A Week in Our Shoes

Week in Our Shoes: DEAR JOHN EDITION

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Dear Amazing Hollas—

First and foremost, our Dear John Campaign has launched! The project was spearheaded by our “Mover of the Month” and blogger Tanisha Ramirez in solidarity with One Billion Rising. If you or anyone you know has a bone to pick with a harasser (I mean, don’t we all?), send a Dear John letters to holla@ihollaback.org!

In other news: Hollaback! just won top three safety apps of the 2013! A big thank you and congratulations to Jill Dimond, our Hollaback! developer, as well as Josephine Hall and Amy Palamountain for their hard work and bringing us to this great honor. Also, our Deputy Director Debjani and I were on a Pure Imagination radio show last Friday, listen in, and I had the honor of going to the MAKERS premiere on Wednesday night. The three-hour PBS documentary airs on Tuesday, February 26 at 8PM ET on PBS (check your local listings).


Now let me just say, WOW this has been an impressive week for Hollabackers all over the world! Here is what they’re up to:

Hollaback! Halifax was on the radio this week! Listen to Halifax hollas on CBC Maritime Noon discuss what drove them to start Hollaback! Halifax and how people can respond to street harassment. Way to go!

Hollaback! Boston did a team interview this week with our blogger Chloe Safier. Read about why these hollas came together to start Hollaback! Boston. The site is currently raising awareness about the issue of street harassment and race which you can read about here. Also, check out Hollaback! Boston’s response and very necessary continuation of this week’s Jezebel article,”How to Talk to a Woman Without Being a Creep.”

Hollaback! Baltimore did an interview with our blogger Rita Pasarell this week. Find out how hollas Shawna and Melanie got started with Hollaback! and what gets these girls ticking. Also, Hollaback! Baltimore turns 2 years old this week! The site is celebrating with a pre-party and epic Terribly Two birthday bash this Friday. Happy Birthday, hollas!

Hollaback! Brussels got an awesome shout out this week on the blog Brussels is Love, in a post by the author on the tragic objectification of women and harassment that often follows.

Hollaback! Gent’s Ilse wrote a great response to a rather inflammatory article in De Standaard online publication. Way to hollaback, Ilse!

Hollaback Israel is fighting harassment on public transportation! Yes, this is part of our story too, folks. Public transportation should be safe and accessible to everyone.

Hollaback! Philly is planning for their day of action on February 19 where they will work in partnership with various UN affiliated organizations to reach out to legislators to make the city of Philadelphia a safer place.

HollaBack!BLN is teaming up with the super fabulous Riot Grrrl Berlin for their next compilation titled, “Cats Against Catcalling.” Very cool.

Hollaback! Italy is getting ready for One Billion Rising in Italy! In their most recent blog post, Italy reminds us that this upcoming V-Day is very much a paramount gesture of unity and solidarity as women.

Hollaback! South Africa did a profile on different types of street harassers, helping to provide the anti street harassment community with a straightforward way of determining who we are dealing with each time we are harassed.

Hollaback! Birmingham joins forces with the University of Birmingham’s Zero Tolerance Campaign against harassment and bullying. Working side by side with the university, Birmingham hollas are collecting stories and raising awareness of about harassment.

Hollaback! Edinburgh interviewed the amazing Fiona Elvines, the Operations Coordinator at Rape Crisis South London and researcher on street harassment. Read all about Fiona’s incredible research in the interview posted on Edinburgh’s site.

Hollaback! London’s took part in the Reclaim the Night anti-Rape march in Cambridge. Hollaback! London site leader, Julia went up to give a talk at King’s Chapel following the march. Check out details about our London hollas’ participation in this important citywide event!

Hollaback! Des Moines has launched their first internship program. A very warm Hollaback! welcome to Des Moines’ Spring intern Tessa Hopson! Tessa is currently finishing her PharmD with a concentration in women’s studies at Drake University.

Hollaback! Croatia is raising awareness about the health education happenings in Croatia. Check out their site for a wealth of information!

Hollaback NYU’s Sarah Khan did an exciting HOLLAWho? interview this week with Krista Bedosky. Read how Sarah got started with Hollaback! and how she fights daily street harassment in New York City.

BRILLIANT job this week everyone. What a team! Big week coming up next week, so keep up the momentum, and  I am so excited to see what we do!


