I’m feminist enough

I’m Feminist Enough, vol. 1 from Shannon Washington on Vimeo.

(we’re blushing up a storm over here after that Hollaback! shout-out!)

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Laila’s Story: Claims he “saw me ‘checking him out’ and that I want him”

Sitting on a street cafe, sipping my latte in trendy and cultured Central London on a hot summer’s evening, I thought it couldn’t be any better. I paused from reading my novel to admire the smells, sights and noises of the streets – only to find a group of young men, dressed in jeans and brash confidence, staring at me from the opposite side of the street.

I blinked, turned away and automatically pulled down the hem of my knee-length blue summer dress; not exactly provocative, but even when wearing something revealing is no excuse for sexual harassment, it was my first instinct. I tried to ignore them, but out of the view of my peripheral vision, I could see them still gawking.

My breathing quickened as I glanced at them, and saw them crossing the street and coming towards me. I stopped, to find the cocky ringleader demand my number, claiming that he saw me “checking him out” and that I want him. I calmly said no, but was taken aback; he knocked my chair back so that my dress flew up, displaying my underwear, which his friend caught an image of on his phone. They heckled and sauntered away. Another young man sat near me helped me up, and then chased down the street for the gang! He pushed the ringleader into a wall and warned him never to do anything like that again. They left sulkily.

The kind young man returned to the cafe, making sure I was alright. Seeing that this was the example all men should follow as he was such a gentleman, I fell in love and we got married a few years later 🙂

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Donate to Hollaback! The Perfect New Year’s Resolution.


The lull between Christmas and New Year is the perfect time for reflection, you’ve consumed four times your body weight in turkey and paralyzed on the sofa you are forced to think of this year’s events. Was it, for instance, absolutely necessary to reiterate the rules of Monopoly to your family in such an abrupt manner? Also, given the substantial bundle that you spent on that spectacular NYE dress that you can now neither pull past your knees or your shoulders, was it essential to buy enough food to feed you and a large army twice over in the event of a nuclear holocaust?

Amidst these important ponderings hopefully you had time to contemplate Hollaback’s State of the Streets Report! It is truly awe-inspiring to see the movement grow from a tiny sapling to a beautifully flourishing revolution. This year Hollaback! has inspired international leadership by training young women and LGBTQ individuals to build their own grassroots movements centered around street harassment, they have managed to shift public opinion and have gained international press from the NY Times to the BBC.

Hollaback! has engaged the attention of numerous elected officials, as well as organizing the first New York City Council world hearing on street harassment. But most importantly Hollaback! has encouraged you the readership to find your voices and speak out on street harassment. To date the organization has published over 3,000 stories of all varying forms of street harassment. But the action does not stop here!

We still need your help! We need to keep spreading the word and educating the masses about what behavior is acceptable in public spaces and how to keep our streets safe. We still need to encourage the world to find their voices and Hollaback! for themselves and for other people. YOU DO HAVE THE POWER TO END STREET HARASSMENT!

My suggestion is that on December 31 you save the $200 you were going to spend on some pretentious club where they make you line up for 30 minutes, only to enter an empty bar, sporadically dappled by people in jaunty headwear that haven’t smiled since the mid 90s when it became unpopular to do so in photos. Save it and then donate it to Hollaback! There’s no better way to see in 2012 than joining a bloody brilliant revolution that involves everyone! 99 per cent of women will experience street harassment in their lives (Kearl 2010) and this study does not even include LGBTQ and Men. Street Harassment, in all its ugly forms, is something everyone on earth shares and together we can stop it. So let’s not procrastinate any longer get your hand in your pocket and donate to a truly worthy cause so the next generation won’t have to!

Happy New Year Hollabackers!!


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Epa’s Story: Unexpected

There were two men in their mid 50’s in the elevator. As soon as I get in I hear “sexy, sexy, sexy”. I did not react because I had just finished dining with my dad and cousin and the last thing that was crossing my mind was that I would have to deal with sexual harassment. The old man became quiet right after my dad entered the elevator with me. Then, my dad noticed they were drunk.

