BY HOLLABACK! BOARD MEMBER BRAD PERRY
For the past 15 years I have either volunteered at or been employed by agencies working to prevent violence against women. This work has always meant a lot to me, but my one constant source of frustration was never feeling like my colleagues and I could figure out how to leverage the power of online social networks and mobile technology to their full potentials – to engage people as successfully as other more tech-savvy causes. I knew it was possible to use these new tools to create a movement for tangible, positive change on this issue, but I couldn’t wrap my head around how to do it.
That was before I discovered Hollaback!. Let’s say my wife, Tara, is walking down to the coffee shop tonight and some jerk yells something at her about how he wants to “hit that.” Rather than only feel fear and have to “just deal” with it, she can also feel empowered as she activates her Hollaback! app. In just a few taps, it provides an easy way to briefly describe what just happened. Then her story gets instantly added to the repository of other Hollaback! moments for her city, and gets geo-tagged to a map. She can even take a photo of the location or the harasser if she feels safe enough to do it.
What’s the big deal about all of this? For one, when hundreds of women are able to do this, suddenly street harassment becomes more than just a bunch of disconnected incidents. Suddenly women realize that they’re not alone in having to “just deal with” this crap. And that’s a pretty big deal. What’s more, when all of these stories are collected and mapped, they become useful information for getting the attention of city governments, and can help police know where to keep an eye out. In short, Hollaback! is amazing.
Earlier this year I was asked to join the non-profit board of Hollaback!, and our goal for 2012 is to adapt and expand Hollaback! to college campuses. Earlier this week we launched a $25,000 campaign to help support this new effort. A donation from you, $10, $50, or even more would do an incredible amount of good in young people’s lives. We have the platform and expertise to implement this, but we need your help to organize the young leaders who will bring Hollaback! to their campuses.
Here’s a link to our campaign where you can also watch a video I put together about what we’re trying to do on campuses. Please consider donating today. Our past campaigns have been successful through donations of all sizes, so even a small amount can really help.