HOLLA and out —




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A Week in Our Shoes

WEEK IN OUR SHOES: Holla’ing Back Through the Public Mic


Dear Hollabackers,

This week was full of excitement with Hollabackers all over the world planning up a storm for One Billion Rising and, in countless creative ways, continuing to get the word out about Hollaback! and our continuing fight to end street harassment. Here in New York, after reading Wednesday’s Gawker article highlighting New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s habit of regularly degrading women, we decided to holla-back with this public statement. If you haven’t already, please read it and share. This is an example of how harassment is NOT a cultural issue or a class issue; it’s a global issue that arises at all levels of society. Now is as good a time as ever to fight back and speak out.

Now, lets hear what our amazing sites around the world have been up to:

Hollaback! Berlin has been active in recent online discussions on harassment in Berlin. In recent weeks, the city of berlin has seen an amazing upsurge of women reporting their daily encounters with street harassment throughout social media. In the midst of all this inspiring speaking out, Hollaback! Berlin has done a great job getting the word out about Hollaback! in German blogs such as Femgeeks and Antiprodukt. Check them out!

Hollaback! San Francisco is getting ready for One Billion Rising. Check out the awesome pictures from their flash mob rehearsal last weekend!

Hollaback! Boston has put together an an anti-street harassment new years resolution list. In three easy-to-remember steps, Hollaback! Boston keeps us working towards a harassment-free 2013.

Hollaback! RVA has had quite a week! The site held a successful meeting this past Wednesday, collecting stories about harassment that they will be posting on their blog. Keep your eyes peeled for accounts of street harassment coming from Richmond next week. Hollaback! RVA is also revving its engine for One Billion Rising in Richmond. They are doing some great collaborative work with OBR RVA and are in the middle of preparations for a big Hollaback! RVA benefit. Super exciting stuff.

Hollaback! Istanbul is getting the word out on their site about some disturbing new research on the self-silencing of many women when they feel they are outnumbered. Harassment is very much woven into this story of this silence. Hollaback! pushes against violence at all levels, including the violence of of being silent, especially when in the face of to gender-based harassment. Yes, there is much work to be done!

Hollaback! Italia is doing great work publicizing their work with One Billion Rising Milan. Check out their rehearsal photos and updates on preparations for the big day!

Hollaback! Baltimore is in their final preparations for their birthday bash next Friday, January 9. There will be birthday games, music, dancing, live performances, and pizza donated from our friends at Johnny Rad’s!

Hollaback! Brussels has been standing in solidarity with LGBTQ organizations against the Russian Federation’s potential passing of discriminatory legislation that would limit the rights of the Russian LGBTQ community. Read the account of their incredible day of solidarity. Hollaback! Brussels is also getting ready for One Billion Rising. Plans for a V-Day filled with discussion, a chalk walk, and dancing are well underway. Brussels Hollabackers are doing some great coordinating with other organizations in the area, assembling a flash mob and a V-Day after party.

Hollaback! Alberta is attending the U of A International-Week 2013 theatre production that depicts real-life stories from individuals who experienced gender-based harassment. Also, Hollaback! Alberta’s very own Lauren Alston did a big interview this week. Read it and find out the story of Hollaback! Alberta from beginning to now and where these Hollabackers plan to go from here.

Hollaback! Winnipeg‘s director, Jodie Layne, speaks out about policies in schools that try to control women’s bodies and choice of clothing in Thursday’s article, “Leggings Off Limits” in the Winnipeg Free Press. Read Jodie’s powerful response to recent restrictions on everyday choices of young women.

Awesome work this week everyone! Keep it truckin’!

HOLLA and Out-


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A Week in Our Shoes

Week in our shoes: TEDxWOMEN EDITION!

Dear Hollabackers,

Welcome to our weekly update! This week, I was honored to be invited to give a talk at the TEDxWomen conference in Washington D.C. (Click here to view the talk.) We were invited to speak because we won the TED City 2.0 Prize ! The ten winners were awarded for “innovative ideas in urban transformation.” On Wednesday I went to Rutgers University in New Jersey to speak on a panel about the roles new technologies play in ending gender-based violence. Big thanks to the Center for Women’s Global Leadership for hosting this event. Also, Debjani, our Deputy Director spoke on a panel hosted by the UN Secretary General’s UNITE campaign, on the subject of youth engagement in combating gender based violence. Thanks to Jimmie Briggs of the Man Up Campaign for inviting us!

Here’s what our Hollaback sites have been up to this week:

Hollaback Ottawa‘s site leader Julie Lalonde also gave a TED talk! Her speech at TedxSandyHillWomen is not on the web yet but here’s more info on the event.

Hollaback Croatia wants your street harassment slogans and images! They are holding a competition from 12/1-1/31 for the best work in both categories. The winner gets cash and lots of Holla love. Check out their website for more details.

