A week in our shoes: HILLARY CLINTON EDITION

Hello Hollabackers!

Not gonna lie. Hillary Clinton is a childhood hero of mine.  When I was little, I only knew about three women who wanted to change the world. There was Susan B. Anthony, but she was way before my time.  There was Mother Theresa, but I thought I liked boys too much for that path.  And then, there was Hillary Clinton.  I read “It Takes a Village” cover to cover when I was fourteen, and I’ve been watching and admiring ever since. Who knew, that I’d grow up to co-found a nonprofit that got funded by the AMAZING New York Women’s Foundation — and that I’d get to share a stage with Hillary Clinton.

Thank you all for your ongoing support that makes Hollaback! happen, and without further ado, updates!

We held our first safety audit in Queens! We want to thank Councilmember Ferreras and her team for partnering with us — it was a total success! Details are here.

We presented at the New York State Coalition Against Sexual Violence Conference! I kicked of the conference with a keynote about our work to end street harassment. It was their first conference in six years, and over 200 people were there. WOOT!

We’re expanding to address campus harassment! We met with students from NYU, Rutgers, and Western Carolina who are going to pilot our new campus harassment initiative.  Our indiegogo campaign to support our work with campus harassment starts next week — stay tuned!

If you’re in New York, join us at our benefit show hosted by our friends at Permanent Wave next Tuesday (the 15th) and sign up to march with us in the Pride Parade on June 24th.

HOLLA and out!





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Indian woman speak out about street harassment!

While we don’t think that violence is any answer to street harassment, we do understand where these women are coming from. Street harassment is scary, and our studies show that speaking up and speaking out about minimizes the emotional trauma.  So keep it up, ladies! We’re fighting right alongside of you.

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Radha’s story: These crimes deserve more than a slap on the wrist.

December 6, 2011, I was traveling via Nepal Yatayat from Shantinagar to Baluwatar along with my friends. My get off at Baluwatar. I have already paid the rent. But the conductor, asked me rent again. The witnessed also supported me . But he didn’t listen and verbally abused me very badly. I tried to get on and denied to pay twice. Then he assaulted me. Meanwhile, the driver also back the bus and supported to conductor. Immediately, I took the bus number and run away from there. I talked with member of transport association and directly went to the traffic police office. I filed the case. The police arrested driver, conductor immediately.Next day, police invited me and have negotiation.they asked for forgive and released from custody.


Amnah’s story: Groping in Pakistan. And he thought he could just get away with it.

I left my office building to cross the road to take a bus ride home. From the building in which my office is located came out a man. I saw him coming and he also looked at me. It was a usual, nothing out of the blue kind of a glance. But just as I turned to cross the road after making sure that there are no vehicles around, I felt a finger go through the whole of my ass line with a sensual touch. I could not see who it was, since it was done so quickly. Just as I turned to my side after being taken unaware, I saw that very same man passing by me.

I could not believe what he had just done in Karachi, Pakistan, in front of the whole busy lane and in an area full of traffic. By his looks, he seemed to be a thug and he could very well be amongst those people who harass women and get away with it. His ability to put his finger in my ass line and run it through so quick showed how perfectly he had mastered his skills at this. I was ashamed myself and did not want to provoke any confrontation with him in such a public place. I said nothing and went my own way to avoid any attention to what had occurred.

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Tuesday, May 8 at 5:30pm on while crossing the street at Pine and 4th downtown Seattle I was verbally harassed. It was a busy intersection and I was in a hurry to get to a meeting. A middle aged man with shoulder length hair leaned in and said “Nice Nipples.” Before I fully registered what had happened he had kept walking away. If I wasn’t in a hurry I would’ve gone after him to take a picture. I was so taken off guard b/c I was dressed professionally and it was so out of the blue.

Could we have a new location for Hollaback be Seattle, WA?

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Noelle’s story: This “pussy” holla’s back!

This house is located in between my house and where I work as well as mine and my boyfriend’s houses. For the past 4 days, every time I pass this house after 3pm the young men sitting on it’s porch have yelled a combination of phrases involving how “illegal” my “pussy” is. It infuriates me. I think I am going to buy a cheap camcorder and ask them their name and what they said to me next time…. I’ll keep you posted!

