Please note. . .

Don't Be Silent DC has been inactive since March 2008 and has not been accepting entries since. If you are in the DC area and have a harassment story to share, please go to HollaBack DC. If you are outside the DC area and want to submit your story, go to Stop Street Harassment. Thank you.

As of 3/1/08, I will no longer be working on this blog. Please read this post for more details.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Response to "Drive-by Hollas Drive Me Crazy!!"

Martha Langelan got back in touch with me and we had a lengthy conversation about dealing with drive-by hollas, prompted by my recent incidences with them.

Here is the advice she gave for dealing with it:

---A shortened version of the all-purpose statement: "Stop harassing women." Flat-out statement, as quick as the men who zip by honking or yelling out of their cars.
---If you have the time (the car's at a light or is slowed-down enough to hear you), back it up with "Show some respect!"
---Try to get the license plate number of the car. If you can't see it, pretending to write it down usually scares the men enough to stop.

Martha recalled a story of women in small-town Ohio who gathered car and driver descriptions, along with their license plate numbers. The women used this information and let people know around town about these drive-by harassers. Since it was such a small town, word got around quickly and the mothers, sisters, grandmothers, aunts, etc. let these men have it!

---If the harassment from a car gets aggressive or threatening and you managed to get their license plate number, call the authorities. If it's a case of a business vehicle doing this and you didn't get the plate number, calling the business with a description of the vehicle and driver, time and date of incident, as well as location of incident should be enough to call in with.
---Another tactic is to rally the neighborhood together to declare the neighborhood a "harassment-free/hassle-free zone." Put signs and flyers up in the neighborhood letting everyone know that harassment will not be tolerated. Martha said that if enough signs are up and you're walking along a street and a man pulls his harassment mess, just point at the sign and it should scare him enough to let you be.

And in terms of dealing with "loitering loser"-types, here's another idea from Martha. Rally these men to be allies. Say: "You men are out on the corner all the time. We need your help in making the streets safer for women." Teach them the "stop harassing women" mantra so when they see men on the street harassing women, they'll join in the fight against harassment as opposed to the actual harassment. Getting them to do something positive in the community makes them feel like real men. Just by getting those harassers to ally with you means that the number of harassers on the street will decrease.

It's more helpful information I want to use in my daily life! I want to feel powerful---not powerless---when dealing with drive-by harassment.