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They Finally Did It. Some Women Had Enough Of Creepy Men's Crap And Documented Their Experiences.

If you've ever endured standing in line waiting to pay for your Chinese food while trying desperately not to make eye contact with the dude aggressively staring you down with all the confidence of knowing there's nothing you can do about it (like I had to last week), you'll understand what I mean. Leah Beckmann and Mark Lotto from Matter gave us their blessing to republish this eye-opening breakdown of street harassment documented by women the world over. Each brand of harassment listed is completely unacceptable.

They Finally Did It. Some Women Had Enough Of Creepy Men's Crap And Documented Their Experiences.

We asked 10 women in nine countries to record every instance of street harassment—every catcall, every ass-ogle, every creepy look—for an entire week. The results? A strong argument for just becoming a shut-in.

Edited by Leah Beckmann


Catcalling—a cute name that uses the image of a soft mammal on a telephone to stand in for some super rude behavior—is something women experience everywhere, in every city and country, all the time.

Some women think it’s a compliment; that a stroll down Confidence Avenue is not only healthy, but that hearing the opinions of male strangers, usually shouted from streetcorners or a moving car—Can’t stop! Too many other girls to catcall!—is “validating.” This is…a questionable argument to make. For most of us, catcalling is mortifying at best; at worst, it makes you want to pull out someone’s eyeballs with your bare hands.

For one full week in September, we asked women from 10 different cities around the globe to keep a diary record of any kind of unwanted attention they received, including every untoward advance from a stranger, every leering stare and smile and “Hey baby” directed their way.

Here’s what we learned:

1.

Based on the individual experiences of these 10 women, Mexico City was the worst of the group—with 29 catcalls in a single week. San Francisco and Nairobi were basically tied for second, with 17 and 16 respectively. Tel Aviv and Occidental College in L.A. had the least, with only two. (For our college correspondent, both of those happened off campus, so you could count Occidental as zero.)

2.

Italy wins for Most True To Its Cultural Stereotype. Short of screaming out, “Mama mia, when the moon hits your eye I’m a pepperoni pizza,” the men of Rome, Sicily, and Le Cinque Terre couldn’t have been more on the nose if they tried. A sample from our Italy correspondent:

As soon as I got off the plane in Sicily’s Cantania airport, I dragged myself to the first coffee shop in sight, half-asleep. The young waiter — a slender young man, aged between 25 and 30, with blond hair and blue eyes, wearing his black uniform as a waiter at a coffee bar — had a welcoming smile for all clients who were having their croissants and cappuccinos. He took my order, served me my double espresso and croissant, and moved on to the German woman standing next to me. “Could you possibly have a prosciutto sandwich before 9am?” he asked me in Italian, knowing the German lady wouldn’t probably understand. I lifted my eyes up from my espresso and he muttered, “Are you an American movie star?” I must have looked perplexed. “OK, maybe not. I just meant to say that we could turn off the lights here, now that you and your eyes walked in.” Buongiorno, Sicily!

3.

There are two kinds of catcallers in this world. Those who are annoying as hell but feign politeness:

And those who are annoying as hell but have adopted an IDGAF attitude toward politeness:



4.

In Mexico City, our correspondent encountered behavior so aggressive, she began to wonder what she had with her that would work as a weapon.

“I was walking faster now, and started thinking about what I could use to hit him if I had to, and I thought about using a water bottle if he came too close.”

And when she called police:

“These were the two cops I’d called, one female and one male. They were talking to me about my complaint, but kept staring at my hip tattoos. I pulled up my pants but they still kept trying to see them.”Debora Poo Soto, Mexico City

5.

Women almost always experienced catcalls when they were alone.

6.

Men, on the other hand, often catcall when they are with other men. They do it a lot when they’re alone too. Men catcall all the time, constantly, always. Men, you are never not catcalling. Women’s sole purpose in this world is being a thing at which you can catcall.

7.



And now a scene from Singapore, and also every other place in the world:

Man: Hey girl.
Woman: …Hi.
Man: Can I buy you a drink?
Woman: No thank y—


Man, violating the laws of physics, already at the next table of women: Hey girl. Can I buy you a drink?

Woman:

8.

Several of the cities found that catcallers are very preoccupied with the smiles of the women around them. The most common catcall our contributors experienced was some variation of, “Can I get a smile?” or “Hey girl, did you forget how to smile?”

9.

