We’re back with our HOLLA-Who series, profiling the amazing site leaders who take on street harassment in their local communities. In the HOLLA-Who series, we learn about what street harassment is like around the world, and what activists are doing today to push back and fight for the right to equal access to public spaces.
Today we’re talking with the amazing Julia from Hollaback! London. Julia, and other members of the HB London team, have been running the site since 2010. That’s five years of standing up to street harassment and changing the face of street harassment activism across the pond!
Why did you start the Hollaback! site in London (five years ago!), what inspired you to join on?
“I started the London site because I was feeling fed up with the harassment I experienced in my home city, being made to feel I had less of a right to my own streets and spaces. I wanted to provide a non-judgmental space for people to share their stories, regain some power after their experience and hopefully achieve some sort of parallel justice. Hollaback! means to me true grass roots activism. Getting up and speaking out after years of being silenced. It’s the thing that allowed me to identify my feminism, it’s the thing that empowered me to stand up for what I believe in. It’s the thing that sparked a career in the women’s sector. So it means a whole lot.”
What’s been going on in Hollaback! London recently?
“Last year we launched the first project working with late night venues to train staff to better support customers in the event of harassment or assault. It’s called Good Night Out.”
Say you’re the Queen for a day. What would you do to end street harassment?
“I’d put men in women’s shoes so they could see.”
What was your first experience with street harassment?
“When I was eight, a boy who lived on my block told me I needed to start shaving my legs. He also punched my sister once and called us bastards because our parents weren’t married. He was a dreadful, dreadful boy!“
Given that you’ve had years to perfect it, what’s your signature Hollaback!?
“Just flip ’em the bird.”
We’re all about the right to wear whatever you want. What’s your personal style?
“I like to aspire to 90’s power woman, a lot of shoulder pads! Still getting there!”
Serious question time. Would you rather have a dragon or be a dragon?
“Be a dragon!! Come on!”
What is your proudest HOLLA-Moment so far?
“Launching Good Night Out, so so proud.”
If you could leave the world one piece of advice, what would it be?
“Don’t judge, and don’t assume.”
What are you excited about for 2015?
What inspires you in this work?
“All the women I meet and work with who quietly get on with changing the world for the better, piece by piece. Who do it with calm, and composure and passion.”
And finally, in the year 2020, street harassment will be…
“Will be high up on the political agenda, and will be frowned upon by society. Will be hugely diminished since we all started shouting about it years ago!“
A big thank you to Julia from Hollaback! London. We are also *so excited* about the upcoming HOLLA::Revolution London. You can pick up your tickets today for the June 23rd event and catch local activists and performers taking on street harassment in London.
Holla and out!