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Hollaback! Brussels speaks in front of the EU Parliament about street harassment! And so much more.

brusselsateu

With the movement to end street harassment stronger than ever, here’s some a quick recap of our progress this February:

Our apps won the “Top three safety apps of 2013!” A big thank you and congratulations to Jill Dimond, our Hollaback! developer, as well as volunteers and site leaders Josephine Hall and Amy Palamountain for their hard work.

Thirteen of our sites took action for ONE BILLION RISING, and 18 sites held separate events in their community.  Hollaback! Alberta screened “Invisible War” at the local theatre, Hollaback Bmore held a “Terrible Two birthday bash,”  Hollaback! London spoke at the Reclaim the Night anti-Rape march in Cambridge, Hollaback! Brussels participated in a day of solidarity with LGBTQ organizations to contest the Russian Federation’s potential passing of discriminatory legislation that would limit the rights of the Russian LGBTQ community.

Site leaders advocated to get street harassment on the legislative agenda in the EU and in the Capital of Canada.  Hollaback! Ottawa met with City Councillor Diane Deans and the Chief Constable of OC Transportation to talk about sexual harassment on public transit and Hollaback! Brussels spoke at the European Parliament and met with a representative of the European Women’s Lobby. We’ll keep you posted on their progress.

Poland, NYC, and Brussels called out sexist politicians.  When NYC Mayor Bloomberg said, “I know for a fact that any self-respecting woman who walks past a construction site and doesn’t get a whistle will turn around and walk past again and again until she does get one,” Hollaback quickly released a public statement demanding an apology. When Assemblymember Vito Lopez was outed for repeatedly harassing his staff, HollabackNYC responded with a firm public statement demanding that he step down. Similarly, Hollaback Poland struck back against politician Janusz Palikot’s sexist language, and Hollaback! Brussels stood up against a sexist German politician.

13 sites received press from 18 media outlets. Hollaback! New York City was in MS Magazine’s article “How Some Men Harass Women Online and What Other Men Can Do to Stop It”,  The Story Exchange, Vice Magazine, and on the Pure Imagination radio show, listen in,  Hollaback! Istanbul was in the Washington Post and site leader Ezgi Cincin was on Turkish national television,  Hollaback! Philly’s site leader Rochelle Keyhan was featured in a documentary titled Trigger Warning, Hollaback! San Francisco’s site director, Michelle Seivers, went ON THE AIR this past Monday on 91.7 KALW “Your Call” to discuss the recent attacks on women in the Bay Area, Hollaback! Winnipeg‘s director, Jodie Layne, spoke out about policies in schools that try to control women’s bodies and choice of clothing in Thursday’s article, “Leggings Off Limits” in the Winnipeg Free Press, Hollaback! Halifax was on CBC Maritime Noon, Hollaback! Brussels got an awesome shout out on the blog Brussels is Love, Hollaback! Gent’s Ilse wrote a great response to an article in De Standaard online publication, and Hollaback! Berlin was featured in the German blogs Femgeeks and Antiprodukt.

Thanks for all your support! You keep us moving,

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HOLLAWho? Meet Berlin.

Meet Julia Brilling, Hollaback! Berlin site leader.

Interview conducted by Lauren Bedosky

When did you start your holla?
I started my/our holla in 2011 with my friend Claudia after coming across the Hollaback! London site. We just knew “WE NEED THIS HERE” and so we did.

Why start a HOLLA and what does Hollaback mean to you?
“Why” is easy to answer: because I was tired! It was by going through Hollaback’s submission when I started I wasn’t alone. And it made me feel stronger. So, it means a lot. It means being empowered, it means feeling safer, it gives me confidence, it means community and it means, “WE are making a difference!” We are here, we are many, and we are not going to be silent anymore. I love being part of the worldwide Hollaback! community btw :)

What was your first experience with street harassment?
I cannot really recall the very first one, but one situation stuck in my mind. It was when I was about 13/14 years old and my friend M. came to school and told me what had happened to her last morning on the train we usually get on. She said there was man who would sit very close to her and she was already uncomfortable, and he started to wiggle around and touch her and she felt even worse. And the she saw he was sitting next to her, one of his hands on her thigh now and the other on his dick, getting off. She was terrified, she said, unable to move. She told me and I was horrified as well, afraid to get on that train again. And worst, I couldn’t tell anyone.

