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HOLLABACK MELBOURNE NEEDS YOU!
Do you want to contribute to ending street harassment in Melbourne? Are you fed up with being harassed or seeing others being harassed and feel inspired to take action? Or are you an awesome feminist-minded human being who is looking to gain some professional experience?
Come and join the Hollaback! Melbourne team. We are currently looking for REGULAR CONTRIBUTORS! (but if you don’t want to write and want to do something else instead, contact us anyway! there’s always room on the team)
What do you get? Experience, getting to work in the friendliest most flexible feminist street-harassment-fighting team going, and the satisfaction of helping to end the most common form of gender based violence in your community.
Check out the POSITION DESCRIPTIONS HERE! All the info is on that page, but if you have any questions shoot them over to Poppy at email@example.com.
Just walking home with groceries and some men yelled out “BITCH!” from their car and sprayed us with some kind of liquid from their window as they drove off. Another woman came up to me and my friend who had also been harassed by them. We got the license plate number of their car but I’m not sure what to do with that information or if there is anywhere to make a report about it where someone will actually care.
Six months ago, three construction sites popped up around our house. Today, as I left my house I ran into my female housemate and we stopped to chat. A group of tradies passed us and blatantly stopped to ogle and talk about us. A moment later they walked past again with more friends. Then they poked their heads around the building just to stare at us. Yesterday they said over their megaphone “Check out the girl in the blue shirt”. I was wearing a blue shirt. I’m looking to move.
Hey there Hollaback-ers! This week Gordon brings us a piece examining the issue of sexual harassment and assault in the Australian Defence Force. Readers are advised that this piece contains discussion of sexual assault and violence. This work is satire.
Dear Lieutenant General David Morrison,
I’m sure you’re as concerned as I am about all the sex scandals in the Australian Defence Force over the last couple of years. It started with those boys filming a couple having sex back in 2011, and then everyone came out of the woodwork, a female soldier serving in East Timor back in 2012, weird “Jedi Council” email rings, and even a group of bad officers back in the 50′s.
And now, worst of all, a bunch of sailors have been taken off the HMAS Ballarat and an investigation started up over sexual assault claims. On Remembrance Day!
When I saw your message to the troops back in June 2013, I was impressed. “This is a good bloke” I thought, “he’ll take control of things and get it all sorted out”. Well it seems I was wrong wasn’t I? Not only did the stories keep coming out and tarnishing the good name of the ADF, but when you did act, you went completely overboard.
I mean come on mate, what so bad about being filmed having sex after all? It’s not like she was raped or anything, and if she didn’t want people seeing her sleeping around she shouldn’t have been doing it in the first place – I can’t help but notice that the guy she shagged didn’t make a song and dance out of it and he was on camera just as much.
Hardly worth kicking the poor fellas out of the army and hauling them through the courts just because some silly girl got her nose out of joint. Their careers are ruined now and all over a bit of harmless high spirits that hardly affected her at all.
But sure, I can understand why you’d want to fly off the handle and make an example of them; after all we can’t have recruits disrespecting authority in the armed forces! But what I can’t understand or forgive is the way you dragged the name of our armed forces, and the Diggers that served in them, through the mud in the process. I mean, just someone unearths a systematic ring of bastardisation, harassment and sexual assault doesn’t mean there’s a cultural problem here! You of all people should know how important trust is between soldiers; they need to know they have each other’s backs. How dare you jeopardise that for the sake of lofty academic ideals like transparency, safety and protecting a few victims?
There’s a way of dealing with these things properly, keeping the media away from it and insuring the perpetrators and victims are dealt with properly and quietly. Just take the guilty parties aside, give them a slap over the wrist and then ship the victim somewhere where they can’t be around to bring trouble on themselves and all’s well!
Because that’s the real problem here isn’t it? It’s not that some of the young men in the armed forces have a horrible culture of disrespect, harassment and outright victimisation of women, it’s that the women bring it upon themselves by daring to intrude on the traditional male domain of the armed forces. Let’s be frank General, everyone knows that women have no place in the service, and forcing it in order to be politically correct just puts them at danger from guys who feel threatened by their presence.