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HOLLA on the go: Standing Ovation

This holla was submitted through our free apps!

I was out running down the green path the other day, listening to some sweet jams and trying to go really fast, when a group of drunken bocce players who had set up shop next to the path decided to give me a standing ovation to my butt as it (and I with it) passed them. Lame!

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New York City Council Member Julissa Ferreras Joins Hollaback! for First Ever Community Safety Audit in Queens

Council Member Julissa Ferreras and the nonprofit organization Hollaback! (that’s us!) led an historic community safety audit on Saturday, May 5th in Queens from 10:00am to 2:00pm. Community members met at The Transfiguration Of Christ Greek Orthodox Church, 3805 98th Street, Corona, New York for training. Afterwards they surveyed blocks in their neighborhood where residents expressed safety concerns and developed a concrete plan to address those concerns.

“This audit focused on women’s safety is a key step in the crime prevention effort in my district. We hope to develop a better understanding of the community’s needs and concerns to help reduce the risk of crime against women in the future and I am proud to collaborate with Hollaback! in this effort,” stated Council Member Julissa Ferreras.

The audit gathered important information from the community including the ratio of men to women, how public space is being utilized and details on how well roads, parks and public transit stops are lit at nighttime. In addition, audit participants answered questions on how safe they feel when occupying public spaces.

“It takes a community to make communities safer. Block by block, we’re going to work together with community members, organizations, and government to develop concrete improvements for how we can make Queens safer,” says Hollaback! Executive Director Emily May. Community safety audits are an UN-identified best practice to address street harassment in communities across the world.

“You will find no bigger fan of Hollaback than myself,” said Council Member Letitia James. “Street harassment remains a common occurrence for women throughout New York City, and I commend Council Member Julissa Ferreras for collaborating with them to bring the discussion to her Queens district. I hope this leads to a larger conversation on how to effectively combat public harassment against women, LGBT, and non-gender-conforming persons throughout our City streets.”

Following an assessment of the audit data, recommendations to create safer spaces for women in Queens will be submitted to the city agencies. Council Member Ferreras and Hollaback! have already discussed plans to paint over graffiti, increase street lighting, create harassment-free zones around public schools and install an anti-harassment PSA campaign in public spaces such as parks and bus stops.

Representatives from NYC agencies attended including NYPD, NYC Department of Transportation, and the Mayor’s Community Affairs Unit. Collaborating community organizations include Elmcor Senior Services, Dominican American Society (DAS), Ecuadorian Civic Committee, Make the Road New York, and Community Board 3 members. This event was generously supported by: Health First, Dominicana Radio Dispatcher, Mama’s Leo’s Latticini, Transfiguration of Christ Greek Orthodox Church, and SD Printing.



New Street Harassment Documentary: Turn Around

From the filmmaker:

It is the story of a creepy man who, on a quiet night on a Parisian street, starts following a lone woman. As he gets closer and closer, he notices that he himself is being followed – first by one woman, then two, then more and more women until it seems that an endless stream of women are pursuing him. For the first time he feels the fear of how it is to be hunted…

“Turn Around” is set in modern day Paris, France. It will be shot over two nights in several quiet streets and alleys of Paris. The genre of the film is a mix of noir, thriller and satire. There is no dialogue in the film, making it universally understandable. The sound design will focus on creating the atmosphere and enhancing the tense dramatic moments in the empty, windy streets, full of echoing high heels and a breathless, petrified man on the run.

Sounds pretty awesome to us! They are running a campaign on Indiegogo right now to raise the funds for the project — check it out!


Anonymous’s Story: “You are lucky you’re women. I do not hit women…”

Hi, I’m German and I’d like to tell you my bad harassment experience on vacation. I know the story is very long, but I really try to describe only the things to understand. I would be very, very grateful if you could share this..

“I was on holiday with my girlfriend in March 2012 in Indonesia (Southeast Asia). We had some problems in our relationship, so we tried to share some good time together on vacation.

