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Get Creative when you Hollaback

“Start reciting Mel Gibson’s freedom speech from “Braveheart.” Check out some interesting and creative ways to respond to street harassment from thefrisky.com.

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Liz’s Story: Stalked & Grabbed on a Morning Run

I am training for the Istanbul marathon and went out for a long run this morning. Near Besiktas a man on a bike cut me off, a little while later I realized he had doubled back and was following me. He started talking to me a bit and I tried brushing him off. He went away for briefly and then came back and asked me to have tea with him. I told him no I am running. Not far from the palace he got off his bike and obstructed my path, I tried to get around him and he grabbed me, I started pulling away and thrashing and he held on tighter and I started shouting let go of me and finally got away and ran in the opposite direction of him and called a friend crying who then came and picked me up. It was really upsetting to me that he made me afraid while I was just trying to do what I love to do, run. Also I lived in Morocco and have traveled elsewhere in the Middle East and have found Turkey to be more comfortable but this was my most intense experience with harassment on the streets anywhere.

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JC’s Story: “Young Females Have Really No Options in Istanbul”

I was once shouting at a guy who’d followed me for 30 minutes in his car insisting I gave him my phone number & a pair oof oldish Turkish gentlemen stepped in to demonstrate they would happily use their fishing rods to teach him a lesson! It was very sweet but unfortunately equally worrying when they then insisted they must give me a lift home in their fisherman van! Eventually they accepted I’d call the police if I had any further difficulties with the man but to be fair I’ve not had great experience with them either – young females are have really no options in Istanbul in my opinion!

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Gail’s story: “He looked quite crazy”

I was followed by a guy who just started staring at me on the ship. When I got down he was walking in front of me but still looking back. When I stopped he stopped and waited for me. I understood this and I got a bit scared, he looked quite crazy. It was afternoon and a lot of people on the street in Kadıköy I tried to get rid of him. I turned back from a corner and I let him go ahead. İ asked few guys about some shop and I wanted to continue my way, sure that the man has gone. Surprise! he was waiting at the corner. İ screamed at him: “What do you want?” and suddenly 3 guys from the shops came: “do you have any problem abla?” İ explained the situation and they went after him; the guy ran away. They were feeling very proud that they protected me: “Don’t worry, they said, he will not come back anymore.” I felt really good and it is not for the first time when I encountered the kindness of strangers here. After a while I saw the man again, in the boat, he stared again but he was with his wife and kids.

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Dina’s Story: Apologizes to My Face, Calls Me a B*tch to My Back

After spending 3 weeks in the country of the free (relatively free) – Russia- where people wear anything they want (up to pulling colorful tights over their heads) without fearing the public opinion, I returned to Istanbul. Going for 2 days without being harassed in public (probably because of not going out much) I gathered all my courage had my hair cut short (despite all those promises to myself that I will never do it again before I left Turkey for good), put on a pair of shorts and a bright t-shirt and went out to a supermarket ALONE. I must have breached all social norms in Turkey by having my hair short like a boy, revealing my legs, and- tövbe- wearing something that attracts attention (A BRIGHT T-SHIRT!). As expected, not even 5 min passed when I heard a rude comment from a garbage collector boy. I would have ignored him if he didn’t repeat it three or four times. I turned around and came up with something I thought is the biggest insult to a Turkish man’s masculinity- I called him “a gay”. His face revealed confusion. His friend, another garbage collector, started laughing. The first guy mumbled something like he had a sister; without hearing the rest I asked him if he would be okay if someone said that (what he said to me) to his sister. The second guy intervened saying Dogru konusuyor (“She’s right”). My harasser apologized to me. And as I walked away I heard him yelling Orospusun sen (“You’re a bitch”) twice.
(image taken from radikal.com.tr)

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Lawyer Responds to Street Harassment in Istanbul

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 .

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Pepper Spray: Do you think it keeps you safe?

A few people have recently told us that they have been harassed so much, they carry pepper spray to protect themselves. Then we found this guide to homemade pepper spray and this got us thinking, how many of you have pepper spray? Is it a solution to street harassment?

Director Kacie Lyn Kocher shares: “I have pepper spray that I keep at home, but I’m not very comfortable carrying it around with me in public for the most part. However, I was talking about this with someone, and she told me that she had so many frightening incidents with street harassment that she began to carry pepper spray for protection. That was three months ago, and not one person has harassed her since then. Of course they don’t know she’s carrying pepper spray in her purse, but maybe pepper spray gives her the confidence and perhaps even the attitude that makes harassers less interested in harassing her. This is the real question: How can we give those prone to be victims of harassment that confidence? Whether pepper spray, self defense training, or public speaking practice, we should find ways as a community to cultivate those solutions.”

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Vincent’s Call for Help: How to Respond to an Auto Owner who grabbed his Daughter?

We were walking home after diner me, my wife, and my two daughters age 14&16. We stopped at an auto supply shop chockfull of stuff. My youngest always being inquisitive walked into the shop looking at things suddenly came out crying. The shop owner (man in 50’s) had isolated her and squeezed her breasts. She still a child and was shocked. Now I should mention that she goes to acting school and she likes to fool us so our first reaction was disbelief and we just walked on. Now this morning I feel bad about it. she doesn’t want to talk about it and I want to file a complaint or take some sort of action. The shop is right around the corner of the flat we rent. They only speak Turkish and I worry if I go to the Jandarma they will not take the claim seriously…..

