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“The Ugly Truth” – Letter to Amanda Todd

Hi Team Hollaback,

You may have read the recent news articles on CBC.CA regarding Amanda Todd, a young girl who lived in British Columbia, Canada. This 15 year old was bullied to death after an older male convinced her to flash her breasts while she was on SKYPE with him. He told her she was beautiful and she wanted his attention and approval.

After Amanda showed her breasts, the man waited a year and then attempted to black mail her. He told her he would send the picture out to all of her friends and family if she did not perform a lewd act on camera. She did not and her picture went viral. After that, the man created a face book page that used Amanda’s breast as his picture. Amanda was bullied relentlessly, moved schools a couple of times, attempted suicide a couple of times and unfortunately succeeded in killing herself at age 15.

While I am very happy that this man has been caught and is being jailed for his behaviour, I think that Canada is missing the main problem. The problem is with our Canadian society and values. We must acknowledge that the individual is only as safe as the community is harmless. In order for this single act to have led to her death our society must have decided it was a heinous act. Here is the ugly list of messages that this young girl received from our misogynistic society;

1. Good women are not sexual women

2. Displaying your breast means you are a person of low morals

3. Persons “low morals” have no right to survive and thrive in our communities

4. Canadians have a right to act as human garbage towards persons of low morals

5. Canadians have the right to marginalize, rape, and torment persons of low morals. (A boy at her second school pretended to like Amanda until he had sex with her. Then, he immediately dumped her and told his girlfriend that Amanda had sex with him. The girls then became vicious, not just mean. That is what I describe as a premeditated, well planned, rape.

6. Men and women in Canada support and embrace misogyny.

It is truly disgusting that Canadian’s do not see that their behaviour was truly barbaric in comparison to a young, 14 year old girl seeking love and attention. Amanda showed her breast to a man who was valuing her and making her feel beautiful. I cannot imagine a more harmless act. Human beings undress in front of each other daily, all 7 billion of us! So let’s get down to what is truly happening here. Male culture is criminalizing female sexuality and women are helping them do it. Amanda did not kill herself because she showed her breasts to a man. She killed herself because she became a target of the human garbage that she lived amongst on a daily basis. What conclusion must we come to? We must conclude that we are truly a heinous group of people who take a great deal of pleasure in hurting others. I can attest to the fact that people never seem to tire of hurting others in large and small ways. I also understand that there are people who do not behave in this manner. Unfortunately, they are rare in this region. So, my question is, can a few really change the nature of many? It is truly a daunting task.

Hollaback, you are a light in the middle of darkness and I am thankful for all of the work that you do. I struggle every day to feel the optimism that you have in your hearts. Being a female in Canada is similar to being a Jewish person surrounded by Nazis. As long as you are controlled and without power, they have no problem with you. The minute you act outside the acceptable range they attack. This is the ugly truth about our society. Clearly no transgression is too small to trigger the hate.

Amanda, I’ve got your back!! So very sorry it is too little too late. All I can do is share your story with people who would have helped you if they had only known about it in time.

With deep gratitude for all that you do Hollaback!!

- Linda Duff

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Help a Holla Out: Donate to Our Campaign Today!

Hollaback! has until midnight tonight to raise 1,500 to bring our site leaders to NYC for #hollarev, the first ever speaker series and workshop retreat on street harassment!  Please support our campaign today!  $10 shows our site leaders that you have their back!

We’ve created thank you videos for all of our amazing donors.  Check out our hula hooping, accordion-playing, and name singing below – and help us add more hula hoops and help out our site leaders!

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And our first promise:

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Thank you to all of our donors and supporters – we can’t do this without you!

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Week In Our Shoes: International Anti-Street Harassment Week Edition!

Hello Hollabackers! It’s International Anti-Street Harassment Week and HOLLAs have been busy. CHECK OUT ALL THIS AWESOMENESS THAT HAS BEEN GOING ON THIS WEEK.

This week, Hollaback! was featured in Athens News (twice!), Philly Mag, The Daily Beast, Frequency, Youth + Tech + Health, The New York Times’ City Room, The TJ ShowMetro News, The Post, Witness Blog, MadmoizelleNoticias Caracol, The Baltimore Sun, Philly.com, and WHYY’s The Pulse. Also! Hollaback! Executive Director, Emily May, led a workshop on leveraging technology to end campus sexual harassment and sexual assault at University of North Carolina at Wilmington.

