Article

Welad El Balad: Fighting street harassment in Egypt

BY SHAHINAZ EL HENNAWI, international movement fellow at Hollaback!

It all started after the Revolution! We, Egyptians began our revolution by years of hard work and a final spark from Tunisia. We desired change and we knew we can do it. We all felt that it is our country, our home, we all went to the streets wanting to share, live and breathe freedom. We wanted to undo all harms of the last many years. For the first time I could actually walk in the streets of Egypt with no fear, I felt we were all brothers and sister, no harm. I went to the square never thinking about sexual harassment. I was walking there in so much crowd with two of my friends then we found  men surrounding us with a circle to protect and keep us from harm since they felt that something was going wrong. They used to send thugs to the square to frighten women and girls so we can go home and not have a voice. But we didn’t stop, we kept going.

After nine months, in Ramadan (the Muslims fasting month) we got an idea that the feast  (3 days Breakfasting after Ramadan called Eid Fitr) should not be like any other feast. It has to be a safe feast for Girls in New Egypt. So my friends and I kept talking about it and not really knowing what to do. Usually in our culture the feast is a big event, where everybody is in the streets and many teens specifically go out and think that sexual harassment is fun to do in these days.

About almost 6 years ago we witnessed for the first time in Egypt mass group sexual harassment in front of the movie theatre and then couple of others took place specially during feast time.

But this time we wanted it to be different, we wanted our campaign to be filled with the energy of freedom and solidarity. So we had an idea to reach out for the community groups (Groups of male youth who were formed during the revolution to protect their neighborhood during the time of chaos right after the revolution began). A friend of mine, Karim from the Green party, who is very politically active decided to work with me on this campaign and he believed so much in the cause. We decided to call it “Welad el Balad” meaning the sons and daughters of the country, it has a culture connotation meaning “Having good manners” So if you call it to someone misbehaving, they would usually become ashame and stop. We started up a facebook event and invited people to join us and we started preparing for this campaign a month before. We reached almost 3000 volunteers in less than a month. We divided our selves into committees, held training for each committee with a specific assignment, we held several events in the street, we approached so many shops and cafes, and during the Eid itself we had shifts on the ground for 3 days, each working on a specific task, such as raising awareness, legal counseling, psychological counseling, survey, music, games, media outreach, in addition to a great show of a football team who volunteered to assist us. The idea behind sports was to engage the young youth is something constructive and shift their perceptions. The young men of the committees served as mentors for the young ones to the extent that some of the young harassers apologized, asked to join the campaign and brought their friends. The campaign demonstrated huge success, we were approached by the media, TV, sponsors, we also were mentioned in NGOs reports.This is the second year of the campaign, where we decided to go beyond Alexandria and reach out to different places in Egypt, I am very proud of my partners on the ground who are currently in the streets working in the campaign instead of having their holiday and enjoying their time with their families. I am watching them with joy and gratitude while being a fellow here in mother Hollaback to return to them with more inspiring actions from all over the world.

For additional information, check out the press coverage of the event here and here.

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Article

It’s US Women’s Eq-HOLLA-ty Day!

WHEREAS, the women of the United States have been treated as second-class citizens and have not been entitled the full rights and privileges, public or private, legal or institutional, which are available to male citizens of the United States; and

WHEREAS, the women of the United States have united to assure that these rights and privileges are available to all citizens equally regardless of sex…and

WHEREAS Hollaback! still has our work cut out for us…

Hey Hollabackers –

Did you know that 92 years ago today the 19th amendment granted women the right to vote in the US because women HOLLA’d back?

It’s true.

But today isn’t just about celebrating the passing of an amendment – it’s about the struggle to get there. It’s about our continuing efforts toward full equality. It’s about those who Hollaback and change the world!

Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton HOLLA’d for equal voting rights for women.
Shirley Chisholm HOLLA’d for equal opportunities for African American women in politics.
Billie Jean King HOLLA’d for equal rights and pay for women athletes.
Bella Abzug HOLLA’d for equal labor rights for working women.

