The Movement

Hollaback *heart* our feministy blogger friends

Check out the love from A Radical Profeminist and Feminuity about our new mapping project.

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You’re Ruining the Environment and my Morning

While riding my bike at 6:40am on 4/14/10, I was passed by a gigantic silver SUV, license plate #*******. I heard kissy noises directed out the window at me from the passenger’s seat. The SUV stopped at a light and I passed them again, and again, I heard kissing/teeth sucking noises at me. This was riding north on Franklin St. in Greenpoint, between Greenpoint Ave. & Green St.

Submitted by Audrey

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The Movement

Be a HOLLAintern!

We are seeking two interns this summer (mid-May through August) to work 15-20 hours per week. This internship does not pay, but it is an incredible opportunity to spend your summer making earth-shaking change with an up and coming organization.
Responsibilities will be split amongst the two interns depending on their interests and skills, but may include:

• Updating the website, including reviewing submissions and posting them to the website/map;
• Representing Hollaback at events;
• Following the news, writing media pitches, and drafting press releases;
• Setting up workshops and speaking engagements at local NYC colleges;
• Filming and/or helping film Hollaback PSAs;
• Researching, writing, and copy editing grant proposals;
• Coordinating Hollaback events, including street performances and fundraisers;
• Writing guest posts on the Hollaback blog; and
• Any other duties, as assigned by your supervisor.

• Must be detailed-oriented and self-motivated;
• Must live in NYC, be willing to work from home, and be able to meet in person once a week;
• Must be passionate about street harassment, willing to Hollaback, and willing to speak with others about this project; and
• Must have access to a computer and know how to use it.

This position will be supervised by Hollaback’s founder and executive director, Emily May. Please send your resume and cover letter (describing why you are passionate about ending street harassment) to [email protected] before May 15th.

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The Movement

Introducing Hollaback 2.0!

Leveraging Mobile Technology to End Sexual Harassment

Hollaback! is a movement dedicated to ending street harassment and assault using mobile technology.

Street harassment is one of the most pervasive forms of violence against women, and one of the least legislated against. Comments from “You’d look good on me” to groping, flashing or assault, are a daily, global reality for women and LGBTQ individuals. But, it’s rarely reported, it’s just culturally accepted as ‘the price you pay’. As a result, street harassment is invisible to policymakers and the public. This effective “OK’ing” of street harassment has deep impacts on all forms of gender based violence. If street harassment is OK, then groping is OK. If groping is OK, the beating is OK. If beating is OK, then rape is OK. And any sexual violence is simply not OK! We all have the right to feel safe, confident, and sexy, without being objectified.

By collecting women and LGBTQ folks’ stories and pictures in a safe and share-able way with our soon-to-launch mobile phone application, Hollaback! is creating a crowd-sourced initiative to end street harassment that breaks the silence that has perpetuated sexual violence internationally, pronounces that any gender-based violence is unacceptable, and creates a world where we have an option, and more importantly, a response. And the world is behind us – The UN’s #3 Millennium Development Goal: Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women.

WHAT? Mobile and Social Innovation, “A Movement Brought on by an iPhone App”

The Hollaback! 2.0 platform transforms girls, women and LGBTQ individuals into open-source activists with the touch of a button. Participants can submit photos and experiences of harassment through three easy portals: a) the Hollaback! mobile app, b) a text form, and c) directly to the Hollaback! website, which will also be accessible to other smartphone users through their mobile browsers, and will link to our dynamic mapping system. We’ll track street harassment through data points to quantify and communicate its impact to legislators. The Hollaback! app creates a safe, action-oriented response to street harassment, and with powerful reporting features, it will finally put a face on everyday harassment and assault. By using data to establish the case against street harassment, Hollaback!’s social change efforts will ultimately result in significant improvements in policy and a reduction in crimes against girls, women and LGBTQ individuals.

WHY 2.0? To make it easier to ‘Hollaback!’ and to prove we need social change.
From postings-to-impressions data collected on Hollaback since 2005, we know that each time a survivor shares their sexual harassment story on the site, the post is read by over 1,000 others. Hollaback! 2.0 combines the democratization of the cell phone with tech innovation including geo-mapping and the mobile app to create an entirely new way to mobilize social change. A 2009 Newsweek study showed that over 85% of Americans own cell phones, and worldwide the UN reports 6 in 10 people own a cell phone. The ability to influence the thinking of thousands of people from one shared experience is something that most social projects rarely accomplish.

