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A week in our shoes: CATS AGAINST CATCALLING

Hey Hollabackers —

I’m on vacation this week, but our fierce staff and volunteers are keeping the movement moving (with your support of course)! Here’s the roundup:

CATS against CATCALLING tumblr launches! Check it out — and if you love it — spread the word! We’ll have it up for a month, and longer if it takes off.  You can submit your own “kitteh” too!


Hollaback! Melbourne Organizes a Site Launch Party! Entry is $5 and includes tea/coffee, special ‘holla’ cupcakes, a Hollaback badge and an arts and crafts station. Guest speaker Lauren Rosewarne will be speaking at 8pm. More details are here.


Hollaback NYC Calls for Local Assemblymember who Sexually Harassed Staff to Step Down.  We wrote the statement last Saturday, a day after the allegations were made public, and he stepped down as Brooklyn party boss later in the week.  We’re continuing to push for him step down from his Assembly seat, so stay tuned. Our full statement can be found here.


Boston Chalked it up! Check out their street art here (and to the right!).


Rebecca Faria, Founder of Hollaback! Halifax spoke at “Walk With Her: DIY Healthcare.” The description reads, “The healthcare debate has never been so heated, but we’re meeting outside the OR rooms and talking about the things that really do matter most; building walkable cities, accessible mental health services, and how to make “local” more than a slogan.” We couldn’t agree more! Details for the event are here and you can follow Hollaback Halifax on facebook here. Hollaback Halifax has been embraced by the recently launched “GAYBOURHOOD WATCH,” a community organization to prevent crime and violence in Halifax’s gay neighbourhood. Check out their press mentions on CBC (Hollaback ismentioned at 5:40 and again about a minute later), Metronews, and Openfile.


Hollaback Turkey in the News! Check them out in Today’s Zaman and the SES Turkiye.


Don’t we have the best team in the world? I think so. And you’re part of it.


HOLLA and out —




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Welad El Balad: Fighting street harassment in Egypt

BY SHAHINAZ EL HENNAWI, international movement fellow at Hollaback!

It all started after the Revolution! We, Egyptians began our revolution by years of hard work and a final spark from Tunisia. We desired change and we knew we can do it. We all felt that it is our country, our home, we all went to the streets wanting to share, live and breathe freedom. We wanted to undo all harms of the last many years. For the first time I could actually walk in the streets of Egypt with no fear, I felt we were all brothers and sister, no harm. I went to the square never thinking about sexual harassment. I was walking there in so much crowd with two of my friends then we found  men surrounding us with a circle to protect and keep us from harm since they felt that something was going wrong. They used to send thugs to the square to frighten women and girls so we can go home and not have a voice. But we didn’t stop, we kept going.

After nine months, in Ramadan (the Muslims fasting month) we got an idea that the feast  (3 days Breakfasting after Ramadan called Eid Fitr) should not be like any other feast. It has to be a safe feast for Girls in New Egypt. So my friends and I kept talking about it and not really knowing what to do. Usually in our culture the feast is a big event, where everybody is in the streets and many teens specifically go out and think that sexual harassment is fun to do in these days.

About almost 6 years ago we witnessed for the first time in Egypt mass group sexual harassment in front of the movie theatre and then couple of others took place specially during feast time.