At Hollaback, we HOLLA for equal streets for ALL women and LGBTQ individuals! Period.

Make a donation NOW and help us work toward a world where street harassment is not tolerated and where we all enjoy equal access to public spaces.

Your gift supports our efforts to:

Break the silence
Inspire international leadership
Shift public opinion
Engage elected officials

Click here to learn how you can actively participate in the movement to end street harassment!

HOLLA and out –
Emily

PS: How do you Hollaback? Let us know on Twitter  & Facebook  today!

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Article

Hollaback Statement on Assembly Member Vito Lopez

Organization Combating Sexual Harassment Calls for JCOPE Investigation and Lopez’ Resignation

BROOKLYN, NY (08/25/2012) (readMedia)– Assembly Member Vito Lopez’ shocking and unacceptable sexual misconduct demands a swift and strong penalty. As an organization dedicated to combating sexual harassment, we call on Assemblymember Lopez to resign from the Assembly and from his chairmanship of the Kings County Democratic Party. We also call on the relevant law enforcement agencies, and the Joint Committee for Public Integrity to conduct the necessary broad investigation to assure New Yorkers, and other employees of the State Legislature that such conduct will not be tolerated.

If we allow Lopez to get away with sexual harassment without consequence, we will inevitably embolden harassers and silence victims.

We applaud the courage of the two unnamed employees of the State Assembly for coming forward with their complaints against a powerful senior member of the Assembly. By sharing their experiences, they have done their part to make the world safer for all of us.

It is often the case that those who feel empowered to sexually harass one or two employees are guilty of a broader pattern of behavior. It may well be that this is only the most recent instance of Assembly Member Lopez’ gross misconduct.

For more information on this case, follow the link for the New York Times article. To sign a petition asking for his resignation, click here.

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Article, Uncategorized

A week in our shoes: HOLLABACK AT THE NATIONAL SEXUAL ASSAULT CONFERENCE

Hey Hollabackers —

I’m at the National Sexual Assault Conference !  I got to meet Kelly Ziemann from Hollaback Des Moines and gave a presentation to the to 60+ professionals (some are pictured left) from around the country on how to infuse activism and the internet into their work.  It was an honor, a blast, and they had tons of great ideas.

 

Hollaback Baltimore is having a Women’s Equality Day Picnic! It’s this Sunday, check it out! 

 

The soon-to-launch Hollaback Victoria is holding a launch party! It takes takes place September 6th, isfamily friendly, wheelchair accessible, and includes t-shirt screenprinting! Rad! Details are here.

 

Hollaback Philly needs your help!  Support their efforts to end street harassment in Philly by giving them your vote this week.

 

Press!  Hollaback Chennai got a shout-out in the HinduHollaback Boston got a shout-out in the Boston Dig, and  I got profiled in Killer Startups! Also, Hollaback got profiled as an “outstanding organization” by A Woman Phenomenally. YAY!

 

Hollaback NYC holds workshops and gets organized! Hollaback! conducted two workshops at the “Yes She Can” conference for girls on introducing the Hollaback! movement, exploring the meaning and impact of street sexual harassment in their daily lives and provided them with tools to an empowered response to street harassment. We also attended the Women Occupying Wall Street 4th Feminist General Assembly. Hollaback! participated in the assembly focusing on people of Color and joined the education system committee group meeting. We Will Not Be Silent organization also participated in the meeting and provided signs of their inspiring quotes for the group photo.

All this work is possible because you believe in us.  So keep on keepin’ on!

 

HOLLA and out —

Emily

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Article

A week in our shoes: HOT DAYS, COOL DONORS

Hey Hollabackers —

We have the coolest donors in the world.  And no, we don’t just think you all are awesome because you keep us alive and afloat, we think you are awesome because you do things like this – one of my favorite Hollabacks of all time. SuperRavenRay is a repeat donor to Hollaback, and as you can see, a total and complete badass.  Not to be outdone, I also had the honor of meeting with Cynthia Khoo this week.  She’s a repeat donor who runs THIS BLOG.  If you’re a donor and would like to come by and meet us in person, drop me a line!

