Tag Archive | Constitutional rights

Article: ‘Upskirting, street harassment becomes rising threat in D.C., report finds’

For Maryland, Washington, D.C. and Northern Virginia–this does not surprise me at all since women LIVE it everyday of their lives:

‘Upskirting, street harassment becomes rising threat in D.C., report finds” https://www.gwhatchet.com/2017/11/09/upskirting-street-harassment-becomes-rising-threat-in-d-c-report-finds/                                                                                                                   

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Reported cases of upskirting — taking unauthorized pictures underneath a woman’s skirt or dress — in the D.C. area have soared in the past three years.

A team of experts reviewed court records in D.C., Virginia and Maryland, and found cases had jumped 70 percent since 2015, according to a report published late last month by NBC Washington. Advocates said these cases, meant to demean and degrade women – including female students – in public, have become a growing threat with the growth of smart phones and social media.

Many of these cases occur at Metro stations, where women are three times more likely than men to be victims of harassment, according to a 2016 report from the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority – the agency that oversees the Metro.

Claire Gould, the communications director for Collective Action for Safe Spaces, a non-profit organization that works to combat harassment and assault, said harassment occurs most often in crowded areas, like a Metro station or Metro car.

“It’s always frustrating when women, in particular, have to be more careful in order to avoid things like this.”

“It’s demeaning and an invasion of privacy,” Gould said in an email. “Like any kind of public harassment, we believe everyone deserves the right to move through public spaces without fear of being harassed or assaulted.”

Gould said officials should start a public awareness campaign to curb harassment on the Metro, collect data on the number of incidents and train employees and transit police on how to address sexual harassment.

Terri Poore, the policy director for the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence, said upskirting cannot be prevented easily because it occurs in crowded, busy areas — making it difficult to track down perpetrators.

“There is no shortcut around the fact that people are going to have to have courage and stepping in when they see these sorts of behaviors happening and not leave the onus on the victim,” she said. “Really everyone needs to take an active part in preventing this kind of behavior.”

Although upskirting is considered a form of voyeurism, experts said it is difficult to prosecute in D.C. courts. Consent for taking a picture or recording is only required when the individual has a reasonable expectation of privacy according to voyeurism laws in D.C.

In 2014, a D.C. judge dismissed charges against a man accused of taking photos up a woman’s skirt at the Lincoln Memorial, citing that the accuser could not have a reasonable expectation of privacy while on the National Mall, according to a Huffington Post report.

Amanda Lindamood, the director of training and community engagement for the D.C. Rape Crisis Center, said it’s difficult to prosecute upskirting because laws pertaining to sexual assault are relatively new and there is no general consensus about how they can be enforced and adjudicated.

“Every district, or every jurisdiction, approaches legislation related to violence in a very different way and it’s kind of a new category of consent to think about it, again as just not a physical violence, but that it has to do with images, has to do with social media,” Lindamood said. “It’s kind of a very new section of the law we’re playing catch up on.”

Students said upskirting and general street harassment is a constant menance, especially on an urban campus.

Freshman Andie Kemmerle said it’s aggravating that women have to constantly be on alert when riding the Metro.

“It’s always frustrating when women, in particular, have to be more careful in order to avoid things like this,” she said. “Whereas, it should be that people shouldn’t be doing this in the first place, but hopefully people are for their own safety, being careful about their surroundings when they’re in public.”

In February, the advocacy group Collective Action for Safe Spaces launched a petition that has garnered 333 signatures to urge the the D.C. Council to pass a bill to training and educate D.C. employees about sexual harassment.

“What can people do to keep themselves safe when the law doesn’t even know what’s legal and what’s illegal anymore?”

That same month, some students accused construction workers renovating Corcoran Hall of street harassment and catcalling. D.C. businesses have installed street exhibits and initialed training programs in recent months to try to prevent harassment across the city.

Gabrielle Battino, a sophomore, said living on an urban campus in a densely populated city makes sexual harassment more of a concern.

“It sucks that I’m a woman on campus and I don’t feel safe 100 percent of the time and I should because this is my community,” Battino said. “I guess the only thing I can do is be cautious and be an advocate for the issue.”

