Interview conducted by Lauren Bedosky.
When did you start your holla?
In October, 2011.
Why start a HOLLA and what does Hollaback mean to you?
Street harassment is a real problem in Bogotá, and in Colombia in general. We wanted to make people aware of this problem. We thought that starting a Holla was a great first step to make change.
HOLLAfact about your city:
In Bogotá, there is a transportation system called Transmilenio, where women are harassed on a daily basis. Many people in Bogotá think that street harassment is women’s fault, that it is caused by the way women dress or behave. Many men in Colombia think that street harassment is a compliment, and that women who don’t like it are “crazy feminists who hate men.”
Say you’re Queen for the day. What would you do to end street harassment?
We would teach children (boys and girls) to respect each other and understand why street harassment is not a compliment. We would also offer training sessions for teachers and do campaigns to eradicate street harassment.
What was your first experience with street harassment?
I was on a farm playing with animals when I was eleven years old. One of the farmers was standing behind me and grabbed me all of a sudden. He fondled my breasts, which were just starting to grow. I ran away, cried, felt terrible, and pretended it never happened.
What’s your signature Hollaback?
I ask the harasser if we know each other. When he says no, I ask why he thinks it’s ok to talk to me like that. When I am not in a good mood, or am feeling sick of them, I just show them the middle finger…
My superheroine power is…
What is your proudest holla moment so far?
Several people we never met know about Hollaback and talk about it in public.
What do you do when your not holla’ng?
Marcela is a lawyer, currently completing a PhD in Law. Nathalie is a college student and vegan activist. Maria is a university professor.
If you could leave the world one piece of advice, what would it be?
Respect other people.
What inspires you?
In the year 2020, street harassment…
Will still be a problem, but hopefully people will understand it is a problem.
Published on March 14,2013 at 6:25 pm in Uncategorized
I moved to a new town last summer and met a boy on my swim team. Although he appeared nice at first, I was soon informed thay he was a little “off.” I soon understood what this met. Even when I told him I was busy he would not stop texting me, and although he lived fourty five minutes away from me, he even showed up at my house. I eventually stopped returning his texts, so he joined the cross country team because he thought we needed to “catch up.” Needless to say, we do not speak.
Published on March 14,2013 at 4:46 pm in Uncategorized
A man on a bike was saying gross things to me and I ignored him. Maybe 20 seconds later he circled back again and followed me on his bike as I crossed the street. Felt threatened, he was angry I was ignoring him.
Published on March 8,2013 at 8:43 pm in Uncategorized
Happy International Women’s Day! I’m sending all the women and supporters-of-women much love today. I hope you are all celebrating and holla’ing with full hearts and voices on this very awesome day. Here’s what we’ve been up to this week at the mothership:
- Our board member Allison Sesso represented us at the Women’s Equality Rally in NYC with Speaker Christine Quinn and other local Electeds.
- Our board member and director of Hollaback Philly Rochelle Keyhan represented us and Hollaback Philly at the UN’s CSW.
- I represented Hollaback! in a Gender-Based Violence Google Hangout sponsored by Half the Sky Movement‘s Community Ambassador and College Ambassador Programs. The panel included David Lee of Prevent Connect and Jane Stapleton of Prevention Innovations at the University of New Hampshire. It was an invigorating discussion, and you can check it out here!
- Debjani, our deputy director, spoke with out soon-to-launch sites in Ohio (USA), Belfast (Ireland), Antwerp (Belgium), LA (USA), Bosnia Herzegovina, Toronto (Canada), Nagpur (India), Athens (Georgia, USA), Hamilton (Canada), and Chemnitz (Germany). Along with our awesome intern Jae, I spoke with our sites in London (UK), Baltimore (USA), Pathenkot (India), Melbourne (Australia), and Atlanta (Georgia, USA).
- I had the opportunity to meet with the incredible Esta Soler from Future without Violence and attended the National Center for Women in Technology’s social for young women entering the field.