What’s your signature Hollaback?
I don’t have one. But I like to say that ignoring dickheads on the streets is always a good ‘response’. Giving them ‘the evil eye’ works too, sometimes.

What is your proudest holla moment so far?
I intervened once on a crowded train when nobody stepped up. I was scared as hell, but I did it. Bam.

What do you do when your not holla’ng?
Everyday I’m holla’ing! I work, I live, I encounter sexism 24/7 and I fight back.

If you could leave the world one piece of advice, what would it be?
Be proud of the changes you are making.

What are you excited about in 2013?
Nothing too specific, I am just happy to go with the flow, see how Hollaback! develops, and happy to be working with some super-inspiring people on this.

What inspires you?
My fellow Hollas!

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New App Helping LGBT Youth Brings History to Life!

LGBToday

A new mobile app called LGBToday will engage the LGBT community in their shared history and help isolated LGBT youth feel less alone. The creator of the project, Sarah Prager, says that LGBT history helped her through the darkest parts of her life: “Knowing that people like the Stonewall rioters put their lives on the line so that I could live more safely today inspired me. It not only helped me through some tough times, it is what made me become an activist.”
Each day when a user opens the app, they will see an event from LGBT world history that occurred on that date. It could be that on this day the first openly gay world leader was elected or that sodomy was decriminalized in the UK. From Oscar Wilde being put on trial after being charged with homosexuality to Ellen coming out, the stories will come to life with images, video, newspaper clippings, and links. The historical events featured in the app will be fully inclusive of all communities, countries, and centuries. The mission of the app is to educate the world about the roots of the LGBT community, make LGBT history more engaging and relevant, let LGBT youth know that others have shared their struggle, and promote organizations that make LGBT history today and every day. As a partner, we will receive free ads in the mobile app and website www.lgbtoday.com.
Chip in what you can today at www.indiegogo.com/lgbtoday and then help spread the word. All donations above the funding goal will go towards keeping the app online once it has launched. The deadline to donate is this coming Tuesday, March 5!
You can connect with LGBToday at www.facebook.com/lgbtoday and www.twitter.com/lgbtodayapp.

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Week In Our Shoes: WE’RE ON FIRE!

Hey everyone–

This week here in New York City, a young gay man was approached and beaten by six strangers on the subway. The incident happened on a train car FULL of people who did nothing to help him. You can read Laura’s statement here about the tragic incident. TheBystander Pic six-on-one public beating that began as “just” another episode of harassment, is a truly shaking reminder of the power and responsibility of bystanders. Whether the situation is street harassment or other kinds of violence, bystanders don’t have to get hurt to get involved. Usually all a situation needs is someone to speak up, even in just a few words, to stop the escalation of harassment. Find out how to be the best bystander ever through the I’ve Got Your Back campaign on our site.

Women’s History Month is March and starting just a few days! This is an awesome opportunity to let your imaginations run wild with ideas on programming, events, and all kinds of fun street harassment awareness-raising projects.

Also, just a heads up, Anti-Street Harassment week is April 7-13! Check out Meet Us On The Street to find out ways to participate.

This week, Hollaback! got a shout out in GOOD, in the amazing Courtney Martin’s recent article discussing data collecting and social trends. Very awesome!

More awesomely, check out what our hollas of the world are up to:

Hollaback! Berlin was interviewed on FSRN last week during One Billion Rising. The report covers V-Day all around the world and our hollas are the voice of Berlin! YAY! The site also made a pretty fantastic looking “No means no” (Nein bedeutet nein) poster. Check it out!

Hollaback! Czech Republic has completed their One Billion Rising VIDEO! Our site leader Gail Whitmore is featured 2 minutes in — congrats Gail!

Hollaback! Poland just published their research in the University of Oslo Centre for Gender Research Academic Bulletin (check out the last page). The study was done by Hollaback! Poland site leaders Joanna Roszak and Greta Gober. The results clearly demonstrate that harassment in public spaces is a widespread phenomenon in Poland, and at the same time, largely unaddressed in Polish legislation and public debates. Awesome work, Hollaback! Poland.