Tamara Criss, a graduate student in public health, said D.C should criminalize upskirting because it will encourage more victims come forward to report incidents.

“You can only imagine no one is going to report anything if nothing is going to happen. I think that increasing the criminalization of the activity would be smart,” Criss said. “What can people do to keep themselves safe when the law doesn’t even know what’s legal and what’s illegal anymore?”

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News Article: ‘Catcalls of NYC: The project raising awareness of street harassment,’ 12/05/2017, The Independent

http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/catcalls-of-nyc-instagram-street-harassment-women-sexual-men-new-york-us-a8092636.html

INDYLIFE:  Catcalls of NYC: The project raising awareness of street harassment:                              Tuesday 5 December 2017 10:45 GMT

 

A young American woman is shining a spotlight on street harassment with her project, Catcalls of NYC.

21-year-old Sophie Sandberg asks her Instagram followers to send in messages about their experiences being sexually harassed on the street, detailing the exact location it took place and what was said.

Sandberg then goes to the spot in question, writes the catcall on the street in bright chalk, takes a picture and posts it on Instagram.

“Jesus Christ, nice tits. I wish I could suck on ‘em.”

“Smile, honey. Smile over here. Just smile for me! Too good? B****.”

“I’m gonna f*** the s*** out of you someday.”

Sandberg hopes that seeing the remarks written down will help hammer home her message.

“By writing the comments on the sidewalk where they happened, I raise public awareness about the issue,” Sandberg told HuffPost

“The colourful chalk and colourful words catch people’s eyes. They force those who wouldn’t normally experience catcalling to take a second look.”

Although sexual harassment on the street is incredibly common, not everyone has experienced it or realises the severity of the problem.

But Sandberg’s project is helping combat this. 

“No one questioned or challenged it. It was simply an accepted annoyance,”she said. 

“For me, it has always been more than an annoyance. It’s shaped my experience in public space. It’s affected my confidence and comfort walking down the street. It’s silenced me ― I’ve never felt comfortable responding to catcalls, as much as I’d like to tell these men off.”

Sandberg also hopes the project will encourage people to speak up when they see someone being catcalled.

She’s not the first to use Instagram to highlight the extent of street harassment – earlier this year, 20-year-old Dutch woman Noa Jansma made waves with her project Dear Catcallers, which saw her taking selfies with her street harassers.

With every project raising awareness, it’s hoped we can finally bring an end to women being harassed on the street while simply going about their daily lives.

…at the Whole Foods in Columbia, Maryland (Howard County)

whole foodsOne morning at approximately 9:00 a.m.,  I was entering the Whole Foods grocer 10275 Little Patuxent Pkwy, Columbia, Maryland 21044 (Howard County), from my car in the designated parking lot.  I noticed a dark-skinned black “Christian” male approximately 5’9” in height who appeared to be from the City of Baltimore (unkempt, ignorant face, bubble eyes and a sneer).  There are two sets of doors from which you may enter. When I left my car, I noticed he was walking quickly from my left, where the actual exit door was to the right, where I needed to enter.

I proceed to walk to the far, right entry door closer to where the carts are kept outside as he appeared to photowalk to the left set. As soon as he saw me entering a separate set of doors, he did an about face and walked behind me and murmured something. I immediately zigged and went to the doors to the far left.  Apparently, this dark-skinned black “Christian” male was already harassing other patrons as I noticed a Caucasian female Howard County police officer in uniform standing alert in the eating area. I grabbed a handbasket and proceeded to the fresh food/self-service area.  The same dark-skinned black male “Christian” followed me, this time with Whole Foods employees noticing. I immediately proceeded to a different section and saw the police officer quickly move towards the black male to address his behavior.  After my purchase, I went to the eating area to obtain utensils and napkins and saw a black male eating, glance at me and then look down at his food.  I thought, ‘…must be quite embarrassing that a white woman in uniform have to monitor black males just so people can get groceries in peace.’  This is the so-called suburbs of Maryland.