Street harassment in the media, The Movement

Station Booths Close, Leaving Riders Unprotected

Today’s AMNY article highlights the MTA’ s station booth closures. HollabackNYC recently co-founded New Yorkers for Safe Transit with RightRides, Girls for Gender Equity, and NOW-NYC. New Yorkers for Safe Transit has protested these cuts alongside TBOU, a transit union. HollabackNYC’s Emily May is quoted in the article:

“Without that worker, people are really defenseless,” said Emily May of New Yorkers for Safe Transit, an advocacy group protesting the cuts. “Who are they supposed to reach out to if they are assaulted or harassed?” 

Here are the stats:
186: Station agent positions cut this year
105: Booths closing
65: Booths closing in Manhattan
126: Subway stations without a PA
9: Stations that are also losing a station agent
A: Subway line with the most stations lacking a PA

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Street harassment in the media, The Movement

HollabackNYC co-founder Emily May on the Radio!

On Friday, June 19th I was on WBAI radio, HealthStyles program. To hear the segment, click here. To download the segment, click here. The interview starts around minute 6 and ends around minute 40.

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The Movement

Listen in on Friday to HollabackNYC co-founder Emily May

Friday, June 19, 2009 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM
Click here to hear WBAI live over the internet.

Sick of being on the alert or being harassed on the subway where crimes that are often discrimination-based that disproportionately affect women, minorities and LGBT folk happen? Find out how the MTA hides these crime stats and what to do about it from Emily May co-founder of and New Yorkers for Safe Transit, and co-chair of Girls for Gender Equity.

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The Movement

Crime Behind Closing Doors

This is reprinted from today’s Metro and was written by HollabackNYC co-founder, Emily May.

The MTA’s notoriously sketchy accounting has bled over from their ledgers into their crime stats. For the past three years, the MTA has declared a drop in crime on the subways. This is great news for straphangers — as long as they don’t mind a little harassment, assault or public masturbation on their morning commute.

The MTA’s crime statistics only tell part of the story — tracking felonies, but hiding common, threatening misdemeanors. At a forum on public safety in Chelsea, subway riders spoke out about the persistence of these crimes, which are often discrimination-based and disproportionately affect women, minorities and LGBT folk. Their stories were everyday occurrences. Take Alice, who woke from a morning snooze on the D train last month to find a man masturbating over her; or Elizabeth, a lesbian, who was followed through the station by a man repeatedly shouting “cunnilingus.”

While the experience of harassment and assault is widespread, our access to information on these crimes is severely limited. In 2007, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer’s office released the only report to date on the issue. According to the report, 63 percent of riders are harassed on the subway, and 10 percent are assaulted. With 5 million people riding the subway every weekday, it is fair to say that these crimes are at epidemic proportions.

The MTA’s recent anti-harassment PSAs suggest victims contact an “MTA worker or police officer.” This is an empty gesture; personnel cuts have made station attendants scarce. Riders lucky enough to find help are “ignored” or told “there isn’t much they can do,” according to posts on

The subways have come a long way since the ’70s, but cleaner trains are not necessarily safer. If we are going to herald our improvements in transit safety, “strikes, shoves and kicks,” “following a person in a public place,” harassment and other misdemeanors must be included in the MTA’s crime count. Until we have safety transparency in our subway, these crimes will continue to stand clear of the closing doors.

Emily May is co-founder of and New Yorkers for Safe Transit, and is co-chair of Girls for Gender Equity.Metro does not endorse the opinions of the author, or any opinions expressed on its pages. Opposing viewpoints are welcome. Please send 400-word submissions to
Emily May
is co-founder of and New Yorkers for Safe Transit, and is co-chair of Girls for Gender Equity.

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The Movement

Turnstile Used in Subway Robbery

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The Movement

Taking Back Public Transit: Confronting Violence on Board

After tracking harassment, masturbation, and assault on the New York City transit system for over three years, we decided to take action. We recently co-founded New Yorkers for Safe Transit – the only coalition dedicated to eliminating sexual assault and hate violence—particularly gender- or discrimination-based— within NYC’s public transit system.

In response to an ongoing rash of sexual assaults and harassment occurring in the subways, New Yorkers for Safe Transit (NYFST) is hosting a forum for concerned community members and anti-violence activists to analyze the rampancy of gender-based violence in the New York City public transit system and discuss strategies to address this problem. Please join us:
DATE: Monday, June 8th, 2009
TIME: 7 PM – 9PM
LOCATION: Brecht Forum, 451 West St. (btwn. Bank & Bethune)

Emily May from HollabackNYC, Doyin Ola from RightRides, Veronica Tirado from Girls for Gender Equity, and Cate Contino from the Straphangers Campaign, are expected to speak on issues including budget cuts, organizing straphangers, addressing violence, and making change within our public transit system.

During the forum, participants will share with one another practical ways to avoid, deescalate and prevent violence and harassment on public transit.

Hope to see you there!

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The Movement

Men Who Harass Me: One Woman’s Partial Collection

This is the second in the series.

Submitted by Sally N.

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The Movement

Men Who Harass Me: One Women’s Partial Collection

As part of a new initiative, we are going to be taking an in depth look at one woman’s experiences being street harassed in New York City. We will reveal a new photo each day for the next month. The photos were submitted by Sally N., a New York City resident, and will be posted in chronological order. We believe these pictures tell the story of what it’s like to be a women in the big apple.

This is the first in the series.

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The Movement

Presenting, the FIRSTLADIES of New York City.

a film by Jonah Levy

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The Movement

FIRSTLADY: A celebration of change

HollabackNYC co-founders Kaja Tretjak and Emily May are co-hosting this party on February 12th at Trophy Bar in Williamsburg. Hope you can make it – it’s going to be incredible.

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