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Hollaback Columbus and 16-bit bar present Lady Gamer Night: A celebration of women in gaming in Central Ohio
The Myth: Men are traditionally more drawn to gaming than women.
The Reality: Women are here, we love gaming and we’re not going anywhere!
The entertainment software association estimates that women make up 48% of the global gaming population.
It’s no secret that women in gaming often get a bad rep. Many female gamers experience harassment on the Internet, at conventions, and in their gaming communities.
Lady gamer night is about making a safe, harassment and judgement free space for gamers to come together and celebrate nerd culture. It’s a night to meet other female gamers, speak out against the harassment and celebrate Columbus’ thriving gamer culture.
Hollaback Columbus is a local organization dedicated to raising awareness about street harassment by igniting public conversations, and developing strategies to ensure equal access to public spaces.
The following happened to me yesterday as I walked through the common area at Columbus State Community College.
A young male student is staring at me as I pass. He winks and says, “You’re sexy as f***.”
I reply, “ That’s inappropriate” and kept walking. He follows me into a stairwell and asks, “What did you say to me?”
My first instinct is honestly fear. I am alone in a stairwell and being confronted by a stranger. His original comment even felt threatening and I am unnerved. I respond, “That’s disrespectful. Please don’t talk to me like that.”
He apologizes immediately, but continues to trail me. He is confused by my response and says, “I’m sorry, I should have said ‘you’re beautiful.’”
I tell him I don’t need him to comment on my appearance. He is still confused and seemingly hurt by my response. “What can I say to you?” he asks. “Can I tell you to have a good day?”
Encounters like this bring up a complicated set of questions for me. What is the best way to handle street harassment? Often, responding to verbal comments feels like engaging someone I’d rather not have a conversation with. Yet, ignoring these comments doesn’t really feel empowering. How do we help men understand that even if their intentions are not ill conceived, their catcalling is unwanted, diminishing, and often scary?
Although the new CBUS (free circulating bus) in Columbus has been hailed as Columbus’s most innovative public transportation move in years, unfortunately women are not immune to harassment on this bus as is the same on the older, grungier buses. I was riding back from the Short North after visiting my family. It was Gallery Hop, and the bus was packed with people. I was sitting towards the front, with two empty seats to my right.
A man sat down one seat away from me in the same row. He said, “I see you grocery shopping at the Kroger all the time. You’re always with that tall man.”
I was immediately completely terrified that this human being had cataloged my grocery trips. But it gets worse. He reached over across the empty seat and stuck his hand down my sports bra. Some people have told me that it’s “not that bad” because it was down my back and not my breasts. This stranger had to make it through a tight top, down the back of my neck, and into my sports bra in order to touch my bare skin. On the bus and at night. It doesn’t matter if it’s your upper thighs or the tip of your nose. No one! has the right to touch you without permission.
What I learned, after a night of sleeplessness and phone calls, is that COTA doesn’t give a shit about women who are passengers. I left a message (there is no COTA hotline for these kind of things) and in the morning, a completely apathetic man called me back and left a voice mail suggesting I return his call.
Next time I’ll just call the cops. EUGHHH.
Hollaback Columbus invites you to Take Back the Bars:
Going out as well as where we go out is often shaped by other people and the way that we’re treated. Harassment is a big issue in Columbus’ nightlife but no one should have to avoid any clubs, bars or venues for fear of being harassed, unwelcome or unsafe.
Take Back the Bars is about empowering people to reclaim the spaces that have been traditionally unwelcoming to them. It’s about not feeling that we have to avoid certain places, that we have a right to occupy whatever public space exists.
The goal of our outing is to create a supportive space where someone can comfortably say “I’m not interested,” “It’s not okay to talk to me like that,” or even walk away from an uncomfortable situation with support from the group. We’ve got your back.
Hollaback Columbus invites you to join us in a campaign to reclaim these spaces and let others know that our negative experiences do not impact our right to be there. If you have questions or a suggestion on where we should have our next TBTB night, please e-mail us [email protected]
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Today, on October 29th Hollaback! is partnering with No Red Tape and Carry That Weight at Columbia University and Rhize in order to create a National Day of Action in support of survivors of domestic and sexual violence.
It all started with a performance piece by Columbia University student Emma Sulkowicz, in which she determined to utilize performance art as a form of political protest, carrying a 50 pound mattress everywhere she goes on campus, identical to the mattress she was assaulted on in her dorm room by a fellow student, until her rapist is expelled. This powerful piece has raised awareness on Columbia’s campus, and now on campuses everywhere, inspiring an international call to action.
Working together, we can make a culture sexual violence on college campuses unacceptable.
What can you do to help?
Sign the pledge to show your support for survivors of sexual and domestic violence
Take a photo of yourself with a mattress and post it to the internet with the #carrythatweight hashtag
Spread the word about this event and these issues on social media
I was walking hand in hand with my boyfriend past a bar when a man (standing on the patio with a few of his male friends) yelled out “fuck her right in the pussy.” I didnt hear him at first and had to ask my boyfriend what he had said. Then I told him a thing or two about why thats not okay.
I have been harassed by a Columbus man for over a year now. It started out with him trying to follow me home and asking for a date. I said no, and then he turned to yelling at me every time I see him. Sometimes he calls me a bitch, and sometimes he just yells ordinary things in order to try to make me talk to him. I try to avoid him, but I seem to keep running into him. I’m not sure how to make him stop. I think that the passive approach is not working.
I am writing this as a father, talking about my daughter, who was 14 at the time of the incident. She and I were coming out of a Mexican restaurant, and some very drunk college guys were walking by across the street. One shouted, “Hey, sir! Your wife is really hot!” I stared him down and said, “That’s my daughter. And she’s 14!” He slithered away after that.
Parenthetically, my daughter (who is now 17) was in trouble for hitting a guy at school. He came up to her, looked at her chest, and asked her, “Are those real?”