The Movement

Know Your Rights Guide FAQ

Hollaback! is proud to partner with TrustLaw and DLA Piper to provide an international “Know Your Rights” guide to street harassment. The guide establishes legal definitions of street harassment and provides an outline of local laws governing street harassment. The “Know Your Rights” guide is aimed to inform individuals of their rights in public space.

We’ve received some questions about the guide, and we wanted to take a minute to answer them here:


Question: What exactly is street harassment?

Street harassment is a form of sexual harassment that takes place in public spaces. It exists on a spectrum including “catcalling” or verbal harassment, stalking, groping, public masturbation, and assault. At its core is a power dynamic that constantly reminds historically subordinated groups (women and LGBTQ folks, for example) of their vulnerability to assault in public spaces. Further, it reinforces the ubiquitous sexual objectification of these groups in everyday life. Street harassment can be sexist, racist, transphobic, homophobic, ableist, sizeist and/or classist.  It is an expression of the interlocking and overlapping oppressions we face and it functions as a means to silence our voices and “keep us in our place.” At Hollaback!, we believe that what specifically counts as street harassment is determined by those who experience it.  If you’ve experienced street harassment, we’ve got your back!

For the purposes of this guide, street harassment is defined per local laws. For example, in  Maryland, United States, one form of street harassment is defined as: “making unwanted or inappropriate sexual comments if it continued after a request to stop.” In Berkeley, United States, street harassment is defined as: “unlawful violence, a credible threat of violence, or a knowing and wilful course of conduct directed at a specific person that seriously alarms, annoys, or harasses the person, and that serves no legitimate purpose. The course of conduct must be such as would cause a reasonable person to suffer substantial emotional distress, and must actually cause substantial emotional distress to the petitioner.”


Question: Who experiences street harassment?

On our site, we primarily receive stories from women and LGBTQ individuals. You can read those stories here (and click the I’ve got your back button to support them).

For more information on how identity intersects with one’s experience of street harassment, including individual stories of street harassment, check out Hollaback!’s Harassment Is: Identity and Street Harassment guide.


Question: How did this guide come about?

Since our launch in 2005, Hollaback! has fielded requests from survivors requesting legal information. We have tried to make legal information about street harassment transparent on all our local sites, but oftentimes, this information was either hard to find or required legal expertise to navigate.  At the same time, we listened to survivors articulate concerns about police involvement.  With this in mind, we sought legal support to create an international guide that provided accessible, locally-based legal information for individuals who have experienced harassment, advocates, and activists around the world.

In December 2013 we partnered with TrustLaw, the Thomson Reuters Foundation’s global legal pro bono service, to create an international “Know Your Rights” guide to street harassment. Over the next nine months, DLA Piper led a team of law firms and in-house corporate legal teams who worked pro-bono to navigate local laws in fourteen languages and work with our site leaders to learn how laws are implemented on the ground. We are incredibly thankful for the hard work of everyone involved.


Question: What are the goals of the Legal Guide?

The goals of the “Know Your Rights” guide are:

  • For individuals to know their rights, recognizing that it is their choice to report, and understanding the process of reporting if they choose to do so.
  • To provide a comprehensive international resource on street harassment and the law


Question: Does Hollaback! endorse increasing criminalization of street harassment?

No. We believe that it is our role as advocates to steer policy makers away from measures that would increase criminalization, and toward measures that engage communities in prevention. As explained in Hollaback!’s article by Deputy Director, Debjani Roy, “Criminalizing verbal harassment and unwanted gestures is neither the final goal nor the ultimate solution to this problem and can, in fact, inadvertently work against the growth of an inclusive anti-harassment movement. The criminal justice system disproportionately targets and affects low-income communities and communities of color, as evidenced by policies such as New York City’s Stop and Frisk program and other degrading forms of racial profiling. Our objective is to address and shift cultural and social dialogues and attitudes of patriarchy that purport street harassment as simply the price you pay for being a woman or being LGBTQ. It is not to re-victimize men already discriminated against by the system.”