Hollaback Halifax is in the news. Click here to read site leader Rebecca Faria’s suggestions about how to feel safer on the street.

Hollaback Baltimore‘s Shawna Potter was on a roll this week. First, she did a fantastic job as a panelist at George Washington University’s Global Women’s Institute event. Check her out starting at 24:35. She was also interviewed on Escape Velocity Radio.

Hollaback Alberta is co-hosting the screening of The Invisible War, a documentary on sexual assault in the US military, at the University of Alberta.

Lastly, we are sad to announce that Justine Dowden, our International Movement Intern, completes her internship this week. Justine was critical in helping to compile these updates, and gathering news and information about our site leaders and the movement at large.  We are grateful to her — and to all of you — for your incredible efforts to keep this movement moving.

HOLLA and out,


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A Week in Our Shoes


Dear Hollabackers,

I am reporting from Washington D.C. today where I am giving a TedxWomen talk. Eeeek! Wish me luck! If you’d like to watch it live, tune in to the live stream on December 1st between 2 and 3:30 EDT.

On the ground in New Your City, our International Movement Fellow Shahinaz led five workshops in NYC this week.

She worked with Young Democrats, We Act for Environmental Justice, Scenarios USA, Crime Victims Treatment Center, and Girls Inc. of NYC. On that note, we’re sad to say goodbye to Shahinaz as her fellowship comes to an end and she returns to her home country of Egypt. She has been an incredible asset to our program — and will definitely be missed.

Here’s what our site leaders have been up to world-wide:

Hollaback Alberta is supporting a locally developed documentary called “Who Cares?” about the abuse women who work in the sex industry face. They are setting up an info booth at the screening and site leaders have collaborated with a local stencil artist to create art pieces around the documentary’s themes.

Hollaback Berlin has had a busy week! First, site leader Julia Brilling was interviewed by the Der Freitag newspaper. German speakers be sure to check out the article here. Also, Julia created a video, along with fellow Hollaback activist Kristen, as part of the One Billion Rising project to end violence against women.

Hollaback Brussels‘ site leader Angelika Hild was interviewed by National Public Radio! She speaks about the new law which fines street harassers.

Hollaback Gent ladies were interviewed in the major newspaper Der Standaard. They also took part in a Chalk Walk where they wrote anti-street harassment slogans on the street in places where people have been harassed. Here’s the event description and some pics from the event.

Great work everyone!

HOLLA and Out,




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A Week in Our Shoes

Week in our shoes: NEXT MAKERS EDITION

Dear Hollabackers,

This has been an amazing week and I have lots to share. I’ll start here in New York City.

I feel incredibly honored to be chosen as a “Next Maker” in AOL’s Makers: Women Who Make America Awards. Five astoundingly powerful women and I were chosen out of a pool of 1,200 applicants. Our stories will be included in a documentary about the feminism movement then and now airing on PBS in February. Read up on the other winners and learn more about this initiative on the Maker’s website. Thank you to all the hollabackers, past and present, who have made this possible.

Also, I’ll be celebrating the arrival of the book “I still believe Anita Hill: Three Generations Discuss the Legacy of Speaking Truth to Power” at an event in NYC this weekend. The section about Hollaback in the book is accompanied by many other stories of feminist visionaries. Get your copy here.

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

Hollaback Dublin is hitting the ground running with lots of press before they’ve even launched. Not only did they make the national news twice already, they were also on a major talk radio show. Even though radio host Ryan Tubridy was unabashedly rude to site leader Aimee Doyle (he actually said  “to hell with the PC brigade, there isn’t enough wolf-whistling at women going on!”), she repped Hollaback with grace and poise.  I couldn’t be more proud of Aimee and the Dublin site, our new family members.

Hollaback Edinburgh‘s new tumblr called “Said No One Ever” cracks me up. Be sure to check it out

Hollaback Brussels held a HOLLA Support Action Team meeting to recruit new volunteers. It was a big success and they brought some great people on board.

Hollaback Richmond recruited some hollabackers this week too by hosting a volunteer interest meeting. RVA has also been actively spreading awareness about the street harassment that the LGBTQ community faces, especially transgender people. Each day in November they are sharing stories of the many transgender lives lost due to gender-based and hate violence.  Please click here to learn more.

Hollaback Baltimore is conducting a survey to assess the ground reality of street harassment. Take 10 minutes and give them a hand by filling it out.

Let’s keep this movement going together.