We were first in Bali. We behaved “discreetly” to each other, like holding hands.

We traveled to the island Gili Air, Lombok is part of the island group. It was low season and there were few people on the island.
The days before we felt comfortable in Bali, so we “dared” to come closer. We were kissing on the beach or embracing each other, but we made sure that we were not right in the middle of sight of other people! We have behaved discreetly.

Someday we met a tourist information guide called Balgiaz. He was welcoming, informed us well in English and invited us to a bonfire on the beach with other people. It was a nice evening with other tourist, playing guitar, singing in the night. It was midnight when I was tired and went back to the hotel, while my girlfriend stayed longer.

The next morning she told me that Balgiaz made her an offer. He could take us out to sea with his boat and we could snorkel. We would only have to pay the fuel for the boat. Me, as a half Indonesian, I usually know that I should always ask after the actual price! Because I trusted my girlfriend however and I didn’t want to question her actions (which have always been a point of contention…), we made that small snorkeling tour.

In the evening after the tour, back to the island, my girlfriend ask for the price for the fuel. He said he had never told that we just pay the fuel! and wanted a different price, which was at least 7 times higher. That wasn’t the deal… He was very angry, and we just went away, because he still had to pick up other customers.

We went to a kinda security guy and told our story. His opinion was neutral and he said we should wait and then try to clarify the misunderstanding and find a solution for both parties.

On the way back to the hotel (it was dark), Balgiaz came towards us with some other man and point his flashlight directly on our face. He wanted the money immediately and there was nothing to discuss. We tried to stay as calm as possible and asked him to come along, where there was light. We wanted to go to that security guy. During the way he already started to harass us with phrases like “f**k you, you liar!”.

When we arrived, Balgiaz and the security guy spoke in Indonesian with Gili dialect I could not understand. The man was very calm, Balgiaz however was very furious and started swearing in Gili-Indonesian.

No matter how much we asked Balgiaz not to insult, or we tried to explain how we understand the situation, or we would be willing to pay half of the unfair price (he would still make profit), he became more aggressive:

“F**k off! You are liars! You are so sick! I swear that I am right! Tomorrow we go to the police station and I swear, when I tell them the truth, they will punish you! Because you are sick! ”

We tried to remain calm and explain ourselves.

He threw his phone on the floor and threatened us: “I already smashed a tourist, because he did not want to pay. You are lucky you’re woman. I do not hit women, but if you were men, I’d smash you!”

The “security man” watched motionless, then said quietly, “you better pay”. I stood there with my girlfriend and just repeat her words. Then he reached for another object, just about to throw that object at us. I was emotionally overwhelmed, my blood froze in my veins and I could not move at the moment. Then my girlfriend lifted her hands in front of him and said that she was willing to pay the full price he wanted.

As Balgiaz took the money and disappeared, the security man turned to us and said we better should forget this incident and try our to best to enjoy our holidays. We asked him why Balgiaz was that furious and why he was not even agreeing for a compromise. Then he told us, Balgiaz went to the hotel we stayed overnight and the owner told him that we’re lesbians. We said nothing and went back to the hotel.
We locked the door and tried to sleep. I tried to calm down my girlfriend and hugged her. I said, “I’m here for you no matter what happens.” She pushed me away with the words “This is exactly the problem…”

The next day we traveled to Lombok, the incident still weighed heavily on our shoulders. The mentality of people in Lombok are more aggressive than in Bali, every day we experienced at least one traffic accident. To our relief, we met a Spanish couple and we traveled together as a group. Whenever we talk to Lombok people they behaved more kindly to the guy in our group, than to us women who are traveling alone (we often got asked if we have a husband or where is our husband). Anyway, it was nice to travel with the couple, supporting each other, sharing joy, but soon our ways parted and we had to return back to Germany. Me and my girlfriend arrived in Germany very exhausted…

The end of our holiday was unfortunately the end of our relationship … ”

Thank you for listening… I hope I can make a difference with my story… I’m glad I’m home again… but I’m still in sorrow…

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