How to Hold a Hollaback! Workshop

Hosting anti-street harassment workshops are fun ways to spark discussions about street harassment. Hollaback! workshops provide interactive opportunities for people to share their experiences, thoughts, and opinions on street harassment.

Workshops can be held at schools, youth groups, community groups, campus groups, residence halls and many other places. Start your workshop by explaining what street harassment is and what Hollaback! does. During your workshop you can be creative and come up with various anti-street harassment activities. Check out this list of fun workshop activities:


1. ‘Insult Game’ (Approx. 10-15 minutes) Great icebreaker game!

  • Ask them to shout out different insults that they hear at school, in the schoolyard, in the locker rooms, etc.
  • Write them down on a blackboard/whiteboard/Bristol board
  • Once they’re done (or you decide to cut them off!) use a different coloured marker to circle all the insults that are typically aimed at men and the ones aimed at women.
  • Ask them if they notice a pattern. (Typically, the insults aimed at women are in reference to their sexuality or appearance. The insults for men are typically referring to them as women, feminine, gay, etc.)
  • Ask them why they think that is
  • Explain socialization and why it is that the worst thing to call a man is a woman and the worst thing to say to a woman is that she’s ‘promiscuous’ or ‘unattractive’

2. ‘Name it’ (Approx. 10-15 mins)

  • Ask them to shout out things that could be street harassment
  • Write them down on a blackboard/whiteboard/Bristol board
  • Categorize them into homophobia, sexism, ableism, transphobia, racism etc.
  • Explain systems of oppression, intersectionality, etc to reinforce how street harassment is not a compliment.

3. ‘Mapping for change’ (Minimum ½ hour, can be up to a few hours)

  • Draw a map (or arrive with one!) of their school, neighborhood, campus, etc. You can also get them to draw one. (You can either have a separate map for each group/person or have one large one for the entire group)
  • After you’ve given them an introduction to street harassment and the concepts of ‘safe space’, ask them to draw on the map what they think the map needs in order to be a safe space without street harassment.
  • Present the results to the group and ask everyone to explain their drawings and their thoughts.

4. ‘Destroy the negative’ (Approx. 15 mins)

  • Pass out index cards, have everyone write out a word/phrase a stranger on the street said to make them uncomfortable. These remain PRIVATE.
  • Get them to one another then RIP IT UP!

5. ‘Create the positive’ (Approx. 15 mins)

  • What would a world without street harassment look like?  Write out your vision on paper.
  • Take pictures and post to a board.

6. ‘No Means No – FOR REAL!’ (Approx. 5-10 mins)

  • ‘In what other situation does saying NO not actually mean NO?’
  • Give a participant an empty glass. Start pouring water into the cup and ask them to tell you when to stop. They are obviously going to stop when the water gets to the edge of the glass, but instead of stopping, you keep pouring while saying things like ‘Oh no, it’s cool. Water is good for you. Did you say stop? Oh my bad’.
  • Speak to how this is an example of how ridiculous it is that ‘no’ does not mean ‘no’ when it comes to harassment and sexual assault. In what other context does ‘no’ not mean ‘no’? Can people just run a red light if they feel like it? When you go to a restaurant and they say ‘Tell me when to stop’ and you say ‘Yes, that’s enough pepper, thank you’, the server doesn’t keep putting pepper on your plate, etc.
  • Alternatively, you can also show one of these great videos. Although it’s about access to abortion, it’s also a really great way of showing issues of consent: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dfvUs2Np8vc

             http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nIV_8LsCX40&feature=related

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0mYCU0XPFTM&feature=related

7. ‘The power of my body’ (Approx. 15 mins)

  • Ask them to partner up
  • One will be seated and the other will be standing. The person who is standing will act as the ‘harasser’.
  • You explain to them that you will announce 3 steps for them to take.  1- The person seating will lower their eyes and cower, 2- remain seated but straighten posture and look harasser in the eye and then 3- Rise up, display confidence
  • Ask that they don’t speak but silently go through the motions.
  • Announce step 1, wait a few seconds. Then announce step 2, wait a few seconds. Then announce step 3, and wait a few seconds.
  • Once you’ve gone through it with one person, ask them to switch partners
  • Ask them to discuss how they felt in the role of the seated person being harassed. Which position do they feel like they usually take when they are being harassed in real life? Why? How did that position feel in the exercise?

8. ‘Live in my shoes’ (Approx 5-10 mins.)

  • Using a list of ‘typical’ insults and phrases used in street harassment, ask the group how they think men would feel if they were the targets of street harassment.
  • Show them this clip of a Lebanese group in which women went through the streets, street harassing men to gauge reactions from people: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=3ZQxVIw4JVw#!
  • Discuss how street harassment is a symptom of a sexist society and that we laugh when we see it happening to men in this exercise (and video) because it seems so foreign and unrealistic. Deconstruct with them why it’s not actually so different and that we only feel it is because we have normalized the behavior.
Special thanks to the Hollaback! site leaders in Ottawa, Baltimore, Buenos Aires, and Mexico for coming up with this list of fun workshop activities!
Hollaback! Boston held a workshop at the Computer Clubhouse 2012 Teen Summit at Northeastern University.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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