Question: I don’t feel safe working with the legal system. Are there any options in this guide for me?

The purpose of this guide is to educate and inform individuals about their rights. We understand that there are many reasons why individuals might not feel comfortable accessing legal recourse when harassed. This guide is not meant to act as an endorsement of any single solution, but as an option.

What is important is that you feel supported and know that you are not alone. We encourage you to share your story on our website:, speak to your friends, and practice self care.

Regardless of what you choose to do, it is always important to know what your rights are.


If you have additional questions, email us at  We welcome your feedback and engagement in this conversation as we work together to make the streets safer for everyone.



The Movement, Uncategorized

Know Your Rights Guide

A new report released today offers the first ever global legal resource on street harassment. Led by NGO Hollaback! and the Thomson Reuters Foundation and coordinated by global law firm DLA Piper, the “Know Your Rights” guide compiles the latest legal definitions and information on all forms of street harassment across 22 countries and in 12 languages. A monumental undertaking, the guide involved the efforts of 11 legal teams working in collaboration around the world.

Check out the guide below – and check out our FAQ for more information. You can download a PDF of the guide here: Street Harassment – Know Your Rights. Photo credit: A woman walks past a building decorated with a pair of eyes in the Crimean city of Sevastopol, February 29, 2012. REUTERS/Stringer


The Movement, Uncategorized

Week in our Shoes: Rev up the Engine Edition!

streetharassmentsuxkHey Hollaback!er’s,


Over the last two weeks, Hollaback! has been featured in: Today, Mic, The Daily Beast, Huffington Post, NME, the New York Times, and more.


Hollaback! sites around the world have been busy!


  Hollaback! Bahamas had major press in the Tribune. Their team met with The College of the Bahamas Student Union to make plans for a Health and Safety Forum, plan a chalk walk, and hold a forum on local Equality bills. They attended a training seminar on CEDAW, attended three education forums held by the Constitutional Commission on the Equality Bills, and attended Parliament last week to see the Equality Bills tabled.
Hollaback! Berlin held a chalk walk. You can check out the chalk walk photos here.
Hollaback! Hamilton‘s site leaders were interviewed for the Hamilton Spectator (article coming out in September). Site leader Jess spoke at the Connect, Engage, Empower: Fostering exchange to support individuals affected by domestic violence.
Hollaback! Halifax tabled at a community fair after their local Pride Parade. Later on in the week, they provided backup and support to the Pro Love: event. Check out Hollaback! Halifax’s write up of the Pro-Love demonstration hereSite leader Rebecca was interviewed by the Halifax morning news – stay tuned for links!
Hollaback! Boston participated in the Computer Clubhouse Teen Summit at Northeastern University, talking to youth about community organizing. They also held a teen workshop at a local women’s center, and tabled at the War on Women show. Finally, site leader Britni was interviewed for RH Reality Check about counterprotests outside reproductive health clinics.
Hollaback! Ottawa held a chalk walk and attended the Capital Geek Girls Ladies Night event at the Comic Book Shoppe. They also held a Municipal election meeting, titled “Let’s keep Gender Based Violence on the Agenda.”


Hollaback! Des Moines attended the Des Moines display of the Monument Quilt: a part of FORCE, Upsetting Rape Culture
Hollaback! Appalachian Ohio sponsored a derby car (driven by Kayla Sinclair of Athens, Ohio) in the Demolition Derbies at the Athens and Meigs County Fairs. Check out their astounding run HERE!.


Amazing work HOLLAs! Until next time,


HOLLA and out!


- The Hollaback! Team

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The Movement

Videos from HOLLA::Revolution are here!

