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Week in Our Shoes: International Women’s Day Edition

Howdy, Hollas!

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.scarves
  • 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 -

Emily

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HOLLA ON THE GO: Gas station harassment

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.

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Late Night Street Harassers Attack Bystanders Off-Campus

By Rita Pasarell

Just before 2am on Sunday, outside of the UC Berkeley Campus in California, two men began street harassing two women. Two other nearby men saw the creepy behavior, decided to be awesome brave bystanders (thank you!!), and asked the harassers to stop. What happened next is yet another piece of evidence that street harassment isn’t really about verbal “compliments,” it is about dominance and violence.

After being confronted, the harassers continued their aggression, punching the other men, whacking one with a milk carton, and throwing a milk carton at one of the women. Suspects Aaron Raphael Carmona, 23, and Sean Carter, 26, were returned to the San Francisco Zoo arrested.

What can we all do? Most importantly, remember that according to the CDC, street harassment is the most prevalent form of sexual violence in the U.S. – it’s serious, and Hollaback! exists to make sure no one forgets that. Second, continue your Hollabacks and bystander interventions in a way that makes you feel safe. You have many options. Finally, don’t lose hope…the movement is growing and we are making progress with every shared story. Join us next month to share yours at our Anti-Street Harassment Week Rally and Chalk Walk.

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HOLLAWho? Meet Brussels.

Meet Ingrid from Hollaback! Brussels (she is wearing the long flowery dress in the photo)

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Interview by Lauren Bedosky

 

When did you start your holla?
Our Hollaback! started right after the Brussels’ Slutwalk in September 2011, launched unintentionally in March 2012 and officially in April 2012.

Why did you start a HOLLA and what does Hollaback mean to you?
I was living for a while in Stockholm, and there was this moment when I was walking alone, in a slow pace, at night, around 2 am, just enjoying the gentle breeze, being amazed by how lovely the night was, when I stopped all of a sudden and wondered ‘what is this amazing, extraordinary feeling that I’m feeling?’ and I realized, it was FREE-dom. Fear seemed to have left my body. Why? Because ever since I got here [in Stockholm] I never once got harassed, never once leered at in the street, there were never whistles, never vulgar stares, not at night, not during the day. Slowly, all my well-built defense-, protection- & ‘what to do when you go out’ mechanisms of years and years of experiencing street harassment had begun to crumble until I was finally out and about alone at night on the street, fearless.
Once you experience a freedom (human right) like that, there’s NO going back, and going back was exactly what it felt like when I returned to Brussels. Hollaback! for me is a way to reclaim that right again, to reclaim it for EVERYONE.
(Important to note here: I’m not saying Stockholm is some sort of utopia for women, I just felt safe there cause I never experienced harassment or violence. This is a personal experience. Other Swedish women did tell me stories of the violence they experienced there. This proves what is so for one person, is not so for another.)

HOLLAfact about your city:
Surrealism your name is Brussels. Weird, ugly and beautiful are synonyms here. You can see the world’s most daring contemporary dance piece in a venue nobody knows about, stand in line for 1 hour at the ticket hall in Central Station wondering why the bloody vending machines never work, discover the most brilliant piece of architecture standing next to a ‘who the hell built this crap’ building, speak 5 different languages, get lost in translation, and run into a night shop where the owner invites you to the ‘Bollywood’ party down the street… ALL in one day.

Say you’re Queen for the day. What would you do to end street harassment?
Easy. That would be the global DAY where NO ONE experiences street harassment or sexual violence, a day of total peace, freedom, respect and bliss. It would let loose such a profound ENERGY into the world that it would be IMPOSSIBLE to return to how things were. To take away that sense of freedom would be simply unheard of, people would be outraged. BUT just to make double-sure, that day I would cast an ANTI-street-harassment-violence spell upon the world for which there is no counter-spell. Problem solved.

What was your first experience with street harassment?
I feel harassment in one way or the other has always been part of my life as I was bullied heavily as a child, but I guess the 1st time (better said, the 1st time I remember) the harassment was of sexual nature or on the street was when I was 14, on a holiday with my parents, brother and a friend in a small village in Spain. A guy with a motorcycle was following my friend and me home, after we had sneaked out to go to the sea after dinner. He was circling around us, speaking in half Spanish and English, making vulgar comments, horrible hissing noises, being extremely threatening, roaring the engine of the motorcycle, riding fast away only to turn around and ride towards us. My friend and I walked super fast, holding on to each other for dear life, staring at the ground, and ran for it when we saw the house appear. He kept on screaming at us…

What’s your signature Hollaback?
It all depends on the situation, how threatening it is and how many harassers there are. If I feel safe to Hollaback, I do it with a return stare that says ‘O don’t you mess with me. I have a superwoman power and it’s going to bite you’, it’s quite strong and effective. If they call me something nasty (in Brussels sometimes harassers call you ‘sale pute’ or ‘salope’ = ‘dirty whore’ or ‘slut’), I reply with a word that makes no sense at all like ‘fourgette’ (fork) or ‘dentifrice’ (toothpaste). This mostly throws them off balance cause they don’t know how to react to that, wondering ‘what the hell did she say?’ One great comeback I did recently; I said in a super kind, sweet (almost fake) way: “O, I wouldn’t do that, if I were you… This is Brussels, you know. You get a fine for that sort of stuff here. And by the way, you’re being filmed. Just saying…” And walked away.

Define your style:
My friends call it Ingrid-style ;-), it’s basically a translation of how I feel with a lot of icing on top. Colors represent emotions for me. I don’t care what’s fashionable, acceptable, and what’s not. I can easily leave the house in a vintage 20ties ball gown for no particular reason, be in a bohemian hippie-style all week, discover a working girl 80s look, or just mix everything up.