Any suggestions? We travel a lot and this is a first.

Vincent

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Katy’s Story: give him a good lesson

It was early morning and I was on my way to work. I entered the Taksim metro station and passed the toll gate. I was about to get on an escalator when I noticed a guy was talking on the phone right there. I passed and stopped on the stairs and he followed and grabbed my bottom in passing. I was so shocked and angry. I said ‘hey you just passed and grabbed me’ he didn’t answer and made a face like he didn’t know what happened.
I knew there was nothing I could do but I could give him a good lesson. I noticed the metro guards were standing not very far from me so I shouted and asked them to help me. They ran to me right away and I showed them the guy, who now was walking fast because he noticed I was talking to the guards. They ran after him and took him to the metro office manager. He asked for our IDs and called the police. During this time while the police were coming they were nice and respectful. When the police arrived they talked to me first and then to the guy. They gave me two options. I could go to the police station and file a claim against him, or close the case there. I didn’t have a choice because I had no time — I was on the way to the office. So I skipped claiming and the police took the guy to me to apologise. They asked me to go and they kept the guy to make sure he didn’t follow me and then kicked him out of metro. I think there are a lot of worse stories but in such a cases we might see ourselves as powerless and disappointed. It’s better always to give a lesson rather than fight. I think that guy will never forget the moment he looked into my face and apologised.

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Ashlee’s Story: Suddenly an uninvited hand was on my butt

I stood on a packed evening bus, crammed between the driver and the money takers. Suddenly an uninvited hand was on my butt. Struggling unsuccessfully to get away, I passed a looked of panic to the money taker while eying the groper. He noticed my struggle and told the driver to open the door. With that, I elbowed him off, and he was pushed off the bus. With a smile I thanked the money taker. He nodded and turned his eyes back out the window.

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Ashlee’s Story: Suddenly an uninvited hand was on my butt

I stood on a packed evening bus, crammed between the driver and the money takers. Suddenly an uninvited hand was on my butt. Struggling unsuccessfully to get away, I passed a looked of panic to the money taker while eying the groper. He noticed my struggle and told the driver to open the door. With that, I elbowed him off, and he was pushed off the bus. With a smile I thanked the money taker. He nodded and turned his eyes back out the window.

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Susie’s Story: The two men became aggressive

While walking with friends towards Istiklal Cd. a man grabbed my friend’s bottom and his friend touched my other friend a moment later. My friend became very upset and angry and followed the guy onto Istiklal, tapped him on the shoulder and slapped him! The two men became aggressive and we quickly walked away after saying “cok ayip” (shameful) to the guys. Not the smartest reaction, but my friend felt much better afterward!

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Upset’s Story: it was my second time on the bus

I was new in Istanbul and it was my second time on the bus. It was afternoon and the bus was almost full. I was holding onto a pole on the side standing, and I felt a man pressed against my back, so I moved sideways, so he moved too and pressed against my side. Then I moved and stood further from the poll on the side. The man held onto the pole on the other side of me (unnecessary) and the moved his arm further and touched my breasts, so I flinched and shouted at him and he backed off.

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L.Q.’s Story: It clearly wasn’t a premeditated attack

I was walking home from the library after a late night of studying. I was just a few paces from my apartment building’s door when I heard fast footsteps coming behind me. A shorter man in his mid to late 50s was charging at me, holding plastic bags — I thought he was a delivery man who was running late.

I turned to apologize for being startled, but when he came close to me, he shoved me against the wall. He grabbed my neck and my face, but I was much taller than him and was able to push him off me. When he realized I could physically dominate him, he fled. I chased him for a bit, screaming the whole time. I was shaking so hard I couldn’t hold my key steady to open the door for at least five minutes.

It clearly wasn’t a premeditated attack — it looked like he was carrying home groceries to his wife and decided to approach me on a whim. I have no idea what he thought was going to happen. Did he really think he could rape me, a 187 cm tall woman, under the eyes of about two thousand residential windows?

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SJE’s Story: I, on the other hand, was shaking from anger.

When did “hello” become a word of harassment?

Today around 6 PM I was walking with two other foreign friends and colleagues (one brown-haired and the other blond) toward the Yenibosna metrobus stop, on the sidewalk of the E-5. Three young men in a white van passed us by and shouted “hello hello!” in the obnoxious way I think all foreign women who’ve lived in Turkey long enough have experienced. My friends didn’t notice. I was just going to ignore it like all the other times when that has happened, sometimes with the men shouting in-your-face and obnoxiously, sometimes quietly, almost muttering to themselves as they walk by briskly. But then I noticed that the car had pulled over toward the sidewalk ahead of us. I tried not to panic but had a sinking feeling about why they had pulled over. And I was right: as soon as we were passing by they started shouting again, “hello, hello!”, this time louder. Again, my friends didn’t notice and I ignored them, walking past quickly. As they pulled away they shouted for a third time, this time loud enough that my friends and people around us noticed. This time I shouted back a few choice words in Turkish. People then looked at me strangely. I couldn’t see the men’s faces — they were probably laughing and mocking me. I on the other hand was shaking from anger.

It makes me sad that even a seemingly innocuous word, one that’s supposed to be used in greeting, is used as a word of harassment, shouted like a threat, by some men here. It’s a shame.

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