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Check out Canimiz Sokakta Kacie Kocher at the Tedx Reset this April in Istanbul, speaking on gender, choice, and the role of foreigners. Watch it, tweet it, share it. All of us at Canimiz Sokakta are super proud!
This was a new one on me, but doubtless others have run into it before — some guy came up to me asking for directions to something or other. I noticed he had a smart-type phone in his hand, so I asked him if he had Internet (so he could look up his question better than I could answer and I could go away). He shows it to me and there’s a porno in progress on the screen. I was taken by surprise, though I shouldn’t have been, but managed to spit out “Pervert!” before I crossed the street to get away from him.
In October 2012, Istanbul was selected as one of the cities for hosting a new UN center for women’s rights. This wing of the UN was created in 2010 and is dedicated to giving women and girls a voice. Check out the article from SEtimes – how do you think it’ll affect street harassment in Istanbul?
I was walking home late one night, I was with a friend but he was pretty drunk so I told him to just go home and that I could walk the last 5 minutes to my house by myself just fine. There were no people on the streets except for one man, walking on the same sidewalk as myself. When we were about to pass each other he reached out and grabbed my wrist. He said something in Turkish that I did not understand and I told him to let go. He then whispered at me in English, “this is our moment” and tried to pull me towards him but I twisted out of his grip and began to walk away. He then chased me and grabbed me again but I told him no in Turkish and again twisted out of his grip. As I walked or maybe ran away, he reached out to try and grab my crotch and butt from the back but he only touched my butt. It was fucking disgusting and it made me feel disgusting as well.
I was also harassed again recently in Gulbag, it was early Sunday night and I had to walk between two cars and a man was coming the opposite direction. He wouldn’t really move out of the way for me but I moved pretty quickly to avoid him and he reached out to try and touch my crotch but missed because I moved so quickly. I was so confused, I thought maybe it was an accident but he gave me a sick little smile and I was too in shock to say anything. Mostly I just thought, what the fuck is wrong with people? I also saw a Turkish woman get spit on on the metrobus, I’m getting really fed up with the patriarchal culture here, it makes me absolutely fucking sick.
Wishing everyone a great bayram from all of us at Hollaback Istanbul!
Women Platform Against Sexual Violence is against sexual violence! This platform’s website offers women some emergency advices in a case of a rape or sexual harassment/violence. Check out their resources and forward it to a friend in need: (in Turkish) .
Did you read this story about a lawyer who chased down her harasser? After being harassed she chased him 2 kilometers to make sure he didn’t get away and would be brought to justice. She said that she was fueled by just knowing he would be out there free to harass other women and that guys like him had to be stopped. Read more .
Trans Pride March 2012 is Sunday, June 24th at Taksim Square. For more details: http://www.facebook.com/events/225196504254734/
Istanbul Pride March 2012 is Sunday, July 1st at Taksim Square. For more details: http://www.facebook.com/events/333966976652121/
If you have any pictures from the marches, post them on our facebook page: www.facebook.com/canimizsokakta
As a sociology graduate student researching street harassment in Istanbul, my graduate research brought me to Hollaback Istanbul last semester. Since then, I have been volunteering with the organization which is how I came to coordinate the “I’ve Got Your Back” campaign and bring together my activism and my academic interests.
Some of the women that I talked to as a part of my graduate thesis research told me that when facing public harassment- either witnessing or experiencing it themselves- they prefer to remain silent. One of the reasons preventing them from speaking out is that they are worried about the opinions and reactions of people around them. “What would all these strangers around me think if I made a scene? What if I am the only one who thinks it’s wrong? What if nobody’s got my back?”
But what if they simply don’t know how to react? An intervention from a bystander could change what you remember as an unpleasant and emotional damaging incident on a bus when a guy rubs against you to a memory of how willing people are to stand up for you and against public harassment. Yet, usually other passengers witness the harassment, and no one says anything or comes to help you.
The role of harassment witnesses should and can be reversed from passive individuals standing by to helping bystanders. How? Hollaback Istanbul in corroboration with the award-winning bystander program Green Dot has worked to bring a bystander campaign titled “I’ve got your back!” [“Arkandayım!”] to Turkey. The campaign aims at educating people to intervene when they witness public harassment and encourage people to stand up for victims.
There are several ways in which a bystander can put an end to an incident of public harassment: ranging from asking the target if he or she is okay to directly addressing the harasser or reporting him or her to the authorities (a police officer, supervisor, public transportation attendant, etc.). As a part of “I’ve got your back!” campaign, Canimiz Sokakta: Hollaback Istanbul has included the ‘I’ve got your back!’ page that covers other possible bystander-in-action strategies on their website.