This week the Hollaback! Melbourne headquarters are excited to bring you a piece from one of our guest bloggers, Talisha. Talisha’s piece is interesting in that it considers how popular representations of male/female relationships (i.e. through music, cinema and television) can impact upon real life male/female interactions and the implications of this. We’re interested to know what your thoughts are on ‘playing hard-to-get.’ Is it just a bit of harmless flirtation or are the impacts of this behaviour far graver than this? Let us know in the comments section below.
There seems to be a large discrepancy between the way men interact with women and the way women want to be interacted with by men. When we talk about things like sexism or street harassment, this discrepancy becomes very clear. The level at which this becomes particularly interesting is when we consider smaller nuances which may impact this behavioral difference. Without taking away from the men who behave disrespectfully towards women in a range of situations, I do wonder if the way men and women actively play the ‘dating game’ affects misguided understandings of acceptability.
After recently expressing to an acquaintance that I was not interested in his advances we went through a long and frustrating process due to persistence on his part, and I was left bewildered by his response. The conversation unfortunately regressed to a hostile state where he accused me of rewarding his (self-acknowledged) bad behaviour, by giving my full, undivided attention to him when turning him down; something which I had never done before. I was perplexed. This guy couldn’t be serious. After inquiring about the lack of respect shown for me and what I had to say with friends, it dawned on me that this guy seemed to think we were playing some kind of game. The old ‘playing hard to get’.
Pieces started shifting into place. This was not the first time this kind of situation had occurred. As someone who tends to err on the side of caution, I like to opt for the firm and explicit “Thank you, but no thank you.” There have been times where I literally could not have been clearer and have been met with unrelenting levels of persistence. I know I am not the only woman who has experienced this. So what does this mean? How can what we say be so lost in translation or willfully ignored? There are bound to be a number of environmental and socially conditioned contributors, including perhaps a severe inability to process social situations and possibly a lack of intelligence. I feel this, while annoying and potentially distressing, would not necessarily be a severe circumstance to take issue with, if not for the broader implications.
When a woman says “no”, it means, unconditionally, no. Or at least it should, and I know with me, it does. Unfortunately, some women really do play this game of ‘hard to get’ which at best sends confusing signals. This is not to displace or shift blame in any way. Every individual is responsible for their own actions. However, it is curious to consider how sending mixed signals and playing the hot and cold game could condition men to understand language in a romantic context. Egos are precious things which are all too often nurtured more than is healthy; if we add a layer of gleaming fairy-tale possibility guy-who-tries-hard-to-win-girl-gets-girls-lives-happily-ever-after, it becomes a force I want nothing to do with.
I am tremendously grateful I am not part of the ‘dating scene’, otherwise this lack of transparency would be enough to leave me running from the room or brooding over men non-stop. While exercise is great, neither are desirable ways to spend my time. Most of the women I know are incredibly intelligent and compassionate and consciously choose not to toy with people’s emotions. The ‘hard to get game’ is not necessarily an intentional tool of manipulation, but it does demonstrate a lack of respect for their counterparts and is often used as a tool for personal ego stroking. While the men who cross lines and refuse to respect a woman when she says no, or choose to interact on a level which the woman finds unacceptable, are still wholly responsible and liable for their actions, I can’t help but wonder if (some) women (especially those on T.V and in movies) stopped toying with men’s emotions, there would be less discrepancy between desired levels of interaction. Perhaps if there were more transparency in the way women interacted with men in regards to their intentions romantic or otherwise, there would be fewer occurrences of men thinking of, “I’m not interested” as being interchangeable with, “I’m playing hard to get.”
Something we’re often asked here at Hollaback! Melbourne is how to respond to street harassment. Is it best to ignore it? To yell at the harasser or otherwise confront them? Reading through the stories that have been submitted to our site, you’ll notice that everybody reacts to harassment in a different way. Perhaps it’s with a deadly stare, by flipping the bird or by yelling out a good, old-fashioned FUCK YOU.
In truth there really is no ‘best’ way to respond to a harasser. We want you to do whatever feels safest and to respond with what you feel most comfortable with. When someone says something vulgar to me, a personal favourite tactic is to ask the harasser what exactly they mean – “Excuse me? What do you mean by that? You’d like to put what where?”
It’s extremely satisfying.
