The Movement

In our pain for Orlando, may we find power: A letter from Executive Director Emily May

Dear Hollaback! Community,


I am reaching out today with the heaviest of hearts. The tragedy in Orlando was one of the deadliest mass shootings in the United States. It took place on Latinx night at the Pulse, and those we lost were mostly LGBTQ, mostly people of color.


We want to be clear: this was not just an act of terror, it was also a hate crime. It was, at its root, a product of homophobic, racist, and transphobic culture that we live in.


It’s a culture of hate that we perpetuate everyday when we support laws against gender-inclusive bathrooms, normalize street harassment, and allow gay teens to be bullied in plain sight.  When we refuse to stand up against the daily violence that LGBTQ people face just for being who they are, we create a culture where events like Orlando become inevitable.


The horrific events in Orlando bring to the forefront our own experiences of harassment and violence as LGBTQ folks. It can feel like a scab ripping off; it is a wound that never really has a chance to heal.


This week, as we heal, reflect, and care for one another — let’s also take this opportunity to turn our pain into power. Join us in sharing your experiences with hate, harassment, or violence towards the LGBTQ community with the hashtag #thehatewefaceiseveryday.


Your story could be something that small — like a hateful joke, or a passing comment. Or it could be something much harder — like harassment, intimidation, stalking, or assault. Whatever it is, we’re listening. If you would prefer to be anonymous, you can share your story on our site, or through our free app.


As we process this tragedy, our pain runs deep. As we do the critical work of standing up against Islamophobia and fighting for better policies — we too need to do the work of caring for ourselves, and giving our pain space to breathe.  


Sharing your story is an act of self-care, and in times like these, it is an act of survival. We need to show people what’s wrong so they can see what’s possible.


with love and warmth,



Emily May

Co-Founder and Executive Director



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CJ Send Off!

Hello Everyone!

This week our beloved program and administrative assistant CJ will be leaving! We will be holding back tears as they pack up their desk…but also excited for the things they will do!  🙂 / 🙁

hollaback june 6th WioS


Hollaback! Interns Jean and Lan attended the 7th Annual Father’s Day Pledge on Thursday June 9th which supports a nationwide pledge end violence in homes, schools, communities, and building healthy realtionships.


Meanwhile, at Hollaback! around the world…


On Wednesday Hollaback! Bmore co-director Brittany Oliver will be on The Marc Steiner Show – Intelligent Talk Radio to discuss the Stanford rape case at 11:00 a.m. Tune in!


HollaBack! Croatia will be attending Croatia’s annual pride festival at 3 pm this Saturday!


That’s it for now!


Holla and out!




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HOLLA ON THE GO: Bike admirer


When I was riding my bike I watched a distant man smile and veer toward me. When I approached him he asked if he could borrow my bike. I said “no,” and once I pedaled past him, he started screaming expletives at me.

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What harassment looks like as a woman with red hair

In middle school I rode the bus like many kids my age, but unlike most kids I inherited my fathers bright red hair, so I stood out. Upon puberty I started getting asked by the boys on my bus whether the “drapes matched the carpet” I refused to answer. Problems like this occured several times through school, even once or twice women would ask me with a smirk, or call me names like “fire crotch”. My hair color, a gift from my father at birth, has made me into an object for men. Many times I have been told “I have a thing for redheads” by complete strangers. I have been fetishized by the male population, to the point that for 4 years during my highschool years I would cover it up with a hat or hood, or just keep it chopped off to avoid that kind of attention. I have grown stronger and have accepted that it is one of my best assets, but it does not define me as a woman, I am not “great in bed” just because of my appearance. I am not “easy” because my appearance dictates it. I am a woman with a happy bf who loves every part of her, looks and mind.

This is only one of the many problems I have faced as a woman, I have an interest in machines and that has gotten me harassed in other ways, but that is for another story

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That one area I can’t avoid…

Everyday after work I walk by this area that I cant avoid because there is no other way home but. There are these houses that are for men that work in the fields and every day without failure. They are there just waiting. They call out disgusting remarks and whistle. It’s the worse part of my day. Even with my earphones in and music blasting I can hear them. I don’t run by because they make a bigger deal about it. They do it to any female that walks by which is so bad because most of the females are young girls who are in middle school.#SexObject

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Cal Anderson Park Harasser

If you find yourself in Seattle’s Cal Anderson park, watch out for an older guy open and willing to call you a fucking bitch because you look “so sexy” and it’s “your fault he had to say something”. Stopped me in the middle of the path and blocked my way, and by stepping aside to keep walking, screamed I should die. reported to local authority in the vicinity, likely to harass again. Avoid walking through the park if you’re just passing by and by yourself. Even at 11am.


