Transcript of Speech given today by Executive Director Emily May at the App Release Press Conference

I want to thank Councilmembers Ferreras, James, Palma, Lander, Levin, and Reyna for their support, but I especially want to thank Speaker Quinn and her team.  This is truly a historic day that wouldn’t be possible without their incredible vision, and on behalf of all New Yorkers, but especially women and LGBTQ folks, I want to say thank you.


As we stand here today, I am mindful that some of you have been sexually harassed during your life. Lewd comments, gestures, threats. Public masturbation, groping.


I am mindful that some of you have been harassed this week… and I am mindful that some of you were harassed today.


And I am also mindful that some of you — especially some of you menfolk out there — have never spent two seconds thinking about street harassment, but that most of the women and LGBTQ in New York City have been thinking about it since they were young.


I wish I could tell you that your experiences in some way unique.  That the harassment you faced at age 12 isn’t being faced by today’s 12 year olds.  But it’s not true.


The truth is, street harassment happens to between 70-99% of women at some point during their lives. And for many — it happens much, much more often.


Harassers love people who they can wield their power over. And if you’ve been harassed throughout your life, you’ve probably come to understand:

This is what is means to be a woman and to walk down the street.

This is what it means to be lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and to walk down the street.

This is what is means to be a person of color, and to walk down the street.


But today marks the beginning of a new understanding:

Even though we face harassment today and tomorrow.  This can and will be changed.


Street harassment is such a widespread issue — and so under-researched. To target this problem, we need ways for New Yorkers to speak up and out  on this issue. And we need Councilmembers that listen.


As recently as yesterday, if you wanted to report harassment in New York City, it would have taken you hours to file the complaint. With many people getting harassed as often as three or four times a day, reporting harassment could quickly turn into a full time job. It’s no surprise that so few reports came through.


Now, whether you’ve experienced harassment yourself or witnessed it and tried to help, you can make a report in under a minute. Your report will be publically available at nyc.ihollaback.org and if you choose — it will also be sent to the NYC Council and to the Councilmember in the district in which you were harassed.


With each report you make — you will make NYC a little more intolerant of the hate that underlies street harassment. And as those reports build and grow, each one strengthening the case of the last, we’ll work with the city to make sure public service announcements are in subway stations and educational workshops take place in schools.

With your support, we can make New York City a place where everyone has the right to walk safely down the street — no matter your race, gender, or expression. It starts with your story.  We’re ready to listen.



App Will Provide New Yorkers the Opportunity to Immediately Report Harassment and City to Identify Possible Trouble Spots That Welcome Crime, Such as Dark Streets and Areas in Need of Repair

(August 19, 2013) – Emily May, Executive Director of Hollaback! was joined by Speaker Christine Quinn, her wife Kim Catullo, and Council Member Diana Reyna today to unveil a new, targeted system to report sexual harassment to New York City Councilmembers via iPhone and Droid app.  Speaker Quinn also released a plan for assessing the safety of neighborhoods across the city, block by block, using community-led safety audits. By gathering information in a coordinated way, the city will be able to better direct resources and more effectively combat harassment.


Quinn stated, “People who violate women either by their actions or words won’t be able to hide any longer. We will know who they are, what they do, where they do it – and we will put it to an end. By coupling valuable information with targeted resources we will arm ourselves with the tools we need to put an end to street violence and harassment. Public spaces belong to all New Yorkers, and street harassment is not a price women and LGBT New Yorkers have to pay for walking around New York City’s neighborhoods.”

This isn’t just an app, this is history. Whether you experienced harassment or you witnessed it and tried to help, your report will make New York City safer for everyone. After we pilot this here, we hope to scale it to cities globally,” said Emily May, Executive Director of Hollaback!.

The app, launched today, will enable users to report valuable information on harassment in real time. The reporting builds on an existing app run by Hollaback!, a non-profit organization that works to end street harassment. The City Council allocated $20,000 last year towards creating an expanded version of Hollaback!’s app. The current app allows users to submit reports of street harassment, assault and violence but is limited to qualitative narratives; expanding the app to include quantitative data will provide new information for evaluation and will allow the city to direct resources where they are most needed.

