The Movement

Why I Hollaback: Melissa’s Story

This is the fifth video in the “Why I Hollaback” series. “Why I Hollaback” tells the story of how and why folks decide to take the leap, speak up, and start Holla’ing back. We will release a new story every Monday and accept submissions from all over the world. So tell us your story — Why do you Hollaback?

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The Movement

"Harassment on the Train May be on the Rise"

Sexual Harassment on Public Transportation from Dana Rapoport on Vimeo.

Watch the video, and read the article here. Hollaback is working with RightRides and New Yorkers for Safe Transit to make the subways safer. Here’s why:

“Over the past year or so, we’ve seen a rise in transit-related stories and the stories have become increasingly more violent. Stories of groping and public masturbation are the norm, not the exception anymore,” said Emily May, Co-founder of Hollaback, as another indication of commuters’ distress through emails and pictures submitted to their blog. “Understaffed subway system makes it hard to report these crimes. By the time victims have found an MTA worker or police officer, their perpetrator is 7 stops away.” 

Our new mapping system is going to make it even easier for us to track harassment and assault. The crowd-sourced data we generate will be the first of its kind. Never before has the government or another nonprofit tried to track and map when and where street harassment happens. We believe this strategic intervention will be the catalyst that creates a world where women can feel safe, confident, and sexy when they walk down the street.

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campaign, demonstration, event, union square

"Hot Pussy is No Way to Say Hello" campaign premieres in Union Square


“It is not my problem or my responsibility to prevent men from assaulting me”

 

 

Teamed up with fellow NYC activist and student, Sarah VanDenbergh, I had an awesome time representing HollabackNYC at the world premiere of the “Hot Pussy is No Way to Say Hello” campaign in Union Square on April 3.

 

After moving from a small town to NYC for graduate school at NYU, Sarah was quickly disgusted by the amount and degree of street harassment she received when she stepped out her front door. Appalled by the common misconception that street harassment is sometimes provoked or asked for by the woman and that the woman is responsible for preventing her own assault, Sarah’s thesis puts the offending men and their bad behavior under the spotlight, in a reversal of roles.

“Most of the research, discourse, media, and news coverage around sexual harassment discusses it through an individual framework focusing on the victim. The solution that that framework leads to is the victim helping herself. There is very little to do with the male. It is not my problem or my responsibility to prevent men from assaulting me. It is a man’s problem and a man’s responsibility. It was therefore the goal of my project to change a “woman’s problem” into a public prerogative.”

 

Seven life-sized cardboard cutouts of male silhouettes were placed standing up in Union Square, each with a different sign on his chest: “I grope women on the train almost every day,” “I masturbate on women on the L train,” “I objectify women’s bodies.” Two black boxes were placed at the foot of two figures that played 108 looped recordings of lewd, derogatory, and offensive comments made to women taken directly from the Hollaback website. For this part, Sarah had several of her male friends record the phrases. They included such Hollaback classics as “Hey bitch! You want a stick or a dick?” and “Which one of you am I going to rape first?” and were played loudly for passersby to hear. We handed out postcards with the campaign motto that encourage women to take a photo of their harasser and submit it to Hollaback. 


Responses were mixed; surprisingly, the overwhelming majority were positive. One girl, who appeared on the verge of tears, said “Your work here is pretty hard to swallow, but it’s effective.” Others weren’t so supportive; one man said he liked what we were doing, but that the comments being projected from the recordings were “harsh”. Our response? “YEAH, THEY ARE. That’s why we’re here.”

For more information or to learn how you can hold this event in your neighborhood, please contact us.

VK

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The Movement

How you can be a HOLLAhero!

1. Be an Angel. Donate.

We are seeking angel donors who are willing to make meaningful gifts. This donation will go directly to startup costs, which include the website, backend database, iPhone app, marketing materials, public relations, and strategic planning and development. As a significant leader in the Hollaback! movement, you will receive monthly donors-circle-only updates the executive director on how your donation is being used to create a world without street harassment.

