EVAW’s efforts to make London the Safest City for Women in the World

Cross-posted from Stop Street Harassment

Will London become the safest city in the world for women?


This is the goal of the Ending Violence Against Women (EVAW) Coalition in London and they’re working hard to make it happen.

And of course, the absence of street harassment and public sexual assault is a requirement for any safe city.

I recently chatted via skype with the EVAW director Holly Dustin and found out that they are working to address street harassment/harassment on public transportation and while these are relatively new issues for them, already they’re having a lot of success because it is such a big problem for women in London.

To gather data (we always need more research!!), they conducted a YouGov poll about harassment on the London public transportation system.

They write that the poll: “revealed that more than a quarter of women in London do not always feel safe while using public transport. Many survey respondents said they wanted action on station staffing, lighting and policing. Feeling unsafe puts many more women than men off using the buses and trains at certain times, or in certain places, and urgently needs addressing by the transport authorities and as such by the mayor. We received wide London media coverage for our findings which seemed to strike a chord.”

It even struck a chord with the candidates for Mayor of London. EVAW has successfully lobbied each one to pledge to improve women’s safety if elected, including by addressing sexual harassment and assault on public transportation. Here are the manifestos by candidates Siobhan Benita, Boris Johnson Ken Livingstone and Brian Paddick. Elections are this week.

This is the 10-point plan EVAW suggests the new Mayor will need to take on in order to make London the safest city for women.

Additionally, the 2012 Summer Olympics will be held in London and EVAW is working hard on a campaign to make sure the city IS safe for everyone during it.

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The Twisted Path of Street Harassment

From Erik Kondo's blog “3A's of Street Harassment Disruption"

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HOLLAWho? Meet Baltimore

Meet Jenn Gallienne of the Hollaback! Baltimore team, a sassy mover and shaker dedicated to making positive change in the world and an all round awesome lady.

Why do you HOLLA? Because it is TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE to be objectified and harassed on a daily basis because of your gender identity, sexual orientation, race/ethnicity, sex etc. IT IS NOT OKAY that it has become a social norm that our society has settled on as being part of our daily lives. ALL OF US deserve to walk down the street feeling SAFE without being objectified. Also, because my friends and loved ones in the LGBTQQI community deserve to be in public without being called a “faggot, a dyke, a tranny, an it.” They shouldn’t have to be afraid to hold their partner’s hand and they shouldn’t have to change their appearance. These are OUR streets too! It’s time to claim them!

What’s your signature Hollaback? A glare.

What’s your craft? Petting Cats, Making cupcakes, advocating, and social workin’ my heart out.

HOLLAfact about your city: Edgar Allen Poe’s grave is here.

What was your first experience with street harassment? I don’t know if I can recall my very first experience but I definitely vividly remember the first time I got called a dyke walking down the street with my best friend after school. My friend got so upset she punched the guy that was calling us names. In the year 2020, street harassment will be  finally accepted and recognized as a form of gender based violence. However, I don’t think the fight will be over yet.

What do you collect? Memories. Cupcake themed things. Tattoos. Those positive quotes that come on a yogi tea bag. Letters. Cards ( I have a whole wall of them).

If you could leave the world one piece of advice, what would it be? I am just going to quote Ariel Gore here “Your heart is the size of your fist, keep loving, keep fighting.”

What inspires you? My father, my step-mother, survivors, those investing their lives to making this world a better place. CHANGE. Hope. Movers/shakers/believers/Doers!

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This week was exciting for advocates everywhere!

The Violence Against Women Act (including LGBTQ-inclusive provisions) has passed this Senate! Remember when we went to the White House two weeks ago because they were concerned it wouldn’t? It did! Thanks for all your tweeting, petition signing, and phone calls to Senators: they worked! Next stop: the House.

Denim Day Press Conference

Wednesday Was Denim Day! This is an annual day of remembrance all over the world to increase awareness surrounding rape and sexual assault and on Tuesday I was at the press conference. On Wednesday Veronica gave a workshop in Brooklyn, and I headed out to Queens to give a workshop to two groups of middle and high schoolers.

Media BLITZ! We posted about it this week, but it’s worth mentioning again. This week was insane! Hollaback! was featured in countless publications and on several news channels including CNET, local news in Washington, CBS Good Morning, the Daily News and Fox to name a few. Check them all out here.

Scenarios USA Gala

Scenarios USA had their gala! Scenarios USA uses writing and film to amplify the voices of young people in conversations about young people’s sexuality and sexual health. I was honored to get to volunteer with one of their amazing young writers, Nancy Romero, during the cocktail hour.

Our Queens Safety Audit is coming! Councilmember Ferreras’s Legislative Director, Annie Meredith, Chief of Staff, Yoselin Genao, Natalie, and I took a walk around Queens in preparation for our upcoming safety audit. Already 60 people have RSVPed, thanks to local community partners. It takes place on Saturday May 5th, so RSVP today! You’ll get a free t-shirt and lunch.

We’re having a benefit show with Permanent Wave on May 15th — so mark your calendar. And do us a favor and invite all your friends. The revolution needs us all.

HOLLA and out —


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Thanks Hollaback! Ottawa For a Friday Chortle!



