HOLLAWho? Meet Israel.

Meet Talya of Hollaback! Israel. Talya

Interview conducted by Chloe Safier

When did you start your holla?
Our holla started 3 years ago.

Why did start a HOLLA and what does Hollaback mean to you?
After a young woman was harassed on the street to the point she was knocked over and physically hurt, she was looking for support on the internet, but did not find anything for the Israeli, Hebrew-speaking audience. This young woman is the founder of Hollaback!Israel and an active co-editor to this day.

HOLLAfact about your city:
Israel being such a small country, our hollback site does not represent a single city in Israel, but all them. In the past 3 years we have published nearly 400 holla’s.

Say you’re Queen for the day. What would you do to end street harassment?
Hand out water-sprinklers to women on bus stations. If they were to be harassed, they can spray water on their harasser, hopefully cooling their heads down.

What was your first experience with street harassment?
When I was about 19, I used to walk past a coffee shop every day in my army uniform, on my way to the bus station. And every day, the regular customer sitting there would call at me in a sing-song voice: “Hey soldier girl!” It took me time to notice I walk a tiny bit faster every time I come near this coffee shop. It took me time to realize I’m bothered by this, and that it’s was not ok. I never answered back; maybe if a Hollaback! site existed at the time, I would have had the awareness and the guts to shut him up.

What’s your signature Hollaback?
Lucky for me, I don’t get harassed so often that I have to equip myself with a “signature hollaback”. But to be frank, I’m not sure such thing exists.

My superheroine power is…
From a young age, I have taken part in fields mostly related to boys – I was one of the only girls in advanced math classes. I have been one of the only women in Math and Computer science degree – both B.Sc and M.Sc.. I was the one of the only women-programmers in the companies I’ve worked for (and for about a year, the only one). Though I have to prove myself each and every single day, it is my small share in showing that “girls can, too”. This is my superpower.

What is your proudest holla moment so far?
I was dancing in a party when a complete stranger suddenly approached me and gave me a kiss on the lips. I was in complete shock – we did not even share eye contact prior to that. I acted on an instinct, and punched him straight in the face. I am not saying that violence is a good answer, but in that moment I was proud in knowing that (A) I have explicitly expressed my discontent publicly and (B) I made him feel shocked and embarrassed, much like he did to me. Ahh, sweet revenge

What do you do when your not holla’ng?
I am a product manager for a hi-tech company, but my “keep me sane” hobby is drawing.

If you could leave the world one piece of advice, what would it be?
Be rational; base your actions and reactions on rational thinking.

What inspires you?
As a feminist, I’m inspired by feminists groups on Facebook, by blog writers, and by my co-editors on the hollaback site.

In the year 2020, street harassment…
Will not end. But people, men and women, will have much more awareness to it than nowadays, and will therefore be equipped with much more tools to avoid, confront and shame street harassers.

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  1. [...] Israel did a HOLLAWho? Interview with Chloe Safier this week. Read all about Talya from Hollaback! Israel, how the site got started, [...]

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