Appalachian Ohio, Athens GA, Atlanta, Berkeley, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Columbia MO, Columbus, Des Moines, Durham & Chapel Hill, East Lansing, Fredericksburgh VA, Houston, Los Angeles, Muncie IN, New York City, NYU, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Plattsburgh, Richmond VA, San Francisco, Tucson, Twin Cities
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?
“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.
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.”
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:
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. I am happy to brainstorm with you on how we can best leverage your talents.
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
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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!