Join in the Gender Violence Conversation On December 5th in New York City!

On December 5th our very own Hollaback! Executive Director, Emily May will join the Chair of the National Organization for Women Young Feminist Task Force, Jerin Afria; Coordinator of Community Violence Prevention at the Center for Anti-Violence Education, Susan Moesker; and New York City Council member Manhattan District 5, Jessica Lappin, to discuss and advise on how to combat gender violence on New York’s subways and public spaces.

This exclusive event will begin at 7pm on Monday December 5 at Hunter College, Lexington Avenue at 68th.

Talking Back is sponsored by Hunter Women’s Rights Coalition; Manhattan Young Democrats Transportation and Women’s Issues Committee; New Yorkers for Safe Transit; Hollaback!; and the National Organization for Women.

Be a change-maker, Hollaback! and join the conversation!


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Keenan and Reuben Could Be You: Wake Up and Sign the Petition

MUMBAI: On October 20th, a group of friends went out to have dinner and watch a cricket match. After dinner, a drunk man harassed a few of the girls in the group. Defending the girls, Keenan and Reuben reprimanded him. Jitendra Rana returned with a large group of his friends and stabbed Keenan Santos and Reuben Fernandez. Keenan was held down and stabbed until he was disemboweled. He was rushed to the hospital by his friends, his girlfriend Priyanka telephoned his parents on the way. He died soon after his father arrived at the hospital. Reuben was in a critical condition but succumbed to his injuries ten days after the attack.

We mourn the loss of two brave men who had such bright futures ahead of them. Two men who were not willing to accept the harassment of women they cared about. Two men who stood for a world where every person can feel safe and confident in public spaces. Please sign this petition, which calls for a non-bailable jail sentence for the men who committed this heinous crime. Join us as we stand for a world without street harassment. Join us as we stand for the bravery of people in Mumbai, across India and around the world that take a stand against street harassment. Join us as we stand for justice for Keenan Santos and Reuben Fernandez.


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HOLLAWho? Meet Chicago.

Meet Hannah Sanders, the patiently persistent activist fighting street harassment in Chicago, IL. 

Why do you HOLLA? Because a lot of people feel that they can’t or worse–that they aren’t supposed to hollaback at sexual harassment.

I holla because no one else on earth speaks for me. No other person is entitled to sum up my personhood with their own ignorance, to apply arbitrary liberties on my freedoms or ineffable human rights, or to inflict mental or physical abuses.

What’s your craft? My craft is free associaton, of course, as well as some photo and a little digital illustration. I also make exceptional milkshakes.

What was your first experience with street harassment? Being 13 and having grown men inappropriately and freely approach my barely mature/developed best friend with phrases like “would you like a man in your life?” and “would you like me to slam you like a screen door?” This scared me so much! It was like they didn’t see her as 13! They were attracted to her, and therefore, she deserved their comments and attention, and that attention presented itself as sexual violence. I didn’t realize until much later that these men are pretty “normal,” my friend is lovely; it was almost like a compliment to make these comments to her. These men had no one to censor them. There is nothing in our culture saying that you cannot talk to a woman that way, especially a young girl.

Define your style: My personality may come across as mild mannered, I was called “benign” once in high school (she followed her question up with “Do you even know what that means?” And yes, I did.) but I’m actually pretty bossy in the same vein as “I don’t suffer fools gladly.” If we’re talking about the types of clothes that I wear, then I stick to simple things like head- to- toe glitter, Gondolier stripes, and corduroy flares.

Say you’re Queen for the day.  What would you do to end street harassment? I would heavily legislate against any media sources that portray femininity, feminine power, etc. in a derogatory fashion. I would say that misogyny is not only against the letter of the law, but also against the spirt of the law. Life is about dealing with people, and because many of us look to entertainment for how to do this, we are “conditioned” to interact with the world with violently rhetoric language. Women, minorities, LGBTQ individuals, etc. are scape goats. We live in a time where it is perfectly acceptable to discount and shut down women or minorities based solely on the perceived value of their sexual attractiveness. Our culture is extremely critical and unkind to women that behave in any way other than subordinate. I don’t think this is an overly dramatic observation. Addressing the way that women and minorities are represented is the key to equality and a better country.

What do you collect? Lost cat posters…poor little fluffy things.

If you could leave the world one piece of advice, what would it be? Be sweet!…and, just be cool…

My superheroine power is…Thunder leg: infinite patience and sturdy walkin’ legs that make thunder! (and rain)

What inspires you? Friends and family, organizations like: Hollaback!, Discover Hope, Team William, Everyone is Gay, and on and on.

