Story, Verbal

HOLLA ON THE GO: “That smile was for me, and I want to reclaim it!”

My old neighborhood, the slopes, was awful for street harassment!

One of the worst was when I was having a bad day, trying to keep to myself on the street, and finally perked up and smiled looking at a friendly text, and someone yelled from their car that I had a beautiful smile and was gorgeous.

He probably thought he was being so nice, but that smile was for me, and I want to reclaim it!!

I've got your back!

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The Movement

Weeks In Our Shoes: Double-Load Edition

Hello Hollabackers!SafeSpace_web


In the past two weeks Hollaback! was featured by Studio B / WOUB,  Athens News, Whyy/ News Works , NBC Philadelphia, The Prospect, Think Progress, Calcasa,  Omaha Free Press, Parker Country Active Democrats, Feministing , Philadelphia City Paper, Feminist Majority Foundation , Ms. Magazine, Blast Bombshell , Time Out NY, Finding My Feminist Voice, Ashleigh not Ashley, PolicyMic, The Resource,, and The Huffington Post!

Hollaback! got some badass research done pro bono on college campus harassment in the United States. Julie, our Hollaback! Berlin site leader, stopped by to visit the mothership after presenting at a conference in Ithaca. Maria Lujan Tubio was invited to talk about Hollaback! as an example of successful net-activism at a conference on Net-Activism in Sao Paulo, Brazil – 3 people approached her after the talk interested in starting a Hollaback chapter in Sao Paulo and doing research on street harassment in a Latin American context at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. We met with community partners at Girls for Gender Equity this week, as well as Tatyana Fazlalizadeh about collaborating more during PRIDE in June.  We’ve also began our search for Spring 2014 interns as we get ready for our class 9 launch on December 3rd. Our biggest class yet! Woot!

Hollaback! ED, Emily May, spoke on the Real Safety: Domestic Violence Conference, keynoted an event with Hollaback!’s pro-bono legal researchers “trust law”, and was honored at the Healing Center of NY’s Annual Gala. Emily also held a dinner for Hollback’s Board of Directors.

Deputy Director, Debjani Roy, did two trainings at “Futures Without Violence’s Summit” speak up to take rape culture down” at Harvard University.

We’ve also started a petition  as well as publishing a press release against Burt’s Bees for their careless endorsement of cat-calling.  Definitely more to come on that subject.


Here’s what the HOLLAs around the world have been up to:


Hollaback! Philly was interviewed for WHYY radio and blog (Philly’s local NPR station) and by their local NBC news team! They also held the 2nd ever City Council hearing on street harassment in the US! The hearing seemed to be a successful, highlighting a moment “when a councilman said ‘It’s really all about power, isn’t it?’” Check out the testimony and survey results here!

Hollaback! Ghent  spoke on Thursday in Kortrijk, Belgium for an evening about sexism in the streets. HB! Ghent and  Hollaback! Brussels  represented HB! together on  National Women’s Day, 11 November in a day event called STERE-OH!-TIEP, meetings with feminist organizations.  Quentin of Hollaback! Brussels also represented HB on November 11 in a debate on street harassment and sexism. The debate was organized by the City Council of Brussels and the department for Equal Opportunities, for the occasion of International Women’s Day. It’s a debate with the Mayor of Brussels, The Department of Equal Opportunities, Garance asbl (a  partner of HB Brussels) and Hollaback. It’s included in a day of events centered on women called “Brussels Celebrates the Women.”

Hollaback! Istanbul’s client (represented by their group’s lawyer)  brought their case of harassment to first degree court. The judge ordered 1 year and 8 months prison sentence to the harasser who harassed the client on a public bus.

Hollaback! Boston hosted a very successful HOLLAween party sponsored by local business and  Brandie Skorker represented at RI Comic Con!

Hollaback! Appalachian Ohio  completed their first safer spaces training and have started advertising Donkey Coffee as their first safer space!

Hollaback! Ottawa was asked to comment on the latest news that two womyn were sexually assaulted by two separate cab drivers. Site leader, Julie Lalonde was featured in one interview on the subject and got a nice Hollaback! shout out in the second. The Ottawa Police Service also responded to HB!Ottawa’s “Open letter to women in Ottawa,” inviting them to a facilitated discussion on violence against women in their city!

Hollaback! Hamilton is working with McMaster University through a few professors that have been interested in the work of Hollaback and would like their students to gain some experiential education opportunities through working with Hollaback!

Hollback! Halifax represented at the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word and leader, Rebecca Faria, performed her amazing original anti-harassment themed poem as well as gained some possible partnerships in the Canadian cities of Waterloo, Guelph, and London.

