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I was having coffee outside with some friends of mine who are in a band. There was a group of college guys (wearing college colors/sports team looking) sitting inside. One of them came out. He was drunk and started saying really loudly to my friend “What are you!? A guy or a girl?!” As I was trying to figure out what to do, my friend stood up and got right in the guy’s face, saying that it is not ok to talk to people like that. Another band mate also got up and stood there, giving my friend the voice, but showing that we had their back. Eventually the college guy’s friends came out, and I thought there was going to be a fight, but the guy’s friend said “what’s going on here?” We told him, and he grabbed his offensive friend and said, “I’m not going to back you up if you’re acting like an idiot!” Later he came back and apologized.
Back in May, Hollaback Appalachian Ohio! rolled out advertisements for their Bystander Intervention Campaign for area bartenders with hopes of training 5 area bars in the program over this past summer. Throughout the summer they visited many of the establishments on Court Street speaking to owners about the program, gauging interest, and dropping off letters describing the program. Many business owners expressed interest during these initial conversations, but the group has yet to schedule a workshop for a bar.
Over the summer, the group attended the first Hollaback! Site Leader’s Retreat in NYC. “It was an exciting event. We were able to meet with folks from all over the world doing the same work. We got big picture perspective and were able to learn from each other’s experiences,” says Sarah Fick, one of Hollaback Appalachian Ohio!’s site leaders. Following the event, the group made edits to their bartender campaign, aligning more closely with the work of Hollaback Boston! “The workshop that we developed stayed the same, but we are now calling it a Safer Spaces campaign and including use of the Employer’s Guide created by the NYC site, and a poster and pledge created by the Boston site,” says Fick. “In order to participate in the program, the business owner or manager must meet with one of our site leaders to receive the Employer’s Guide and discuss current issues and procedures. At least 65% of their staff must attend out 3 hour workshop covering identifying harassment, bystander intervention, and self defense. Then as a business, they take the pledge located on our blog.”
Upon completing the program, the business receives a sticker for their door identifying them as Safer Space, the campaign posters, business cards to give out to harassers and people targeted by harassers informing them of services available, and advertisement as a participating business through print and social media. The program is free of charge, and the group hopes to continue adding participating establishments to the list and eventually have a community discussion where all participants will be invited to discuss challenges, successes, and needed changes. “We hope to create a network of supportive and non-threatening environments in the Athens area where folks can feel safe to imbibe responsibly and not be harassed, or at the very least, have their complaints taken seriously by staff,” says Fick. “We’re looking forward to working with bartenders in the near future, because as we have seen in the stories shared on our blog, that the uptown bar area seems to be where our community’s most glaring problems lie. However, we were thrilled to pilot our program with Donkey Coffee as they have been very supportive of our work since we launched last April.”
Chris Pyle, co-owner of Donkey Coffee has this to say about the program: “We were impressed with the gentle and professional approach that Hollaback! encourages in the training. We received practical advice and discussed some ideas for handling everything from inconsiderate customers to perpetrators of harassment on the of street. Our employees feel more equipped to handle situations of conflict and that makes us feel good as business owners. Donkey is proud to be the first Hollaback! Safer Space.” For more information on the program visit our Safer Spaces page or contact Sarah at email@example.com.
This happened last Friday afternoon, but it’s been bugging me. I missed the F#*CKRAPECULTURE rally at the courthouse because I had to meet with my housemates, and I was walking home dejectedly after a long day. There was some kind of house party happening on High Street, and the whole front porch of one house was filled with guys (maybe eight or nine?) drinking and talking.
I was walking by the house and they were all chanting something – I assumed it was part of a drinking game or something and I was in this tired fog, so I wasn’t really paying attention. But then I heard one guy go, “I know you can hear us!” and I turned around, and I realized they were all chanting in unison at me. I couldn’t even understand exactly what they were saying, so I honestly just yelled out, “Sorry, I’m too confused about what’s going on” which was verbose and awkward, but I felt so embarrassed that they’d be chanting and yelling at me for half a block and I only just realized.
They all started laughing and I sped up and walked faster but I felt so guilty because I’ve gone through bystander training, and usually I’m better about responding to street harassment in a firm, serious, way, but I was so tired and I just felt so intimidated by everyone on the porch yelling at me.
I just kept thinking, “It’s 5 PM, I’m walking home from class, and I’m missing a rally to fight street harassment, only to have you harass me. I don’t need this.”
While walking past this house on Friday October 12, around 9 PM, party goers or residents sitting at the gate of this house (about three people) started cat calling me. They tried to get my attention the whole time that I was walking by them and the phrase that stuck out to me most was that one said “I would rape your butt.”
So I just spent all day today moving furniture and cleaning out the wood shed so that I could buy a load of seasoned firewood. I haven’t had time to cut any all summer, and it’s starting to get cold at night. I drove a few miles down the road to this hunting supply store that I had never had a good feeling about. My friend, who happens to be a guy, said that the guys there had been really nice last year and that they sold him nicely seasoned hardwood at a fair price, so I decided to check it out anyway. I drove up to the place. There was an open sign on the door but no one around. I got out of my truck, and two guys walked up from another building nearby saying, “Do you need dad?” I didn’t know who “dad” was, so I just said, “Who?” The other one said, “What do you need, babydoll?” and it sounded belittling and smirky to me. He refused to make eye contact or look at me for a reaction, but my stomach turned, and I took a step back and just said, “I heard you all sold seasoned firewood.” He rambled on for a long time about how it was his brother who did that and that he didn’t think he was going to this year. He asked me if I knew him and a handful of other names. It felt like he was just trying to keep me there as long as possible. I was shaking my head, walking toward my car, and saying, “That’s okay, I can find some elsewhere” when he started to follow me and ask me where I lived. I just said again, more loudly this time, “It’s okay. I can find some somewhere else,” and took off. What is it with guys thinking it’s okay to call strangers names like “babydoll” and ask them where they live?! So much for nice customer service. I guess things are different for women around here.
As I was walking into Kroger the other day, a group of about four or five guys started shouting at me and whistling. I turned around to look at who they were, and one of the guys started shouting, “Damn girl, that ass is hanging out! I like that!” I turned back around and continued walking, and his comments got worse, he started saying really nasty things, like, “I’d like to bend you over,” and, “I’ve got something you can stick in that ass.” He continued shouting as I walked into Kroger, and when I saw him again inside, he said, “Hey, baby.”
My boyfriend and I were standing in front of the Cat’s Eye, smoking cigarettes. He was facing the street, and I was facing away from it, a group of guys walked behind me and they were talking loudly, clearly intoxicated, a few were wearing OU t-shirts, and one of them grabbed my butt. I turned around and he said, “Oh sorry,”. I walked back inside, assuming it was an accident, but my boyfriend said he saw the guy elbow his friend and point out my butt right before he did it.
A group of college guys sitting on a porch told me to “Shake that ass” while I walked up the hill home the other night. I said “What the heck?” because I’m not particularly articulate when drunk. They started yelling all kinds of lewd comments about my body in response. I’m just guessing on the address here, but I’ve noticed that they’re always rude even when I walk by in the daytime. Which I try not to do if I can help it.