Hollaback! Halifax’s site leader, Rebecca, wrote a public statement addressing Halifax police department’s new crime mapping method’s limited usability and its exclusion of sexual assault as a public safety risk. Hollaback has a critical role as an important viewpoint when it comes to issues of public safety. Way to hollaback, Halifax!

Hollaback! Buenos Aires was featured in The Occupied Times this week! The article, titled “Organising Ourselves to Beat Harassment” was written by our Buenos Aires site leader Inti Maria. The piece details the establishment and growth of ¡Atrévete! BA, or Hollaback! Buenos Aires. This week, the site also did a beautiful tribute to the esteemed feminist Audre Lorde. Check her out!

Hollaback! Melbourne wrote a pretty awesome post this week about what it means to be male versus what it means to be female when dealing with street harassment.

Hollaback! Brussels covered last Thursday’s One Billion Rising events. Check out what Hollaback! Brussels was up to for V-Day 2013!

Hollaback! Ottawa is continuing their fight against harassment on public transit. After meeting with City Hall last thursday about the issue, the site wants to come up with a community plan addressing harassment on transit. If you have some ideas for Ottawa, holla at them via ottawa@ihollaback.org

Des Moines

Hollaback! Boston has been covering some awesome art on street harassment. Check out the work by the amazing Tatyana Fazlalizadeh on the site.

Hollaback! Des Moines’ site leader, Becca Lee, was honored as an official “Vagina Warrior” by Drake University’s Student Activists for Gender Equality. Site leaders also joined a group of community organizations to talk with attendees about anti-violence initiatives, healthy relationship dynamics, and safe, consensual sex. Great job!

Hollaback! Israel did a HOLLAWho? Interview with Chloe Safier this week. Read all about Talya from Hollaback! Israel, how the site got started, and why she hollas.

HOLLA and out –

Emily

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One Gay Man Holla’s Back, While Another Lands in Hospital

by Lauren Bedosky, HollaBlogger

Recently, two incidents have occurred aboard the New York City subway system. The first occurred February 16, and might not have come to light had a passenger not uploaded a video recording on YouTube of a preacher shouting anti-gay propaganda to a subway car full of people. In the video, you can hear the preacher shouting homophobic speech to a subway car full of passengers, while another passenger continues to talk over him loudly, repeating phrases such as “Jesus is love,” and “You are a false prophet.” The video is 2 minutes 31 seconds long, and at about the 1:36 mark, the dissenting passenger stands in the middle of the aisle in front of the preacher and declares, “I am a man, and I am a good man, and I am a gay man!” Throughout the video, the other passengers merely look on, some with their phones out to record the scene. By the end, however, the gay man receives cheers and applause for his bravery.

Meanwhile, the second incident had a violent ending. On February 18, Urena Morel Frankelly, 23, was physically assaulted by six passengers while riding the No.2 train with his partner. In the events leading up to the assault, a female passenger took a photo of Frankelly and his partner. When Frankelly confronted the woman, asking why she was taking their picture, the woman and her friend began hurling homophobic slurs at them. An argument ensued, and six passengers attacked Frankelly while the rest of the passengers looked on. Frankelly’s partner attempted to intervene, yet could not prevent Frankelly from getting punched repeatedly. The pair managed to escape the train when it stopped at West 96th St., and immediately called the police. The attack is now being investigated as a hate crime.

In both the events described, bystanders largely failed to take action. Only in the first event did bystanders offer the slightest bit of support, and even then the support was meager. However, the person who uploaded the video of the incident should be thanked for her efforts to promote the man’s bravery. In the second event, it is almost hard to believe that a hateful assault like that could occur aboard a train without interference, yet it is the unfortunate reality that heterosexual women, lesbian women, gay men, transsexual and transgendered individuals, and many others must guard themselves against on a daily basis.

There is a need for more people standing up to those who spread hate and those who harass. Bystander support is invaluable in the fight for claiming safe public space for all.

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HOLLAWho? Meet Israel.

Meet Talya of Hollaback! Israel. Talya

Interview conducted by Chloe Safier

When did you start your holla?
Our holla started 3 years ago.

Why did start a HOLLA and what does Hollaback mean to you?
After a young woman was harassed on the street to the point she was knocked over and physically hurt, she was looking for support on the internet, but did not find anything for the Israeli, Hebrew-speaking audience. This young woman is the founder of Hollaback!Israel and an active co-editor to this day.

