Lesbian Couple Hollaback

After becoming victims of homophobic abuse in Chiswick


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Being the target of homophobic abuse has led one openly gay couple to 'avoid' Chiswick. Writing on websiteHollaback!, a movement dedicated to ending street harassment, Julia recounted her experience: "My partner and I were walking hand in hand strolling slowly along the Chiswick High Road on a gorgeous sunny afternoon, on the way to the cinema to watch a film. We went past a green park area where a group of hooded young men (and women) were sitting smoking and chatting, when we caught their attention."

She continued:"One of them started to hurl really homophobic remarks to us, then each guy took in turn to tell us what they’d do to us ‘to turn us straight’! The language coming out of them was shocking... As we went past them, still holding hands, we deliberately stopped and hugged each other to signal we weren’t intimidated. This really incensed them and they followed us up the path out of the park and onto the High Road still hurling abuse."

Julia says that the scene was witnessed by two PSCO who didn't intervene and it was only when a member of of the public called the Police that the couple were asked if they were alright.

"We were both very upset by the whole incident and now avoid that area."

Street harassment occurs on a daily basis all over London. The term ‘Street harassment’ is used to describe sexual harassment which takes place in public spaces, and refers to behaviour such as staring, commenting, shouting, following, touching, grabbing, groping, flashing, assault, and violence.

HollabackLDN was launched after London women were inspired by the work of Emily May and Hollaback in the USA who fight to combat the lived reality of street harassment in its many and varied forms, that we experience in our own city of London.

"Knowing that you are not alone, and that this behaviour is not just something you have to ignore, is the first step to making it unacceptable," says a spokesperson for HollabackLDN. "The current social situation perpetuates the idea that women-identified bodies are public property, are somehow on offer, and that harassment, abuse, assault and daily fear is just the price we pay for being female. HollabackLDN believe that everyone has the right to feel safe, confident and attractive; guilt free."

The website provides a resource to allow people to share their stories without being victims, as well as to highlight just how often it happens, and to work on what can be done about it.

March 9, 2011

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