About Us --- Street Harassment Basics --- Send Us Your Story
Send your story to svaw.aims@gmail.com or SMS it to 726-8844

Thursday, September 3, 2009

case #7

Bonjour, mon histoire est non seulement choquante mais aussi humiliant! Comme tous les matins, je prend le bus pour Port Louis pour me rendre au boulot et là dans le bus était assis un pervers à côté de moi. J'ai l'habitude de m'asseoir du côté de la fenêtre pour pouvoir faire un petit somme vu que la route est assez longue. Je ne me doutais pas que la personne à côté de moi avait de mauvaises intentions.

Je me suis endormie, les rideaux tiré pour ne pas être dérangée par le soleil et alors j'ai senti une main contre moi. Au début j'ai pensé qu'il n'y avait pas beaucoup de place sur le siège et je n'y ai pas porté attention. Mais ensuite j'ai senti cette même main me toucher. Le pire est qu'il avait un gros sac et que personne ne voyait et moi je n'osais pas tiré les rideaux de peur que les autres automobilistes voient ce qu'il me faisait.

Il a continué à le faire pendant toute la durée du trajet. J'étais terrorisée. Il se touchait le pénis qui était bien sure en dehors de son pantalon. Je vous jure que je suis restée immobile et aujourd'hui je me sens coupable de n'avoir rien fait. Je ne comprend pas non plus comment je n'ai pu faire quoique ce soit. J'ai tout simplement subit. C'était ignoble, je me suis sentie rabaissée. A la fin il m'a dit "merci mamzelle. Li ti bien doux, ou bien pommer" et quand il s'est levé pour descendre il m'a dit "pa gagne tracas prochaine fois mo pou occupe seki en bas la." J'ai eu un choc! Depuis, je le vois presque tous les jours. Je l'évite mais j'ai peur

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Case #6

One day I was walking down the street when a cyclist came near my side pinch my boobs and then cycled away. I was stunned and continued to watch the cyclist riding away. It took me time to realise what really did happen. While riding away the cyclist showed me the middle finger and said in a vulgar way that he would have his way with me. He started to insult me because I was looking at him right in his eyes. I wanted to memorise his face before he was gone. At the next junction he was out of sight. A little further I ran to the passerby and asked if they had seen a man of fair complexion with a barb in blue jacket on his cycle. The ‘passerby’ actually said it was his friend and asked me why I wanted to know. I said he was riding in front of me and a five hundred note fell off his jackets. I asked for his name and address which he gave.

I ran home and phone the police. I told them what happened and even told them that the man would be back in half an hour for his prayer. The policeman told me that I must know the exact place where he lives, to go back in half an hour to see if the man was really there for his prayer and then to phone them again and then only they would talk to him.

I did not go back to the place where he would be praying, firstly because I was not allowed to and secondly because all would result in my humiliation while he would have only a few talk from the policeman.

Pseudonym: Priya, 29yrs old.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

New: Send Us Your Stories by SMS

Now there are two ways for you to send us your stories of harassment. Email us at svaw.aims@gmail.com or submit a story via text message (SMS) to 726-8844. Break the silence and help us ensure all women and girls are treated with respect by speaking out about this important issue.

Campaign Officially Launched!

Amnesty International Mauritius Section is launching “Respekte Nu,” a four-month sensitization campaign against street harassment, a human rights violation that many girls and women experience on a regular basis.

Street harassment is sexual harassment that occurs in public spaces and is a form of violence against women. Research recently conducted by Alyssa Fine on behalf of Soroptimist International Ipsae Mauritius revealed that harassment targets may feel afraid, ashamed, annoyed, uncomfortable, guilty and frustrated. Efforts made by women and girls to avoid experiencing street harassment lead to severe restrictions on their opportunities, mobility, productivity and independence.

The campaign will use several mediums, including traditional above-the-line media, music, art, theater and face-to-face training sessions, to educate the public about the nature and harm of street harassment. It will also convey the message that women always have the right to feel safe and respected in public, regardless of what they are wearing and when and where they go out.
Primary campaign events include a forum for women and girls in September, a concert with musicians and comedians in October, and art exhibits and Take Back the Night marches and activities in November. These will be supplemented by two media campaigns and awareness-raising on a grassroots level.

This campaign emerges from the results of Alyssa’s study, in which she found that girls and women of all ages experience street harassment in a number of forms, including: whistling, hissing, sexual or explicit comments, staring, following and even assault.

“Whether it disrupts their work, their school, or their leisure activities, or influences their choice of clothing or facial expressions,” writes Alyssa in her report on the study, “street harassment clearly makes women unequal to men in Mauritius and limits women’s ability to enjoy all their human rights.”