The videos from #hollarev are here, and they are amazing! Today’s video features some REAL TALK as Rebecca unmasks rape culture and street harassment in her spoken word

I am tired of hearing blame at girls for being caught out in the rain when there are folks standing out on street corners with garden hoses and super-soakers” – Rebecca, Hollaback! Halifax, at this year’s #hollarev

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The Movement

C.E.’s Story: Badass Male Ally

I am a male and first I want to say I’m really sorry for what you ladies go through. It’s terrible that there are men out there with such blatant disrespect for women. Reading these stories, it sickens me to hear them. I just wanted you to know that at least one man got your back!

I've got your back!

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The Movement

Get Your Tickets for HOLLA::Revolution!

HOLLA::Revolution is back in NYC and it’s better than ever.

#Hollarev will be held on May 27th, 2014, from 2-5pm at the New School in New York City. Tickets are running out for this year’s HOLLA::Revolution, be sure to get yours before they’re sold out!

Get your tickets today!

HOLLARev promo 3


This year’s HOLLA::Revolution will feature 12 astounding speakers, comedians, and performers. We can barely contain our excitement at the speaker list so far, and it just keeps getting better! Speakers include Sally Kohn, Tatyana Fazlalizadeh from Stop Telling Women to Smile Soraya Chemaly, and more!

Afterwards, join us for a post-#hollarev celebration down the road at the Cubby Hole.

For more information about the event, email us at

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A Week in Our Shoes, The Movement

Week In Our Shoes: Gearin’ Up for Change Edition

Hollaback! Tucson gearing up for their upcoming events for
International Anti-Street Harassment Week

Hello Hollabackers! 

This week, Hollaback! was featured in Ottawa Community News, Ottawa Sun (twice!), The Guardian, and WNYC.

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

Hollaback! Appalachian Ohio did a self defense class for the women at Southeast Ohio Regional Jail and presented to an Ohio University Cultural Diversity in Education Class. They also completed their training with Jackie O’s Pub & Brewery, certifying  them as HB! Appalachian Ohio’s second Safer Space.

Hollaback! Baltimore had a “Street Harassment 101” Seminar at Anne Arundel Community College.

Hollaback! Boston did a workshop at Emerson College, and will be on today’s 103.3 FM’s morning show, The TJ Show, promoting their work and Anti-Street Harassment Week events.

Hollaback! Brussels held a “Café-Brainstorm: ‘This is a Safe space’ Chalk Walk” event to help organize their upcoming creative walk on April 5th. They also turned 2 as of Monday! Happy birthday, Hollaback! Brussels!

Hollaback! London was on BBC World Service and Reprezent Radio, talking about harassment in clubs and pubs. This week HB! London was also contributing to some research called ‘How can nonviolent grassroots networks transform insecurity?’ being carried out by Bristol University’s Global Insecurities Centre. And last but not least, HB! London attended a Dalston PubWatch meeting where they spoke about Good Night Out!

Hollaback! Philly was selected as a finalist for the 3rd annual Avon Communications Awards: Speaking Out About Violence Against Women for its outstanding work on an anti-street harassment campaign to bring attention to the need to end violence against women. Awesome work, HB! Philly!

March 30th – April 5th is International Anti-Street Harassment Week! Make sure to check out your local Hollaback! site to get involved in all the amazing events coming up in your community!

Til next week-

HOLLA and out!

– The Hollaback! Team

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The Movement

Week In Our Shoes: Protesting with Peace Edition

Hello Hollabackers!

This week, Hollaback! was featured in XO JaneFrench Cosmopolitan, DigBoston, Letters for Little Ones, Power Talk Radio, and WNYC.

At the Mothership, a training was held with a group of parents in the South Bronx and we toasted to safer streets to everyone at Wednesday’s Girls Pint Out Inaugural Event to Benefit Hollaback!