Information to be collected on the app will include demographics, locational information and information on the specifics of an incident or attack, as well as what, if any, formal reporting process the person went through. With this new tool, New York City will be the first city to undertake an effort to gather the data needed to understand scope of street harassment and how to reduce incidents of harassment.


Quinn also committed to conducting neighborhood audits in order to identify the safety of individual communities and where improvements are needed. The city will work with local community leaders to form teams with a variety of backgrounds and expertise to survey neighborhoods and assess factors impacting safety and the likelihood of street harassment occurring. The surveys will result in increased community engagement and recommendations for concrete improvements specific to each neighborhood’s needs.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, non-contact unwanted sexual experiences including street harassment are the most prevalent form of sexual violence for both men and women. According to a joint study conducted by Hollaback! and the Worker Institute at Cornell University, 96 percent of respondents reported that they or colleague had been targeted by street harassment, with only five percent reporting the incident to security or a city authority.

Hollaback! is a non-profit organization that works to end street harassment and violence by providing training and developing innovative strategies. Since January 2011, Hollaback! has trained more than 200 young people to be leaders in their local communities in the effort to end street harassment.



A week in our shoes: PROCLAIM NO SHAME

Dear Hollabackers —

This week, we had our first annual staff retreat in New Paltz, NY.  We ate vegan chocolate, drank local craft brew, and mapped out our boston1work together over the next year. It’s gonna be our best year yet. Before we left on Monday, Debjani keynoted at the I-CASH conference (International Coalition Against Sexual Harassment) and Emily headed to DC to collaborate with the Women’s Health Network on mapping the movement. Here’s what’s been going on around the world:

Hollaback! Bmore will be hosting PROCLAIM NO SHAME tomorrow! The event will be protesting unrealistic beauty standards, gender norms, and socialized “politeness.”

Hollaback! Ottawa site leader Julie presented on being the underdog at Taking Charge of Change, an event in honor of International Youth Day. Julie was also interviewed on Talking Radical Radio— listen to the whole segment! Ottawa’s


street harassment study was featured in this piece on the Daily Xtra. Ottawa also received press in several pieces about their local transit authority, OC Transpo, failing to take action against the harassment happening on public transportation. Here’s one from the Ottawa Sun, where they were asked to respond to a high-profile sexual assault that occurred at a transit station, and two from the Ottawa Citizen.

Hollaback! Boston is hosting their first Take Back The Bar event tonight. They also had some great blog posts up this week– one about virtual harassment and another in their Introducing! series, where they spoke to Kristen, a local style blogger. They also attended an “anti street hollering” rally in support of another local organization!

Hollaback! Des Moines hosted their 2nd anniversary open mic event last night!

Hollaback! Belfast will be making zines tonight at an event that sounds super cool!

Last but not least, check out this great video by Surayya Diggs, including a lot of great footage of our Anti-Street Harassment Week Rally in Washington Square Park:

HOLLA and out —

The Hollaback team

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HOLLA ON THE GO: “It’s street harassment”

A barrage of BMXers came hurtling toward me walking down a main street in Cardiff. I kept my eyes front facing and held my course. One of them then gets so close he can ROAR in my ear, obviously intending to shock and humiliate, as he and his mates whizz past laughing and disappear. I’m a woman on my own who refused to look down or jump out their way so did he really feel I needed taking down a peg? No chance to react! Why do some men think this is OK? It’s street harassment and its cowardly!

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Dear Hollabackers —

The global revolution rolls on! Debjani is at the “Forging Justice” conference in Detroit, Michigan today, presenting on how employers can better support their staff and clients who face street harassment.  Emily is meeting today with community partners interested in developing a new safety app, and met yesterday with two new partners: The Healing Center about their work to address domestic violence in Sunset Park, and Creative Time and the Brooklyn Museum work with Suzanne Lacy’s new public feminist art project.

