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!