The Mothership is calling out to all you HOLLA heroes around the world – we need your help to send our site leaders to NYC for HOLLA::Revolution, the first ever speakers series on street harassment! It’s an amazing opportunity that will literally change the way that your community talks about street harassment. But we need your help to get them here. Donate today.

Here’s what HOLLAs around the world have been up to:

Hollaback! Appalachian Ohio has some awesome new street art up! They hosted an art show exhibiting works of art by Hollaback! leaders, women at the regional jail, their after school program called Girl Power, and some community members. The pieces are meant to depict experiences of harassment and a vision of safer streets in the future. AND they celebrated their first birthday at the event! HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! To add, they conducted two self defense classes with the women at Southeast Ohio Regional Jail, completed a 4 lesson series with 24 8th graders at Vinton Middle School, and spoke out through letters to the editor (also here) and attendance at panel discussion on their local Take Back the Night organizers’ decision to allow men to march this year and take away the position of sideline support. They organized with the student group FUCKRAPECULTURE to ensure that sideline support would still happen and encouraged their community to take up that position if they did not feel that they were not personally affected by fear of walking alone at night.

Hollaback! Bogota was invited by a major Colombian TV channel to talk about street harassment, the work of Hollaback!, and the mayor of Bogota’s recent decision to have pink buses for women. You can view the recording (in Spanish!) here.

Hollaback! Bahamas made the front page of The Tribune newspaper on Monday morning for its chalk walk, then took the back page on Tuesday with a write up on the chalk walk. The MP (and High Commission to CARICOM) who adamantly refused to apologize for laughing at a #VAW “joke” made in the House of Assembly finally made an official apology following their emails and phone calls to the CARICOM office. Fianlly, HB! Bahamas has been invited to speak to a 4th year college Sociology class about Street Harassment and Women and the Hollaback! movement. Awesome work!

Hollaback! Baltimore hosted a breakout session at the Baltimore Proud LGBTQIA Leadership Summit.

Hollback! Bosnia and Herzegovina started presenting a set of workshops about street harassment and violence with the students of secondary schools. They’re planning to visit every secondary school in the city of Sarajevo.

Hollaback! Boston facilitated a workshop at A Revolutionary Moment: Women’s Liberation in the late 1960s and 1970s Conference at Boston University. They presented on the history of consciousness-raising and how the Hollaback! movement has adapted it for modern times with mobile technology. They kicked off International Anti-Street Harassment Week with a HOLLAoffline event complete with coffeehouse chatter and movement building, along with a film screening of the documentary War Zone on Tuesday, and the debut of their first zine. They were also on the Mara Dolan radio show with Holly Kearl to discuss street harassment and Meet Us on the Street. Last but not least, they hosted a Take Back the Bar event with Lesley University’s Women’s Center!

Hollaback! Brussels held a chalk walk in recognition of International Anti-Street Harassment Week.

Hollaback! Des Moines guest lectured on street harassment for a Gender and Violence class at Drake University.

Hollaback! Dublin hosted Exploring Street Harassment Through Film where they premiered “Out on the Streets,” a new Irish documentary about street harassment (check out their interview with director Niamh Gaskin here!), as well as showed some short films to facilitate discussions on street harassment and intersectionality in Dublin.

Hollaback! Gent worked with a graphic design student to make these awesome banners! This one says: “When mean words are hollered, you can intervene”. They have four different banners with different themes: consent, bystander intervention and street harassment. Gent community members can find these banners hanging at the Ufo of Ghent, at the KASK building in the Upper Gate and the Geuzenhuis.

Hollaback! Halifax had some of their materials distributed at this comic book shop’s awesome Ladies’ Night – an event staffed by women, for women, and featuring awesome local female comic book creators. They’re also supporting some Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC) students who are planning actions at their campus for today as part of #EndSHWeek. Last but not least, they have been involved with some design students at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (aka NSCAD University). They’re developing poster campaigns to pitch to the Nova Scotia Advisory Council on the Status of Women as a class project. Each poster falls into one of the Council’s area’s of focus: Women and Employment, Women in Leadership, Women’s Health and Well-Being, and Freedom from Violence. The final product of the class project will be online later this month.

Hollaback! Houston tabled at Houston Community College’s Diversity and Inclusion Summit last Friday and participated in a Unity Walk to Kickoff International Anti-Street Harassment Week. They also kicked off this week with showcasing prints by artist, Tatyana Fazlalizadeh, from her “Stop Telling Women to Smile” project. The exhibit will continue to rotate throughout local area shops and cafes each month. On Monday, they recorded a lengthy conversation…even with a sore throat!… with Emiliano Diaz de Leon of TAASA (Texas Association Against Sexual Assault) on the role men play in ending street harassment. An awesome conversation regardless of the sore throat shenanigans. Hope you’re feeling better!