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

Hollaback! Appalachian Ohio held an art party at their first safer space, Donkey Coffee, in which the community was invited to come make art with them for their April Art show at Casa Nueva. They also screened their short documentary, On The Catwalk, at the Ohio University International Women’s Day Celebration, made art with the women at Southeast Ohio Regional Jail for their art show, and held a Self Defense workshop for the women at Rural Women’s, a drug rehab facility. Finally, they held a 1.5 hour workshop on Hollaback!, Rape Culture, Victim Blaming, and Bystander Intervention in a Cultural Anthropology class at Ohio University. There were about 40 students. Way to go HB! Appalachian Ohio!

Hollaback! Bahamas joined together with the Bahamas Against Sexual Violence and Child Abuse and Citizens for a Better Bahamas in starting this “Violence is Not Funny” petition. The petition requests that the Member of Parliament formally addresses the nation with regard to his inappropriate violent comments (mentioned in last week’s edition) and for specific action to be taken against domestic violence and violence against women in the Bahamas. On Wednesday, concerned citizens, HB! Bahamas, and the organizations they’re collaborating with, came together to peacefully protest. Also, Alicia Wallace, Director of Hollaback! Bahamas, was a special guest on Power Talk Radio yesterday afternoon.

Hollaback! Baltimore hosted an Offline Coffee & Chat to talk with some of their kick ass supporters in person and bond over a warm cup of coffee (yum).

Hollaback! Boston were asked to pen a response piece for DigBoston, a local paper they criticized for their insensitive cover art that made light of the “upskirting” issue that was just dealt with in Massachusetts. Also, their first first queer bar takeover is tonight!

Hollaback! Brussels got a shout-out in the French Cosmopolitan due to some awesome anti street harassment art that was inspired by their Tips on How to Respond to Street Harassment.

Hollaback! Edinburgh presented a workshop titled “Challenging Street Harassment, Smashing Rape Culture” at a Challenging Everyday Sexism event.

Hollaback! Polska was mentioned on Radio Gdańsk S.A. audition concerning “Manifa” in Gdańsk (its annual march celebrating Women’s Day which takes place in many cities in Poland under that name) on last Saturday evening. They have also been encouraging their community to protest against a misogynist “design” in one of the clubs in Gdańsk.

Til next week-

HOLLA and out!

– The Hollaback! Team

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The Movement

Week In Our Shoes: Heaps of HOLLA Edition

Hello Hollabackers! Happy Women’s History Month! HOLLAs have been especially busy this past week and it is AWESOME.

This week, Hollaback! was featured in the Huffington Post (more than once!), CBC News, Stop Street Harassment blog, and Metro News.

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

Hollaback! Alberta presented yesterday on street harassment being an issue in the local community and across the globe at the University of Alberta’s International Women’s Day Celebration.

Hollaback! Appalachian Ohio held their first Safer Spaces training with Jackie O’s Pub & Brewery. They also did  two 1-hour workshops with the women at the Southeast Ohio Regional Jail.

Hollaback! Baltimore is gathering TODAY to celebrate three years of fighting street harassment. The event will include an awesome and impactful display by Luminous Intervention, along with readings of stories submitted to their website or from attendees who would like to share their own. Happy Birthday, Hollaback! Baltimore!

Hollaback! Boston held a workshop titled “We Hollaback!: Creating a World Without Street Harassment” for Harvard University students. They discussed the prominence of street harassment in the local community and how students can address it in a  powerful and meaningful way. HB! Boston also participated in Massachusetts’ White Ribbon Day Campaign, which seeks to mobilize men to end violence against women. And last but not least, they released a public statement about a court ruling in Massachusetts that made upskirt photos on transit legal.

Hollaback! Brussels participated in an event called: “Feminist Action 2.0” in recognition of “Week of the Women”, a week of events leading up to International Women’s Day. The event was organized by the “Vrouwen Overleg Komitee” and the city council of Brussels to bring together different types of feminist action groups and feminist organizations, and to start a debate on how they can work together, which views they have on feminism, and on taking action. This was the first meeting of several.

Hollaback! Croatia participated in a panel discussion titled “Feminist Therapy“.

