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Interview conducted by Lauren Bedosky.
When did you start your holla?
In October, 2011.
Why start a HOLLA and what does Hollaback mean to you?
Street harassment is a real problem in Bogotá, and in Colombia in general. We wanted to make people aware of this problem. We thought that starting a Holla was a great first step to make change.
HOLLAfact about your city:
In Bogotá, there is a transportation system called Transmilenio, where women are harassed on a daily basis. Many people in Bogotá think that street harassment is women’s fault, that it is caused by the way women dress or behave. Many men in Colombia think that street harassment is a compliment, and that women who don’t like it are “crazy feminists who hate men.”
Say you’re Queen for the day. What would you do to end street harassment?
We would teach children (boys and girls) to respect each other and understand why street harassment is not a compliment. We would also offer training sessions for teachers and do campaigns to eradicate street harassment.
What was your first experience with street harassment?
I was on a farm playing with animals when I was eleven years old. One of the farmers was standing behind me and grabbed me all of a sudden. He fondled my breasts, which were just starting to grow. I ran away, cried, felt terrible, and pretended it never happened.
What’s your signature Hollaback?
I ask the harasser if we know each other. When he says no, I ask why he thinks it’s ok to talk to me like that. When I am not in a good mood, or am feeling sick of them, I just show them the middle finger…
My superheroine power is…
What is your proudest holla moment so far?
Several people we never met know about Hollaback and talk about it in public.
What do you do when your not holla’ng?
Marcela is a lawyer, currently completing a PhD in Law. Nathalie is a college student and vegan activist. Maria is a university professor.
If you could leave the world one piece of advice, what would it be?
Respect other people.
What inspires you?
In the year 2020, street harassment…
Will still be a problem, but hopefully people will understand it is a problem.
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