HOLLAWho? Meet Dresden.

Meet Mirjam, who in addition to being a student and a teacher, fights street harassment, one changed mind at a time, in Dresden.

Why do you HOLLA?  Because enough is enough. Everyone should feel safe in their own skin and in their own city. No matter what. Other people are not there for you to objectify and judge. The next generation should not have to fight this battle all over again.

What’s your signature Hollaback?  Usually an evil “don’t mess with me” glare, sometimes a growled “Wow, you’re so clever.”

What’s your craft?  Trying to make the world a better place with deconstruction. I’m a part-time PhD student, part-time teacher of literary studies.

HOLLAfact about your city:  For all its conservatism, Dresden has a lot more queer and feminist activists than one would think. Grass-roots organizing, that’s where it’s at.

What was your first experience with street harassment?  Probably this very crappy guy who asked me whether I wanted to suck his **** when I was walking home one day. I was 12 and had no idea how to react. The experience left me feeling awfully alone and powerless.

Define your style:  Quiet at first, but alert at all times, I will speak up loudly even scream when it matters. People usually don’t see me coming.

What do you collect?  Nay-sayers. People who tell me I cannot do something are pretty good motivators.

Say you’re Queen for the day.  What would you do to end street harassment?  So much to do, so little time. Change the way the genders are portrayed in the media, in advertising, etc. Give money to organizations who work to raise awareness and who foster respect and acceptance. Make gender and sexuality training mandatory in all schools, colleges, work places, senior citizens’ homes, etc. Pass legislation regarding all forms of gender violence. … and so much more.

If you could leave the world one piece of advice, what would it be?  Empathize more. No seriously, try to put yourself into someone else’s shoes before doing anything, especially before doing harm.

What inspires you?  Little victories, like getting people to reconsider long held truths. When friends or family tell you how they now notice things they haven’t noticed before and you can tell they are slowly changing their mind.  And of course reading about other people’s struggles and victories, nothing can re-charge your activist batteries like hearing success stories from around the world.

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A quick guide to addressing street harassment

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We’re taking our apps to the next level in NYC!


Yesterday, this Daily News piece came out talking about the app we’re developing with New York City Council members Christine Quinn and Julissa Ferreras. The app will allow New Yorkers to send reports of harassment, including location and time, to the New York City government. It’s the first initiative of it’s kind across the world, and our hope is that it will become a best practices for cities everywhere. Check out the media splash it made:



Brooklyn Channel 12

Also, the Atlantic Wire, New York Magazine, Baltimore Sun, Village Voice, MSN, Reuters,, and Mobiledia (at the bottom) covered the story.

The apps are still under development, and we’d love your advice. What do you think they should be able to do? What kind of information should they collect, and what kind of information should they not? Hollaback is built for you, by you, and as always you input is invaluable to us.

UPDATE! 10:45am 4/25/12

We were also on CBS Good Morning! The CBS piece is at about minute 1:30:

And it was even covered on the local news in Spokane, Washington!

And CNET! (at minute 2:20)

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Self Professed “She-Hulk” Confronts Boston Subway Masturbator

According to last Saturday’s Boston Herald, a 24-year-old woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, managed to single handedly capture a man that masturbated in front of her on a packed B-Line trolley.

Photo by Mark Garfinkel

The subway heroine told the Boston Herald:

“This guy was just being a real creeper.”

She said that he followed her through the trolley and stood over her while she was sitting down.

“I looked up and felt awkward, so I looked down.”

Then she realized that his penis was exposed and he was touching himself. The 24-year-old was so infuriated by his behavior that she describes her self as switching into “She-Hulk” mode. She loudly drew attention to what the man was doing and received no support from her fellow passengers, one trolley rider even shrugged.

So, in an impulsive moment she lunged at the man as he tried to exit the train at Packard’s Corner. She held onto the man with one hand and reprimanded him until law enforcement arrived. She said:

“I’ve had enough of being harassed on the street. I’m tired of it and I want it to end. It was the last straw.”

After his arrest, Michael Galvin, 37, tried to defend himself by saying the “packed and jostling” train made his pants fall down. He was charged with open and gross lewdness.

What a courageous lady! Here’s a big Hollaback! well done for standing up for what’s right and not being afraid to speak out. You are awesome.




Another Subway Masturbator and MTA Worker Does Nothing

Last week The Gothamist reported on yet another masturbating subway douche and very little being done about it. Subway rider, Monique Henry, was making her daily commute from Queens to Brooklyn to her job as a baker. After she boarded the D train at Rock Center she witness “a middle aged Hispanic man” dressed “in a rumpled, cheap looking suit, and [carrying] a Jet magazine” playing with himself. Left is what she snapped.

Once Henry got to the 179th street station she recalls:

“I ran to find [help] and ran into who I guess was the conductor/announcer. I showed them the video and EXACTLY where the man was on the train. THE MAN WAS STILL ON THE TRAIN. And you know what I got? A blank stare. That’s it. I just worked a 10 hour shift, had a 2 hour train ride home…and that’s what I got.”

We’ve got your back Monique! If you recognize this pervert then let us know.



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