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Taking Harassment Off The Streets

BAHAMIANS going to work on Monday morning will have encountered a host of messages aiming to tackle the problem of street harassment.

Activists took part in a chalk walk, scrawling messages in chalk on the streets to highlight the problem.

Alicia Wallace, of Hollaback! Bahamas, said: “It’s International Anti-Street Harassment Week, and we wanted to literally take the message to the street. Chalk messages are not common here, and we knew it would attract the attention of pedestrians.

“We want people to think about the issue of street harassment and how it relates to them. Everyone has experienced it in some form, and though it has been normalised, it is definitely not normal.

“It is unacceptable, and educating the general public on the definition and everyday examples of street harassment is the first step to combating this problem.”

More than 150 groups from 22 countries participated in Anti-Street Harassment Week last year, organised by meetusonthestreet.org.

Alicia added: “Street harassment is an everyday problem many people deal with on a daily basis. You would be hard-pressed to find a woman who makes it through an entire day without experiencing some form of street harassment.

‘This includes all forms of catcalling, whistling, horn honking, kissing noises, and what Bahamians refer to as ‘seeking’ or ‘seek-seeking’.

“Street harassment, no matter the form it takes, is not a compliment. Harassers sometimes think they are doing some sort of community services by yelling out, “Hey, Sexy!” They need to know that being yelled at or aggressively approached by a stranger, no matter his message, can be scary. A simple “Good morning” or “Good afternoon” will do, and it is up to the recipient of the greeting to respond.”

Hollaback! Bahamas is a new group, due to officially launch on April 14.

Alicia said: “Anti-Street Harassment Week is about raising awareness, educating the public, and empowering people to respond to street harassment.

“Many times, when we experience street harassment, we are caught off guard or frightened. We either pick up our pace or try to ignore. We want to encourage people to respond to harassers, but only when they feel safe enough to do so. Sometimes politely saying ‘That’s no way to speak a lady,’ or ‘Please stop yelling at me,’ is all it takes to show someone what they’re doing is unacceptable.”

The group is encouraging people to share their street harassment stories. Visit bahamas.ihollaback.org to share your story, read stories others have shared, and support others by leaving comments and clicking the “I’ve Got Your Back” button. The group also has a Facebook page (facebook.com/hollaback242) for updates.

Comments

BahamianAway 5 months, 3 weeks ago

How lovely...There are Bahamians now realizing that being whistled and honked at from a car while walking down a street is not a way to get the attention of a woman. I blame the jungless women who feel this type of behaviour from Bahamian men is endearing. He must really be attracted to me if he hollers at me on the street in front of everybody.

But heaven help the decent woman who ignores such behaviour keeps her head high and walks on- then it goes from "seek seek sweet thing" to "gone then with ya stinking crabby".

While this is a good idea...these type of behaviours need to be addressed at the school level. Teach young girls from primary school age that they are worth more than a "seek seek" on the side of the road, and instill in these young boys the respectful way to approach a female.

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hollaback242 5 months, 3 weeks ago

We believe many people are aware of this issue, but do not know how to respond.

We will officially launch on April 14, 2014.

We have an anti-street harassment program for schools which we are eager to deliver. Unfortunately, it's quite difficult to get responses from school administrators. Fortunately, we're persistent! In the interim, we are happy to do what we can to educate and sensitize the public. If you're interested in our work and would like to share other ideas, feel free to contact us via our website or Facebook page.

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generalcrazy 5 months, 3 weeks ago

So they graffiti up the sidewalk, and don't bother to pick up the trash - so much for pride. Anyway, we get harassed by beggars every day outside the stores, nothing new - just ignore them or cuss them out.

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hollaback242 5 months, 3 weeks ago

Street harassment should not happen in the first place. Street harassment is not normal and should not be treated as such. It's not something we should just "deal with" and it needs to be addressed.

We will continue to work to raise awareness of the issue, educate the Bahamian public, and let those experiencing harassment know it is not their fault and they are not alone.

Thank you for your feedback about the trash. Next time we "graffiti up the sidewalk" we'll promote it beforehand and welcome you and everyone else to join us and bring along trash bags so we can clean the place up a bit at the same time.

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generalcrazy 5 months, 2 weeks ago

People shouldn't run red lights but 99% of Bahamians do that, and 99% of Bahamians don't use turning signals - both criminal acts are endangering the lives of everyone else on the road. That is a more important issue than someone calling you "sexy". Meanwhile since "you" choose to graffiti the sidewalk one would think the least you could do, while you are there, is pick up the trash. And no thanks, this crazy general won't be joining you in your acts of lawlessness.

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BahamianAway 5 months, 2 weeks ago

I am going out on a limb here and assume several things which may be true based on your IGNORANT and STUPID responses.

  1. You must be one of the many classless men or women who think being harassed on the street is sexy and possibly a boost to your already low self-esteem.

  2. You probably don't have any children most especially female because if you did you would not want anyone to harass your female child in the street.