Hollaback! London spoke on BBC World Service about assault and harassment on nights out and they now have 9 cities across the UK and Ireland gearing up to roll out Good Night Out, their safe spaces campaign. Way to go, HB! London!! They’ve also teamed up with Rape Crisis South London for a week long photo project called London Landmarks Against Street Harassment. Using the hashtag #londonloves, participants take a photo of their favorite hollaback or message of support, in front of their favorite London landmark. They upload it on the HB! London website, on the Facebook event, or can Tweet or Instagram it to them @hollabackldn. HB! London will then send them over to the folks behind Meet Us On The Streets where it will be shared on the main site.

Hollaback! Melbourne hosted a night of comedy yesterday called ‘heckleback!‘ which featured some rad female comedians and speakers. They were also on SynFm talking about Heckleback, Snickers and Anti Street Harassment Week.

Hollaback! Montreal will be answering some questions TODAY about anti-harassment week on the Barry Morgan show with Anne Lagace Dowson!

Hollaback! Ottawa facilitated a short brainstorming session to bring together allies to develop concrete messaging around gender-based violence for 2014 municipal candidates.

Hollaback! Philly‘s Executive Director, Rochelle Keyhan, gave the keynote at Swarthmore College’s Take Back the Night. They’re also having a community meeting at Love Park on Anti-Street Harassment day, and their anti-street harassment ads (pictured above!) on Philadelphia transit launched and hit Buzzfeed!

Hollaback! Pittsburgh attended the first annual Pgh Women & Biking Forum where they provided resources.

Hollaback! Tucson‘s week has included a Meet Us On The Mall Kick-Off Event, tabling at a CHOICE Fair, and a Street Harassment 101 workshop at the University of Arizona.

Hollaback! Twin Cities held an Open Mic Night & encouraged attendees to share their thoughts and stories about street harassment through poetry, spoken word, music, and so on.

Hollaback! University of London Union (ULU) launched the Hollaback! Campus Online application system on the Hollaback! ULU Website, designed to easily help unions to gain Good Night Out venue accreditation.

WOW. Amazing work, HOLLAs!!!!

HOLLA and out!

- The Hollaback! Team

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HOLLA ON THE GO: A daily occurence

We daily experienced that verbal harassment while walking !

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Story, Uncategorized, Verbal

HOLLA ON THE GO: Infuriating!

While jogging, I was video tapped, cat called and followed for about 10 minutes. Infuriating!!

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groping, Story, Uncategorized, Verbal

HOLLA ON THE GO: Harassed on the street

Je marche sur le bd Rochechouart entre Pigalle et la rue des martyrs, le long des magasins de musique. Il est midi ou 13h je ne sais plus, il fait beau, c’est septembre. Je suis en jean, basket, petit haut à fleurs. Soudain je sens le truc bizarre, le mec qui arrive en face me mate méchamment (au sens premier), mate mes seins de manière obscène et balance “salope” alors qu’on se croise. Comme ça.

I've got your back!
8+

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HOLLA ON THE GO: Creepers outside my university

Two times waiting outside for my ride in front of my university a hey baby would you tap that and someone telling me to smile….both times I made an extremely angry face…but that’s it…

I've got your back!
15+

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Tweet-up today on race and street harassment: #harassmentis

We’re so excited for our tweetup today! It starts at 1pm EST, please use the #harassmentis hashtag.

Our ALL-STAR list of panelists include:
Soraya Chemaly @schemaly
Patricia Valoy @Besito86
Jamia A. Wilson @jamiaw
Jennifer L. Pozner @jennpozner
Hollaback Boston @hollabackboston
Tatyana Fazlalizadeh (Stop Telling Women to Smile) @fazlalizadeh
Joneka Percentie (SPARK) @jpercentie.
Courtney Young @cocacy

We want to acknowledge that this conversation may be challenging and even triggering to people, and it’s OK to step back and take care of yourself if you need to.   To make this conversation as smart and loving as possible, we have three rules:

1. No woulda coulda shoulda. When someone shares their story, keep any advice you have for what the person should have done in the situation to yourself. We know you’re just trying to help, but street harassment has a way of filling folks with self doubt and they don’t need your encouragement.
2. No personal attacks. This can range from “you deserve it,” to “you’re an asshole.”  We’re all here because we’re against harassment, so let’s not perpetuate those behaviors online.
3. Attack ideas, not people’s stories. If there is idea or a concept that you don’t like, tweet about it. If someone is telling a personal story that you don’t like, please approach their story with sensitivity. If there is a concept behind their story that you disapprove of (i.e. men of color are more likely to be harassers) comment and critique the concept, not the individual.