HOLLAfact about your city:
Israel being such a small country, our hollback site does not represent a single city in Israel, but all them. In the past 3 years we have published nearly 400 holla’s.

Say you’re Queen for the day. What would you do to end street harassment?
Hand out water-sprinklers to women on bus stations. If they were to be harassed, they can spray water on their harasser, hopefully cooling their heads down.

What was your first experience with street harassment?
When I was about 19, I used to walk past a coffee shop every day in my army uniform, on my way to the bus station. And every day, the regular customer sitting there would call at me in a sing-song voice: “Hey soldier girl!” It took me time to notice I walk a tiny bit faster every time I come near this coffee shop. It took me time to realize I’m bothered by this, and that it’s was not ok. I never answered back; maybe if a Hollaback! site existed at the time, I would have had the awareness and the guts to shut him up.

What’s your signature Hollaback?
Lucky for me, I don’t get harassed so often that I have to equip myself with a “signature hollaback”. But to be frank, I’m not sure such thing exists.

My superheroine power is…
From a young age, I have taken part in fields mostly related to boys – I was one of the only girls in advanced math classes. I have been one of the only women in Math and Computer science degree – both B.Sc and M.Sc.. I was the one of the only women-programmers in the companies I’ve worked for (and for about a year, the only one). Though I have to prove myself each and every single day, it is my small share in showing that “girls can, too”. This is my superpower.

What is your proudest holla moment so far?
I was dancing in a party when a complete stranger suddenly approached me and gave me a kiss on the lips. I was in complete shock – we did not even share eye contact prior to that. I acted on an instinct, and punched him straight in the face. I am not saying that violence is a good answer, but in that moment I was proud in knowing that (A) I have explicitly expressed my discontent publicly and (B) I made him feel shocked and embarrassed, much like he did to me. Ahh, sweet revenge

What do you do when your not holla’ng?
I am a product manager for a hi-tech company, but my “keep me sane” hobby is drawing.

If you could leave the world one piece of advice, what would it be?
Be rational; base your actions and reactions on rational thinking.

What inspires you?
As a feminist, I’m inspired by feminists groups on Facebook, by blog writers, and by my co-editors on the hollaback site.

In the year 2020, street harassment…
Will not end. But people, men and women, will have much more awareness to it than nowadays, and will therefore be equipped with much more tools to avoid, confront and shame street harassers.

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Today is One Billion Rising!

OBR

We at Hollaback! are proudly partnered with One Billion Rising, the global campaign to end violence against women! Join our site leaders as they take to the streets around the world:

Hollaback Des Moines, IA, USA. Site leaders Becca Lee and Alysa Mozak are coordinating a flash mob and community booth with their partners at Drake University, Iowa Coalition Against Sexual Assault, and Kees Camp Fitness Studio.

Hollaback Gent, Belgium. Site leader Eglantine Henderick is coordinating a flash mob, dance workshop, and afterparty w/ performances, DJ sets, exhibitions and an auction in partnership with One Billion Rising Ghent.

Hollaback Czech. Site leader Gail Whitmore is coordinating a photo project where they will gather on the steps of the National Museum on Wenceslas Square and silently rise. Gail will speak and her co-organizer will recite Eve’s new piece. They are working in coalition with One Billion Rising Prague, which includes members Ozvi se! / HollaBack! Czech, V-Day Prague International Voice, Czech Women’s Lobby, and proFem.

Hollaback Brussels. Site leaders Ingrid, Anna, Julie, and Angelika are coordinating a “Circle of Women and Those that Love Them,” outside on the street where they will share ideas on what a world in which we rise looks like. The event will be followed by a short ‘chalk-walk’ where attendees, armed with chalk, will make clear that a world without street harassment is not OK!.They will end the walk at Central Station in Brussels, where live music will play and together, they will dance.  The event will be supported by Slutwalk Belgium.

Hollaback Baltimore, MD, USA.  Site leader Shawna Potter is tabling at the One Billion Rising Reception after a performance of the Vagina Monologues at the Maryland Institute College of Art.

Hollaback Richmond, VA, USA. Site leader Jenn Chicapea Gallienne is coordinating a march and holding a benefit at a local lesbian bar. They are working in partnership with One Billion Rising RVA.