Kati Krause, Berlin’s correspondent: “Sexism is much more insidious here (so much so that I sometimes miss the more overt type in Spain).” From her diary:

Two sleazy-looking middle-aged men in suits were smoking outside the opening of a cinema-turned-art space and shooting looks at the young women around them. ‘You can forget about the art, but the in-crowd, the in-crowd is here,’ one of them said.”

10.

Catcalling usually occurred while women were commuting, probably because this is the time when women are most often alone. It is also one of the many times of day when there are men.

11.

Catcalling doesn’t always happen on street corners and from moving cars; it happens up close, in, for instance, grocery store checkout lines.

“The man in line behind me belched a hot stench of vodka’ed breath in my direction. The hairs on the back of my neck stand on end.” — Anonymous, Ulan Bator, Mongolia

12.

…which is an incredibly offensive insult in Swahili. It is best translated as, Come and sell sex for us.”

13.

Men often—like, often—stare at women’s boobs and butts and the rest of their bodies. One of the most common “themes” of the diaries was an intense Leg Stare our contributors received when walking. There were 7 total incidences involving legs—in New York, San Francisco, Nairobi, and Ulan Bator, Mongolia—along with the comment, “You have beautiful legs, eyes…”

14.

It’s not just the construction worker cliches that apply. Here’s Sarah Emerson, from New York, on a Monday morning encounter in a Whole Foods:

I was standing in line to pay for my lunch at Whole Foods, chatting with a coworker. Clutching my shitty array of terrible salad bar items, I noticed that a guy in the neighboring check-out lane seemed to creepily catch my glance every time I looked in his general direction.

He was older, maybe in his forties, and sported a sleek man-bun. Holding onto a container of sushi and a bottle of kombucha, he gave me an obvious once-over. Ugh.

There’s a feeling you get in your gut when you realize you’re being leered at by a strange man. Imagine someone running their hands along your body without your consent. The reaction is like an urge to puke coupled with a strong desire to rip their eyeballs out. Yeah, that sounds dramatic and violent (Scout’s Honor, I have never ripped anyone’s eyeballs out), but unwelcome looks can be just as violating as other forms of sexual harassment.

It’s difficult to reject an obscene glance. It’s embarrassing to say “stop looking at me.” It’s impossible to prevent someone from eye-fucking you.

Short of stealing my food, there was nothing I could do to evade his gaze, so I waited in line until it was over.

15.

However, all of the cliches also apply:

“Dayummm!”San Francisco.

16.

Catcallers are everywhere. Even in your church in Nairobi. Blessings.

“Bwana wazuri wako kanisani, nijaribu,’ which means, ‘Good men are found in church. Try me.”—Violet Andoyo

17.

So: What does this all mean? It means that we should take a good hard look at the world around us. I mean physically, right now, take your eyes and peer into that bush over there. Is there a man in it? Because here is one thing we know for sure: No matter where we are in this big wide world of ours, wherever there is a woman walking to work, or buying her high heels and tampons at a grocery store, or loudly singing to a Taylor Swift song in her Jetta, or standing, literally just standing anywhere on terra firma, there you will find a pervy man demanding proof that this lady remembers how to smile.

Please read the full diaries. (Really, do it. They’re great.):

  1. Kati Krause in Berlin.
  2. Italy (Rome, Sicily, La Cinque Terre)
  3. Los Angeles (Occidental College)
  4. Mexico City
  5. Nairobi, Kenya
  6. New York City
  7. San Francisco
  8. Singpore
  9. Tel Aviv
  10. Ulan Bator, Mongolia
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Judy Vaughan has spent most of her life helping other women, first as the director of House of Ruth, a safe haven for homeless families in East Los Angeles, and later as the Project Coordinator for Women for Guatemala, a solidarity organization committed to raising awareness about human rights abuses.

But in 1996, she decided to take things a step further. A house became available in the mid-Wilshire area of Los Angeles and she was offered the opportunity to use it to help other women and children. So, in partnership with a group of 13 people who she knew from her years of activism, she decided to make it a transitional residence program for homeless women and their children. They called the program Alexandria House.

"I had learned from House of Ruth that families who are homeless are often isolated from the surrounding community," Judy says. "So we decided that as part of our mission, we would also be a neighborhood center and offer a number of resources and programs, including an after-school program and ESL classes."

She also decided that, unlike many other shelters in Los Angeles, she would accept mothers with their teenage boys.

