“I realized there were no organizations or groups addressing street harassment particularly and that this was an issue that many people would talk about but had no clear way of responding to. Working for Hollaback! means that I can help provide a safe space for people who feel uncomfortable in public spaces due to harassment, a space that was not available before.” – Gabriela Amancaya
Site Leader Gabriela Amancaya launched AtréveteDF to raise awareness about street harassment and to create a space for constructive dialogue about the issue. She is proud to report that, since the site launch and the local SlutWalk, more people are breaking the silence and discussing their experiences of street harassment. Gabriela notes the importance of media coverage and social networking in the site’s growth, but she is most excited about the person-to-person connections she has made through Hollaback!. Gabriela notes, “The people who write to us are grateful to have a space where they can find and share information about street harassment. I think that is the main goal: to get people to feel comfortable, involved, talking about the subject, and eager to participate [in the discussion.]” In addition to reaching out to community members, Gabriela has built relationships with local organizations that focus on youth, gender and sexual and reproductive rights.
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“I learned so much about the movement and was completely captivated. It didn’t take long for me to throw in as much energy as I could spare, which included joining the board and bringing the movement to my current city, Philadelphia.” –Rochelle Keyhan
HollabackPHILLY’s site launch in the summer of 2011 and subsequent press coverage led to invitations by community members and schools to speak about the anti-street harassment movement. In the past year, Site Leader Rochelle Keyhan describes community screenings of film “Walking Home” with creator and director Naula Cabral as one of the key elements sparking dialogue on the issue. Larger events included canvassing West and North Philadelphia with a group of local activists for Anti-Street Harassment Week 2012, meeting with officials from the Mayor’s Office to discuss a collaborative effort at making Philadelphia’s streets safer for its women and LGBTQ community members, and hosting a film screening and panel discussion on Human Trafficking in partnership with PA Senator Leach’s office, including panelists from local service organizations and the Philadelphia branch of Homeland Security.
HollabackPHILLY, along with Nuala Cabral, also hosted a workshop for buildOn.org’s Alternative Spring Break where high school students committed 40 hours over their spring break to do community service. The teens who attended the Hollaback! workshop created an anti-street harassment PSA based on their own personal experiences with street harassment. In August, Site Leader, Rochelle Keyhan was a guest on Yetta Kurland Live, an NYC-Based talk radio show, with David Badash, talking about “Rape, Rights & Republicans”. Keyhan was also highlighted in Philly Daily News’ “Chillin’ Wit’” weekly feature.
When HollabackPHILLY sought funding for anti-harassment subway advertisements, the advertising company responsible for the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) advertisements agreed to double the advertisement space if HollabackPHILLY was granted the funds for which they applied. HollabackPHILLY successfully secured a grant from Up The River Endeavors, but were still far from their target goal. Luckily, three of the other Hollaback! sites that received funding contributed some of their earnings and the subway anti-harassment project was utlimately made possible!
“To us, street harassment is a kind of code. It’s a code that means the same thing regardless of whether its spoken with grabs, gropes or leers, close whispers or faraway shouts. What Hollaback does, both here in London and across the world, is unscramble this code completely, laying bare what it really means and thus tuning everybody in to the unique frequency of being a woman or LGBTQ person on the street, so that together we can confront and challenge this behaviour head-on.” – Bryony Beynon
Julia Gray and Bryony Beynon started a Hollaback! site in their area because, in their own words, “we realised that the harassment we experienced on a daily basis was part of an unspoken epidemic, and that there was this huge potential for change once the silence had been broken.” Between strong media coverage and Hollaback! London’s own publication ‘Langdon Olgar,’ Julia and Bryony have experienced huge successes in their mission to create dialogue about the treatment of women and LGBTQ people in the public sphere and the media. In the past year alone, Hollaback! London has appeared in four of the largest newspapers in the United Kingdom, and been featured in radio segments on BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC Europe, BBC Wales, BBC Birmingham, as well as on Irish radio stations. Hollaback! London has also hosted numerous discussion groups and workshops, including workshops at Queen Mary University that were broadcast on a BBC Radio 4 special on feminist activism today. Julia and Bryony are proud of the support they’ve received from the public and of the volume of press attention the project has garnered in just two years. “The objective when we started was to bring these issues into the public consciousness and generate conversation and debate around street harassment, and we really feel that we’ve achieved that,” said Julia. “It’s been very encouraging and we are excited about the future of Hollaback! London.”
“Hollaback! has become a part of my identity and has given me guidance for my professional and personal endeavors, now and in the future.” – Kacie Lyn Kocher
Our first bilingual site, Hollaback! Istanbul launched in August of 2011, as Site Leader Kacie Lyn Kocher sought a way to make a difference both in her local community and as a citizen of the world. In the past year, Kacie and the Hollaback! Istanbul team have focused on college campus outreach, engaging over 1,0000 students through 15 events at 7 different universities. In order to learn more about the nature and public perception of street harassment, Hollaback! Istanbul also conducted their own research, creating a survey and gathering information from 141 respondents. In addition to organizing campus outreach, Hollaback! Istanbul has reached out to community members through screenings of the film “Miss Representation,” which focuses on representations of women in the media, as well as through discussion groups and story-telling workshops.