Hollaback Italia. Site leader Chiara De Serviis is coordinating a flash mob in Milan city centre together with other women’s organizations, including One Billion Rising Milan.

Hollaback Sheffield, UK. Site leaders Kate Blamire and Maria Cansella are helping out with One Billion Rising in Sheffield UK, and doing a  reading of ‘True’ at the Sheffield One Billion Rising performance of ‘A Memory, A Monologue, A Rant and A Prayer.’”

Hollaback Dresden, Germany. The team is coordinating a public dance in coordination with One Billion Rising Dresden.

Hollaback Victoria, Canada.The team is meeting in Bastion Square for dancing and music and will be dancing their way to Library Square in coordination with their partners: One Billion Rising Victoria, Sexual Assault Centre, and Women’s Transition House and Island Sexual Health.

Hollaback Chandigarh, India. The team is hosting a panel and a self-defense workshop from 3:30 to 5:30 PM at the auditorium of Government Museum and Art Gallery. The second part of the event includes street-play and dances from 5:30 to 7:00 PM.

Hollaback San Francisco, CA, USA.  The team is coordinating a flash mob Prayerdance at the Civic Center Demonstration from 5 to 6pm. Then, Beyond Borders: The Official V-Day Flash Mob After Party in San Francisco will be taking place at El Rio at 6:30.  They are working with partners El Rio, One Billion Rising SF, Code Pink, NOW SF, Global exchange, NCLRights, Amnesty International, APIQWTC, QWOCMAP, Hollaback! SF, CSC, Fabulosa, Mango, and SFDK.

Join us, as we celebrate globally!

-The Hollaback Team

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HOLLAWho? Meet NYU.

Meet Sarah Khan, NYU Sarah Khan hollabacker and advocate fighting street harassment around New York City.

Interview conducted by Krista Bedosky

1. Why did you start a HOLLA and what does Hollaback mean to you?

Women deal with street harassment daily here in NYC, yet we don’t openly acknowledge or discuss it. Hollaback is a chance to empower women and bring them together to talk about their experiences.

2. What was your first experience with street harassment?

When I was 11 I used to walk around my neighborhood with a best friend and we would get honked, leered, and yelled at by men as old as 50 all of the time. It’s a quiet suburb with no sidewalks, so there would be no one else around to stand up for us. It was the first time I connected being female with being in danger.

3. What’s your signature Hollaback?

I keep steady, aggressive eye contact instead of looking scared or pretending like it isn’t happening. It’s the one thing I’ve done that actually works.

4. If you could leave the world one piece of advice, what would it be?

Don’t worry too much about other people’s advice.

5. What inspires you?

I’m inspired by anyone who struggles to do something despite his or her fears.

6. In the year 2020, street harassment…

will be recognized as a widespread issue that many women face every day.

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Hollaback! Baltimore Interviews

Interview conducted by Rita Pasarell 

Shawna

Shawna

Here’s what Shawna and Melanie of Hollaback! Baltimore had to say about their city, being queen for a day, and how they HOLLA:

When did you start your HOLLA?

Shawna: February of 2011…
Melanie: … and I joined in May 2012.

Why did you start a HOLLA and what does Hollaback mean to you?

S: I wanted to do more. It was a perfect time in my life to connect with Hollaback! because I was living outside the city, had a boring job and my band at the time was inactive. I needed to get involved and do something that mattered.

M: To me, Hollaback means standing up for yourself and others like you by letting harassers know that just because their crimes are socially silenced and ignored, doesn’t mean we, the ones affected, are just gonna take their bullshit.

HOLLAfact about your city: 

Melanie

Melanie

S: We’re about to win the Superbowl! Hahaha [editor’s note: Shawna correctly predicted the future. Don’t mess with her.]
Say you’re Queen for the day. What would you do to end street harassment?
S: Unfortunately in our society there is no “equal to the crime” level of punishment. I would suggest a “if you haven’t got anything nice to say” strategy, whereby anyone who leers would lose their ability to see for an hour. Say something vulgar? No talking for you for a while. Dare to follow or touch a stranger inappropriately and we’re not going to let you use your hands for evil while in public.

M: I would gather all men and boys of Baltimore into a giant room and tell them stories that hopefully put them in women & LGBT folks’ shoes so they finally GET it! And since I’m queen, they totally will.