But this time we wanted it to be different, we wanted our campaign to be filled with the energy of freedom and solidarity. So we had an idea to reach out for the community groups (Groups of male youth who were formed during the revolution to protect their neighborhood during the time of chaos right after the revolution began). A friend of mine, Karim from the Green party, who is very politically active decided to work with me on this campaign and he believed so much in the cause. We decided to call it “Welad el Balad” meaning the sons and daughters of the country, it has a culture connotation meaning “Having good manners” So if you call it to someone misbehaving, they would usually become ashame and stop. We started up a facebook event and invited people to join us and we started preparing for this campaign a month before. We reached almost 3000 volunteers in less than a month. We divided our selves into committees, held training for each committee with a specific assignment, we held several events in the street, we approached so many shops and cafes, and during the Eid itself we had shifts on the ground for 3 days, each working on a specific task, such as raising awareness, legal counseling, psychological counseling, survey, music, games, media outreach, in addition to a great show of a football team who volunteered to assist us. The idea behind sports was to engage the young youth is something constructive and shift their perceptions. The young men of the committees served as mentors for the young ones to the extent that some of the young harassers apologized, asked to join the campaign and brought their friends. The campaign demonstrated huge success, we were approached by the media, TV, sponsors, we also were mentioned in NGOs reports.This is the second year of the campaign, where we decided to go beyond Alexandria and reach out to different places in Egypt, I am very proud of my partners on the ground who are currently in the streets working in the campaign instead of having their holiday and enjoying their time with their families. I am watching them with joy and gratitude while being a fellow here in mother Hollaback to return to them with more inspiring actions from all over the world.

For additional information, check out the press coverage of the event here and here.

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It’s US Women’s Eq-HOLLA-ty Day!

WHEREAS, the women of the United States have been treated as second-class citizens and have not been entitled the full rights and privileges, public or private, legal or institutional, which are available to male citizens of the United States; and

WHEREAS, the women of the United States have united to assure that these rights and privileges are available to all citizens equally regardless of sex…and

WHEREAS Hollaback! still has our work cut out for us…

Hey Hollabackers –

Did you know that 92 years ago today the 19th amendment granted women the right to vote in the US because women HOLLA’d back?

It’s true.

But today isn’t just about celebrating the passing of an amendment – it’s about the struggle to get there. It’s about our continuing efforts toward full equality. It’s about those who Hollaback and change the world!

Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton HOLLA’d for equal voting rights for women.
Shirley Chisholm HOLLA’d for equal opportunities for African American women in politics.
Billie Jean King HOLLA’d for equal rights and pay for women athletes.
Bella Abzug HOLLA’d for equal labor rights for working women.

At Hollaback, we HOLLA for equal streets for ALL women and LGBTQ individuals! Period.

Make a donation NOW and help us work toward a world where street harassment is not tolerated and where we all enjoy equal access to public spaces.

Your gift supports our efforts to:

Break the silence
Inspire international leadership
Shift public opinion
Engage elected officials

Click here to learn how you can actively participate in the movement to end street harassment!

HOLLA and out –

PS: How do you Hollaback? Let us know on Twitter  & Facebook  today!

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Hollaback Statement on Assembly Member Vito Lopez

Organization Combating Sexual Harassment Calls for JCOPE Investigation and Lopez’ Resignation

BROOKLYN, NY (08/25/2012) (readMedia)– Assembly Member Vito Lopez’ shocking and unacceptable sexual misconduct demands a swift and strong penalty. As an organization dedicated to combating sexual harassment, we call on Assemblymember Lopez to resign from the Assembly and from his chairmanship of the Kings County Democratic Party. We also call on the relevant law enforcement agencies, and the Joint Committee for Public Integrity to conduct the necessary broad investigation to assure New Yorkers, and other employees of the State Legislature that such conduct will not be tolerated.

If we allow Lopez to get away with sexual harassment without consequence, we will inevitably embolden harassers and silence victims.

We applaud the courage of the two unnamed employees of the State Assembly for coming forward with their complaints against a powerful senior member of the Assembly. By sharing their experiences, they have done their part to make the world safer for all of us.

It is often the case that those who feel empowered to sexually harass one or two employees are guilty of a broader pattern of behavior. It may well be that this is only the most recent instance of Assembly Member Lopez’ gross misconduct.

For more information on this case, follow the link for the New York Times article. To sign a petition asking for his resignation, click here.