In the year 2020, street harassment…will be discussed in schools. Tools to combat harassment (and bullying) will be taught alongside sincere sex positive education. How about in the year 2020, the word “feminist” will not be derogatory. Feminism will be the simple conceptual platform for all acceptable human interaction.

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OWS: All Day, All Night, Occupy Women’s Rights!


Over 100 people, the majority of which were women, peacefully marched from Zuccotti Park to the NYPD’s first Precinct HQ on Tuesday night to demand that all OWS females in police custody be treated with respect. This action comes after complaints that male officers patrolling the female cells had been violating protocol.

According to the OWS website male police officers were allegedly patrolling female cells unannounced, specifically by the communal female lavatories that are in full view of all women and officers. This is apparently a common method used to humiliate those in custody.

Protesters demand that the NYPD release an official statement to promise that there would be no more instances of humiliation and that the issue be addressed. The crowd could be heard chanting:

“All day, all night, occupy women’s rights!” and “Courtesy, professionalism and respect” also “If you see something, say something!”

We at Hollaback! extend our support to all those that have suffered this terrible injustice. If anyone has any information please contact the complaint line and demand that Commissioner Ray Kelly put an end to this behavior. Call NYPD Internal Affairs: 212.487.7350 or directly NYPD 1st Precinct: 212.334.0611
OWS message to the NYPD: If you SEE something, a fellow officer violating protocol, say something.

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Breaking News: Zuccotti Park Evicted and 70 Arrested

In the early hours of Tuesday morning Mayor Bloomberg authorized the mass eviction of peaceful protest Occupy Wall St from Liberty square. Bloomberg told a press conference this morning:

“The final decision was mine and mine alone.”

Law enforcement arrived at Zuccotti Park not long after midnight last night where they handed out letters to protesters declaring that the occupation of the park posed an increasing health risk. It requested that they immediately leave the park so that it could be cleaned and restored. It also stated that the park would be reopened in several hours, when protesters would be permitted to return but without tents, sleeping bags or tarps.

According Occupy Wall St individuals that were a part of the dynamic civil process were beaten, pepper-sprayed and relieved of their personal property.

As a result, members were mobilized and continue to march through the city en masse. So far protesters have marched from Foley Square to City Hall and are continuing their journey. Occupy Wall Street released this statement on their website:

“We are appalled, but not deterred. Liberty Square was dispersed, but its spirit not defeated. Today we are stronger than we were yesterday. Tomorrow we will be stronger still. We are breaking free of the fear that constricts and confines us. We occupy to liberate.

We move forward in the grand tradition of the transformative social movements that have defined American history. We stand on the shoulders of those who have struggled before us, and we pick up where others have left off. We are creating a better society for us all.”

Organizers hope to reenter the park at 9.30 am this morning. There are also rumors of an occupation of the Holland Tunnel.

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Have You Seen This Man?

Police say this is the man who allegedly tried to rape a woman in the East Village on Sunday, Nov. 13, 2011. (credit: NYPD)


This man is wanted in connection with an attempted rape of a woman in the East Village in the early hours of Sunday Morning.

According to police the suspect is a white man, aged between 25 and 30, 5’9 and weighing approximately 190lbs.

The attacker was alleged to have followed his 27-year-old victim from the First Avenue Subway Station at 14th Street to her home, where he pushed her to the ground and tried to rape her, bravely she fought back causing him to flee the crime scene.

Luckily, he was caught on CCTV and provided law enforcement with a fortunately clear image of him.

So here’s a massive Hollaappeal to anyone in the New York area that recognizes the man in the picture or who has any other information. Hollaback! and either call the NYPD Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-577-8477 (TIPS) or Log on to the Crime Stoppers website. All calls are kept confidential. Text your tip to 274637 (CRIMES), then enter TIP577.

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To Keenan and Reuben: The Boys Who Did Not Look Away

Last month we published an article detailing the heroic actions of Mumbai young men, Keenan Santos and Reuben Fernandez, who were both savagely murdered when they stood up to street Harassment. Just over a week ago Hollaback! Mumbai payed their tributes to these brave souls and a story that was far too close to home:


If there is anything we are taught from birth it is to avoid confrontation.  To look away. We are moulded as a society to ignore, to not take chances with, to leave well enough alone.

Two weeks ago, a casual dinner turned into a nightmare for a group of young Mumbaikars. As they stepped out after dinner, an altercation with a drunk man led to events which nobody could have foreseen. Reuben Fernandez and Keenan Santos died of stab wounds inflicted by one man with an army of thirteen. The latter died soon after the altercation, the former succumbed to his injuries last night.