What was your first experience with street harassment?

S: I can’t recall the actual first time, but that probably speaks to how young I was when it occurred. I’m sure at the time I didn’t have the language, knowledge, or self-confidence to name it as street harassment, but I do have one clear memory as a 16 year old. I was filling up my gas tank, a new driver, and a man who was obviously too old for any contact between us to be appropriate whistled, leered at me and said something about giving me a ride. Gross euphemism intended, ugh.

M: I cannot even remember. I do remember feeling icky and self-conscious in public by my last year in middle school. By the time I was in college, street harassment was just another shitty thing that happened a lot. I remember every morning in college being terrified and angry at this one man who would sit on a bench outside my apartment complex and whistle, wink, wave, nod and stare me down on my walk to class.

What’s your signature Hollaback?

S: “Fuck you”

M: Depends. I’d love to yell and shout at them, but honestly I am scared at what will happen if I do, so I usually ignore them. Then I post my story on Hollaback.
What is your proudest holla moment so far?
S: Last year we did some mud-stenciling at the Inner Harbor (a very high traffic area) and we had so many women come up and tell us how wonderful it is that someone like us is out in Baltimore trying to do something about street harassment. Basically, they were happy that they were not alone, that our existence validated all their experiences with street harassment. That connection to the community always feels amazing.

M: When I did my first two hollaback in-person meetings at a cafe in the city, I had no idea if anyone was going to show up at all, but each time I had at least 2 or 3 people that I didn’t know come and engage in really wonderful conversation about activism, street harassment and all of that great stuff. I was so proud that I found even just a few new hollaback allies!

What do you do when you’re not holla’ing?

S: I yell for War On Women, a feminist punk band, and I help run Big Crunch Amp & Guitar Repair with my partner in crime and life.

M: I’m a Safehouse Advocate in a DV shelter.

If you could leave the world one piece of advice, what would it be?
S: In the words of Bill and Ted, “be excellent to each other”.

What are you excited about in 2013?

S: Touring with my band in western Europe this April and trying to meet up with my fellow Hollabackers on their home turf!

M: Bmore’s 2 yr old birthday bash in February!

What inspires you?

S: Every hollaback, every male ally, and all my fellow site leaders around the world. And wine and chocolate.

M: Activist movements like Act Up and Occupy (and a zillion others). It’s comforting to know that everything doesn’t happen overnight, but sometimes the change we create just takes us a while to recognize for ourselves. It’s also hard to not burn out when you’re so fired up and emotionally connected to a cause, but these other movements were not perfect, they had both their strengths and weaknesses while still making a huge difference in the world. That’s a relief for me when I am super frustrated and feeling like I’m just not doing enough.

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Hollaback! Boston Interviews

Interview conducted by Chloe Safier

Boston Team

hbbostoncrew

In the photo from left to right: Britni Clark, Kate Ziegler, Angela Della Porta, Devon Audie, Jane Carper.

When did you start your holla?

Devon: After a summer and fall full of planning and Hollaback! webinars, Hollaback! Boston launched in December, 2011.

Why did you start a HOLLA and what does Hollaback mean to you?

Britni: I wanted to start a HOLLA because I couldn’t believe that Boston, a big city with busy public transportation, didn’t have one. I knew that if I experienced a lot of harassment on a daily basis that chances were that other women did, too. Hollaback means that I don’t have to take it and that we can start to change this pervasive idea that receiving street harassment is just this thing that you have to deal with when you’re female and in public spaces. It means that I have the power to help change the conversation.

Jane: For personal reasons, I started Hollaback! Boston to create a space where I could fight against harassment with likeminded individuals who know what it is like to be unsafe publically in one’s own body. To me, to hollaback means to take back a slice of power in a situation of imbalanced power. Even if the individual feels that their holla didn’t have an impact, on a larger scale, every individual holla makes the movement stronger.

Angela: Hollaback not only meant being part of a movement to make Boston and other cities safer, but it was a tool through which I could let other women, LGB & T* folks, and straight male bystanders know that they do have a way to fight back against this constant harassment, and I didn’t even have a complete dictionary of language to convey that before Hollaback.