2. Volunteer with Hollaback for Impact.

At Hollaback, we are looking for professionals who want a volunteer opportunity that optimizes their talents. Specifically, we are looking for volunteers with the following talents:

  • Webdesign. Our site desperately needs an overhaul before the big relaunch. We also need people who can design sassy, engaging, empowering add-ons that keep our site fresh.
  • Graphic Design. We need business cards, flyers, and letterhead, to name only a few.
  • Mapping Experts. We’re launching on a google map with pins that you can hover over to see details. Our vision is to make these maps completely searchable, to generate maps that are more visually appealing (like heat maps), and to chew these maps up into legislative districts for lobbying.
  • iPhone app designers. We’ve got the basic app coming out in June for our beta launch, but we need people who can make upgrades based on user feedback.
  • Legal Expertise. We’ve never been sued, and we’d like to keep it that way.
  • Search Engine Optimization. Search “hollaback” and we come up #1, even above Gwen Stefani. That’s great if you already know about our project. Search “harassment” or “groped” and all you get is a bunch of depressing news reports. Let’s make it easier for folks.
  • SMS text to map. We are launching with an iPhone app, but want to move to allow folks to report their harassment using SMS texting quickly. We understand it’s not easy, but we also know that this will open up the demographic that can Hollaback! significantly.

3. Board Membership.

Between now and September 2010, we are building our founding board. We’re looking for rockstars that are committed to Hollaback’s success. Expertise in technology, start-ups, marketing, legal, and/or event planning is a plus. To be considered, board members must be willing to leverage and engage their networks to advance Hollaback’s mission.

Want to help but don’t see the perfect opportunity for you listed? Contact Emily May at  hollabacknyc@gmail.com. I am happy to brainstorm with you on how we can best leverage your talents.

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Verbal

We’re going to change this: until then, I’m standing tall in my shorts

Today I was walking to the park about 10 blocks from my house. I had on shorts and a t-shirt and some flops…nothing fancy. I had a guy slow down in his car next to me and start honking and whistling at me. Sad part was he had his 2 young sons in the car. A few blocks later these two guys on a bike start saying damn nice legs. Unfortunately all 3 creepers were moving too quickly for me to get a decent photograph. As i continued on my walk I said to myself I’m never wearing shorts again…but the more I thought about it, why not. Its not me thats the problem its them. And although I may get harassed again wearing them I’m not changing myself for any creep. I really believe in Hollaback and the movement that it has started and believe that things will soon be changing. So I’m going to keep wearing my shorts and am going to stand tall.

Submitted by Sarah

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Stalking, Verbal

Fighting for the right to wear a (work-appropriate) dress, one stalker at a time

Yesterday, I decided to wear a dress. The weather was beautiful and I was going to see Sandra Day O’Connor speak after work. Last night around 5:30 I was walking to the 175th St station on the A train when this man came up next to me and started walking along side me. I had my ipod on, but the volume was low enough that I could hear him saying that he thought I was beautiful and that he wanted to talk to me. I ignored him, tried to walk fast, but he kept along my side. When I realized I couldn’t walk faster, I stopped and let him keep going, getting a safe distance between us. However, when I got to the subway turnstiles, he was waiting for me. Again he told me I was beautiful and whatever and I yelled “GET THE FUCK AWAY FROM ME!” He called me a bitch and followed me on to the platform. I tried to stay close to groups of people and slowly sneak farther down the platform, but he kept following. When the train finally came, i ran down to another car, but he followed me again. As we approached 145th St, he walked down to where I was sitting and started staring at me. I had my cell phone out and started taking his picture. He saw me doing it, but didn’t try to hide. He exited the train at 145th, mumbling on his way out, and I finally felt relieved. Checked the photos I took and started taking notes of everything that happened.

I ran to the closest ticket booth when I got off the A at 42nd. I didn’t see the creep anywhere but I wanted to report what happened to the police. The station agent wasn’t helpful at first. She told me to wander around to find a police officer and didn’t make the call until I yelled that I wasn’t going anywhere until a police officer arrived. As I waited for the police, the creep came up to me. He was maybe 5 feet away, but he hid behind a column so the station agent couldn’t see him. He had taken off his t shirt and was just wearing a black tank top. Told me he was sorry, that he wanted to apologize, that he just wanted to talk to me but I was a bitch and an asshole and wouldn’t talk to him. He left after about a minute, and less than a minute later the police arrived.

