The Movement

Want to join the Hollaback team?

We are seeking a Policy, Research, and Development Intern to join our dynamic team of volunteers. Responsibilities include:

  1. Take the lead in coordinating Hollaback’s work with New Yorkers for Safe Transit, which will include attending monthly meetings, developing testimony, and meeting with legislators.
  2. Research and identify potential individual donors, board members, or high profile engaged individuals; and
  3. Do a review of movement building strategies (especially within the violence against women movement) and make recommendations for how to enhance our overall strategy.

This intern will report directly to Emily May, executive director. This position takes place off-site (we do not have an office yet) and regular check-ins are required. The candidate must have good communication skills, a passion for ending street harassment, and live in the NYC area. We currently are accepting applications for fall 2010 and the preferred arrangement is to extend through Spring 2011. The estimated time commitment is 10-20 hours, and the internship is unpaid. If you are interested, please send a resume and cover letter to holla (at) ihollaback.org.

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The Movement

Fan Mail that Fuels Us

As many of you know, we are an all-volunteer team that work long hours above and beyond our regular jobs to make Hollaback happen. We are inspired and invigorated by each and every post that comes in, and we respond personally to all the fan mail. The letter below was too honest, too beautiful, and too important to keep to ourselves. I hope you enjoy it, and remember: keep holla’ing back!

Dear Hollaback,

Thank you so much for what you do, I really hope that your website continues to grow and create more awareness for as long as possible.

I’m only 17 years old, and I moved to the city 2 months ago. Every day I’ve been getting unwanted and unsolicited attention from strange men. I didn’t want to tell my parents because I knew they’d either think I was exaggerating or want me to come home as we come from a very small, sweet town where nothing like this has happened in twenty years.

Thankfully, I don’t have any horror stories, but I feel like I’m always dealing with ‘Hey Beautiful’ or ‘That’s a real nice dress you got there’ or ‘seductive’ stares or ‘accidental’ subway touching. I’m a ballet dancer and whenever I walk back home beet red and sweaty I always get comments and uncomfortably sexual gestures directed at me.Until I came across your website I didn’t know that this constituted as sexual harassment. It’s amazing how extensively they cover plagiarism in high school, but not sexual harassment. I knew it made me very uncomfortable, especially men in groups, but I felt like I was making a big deal out of nothing because the words were ‘nice’ (I’ve never been sworn at) even though the intent wasn’t.

I’m an extremely quiet, shy, insecure person and I feel like these jerks can sense that and prey on girls like me. But when I came across your website, I felt a sense of empowerment and comfort in the knowledge that others recognized that this was really happening and that it was wrong. I feel like a lot of people write off street harassment like it’s no big deal, so I was worried that if I told someone, they would just say I was being oversensitive and silly.

God (or whichever deity you do/don’t believe in) bless you, what you’re doing takes incredible courage. I really can’t thank you enough for helping for me to feel justified in my discomfort, to know that I wasn’t being oversensitive. Sorry if this is kind of rambling, I just wanted to let you know how much I truly appreciated the work you do.

Thank you,
E.

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Street harassment in the media, The Movement

THIS WEEK IN STREET HARASSMENT…

Nothing ruins a bike ride on a gorgeous summer day like creeps making sexual comments from the sidewalk. Harriet Walker discusses harassment and biking in London, and wonders why biking seems to draw harassers like a magnet.

Gawker posts their own hollaback, entitled “Have you seen this masturbating gentleman?”

The amazing Holly Kearl has an op-ed in the Huffington Post – check it out for a great introduction to the problem of street harassment.

One of the first questions people always ask me about Hollaback! is whether it is legal to take someone’s photo and post it online. Gizmodo reminds us that in public spaces, all photos are fair game. As anyone who has had a creepy guy with a camera phone take a pic of them knows, this can be a pain, but at least we can point a camera back at them. Let’s reclaim the gaze and Hollaback!

The Men’s Anti-Violence Council bring us these comics about street harassment.

There has been a depressing amount of victim blaming in the media recently, these authors call out this attitude in the recent Mel Gibson and Al Gore media coverage.

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NYPD FAIL, Street harassment in the media, The Movement

THIS WEEK IN STREET HARASSMENT…

We are totally crushing on the changemakers social media blog – check out this post on NYPD’s manipulation of assault statistics, which includes a Hollaback shout-out!