Devon: I joined the start up team after Jane reached out and was asking if others she knew would like to help her fight street harassment in a more organized way. To be honest, the concept of it was novel to me at the time because I had always just lived with street harassment and had thought it was something I had to learn to “live with” so joining Hollaback! was an amazing wake up call!

Kate: I was no stranger to street harassment, but had grown to accept it mostly as an unfortunate fact of life. I found myself particularly upset about catcalls I received while running – not at my best, not sexy, just sweaty and smelly. Maybe it was the extra time I had as I ran to work myself up over harassment and what I wished I had said in the moment, but I began to consider the power dynamic that underlies harassment, and the irrelevance of my appearance or behavior. My being powerless to prevent harassment really began to get to me, and starting Hollaback! Boston to help other victims of street harassment to realize that their experiences and sense of vulnerability are not isolated or their fault helped me to feel less powerless myself. Hollaback, to me, is all about conversations – removing shame and blame and helping others, victims, bystanders and harassers alike, to understand the context of our behaviors and the damage that the normalization of harassment can do.

HOLLAfact about your city:

Britni: That Boston is awesome? Oh, you mean something you didn’t already know?

Jane: Our public transit buses (and trains) still run during snow storms. Isn’t that awesome? (Well, until 1am. We have a bedtime.)

Angela: Like everywhere in New England, temperatures in Boston can range from -30 degrees to 110 degrees; no matter what the temperature, what women are wearing, or how covered up they are, streets harassment never cools down.

Devon: Well, even though Boston is awesome, we still experience lots of street harassment, just like everywhere else in the world. :\

Kate: All of the Back Bay is built on landfill! At the Trinity Church in Copley Square, visitors can see the foundation and the stilts that support the building. When Boston ran out of room, they filled in part of the harbor and the Charles River (the “back bay”) to make more.

Say you’re Queen for the day.  What would you do to end street harassment?

Britni: Give all harassers the sentence of having to experience street harassment on a daily basis for a week so that they know what it feels like to live that way.

Jane: I would first pack a culmination of all of the street harassment a woman experienced over her whole life and all of the messy feelings and hurt it brought up. Then, I would place that into the mind of a harasser so he knows the exact negative chain of reactions he is causing.

Angela: Install street-harassment sensing cameras. Then, call the perpetrators in and sentence them to watching themselves harass women until they promise to never do it again, and because I’m such a benevolent queen, they stop!

Devon: I guess if I were Queen for a day then I would simply enlighten street harassers around the world of their disrespectful wrong doings, all with the wave of a wand. I’m confusing Queen with Fairy God Mother, but that’s okay.

Kate: So long as my Queen-dom includes a bit of magic, I turn patriarchal rape culture rape culture on its head for the day so that everyone can have some small sense of what years of “normal” harassment can do to change a victim’s sense of vulnerability and the ways they move through public space.

What was your first experience with street harassment?

Britni: Oh, god. I don’t even remember! But I know that I was probably flattered by it because I thought I was supposed to be. It wasn’t until I got a little older and the harassment got creepier that I started to question whether or not this was really complimentary behavior.

Jane: The first time was probably when I was a young teen, taking a city bus to school. I’m sure I was flattered because, like Britni said, I was taught to feel that way.

Angela: I honestly can’t remember. They sort of all blur together.

Devon: I wrote about my first experience with street harassment in my introduction post on the Hollaback! Boston blog.

Kate: When I was 13, a guard at the Sistine Chapel grabbed my butt as I filed through staring at the ceiling. I was embarrassed, scared and, at the same time, felt I should be flattered. I still wish I had hollered back.

What’s your signature Hollaback?

Britni: I usually just say, “Please don’t talk to me like that. It’s not okay.” But sometimes I can’t help it and I unleash some pent up anger and curse them out!

Jane:“STOP HARASSING WOMEN!”

Angela: “Don’t speak to me like that. Don’t speak to women like that.”

Devon: I stick with firm, closed-ended responses like, “Don’t talk to me like that.” Or, “Don’t harass women.”

Kate: On foot, a simple, “…eew,” combined with a general appearance of disgust and dismissal. By bike, a very loud “respect women!” If I’ve been running for anything over 10 miles, I’m not very polite, nor quotable.

