following 21 year old Nel who had been brought from Afghanistan by her parents when she was 6 to live in London. Aiming to address a cultural personality crisis, Nel returned to Afghanistan and, in doing so, uncovered the plight of women in the war-torn nation.

The personal aspect of these documentaries meant that they were easy to absorb, and yet the harsher areas that were covered were never sugar coated. These were ordinary women, most likely learning about the full extent of the situations they were discovering along with the majority of viewers at home. These docs were great entry points into learning more about the lives of women around the world, and I’d love to see more like them.

Watch The World’s Most Dangerous Place for Women here and Women, Weddings, War and Me here.

By: Sarah Barnes, 23.04.2010 | Comments (0)
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