“Between 80% and 100% of women have been harassed in public places, particularly on their way to work.” Holly Kearl tells us why employers should care.

Here is a hilarious list of harassment and assault prevention tips that are “guaranteed to work.” In response to constant warnings to dress modestly, walk in pairs, etc, this blogger provides the novel suggestion: DON’T assault people! My personal favorites are: “USE THE BUDDY SYSTEM, if you are not able to stop yourself from assaulting people, ask a friend to stay with you while you are in public” and “When you see someone walking by themselves, leave them alone!”

Human Rights Watch recently released a report on the harassment of female and transgender Cambodian sex workers on the street and in police custody. Just a reminder: no matter what you are wearing, how you gender present, or why you are on the street, STREET HARASSMENT ON THE BASIS OF SEX, GENDER, SEXUALITY AND PERFORMANCE OF GENDER AND SEXUALITY IS NOT OK!

Street harassment is a constant problem for women in Jakarta, and the Jakarta Press has started to pay attention.

Our Vision, Our Voices discusses the status of Street Harassment worldwide.

Check out the London Anti-Street Harassment Campaign!

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homophobic, The Movement, Verbal

Why there is no Hollaback in Western Mass, a tale of missing solidarity

A little over two years ago, I was the target of three strangers whose attack on me started as a barrage of contradictory insults and “compliments” and soon led to rape. The men initially noticed me because I was wearing a shirt that identified me as gay. Coming from a radically conservative town where almost everyone knew me, especially after I came out, I rarely experienced street harassment from people who I didn’t know. This experience was a first for me on many fronts and has scarred me from all directions and in all aspects of my life. From then on, any time anyone made a comment about me in the halls of my high school or while I was walking around town, I felt utterly powerless and would often have flashbacks. I came upon the Holla Back New York blog a while ago and was inspired by the tools the site offered for ending street harassment. After attending a workshop on how to holla back this year, I’ve been considering starting a Holla Back site for the area surrounding my college. This journey has not been without obstacles, however.

The idea of me starting a Holla Back blog by myself is something that scares me. During high school, I was active in efforts to end harassment of LGBTQ youth and was often the target of a great deal of hate. Having moved from my small conservative hometown to college in a really liberal area, I feel that I’ve just recently become a less visible target and am not willing to risk that sense of comfort. To split the weight of my decision to Holla Back, I began searching for a partner. This search, thus far, has turned out empty. The friends I have talked to about partnering with me for a project like this have found the idea of a Holla Back blog to be problematic for differing reasons which I don’t necessarily agree with but don’t want to repeat here because I think I would express their opinions differently than they would.

I guess the point of my writing this post is sort of the old “there’s power in numbers” speech. When fear is shared, it’s lessened. When we are there for each other, start projects together, march side by side, we feel stronger and can do more. I don’t feel that those I asked to help me were wrong in choosing not to, but I think that if someone in your community is trying to start something and you think it’s a good idea, join them. The more of us holla back, the louder we are, which would be nice because I’m tired of all this silence.

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Street harassment in the media, The Movement

This Week in Street Harassment…

First of all, Feminuity drew our attention to VOCES: A Zine by the Voices Against Violence Project.

Jos Truitt discusses the need for “trans lives to come deliberately into focus” through storytelling. Gender-based harassment in public places can be about policing gender performance as well as the objectification of female bodies and a culture that is tolerant of violence against women. If you experience street harassment as a trans man or woman, Hollaback! and share your story here.

Feministing informs us that even after the big scandal in L.A. last year, 80% of rape kits STILL go untested in Illinois. It is extremely depressing but you can take action – read about new legislation (and who to start calling) at the link.

We’ve spent a lot of time talking about the limits of the first street harassment videogame as an empowering tool for women, but this author thinks ‘Hey Baby’ could be used to educate men through empathy-building.

Finally, an interview with the always lovely Holly Kearl, author of ‘Stop Street Harassment: Making Public Spaces Safe and Welcoming for Women.’

Also, we had an amazing time at our recent launch party, thanks to Carmen at Where is Your Line? for the shout-out and to everyone who came out to celebrate with us!

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The Movement

"NOT YOUR TYPE OF "HOLLABACK" GIRL" a poem by Camille Theobald

This poem was read at our launch party by the incredibly talented Camille Theobald. This is the first ever poem written about Hollaback!