- Hollablogger Rita Pasarell holla’d back after an incident of street harassment turned violent in Berkeley early this past Sunday.
Its no secret that Hollaback! has been on a ROLL lately, with many many sites making incredible strides every week! Welp, this week was no different–another beautifully busy week for our Hollas around the world:
- Hollaback! Edinburgh made this awesome video answering the question, “What would you say to someone who street harasses?” On the site this week, Nadine announces their IWD event, “I Just Wanna Dance” and her personal history with dance venues and harassment.
- Hollaback! Brussels did a HOLLAWho? interview this week. Find out how Brussels site leader Ingrid got started with Hollaback! and what gets her going.
- Hollaback! Buenos Aires is raising awareness about the presence of harassment in the lives of cisgender people as well as homosexual and trans folks. As bad as the situation already is for cisgendered women, the situation often gets even worse for those of us who present ourselves in a way that others find “different.”
- Hollaback! Melbourne is rockin’ and rollin’ with their first official edition of Takedown Tuesday! Also, Hollaback! Melbourne is looking for volunteers! Spread the word, hollas!
- Hollaback! Alberta tabled at the 2nd annual Equality and Women in Alberta Conference at Grant MacEwan University. They sat alonside many other wonderful local Edmonton based organizations.
- Hollaback! Montreal announces their Internatonal Womens Day screening of the film “Status Quo? The Unfinished Business of Feminism in Canada”. Great choice and definitely a must-watch.
- Hollaback! Ottawa visited De La Salle high school to talk with students about street harassment. As an in-class project, hollas asked the students to come up with their own Holla responses to street harassers. Check out what students came up with!
- Hollaback! Winnipeg discussed the meaning of safety on their site this week. Winnipeg’s discussion elaborates on the Spectator Tribune’s recent articles on what it means to be safe.
- Hollaback! Croatia just released an AWESOME video titled “Video about street gender based harassment.” They made the video after completing their recent survey on how street harassment affects women and LGBTQUIA people from day to day. WOW, Croatia! The site is also saluting Women’s Help Now, an organization that has, for 25 years, provided shelter for abused women and children.
- Hollaback! Chandigarh is holla’ing back with a condemnation of the police’s recent attack of a woman who had come to them to report sexual harassment. You can read Chandigarh’s coverage of the violent and upsetting episode here. There is a bit of good news though: since the incident, four cops have been suspended from their positions. Good riddance.
- Hollaback! Bogota recently sent a letter to the District Department of Women in Bogotá, Colombia. They just heard back and have been invited to meet with them! Super exciting!
- Hollaback! Boston applauds the new Tumblr badass, Princess Walnut. Basically, Princess Walnut is a street harassment super shero. Definitely check her out! Britni also wrote a powerful piece on Boston’s site asking a very important question: Why don’t our male partners get more upset when men harass or violate us?
- Hollaback! Des Moines announces a month full of events. Happy hour and presentations galore! On a darker note, Iowa’s governor just introduced legislation that would protect LGBT bullying and harassment as religious freedom. Good lord. Des Moines needs our solidarity now more than ever. Let’s take this on, hollas!
- Hollaback! Philly has reached the halfway point in their comic book campaign. Keep those donations coming! Illustrations and script writings are well underway. Can’t wait for the finished product, hollas!
Thanks for all you do — and have a wonderful International Women’s Day!
HOLLA and out -
Published on March 8,2013 at 12:35 pm in Uncategorized
During my senior year in high school, I needed a caffeine boost while doing homework late at night, so I drove to the gas station nearest to my house. A man was standing in the parking lot when I pulled up. As soon as I turned off my car, he walked over to it, said “Hey, baby,” and reached for the door handle. Luckily, I was able to lock it in time. When he couldn’t open the door, he gave me a look as if to say, “Why you gotta be like that”. I drove to the station down the road.
Published on March 8,2013 at 11:40 am in Uncategorized