Amnesty International’s campaign will be the first step in addressing this source of inequality. By raising public awareness of street harassment, it will pave the way for lasting changes in the way women and girls are treated while in public.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Night Club Harassment?

From tropicscope.com:
Looking at the types of cars in the parking, it is clear that "Les Enfants Terribles" enjoys a clientele of relatively rich people but the success of the place is in offering to this clientele the possibility to watch younger people, and attractive jet-setters having fun. The mood heats up as dawn approaches as many younger people stop by for a last drink.

(Bold added for emphasis)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Case #5

One Thursday morning, I had to go to a travel agency located at La Rue John Kennedy in Port-Louis. I felt it would be safer for me to park my car at Le Caudan Waterfront and to walk down through the “underground” so as to get to La Rue John Kennedy. It was around 11:30 a.m.

I nearly reached the entrance of the “underground” when I noticed a man, aged about 30 who was looking intensely at me. He was wearing some formal pants and a long sleeve shirt. I glanced and continued my way down the “underground” which was very crowded. That same man passed me by and turned back to look me in the eyes. I acted like I didn’t notice and looked the other side and eventually looked down. But then, I couldn’t keep looking down for too long since I would be getting in the way of all other people passing by. I looked up again and noticed the man still walking in front of me and looking back to me several times. I still acted like I didn’t notice him. I reached a security officer and thought for a few seconds about what I should do. I looked up and didn’t see the man anymore. I figured he would have gotten out of the “underground” and continued his way. I felt safer after waiting for a few minutes before leaving the “underground”.

I finally got out of the “underground”… He was right there, at the corner. I anyway continued my way towards the entrance of the building in which the travel agency was situated. I got in and didn’t directly go to the travel agency. Instead I went to the lifts. The man had entered the same building I was in. this time, it was all clear. He was following me! I stood in front of the lifts for five minutes still thinking that I was wrong and that this man was just going his own way and had nothing to do with me.

He didn't get in the lift neither. He came closer to me while I moved towards the entrance of some other office (there are several offices in that building). He finally came and spoke to me asking me if I was waiting for someone. I somehow got the strength to confront him, though I was dead scared of what he could do to me. I asked him why he has been following me. He replied that he wants to talk to me about so many things happening in his life! Freak! Luckily I had noticed another security officer and told him that if he didn’t leave me alone, I would either call the security officer or go to the police station nearby. He had the nerve to ask me why I was reacting this way! I then took some steps towards the security officer and he realized I was seriously going to take some actions against him… and he left.

I spoke to the security officer and told him what happened. He went after the man who had been following me but the freak was gone already. I broke down and started to cry bitterly at that moment. I had been so terrified! I managed to call my father who luckily was around the city at that same time. I was just unable to do whatever I had to do at the travel agency.

From that day onwards, I never walk long distances alone and whenever I have something to do, I manage to park my car somewhere very close to the place I’m going to. I really do not feel safe at all walking the streets even during the day time and even while having many people around.

-Chris, Female, 26 years, Social Worker.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Case #4

Street harassment is nowadays something normal for teenagers and women as a whole. For someone living in a town, this kind of harassment is something which she has to face nearly everyday while going out of her house.

Hi, am a girl of 18 years old and since the age of 13 or so, I have been facing street harassment. At the very start I thought that it was because of the style of clothes I’m used to wear, and I was used to hold myself responsible for their act, but realised shortly after that this actually doesn’t matter for them... Even if am wearing jeans and pullovers, vulgar comments from those “unsocialised” people would not stop. And these "pssst", staring and honking would take place whether or not I am in a group of friends or with my brother or even my mother... Luckily I don't have these harassments in front of my father...

