Monday, September 21, 2009

Attack on Stratford

A local resident writes:

I'm sad to report that around 6:00 PM this evening an elderly woman was knocked down and robbed. The police were called, as well as an ambulance, they arrived promptly and the woman was taken to the hospital.

She reported that the criminal was a young (keep in mind that the woman was advanced in age) black man on a bicycle.

It is horrifying that this happened in broad daylight on a residential block. It's certainly a reminder to me to be vigilant at all times.

The attack occurred on Stratford, between Ditmas and Dorchester.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Hate on Cortelyou

Today we received a very disturbing email from a female friend in the neighborhood, and felt compelled to share it:

Yesterday [Saturday (corrected)], in the middle of the afternoon - in broad daylight - my girlfriend and I were physically accosted along Cortelyou road by three young men who repeatedly threatened to violently rape us, simply for walking hand in hand down the sidewalk together. We called 911 after we managed to get away from them but only officers on foot responded, and too late to find the men to make a report and press charges.

I have lived in this neighborhood for three years, and I love it. I love the diversity of it, from the people to the restaurants, the co-op, our little farmer's market and CSA, and it's unique urban landscape. What I don't love about this neighborhood is the amount of cat-calling and harassment I have to face almost every day as a woman walking down the street here. I can't remember the last time I was able to walk between my apartment on Ocean Avenue and the Q train along Cortelyou without being whistled at or having kissing noises made at me or having to either absorb or deflect off-color or vulgar comments from men of all ages and all races. This only gets worse when I walk with my girlfriend through the neighborhood. I used to have the sense that this was a safe place for women (and for lesbian and gay couples) but that sense is rapidly fading.

I feel infinitely safer walking alone or with my girlfriend through Park Slope and Prospect Heights, neighborhoods where I also spend a lot of time. I want to live here in Ditmas Park, to realize all the good this neighborhood has to offer, to invest in the new businesses and to contribute to, participate in and benefit from the thriving sense of community here, but I am starting to feel like the constant threats and misogyny I feel on the streets here (and not in other places in Brooklyn) are not worth the payoff.

I wanted to write here to make people aware of what happened yesterday and what continues to happen, and to remind women in particular to be careful as they traverse through the neighborhood.

I also would like to find out if I am alone in these conflicting feelings about the place we all call home, or if these are issues that others in the neighborhood are grappling with as well. I'm starting to run out of tools with which to approach this challenge personally, not to mention patience.

I don't want to have to move away in order to feel safe and respected, and I wonder if anyone who has faced this particular situation here has any suggestions or points of hope to share around this issue.