Vivian’s Story: Not wrong

Hi everyone, I’m from Rio de Janeiro and I should confess that I feel ashamed of writing about this kind of thing. My family always tells me that I’m acting like a kid and that I need to grow up when I tell them that someone called something in the streets so I’m afraid that my situation might be so ridiculous compared to the other ones in the site that everyone will laugh at me. Even my friends laughed when i told them about these things, so i just gave up trying, but I’ll try to talk about it now here. I don’t know if anyone will read it until the end, since it will probably be a looong post, but there I go:

I just experience this kind of thing rarely because I’m not really beautiful, but it still happens.
The first time I was only 16 years old. I was walking together with my friends in the street and a man looked at me and said “what a nice big pussy!” and walked away laughing. It was the first time this kind of thing happened so the first thing I did was looking to my friends to see if they noticed it. I wasn’t worried about the man, I was worried that my friends would notice it and start making fun of me. Luckily, they didn’t so I feel relieved, but I still think of that day, I’m still ashamed of it and it always makes me cry because it really surprised me.

After that I was more or less prepared for when it would happen again, so even if I heard any whistles I would be just “nah…” and ignore it.
Now I’m 22 years old and it started happen again and more frequently because I have a job and I wear a uniform. It’s a normal uniform, but the shirt is tight so it make my body look really sexy. I actually like the way it makes me feel beautiful but, unfortunally, it also makes the guys think they have the right to say everything they want to me.
In my frist week working, an old man passing by told me “hi, beauty!” I was really happy because I saw it as a compliment and not everyone calls me beauty so I was all “yay, I’m beautiful!” and I had a really happy day. So naive. It happened a lot of times after that, but that was the only time it sounded like a compliment, because the next time it was “dirty bitch”, and then “let’s go to my home” and “so hooot”.
I even told my best friend about it and how I hated this kind of thing. Wanna know what she said? She said “stop it, I know you’re not really mad, you love it. Yeah, you always wanted someone to call you beauty and now people are doing it, so I know you’re happy, you just want to show off.” MY. BEST. FRIEND.

I learned how to ignore these people, but then the guy that works in the petshop near my house started to do it too.
You see, the petshop is located between my house and the bus stop, so I need to pass by it everyday, and EVERY SINGLE DAY that guy that works there would whistle to me. At first I just ignored it, but then he started to send me kisses too. The petshop has two front doors to the same area, so I pass in front of one, then a wall, and then the other one, so I always heard the whistles and the kissed two times. I told my mom and my co-workers about it and asked what I should do, but my mom told me to stop acting like an idiot, that there was a good thing if someone really sent me kisses, that would just mean that I’m beautiful. My co-works said the same, one even said “poor guy, he just wants to be your friend!” It was terrible to hear it, so I decided to not tell anything about it anymore until I was sure I was right.
Since I thought he could just be playing with the animals in the petshop, I decided to try something: I would pass the first door and, if I heard any whistles, I would stop in the wall and wait to see if he was sending it for me only or for the animals.
The next day, I did exactly like I’ve planned. As I walked by the first door, I heard the whistles, and then I waited in the wall. I didn’t heard it again, he definitely wasn’t  playing with the animals. So I passed by the second door and I heard it. Kisses and whistles. I decided I would be strong and end it by myself, so I entered the petshop and confronted him. I said “can you please stop sending kisses and whistling at me?”   He replied like “No, I was just playing with the birds, you’re mistaking it.”  He said it laughing, clearly having fun. There was another guy nearby and he was laughing too. That made me cry. I started crying in the front of the guy, but I refused to go away. Even crying, I was still trying to make him stop, so I told him “do you know that I’m a customer here? My mom always come here with our dog. If you don’t stop it, I’ll call her and she will talk to the manager!”