Hollaback! Czech  represented at Mezipatra – Czech Queer Film Festival!

Hollaback! Berlin  was featured on the Worms, Germany official website!

It’s pretty clear why we post these updates weekly, amazing work everyone!!!!

HOLLA and out!

-The Hollaback! Team

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Press Release: Burt’s Bees product tells women, “Let the Catcalling Commence.”

Former customer Colleen Kiphart joins Hollaback! to demand the company issue a real apology and immediately stop production of products that legitimize street harassment

WP_20131114_009Colleen Kiphart stewed over the packaging for months before she decided to speak up. Now, Kiphart and Hollaback!, an organization dedicated to ending street harassment, are working together demand that Burt’s Bees apologize and immediately stop production.

The offensive tag line goes as follows: “Soak in the moisturizing seductiveness of shea butter and indulge in the scent of vanilla and rice milk. And let the catcalling commence.”

Colleen Kiphart says, “I deal with catcalling regularly in my neighborhood. It is uninvited, unwanted, and demeaning. I stand up for myself, but many women can’t or don’t know they can. I am frustrated to see a socially-conscious company like Burt’s Bees perpetuate the myth that women want to be objectified by strangers on the street. I look forward to them seeing the error of this labeling, to them changing it, and to them joining the millions who stand against street harassment.”

Street harassment, commonly referred to as catcalling, is the most common form of gender-based violence globally. Long-term impacts include depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and at, victims report missing school, changing jobs or moving homes to avoid exposure.

“Burt’s Bees and Güd are perpetuating the myth that street harassment is a ‘compliment.’ We’ve received over 5,000 stories from people around the globe telling us that street harassment is scary, demeaning, and traumatizing. Last time I checked, that’s not what a ‘compliment’ feels like,” said Emily May, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Hollaback!.

Güd’s response to Kiphart and Hollaback! was noncommittal, stating, “we apologize if the wording on our Vanilla Flame Body Butter packaging offended anyone.”  (Full link: Hollaback! considers this an example of the commonly seen non-apology apology. According to Wikipedia, “A non-apology apology is a statement that has the form of an apology but does not express the expected contrition. It is common in both politics and public relations.”

In light of Güd by Burt’s Bees’ response, Kiphart and Hollaback! have stated that they will remain steadfast in their efforts. A link to the petition demanding that Burt’s Bees apologize and immediately stop producing pro-harassment packaging can be found here:

Story, Verbal

Alexis’ Story: “I want to be able to walk down the street without feeling uncomfortable.”

I was just walking down the street next to the apartment complexes at my school. All I was doing was walking to class, not even paying attention and I hear a load of boys yell “Hey wassup Gurl?” and a bunch of boys whistling and cheering. I didn’t want this to happen, all I wanted was to walk to class.

It wasn’t okay and it didn’t feel alright, I didn’t even want to walk past their apartment again. I didn’t even feel comfortable walking on the same sidewalk, now I feel like I can’t walk that way. My problem is that they think it’s okay, they think its okay to yell at girls and cat call.

Nobody says anything, they just accept it and keep walking. I shouldn’t feel uncomfortable walking to class, it shouldn’t be okay to be yelled at an whistled at for being a female. I want to be able to walk down the street without feeling uncomfortable.

I've got your back!

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Jessica’s Story: “He got mad at me for not talking to him and yelled … “

I was standing at the metro station around 10am, waiting for my train. A man came up to me and said I had beautiful eyes. I thanked him and then continued reading email on my phone. He then asked when the train was coming, and since there are several trains coming into this station, I pointed to where the schedule was. He asked me several questions in a row, what my name was, what school I went too, etc. I shook my head and said I don’t want to talk. He got mad at me for not talking to him and yelled, ‘Oh I guess you just don’t like black guys, I see how it is’. I was so angry- just because I am white and he is black, that is not why I didn’t want to talk to him. I was so frustrated that he felt I had to talk to every stranger that approached me, and then blamed it on race when I didn’t want to talk to him. After that comment, he disappeared on the next train, so I didn’t have a chance to say anything back.

I've got your back!

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groping, Story

Renée’s Story: “Everybody saw this happen, but nobody did a thing about it”

This happened to me while I was traveling alone in Spain, which I guess in our patriarchal and rape culture society means that by virtue of being female and alone, I was “asking for it”.

I was sitting at Plaza Mayor, just enjoying the sites and people watching while I enjoyed some down time for my feet after a full day of walking. An old man, and I don’t mean an older man, I mean a senior who was old enough to be my grandfather, sat next to me. I didn’t think anything of it, I didn’t see any kind of threat from somebody who is the age of my grandfather. He started speaking to me in Spanish, and I should have pretended that I didn’t speak Spanish, but it was an opportunity for me to practice. So I took it. The conversation continued and he kept asking me to go get coffee with me, and eventually tried to tickle me several times and slid his hand down my back to grab my ass.