HOLLA and out —


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A Week in Our Shoes


Dear Hollabackers,

It’s been a great week here in New York and for our site leaders worldwide. I’ve got lots to share.

First, our International Fellow Shahinaz led a workshop at Planned Parenthood of New York City about bystander intervention with a mixed gender group of late high school/early college-aged peer educators. She also facilitated a similar event with middle-school youth.

I also got a note from Simone Kallett, a Resident Adviser at Florida State University, set up a board in her dorm with info from our website and resources from her school about ending street harassment. Simone said the response was overwhelmingly positive and she hopes her board will inspire other college students and activists to do the same.



Here’s what our sites around the world have been busy with this week:

Hollaback Sheffield led a workshop at LaDIYfest, a weekend-long event with activities that cover all areas of feminist collective action.

Hollaback Ottowa‘s incredible site leader, Julie Lalonde, was a panelist at the World University Service of Canada’s International Forum where she spoke about feminist youth and Hollaback. This makes us so proud!

Hollaback Istanbul took part in a professional leadership workshop for women which included capacity-building seminars and a film screening of Miss Representation.

Hollaback Des Moines is celebrating the HOLLAday season by creating clever and hilarious GIFs to spread awareness. Check them out over the course of the coming month.

Hollaback Chennai was quoted in the national newspaper The Hindustan Times regarding “India’s great sickness”–street harassment and police responses to it.

Hollaback Richmond volunteered with Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia this week and made phone calls to encourage Americans to vote. They’re also sitting on the planning committee for Richmond’s Transgender Day of Remembrance which is coming up on November 20th.

I am so proud of our family of activists this week. Keep up the great work.

HOLLA and out,


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A Week in Our Shoes


Dear Hollabackers,

In spite of the hurricane — which hit us here in NYC pretty hard — it’s been another great week for the movement.

First, a big thanks to Hollaback Croatia and Hollaback Istanbul for their vital contributions to our ever-growing database of street harassment research. We are still getting submissions from our site leaders so stay tuned for more.

We also co-authored a letter to the editor to the New York Times in partnership with our friends from SAFER — and it got published! The letter brings attention to sexual harassment on college campuses.

And you’ve got to watch this hilarious video on street harassment made by the TV show Totally Biased. It’s bleeping amazing:

Here’s what our sites around the world have been up to this week:

Hollaback Ottawa took part in a conference called In Love and in Danger which was targeted toward students and focused on issues of gender-based and relationship violence.

Hollaback Berlin gave an introductory workshop about street harassment at a local women’s center.

Hollaback Philadelphia‘s site leader Rochelle Keyhan is in the news! Philly.com featured her in one of their “Chillin’ Wit'” segments.

Hollaback Buenos Aires is organizing a self defense workshop at their local Slut Walk and will have a stand with advocacy materials.

Hollaback Melbourne gave a lecture at Melbourne Free University asking the giant question of “what if?” They explored what the world might look life if all women had freedom of movement. They were also published in author Melinda Tankard Reist’s blog.

Great work guys!

HOLLA and out,



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A Week in Our Shoes

Week in Our Shoes: PARTY EDITION

Dear Hollabackers,

I’m thrilled to share all the amazing things Hollaback has been up to across the world this week.

Here in New York I spoke on a panel called Building Healthy Relationships: Preventing Sexual Assault and Dating Violence on Campus hosted by the Center Against Domestic Violence, and Debjani, our Deputy Director, and I attended the New York Women’s Foundation’s 25th Anniversary Celebration on Tuesday which included speeches by prominent women leaders. In addition, The Gothamist included Hollaback in a story about a sickening case of sexual assault which occurred on a New York City subway early last Saturday morning. Please be aware that the video posted in the article has strong content.

And these are some events that our Hollaback activists have been involved in this week:

Hollaback Atlanta‘s relaunch and re-boost party featured the musical stylings of feminist punk band War on Women. What a badass way to spark change in the community.

Hollaback Birmingham just launched a campaign on University of Birmingham’s campus! This is going to be huge and there’s a lot in the works. See more details here.  Not only that but these activists are also getting involved with a ton of progressive sexual harassment initiatives on campus. Great job guys!

Hollaback Brussels was on national television! French speakers be sure to check out these amazing ladies on TF1 French TV.

The Hollaback Des Moines and SlutWalk forces are joining to present HOLLAween – a campaign and event for empowered women and men to say NO to victim-blaming, slut-shaming, and sexual harassment. Those who aren’t in the area can still support them by downloading their Facebook cover photos.

Hollaback Dublin is also getting into the holiday spirit with a HOLLAween-themed pub quiz.