Apart from learning how to have each other’s backs in real life, people will be able do it virtually by submitting a bystander intervention story on Hollaback Istanbul’s web-page. A green dot will appear on the interactive map each time a bystander story is submitted. We hope and believe that in the future all the red dots from victims of street harassment will soon be outnumbered by the green ones.
Submitting stories will become easier with the new iPhone and Droid applications that will be available to download from Hollaback Istanbul’s web-page. The applications will allow people to submit stories, pictures, and videos of street harassment directly from their phones. How will it help to fight street harassment? A popular YouTube video of Nicola Briggs confronting a flasher on New York subway proves that a bystander in action is powerful and a bystander with a camera on their phone is even more so. The video of Briggs confronting the harasser (who was later sentenced to 4 months of jail) was filmed and uploaded on YouTube by a bystander.
In the survey titled “Sexual Harassment in Public Areas in Istanbul” that I have conducted as a part of the research for my graduate thesis, some respondents indicated that they would ignore the scene of public harassment rather than intervening in it. We believe that the campaign brought to Turkey by Hollaback and Green Dot will alter this reality. It is important for a target of street harassment to know somebody’s got their back. This assurance by others and the community at large will give witnesses the impetus to holla back, respond to, and take actions against harassers. Only then will public places become safe and welcoming for everyone.
[My graduate research mentioned in this article is still in progress, and all results are preliminary.]no comments
March 18-24th was International Anti-Street Harassment week. Around the world panel discussions, film showings and marches happened to bring light to the all too common problem of street harassment. Here’s a brief summary of what we did on our end.
We partnered up with the US Consulate to put together a free screening of Miss Representation, which filled up thetheater at the Pera Museum. We had a follow up discussion on Turkish media with with distinguished speakers: Nevval Sevindi (journalist and founder of KADER), Zeynep Dereli (politician and businesswoman), and Nancy Rinke Ozturk (publisher). See pictures from the event here.
Next we visited Galatasaray University to show the film War Zone and have a discussion about harassment and how this issue is more about power than about sex. Well received, we intend on doing more work with Galatasaray University soon!
On to social media. We have put together a number of images to share throughout social media outlets and bring attention to street harassment as a problem many have to face.
Finally, we are proud to present a video that our volunteers have made about breaking the silence about street harassment!
Break the silence in Istanbul and share your story! Street harassment isn’t just a problem one week every year in March. It’s a major problem around the world and its experienced by most people. We’re listening to your stories, we’re here to tell you you’re not wrong and you didn’t deserve to be treated that way, and more than all of this, we are here to stand together and change the society we live in and the expectations we have for what’s normal. Join us in making an Istanbul we all deserve to live in.
The Canimiz Sokakta: Hollaback Istanbul team-one comment
March 18-24 is International Anti-Street Harassment Week and is a time for the world to stand up together and say, “Street Harassment is Wrong.” Last year, marches took place in Cairo, Kabul, Washington, Philadelphia, Delhi and other cities around the world. And we at Canimiz Sokakta: Hollaback Istanbul are planning our own events in Istanbul for the week.
“Harassment restricts girls’ and women’s access to public places,” explains Holly Kearl, author of “Stop Street Harassment” and founder of the week long project “Meet Us On the Street”. “This is not what we want for the next generation of girls. This is a time for people to raise awareness about the issue and create community-based solutions to make public places safer for everyone.”
What do you think street harassment is about? Sex? Benign flattery? Attraction? Women who can’t just suck it up and deal? It’s power. Catcalls, sexist comments, public masturbation, groping, stalking and assault: gender-based street harassment makes public places unfriendly, frightening and dangerous for many girls, women, and LGBQT people. It’s power to control public spaces. Power to alter paths. Power to shame, scare and intimidate. Power to define what is safe and what is not. It’s the power to say: “I’m entitled to touch you, comment on your body, coerce you to smile, control your movement.” Even when women perceive catcalls as flattering, they are nonetheless aware that it’s an unpredictable degree away from possible harm.