Two or three years back, I was at the bus station at Saint-Pierre, waiting for a bus to go home. There was a short man there, aged around 40 to 50, with dirty clothes staring at me. I didn’t really bother, because am used to it.... But then, shortly after, when the bus came and I took a seat, the man walked in the bus and sat just behind of me. I was of course irritated. And I didn’t know what to do, but I preferred not to make a show out of it. So I made as if everything was normal. Some minutes later, the man started to put his hand on my seat (as for him it is the front of his seat). Without saying a word, I changed seat and came two rows forward. To my great surprise, the man then took one seat in front of me in the opposite site. And then looked behind, staring at me, with a sarcastic smile and with a sadist look. I thus preferred to look through the windows, hoping that he would stop his stupid acts. But, this wasn’t enough for him. When he saw that I was not bothering about him as such, he came once more in the seat behind me. I was disgusted. I wanted to call the "controller", but then, I realised that it’s a public bus; he can sit where he wants to, and I could never be able to prove that he is harassing me. Then, I wanted to get down in the coming bus stop. But I realised that he can get down as well as and the bus stops around were not even crowded. And the places around were desert. So, I stayed there... even if I would change place, he would change his seat as well... so there's no point in doing that. He started then to play with my hair. At that point, I was really angry. I turned around and to my great surprise! He was smiling at me!!! As if he knows me since years!!! And I’m a great friend of his! I took a deep breath a look in front of me... we are now in Quatre-Bornes luckily and I’ll be getting down in some minutes. I was relieved. The bus was now getting full and the man stopped with his stupid acts. My fear then was that he could follow me when I would get down. When the bus stop where I should get down came, I rush to the door, and there was already a crowd in front of the door (those who had to get in the bus). When I got down, I stayed in the crowd for a while and saw the man coming down. He walked a little further and looked around. I could see him but luckily, he couldn’t. Then he started going to the opposite way of where I should be going. I was relieved and crossed the road and went home.... but continued to look behind me in case he would have spotted me and would be following me. He wasn’t there- thanks god.

Just like this experience, I have been facing many more harassment, but this is the one which lasted the longest.

-S.K from Q-bornes

Friday, May 8, 2009

Case #3

I was walking on the road from my house to the bustop. I was wearing casual jeans n a shirt. A car slowed down by my side...they started honing n making unpleasant comments "ppsss" ,, "fer gne to num".. People from the other side of the road were watching,,but no one did anything...I felt totally humiliated, weak n helpless.
-Anonymous, age 18

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Case #2

Mo ti p marC lor simé dan Rose - Hill pou ale bureau amnesty kan 2-3 massons fine comence sanT: "Mone envi touce toi partou girl". Mone mari gagne per,.....zot ti p guet moi ène façon ki mari bizarre, ek chemin la ti vide,...

Angel Age 19

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Case #1

I was walking on the street when some construction workers said 'bonjour mamzel.' They saw that I had a child with me, still one of them said that he would want to make his future with me. I ignored it and made as if I had not heard anything. This was a most preferable option as I was alone with my child and they were in a group.
-Age 28, from Rose Hill

Friday, April 24, 2009

Street Harassment Basics

Le harcèlement dans la rue, c’est quoi?
En général, c’est une forme de harc
èlement sexuel qui se produit dans des lieux publics ou semi-publics tels que la rue, les bus, les centres commerciaux, les plages, les salles de cinémas, les parcs, les églises, les restaurants - tout endroit qui est accessible au public. Les types de harcèlement dans la rue incluent tout ceci: le fait de siffler, le fait de klaxonner, ainsi que le fait de poursuivre, de s’exhiber et les attouchements. Certains peuvent penser que les commentaires qui sont adressés aux femmes- tels que (“Hey, beauté”)- sont flatteurs et inoffensifs, mais beaucoup de cibles se sentent mal et prises pour des objets; elles considèrent ces types de commentaires comme étant aussi du harcèlement.

What is street harassment?
Basically, it is a type of sexual harassment that occurs in public and semi-public places such as the street, buses, commercial centers, beaches, cinemas, parks, churches, restaurants - anywhere that has general public access. Types of street harassment include everything from whistling, hissing and car horn honking to stalking, exhibitionism and unwanted touching. Some individuals may find verbal remarks that sound complimentary ("hey, beautifiul") inoffensive, but many targets feel uncomfortable and objectified and consider those types of comments harassment as well.

Pourquoi se concentrer tant sur les femmes et les filles?Les hommes ne peuvent-ils pas être harcelés également?
Les commentaires à caractère sexuel provenant des femmes à l'encontre des hommes, même s'ils se produisent occasionellement, n'ont pas le même poids que ceux des hommes à l'encontre des femmes. Le harcèlement dans la rue rappelle aux femmes aussi bien qu' aux filles de leur vulnérabilité à d'autres formes de violence, telles que le viol et l'agression sexuelle. Il engendre souvent des sentiments de peur, d'humiliation, et de dépersonnalisation et creuse le fossé d'inégalité qui existe entre les hommes et les femmes. Les commentaires des femmes à l'encontre des hommes sont de nature différente de ceux des hommes à l'encontre des femmes- ils ne sont pas comparables à cause du pouvoir que détiennent les hommes dans la société.