Both officers were very good. They listened to me, they looked at the pictures, one of them did a sweep of the area, and when they couldn’t locate him they took me to their base and took my complaint. I made sure to mention to them that I am an attorney, so that may have had something to do with the excellent treatment I received. When they were done taking my statement, one of the officers escorted me to my transfer. I’m currently waiting for the detective to call. I’m really scared that I’m going to run into him again tonight.

On my way home last night, another man approached me in Times Square station. He said “Nice” as I walked past him and then he followed me to the platform. When he tried to talk to me and tell me he thought I was beautiful, I screamed and waved my arms and told him to get the fuck away. There were so many people and police around that he ran off. I didn’t make another complaint, but it scared the shit out of me.

I know that I’m not to blame. I’m proud that I had the wherewithall to remain calm, to take pictures, to make a complaint to the police. I know that I have the right to wear a modest, work appropriate dress and heels, and have my hair looking nice and wear lipstick and not be bothered by creeps. But today I dressed pretty frumpy and I don’t know if I’ll wear that dress again anytime soon.

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The Movement

Californians: Make Your Workplace Harassment-Proof

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Harassment doesn’t just magically go away; it takes work. If you want to make your workplace harassment-proof, check out our corporate sponsors at CalBizCentral.

From CalBizCentral:
When it comes to sexual harassment in the workplace, you have to know what is required of your company and your human resources department. Harassment is not a topic you can take lightly or decide to learn about at a later date. If you work in human resources for a company, it’s time to learn everything you need to know about sexual harassment. HRCalifornia will help you find information and tools to assist with training.

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The Movement

Why I Hollaback: Salam’s Story

This is the fourth video in the “Why I Hollaback” series. “Why I Hollaback” tells the story of how and why folks decide to take the leap, speak up, and start Holla’ing back. We will release a new story every Monday and accept submissions from all over the world. So tell us your story — Why do you Hollaback?

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The Movement

Obama Includes Verbal Harassment in his Sexual Assault Month Speech!

I couldn’t have said it better myself. In his Presidential Proclamation for Sexual Assault Awareness month Obama says:

“Every day, women, men, and children across America suffer the pain and trauma of sexual assault. From verbal harassment and intimidation to molestation and rape, this crime occurs far too frequently, goes unreported far too often, and leaves long-lasting physical and emotional scars… Survivors too often suffer in silence because they fear further injury, are unwilling to experience further humiliation, or lack faith in the criminal justice system. This feeling of isolation, often compounded with suicidal feelings, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder, only exacerbate victims’ sense of hopelessness.”

Kudos to Obama for highlighting the entire spectrum of sexual violence and including verbal harassment in the mix. Too often, people tell us that our work would be more powerful if we only focused on groping, public masturbation, and assault. But words hurt too. Especially if you hear them everyday, from every street corner. You’re not crazy to think that these words can turn physically violent at any moment. But even when they don’t, the emotional violence has already left its mark.

We have benefited from the women who came before us and made workplace harassment illegal and frowned upon. They did it by telling stories. Brave women came forward, and simply, but boldly, told their stories. Now it is our turn to do the same thing.

In honor of sexual assault awareness month, be bold, hollaback, and tell your story. Your story will build awareness. Your story will help others know they are not alone. Your story will squash the culture that makes sexual violence OK and open the doors for a world without sexual harassment or assault.

Your story will change the world. It is the only thing that ever has. Hollaback.

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The Movement

Help the Research Happen!

As you all know, street harassment is a seriously under-researched issue. As activists, this makes it hard to bring attention to this incredibly important issue. Help push the agenda forward by taking these two surveys:

This one is investigating how women present themselves and whether that influences perceptions of street harassment.

This one is looking at whether or not body size is related to harassment.

Your voice is critical to this conversation, Hollaback and take a survey!

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