WHERE?It happens on your street, in your city, in our country, and everywhere else too.
Hollaback! is the first internationally-minded organization to address street harassment and assault and is the only known social project that will document it, creating a unified reporting system via geo-mapping that can be scaled globally. Because, there’s no mistaking it, this is a global issue. It will pilot in NYC, then expand nationally and globally where there is already expressed interest in partnering with us on existing anti-harassment movements, including India, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt.

WHEN?Summer 2010
Hollaback! 2.0 will Beta launch in NYC, then begin to expand to other cities in September 2010. We will grow to a minimum of three cities worldwide each year. In two years, we will track over 5,000 stories of harassment and assault that would otherwise be internalized and overlooked.

WHO?The Hollaback! Leadership Team
Oraia Reid and Emily May are nationwide experts on public safety for girls, women and the LGBTQ community. Oraia is executive director and founder of RightRides for Women’s Safety and Emily is co-founder of RightRides for Women’s Safety ( is an award-winning nonprofit whose flagship RightRides program offers free, late-night rides home to women and LGBTQ individuals in NYC and is currently expanding nationwide. is a website with 8 chapters worldwide that is dedicated to ending street harassment by giving girls, women and the LGBTQ community the opportunity to submit stories and pictures of their street harassers to an online blog.

Oraia and Emily are frequent commentators in the media, appearing as sources over sixty times, including ABC, CNN, NBC, the New York Times, and authoring op-eds in national papers. Oraia has executive education certificates from Harvard and Columbia’s Business Schools and is a Junior Fellow at the Nonprofit Leadership Development Institute. Emily has a MS in Social Policy from the London School of Economics, is a winner of the 2008 Stonewall Women’s Award, is a Progressive Women’s Voices Fellow, and is co-chair of the Board of Directors for Girls for Gender Equity. Oraia is a 2010 recipient of Women’s eNews 21 Leaders for the 21st Century. Emily was recently selected as one of thirty “women making history” by the Women’s Media Center, along with Rachel Maddow and Nancy Pelosi.

FAQs?Yes, we’ve heard em’ all.
Question:Are we a bunch of crazed feminazis who hate men?
Answer: Actually, HollaBack is a collective comprised of men and women, in 8 chapters, from a variety of backgrounds who believe we all have a right to be safe, sexy, and confident on the street! The team is made up of professionals in Activism, Social Policy, Engineering, Design, Publishing, Marketing, Social Media, and Film.

Question: OK, but what exactly is street harassment?
Answer: While there is always the classic, “Hey baby, nice legs,” we believe that what counts as harassment is determined by those who experience it, and can be any form of sexual harassment in public spaces. At its core is a power dynamic that plays on womens’ and LGBTQ folks’ vulnerability to assault.

Question: Isn’t street harassment the price you pay for living in a city?
Answer: No, local taxes are the price you pay for living in a city. We would love to see some portion of our local taxes go towards preventing street harassment, but alas, they don’t. In fact, it isn’t confined to city life. It occurs in shopping malls, cars, parking lots, public parks, airplanes, fast-food restaurants, gas stations, churches, and just about any public space we go.

More Questions in Mind? See our FAQ page.

Ready to help make this happen? Contact Emily May at [email protected].

c/o RightRides for Women’s Safety
26 Court St. Suite 505
Brooklyn, NY 11242

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The Movement

Why I Hollaback: Melissa’s Story

This is the fifth video in the “Why I Hollaback” series. “Why I Hollaback” tells the story of how and why folks decide to take the leap, speak up, and start Holla’ing back. We will release a new story every Monday and accept submissions from all over the world. So tell us your story — Why do you Hollaback?

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The Movement

"Harassment on the Train May be on the Rise"

Sexual Harassment on Public Transportation from Dana Rapoport on Vimeo.

Watch the video, and read the article here. Hollaback is working with RightRides and New Yorkers for Safe Transit to make the subways safer. Here’s why:

“Over the past year or so, we’ve seen a rise in transit-related stories and the stories have become increasingly more violent. Stories of groping and public masturbation are the norm, not the exception anymore,” said Emily May, Co-founder of Hollaback, as another indication of commuters’ distress through emails and pictures submitted to their blog. “Understaffed subway system makes it hard to report these crimes. By the time victims have found an MTA worker or police officer, their perpetrator is 7 stops away.” 