Clearly I lost the fight as soon as I started crying, because now he was laughing a lot and saying “call her! Call you mom!  Ahahahaha.” I probably shouldn’t use the “I’ll call my mom” sentence, but I did anyway and lost the fight, but I didn’t gave up and rushed home to do exactly what I told I was going to do. Yes, I called my mom.
As soon as I was home, I called her crying but still smiling.  I was smiling because my mom was a really good customer and I was SO SURE she would go there and tell the manager what he was doing. So, I told her everything, that I confronted him and that I told she was going there to talk with the manager and…haha, she started yelling at me. That I was embarrassing her, that I was acting like a ridiculous kid, that, oh my god, how would she buy things for the dog now that I’ve made such a scene in the petshop?
I was so mad that we started fighting, me and mom. In the end, I cried all the night and my mom, she went to the petshop in the same day but she just asked the guy to forgive me for being such a kid. Oh, the good thing: the guy said “it’s ok, these kind of things happens sometimes” (I know because she told me later, and also said a “see? he forgave you, so don’t do these things again.”)

But I didn’t gave up (now, that’s the part of the story that makes me proud of myself). I saw too many Law and Order SVU episodes to know that this kind of thing can eventually turn into a bad situation for me, especially if the guy now knows that my mom thinks I’m acting like a spoiled kid. Since my mom wasn’t with me, I knew who would be: my dad. See, if they were calling me a kid, then I decided to act like a kid. The next day, when I passed in front of the petshop and the thing happened again, I called my dad crying and asked him to come home as soon as possible because something happened and no one would help me. My mom got really mad to see me calling my dad, but I didn’t care and told her “if you’re not going to help me, my dad will!”.
As soon as he got home, I explained him the situation.  I told him about my co-workers, my mom, the guys laughing, everything. He just said “don’t worry, tomorrow you can go work normally because, when you come home, everything will be ok.”
I don’t know what my dad did, but the guy never dared to whistle or send me kisses again, and he also walks away fast when I pass by, so I assume my dad said something really hard to the guy, but he sure deserved it and I’m almost sure he won’t dare doing this kind of thing again with me or anyone.
After that I was really happy with the results and I definitely won’t let anyone do this kind of thing with me again. I was sad that my mom and friends didn’t understand, but I was happy I had my dad to help me.

It’s good to have someone to help you, but my dad won’t be here everytime to help me, and even my dad said “you’re a beautiful girl so this kind of thing will happen sometimes, you’ll need to learn how to ignore it.”  So he also thinks it’s a normal thing.

The thing is, even if everything is ok now, I’m still ashamed. I cried in the front of a guy and he laughed. My mom said it was normal and that I was the weird one for complaining. My friend thinks I like it. And, oh, my co-workers…after everything was solved, I told them about my dad and that he scared the guy. The answer? They said “this way you will never get a boyfriend. Girls get boyfriends when a cute guy in the street tell them that they’re beautiful and they start to know each other. You need to stop being so boring.”
It’s sad to see a woman who thinks that I shouldn’t be mad at men harassing me because they are all potential boyfriends.

Ah, and about the guy who told me once I have a “nice big pussy”, I recently encountered him again here, near my work. I didn’t know him, so how do I know it was him? Because he said the same thing the exactly same way. If he happens to appear here again, I’ll finally be able to answer him properly, even if I cry.

Thanks, you who’ve spent your time reading it. I opened and closed this window a few times before I decided writing because I was really ashamed of these situations, but while I was typing I got more confident..
I’m happy I’ve found this site because, until now, I really believed that I was wrong. I really believed I did something wrong by calling my dad and making my mom feel unconfortable for a little thing that happens to everyone. I’m happy to know that there are other girls here that will understand my situation and that won’t make me feel bad for asking for respect, even if it’s just about a little thing like a whistle.


Erin’s Story: Taking a stand

I was walking around the downtown area and was shouted at by three different men, separately. One of them asserted that I was “thick.” I felt as if I were being publicly shamed for having the physiological features I could not help but be born with. For the rest of the day I thought about those feelings of shame and humiliation. I felt powerless and depressed about my position as a woman in society. Projects like replace those feelings of powerlessness with empowerment. I will be using this site in the gender class I’ll be instructing this semester in hopes of empowering more people, regardless of gender, to take a stand against street harassment.