I rise ready for a morning run, man I love to feel that sun
Hear the birds out “tweet tweet”, and the light landing of my feet

Till a noise shatters the silence, with verbal violence.
A sound that unleashes hate inside, the part of me I try to hide.
But I can’t help but hear this man’s foul words in my ear.

“Hey Girl you got a fine ass.” He may think it’s a compliment but in reality it’s crass
I keep going to avoid any more, but he still thinks he’s gonna score
“What sexy you afraid of me? Ah so that’s how its gonna be”

Yeah, that’s how its gonna be! What did you think I’de do?
“Oh daddy yeah, take me home with you”

This is the real world not your sick fantasy, you need to come back to reality
Your not a rapper in some sick music video, surrounded by money, cars and hoes
You’re a just a skinny ass white boy still wearing JNCOs

And even if you were hot it wouldn’t make a difference, not when you’re coming at me such ignorance.
It’s not like I’ve never heard it before but this time I’m slamming the door
Its not enough to “ignore it and keep walking”, that never stops these perverts from talking.
Who knows if he will stop at words with his foul thoughts, for words lead to actions and physical assault.

So now it’s time to take action against street talking harassment.
People unite to keep clear of these fools these dogs that think they can bend the rules.
Blog your experience text your pics we no longer have to put up with these pricks.

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The Movement

"Street Harassment" by Dailyn Santana

This incredibly powerful poem was read at our launch party on Thursday by Dailyn. At 20 years old, she’s smart, she’s fierce, and she’s an inspiration to us all.

I am Ani Difranco
I am beyond your peripheral vision
so you might want to turn your head
cuz someday you’ll find you are starving
and eat all of the words you just said…

The other day I was walking the street in Manhattan when suddenly…
“What’s good Mami, damn you ass fine as hell, let me talk to you fo’ a minute”
…I’d really like to know the success ratings on that line.

So I turned around to the prick and said,
ok, you would like to have a conversation, shall we?”Let’s talk about how you feel about Obama recently stating that Republicans are to blame for the immigration delay –”
“uh……..”
…we had a nice little conversation.
I wonder how many girls have fallen for that line and settled with guys just because he was interested in how beautiful or hot they are.

It makes me question, do women and girls know their worth?
Do you know your worth?
your smile, your laughter, your eyes, your opinions, emotions, they MATTER. Your voice matters. You are not your lips and your thighs. You are your mind

I just wish more people took what I’m saying seriously
I wish people could see who I truly am underneath.

That I’m more of a man that they’ll ever be…
and sometimes I forget to brush my teeth…
that I fucking love cursing…
and I hate shaving my legs…
that everyday I’m away from my grandmother I ache the distance…
and sometimes when I’m bored ill do impressions of novelas in my mirror…
and I think there’s no point in talking to yourself if you don’t respond…

I feel like a homeless person always asking the world for change
but I know my worth with every step I take.

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Street harassment in the media, The Movement

THIS WEEK IN STREET HARASSMENT…

We have a FANTASTIC op-ed in the Daily News right now that discusses out soon-to-be-released iPhone app!!

We are always concerned that misdemeanor crimes on the streets and subway are not taken seriously when they have such an enormous impact on the women and LGBTQ folks who experience them, but in this extremely disturbing piece of news, the Village Voice reveals that more serious forms of violence against women are being systemically downgraded to less serious charges in NYC.

Interview with the maker of the fantastic short film ‘Walking Home.’ This film is a poignant look at street harassment that has been featured on our site previously.

In a blog on Gender and Public policy, one blogger compares street harassment to being bombarded with ping pong balls whenever you walk down the street. Hilarious, apt, and it makes me want to carry around ping pong balls to throw back, although, tragically, hand-eye coordination isn’t really my thing…

Street harassment is sometimes an eco-feminist issue. This blogger in Miami notes that the threat of harassment keeps women in their cars rather than on bikes or public transport.

Thank you to the Gay Brooklyn Tip Sheet for including our party in your July calendar!

And FINALLY, OUR LAUNCH PARTY IS TODAY @ 125 5TH AVE IN BROOKLYN – COME CELEBRATE WITH US!!!!!!

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The Movement

Naked in a Fishbowl Presents: Hollaback!

In this week of “Naked in a Fishbowl” the improv group of ladies saw a man touching himself on the F train to Coney Island and Hollaback’ed! The improv show plays every Monday night at the SoHo Playhouse Off-Broadway, check ‘em out!

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