Lesson I learned today: Sexual harassment is UNEXPECTED, I have to be more aware of my surroundings, and carry my pepper spray at all times!!! If my dad would have not been there, the harassment could have been much worst!

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School Girls Harassed Daily by Ultra-Orthodox Jewish Extremists in Israel



Thousands of Israeli protestors gathered on the streets of Beit Shamesh, West of Jerusalem on Tuesday evening demonstrating against ultra-Orthodox Jewish extremism that caused the harassment of an 8-year-old Jewish girl on her way to school, as well as the systematic abuse of women all over the town.

According to the BBC, protestors sprang into action following a nationwide documentary, which revealed that school girl, Naama Margolese, was terrified of walking to school. Naama said she lived in fear of being abused in the street or even being spat at by ultra-Orthodox men that have been regularly protesting outside a religious girls school about the so called ‘immodest dress’ code of the children.

Naama’s mother, Hadassah Margoleese told the BBC that the school children were having nightmares about the daily abuse. She told reporters about her daughter:

“Whenever she hears a noise she asks, ‘are they there, are they out there?’”

The ultra-Orthodox minority is seeking to segregate men and women and to enforce a strict interpretation of religious laws.

In retaliation the people of Beit Shamesh have stood together in solidarity holding signs saying “Free Israel from Religious Coercion.” Israeli President Shimon Peres is supporting the protest telling reporters:

“The entire nation must be recruited in order to save the majority from the hands of a small minority”.

He called the protest a preservation of the state of Israel’s “character against a minority which breaks our national solidarity.”


Results of Hollaback! Istanbul’s research on Street Harassment


 Reposted from Hollaback! Istanbul

Globally and in Turkey, street harassment is one of the most pervasive forms of gender-based violence, yet one of the least legislated against. Due to the prevalence of physical and verbal harassment in public spaces, Canımız Sokakat conducted research on the nature of street harassment in Istanbul. We wanted to see understand street harassment beyond the numerous stories we’ve received.

Here are our results:

  • Of the participants in our survey, 69% reported experiencing harassment regularly on at least a monthly basis.
  • The most common forms of harassment experienced included: leering (75%), being honked at (60%), being whistled at (59%), having kissing noises directed at them (48%), and being sexually touched or groped (49%).
  • The vast majority of people believe they can’t prevent street harassment: Ninety-three percent of participants reported that they experienced harassment from a male perpetrator in a public space, with a vast majority of perpetrators falling between the ages of 18 and 59 years old.  After experiencing street harassment, survey respondents most commonly felt annoyance, anger, disgust, and fear. Many also felt insulted.

One respondent to the survey explains: “Whether it is verbal or physical harassment, even after many years, unfortunately, one cannot forget it.” Another respondent echoes a similar sentiment: “It has been two and a half years since that incident, but I still feel fear and panic riding buses.” These feeling could be why 93% of our respondents consider street harassment an important issue today:

This research is only the beginning for us. We know there are hundreds of thousands undocumented stories of street harassment and that there are so many victims and bystanders who have been silenced by a culture that supports harassers. Research like this is one major step to understand street harassment in Istanbul and ultimately combat it. Any questions on our research, email us [email protected]. And help us out submitting your story of street harassment today!

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To all our supporters —


Take one look at our State of the Streets Report and you’ll know we’ve had an incredible year. But here is the stuff that is never covered in the press, but it is the absolute backbone of every move we make: YOU (yes you) ARE AWESOME.  Now we are asking you to be awesome again, and donate to our end-of-year campaign.

We aren’t a traditional nonprofit, and you aren’t traditional supporters. You are risktakers. In May of 2010 I jumped off the cliff to start Hollaback! and built wings on the way down.  And you jumped with me.

I know that I get a lot of credit for launching Hollaback!, but it has never just been me.  Then we built a board of another 15. Now we’ve got 150 sites leaders in 45 cities, 16 countries, and 9 different languages. And now we have 17 volunteers with titles in our New York office.  Everything you see is made by them: the program, the 45 websites, the apps, our logo, our merch.