Why do you focus so much on women and girls? Can't men be harassed, too?
Women's sexual comments directed at men, although they do happen occasionally, do not come from the same place of power as men's comments directed at women. Street harassment reminds women and girls of their vulnerability to other types of violence, such as rape and sexual assault. It often causes feelings of fear, humiliation, and objectification and reinforces the unequal power dynamic that exists between men and women. Men's experiences of women's comments is qualitatively different because of the power they hold in our society, and cannot be compared to women's experiences of harassment.

Le harcèlement ne cesserait-il pas si les femmes cessaient de porter des vêtements si indécents et cessaient de sortir la nuit?
Les femmes aussi bien que les filles sont harcelées à tout instant du jour et de la nuit, et ce, indépendamment de ce qu'elles portent. Faire porter la responsabilité du harcèlement par la victime et l'accuser de mal se comporter et de ne pas s'habiller correctement, c'est blâmer la victime elle-même. Ceci n'est jamais approprié ou constructif- ce sont les harceleurs qui sont les seuls responsables de leur conduite et qui doivent changer leur façon de faire. Les femmes et les filles ont le droit de se sentir en sécurité et rassurées quand elles sont en public, et ce, que ce soit à 3 heures de l'après-midi ou à 3 heures du matin, et même si elles portent une mini jupe ou un sari.

Wouldn't the harassment stop if women quit wearing such revealing clothing and walking around at night?
Women and girls are harassed at all times of the day and night regardless of what they are wearing. Placing the responsibility for the harassment on the target, and making it an issue of how she behaves or dresses, is called "victim blaming." Victim blaming is never appropriate or constructive - it is the harassers who are responsible for their behavior and must alter their actions. Women and girls have the right to feel safe and confident while out in public, whether it's 3 pm or 3 am, and whether they're wearing a mini skirt or a sari.

Le harcèlement dans la rue est tout simplement ennuyeux. N’y a-t-il pas de sujets plus importants dont on devrait se soucier?
Le harcèlement dans la rue est bien plus qu'ennuyeux; c'est une violation des droits humains. Comme d'autres formes de violence contre les femmes, il provoque la peur, la dévaluation de soi, l'humiliation, la colère et la dépersonnalisation. Les stratégies qu'emploient les femmes dans un effort d'éviter d'être l'objet de harcèlement (telles que sortir uniquement avec un compagnon masculin ou ne pas prendre le bus) limitent leur liberté et leur indépendance. Le harcèlement dans la rue prive les femmes de leur droit à la liberté, à la sécurité et à l'égalité et entrave leur droit à l'éducation, aux loisirs et au travail. Quand un secteur de la société est rendu moins productif, le pays en entier en souffre. Le développement et l'égalité à Maurice ne peuvent être atteints sans préalablement résoudre le problème de harcèlement dans la rue.

Street harassment is just annoying. Aren't there more important issues to be worried about?
Street harassment is more than just annoying; it is a violation of human rights. Like other forms of violence against women, it causes women to feel afraid, degraded, humiliated, angry and objectified. The strategies women adopt in an effort to avoid experiencing harassment (such as only going out with a male companion or not taking the bus) limits their freedom and independence. Street harassment denies women their right to liberty, security and equality and disrupts their right to education, leisure and work. When one sector of society is made less productive, the whole country is injured. Development and equality in Mauritius cannot be achieved without first addressing street harassment.

Que puis-je faire afin d'aider à mettre un terme au harcèlement dans la rue?
Il existe plusieurs façons par lesquelles tu peux aider à assurer plus de sécurité dans les rues à Maurice. La liste ci-dessous contient quelques idées qui peuvent t'aider à commencer à le faire:
  • Ecris ton histoire sur ce blog. Parle du harcèlement dans la rue à ta famille, tes amis, tes collègues de travail et tes voisins. Brise le silence et fais en sorte que tout le monde se rende compte que le harcèlement dans la rue ne doit pas être une partie intégrante de la vie de tous les jours.
  • Aie le courage de dénoncer un cas de harcèlement dans la rue lorsque tu en vois un.
  • Ne permets pas que la victime soit blâmée. Quand tu entends quelqu'un dire qu'un incident de harcèlement est survenu parce que la cible souriait trop ou portait une mini jupe, rappelle à la personne que ce n'est pas la faute de la cible, mais que c'est plutot au harceleur de changer son comportement.
  • Viens te joindre à Amnesty International et aide nous à mettre en place notre campagne de sensibilisation contre le harcèlement dans la rue.
What can I do to help put an end to street harassment?
There are many ways you can help make the streets a safer place in Mauritius. The list below has just a few ideas to help get you started:
  • Submit your story to this blog. Talk to your family, friends, coworkers and neighbors about street harassment. Break the silence and make sure everyone knows street harassment should not be a normal part of everyday life.
  • Speak out when you see a case of street harassment. Confront the harasser and support the target.
  • Don't let victim blaming slide by. When you hear someone claiming that an incident of harassment happened because a target smiled too much or wore a short skirt, remind the person that it is not the target's fault, and it's up to the harasser to change his behavior.
  • Join Amnesty International and help us implement our anti-street harassment campaign