Our new mapping system is going to make it even easier for us to track harassment and assault. The crowd-sourced data we generate will be the first of its kind. Never before has the government or another nonprofit tried to track and map when and where street harassment happens. We believe this strategic intervention will be the catalyst that creates a world where women can feel safe, confident, and sexy when they walk down the street.

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campaign, demonstration, event, union square

"Hot Pussy is No Way to Say Hello" campaign premieres in Union Square

“It is not my problem or my responsibility to prevent men from assaulting me”



Teamed up with fellow NYC activist and student, Sarah VanDenbergh, I had an awesome time representing HollabackNYC at the world premiere of the “Hot Pussy is No Way to Say Hello” campaign in Union Square on April 3.


After moving from a small town to NYC for graduate school at NYU, Sarah was quickly disgusted by the amount and degree of street harassment she received when she stepped out her front door. Appalled by the common misconception that street harassment is sometimes provoked or asked for by the woman and that the woman is responsible for preventing her own assault, Sarah’s thesis puts the offending men and their bad behavior under the spotlight, in a reversal of roles.

“Most of the research, discourse, media, and news coverage around sexual harassment discusses it through an individual framework focusing on the victim. The solution that that framework leads to is the victim helping herself. There is very little to do with the male. It is not my problem or my responsibility to prevent men from assaulting me. It is a man’s problem and a man’s responsibility. It was therefore the goal of my project to change a “woman’s problem” into a public prerogative.”


Seven life-sized cardboard cutouts of male silhouettes were placed standing up in Union Square, each with a different sign on his chest: “I grope women on the train almost every day,” “I masturbate on women on the L train,” “I objectify women’s bodies.” Two black boxes were placed at the foot of two figures that played 108 looped recordings of lewd, derogatory, and offensive comments made to women taken directly from the Hollaback website. For this part, Sarah had several of her male friends record the phrases. They included such Hollaback classics as “Hey bitch! You want a stick or a dick?” and “Which one of you am I going to rape first?” and were played loudly for passersby to hear. We handed out postcards with the campaign motto that encourage women to take a photo of their harasser and submit it to Hollaback. 

Responses were mixed; surprisingly, the overwhelming majority were positive. One girl, who appeared on the verge of tears, said “Your work here is pretty hard to swallow, but it’s effective.” Others weren’t so supportive; one man said he liked what we were doing, but that the comments being projected from the recordings were “harsh”. Our response? “YEAH, THEY ARE. That’s why we’re here.”

For more information or to learn how you can hold this event in your neighborhood, please contact us.


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The Movement

How you can be a HOLLAhero!

1. Be an Angel. Donate.

We are seeking angel donors who are willing to make meaningful gifts. This donation will go directly to startup costs, which include the website, backend database, iPhone app, marketing materials, public relations, and strategic planning and development. As a significant leader in the Hollaback! movement, you will receive monthly donors-circle-only updates the executive director on how your donation is being used to create a world without street harassment.

2. Volunteer with Hollaback for Impact.

At Hollaback, we are looking for professionals who want a volunteer opportunity that optimizes their talents. Specifically, we are looking for volunteers with the following talents:

  • Webdesign. Our site desperately needs an overhaul before the big relaunch. We also need people who can design sassy, engaging, empowering add-ons that keep our site fresh.
  • Graphic Design. We need business cards, flyers, and letterhead, to name only a few.
  • Mapping Experts. We’re launching on a google map with pins that you can hover over to see details. Our vision is to make these maps completely searchable, to generate maps that are more visually appealing (like heat maps), and to chew these maps up into legislative districts for lobbying.
  • iPhone app designers. We’ve got the basic app coming out in June for our beta launch, but we need people who can make upgrades based on user feedback.
  • Legal Expertise. We’ve never been sued, and we’d like to keep it that way.
  • Search Engine Optimization. Search “hollaback” and we come up #1, even above Gwen Stefani. That’s great if you already know about our project. Search “harassment” or “groped” and all you get is a bunch of depressing news reports. Let’s make it easier for folks.
  • SMS text to map. We are launching with an iPhone app, but want to move to allow folks to report their harassment using SMS texting quickly. We understand it’s not easy, but we also know that this will open up the demographic that can Hollaback! significantly.