Define your style:

Britni: Quirky, colorful, sparkly. Super feminine, manic pixie dream girl-esque. Like Punky Brewster fell in a pit of sequins and glitter.

Jane: Lots of fall colors… at all times of the year. A mix of thrifted clothes and Target essentials. Comfortable shoes!

Angela: Some combination of really basic, boring things, jeans, giant glasses, and various animal prints and pink items mixed in.

Devon: I’ve been trying to become more “”"professional”"” so I’ve felt pretty boring lately.

Kate: Pearls meets Pennsylvania Dutch. Classic Boston with a contemporary art habit.

My superheroine power is…

Britni: Confidence and a big mouth!

Jane: Intersecting social issues so I can see the multiple entry points of a problem. Then lots of talking and brainstorming action steps to cultivate change!

Angela: A super ability to turn from “beautiful” or “cute” to a “bitch” to harassers in the blink of an eye!

Kate: Penmanship

What is your proudest holla moment so far?

Britni: When we got our first submission.

Jane: When our picture and start-up story was in the Metro!

Angela: When I was explaining Hollaback! to an older woman with whom I was interviewing, she told me she never thought about street harassment, it was always just the way it was, and she’s glad someone is finally trying to make a difference. Honestly, every time it clicks for someone, I’m proud again.

Devon: I’m just proud of every single person we reach on Facebook, the blog, twitter, etc. I’m proud that we are able to make a difference in people’s lives, even if it’s slight, and to help them realize they’re not alone when dealing with street harassment.

Kate: While chalking anti-harassment taglines around Boston one morning last summer, an older woman stopped to watch our progress. We finished a, “Hey Baby is no way to say hello!” and she approached to tell us how glad she was that we were out, explaining that she still can’t believe that at her age, men still harass her, and in fact had just that morning a few blocks away. Our conversation wasn’t a particularly happy one, but the connection made a big impression on me and I look back on it fondly.

What do you do when your not holla’ng?

Britni: I’m a social worker by day, spiritual gangster by night.

Jane: Finishing up my undergraduate degree at Clark University with a double-major in Psychology and Race, Class, and Gender Studies. I also watch a lot of sci-fi and TV dramas.

Angela: Finishing my last semester and graduating (class of 2013, woo!) from Clark University, working with 1 in 3′s campaign to end abortion stigma and increase access to reproductive care, social networking, and hanging out!

Devon: I’m usually busying myself with school, work, and of course Netflix.

Kate: I have a day job in Operations. On the side, I run a design firm (Union Jack Creative) with my partner, Jack. I run, and bike, and ski, and spend a lot of time nursing bruises from those things. I have a soft spot for fashion magazines, I cook often but seldom measure, and I love a good episode of Mythbusters.

If you could leave the world one piece of advice, what would it be?

Britni: Treat others like you would want to be treated. The world is a lot nicer that way and my days are much better when I live that way.

Jane: Be kind to others, because you never know what the other person is going through.

Angela: Be confident in everything you do and everything you are.

Devon: R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Kate: Take a deep breath and sleep on it.

What are you excited about in 2013?

Britni: Speaking to a women studies class at UMass Boston! Getting married.

Jane: I am excited about all of the elected women who have taken office after the last election and the impact it will have worldwide.

Angela: Graduating, Teaching in Detroit, MI (as much as I’ll miss Massachusetts!)

Devon: I’m excited about graduating and entering the Real World! And of course for all the new and exciting work Hollaback! volunteers will accomplish.

Kate: Elizabeth Warren’s election in MA, and the potential for progress everywhere!

What inspires you?

Britni: Women kicking ass. Margaret Cho.

Jane: The whole Hollaback! movement! The fact that we’re international and that women and allies across all spectrums are coming together to take a stand against gender-based violence.

Angela: Being part of something bigger.

Devon: Women in politics!

Kate: Strength, bravery and kindness.

In the year 2020, street harassment…

Britni: …will be a foreign concept to everyone and something we never ever talk about because we don’t have to.

Jane: will be a shameful embarrassment of the men who still practice it and active bystanders will tell those harassers to cut it out!

Angela: … is seen as harassment and gender-based violence, something that doesn’t “just happen.”

Devon: …will be so obviously not okay! Just like it is in the workplace!

Kate:… is just silly. Everyone moves through public space respectfully and feels safe doing so.

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