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Send Us Your Story

This blog is a forum for your voices. We want to hear your stories of street harassment; tell us about the man who followed you while you were walking home from work, the boys who whistled at you while you were at the beach or the guys who made explicit comments to you while you were shopping at the market. Recounting these experiences can be empowering, both for yourself and your Mauritian sisters, mothers, daughters, cousins and friends. Shame the harassers and break the silence!

Submit your stories in Creole, French or English to svaw.aims@gmail.com or by SMS to 726-8844. We will keep your email address strictly confidential and only use your name if you give us permission (Feel free to sign the email with an alias). Tell us exactly what happened and be as detailed as you wish.

We look forward to hearing from you and joining together to speak out against street harassment.

Faîtes-vous entendre à travers ce blog. Nous voulons entendre vos récits sur le harcèlement dans la rue; parlez-nous de l'homme qui vous a suivi quand vous rentriez à la maison du travail, les garçons qui vous ont sifflés quand vous étiez à la plage ou les hommes qui ont fait des commentaires explicites à votre égard pendant que vous faisiez des courses au marché. Raconter ces expériences peuvent être enrichissant pour vous-même, ainsi que pour vos soeurs, mères, filles, cousines et amies Mauriciennes. A bas les harceleurs et brisez le silence!

Envoyez vos récits en Créole, en Français, ou en Anglais à svaw.aims@gmail.com. Nous garderons votre adresse e-mail en toute confidentialité et utiliserons votre nom uniquement si vous nous en donnez la permission ( Vous avez la possibilité d'utiliser un pseudonyme également). Dites nous exactement ce qui s'est passé et donnez autant de détails que vous souhaitez.

Nous espèrons vous ententre bientôt. Venez vous joindre à nous pour dénoncer le harcèlement dans la rue.

Welcome and About Us

Que ce soit des attouchements ou des commentaires envahissants ou des poursuites, le harcèlement dans la rue est une chose à laquelle trop de Mauriciennes ont à faire face tous les jours. Ces conduites créent un sentiment de peur, de culpabilité et de frustration, et dénient aux femmes et aux filles leur droit à la citoyenneté, en leur refusant l'accès à la liberté, à l'indépendance et à leurs droits humains.

Le groupe " Stop Violence Against Women" (SVAW) du "Amnesty International Mauritius Section" reconnaît tout le tort qui est provoqué par le harcèlement dans la rue et il met en place une campagne pour mettre fin à cette conduite irrespectueuse. Concientiser les gens, les sensibiliser et changer de politique sur le problème de harcèlement dans la rue sont la clé pour atteindre l'égalité et le développement à Maurice.

Ce blog fait partie de cette importante campagne. Il donne l'occasion aux femmes, aux filles et à d'autres groupes marginaux de commencer à se prononcer et à raconter leurs expériences.
Le harcèlement dans la rue est souvent banalisé et mis sous silence; le blog aide à briser ce silence et on peut utiliser internet afin de montrer aux femmes qu'elles ne sont pas seules et qu'elles ne sont pas à être blamées pour le harcèlement qu'elles subissent.

Les membres du groupe SVAW vous remercient pour votre participation dans ce blog. Que ce soit en lisant, ou en apportant votre contribution ou en faisant des commentaires, vous aidez à assurer plus de sécurité dans les rues à Maurice.

From inappropriate touching to invasive comments to stalking, street harassment is something that far too many Mauritians have to face on a daily basis. Causing fear, guilt, and frustration, these behaviors define women and girls as non-citizens, disrupting their access to freedom, independence and human rights.

The Stop Violence Against Women (SVAW) group of the Amnesty International Mauritius Section recognizes the harm of street harassment and is undertaking a campaign to put a stop to this disrespectful behavior. Awareness raising, sensitization and policy change on the issue of street harassment are key to achieving equality and development in Mauritius.

This blog is part of this important campaign. It provides a space for women, girls and other marginalized groups to begin speaking out and telling their stories. Street harassment is often normalized and silenced; blogging breaks that silence and uses the internet to show women that they are not alone and not to be blamed for the harassment they experience.

The members of the SVAW group thank you for participating in this blog. Whether it's by reading, contributing or commenting, you are helping to make the streets of Mauritius a safer place.