I immediately stood up and told him that I had to leave, and he put on this simpering face and voice “don’t you want to go for coffee with me?!”. Absolutely horrified and feeling violated, I left the plaza citing that I had to go meet a friend. The amazing thing is that the plaza was full of people and everybody saw this happen, but nobody did a thing about it. Sadly, this was not the only incident of harassment that I had on this trip.

These combined experiences put me off so much that the next time I traveled alone, I cut my hair short so that I would look less feminine and the sad thing is that that actually worked and I was not harassed. Goes to show just how much we objectify women and those who do not fit a certain normative ideal of beauty…then we’re left alone. But we shouldn’t have to change the way we look and the way we want to look to avoid being harassed.

I've got your back!

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Stalking, Story

Cassie’s Story: “I was so scared”

I was driving to grab some lunch earlier today and I had just turned onto the main street from the little street my apartment is off of when a man in a big SUV slowed way down so he could do typical creep things like smile/wave/wink/etc at me while we drove side by side.

I eventually was able to get over and behind him, thinking this would be enough to make him continue with his day, but no. He got back over so that he could get behind my car. I was nearing my destination so I took a really sharp, signal-less right turn to go into the side driveway of the plaza, in the hopes that would lose him. It didn’t. He had to slam on his brakes and do a hard right turn also to stay behind me. I did another immediate, signal-less right turn into the plaza and it all happened so fast that he didn’t have time to turn in and follow me. I parked my car and sat there for a few seconds looking around to make sure he didn’t come in a different way. I didn’t see any sign of him so I got out of my car and started to quickly walk toward the restaurant.

Guess who I see over to the left driving up and down the aisles of parked cars?! Yep, him.(keep in mind this is a huge plaza, I could have gone anywhere and he found it worth it to try and find me) Guess who pulls up like he is about to leave the plaza but then spots me at the last second and sits there in his car staring and smiling and waving? YEP! Him! I walked quick with my head down across the street into the restaurant. I couldn’t stop shaking and I could barely talk enough to order my food, I was so scared.

I got my food and I went to leave. I got my self defense cat and my phone ready, just in case, but there was no sign of him anywhere. I got to my car and jumped in and locked the doors. I checked all around my car to see if he was anywhere to be seen and he wasn’t. I went home a different, longer way so I could see if he was following me again and he wasn’t. I got home and I broke down crying to my husband on the phone. Fuck that guy. Fuck him for being able to ruin my whole day in the matter of minutes. Fuck him for thinking that was an ok thing to do.

I've got your back!

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Taylor’s Story: “There are some boundaries that need to be respected”

When you’re dressed up as Snow white, you should simply expect some (unwanted) attention because you kind of stick out. Like, when I was waiting for my dad to pick me up and a car slowed down and stopped to make a little joke (“Hey, can we be your dwarfs?”). But not on a themed party where most people are dressed up, right? All right, I can take a one-liner (“Still looking for a prince?”) but there are some boundaries that need to be respected. So yeah, I didn’t like it when that one guy lifted my skirt or when that other guy stroked my hair or when that whole ‘gang’ of guys were just blatantly staring and smirking at me, or when that other guy just grabbed me and said ‘Snow white’ in the most perverted tone you can imagine. God, that last one still sends shivers down my spine, especially the way his fingers stroked my belly when I pushed him away. But yeah, when you’re dressed up as Snow white, I guess you should simply expect some (unwanted) attention in our sexist society.

I've got your back!

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Rachel’s Story: Harassment at age 13

I was walking down a hill to get to my friend’s house when I was about 13 or 14 years old. There was an intersection and a man (at least 10 years older than me) stopped, even though there were no other cars passing through, wound down his window and, as I walked by him, he said ‘You’re amazing’. I walked faster and when I got down to the bottom of the hill there was another intersection and a man stopped for me to pass in front of his car, but I could see he was obviously staring at me and continued to do so until I was out of sight.

I've got your back!

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CE’s Story: “Not what I needed and not cool at all”

Walking along the street towards universities on my way to an exam, it’s pouring with rain. Pavement is quite narrow and there was a group of 4-5 guys standing around, so I have to walk quite close to them.
As I get close one of them loudly says “hey you should try smiling sometime”. I ignore and keep walking. As I’m past the group a couple of them shout after me “oooooh SHIT”.

Felt so annoyed, I was already drenched from the heavy rain, and on my way to a stressful and difficult final exam at the end of my degree. Not what I needed and not cool at all.

I've got your back!

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