We all have our own strategies to make ourselves feel safe, or at least prepared. The classic keys-between-fingers when travelling alone at night, pretending to talk on the phone – the paradox of self-defence is that the more prepared you are, the less likely you are to need it. When you can recognize and respond effectively to potentially dangerous situations, you are more confident in your everyday activities and are less likely to become a target of crime.
The good folks at Krav Maga Melbourne are hosting a free self-defence workshop on Sunday 24th November for White Ribbon Day. Women of all ages and abilities are invited to come along and learn some new skills.
Oh, and did we mention it’s free?
The workshop will cover avoidance, de-escalation of situations, what to do after defending yourself, and a whole lot more.
Meet us at 12pm at the Krav Maga Melbourne centre, 1/432 Queen Street, Melbourne. Bring a bottle of water and exercise clothes – and be prepared to kick some butt.
Don’t forget to hit attending on the Facebook event here- we’ll see you there!
It’s midday and I’m waiting at a tram stop by myself. A man in a car, with the window down, leans out and shouts “NIIIIICE” at the top of his lungs at me. Does a sundress on a warm day warrant being yelled at? What a thrill to receive such a well thought out and genuine compliment. Ugh.
Last year when I was in year 12 at my high school, I was walking to my bus stop in my school uniform (obviously) as I usually do every morning. I was crossing the road at the lights when some guys in a ute yelled out at me “hey gorgeous.” I turned to look but didn’t respond and kept walking. They then proceeded to follow me along the road where I was walking down the footpath to scream, “fine then, slut!” out the window, before driving off.
Like I’m supposed to bat my eyes at any guy who tells me his unsolicited opinion on my appearance? Or even accept it like it’s the biggest compliment in the world? Piss off.
Today we bring you another excellent piece from the wonderful Gordon, author of our ‘Defender’ articles and a self-confessed male feminist (SHOCK! HORROR!). This month he’s delving into misogyny in AFL culture in an open letter to Andrew Demetriou- the current CEO of the AFL. As always, remember to click through on the links and let us know what you think in the comments section below. Please note that this article is satire and contains content and language that may be upsetting to some readers.
Dear Andrew Demetriou,
Congratulations on another year of awesome footy! The AFL has copped a bit of flack this year, what with all this doping nonsense (since when is elite athletes seeking an edge a bad thing?) and those twits at St Kilda setting that dwarf on fire, but I think we can all be thankful we’ve gotten through the season without another one of these bloody ‘sex scandals’.
Remember the St Kilda Schoolgirl case? And then that girl who claimed to have been ‘raped’ after going home with a couple of Collingwood players? The feminazis went apeshit, the media ate it up and you couldn’t go five minutes without seeing some academic know-it-all who’d never spent a second in the real world going on about how it was part of some sort of ‘cultural trend’ within the clubs. It was good to see a lot of supporters came out to defend the players and the game with reasonable, well-rounded arguments, but it still left a nasty smear on the AFL.
And all over what? A few stupid girls who couldn’t take responsibility for their own decisions? As Peter “Spida” Everitt said, whattaya expect when you go home with a guy? That he’ll treat you like a person and respect your choices? Please. Everyone knows once a guy gets horny they stop thinking and lose control – can’t hardly blame them if they make a mistake in that state, can you?
And that’s even assuming they made any more mistake than taking some girl home who turned out to be unstable and changed her mind after the fact. It’s hardly the guy’s fault if the girl doesn’t know what she wants, is it? Hell, given how many women would line up to date a footballer, these girls ought to consider themselves lucky!
These guys are the heroes of our time; top performers all through their youth, groomed to be the best their entire lives, and selected as young as 17 to play in the pinnacle of their field with a 6-figure salary and the adoration of millions. And you’re trying to tell me this intensive process turns some of them into privileged, narcissistic man-children who consider women disposable playthings? Who are you trying to kid?
These whiny intellectual feminist types need to ask themselves a question: what’s more likely? A teenager without any life experience, fuelled up on cash, booze and hero-worship taking what he wants when a woman tells him “no”? Or a woman voluntarily exposing herself to a colossal volume of personal scrutiny, not mention criminal prosecution, by fabricating a rape claim?
I think we both know the answer, don’t we Andrew?