"There are very few in Los Angeles [that do] due to what are considered liability issues," Judy explains. "Given the fact that there are (conservatively) 56,000 homeless people and only about 11,000 shelter beds on any one night, agencies can be selective on who they take."

Their Board of Directors had already determined that they should take families that would have difficulties finding a place. Some of these challenges include families with more than two children, immigrant families without legal documents, moms who are pregnant with other small children, families with a member who has a disability [and] families with service dogs.

"Being separated from your son or sons, especially in the early teen years, just adds to the stress that moms who are unhoused are already experiencing," Judy says.

"We were determined to offer women with teenage boys another choice."

Courtesy of Judy Vaughan

Alexandria House also doesn't kick boys out when they turn 18. For example, Judy says they currently have a mom with two daughters (21 and 2) and a son who just turned 18. The family had struggled to find a shelter that would take them all together, and once they found Alexandria House, they worried the boy would be kicked out on his 18th birthday. But, says Judy, "we were not going to ask him to leave because of his age."

Homelessness is a big issue in Los Angeles. "[It] is considered the homeless capital of the United States," Judy says. "The numbers have not changed significantly since 1984 when I was working at the House of Ruth." The COVID-19 pandemic has only compounded the problem. According to Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA), over 66,000 people in the greater Los Angeles area were experiencing homelessness in 2020, representing a rise of 12.7% compared with the year before.

Each woman who comes to Alexandria House has her own unique story, but some common reasons for ending up homeless include fleeing from a domestic violence or human trafficking situation, aging out of foster care and having no place to go, being priced out of an apartment, losing a job, or experiencing a family emergency with no 'cushion' to pay the rent.

"Homelessness is not a definition; it is a situation that a person finds themselves in, and in fact, it can happen to almost anyone. There are many practices and policies that make it almost impossible to break out of poverty and move out of homelessness."

And that's why Alexandria House exists: to help them move out of it. How long that takes depends on the woman, but according to Judy, families stay an average of 10 months. During that time, the women meet with support staff to identify needs and goals and put a plan of action in place.

A number of services are provided, including free childcare, programs and mentoring for school-age children, free mental health counseling, financial literacy classes and a savings program. They have also started Step Up Sisterhood LA, an entrepreneurial program to support women's dreams of starting their own businesses. "We serve as a support system for as long as a family would like," Judy says, even after they have moved on.

And so far, the program is a resounding success.

92 percent of the 200 families who stayed at Alexandria House have found financial stability and permanent housing — not becoming homeless again.

Since founding Alexandria House 25 years ago, Judy has never lost sight of her mission to join with others and create a vision of a more just society and community. That is why she is one of Tory Burch's Empowered Women this year — and the donation she receives as a nominee will go to Alexandria House and will help grow the new Start-up Sisterhood LA program.

"Alexandria House is such an important part of my life," says Judy. "It has been amazing to watch the children grow up and the moms recreate their lives for themselves and for their families. I have witnessed resiliency, courage, and heroic acts of generosity."

When "bobcat" trended on Twitter this week, no one anticipated the unreal series of events they were about to witness. The bizarre bobcat encounter was captured on a security cam video and...well...you just have to see it. (Read the following description if you want to be prepared, or skip down to the video if you want to be surprised. I promise, it's a wild ride either way.)

In a North Carolina neighborhood that looks like a present-day Pleasantville, a man carries a cup of coffee and a plate of brownies out to his car. "Good mornin!" he calls cheerfully to a neighbor jogging by. As he sets his coffee cup on the hood of the car, he says, "I need to wash my car." Well, shucks. His wife enters the camera frame on the other side of the car.

So far, it's just about the most classic modern Americana scene imaginable. And then...

A horrifying "rrrrawwwww!" Blood-curdling screaming. Running. Panic. The man abandons the brownies, races to his wife's side of the car, then emerges with an animal in his hands. He holds the creature up like Rafiki holding up Simba, then yells in its face, "Oh my god! It's a bobcat! Oh my god!"

Then he hucks the bobcat across the yard with all his might.

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2020 was difficult (to say the least). The year was full of life changes, losses, and lessons as we learned to navigate the "new normal." You may have questions about what the changes and challenges of 2020 mean for your taxes. That's where TurboTax Live comes in, making it easy to connect with real tax experts to help with your taxes – or even do them for you, start to finish.

