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


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 [email protected]


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 [email protected] 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 —


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


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!


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.


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 [email protected]

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 —


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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.


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!


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



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 



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: 



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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