What do you do when your not holla’ng?
I’m sort of a full-time holla’er cause I’m a storyteller. And those stories I’m trying to tell are with words (writing, translating), images (film), and movement (performance). I’m also a traveler, nature-trekker, cake-maker, and knitter on the side.

What inspires you?
Everything! To name only a few: My mom. My brother. My friends. My fellow Hollabackers. My heroines… People who history seems to have forgotten (or worse, were burned on the stakes). People who live ordinary lives in respect for each other and nature. Who stand up against injustice, for others and for themselves. Who were bullied into silence, but kept finding ways to express themselves. Solidarity. Acts of kindness. Love…

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Wonder Woman!

Comic by Shakesville contributor Aphra Behn

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Week in our Shoes: VAWA Victory just in time for Women’s History Month!

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Hi everyone!

Guess what. VAWA passed yesterday! We had a little dance party in our office to celebrate (above). It passed just in time for Women’s History Month which begins tomorrow March 1. International Womens Day is next friday, March 8. Whether you’re hosting or attending events this month, this is a great opportunity to get the word out about street harassment and what Hollaback! is all about. Here are some ideas for what you can do in your community!

We got some kickass media coverage this week. First of all, Hollaback! won the TEDx City 2.0 prize! Check out the video here:

Also, Hollaback’s story happens to be in the spotlight on The Story Exchange!

Hollaback! is partnering with Eileen Fisher! On Saturday, March 23rd, Eileen Fisher will donate 10% of their total sales throughout all 9 of their New York stores to Hollaback! BUT we need need 7 more volunteers for the event. EVERYONE, if you or any holla-involved folks you know are able to help out that day, please send an email to debjani@ihollaback.org.

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Hollaback! NYC tabled at Hunter College’s annual VDay Fair alongside several awesome NYC women’s organizations this thursday. New York hollas collected stories, did some harassment mapping, and spoke to students about street harassment and violence.

Hollaback! Edinburgh is getting some media attention this week for the great work they are doing with their street harassment questionnaire! If you or anyone you know lives in the Edinburgh area, have them fill it out!

Hollaback! Philly’s comic book campaign has officially launched! Philly is creating a very awesome anti-street-harassment comic book in partnership with Philly artist Erin Filson! AND they need your help to make it happen. Visit the project page and help get the word out and get some funding!

Hollaback! Brussels spoke in front of the EU Parliament! On February 22, Brussels Hollas presented on the subject of street harassment. Site leader Angelika sat on the panel in Parliament’s discussion titled, Is it a man’s world? The Sexism Debate in Germany and Beyond. Amazing!

Hollaback! Halifax had a very important meeting this past Monday with the Halifax police department communication team, the deputy chief, an Avalon representative, and an advocate from Stepping Stone to discuss the police department’s new crime mapping method and its limited usability and exclusion of sexual assault as a public safety risk. Way to be on top of things, Halifax!

Hollaback! Buenos Aires is shedding light on another upsetting aspect of sexual abuse and harassment. It is called “frotismo” and although we don’t have a we don’t have a word for it in english (we really should), it is important to know about. Frotismo is the act of rubbing one’s genitals against someone else without the other person’s consent. This happens A LOT–in clubs, crowded subways, concerts. Check out Buenos Aires’ post for more information on it. The site is also collecting stories from people who have been the target of this behavior. If you or anyone you know has a story to tell, tell it here.

Hollaback! Melbourne is planning away for this upcoming year! Melbourne is revving their engines for a year of events, political action, story collecting, and awareness raising about street harassment in local high schools. Next Tuesday, March 5, Melbourne is starting a new weekly tradition called Takedown Tuesday where every Tuesday Melbourne will hollaback at cruel or misogynist comments and articles right on their blog. So, if you come across articles, comments, opinion pieces or blog posts related to street harassment that come from a misogynist perspective that really makes your blood boil, send them to melbourne@ihollaback.org and they might be featured in the next Takedown Tuesday! Way to break the silence, Melbourne!

Hollaback! Alberta has put together a lovely photo collection of their One Billion Rising activities. Check it out and see what they were up to!

Hollaback! Winnipeg’s site leader Jodie Layne came out with a kickass bystander piece this week on her blog, Kickaction. Need a little refresher on the power of bystanders? Check it out!

Hollaback! Ottawa got invited to St Francis Xavier High School as part of their educational ‘Mental Health Awareness Day’! Hollaback! Ottawa spent the day discussing street harassment with students and the way in which systemic violence affects the whole of our lives, including our mental health. Way to go!

Hollaback! Chandigarh is getting the word out about the Chandigarh Police’s new initiatives to increase accessibility. This is very good news. Chandigarh is also engaging in the debate now arising in India, “Do women have too much power?” So, hollas…what do you think? Finally, in a post this thursday, Chandigarh highlights for us how the India’s 2013 Budget will directly impact women.

Hollaback! Dublin covered a paramount issue of violence against women and its connection to poverty around the world. The site summarizes the powerful words of Michelle Bachelet, Executive Director of UN Women, after her visit to Dublin last week for her announcement that Dublin is signed on to the UN Global Safe Cities Initiative.

Hollaback! London just published the second issue of their print publication, Langdon Olgar. You can read the introduction here and/or buy a copy directly!

Hollaback! Boston is helping get the word out about the similarities between rape and racism via the fact sheet produced by Men Can Stop Rape. Boston also put together a pretty awesome compilation of people’s worst catcalls. Check it out!

HOLLA and out –

Emily

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

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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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