Hollaback! Des Moines held casting for their production of “The Vagina Monologues,” which they are sponsoring in collaboration with the Women of Color Advisory Network (WOCAN) and Iowa Coalition Against Sexual Assault. The performance is slated for April 12th, during Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and proceeds will go to WOCAN.

Hollaback! Dublin gave their FIRST workshop on street harassment at Trinity College Dublin’s International Women’s Week. Way to go HB! Dublin!!

Hollaback! Edinburgh newest committee member, Felicity Tolley, wrote a fantastic post on why she has joined the Hollaback! team in Edinburgh. Welcome, Felicity!

Hollaback! Hamilton created a street harassment survey for McMaster University students in order to help them better understand some of the realities of street harassment in Hamilton. Yesterday, they tabled at their local International Women’s Day event. They have also started planning an event for International Anti-Street Harassment week at McMaster University. Stay tuned for more details!

Hollaback! London is launching a brand new campaign today! It’s all about getting clubs, pubs, bars and venues to tackle and prevent harassment. Keep an eye on the hashtag #goodnightout for details and check here for updates. They will also be attending an 80s Themed Good Night Out club night with feminist DJs at ULU. Hollaback! ULU will also be joining them.

Hollaback! Ottawa, along with community partners, wrote an open letter directed to men involved in a recent rape culture incident at the University of Ottawa.  Here’s an excerpt from this amazing and powerful letter:

“How do we tell young women to protect themselves from their lab partners, their boyfriends, their prom dates, their classmates, and from rapists? We don’t. We tell men that sexual assault is wrong. We educate young men about consent. We build a society and community that respects women and sees them as equals, not as objects. Can you take steps to further educate yourselves about violence against women? Can you help turn the conversation around?”

HB! Ottawa was also honored and asked to share their most recent victories at an event titled “We Win Every Day”.

Hollaback! University of London Union (ULU) hosted “Hollaback Riot Night Reloaded” to celebrate the beginning of ULU Women’s History Month Festival. They had a great turnout with some awesome bands as well as their kickass t-shirts mentioned last week. The flyer for the event is pictured above. Sounds like it was an awesome event!

What an amazing start to March! Keep up the fantastic work, HOLLAs!

HOLLA and out!

– The Hollaback! Team


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The Movement

Week In Our Shoes: Coffee Talk Edition

          University of Arizona student shares why they Hollaback!

Hello Hollabackers!

This week, Hollaback! was featured in Backdrop Magazine, Belgian Marie Claire, ASOS Zine, Philadelphia Magazine, and the Philly Daily News.

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

Hollaback! Baltimore hosted an Offline Coffee & Chat on Tuesday, a casual gathering for their community members to get together, meet fellow feminists, make new friends, and get more involved with Hollaback!

Hollaback! London made this awesome “YOU WATCH YOUR MOUTH, BUDDY” Thelma & Louise t-shirt in collaboration with House of Astbury, a cycling clothing company. They were also featured on London’s Community Channel talking about social media and activism. The video will be posted here soon.

Hollaback! Philly had their Human Trafficking in the United States speaker series yesterday. It was a TEDx style event that discussed the complexities and nuances of human trafficking in the United States. Attendees learned about warning signs, what good samaritans can do about human trafficking, and the extent and scope of the human trafficking happening right in their own backyards.

Hollaback! Polska has been celebrating European Day for Victims of Crime (followed in Poland by Week of Help to Survivors of Crime) by launching an educational campaign on Facebook concerning Polish Card of Victim’s Rights. As of Saturday the 22nd, they have shared one poster every day to describe the rights of victims guaranteed under Polish law.

Hollaback! Tucson attended a #BodySmartFair to talk to students and staff from the University of Arizona about street harassment.

Awesome work, HOLLAs! Let’s keep the conversations going! Til next time,

HOLLA and out!

– The Hollaback Team

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