The conversation continued in the media, too. Bitch Magazine wrote about HOLLA::Revolution. A blogger at Star of Davida compiled her thoughts on HOLLA::Rev as well: the introduction, part 1, and part 2. Author Yann Patel has dedicated their book Indie: A Female Vigilate to “Hollabacks worldwide!”

HOLLA around the world:

Hollaback! Des Moines  marched and danced with One Billion Rising in the Iowa State Fair Parade this week! They also had an event to discuss personal safety products, which they partnered with local agency Damsel in Defense for. Next week is their anniversary open mic event!

Hollaback! Bmore attended a community meeting for the FORCE – Monument Project to ensure that people remembered that street harassment is on the spectrum of gender based violence. They also interviewed some Bronies at BronyCon about harassment and plan to release a video in early September. Tomorrow they’re carpooling down to Slutwalk DC!

Hollaback! Edinburgh was mentioned in this piece in the Edinburgh News about their report on street harassment.

Hollaback! West Yorkshire had a meeting with Bradford victim support & women’s network as to how to collaborate & work with women outside student community.

Hollaback! Boston had a lot going on this week! On their blog, intern Kayla has a post about porch heckling and site directors Britni and Kate talk about their experience at HOLLA::Rev. The team also went to Boston Comic Con this weekend in support of Hollaback! Philly’s work and you can read their recap of the event, as well as an interview with local cosplayer Lei Ann. Boston also released their first ever survey on street harassment, which was picked up by the Boston Metro. They also received a grant for their T campaign and wrote a piece for local online publication The Media.

Hollaback! London and Hollaback! Brussels are mentioned in this piece about street harassment on Left Foot Forward.

Hollaback! Winnipeg site leader Jodie was on CBC The National talking about trolls, Hollaback!, white privilege, and ‪#‎twittersilence‬ on CBC The National (starts at 8:05). She also gave a TEDx talk on rape culture and sex positivity.

Hollaback! Appalachian Ohio site leader Sarah wrote about her first subway ride— she took it when in NYC for HOLLA::Rev!

Hollaback! Belfast is gearing up for a zine-making event next week!

HOLLA and out —

The Hollaback! team

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Assault, Uncategorized

HOLLA ON THE GO: Unsafe streets

We were walking & holding hands when a man, 20s, 5’8″, muscular, with very short blonde hair, grabbed us & pulled us apart, then gripped my arm & yelled in my face about how we couldn’t hold hands because this is a Christian nation. He was extremely aggressive and clearly looking for an excuse to punch me. We broke away from him, but he did it again 2 blocks later. He threatened to keep following us and prevent us from touching until a bystander stepped in & we slipped away.

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Sponsors of HOLLA::Revolution

HOLLA::Revolution, the first international speaker’s series on street harassment, was held on July 25th at NYU and live-streamed on ihollaback.org/hollarevolution/.  It was an historic event, with 18 speakers presenting topics ranging from “un/doing masculinity: street harassment and boihood” and “media representations of street harassment” to “the future of funding the feminist movement” and “youth organizing around street harassment”.


Hollaback! would like to thank their sponsors for their support in making HOLLA::Revolution happen:


Catapult: Catapult is young crowdfunding platform that’s already making a huge impact for girls and women. Catapult connects a new global audience directly to organizations working on the frontlines for girls and women’s rights. Since launching in October 2012 Catapult has already funded hundreds of projects worldwide. Catapult helps people use the open democracy of the web to choose girls and women’s projects closest to their hearts, and track progress and results. This approach – participating in the solution – is key to today’s young and rising global citizenship movement.

Despaña: Despaña is a New York based food and wine shop and provided us with the beautiful wines for our cocktail hour.

Internet Garage: Internet Garage is a great internet and printing shop in Brooklyn and provided us with the signage for the event.