Well-meaning folks say they could have avoided the altercation. By looking away. By ignoring it. By leaving well enough alone.

I didn’t know either one personally. What I do know is that I am grateful that they existed at all. I have lived in Mumbai for many years now and this is the city I call home. And yet today, in this city, two boys are dead because they took offense to a drunk man making sexual advances towards a girl in their group. Because they didn’t look away.

Too often I have fought my own battles with a niggling feeling that some man would come and get me back for standing up for myself. Too often I have been upset with male friends who ignored a threat, choosing to look away instead. So when people shrug sadly and remark that looking away was a better option, I feel my heart break.

Because there is a fundamental flaw with that logic. If there is anything that we should learn from the deaths of Reuben and Keenan it is that looking away is not the solution. It is that we have lost our voices, our dignity and indeed our conscience by repeatedly looking away each time we are faced with an assault on our individual and collective dignity. Nobody deserves to die for standing up for someone elses dignity. Nobody deserves to die like that. And that we have begun to believe that is the way things are is where the flaw lies.

Any woman who has walked the streets of this city will attest to feeling the humiliation. Because we face these killers every day. They walk among us, talk dirty to us, feel us up, brush against us, pinch us and grope us and every single time we report these, we are asked to keep our mouths shut for fear of swift and painful retribution.

And so by doing so, we have lost our collective voice. We keep our heads down and we shut our eyes and ears and we move on. Oblivious to other people, oblivious to all the injustice around us. And because two boys refused to do so, because they refused to listen to the naysayers, they are dead. What a horrible way to go! Fighting for a society that probably wouldn’t have done the same for them.

So no, I don’t think they should have looked away. I think we should have looked out for them. We should look out for them now. We should stop looking away before Reuben and Keenan seem like a distant memory.

Thank you, Keenan and Reuben. For not looking away.

You are both heroes in my book.

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Casualty of War: Amber Cole

Make no mistake, we are at war. We are engaged in battle with gender binaries, expectations of gender presentation, rape culture, and a great many number of things- we are most certainly at war. And in war, there are casualties.

I want to apologize. We at Hollaback! Des Moines have not yet addressed the case of Amber Cole, the 14-year-old Baltimore teen who is depicted in a video performing oral sex on a teen boy. The video went viral, and Amber has faced endless shaming, threats, and harassment. The boys have been arrested, and Cole has decided to press charges against them. This is an important subject to discuss, and I’d like to address it now- better late than never.

The following is an excerpt from the Washington Post’s online blog, written by school psychologist and doctoral student Erin Harper:

“The boys who participated in this act are also children who should not have their human rights violated by dragging their names through the same mud as Amber’s. Instead, they should be taught why their behavior is wrong, why it is “okay” for child pornography to be circulated as entertainment, and why society is so twisted that an internet search for Amber Cole’s name yields an “Official” video when the only thing official about the video is that consumers who “know better” are OFFICIAL FREAKING IDIOTS WHO DESERVE OFFICIAL CHILD PORNOGRAPHY CHARGES AND OFFICIAL TIME IN JAIL.”

Granted, her caps-lock near the end there reveals some heavy bias, but I believe Harper is tackling an issue few people have- why the boys felt it was alright to upload that video onto the Internet. Why we need to educate our children about sex, laws pertaining to sex, and how despite what they may think, there are consequences to one’s actions. So many parents, bloggers, reporters, etc. have been consumed with “choosing a side” that they have not addressed the reason reasons we’re even talking about this case.
Here: ( is a man who at first claims to be Amber’s father, bashes Amber’s mother, and essentially promotes a “boys will be boys” policy before revealing that is is actually Jimi Izrael. Here: ( is a response by Jeff Fecke, relatively constructive, but still hell-bent on choosing a side.

My personal stance on the Amber Cole case is not to automatically jump on the offensive, bash these boys, and applaud Cole for her bravery; it is instead to examine what deep-seeded issues led to the problem, and how we can address them so things like these cease happening. Amber Cole is not the only teen that has been slandered across the Internet, and yet she has been singled out. Why is that, do we think? Is it her race, her age, her geographic, location, what is it about her?

I don’t know the answer to this question. I have my musings, but no definitive, concrete answer. So I’ll pose the question to you all- why is it, do you think, that among all the American teens who have experienced this type of harassment, we have singled out Amber Cole? Why is it so much easier to either blame her or rally around her, than the address the underlying issues of sexism, racism, and rape culture?