 

Last week to vote for Hollaback PhillyThey write, “You heard about our advertising campaign for the Philadelphia subway lines. Help us expand that campaign to include more ads, and push us toward our goal of getting ads in bus shelters in Philadelphia!” Visit their project page and click “Vote for this Idea.”  If they win, they’ll recieve the $1000 needed to bring anti-harassment ads to the Philly bus shelters!

 

Welcome, Shahinaz! Shahinaz El Hennawi is our new international movement fellow. She comes to us from Egypt, where she has over eight years experience in projects related to women, youth and peace building. She’s now part of the “Community Solutions Fellows” program, and is with us full-time until the end of November.  You can read her full bio, here, or reach her at [email protected]

 

HOLLA and out —

Emily

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Article

SuperRavenRay’s story: “THIS IS STREET HARASSMENT, MOTHERFUCKER.”

I am proud of the way I handled this. I think if more women fought back and spoke up about this general, pervasive act of violence against us, less of this abuse would happen.

Earlier today, at around 10am, I went to clean off the windows of my car in preparation for going to the beach since they were so dirty, I couldn’t see. I was wearing a bikini tank top with short shorts but that is neither here or there.

I then heard coming from the Ralph’s store unloading dock area someone saying, “Hi”, and then cat calls and wolf whistles. I told them, “You need to respect women!” That is when I heard them call me a “Bitch!” I then walked over and confronted them and said that they need to respect women and to stop thinking that they are entitled to act like animals cause of what a woman wears and that they have no right to bully us around if they think we have “loose morals”.

Wanting to report their behinds to their company for calling me a “Bitch”, I ran back inside, saw their truck was parked next to a red light, and, next thing you know, a guy got out the truck, got in my face in a threatening manner, threatening to hit me – the entire time the tape was rolling – and felt he could intimidate me because of my 5’4, 100lbs frame. Because I was trained in Tae Kwon Do and in hand to hand combat, I stood my ground, I didn’t buldge and I let the film roll because if I were to run, that would show weakeness, a tactic a lot of women use which makes things worse since bullies and aggressors are only scared of aggression being thrown right back at them and so when you run, you show signs of weakness, which is what makes you an easy target since that is what predators like.

Interestingly, he also made racial epithets in terms of putting me down for my hair texture and calling me “manly looking” which further shows sexual Harassment and abuse is about male domination, bullying and control and not about “compliments” because if they felt I looked like a man, why approach me in the first place!?

So the cowardly Bastard jumps back in his truck and go. Fortunately, I got THIS incident on tape. I have a feeling he will be losing his job!

I felt great standing up to this Bastard. I am quite certain this is not the first time he did this but it will be the last with me because maybe he’ll realize some women will fight back and not put up with his Shit! I think if more women stand up to these fucks like I did, less of this would be happening since they do it to bully women since they feel we are physically inferior and weak so they feel we won’t fight back!

Unfortunately, most women don’t as when I spoke to a lady on my block about it, she said, “I would harass you to if I were a man and saw that body of yours”. Goddess, help us!

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Article, Uncategorized

HOLLA on the go: drive-by harasser, with heroic bystander intervention!

I was with some friends walking along the street and this truck of guys slows down and they start whistling and making noises. This nice man came to our rescue and told them to ‘f’ off and they drove away but he got their license number and called the cops.

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Article, demonstration

Kat’s story: “Is this more of an ableist/opportunity thing, or do you guys think there is a sexualized element to it as well?”

Ok, this isn’t exactly a story. Well, it is, but it’s also a question. Sorry if it’s a little long!