3. Board Membership.

Between now and September 2010, we are building our founding board. We’re looking for rockstars that are committed to Hollaback’s success. Expertise in technology, start-ups, marketing, legal, and/or event planning is a plus. To be considered, board members must be willing to leverage and engage their networks to advance Hollaback’s mission.

Want to help but don’t see the perfect opportunity for you listed? Contact Emily May at [email protected] I am happy to brainstorm with you on how we can best leverage your talents.

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We’re going to change this: until then, I’m standing tall in my shorts

Today I was walking to the park about 10 blocks from my house. I had on shorts and a t-shirt and some flops…nothing fancy. I had a guy slow down in his car next to me and start honking and whistling at me. Sad part was he had his 2 young sons in the car. A few blocks later these two guys on a bike start saying damn nice legs. Unfortunately all 3 creepers were moving too quickly for me to get a decent photograph. As i continued on my walk I said to myself I’m never wearing shorts again…but the more I thought about it, why not. Its not me thats the problem its them. And although I may get harassed again wearing them I’m not changing myself for any creep. I really believe in Hollaback and the movement that it has started and believe that things will soon be changing. So I’m going to keep wearing my shorts and am going to stand tall.

Submitted by Sarah

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Stalking, Verbal

Fighting for the right to wear a (work-appropriate) dress, one stalker at a time

Yesterday, I decided to wear a dress. The weather was beautiful and I was going to see Sandra Day O’Connor speak after work. Last night around 5:30 I was walking to the 175th St station on the A train when this man came up next to me and started walking along side me. I had my ipod on, but the volume was low enough that I could hear him saying that he thought I was beautiful and that he wanted to talk to me. I ignored him, tried to walk fast, but he kept along my side. When I realized I couldn’t walk faster, I stopped and let him keep going, getting a safe distance between us. However, when I got to the subway turnstiles, he was waiting for me. Again he told me I was beautiful and whatever and I yelled “GET THE FUCK AWAY FROM ME!” He called me a bitch and followed me on to the platform. I tried to stay close to groups of people and slowly sneak farther down the platform, but he kept following. When the train finally came, i ran down to another car, but he followed me again. As we approached 145th St, he walked down to where I was sitting and started staring at me. I had my cell phone out and started taking his picture. He saw me doing it, but didn’t try to hide. He exited the train at 145th, mumbling on his way out, and I finally felt relieved. Checked the photos I took and started taking notes of everything that happened.

I ran to the closest ticket booth when I got off the A at 42nd. I didn’t see the creep anywhere but I wanted to report what happened to the police. The station agent wasn’t helpful at first. She told me to wander around to find a police officer and didn’t make the call until I yelled that I wasn’t going anywhere until a police officer arrived. As I waited for the police, the creep came up to me. He was maybe 5 feet away, but he hid behind a column so the station agent couldn’t see him. He had taken off his t shirt and was just wearing a black tank top. Told me he was sorry, that he wanted to apologize, that he just wanted to talk to me but I was a bitch and an asshole and wouldn’t talk to him. He left after about a minute, and less than a minute later the police arrived.

Both officers were very good. They listened to me, they looked at the pictures, one of them did a sweep of the area, and when they couldn’t locate him they took me to their base and took my complaint. I made sure to mention to them that I am an attorney, so that may have had something to do with the excellent treatment I received. When they were done taking my statement, one of the officers escorted me to my transfer. I’m currently waiting for the detective to call. I’m really scared that I’m going to run into him again tonight.

On my way home last night, another man approached me in Times Square station. He said “Nice” as I walked past him and then he followed me to the platform. When he tried to talk to me and tell me he thought I was beautiful, I screamed and waved my arms and told him to get the fuck away. There were so many people and police around that he ran off. I didn’t make another complaint, but it scared the shit out of me.

I know that I’m not to blame. I’m proud that I had the wherewithall to remain calm, to take pictures, to make a complaint to the police. I know that I have the right to wear a modest, work appropriate dress and heels, and have my hair looking nice and wear lipstick and not be bothered by creeps. But today I dressed pretty frumpy and I don’t know if I’ll wear that dress again anytime soon.

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