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When I entered the town hall and proceeded to the waiting area, I passed a family including a guy in approximately his twenties. I didn’t get a good look but when I passed, I heard the typical clucking/chirping noise one gets from men trying to attract your attention. I tried to tell myself I was overreacting and not to judge so quickly.
When I was called up for my appointment I walked past the group again. I saw the guy approach me from the corner of my eye and he said something to me in a language I couldn’t understand. It was obviously offensive though, made so much more obvious by the fact that one of his female relatives said something to him which sounded like a shocked admonishment of what he had said (again: foreign language).
After my appointment, I had to walk past him a third time – this time already nervously anticipating another comment. He walked toward me again, however refrained from a comment this time.
I think many men probably cannot understand how frustrating even seemingly minor incidents like these are. I HATE when men say something obviously disgusting to me in a language I can’t understand. I KNOW what they most likely said, but feel like I lack the “proof” in order to be able to say something about it. Quite apart from the fact that I can never think of a good comeback fast enough.
Hey Hollas! Spring has finally sprung in NYC, and here at the mothership we are enjoying not freezing our booties off.
We spent the week coming down off the incredible excitement of HOLLA::Rev 2015 (thanks to all who attended/watched!!) and reveling in great media coverage from Knight, Collectively, and Washington Square Journal. Be sure to check out photos of the event on our Facebook, and watch the video if you haven’t yet!
Our next event is only a month away! Join us in Washington Square Park on April 11th for our Anti-Street Harassment Rally as part of International Anti-Street Harassment Week! If awesome speakers and activists and workshops on taking action against street harassment isn’t appealing enough, our 12-foot inflatable Cat Against Catcalling will be making an appearance.
Legislative advocacy season is underway, and we are working to show our council members how prevalent street harassment is in their districts. ED Emily May spoke at New York City Council’s Women’s Caucus about Hollaback!’s Legislative Agenda. Trigger warning: On their way home from the meeting, Emily and Hollaback! intern Kate were in a subway car with a public masturbator, and obviously they shared their story.
Finally, ED Emily May spoke about online harassment on a SXSW panel in Austin on Friday called “Sex, Lies, and the Internet.”
Check out what some of our amazing sites around the world have been up to!
Hollaback! Alberta, Hollaback! Halifax, Hollaback! Hamilton, Hollaback! Montreal, Hollaback! Ottawa, Hollaback! Toronto, Hollaback! Vancouver, and Hollaback! Victoria have joined the Up for Debate alliance, a campaign urging federal political party leaders to hold a debate about women’s issues in the upcoming fall election in Canada. Sign their change.org petition!
Hollaback! Baltimore‘s new site director Brittany Oliver will be speaking at a film screening of “She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry” on March 19th at the Creative Alliance!
Hollaback! York will be celebrating the official launch of their site on April 18th! Congrats!
That’s all for now, folks! Thanks for all your great work. Holla and out!
I was loading groceries into the back of my car at 7:30 at night in the dark. Two men came up to me, asking me if I was a “nasty girl” because I looked like a “nasty girl” who would “be out on the town tonight.” I was wearing shorts, a t-shirt, and sandals. I ignored them and shoved the groceries into the back of my car as quickly as possible. With the key in hand, I turned and faced them dead on, shoved my shopping cart at them, and jumped in my car just in time to hear one say, “That was rude, you dumb bitch.” Then I drove away as quickly as possible. I realize this was relatively “harmless,” but the fact that I was alone in the dark in a parking lot actually made it quite terrifying. How can a person know when a comment is going to go from just words to actions? Very scary.
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It was a hot day and I was walking from the university campus back to my car. A man in a pickup truck drove by me slowly on one street. I cut through a parking lot to the next street where my car was, and as I got into my car, the pickup truck approached from the opposite direction. The man leaned out of the window and asked for directions to a nearby street. I pointed straight ahead, rather vaguely, and he didn’t look. He just leaned out of the window and said, “Do you want to fuck?” I said, “Go away!” and then rolled up my window, locked my door, and drove away. Fortunately, I was already in the car when he said that, so I didn’t panic; I could just hit the lock and turn the key. At the time, I thought about a rash of rapes that had happened in that neighborhood, and I remembered hearing on the news that the rapist had been caught. I felt silly for thinking of a serial rapist, just because a man had said, “Do you want to fuck?” but he was really creepy, I was very young, and I didn’t know what to think about it.For years afterward, when I recalled that day, the detail that stuck in my mind was that I wasn’t wearing a bra. Now I wonder if by remembering that detail, I was thinking maybe it was my fault. It was just such an automatic response to wonder if I’d done something to provoke it. So stupid. He was just a nasty creep and I happened to cross his path.
I am 14 years old…I look older but I am only 14. My dad never lets me go out by my self because of the neighbor hood we live in. Well one day he finally let me go by myself I was thankful because I wanted to go to a church but I really didn’t need my parents tagging along to make a confession. I was walking and I realized the church lights weren’t on so I decided to call the church. As I am on the phone a red truck drives by, he honks and waves his had at me. If that wasn’t enough he turned back and did it again…2 time…3 times, it happened. I was scared out of my mind. He was trying to pull the truck up close to me and talk to me. I didn’t see his face clearly because of my eye sight so I have no idea if he might have actually been someone I know but I’m 14 years old. I am terrified. It literally just happened and I ran home. I so scared, I was thinking of calling 911 about it but I don’t know if I should. None of the details were clear I was in panic. What should I do should I report it? what is it was someone who actually knew me? WHAT SHOULD I DO?!?!?!