Lagunitas: Lagunitas is a solid brewing company that supplied the tasty beer for the cocktail hour

Lifeway: Lifeway creates amazing kefir products.  Like all good missions, theirs is simply expressed:  They’re here to provide the best in probiotic and nutritious foods.  They’re here to improve the health of our customers.  And they’re here to leave the world a better place than we found it.  

Thank you again to our sponsors and to everyone who came out to HOLLA::Revolution or watched the live-stream online.


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HOLLA ON THE GO: Truck Whistles

I was waiting outside to leave with my partner and a man whistled at me from a truck. I flicked him off

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Week in our shoes: HOLLA::REV AFTERMATH

Hello Hollabackers!

bust party2Our first ever international speaker series on street harassment was followed by three incredible days with 20 of our global site leaders where we worked together to establish a global agenda for Hollaback!. We were inspired and humbled by their incredible vision for the future.

Check out the press from HOLLA::Revolution: Stop Street Harassment has a recap, as does The Source. Hollaback also gets mentions in this Daily Beast piece, this post on Vitamin W, and Michael Urbina’s list of 101 ways that men can be allies to women.

Here’s #hollarev’s impact in numbers:

  • 2743 Tweets and Facebook posts mentioning “#hollarev” with a 1.8 million potential reach

  • 572 of people watching Ustream

  • 150 people in attendance

  • 17 people who spoke

We also want to thank our incredible summer interns, Maya Flippen and Sarah Scriven for their powerful work this summer. Thanks to them, Hollaback!’s 2013 State of the Streets report is near complete, and Hollaback! will be issuing an intersectional guide to understanding street harassment later this year. Our badass site leader Britni de la Cretaz will be taking over compiling a week in our shoes until our fall interns start. We’re still recruiting, so please apply!

Hollaback Around The World:IMG_1430

Hollaback Boston gives a primer on harassment at geek conventions in preparation for attending Boston Comic Con this weekend!

Hollaback London is working with the soon-to-launch Hollaback ULU (which is the London university system’s new Hollaback). Check out this report they did on campus harassment, it’s phenomenal.

Hollaback Des Moines invites you to two upcoming events: their first is a raffle, fundraiser and discussion of personal safety products (happening August 6) and the other is their 2nd anniversary party, which they’ll be celebrating with an open mic night on August 15th.

Hollaback Philly announced their fall comic book tour stops, which starts this weekend in Boston! Check out the other stops they’ll be making in the Northeast United States. While you’re at it, maybe buy something from their newly launched Etsy store and check out their photos from HOLLA::Revolution!

Hollaback Bmore will be interviewing folks at Bronycon this weekend. They’re looking for help, so stop by if you’re in the area!

Hollaback Appalachian Ohio has photos up from HOLLA::Revolution!

Hollaback Ottawa posted a ton of GREAT photos from the chalk walk led by site leaders from around the world in NYC this past weekend. They also answer questions for parents wondering how they can teach their children about street harassment in this piece on the Yummy Mummy Club and get mentioned in this assessment of their recently released report on harassment on public transit on SSH.

Hollaback Berlin joined site leaders from Ottawa, Boston, & Bmore to talk shop and promote their Cats Against Catcalling compilation on The Third Wave radio show.

Hollaback Halifax was interviewed about HOLLA::Revolution by local publication The Coast.

Hollaback Gent has an interview featuring Hollaback’s Deputy Director Debjani Roy!

HOLLA and out —

The Hollaback! team


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Hollaback! Teams up with Quist App

Hollaback! is proud to be a supporter of the new Quist App that just launched.

Quist is a mobile app that displays events from this day in LGBTQ history.













Historical events in the app paint a picture of how far the LGBTQ community has come over time — how we have been treated, how we have reacted, how our allies have supported us, and how others have worked vehemently to stop the progress. LGBTQ individuals’ contributions to society and events in HIV/AIDS history are also included.

We are a powerful movement – and Quist reminds us how far we’ve come and just how much all of us, as a community of activists from all over the world, can accomplish!

Check in with Quist with their app and share your stories of how allies have supported you on ihollaback.org

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