  3. You must have been raised by some random pack of stray potcakes because had you been raised by a loving mother and father you would know that harassment of any kind should not be tolerated

  4. You ARE one of the MANY ignorant Bahamians who contribute to the rapid decay and decline of our society with your STUPID thoughts and opinions and your GENERAL CRAZY approach to how to make it better

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generalcrazy 5 months, 2 weeks ago

Usual response from the weak minded - personal attacks. You are wrong on all accounts, but if it makes you feel better about being a criminal, go right ahead. BTW I was raised in a bat cave, and now I live in a cesspool. So go cut off that limb you went out on, since your assumptions were incorrect and quite frankly, pathetically lame. PS. I'm crazy, what's your excuse for being stupid and ignorant?

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BahamianAway 5 months, 2 weeks ago

And your response proves my point...

Another idiot Bahamian that prides themselves in keeping the country backwards by having a stupid mentality and laughing to think being crazy will get us anywhere as a nation.

Keep the cesspool mentality...the way the Bahamas is going and with people like you it will soon be a perfect environment for you.

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generalcrazy 5 months, 2 weeks ago

As opposed to another idiot American who doesn't even live here - mind your business criminal.

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BahamianAway 5 months, 2 weeks ago

Seems like you might be a bit jealous because I at least have the option to live in America. You on the other hand are probably stuck in your little 1 bedroom hovel somewhere on Kemp Road or even Bain Town.

No worries I keep idiots like you in mind as I complete my education and make myself a better person. So eventually I can help eradicate the fools like you that help to decay and defile my lovely Bahamas.

Now as for this conversation I am done...because people like you only seek to drag people like me down to your level. I have stooped as far as I am willing to go- I refuse to lower my intelligence to argue common sense matters with someone who obviously possess none.

Good day to you

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generalcrazy 5 months, 2 weeks ago

I know you didn't just threaten to kill a crazy General (eradicate) !!! Lucky for you I don't take college/uni students seriously, especially those that ran away from the place they seem to think they know so much about. The Army would teach you some manners, so that you do not drag yourself down into the gutter with feeble personal attacks - but it appears there is no hope based on your extreme ignorance and support for criminal activity. To recap, if you think this is at the top of the list of issues in this country, then you are extremely naive, gullible, ignorant, out of touch with reality ..... take your pick, soljah.

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hollaback242 5 months, 2 weeks ago

Sexual harassment in public places can lead to much worse things happening behind closed doors. If one thinks he/she is entitled to the time, attention, and/or conversation of a stranger, imagine what else one is capable of and confident in doing. This is not a trivial issue. Street harassment often does not end with, "Hey, sexy!" Harassers often become physical, verbally abuse, and stalk.

We do not rank issues according to our opinion/perception of their levels of importance. Street harassment is the issue Hollaback! Bahamas is here to address. If you are passionate about another issue, be encouraged to do something about it.

You are not alone in your limited understanding of street harassment, its root/causes, and its effects. Fear not! Hollaback! Bahamas has broken the silence, and we will continue to ignite conversations and develop strategies to end street harassment. It starts with education and awareness, so those chalked messages are not the last you will see or hear from us.

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BahamianAway 5 months, 2 weeks ago

I think your cause is a good one...women and men in the Bahamas need to be educated on harassment on any level and understanding the ramifications that come along with it.

Unfourtunately there will always be idiots like generalcrazy who think it's funny to stay stupid and ignorant things because they find it funny.

I think it great- KUDOS!!!

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generalcrazy 5 months, 2 weeks ago

I may be a crazy idiot, but it beats being a weak minded criminal idiot - please do not breed.

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BahamianAway 5 months, 2 weeks ago

LOL!!!!

Another statement brought courtesy of your mass abundance of stupidity. I have no doubt that you probably will breed a whole team of equally stupid people.

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hollaback242 5 months, 2 weeks ago

Thank you! We appreciate your support!

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generalcrazy 5 months, 2 weeks ago

Well good luck with all that and your acts of criminal activity.

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sheeprunner12 5 months, 2 weeks ago

What u all ga do bout dem LGBT sick sicking and hooting at lil boys??????

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hollaback242 5 months, 2 weeks ago

We have not made any distinctions with regard to perpetrators of street harassment. No gender, sexual orientation, religion, class, or race is exempt. Our message is for all Bahamians.

If you see anyone sexually harassing another person, whether an adult or a minor, we hope you are will step up and speak out if it is safe to do so. There is information on our website about bystander intervention. Educate yourself and be empowered to take action.

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generalcrazy 5 months, 2 weeks ago

Where is this alleged "sexual harassment" taking place? Sounds like you are walking in the Ghetto, and that alone is dangerous in so many ways. It's a larger issue than someone just calling a woman sexy - most males for instance would be shot or stabbed or robbed by the same thugs you say are harassing you. It's the ghetto thug mentality there, brought over here from Black America. If you want other people to say or do something about it, first you need to pressure the government to legalize guns for good citizens - right now everyone is a sitting duck.

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