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Ring That Bell And End Domestic Violence in India!


Bell Bajao is a series of print, radio and television advertisements produced by global human rights organization Breakthrough, as part of a three-year commitment of the Clinton Global Initiative to end violence against women in India. Breakthrough uses popular culture to mobilize individuals to fight back against human injustices and Bell Bajao is spreading awareness of the prevalence of domestic violence, the societal beliefs surrounding it, and specifically what men are able to do to help end it.

According to Trustlaw, a legal news service run by Thomsom Reuters Foundation, India ranks as one of the world’s five most dangerous countries for women. A poll, conducted by Trustlaw, asked 213 gender experts to rank countries on their overall perception of danger and on six specific risks: health threats, sexual violence, non-sexual violence, cultural or religious factors, lack of access to resources and trafficking. Following Afghanistan, Congo and Pakistan, India was polled as the fourth most dangerous country for women, ranking just one place above Somalia. According to Bell Bajao, more than two-thirds of married women between the ages of 15 and 49 have experience domestic violence, with as much as 40 percent of women and men in India believing that it is at least sometimes justifiable for women to be beaten by their husbands, as well as, 35 percent of women experience domestic violence. But Bell Bajao is working to rewrite these statistics.

Through the use of the Internet, social media, celebrity endorsements and training toolkits, Bell Bajao is calling on men and boys to help put an end to violence aimed at women. Through a series of print, radio and television advertisements that encourage men to step in and help stop violence against women, the Bell Bajao campaign has reached over 130 million people across India and went global in 2010.

The campaign stresses the importance and emphasizes the positive effects that men can have towards ending domestic violence. Bell Bajao, which translates as “ring the bell” in Hindi, is encouraging men to do just that. It uses an education-centric campaign that teaches how to safely speak up against domestic violence, men are seeing that by physically ringing the bell or knocking on the front door where they believe domestic violence is taking place, they are able to interrupt domestic violence and very often save a life.

This year, November 25 through December 10, marks the 2011 Center for Women’s Global Leadership’s 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence Campaign. The campaign, which starts on International Day Against Violence Against Women (November 25), and ends on International Human Rights Day (December 10), is used as a mobilizing tool for organizations and individuals to speak up against violence aimed at women and to advocate for its elimination. Contributing this year, Bell Bajao is holding the campaign’s first-ever fiction (re)writing competition, #Rewrite the Ending.

Everyone has wanted to change the ending of a book, play or movie at some point in their lives, and now’s your chance! Here’s the opportunity to re-write the violent, sexist, misogynistic ending of a novel, play, movie, or anything that spurs your creative juices and inflames your feminist consciousness! Visit the Bell Bajao website at for additional information. The Contest ends November 21 so get writing, and with Bell Bajao, help rewrite the lives of women affected by domestic violence every day.


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Occupy Houston’s got internal solidarity, and we like it.

On November 8th we issued a public statement with that was co-signed by over 50 organizations and 4 Occupy Sites. One of these sites is Occupy Houston, who used our call to action to write a beautiful internal solidarity statement.  We are reprinting it here in hope that is of use to Occupy sites around the world as they look to craft movements that are inclusive of the 99%.


Internal Solidarity Statement:

This is a living document. As the Occupy Houston community,
we have the right and responsibility to edit this document on an ongoing basis.
We welcome feedback and new ideas.

We are the 99%, and our task is to unify the 99%. We are a society in which
many are diligently seeking to resolve issues of various forms of oppression.
As the Occupy Houston community, we will consciously and urgently work on
dismantling these systems of oppression even within our movement. We are
working on creating a community where everyone’s rights are respected,
protected, and treated equally. We all have different levels of privilege that
we strive to acknowledge and educate ourselves about in order to ensure that
these privileges are not used to oppress others.

We want to have an inclusive atmosphere of ideas in which we
do not police each other’s thoughts and one in which we reason together without
intimidating words or actions. If a conflict arises it should, if possible, be
settled through democratic discussion or debate; otherwise, it should be
settled with the help of a Conflict Resolution Team, a Support Team, or both,
if necessary.

We are dedicated to reasoning about and resolving issues in our community including:
Discrimination based on Age, on Class, on Culture, on Disability,
on Experiences with the Justice System, on Gender, on Hetero-Normativity, on
Homo-Phobia, on Immigration Status, on Race, on Religious or Non-religious Intolerance,
on Trans-Phobia, and Discrimination based on Weight.
Adopted by Consensus 11-09-11


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