What to do? Part Two

We recently posted an experience (What to do?) were the individual asked the community for advice on how to handle a repeat sexual harasser in her neighborhood. This is what you all had to say:

Beav:

Taking a picture is an excellent idea! I would even make flyers “This man likes to sexually harass women, his name is ____.”

I had 2 grown men (in their 50s) scream “B_tch” at me and threaten to KILL ME at a metro stop because they didn’t like the way I was parked (I was picking up my husband who had a broken shoulder). My husband and I followed their car as much as we could, and took down their license plate. Instead of hopping out of the car and going ballistic on them, we called the police and told them what happened. A police man came to our house and pretty much dismissed our complaint (why bother showing up?). He even gave my husband “the hand” which was so rude.

I contacted the lieutenant of our police department via the county’s web site and we set up a meeting to talk about what happened (the police officer being rude and dismissive about the verbal assault/threat). At the time, I was also a victim of theft (2 kids stole my mountain bikes and I TRACKED THEM DOWN singlehandedly because the police did not care). The lieutenant was great, and we met in person for about 30 minutes to talk about “what could’ve been done” and “what will happen now”. He was genuinely concerned about the lack of responsiveness from certain officers. I think it’s really important to go up the chain of command if necessary, and to continue to have faith in the law enforcement system.

Cathy:

the lack of repentance is always a quandry, isn’t it?

find out if there’s a female cop in your town, appeal to her. or go to the boss. what else is sexual harassment? what else is their job?

good luck fighting the good fight!

Lauren

first, I’m so sorry for all that you are going through. And props for all your tenacity and creativity in dealing with this guy. I have a few ideas on how you can take more steps to hopefully stop him. Some include dealing with the police from a different approach, or the county’s complaint/victim services/advocates people,or the council of the county or small town you live in, and/or a grassroots approach from concerned people in your community. I’d be happy to talk and brainstorm with you what approaches feel best to you.

Joel:

Strongly encourage you to take the issue, esp. the unhelpful and argumentative nature of the police officer, to your local elected officials, whomever they may be, dependent upon the governmental structure for your area (county supervisors, town commission, etc.). Write a courteous yet firm letter to them. CC the top commander of the force. Appear at the next public meeting, and repeat your concerns during the public comment section. You will probably see action begin to occur. These are your elected officials, and your police department. They are paid by you, and employed by you. Reach out to your fellow victim; see if she will join you in your letter and public comments. If you want to take it further, write up a flyer, and place it into every mail slot near the trail, with quick info on whom to email with their concerns.

Helene:

Ideas…
My first thought was to push him hard off his bike when he goes past you. Is he close enough to do that? Yeah sure, it’s not right, but F him – I’d like him to see break a leg!

Ok, so if that doesn’t appeal… how about carrying a small recorder and whipping it out when you see the creep come toward you on the bike? Say “go ahead, I’m recording what you’re about to say”. Oh, and take a photo. That would be you “fighting” back without physically harming him (I still like that option though). It will be unsettling for him AND provide evidence if law enforcement ever decides to treat you seriously…

Thank you all for the excellent advice. There is no doubt that your words will help Colette and others as they figure out how to address their public sexual harassment experiences.

2 responses to “What to do? Part Two

  1. I did not actually post to this site initally; just the stopstreetharassment site. An update. I posted to our local list serv which has 800 members and is monitored by elected officials and police. The mayor immediately responded to me and passed my information on to the Chief of Police, who then delegated down the chain of command. And guess what? Nobody with the police department cares! It’s *not a crime* and I’ve been referred to the Public Relations officer for what sounds like General Safety Tips. They offered me nothing; they showed no interest in speaking to the other women involved or contacting the man, although I gave them his address. Do I have to wait till he assaults me?! Stalks me? I have no more energy for the police. All it does is work me into an obsessive froth, making me feel helpless and frustrated and pissed off that they aren’t helping me. I have to come at this from other angles, which is bothersome in part because likely I am only helping me, not all the women this jackass bothers. I have this man’s name and address. I am thinking big notes on his front door [INSERT NAME: STOP SEXUALLY HARASSING LOCAL WOMEN WITH INAPPROPRIATE COMMENTS AND SOUNDS. WE DON’T LIKE IT. STOP IT.] after any time he says something to me. See, the trouble is it’s hard to get in a good response in the moment because of his hit & run harassment approach. I wondered if putting a sign in the yard: [A Sexual Harasser Lives Here] is illegal. Yeah, probably. Such as with shoving him off his bike… the pleasure would only be momentary! I know I have to make harassing me unpleasant, to deprive him of his twisted pay-off. I want this public, as public as I can make it and still be legal. I have been surprised to slowly suspect/realize that people still think this is shameful – to the person being harassed! – and something one *keeps quiet.* People can afford to think it is no big deal until it is happening to them or someone they care about. I would put a letter in the local paper but I don’t want it lost amongst all the recent snow ruckus. I may have to wait.

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