Tired Of Degradation On Streets, They Ask NYC Council For HelpBy Marla Diamond

NEW YORK (CBS 2/WCBS 880) — For years women and young girls have put up with cat calls, lewd comments and much worse on the streets. Now they’re fighting back stronger than ever.

Grace Tobin is 16 years old and said the subways are the worst when it comes to harassment that’s often sexual.

“I feel degraded. I feel embarrassed. I feel absolutely helpless,” Tobin told CBS 2’s Cindy Hsu.

“It’s everything from the stares you get to the actual groping on the subway. It really does vary every single day, but I do experience it on an everyday basis and I don’t know one girl in my life or woman who has not experienced it at some point.”

Tobin and many other victims packed a New York City Council hearing Thursday asking for “harassment-free zones” around schools, similar to drug free zones.

WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond reports on the push for “harassment-free zones”

Emily May started the group “Hollaback” encouraging women to take pictures and to share their stories.

“Street harassment is a gateway crime. It creates a culture that makes violence against women okay. It starts with street harassment, but if that’s what you do on the street, what are you doing at home?” May told Hsu.

After years of seeing his mother harassed on the street, 14-year-old Brian Bradley testified Thursday at the hearing.

“I hear stuff – ‘Yo mom,’ ‘What’s good, mom,’ ‘Psss, psss,’ cat calling and stuff like that like she’s an animal. What goes through my heart is that I’m like very mad,” Bradley said.

But he turned his anger into a song and music video called “Stop Looking at My Moms.”

“What I’m going to do to stop it is basically talk to all of the grown men, tell them I don’t like it, no one likes it. If I looked at your mom you wouldn’t like it. So I’m basically trying to change the way men approach women nowadays,” Bradley said.

He and other advocates said the only way to make that change is to take a stand as a community to end street harassment.

Along with harassment-free zones, many of the women want a city-wide study on the issue and a public service announcement campaign.

Comments (20)
  1. Violet says:

    I think most people do feel bitter when they’re groped, stalked, and masturbated at against their will. Let’s show some compassion for the negative experiences of other humans.

  2. Violet says:

    There was no weeping at the hearing, Joe — watch a few videos and see for yourself. No one is male bashing or trying to create anti-male legislation, don’t worry. The only legislation we’re trying to create here targets abuse and harassment. Many of the things we’re targeting are already ILLEGAL, like groping, stalking, and public masturbation, and we’re simply pushing for tougher enforcement. Don’t worry, if you’re showing respect to all people on the streets then you won’t have any problems.

  3. Violet says:

    Wow, thanks Judie, for your support. This is 2010, it’s no longer 1960–that kind of victim blaming isn’t going to work anymore. Please educate yourself and read some of the thousands of stories on http://www.ihollaback.org . You’ll quickly discover that clothing, a little or a lot of it, has absolutely NOTHING to do with street harassment.

  4. robin g says:

    Way to stick together with your fellow women, judie. Because only women in short skirts get harassed right?

  5. robin g says:

    You probably get your jollies yelling at women on the street, don’t you? You big strong man! How about if a few big burly dudes started calling out at you, following you and rubbing up against you? Hey, quit crying you big baby. And no one is “anit-male” just “anit-stupid-people.” Guess you fit in with that.

  6. robin g says:

    Because en simply cannot control themselves when they see a lady! For your information, ALL women are harassed no matter if they are in sweats or shorts. So get your big male head out of your butt and stop blaming women because you cannot control your idiot impulses.

  7. robin g says:

    Oh, so because there are worse situations in the world, you should never complain about anything that bothers you? Remember that next time you want to vent about something that is unfair or bothers you. Hey, at least you’re not in a Turkish prison!

  8. robin g says:

    Holy cow, there are a LOT of really uninformed people posting here. This is America, not Tehran. Why should we be thankful that we are not ritualistically raped and beheaded and ONLY cat-called, bothered, harassed, stalked and groped in public? Do any of you men ever have a complaint about anything, ever? If so, then think of a much worse situation and shut up about it! That’s not how the world works. These “men” are really little children in their minds, and when they think they are looking all big and tough, they are really showing the opposite. A real man knows not to harass or grope. A real man doesn’t need to exert his dominant gorilla behavior.

  9. Jamia says:

    Thank you so much Emily and Hollaback for working to make the streets safer for women to live healthy, happy, and harrassment-free lives!

  10. HKearl says:

    (and sorry for the typos)

  11. HKearl says:

    All of these commenters show true ignorance on this issue. If any of them spent even an hour researching this topic or talking to women they care about, they’d realize that street harassment – including sexually explicit comments, public masturbation, groping and stalking – happen to MIOST women no matter what they wear (in Yemen and Egypt where women are VEILED 80-90% experience it) and it is something that happens to girls, monthers, sisters. Shame on you all for making light of this serious issue.

  12. Bob C says:

    If you feel degraded now, wait to you get to the airport.

  13. Wolf says:

    Just what we need. More useless laws. Why not just enforce the laws we already have. But right, it’s all the illegal immigrants living in our city for free that break the laws.

    1. robin g says:

      Is it useless if your wife, gf or sister or mom gets catcalled or followed on the street? How about if someone grabs them at the bus stop or says something disgusting or threatens them? That’s fine, right? They should just shut up and take it, right? Is that what you will tell your daughter?

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