There was an event at my work, and I was on the sidewalk of the main road, walking down and putting little lawn signs along the way. As I was walking, I heard a bunch of guys screaming out of their window, but I ignored it and didn’t bother looking over. They were on the other side of the road anyways, with a median separating both lanes of traffic. Several minutes later, they had turned at the light, and made their way into the packing lot right next to the lawns were I was putting signs. Now that I got a look at the car, there was at least three guys I could see now hanging out of their windows, screaming at me to come over to them and into into the car. I started walking quickly in the other direction while words of “sexy” and “c’mon, dance for me” where being scouted at me from the car. When I got a good distance away they started booing me and yelling insults before driving off out of the lot.
Hey Hollas! Despite the millionth snowmapocalyptageddon of the year, Holla::REV 2015 went off without a hitch! Thanks to everyone who came, volunteered, spoke, performed, followed along in the livestream, and asked questions! We couldn’t have done this without you!
Our Executive Director Emily May kicked us off by talking about the “tipping point” of street harassment, and showing us a special preview of our fresh new vlog (to be revealed to the masses at a later date)! Next up was Ana “Rokafella” Garcia (AKA La Roka) who served as our incredible and dynamic MC throughout the event. Our first guest speaker was Feminista Jones who discussed black women’s experiences with street harassment and also safe methods of bystander intervention through her hashtag #YouOKSis? Linda Sarsour (AKA “An Islamophobe’s Worst Nightmare”) spoke on issues of Islamophobia and street harassment, reminding us that harassment isn’t just an issue of gender and that people get harassed no matter what they wear. Next up was Quentin Walcott of Connect NYC who talked about the role of men in the movement against street harassment. After a brief intermission, Bleu Santiago and Jackie Torres of Girl Be Heard performed an incredibly moving and powerful monologue piece on the experience of street harassment, calling for a “Holla Revolution!” (#hollarev). Then we heard from creators of the video “Be My Advocate” Aden Hakimi and Michelle Charles (featured in the video) about the “Burden of Proof” and why people who experience street harassment daily still need to “prove” to others that it exists. Our last (but certainly not least) speaker, media technologist, Deanna Zandt spoke about what it’s like to be a woman on the internet, how to stay sane when facing online harassment, and how we can help victims of it. We closed out with a beautiful performance by the H+ Totem dance conservatory’s “Inveterate Love.”
In addition to all of our fabulous speakers and performers, we were also joined by over 100 students from nearby high schools who asked our panelists some incredibly insightful and important questions. We were so impressed with their interest in the issue of street harassment and their passion for the Holla Revolution!
Whew! Let’s see what the rest of our sites have been up to…
Hollaback! Baltimore continues to make progress on their Safer Spaces campaign, and the Invisible Majority network just recently signed their pledge to make their space safer! Anyone interested in following their lead should contact [email protected]!
Hollaback! Nottingham hosted their second monthly meet up on Wednesday where they worked on their ongoing community art project! Armed with pants, bras, and fabric pens, they’re going to “air their dirty laundry,” so to speak, by writing on their clothing items what harassers have said to them. This super awesome project is inspired by a similar project by Jennifer Storey. Can’t wait to see the final result at the end of the year! The next night, they hosted a benefit gig to raise money for them and POW— a grass roots charity that supports sex workers and those vulnerable to exploitation in the city. There was music, poetry, cakes, zines, and tons of fun!
Hollaback! Bahamas spent the week raising hype for International Women’s Day this Sunday, March 8th! They were guests on the show Jeffery on Star 106.5 talking about International Women’s Day and gender-based violence and discrimination and they attended the Ministry of Social Services Women’s Bureau’s International Women’s Day celebration! They also met with a group of students from the Urban Society sociology class to talk about their research project on street harassment. On top of all that, they delivered two (count ’em, TWO) presentations at College of the Bahamas on street harassment and the proposed constitutional amendment bills for gender equality. What a busy week! Way to go, guys!
Hollaback! Kathmandu is going to represent at the WE United Project’s 2nd annual Women’s Futsal Tournament on Saturday! This event is also in the spirit of International Women’s Day on March 8th. Go! Fight! Win!
Wow, what an incredible week! Great job, everyone!
Holla and out!
The Hollaback Team <3
As I was walking to the last day of a volunteer training for a peer support program, I approached an intersection and was waiting for the light to change. From about 5 steps away I could see a young man (nope, boy) start to make his way towards me. Over my podcast, as he fell in step with me, I could here the “yeah babies,” kiss sounds, ect. (girls, you know what I am talking about). As always I gave my disgusted look, and then forced myself to stare straight, and ignore. As I was waiting to cross the street, with the boys words getting closer, I felt a hand on my rear. This was not your average “good game” pat, or a little pinch, which is bad enough! No this was the type of gesture that only the most intimate person in your life would do in private. This was a full on ass grab that immediately made me feel fear, violated, dirty, angry, sad, and embarrassed.
I told him to F off, and screamed as loud as I could to him. I went to chase after him but he was much quicker and was now far from me. And as to throw salt into the wound he skipped along, looking back, and laughed! He laughed and smiled and giggled at my fear and humiliation. Tears immediately welled up in my eyes, and I started back on my trek. As thoughts swam around my head, and a cauldron of feelings tried to boil over, I approached my destination, but not before another boy (this person was well over 40 but is no man in my eyes) was able to get in a few “damn girl you thick,” and “oh yeahs!”
I told a few people at the training, all were sympathetic to an extent but the overall feeling was “oh yeah, I hate when that happens!” IS THAT IT? Is that what women of our generation have become use to? Well not me, not anymore! I will not let this happen to me anymore, I will not be subject to a boys sick amusement!
I was walking by a house on a residential street and an old man came out of his house yelling “hey!” in a gravelly voice and proceeded to follow me yelling “woman!” and other things I couldn’t make out. I was able to run away before he got close to me but now I’m afraid to walk on that street again.