Raise your hand if you’ve been harassed on the subway

If you haven’t read this report, Hidden in Plain Sight: Sexual Harassment and Assault on the New York City Subway, you should. It documents what most of you probably already know, that a large majority of people (particularly women) face significant sexual harassment while riding the New York city subway. The report, written from a online survey of subway riders (the MTA partnered with a number of organizations to write and distribute the survey) finds that 63% of people who responded report having been sexually harassed on the NYC subway. 10% of people who responded have been sexually assaulted.
The results got some blog attention last week, go here for Cara’s blog about the survey results, Gothamist posted about it as well as the NYTimes Cityroom Blog.
As someone who has been harassed and has numerous friends and acquaintances who experience harassment on a regular basis, these results came as no surprise. What did come as a surprise however, were some of the comments that this news received–the Gothamist comment thread was particularly upsetting. I won’t give these jerks the privilege of having their thoughts reposted here, but the general sentiment of these thoughts followed a few patterns. a) Complete denial and disbelief: But I’ve been riding the subway for and that’s NEVER happened to me! b) Blame the victim talk: Women who get harassed on the subway deserve it because they dress like sluts (etc, etc, droning on with misogynistic and disgusting commentary) and to top it all off, c) I hate it when women try to get me to help them when they are being followed or harassed on the subway, it’s not my problem and they brought it on themselves.
This might be more sad than the survey results themselves, and probably indicative of why this is a problem in the first place. For some awesome and innovative responses to street harassment, check out Holla Back NYC, one of the groups that partnered with the MTA on this survey. They’ve got links to holla back’s in other cities as well, because we know this isn’t just a New York City problem.

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“Mass Molestations” Show Why We Still Can’t Talk About Sexual Violence in India

With the onset of 2017 came a forceful reminder to women in India: we don’t belong in public spaces, and we will be punished for any attempt to inhabit them. A Bangalore Mirror story shocked the country with a report that a public New Year’s Eve party in the heart of the metropolitan, progressive city was invaded by “hooligans” who attacked and molested the women present at the gathering, while threatening and intimidating the men and children at the scene with them. Women reported being verbally harassed, molested, groped by a “huge group of unruly men,” and forced to escape the scene of the crime with their heels in their hands. The “brazen mass molestation” of women occurred despite ...

With the onset of 2017 came a forceful reminder to women in India: we don’t belong in public spaces, and we will be punished for any attempt to inhabit them. A Bangalore Mirror story shocked the country ...

Members of All India Students Association (AISA) shout slogans as they hold placards during a protest outside police headquarters in New Delhi, India, October 18, 2015. Dozens of AISA members on Sunday held a protest against the recent rapes in the capital, the demonstrators said. REUTERS/Anindito Mukherjee - RTS4YAL

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On December 16th 2012, physical therapy intern Jyoti Singh (known as “Nirbhaya,” or “Fearless”) was brutally raped on a bus in Delhi. She subsequently died from her injuries.

The attack inspired nationwide protests and global rage, as Indians took to the streets to protest pervasive violence against women. As a result of the protests, an Indian government committee issued the comprehensive Justice Verma Committee Report, a sweeping indictment of patriarchal violence recommending, among other progressive mandates, the criminalization of marital rape and an end to military impunity in acts of sexual violence.

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What does it mean to mark anniversaries of violence? Which anniversaries do we mark, and how do we take these memories forward as movements?

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