We wouldn’t exist without our voluteers – but we also wouldn’t exist without our supporters.  In California, a young lesbian woman is tithing 10% of her income Hollaback! until her church accepts her.  She works at Starbucks and makes approximately $500/month.

With every donation that comes through the door, whether it is $5 or $5000 — I think to myself oh my god — this is it.  This is what fuels us.  And I’m not just talking about the reality of financing. I’m talking having people like you in the world who feel so passionately about this work that they are willing to give anything to make it happen. That, to me, is revolutionary.  Because it is what fuels the revolution.  The revolution that everyone said couldn’t be done.

So thank you for being here. Thank you for being awesome. You sustain us, nourish us, and literally put the food on our plates that makes us able to continue to do this work.

Please support our work by making an end-of-year gift to us today.

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Jamie’s story: Campus harassment at Michigan State

Michigan State University is known for being a “party school”. This is not why I attend, however many young ‘men’ I have met take pride in this reputation and find it necessary to act immaturely on campus.
My freshman year I was walking to a nearby bus stop to go to meijer. It was about 5pm and already getting dark out, and I was by myself.. I was already feeling wary. As I walked by one of the dorms a pickup truck with 4 younger men inside pulled up next to me with its windows rolled down. I pretended not to notice, but knew they would say something.
The boy in the passenger seat yelled at me “my buddy here wants to take you out back and rape you!” I’m not kidding. I can’t remember what went through my head, but I acted like I ignored them and kept walking. When the truck was out of sight I realized what just happened…I started shaking and crying, and dialed my best friend right away.
Over a year later this plays over and over through my head. I wish SO bad that I had gotten the license plate number and turned the boys in to the police. WHERE do boys learn that it is ok to stalk a girl BY HERSELF and harass her or threaten rape?? (the ‘out back’ thing confuses the shit out of me too)
To the young women out there: there are evidently men out there who think it’s ok to do things like this. if something like this happens to you, CALL THE COPS IMMEDIATELY.
I was dressed in baggy sweats, but I’m sure that the moment they noticed my gender, they made me a victim.

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TF’s Story: A voice

I was walking to the CVS and saw a man standing there leaning on a railing near the store. He looked very unkempt and I tried to walk past without making eye-contact. As I walked by him he literally yelled “Why you teasing me like that! Why you teasing me like that!” Then he shook his entire body (like someone would do if they were cold) to make his point.

Then as I entered the CVS, he asked me if I could get him some food. Not to be unkind, but after I have been harassed, how do you expect me to want to give you food?

When I left the store, I took the opposite route from the one I had taken before to avoid the man. And even then it seemed that he had been waiting for me to come out because he shouted after me. I was relieved that he didn’t follow me.

As a woman I have been harassed on the street too many times, and I am just fed up. I’m tired of feeling uncomfortable in certain situations simply because I am a female. And I’m tried of how brave and arrogant men can be on the street. They behave this way because they know that nothing well to be done about their behavior.

I’m tired of always being viewed as a piece of meat by certain men on the street even though I never provoke or do anything to warrant that kind of reaction. I’m also tired of men thinking that cat-calling/verbal harassment on the street is ok. I sometimes want to tell the men off but I’m afraid of what their reaction will be.

I’m so happy that I have this sight as a forum to speak out about this.

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Article, demonstration

Why I started loving hate mail.


There is nothing like a fresh batch of hate mail to get me motivated.  Back when we first started Hollaback!, hate mail made me feel so crappy inside.  What can I say? I was socialized to be a girl and make everyone like me — even the people I didn’t really like.  It took a while for me to re-socialize as an activist and realize that you’re not making change unless you’re pissing people off.

Allow me to geek out on nonprofit-performance-management stuff for a second, but it is really hard to measure social and behavioral change in society.  Is Hollaback! succeeding when we get more stories or less? How do we know when people have the “click” moment that makes them stop harassing? How do we know how we contributed to it? Hate mail seems like as good of a metric as any.  So bring it, haters. We’re quite pleased with ourselves that our vision of a world without street harassment has made you so deeply uncomfortable.

And now, a message from our hater of the day.  Typos were left intact.  Oh, and I should put a RAGE warning on this:



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