Isabella Rotman

Not Cool, Man

It happens more frequently than I’d like to admit. I’m on my bicycle, and some guy in a car yells out to a woman on the street. It’s not an appropriate thing to say, it’s violent language disguised as something sexual or complimentary. I get really angry at the guy and want to say something, but I don’t. The guy drives off, the woman walks on, I ride away. Why didn’t I say something?! I feel powerless in the moment, guilty and embarrassed after the fact.

Combatting street harassment, sexual violence, and abuse is everyone’s responsibility. The more we are active in combatting even the seemingly most inconsequential objectifying language, the better it will be for everyone.

Isabella Rotman is lifting the weight of about a thousand people by authoring the amazing minicomic/zine, Not On My Watch! It’s an easy read, that encourages us all to step up and take an active role in keeping everyone safe. Not On My Watch covers consent, calling people on their inappropriate comments, preventing sexual assault, and supporting friends in abusive relationships.

Just as I am totally embarrassed by not speaking up sooner to street harassers, I am equally embarrassed that I felt like I needed to read Isabella’s zine before deciding that I need to start stepping up and voicing my outrage when it happens. Not On My Watch is an empowering read, and I will be using it as a constant reminder that I need to do my part in preventing sexual violence.

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