Bleats

The Women Brave Enough To Report Street Harassment Aren't Believed, So What Now?

"Every single report needs to be taken seriously."

Street harassment is one of those things that, for some reason, a lot of people refuse to believe exist. I can’t wrap my head around it, just like I can’t wrap my head around why people would harass someone on the street minding their business in the first place, but here we are. 

Plan International Australia and Monash University have released the results of a report that looks at the amount of street harassment people experience, as well as the way that authorities deal with reports. The report focussed on five cities: Delhi, Kampala, Lima, Madrid and Sydney.

They used crowdmapping technology to create an interactive map that women and girls could anonymously use to report street harassment and where it happened. 

Across those five cities, 14,500 individual spots were marked. 

I have no reasons to smile, thanks

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You can find the Sydney map here, but as a heads up, the descriptions of the harassment that people faced are just horrible. I spent a few minutes clicking through and found reports of men following women while hissing “run faster”, a woman being pushed down a set of stairs after refusing to give a stranger her number, and a lot of full on sexual assaults.

Things get even more grim when you realise how many of the pinned incidents mention how witnesses and authorities did nothing to help. When you crunch the numbers, of the 14,500 incidents recorded, only 1,270 were reported to authorities. Out of all the incidents taken to the authorities, 852 (67%) of the reports were not acted upon.

Very disappointed. Not that surprised.

The CEO of Plan International, Susanne Legena, says that those numbers are nowhere near good enough.

“For too long women and girls everywhere have just endured harassment as a normal part of their daily lives. They internalise it and over time, it begins to have a serious impact on their well-being. Girls and young women in our research told us loud and clear that when authorities fail to respond thoughtfully, sympathetically and supportively, it can be extremely damaging and harrowing for them.

“Our message is that every single report needs to be taken seriously and the system needs to change to ensure there’s a clear process for reporting. Unless and until this happens, the cycle of underreporting, internalisation and social acceptance of street harassment will continue.”

I hate that I have to say ‘stay safe’ when I’m talking about street harassment. I shouldn’t have to hope that you get to go about your day without creeps making you uncomfortable, or that you’ll get to sigh in relief when you make it wherever you’re going without any incident. But there you go, this is the world we live in.

So stay safe out there.

If this story has raised any issues for you, please contact 1800 RESPECT on 1800 737 732.

There Was Literally No Reason For Sally To Be In The Nightmare Before Christmas

For it is plain, as anyone can see.

Alright, let’s just get it out of the way, I hadn’t watched The Nightmare Before Christmas until last night. I had friends when I was a kid who would rave about Jack and Sally and how good it was, but I just never got around to it. We’re officially into December so of course it was on TV, I couldn’t be bothered changing the channel and accidentally watched the whole thing. And I have opinions.

What the hell is your role in all of this?

If you’re in the same boat as I was 24 hours ago and haven’t seen the film, the gist is that Jack Skellington has something missing from his life and decides that Christmas is going to be his thing now. He kidnaps Santa, tries to make Christmas spooky, ruins everything and then has to go and un-kidnap Santa so that Christmas can be saved. 

And you know what? That’s exactly what would happen if Sally was absolutely wiped from the entire film.

About three second before Christmas is ruined.

As far as I could tell, Sally’s role was to warn him about the fact that he would absolutely ruin Christmas – a warning Jack totally ignored by the way – and to eventually get captured so Jack can rescue her along with Santa. If she wasn’t there in the first place, Jack would still have ruined Christmas and had to rescue Santa, so go figure. Like I said, the plot remains the same.

After all is said and done, Jack is told that he should have listened to Sally the entire time because she’s so smart, and then realises that they should always have been together. Don’t ask me what caused this realisation because he’s straight up ignored her until this point. 

You??? Aren’t???

Maybe I just don’t have the nostalgia attached to this movie because I never watched it as a kid, or maybe Blink 182 singing “we can live like Jack and Sally if we want” made me assume that this was some sort of romance film. I’ve decided I don’t want to live like Sally at all though. She does nothing.

It's Time To Face That More Than One Aussie Woman Is Killed Each Week

Today is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.

November 25th is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. It’s a day started by the United Nations General Assembly, and it aims to take on the challenge of exactly what it says – end violence against women and girls all over the world.

In Australia, the often quoted statistic is that one woman every week dies violently.

As I’m writing, our death toll for the year stands at 64 women and 24 kids – and the year isn’t done yet. That number is already up from last year’s count of 63 women, again, far more than one a week.

It’s not just Australia, sadly. Here are some global stats:

One in every three women and girls will be the victim of physical or sexual violence. Most of the time, the perpetrator is that woman’s partner. 

Only 52% of married women get to make their own choices about contraceptives and sexual health. Speaking of marriage, almost 750 million women and girls in the world today were married before they turned 18. 

An adolescent girl is murdered somewhere in the world every 10 mins. 

In the USA, up to 70% of women have lived through physical or sexual violence, meaning that more women have been abused than not. 

If I’ve had to yell it one, I’ve had to yell it a million times: women deserve better. The most dangerous thing in our lives shouldn’t be the fact that we’re women, but here we are.

It’s hard to look at the progress being made, but I do try. I know it can feel like one of those problems that seems to be too big to ever be solved, but I promise there is progress

Work is being done across the globe to end things like female genital mutilation, child marriage, and pulling girls out of school because of their gender. Every small win means a better future for girls, and that’s worth noticing.

Ending violence against women is a massive challenge, but it’s one that I like to hope is possible. Not just in Australia, but globally.

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