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I couldn’t have said it better myself. In his Presidential Proclamation for Sexual Assault Awareness month Obama says:
“Every day, women, men, and children across America suffer the pain and trauma of sexual assault. From verbal harassment and intimidation to molestation and rape, this crime occurs far too frequently, goes unreported far too often, and leaves long-lasting physical and emotional scars… Survivors too often suffer in silence because they fear further injury, are unwilling to experience further humiliation, or lack faith in the criminal justice system. This feeling of isolation, often compounded with suicidal feelings, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder, only exacerbate victims’ sense of hopelessness.”
Kudos to Obama for highlighting the entire spectrum of sexual violence and including verbal harassment in the mix. Too often, people tell us that our work would be more powerful if we only focused on groping, public masturbation, and assault. But words hurt too. Especially if you hear them everyday, from every street corner. You’re not crazy to think that these words can turn physically violent at any moment. But even when they don’t, the emotional violence has already left its mark.
We have benefited from the women who came before us and made workplace harassment illegal and frowned upon. They did it by telling stories. Brave women came forward, and simply, but boldly, told their stories. Now it is our turn to do the same thing.
In honor of sexual assault awareness month, be bold, hollaback, and tell your story. Your story will build awareness. Your story will help others know they are not alone. Your story will squash the culture that makes sexual violence OK and open the doors for a world without sexual harassment or assault.
Your story will change the world. It is the only thing that ever has. Hollaback.
As you all know, street harassment is a seriously under-researched issue. As activists, this makes it hard to bring attention to this incredibly important issue. Help push the agenda forward by taking these two surveys:
This one is investigating how women present themselves and whether that influences perceptions of street harassment.
This one is looking at whether or not body size is related to harassment.
Your voice is critical to this conversation, Hollaback and take a survey!
Louise Dreier, a graduate student at Columbia, is doing research on how street harassment affects how women use the city and how the built environment affects street harassment. Lord knows this field needs more research, and quick! She has agreed to share her findings with Hollaback readers.
Perhaps needless to say, I am insanely, stupidly, flattered by this. On a list of women making history — with Rachel Maddow and Nancy Pelosi? Yes, this is our revolution. And yes, this is only the beginning. Together we will end street harassment, one hollaback at a time.
Check the story out, and take a second to learn more about the Progressive Women’s Voices program at the Women’s Media Center. This is not an overstatement: it changed my life.
This is the third video in the “Why I Hollaback” series. “Why I Hollaback” tells the story of how and why folks decide to take the leap, speak up, and start Holla’ing back. We will release a new story every Monday and accept submissions from all over the world. So tell us your story — Why do you Hollaback?
From our HOLLAheroine Heather Haddon at AMNY:
“Down in the subway, big brother isn’t watching. Nearly half of the 4,313 security cameras installed in the subway aren’t working because they are unable to power up or are suffering from software glitches, the MTA said Sunday. The need to have more surveillance in the system is a priority for transit advocates as the MTA prepares to lay off 600 station agents in May.”
Without security camera’s — the MTA doesn’t have the tools it needs to protect New Yorkers. Although the police say that crimes are down in the subway, we know from experience that crimes against women and LGBTQ New Yorkers, most of which aren’t counted in the MTA’s crime stats because they are classified as misdemeanors, are at epidemic proportions.
To read Heather’s full story on AMNY, click here.
This spring we are launching “Why I Hollaback,” a new series of stories from women and LGBTQ folks. “Why I Hollaback” tells the story of how and why folks decide to take the leap, speak up, and start Holla’ing back. We will release a new story every Monday and accept submissions from all over the world. So tell us your story — Why do you Hollaback?
Great news! Assemblywoman Paulin’s bill to expand the definition of “sexual contact” to include the emission of ejaculate by a person upon any part of a victim, has passed the state Assembly. If the bill becomes law, it would change the definition of sexual contact to include ejaculating on others for the purpose of sexual gratification, allowing police to charge offenders under the harsher sexual abuse laws. Assemblywoman Paulin says, “People who have been attacked in this way endure much of the same trauma that other sexual assault victims sustain. This legislation brings this horrendous act in line with other sexual offenses, therefore extending power to victims to press meaningful charges.”
A sincere thank you on behalf of all the ladies in New York, Assemblywoman Paulin! To get this bill passed, contact your local state Senator. The bill is expected to go through the Senate soon.
We are in the process of developing our new project — Hollaback! — and we want to make sure that it is in line with the needs, wants, and desires of our many Hollabackers! Please take our quick, 11 question survey: Click here to take survey
It won’t take longer than 2 minutes (I promise) and it will help us make sure we are giving you what you need to hollaback faster, stronger, and smarter!