“We started because street harassment, particularly of students, is a massive problem in Bangor, and it’s a problem that no one wants to take seriously.” -Jennifer Krase
One of our youngest sites, Hollaback! Gwynedd, launched in April of this year and has already had a significant impact on their community. Gwynedd has already partnered with two student unions, surveyed 400 students about their experiences of street harassment, and met with 40 community leaders, including university boards and local police. This summer, Hollaback! Gwynedd is working on organizing a partnerships meeting with community safety groups in the area, including women’s aid networks and rape crisis centers. In the fall, Gwynedd looks forward to hosting a feminist punk rock concert, and organizing additional events to get first-year students involved in the movement.
“Story sharing is a novelty in Croatia…. We offer innovative ways of activism with our web based approach.” – Barbara Perasović
Harassment of women in Croatia is a widespread phenomenon and has an impact on the lives of many women and LGBTQ people. However, in Croatia, the phenomenon of street harassment is rarely discussed in public discourse or even within women’s nonprofit organizations. Hollaback! Croatia launched in April 2011 with the aim of raising awareness about street harassment and providing an additional space for the empowerment of women. Hollaback! Croatia’s most successful event this year was SlutParty, an event organized in conjunction with Zagreb Pride and leading up to Pride festivities. The main goals of SlutParty were to protest victim blaming, to connect with the local LGBT community, and to highlight the work of SlutWalks around the world. In the next year, Hollaback! Croatia looks forward to analyzing the results of their online survey, which was the first ever to explore the incidence and consequences of street harassment in Croatia. Hollaback! Croatia also plans to expand their anti-street harassment workshops into local schools.
“Now I have a worldwide community of people whom I not only feel get me, but whom I completely respect, can laugh with, can lament with, and with whom I can enjoy the beauty of unequivocal and mutual support in daily life and activism. “ – Gail Whitmore
After her relocation to the Czech Republic due in part to her negative experiences with street harassment in New York, Gail Whitmore was “simply overjoyed” to join Hollaback! While it is a challenge running the organization as a non-native, Gail explains that “safety, respect, equality, self-esteem and an overall sense of happiness have less to do with the policies of the United States than with the basic tenets of humanity.”
HollaBack! Czech / Ozvi se! participated in a wide variety of events this year, including a V-Day production of “The Vagina Monologues” with 71 volunteers from 11 different countries! In addition HollaBack! Czech / Ozvi se! was active in Prague Pride, delivered a workshop for Queer*Fem Days in Sankt Poelten, Austria and represented at the European Parliament in Brussels alongside three other HollaBack! sites to try and further the cause of ending gender-based violence. HollaBack! Czech / Ozvi se! was also honored to be a recipient of a grant of $1,000 from Worldwide Visionaries to use towards strengthening the visibility of their site and the volume of their voice. In the next year, HollaBack! Czech / Ozvi se! is focused on building its relationships with Czech NGOs in order to take the safety of all people in public spaces to the next level.
“Street harassment is something that has plagued me for my entire adult life…. I wanted to start up a Hollaback! site here to work towards the goal of eradicating street harassment in my own city, as well as to contribute to a global culture which does not accept street harassment.” – Kira Poirier
Site Leaders Kira and Nadia got involved with Hollaback! in hopes of starting a discussion about street harassment in Montreal, and they have been ecstatic about how much progress their site has made in such a short time. One of their main focuses in the past year has been to expand the bilingualism of the site, in order to reach both French and English speakers in Montreal. The site’s most successful events have been movie screenings followed by open forum discussions. Kira reports: “[The event] was quite a success and [we had] a very interesting and insightful discussion on individual experiences of street harassment and strategies on how to best deal with it.” In the long term, Hollaback! Montreal hopes to use Hollaback!’s maps of where the harassment is occurring to allocate resources to the most affected communities. Hollaback! Montreal also hopes to strengthen ties with feminist and LGBTQ organizations, while building on their relationship with their local university’s social justice community.
“My whole life I’ve been subjected to harassment and abuse in public settings, and before I read about Hollaback, I never really talked about it with anyone… It takes a lot of courage to face stories of mental and physical street harassment, but it’s the first step in healing and taking control of situations in the future.” – Luci Cook
Luci Cook was inspired when she learned about Hollaback! through the website Feministing. “When I read that article, a rush of legitimization and understanding came to me and I knew I had to be a part of it… that’s when I learned that I could start my very own Hollaback! in my small town of Columbia, Missouri,” Luci explains. Luci has partnered with University of Missouri’s Women’s Center to host a variety of events and to collaborate with the University’s bystander intervention program. Luci has already conducted analysis on the stories her site receives, including information on where the most harassment takes place and what type of harassment is most common, and she plans to use the results of her research to raise awareness about street harassment in her community. In the next year, Hollaback! CoMo looks forward to fostering more relationships with community organizations.