If you’re new to the conversation on street harassment and race, welcome! Please take some time to read #harassmentis: our guide on how identity impacts the experience of street harassment. Hollaback! Boston has also put together a fantastic reading list that will help you engage in this conversation in a smart and thoughtful way.

If you’re coming in as an ally, we’re happy you’re here. Please remember that sometimes the most revolutionary thing you can do as an ally is listen.

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Week In Our Shoes: HOLLA Is Where The Heart Is Edition

Hello Hollabackers! 

This week, our Executive Director, Emily May, was named an Ashoka Fellow!! Such a great honor. Check out this awesome video introducing her as an Ashoka Fellow, talking about Hollaback! and our work to end street harassment. Congrats Emily!! Also, Hollaback! launched the FIRST EVER Educator’s Guide to Street Harassment. The guide is geared toward teachers, guidance counselors, parents and other educators in New York City who want to address the issue of street harassment amongst middle and high school aged students. Alongside the release, our Deputy Director, Debjani Roy, wrote an article on Huffington Post titled “When Was the First Time You Were Harassed?”.

Here’s what the HOLLAs around the world have been up to: 

Hollaback! Boston will be attending SoJust’s Dating While Progressive event today as a support for anyone who feels uncomfortable and to promote Hollaback!’s safe spaces for all mission!

Hollaback! Appalachian Ohio gave four 45-minute workshops to twenty-seven 8th graders at Vinton Middle School on consent, deconstructing rape culture, gender stereotypes, and bystander intervention. Also, they will be holding a workshop today titled Geography of Street Harassment on the Female Body. Hollabackers Nancy Gomez and Priyanka Kazi will be exploring the relationship between personal experiences of street harassment and the public spaces in which these unwelcome encounters take place. Finally, today they will be distributing the empowering self-love Valentines (pictured above) that they created last week across Athens for students. Feel the HOLLA love!

Hollaback! Czech will be standing up against cyber bullying today. Join them in acknowledging the importance of cyber violence, strengthening the laws against it,  and demanding justice for victims.

Hollaback! Des Moines had a special Monthly Meetup this week where they were joined by representatives from One Iowa to discuss health care needs of LGBTQ folks in the Des Moines area. They have meetups on the second Tuesday of every month. Make sure to check out the next one in March! The will also be participating in the second annual V-Day One Billion Rising flash mob with One Billion Rising DSM and Kees Camp TODAY in the downtown skywalks!

Hollaback! Melbourne has a new home! Thanks to generous sponsorship, their office will now be located at The Electron Workshop in North Melbourne. The Electron Workshop is an inclusive and accessible co-working space in North Melbourne, with an emphasis on openness, collaboration, and building mutually beneficial relationships. They have a commitment to supporting women in business and are a welcoming and safe space. Congrats!

Hollaback! Philly has announced the presenters for their upcoming speaker series on human sex trafficking of domestic girls with various experts from across the country.  Speakers include John O’Neill (a homicide prosecutor in the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office), Tina Frundt (survivor of human trafficking, Frederick Douglass Award winner, and founder of Courtney’s House), and Dr. Mary Anne Layden  (psychotherapist and Director of Education at the Center for Cognitive Therapy at the University of PA). O’Neill’s talk, entitled “How They Got There: dispelling myths about prostitution and sex trafficking”, will clarify the very engrained myths about prostitution and human trafficking. She will be speaking about her experiences with trafficking, both at the survivor and service provider levels. Frundt will be speaking about her experiences with trafficking, both at the survivor and service provider levels. Finally, Layden’s talk will focus on the beliefs surrounding male sexual demand and their contribution to the commercial sexual exploitation of sex trafficking in the United States. This series sounds amazing!!

Super exciting things happening in the HOLLA world! Til next week-

HOLLA and out!

- The Hollaback! Team

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Story, Uncategorized, Verbal

HOLLA ON THE GO: Harassed while driving

I was driving to school, and a few men on the back of a garbage truck started yelling “hey sexy!” until I drove away.

I've got your back!
10+

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