Hollaback Istanbul‘s visual and performance art fundraiser party was a huge success. Their Get Up, Stand Up event raised awareness about ending harassment and violence in all its forms. Donations and proceeds benefited local anti-violence organizations.

Hollaback Philadelphia made their presence known in a group of hundreds who participated in the Slut Walk. This event aimed to demand respect and to help create safe spaces to share our stories.

Hollaback Winnipeg started a vlog (video blog) series about their work and bystander actions. This is such a creative advocacy tool and I’m looking forward to tuning in every Monday for a new installment. View their first post below:

I’m so proud to have such a strong family of activists working together to end street harassment.

HOLLA and out,

Emily May

Executive Director

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A Week in Our Shoes


Dear Hollabackers,

I am always excited to share how the Hollaback movement is constantly gaining momentum; and this week is no different.

We’re thrilled to be a finalist in the Ashoka Changemaker’s competition. If you haven’t already, show your holla love and vote for us! Polls close on 11/6 so be sure to make your voice heard today. If we’re among the top three, we’ll win $10,000.

We testified at City Hall on sexual harassment at colleges in NYC. This work was part of our new effort to eradicate street harassment from college campuses (there’s already an NYU site and Rutgers University is soon to join the family). Learn more here.

We rallied against sexual harassment at City Hall! Check out Debjani, our Deputy Director, and Justine, our International Movement Intern, who were pictured in the Village Voice at a rally against sexual harassment in the workplace last week.

Congratulations Jill Dimond, our Lead Technical Developer! Her paper examining Hollaback and the role of storytelling online was accepted into the Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing.

Here’s what our sites around the world have been up to this week:

Hollaback Baltimore held another successful “offline event.” These events are intended to build the movement on a more personal level by bringing together allies to vent, share tips, and swap stories.

Hollaback Sheffield hosted an Anti Sexual Street Harassment day advocacy event on The University of Sheffield’s campus. On top of that they also held an interactive confidence-building workshop.

Hollaback Edinburgh held a day workshop with speakers, workshops, a film screening, cake, and a lot of badass feminism.

Hollaback Chennai participated in a twitter discussion as part of Violence Against Women Awareness Month and shared some useful tips about how to combat street harassment.

Hollaback Philadelphia tackled the issue of sex trafficking and labor trafficking in their community this week. The event, which was sponsored by Pennsylvania State Senator Daylin Leach, included a film screening of Not My Life and a panel discussion.


Let’s make next week as great as this one.

HOLLA and out,



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A Week in Our Shoes

Week in our shoes: CNN Edition

Dear Hollabackers,

I’m excited to share all the quality work our hollabackers are doing around the world this week:

CNN featured us three times this week! The article, “Hey Baby! Women Speak Out Against Cat Calls,” was put on prominent display on CNN’s website. The article was accompanied by a CNN radio broadcast where I was interviewed (listen in here). These pieces brought on a storm of comments so big as to constitute yet another CNN article just about that impromptu debate. A quick look will show you that we still have a lot of work to do.

We are so grateful to author Yashar Ali who will donate part of the profits of his first book, tentatively titled “On Her Terms: The Modern Woman’s Guide to Rewriting the Rules of Romance,” to Hollaback! His empowering book which reframes the issues that have frustrated women for so many years will hit the shelves late next year. Thank you, Mr. Ali!

Another big thanks to the Simplicity Metrics team for volunteering to make an amazing infographic for us (click the image to expand) using our research conducted with Cornell University. Feel free to share this on your blogs and among your networks.

I spoke at a New York City Council meeting on Wednesday where I presented about our work on a panel with other leaders working to end sexual harassment and assualt. We’re ready to kick some butt, legislative style.

Welcome Debjani Roy, our new Deputy Director! She’s already hard at work repping Hollaback at this week’s NOW rally about ending sexual harassment in the work place. 


Here’s what our sites worldwide have been up to:

Hollaback Chandigarh organized a self-defense workshop this week in response to a recent outbreak of violence against women in the city. There was a great turn out at their one hour introductory class to teach basic skills that women can use if they are attacked.

Hollaback Winnipeg is in the running to be a part of Free Press’ National Conference for Media Reform! Vote for them so their session can be included in the conference and their message can be heard by big time media-makers. Show some love and spread the word.

Hollaback Melbourne was featured on the Channel 10 Breakfast Show (link to come soon) where hollabackers discussed what they’ve been up to. Another TV interview is in the works for them so stay tuned.

Keep up the awesome work! I can’t wait to see what’s in store for us next.

Holla and out,



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