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Rosie’s story: I was supposed to completely ignore it or be rendered utterly weak and impotent…

I have a crude story of street harassment.
It was in the market town of Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire, England. (In the south east of England.)
This happened yesterday (22nd August, 2012), I had just left the cinema (movie theater) to pick up some tickets, it was afternoon.
As I was getting ready to cross the road, a man says “He wants to do you up the arse” and pointed to his friend. They were only a small distance from me. There was nobody else nearby, which may have empowered him to say it.
When I looked at them in disgust he said to his friend “Oh sh*t, she’s looking” and LAUGHED. (?!?!?!) I suppose I was supposed to completely ignore or be rendered utterly weak and impotent by the revelation.
Absolutely no respect for women. They think we’re so weak. They think they can say what they want to our faces and get away with it. Where do they learn such an unhealthy attitude? It makes me MAD!
Bedfordshire, UK.

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Hey Hollabackers —

I’m at the National Sexual Assault Conference !  I got to meet Kelly Ziemann from Hollaback Des Moines and gave a presentation to the to 60+ professionals (some are pictured left) from around the country on how to infuse activism and the internet into their work.  It was an honor, a blast, and they had tons of great ideas.


Hollaback Baltimore is having a Women’s Equality Day Picnic! It’s this Sunday, check it out! 


The soon-to-launch Hollaback Victoria is holding a launch party! It takes takes place September 6th, isfamily friendly, wheelchair accessible, and includes t-shirt screenprinting! Rad! Details are here.


Hollaback Philly needs your help!  Support their efforts to end street harassment in Philly by giving them your vote this week.


Press!  Hollaback Chennai got a shout-out in the HinduHollaback Boston got a shout-out in the Boston Dig, and  I got profiled in Killer Startups! Also, Hollaback got profiled as an “outstanding organization” by A Woman Phenomenally. YAY!


Hollaback NYC holds workshops and gets organized! Hollaback! conducted two workshops at the “Yes She Can” conference for girls on introducing the Hollaback! movement, exploring the meaning and impact of street sexual harassment in their daily lives and provided them with tools to an empowered response to street harassment. We also attended the Women Occupying Wall Street 4th Feminist General Assembly. Hollaback! participated in the assembly focusing on people of Color and joined the education system committee group meeting. We Will Not Be Silent organization also participated in the meeting and provided signs of their inspiring quotes for the group photo.

All this work is possible because you believe in us.  So keep on keepin’ on!


HOLLA and out —


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Anonymous’s Story: “I shouldn’t have to feel like this!”

I am not big headed in anyway at all. I am 20 years old and I would say I have a decent, pretty face so as most women, I get the wolf whistle ‘alright love’ and the occasional ‘excuse me miss’.. The line that was used tonight.

So I have been dating a guy for a few months who lives in the area, had a nice meal out and he got me a cab to the station so I could catch my train home when we were done. Considering the time of the journey from the cab to the platform was about a 30 second walk, I didn’t think there was much chance of getting stopped on my way. However, I turn the corner and a black Merc drives past ‘Oi miss, excuse me miss’ I didn’t look up just kept walking past, past a little bar where people could obviously see what was happening. Next thing I know the car is right next to me as I am walking, I said ‘drive on I’m not interested’ when they really started going nuts, shouting horrible things. ‘You’re fat, stupid sket, go to the fucking gym, your just any fat mans chick, you’re not even wearing Loboutins’.

I was laughing in my head because yes I have a few extra pounds however I am not fat and even if I was than that’s my decision, I’m not a ‘sket’ I am extremely respectful and cautious and Loboutins? Oh sorry that there are a million of other shoes to choose from in the world and I do actually own a pair for nice occasions, not for Brixton!

Thinking about it now, I wish I would have gone up to the car and told him and his friends about themselves but to be honest, after being in an abusive relationship before, I knew the dangers and I truthfully, I was already intimidated and scared.

I understand it was late and it was Brixton. But that shouldn’t happen and I shouldn’t have to feel like this!

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Anonymous’s Story: Not getting in your car

Guy catcalled me, then told me to get in his car

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