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Announcing our story sharing contest with Jessica Valenti’s new book #SexObject

Tomorrow, Jessica Valenti’s book Sex Object will be released! In this memoir, Valenti explores the painful, funny, embarrassing, and sometimes illegal moments that shaped her adolescence and young adulthood in New York City, revealing a much shakier inner life than the confident persona she has cultivated as one of the most recognizable feminists of her generation. She documents incidents of harassment she’s faced, both online and in the streets, and the book will surely empower other folks experiencing harassment to speak up about it as well!

This is why we’re launching a story sharing contest under the hashtag #SexObject to give out swag from Dey Street Books, including a copy of the book and a tank top! Share your own story of harassment on Twitter using #SexObject, or submit a story anonymously to our site with the hashtag to be entered in the contest! We will notify you if you’ve won, and Dey Street Books will send you your free copy and other prizes — check them out below.


If you’re nearby, don’t miss her book signings!


MONDAY, JUNE 6th at 6:30PMSex Object SWAG

Talk & Signing


2021 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20009




Talk & Signing- interviewed by Rachel Hills


UForge Gallery, 767 Centre Street, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130



SATURDAY, JUNE 11th at 7:30PM

Talk & Signing


163 Court St, Brooklyn, NY 11201





Week in our Shoes: May flowers bring June bugs and…More Interns!!

Hi Everyone!

On Thursday three new summer interns started at Hollaback!. Lily, our HeartMob intern, will be assisting in building out the HeartMob program and the online harassment movement. Lan will be working as a program and development intern, assisting with the site leader program. Jean, our Program intern, will support a variety of programs including school outreach and LGBTQ research. We’re excited to welcome all three of our new interns to the team! The more the merrier!


Meanwhile, at other Hollaback! sites across the globe…

Tori McReynolds speaking on ending gender-based violence.

Tori McReynolds speaking on ending gender-based violence.


Hollaback! Baltimore is presenting a workshop on ending gender-based violence at the National Conference for Student Women Leaders at the University of Maryland College this Friday, June 3rd. They are also teaming up with the Beast Grrl Collective and ETHIC Program for a day of activities to combat street harassment this Sunday, June 5th at Atomic Books.


Hollaback! Romania published a questionnaire to collect women’s perceptions and experiences of street harassment in Romania.


That’s it for now!


Holla and out!



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HOLLA ON THE GO: Followed to car and prevented from leaving

At ValuMarket I was approached outside the store by an older man saying I was attractive and cursing. I thanked him and said I had to go, and avoided walking anywhere near him. He followed me to my car and held the door as I entered my vehicle, asking for my number and being sexually suggestive. At the same time he kept saying “I just need a friend, will you be my friend? I like my friends to look good like you.” I finally told him I was married and again that I had to leave. He eventually backed down (only after I pretended to be married) and then he asked me for money.

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Stalking, Verbal

“He circled around three times for every block I walked, yelling more and more insensitive offers, turned forceful demands.”

A couple weeks ago I was followed home in the most aggressive manner I have ever experienced. Let me first set the scene by noting that I have already been dealing with a peeping tom at my house for over a year now, and despite my numerous calls to the police, reaching out to several of my neighbors and asking them to keep an eye out for suspicious behavior, and my own personal two dog security system, I haven’t felt at ease in my own home in longer than I can remember. Nowhere is safe. But thats not the story here.
I host at a restaurant in San Francisco, and on this particular Tuesday night the restaurant was DEAD, and I was sent home at around 6. It being a sunny beautiful day I decided to walk the 30 min walk from the BART station to my house. About 5 blocks away from my home a beat up white KIA pulled up to the sidewalk just ahead of me and a strange man tried to call out an offer for a ride. I ignored his offer and kept walking, didn’t even look his way. He turned the car around, and tried again. And again. And again. He circled around three times for every block I walked, yelling more and more insensitive offers, turned forceful demands. I never once looked his way. Eyes forward I walked, but I knew just where he was at all times, he made it clear he wasn’t going away that easily.
5 blocks of this until I turned on to the street before my own street and he was still there. I started to feel panicked. I did not want to give the man the power of knowing where I lived. I was minutes away from my already unsafe house, and he showed no signs of letting up.
But now I was in my neighborhood, passing the man that I smile at nearly every day as I walk past him people watching on his porch, and just a few houses down from two other men working on their car in the driveway. I finally felt like the odds were stacked a little more in my favor. In all honesty the men probably would have done nothing to help me, but all I could tell myself was at least there were 3 other people around that could witness this part of the incident.
As the KIA pulled over for its grand finale I grabbed a large rock from the yard adjacent to me, and yelled over the man, as loud as I could. Finally there were at least people around to hear me. I screamed out to the man, told him if he turned his car around one more time, or tried to speak one more foul word to me I would hurl this rock directly through his windshield. And sure enough, he circled around one more time, only this time he never stopped. He sped right past me, and headed back to whatever shit hole it was he came from.

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