Not only has TurboTax Live helped millions of people get their taxes done right, but this year they've also celebrated people who uplifted their communities during a difficult time by surprising them with "little lifts" to help out even more.

Here are a few of their stories:


Julz, hairdresser and salon owner

"As a hairdresser and salon owner, 2020 was extremely challenging," says Julz. "Being a hairdresser has historically been a recession-proof industry, but we've never faced global shut down due to health risk, or pandemic, not in my lifetime. And for the first time, hairdressers didn't have job security."

Julz had to shut down her salon and go on unemployment benefits for the first time. She also had to figure out how she was going to support herself, her staff and her business during this difficult time. But many other beauty industry professionals didn't have access to the resources they needed, so Julz decided to help.

"My business partner and I began teaching basic financial literacy to other beauty industry professionals," she says. "Transitioning our business from behind the chair to an online academy was a challenge we tackled head-on so that we could move hairdressers into this new space of education, and create a more accessible curriculum to better serve our industry.

Julz connected with a TurboTax Live expert who helped her understand how unemployment affected her taxes and gave her guidance on filing quarterly estimated taxes for her small business. "I was terrified to sit at a computer and tackle this mess of receipts," Julz says, so "it was great to have some virtual handholding to walk me through each question."

In addition to giving Julz the personalized tax advice she needed, TurboTax Live surprised her with a "little lift" that empowered her to help even more beauty professionals. "When my tax expert Diana surprised me with a little lift, I was moved to tears," says Julz. "With that little lift, I was able to establish a scholarship fund to help get other hairdressers the education they deserve."


Alana, new mom

Alana welcomed her first child in 2020. "I think my biggest challenge was figuring out how to be a mom, with no guidance," she says. "My original plan was to have my mom by my side, teaching me the ropes, but because of COVID, she wasn't able to come out here."

She was also without a job for most of 2020 and struggled to find something new.

So, Alana took it as a sign: she decided to launch her own business so she could support her new baby, and that's exactly what she did. She started a feel-good company that specializes in creating affirmation card decks — and she's currently in the process of starting a second, video-editing business.

TurboTax Live answered Alana's questions about her taxes and gave her some much-needed advice as she prepared to launch her businesses. Thanks to their "little lift," they provided her with a little emotional support too.

"I got my mom a plane ticket to finally [have her] meet [my daughter] for her first birthday," Alana says. "I was also able to get a new computer," which helped her invest in her new business and work on her video editing skills. "It's helped my family and me so much," she says.


Michael, science teacher

When schools shut down across the country last year, Michael had to learn how to adapt to a virtual classroom.

"As a teacher, I had to completely revamp everything," he says, so that he could keep his students engaged while teaching online. "At the beginning, it was a nightmare because I had no idea. I had to go from A-Z within a couple of weeks."

Michael's TurboTax Live expert answered his questions about how working from home affected his taxes and helped him uncover surprising tax deductions. To top it all off, his expert surprised him with brand new science equipment and supplies, which allowed him to create an entire line of classes on YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook. "Now I can truly potentially reach millions of children with my lessons," he says. "I would never have taken that leap if not for the little lift from TurboTax Live."



Ricky, motivational youth speaker

As a motivational speaker, Ricky was used to doing his job in person, but, he says, "when COVID-19 hit, it altered my ability to travel and visit schools in person [because] schools moved to fully virtual or hybrid models."

He knew he had to pivot — so he began offering small virtual group workshops for student leadership groups at middle and high schools.

"This allowed me to work with student leaders to plan how they would continue making a positive impact on their school community," he says. He wasn't sure how being remote would affect his taxes, but TurboTax Live Self-Employed gave him the advice and answers that he needed to keep more money in his pocket at tax time — and the little lift he received from them has helped him serve even more students.

"[It] has been a major blessing," he says "There will be multiple schools and student groups from across the country that I can hold leadership workshops with to empower them with the tools to be inspirational leaders in their school, community, and world."

Plus, he says, it was great knowing he had an expert to help him figure out how being remote affected his taxes. "I felt confident and assured in the process of filing my taxes knowing I had an expert working with me, says Ricky. "There were things my expert knew that I would not have considered when filing on my own."

Filing your taxes doesn't have to be intimidating, especially after a year like 2020. TurboTax Live experts can give you the "little lift" you need to get your taxes done. File with the help of an expert or let an expert file for you! Go to TurboTax Live to get started.