Regardless of race, class, ethnicity, education, age and especially, clothes, women experience varying degrees of street harassment. More than 90 percent of girls and women surveyed internationally report being harassed. This is yet another “women’s issue” that is in reality a men’s problem. Women are not harassing men on streets around the world. At the very least, given the universality of women’s experiences, it should be thought of as a public health issue. This does not mean all men are harassers. But, most are quiet bystanders who are unaware of the ubiquity of the experience for women and the ways in which women learn to adapt and change our behavior in public every day. Most women just consider it the price of being female, some women fight back verbally or physically. Organizations like Stop Street Harassment and Hollaback, which created crowd-sourced, mobile technology applications for documenting and locating harassers, are finding creative ways to confront the problem.
Street harassment includes verbal and physical assault by a full spectrum of men whose primary filter for understanding women is to sexualize them. It can come from everyone from religious conservatives to sexually aggressive street thugs who “man-handle” them. It’s all gender-bullying.
This problem is everywhere. This problem is not limited. Not limited to poor women. Not limited to scantily clad women. Not limited to Asia, Africa and South America. Women in the US, Turkey, Canada, Australia and Europe are by no means immune and report similarly high rates of harassment.
What can you do? International Street Harassment week takes place March 18-24th, just after Women’s Day on March 8th. Here are 8 ways you can get involved.
Write one, two, ten stories about street harassment you’ve experienced on our website. Documenting harassment is a great way to say to the world, This happened to me, and it is wrong.
Educate yourself about why street harassment is an important topic and why it shouldn’t be ignored. Check out our resources so you know how to respond.
Talk about street harassment openly with your friends, family, coworkers, classmates, children, and neighbors. Share your strories with them. Men in partciular are often surprised to learn how much street harassment women receive and how they have adapted to this daily problem.
Bring Canimiz Kampuste to your university. We hold lectures, panels, films, and more on campuses around Istanbul. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more.
Join our Street Harassment Week events around Istanbul. We will be advertising a list of events in early March.
Help us organize, plan, and support our work . Only have a few hours to volunteer but you’re interested in join the movement? We could definitely use your help! Contact email@example.com to becoming involved.
Be a Male Ally. Bystander invtervention by men espeically is extremely important and creates safer, civil environments. Learn more about what you can do when you see someone getting harassed.
Recognize the power of social media. Follow us and movements like us on Facebook and Twitter. Stay connect, stay involved, and keep your network of friends and family involved in the Istanbul movement against street harassment.
(Adapted from this post)
Globally and in Turkey, street harassment is one of the most pervasive forms of gender-based violence, yet one of the least legislated against. Due to the prevalence of physical and verbal harassment in public spaces, Canımız Sokakat conducted research on the nature of street harassment in Istanbul. We wanted to see understand street harassment beyond the numerous stories we’ve received.
Here are our results:
Of the participants in our survey, 69% reported experiencing harassment regularly on at least a monthly basis.
The most common forms of harassment experienced included: leering (75%), being honked at (60%), being whistled at (59%), having kissing noises directed at them (48%), and being sexually touched or groped (46%).
Ninety-three percent of participants reported that they experienced harassment from a male perpetrator in a public space, with a vast majority of perpetrators falling between the ages of 18 and 59 years old. After experiencing street harassment, survey respondents most commonly felt annoyance, anger, disgust, and fear. Many also felt insulted.
One respondent to the survey explains: “Whether it is verbal or physical harassment, even after many years, unfortunately, one cannot forget it.” Another respondent echoes a similar sentiment: “It has been two and a half years since that incident, but I still feel fear and panic riding buses.” These feeling could be why 93% of our respondents consider street harassment an important issue today:
This research is only the beginning for us. We know there are hundreds of thousands undocumented stories of street harassment and that there are so many victims and bystanders who have been silenced by a culture that supports harassers. Research like this is one major step to understand street harassment in Istanbul and ultimately combat it. Any questions on our research, email us firstname.lastname@example.org. And help us out submitting your story of street harassment today!
Welcome to Hollaback! Istanbul
We are an organization with two major beliefs.
1- Every single person, regardless of age, gender, orientation, or
form of dress deserves the basic human right of being able to walk
the streets without fear, free from harassment of any form, including
physical or verbal. People are NOT objects, and no one has the right
to treat them as such, especially in public spaces.
2- The culture of harassment can be ended. The use of mobile
technology and connectivity allows everyone to share their story,
photos, and even video, and can affect a crowd-sourced cultural
change. Through these messages, we can break the silence and send the
message that any form of harassment is unacceptable.
Hollaback! Istanbul is building an online and offline community to combat harassment, a community where everyone can help, share, advise, support, and learn. Now that you’re here, why not help us in our mission; browse the stories, check out our resources, and raise awareness by sharing your own stories.
With your help, we have the power to end the culture of harassment!