So, I am a women who was born with a disability. I am a little person, but I am a proportional one, so I basically look like a little kid. (I think it’s due to an auto-immune disease). I also have Crohn’s disease, which is unrelated, but results in me being unable to eat and digest food properly, so I’m pretty skinny as well. (Now I’ve got some meat on my bones, because I’ve been in remission for almost two years. Go me! But I also swim, so I’m still pretty tiny). Besides that, I’m pretty conventionally attractive. I don’t say that to brag, but just to sort of give a context for my life–as in, I think I would have it worse if I wasn’t conventionally attractive, and it also draws more people to me. (Because society sucks that way)

People often compliment me on various things–my complexion, my hair, my body. Or they will ask/remark on my differences–which is annoying, but tolerable. However, they will then sometimes reach out AND TOUCH ME. They’ll stroke my cheek, or try to run a hand through my hair, or put their hand on the small of my back (still can’t figure that one out). It happens a lot at work (I’ve actually posted about it before.) The worst was a few weeks ago when a man grabbed me on both sides where my neck and shoulder meet and SHOOK me. I don’t know why. Everyone asks, and I honestly could not tell you what the fuck was going through his head.

It’s sometimes women, but it’s mostly men who do this, and my question is two-fold. 1) Is this more of an ableist/opportunity thing, or do you guys think there is a sexualized element to it as well? (When it’s men) 2) Do you guys think that I would experience the same thing if I were a man? (Are there any male posters with experiences of this?) I’m not sure why it matters–I guess I just want to be able to identify the type of harassment, in order to respond properly.

Thanks and sorry this was so long!

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Article

A week in our shoes: HOLLA AROUND THE WORLD

Hey Hollabackers!

Because of your support, we continue to move and shake.  This week:

Hollaback Philly needs your support! They write, “You heard about our advertising campaign for the Philadelphia subway lines. Help us expand that campaign to include more ads, and push us toward our goal of getting ads in bus shelters in Philadelphia!” Visit their project page and click “Vote for this Idea.”  If they win, they’ll recieve the $1000 needed to bring anti-harassment ads to the Philly bus shelters!

 

Hollaback Baltimore went to the Okaton conference in Baltimore to expose the harassment epidemic. They said:

Street harassment happens everywhere. No matter what you wear, what time of day or where you are heading. This video is proof. The attendees of July’s Otakon here at the Baltimore Convention Center had plenty to say about street harassment. They were getting it from strangers back home AND from Baltimore, whether in cosplay or street clothes, and even from some other attendees (who you’d think would be happy enough to be around like-minded people that they wouldn’t ruin it for some fellow nerdy women). This video help shows that it is not the women or lgbtq folks who need to change their behavior, it is the harassers.

Well done Hollaback Bmore! Check out their video, above.

 

Thank you, Amy! We were very sad to say goodbye to our summer staff member, Amy Klein. Amy is the co-founder of Permanent Wave, an amazing network of feminist activists and artists. This summer, Amy authored our new guide for activists interested in launching Hollaback sites on college campuses. We are honored to have worked with her, and she will surely have a lasting impact on our organization and the movement.

 

Hollaback Boston Chalks it Up! Join them in their direct action sidewalk chalking on August 11th — and send us the photos! We’ll post them here on ihollaback.org.

 

Hollaback Brussels issues a public statement in response to the government’s new 250 euro street harassment fines. They write, “We are very happy to witness how Belgian Politicians are acknowledging the issue and making legislative plans to address sexism and street harassment. We’d like to encourage them further but we also would like to see a deeper analysis and research for the problem at hand.” They offer a ton of great suggestions and alternatives to criminalization. Check them out, here.

 

We’re all in this together, so thanks again for your support.

 

HOLLA and out –

Emily

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Article, demonstration

Brian’s story: “A bunch of faggots”

I was walking with two male friends and we happened to be walking very close together. I’m female-bodied but present ambiguously. A car drove by and slowed down, calling us “A bunch of faggots,” and then sped away really quickly.

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