Minneapolis, MN – Community members from South Minneapolis organized a bike ride called “#OhHellNO” in response to sexual harassment & assaults reported along bike routes in the neighborhood. The riders came together to ride through the neighborhood to let perpetrators know that roads are being patrolled and that they won’t freely be able to harass the community. Although the police were notified of the assaults and harassment, riders felt that they wanted to do something outside of the institutions in place.
The Facebook event page stated:
We are doing this to:
~Stop violence on women
~Come together in community self-defense!”
The harassment has included multiple reports of a naked man jumping out and masturbating as bikers went by. The situation recently escalated as a naked man jumped a rider and tried to pull them off their bike. The rider got away, and reported the incident to police, but also advised people in the Grease Rag facebook page of the occurrence. Grease Rag facebook description states,
Everyone is welcome to be a part of this group, but please RESPECT THIS SPACE as a discussion forum for FTW (Femme/Trans/Women, Non-Binary, Two-Spirit People- people who do not benefit from cis male privilege) folks who like bikes.”
That’s when other survivors of similar incidents came forward and people realized it was a string of harassment in the area. They created this map of reported harassment and assaults, communicating via the Grease Rag page.
The bike ride followed the trail of mapped incidents to create a visible public presence, raise awareness, and alert anyone who might imagine harassing or attacking riders that the community wasn’t going to allow it. We spoke to Jill & Shannon who participated in the bike ride to help support women and survivors of the sexual harassment.
Shannon said that:
There are increased daily patrols that are happening right now and people are organizing, utilizing technology, and using apps they are posting on so there is easier communications between the people on patrol.”
The community is coming together and wanted options besides having to call the police, when we spoke with Jill she said that she wanted,
a community self-defense aspect, of showing that we can be out in the street as women, whenever we want we have that right. And we’re not going to allow someone to ruin it for us. We’re going to get together as a community and work together to stop it.”
More community meetings are planned to discuss next steps in organizing community self-defense bike patrols.
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