We Know It’s Been a Tough Week. We’re Listening.

Dear Hollaback! community,

This has been a hard week for us, and we wanted to reach out because we imagine it’s been a hard week for you too.

If you’re not caught up on the news, here’s a quick rundown: Donald Trump is minimizing the violent and degrading words recorded in 2005 as mere posturing and harmless banter. As women have come forward this week to describe their experiences of assault at his hands, Donald has vehemently denied their claims and attempted to cast himself as a victim.

Watching this play out takes its toll on all of us—especially those of us who have been the subject of demeaning, violent speech; who have been harassed in the workplace; who have been groped by strangers. We’ve heard from many of you—our most ardent supporters—that these news cycles have triggered anxiety, depression, fear, and rage. We at Hollaback! want to recognize and validate every one of you who are struggling. We are with you.

We want to recognize the courage, vulnerability, and power of the women who have come forward this week to tell their stories—and of those throughout this election cycle who have stood up to racist, sexist, xenophobic, Islamophobic, and ableist language and actions, telling the world that this is #notokay. We see you, we hear you, and we believe you.

As we see this ugly dance unfold on a national stage, the stories we’re hearing are all too familiar. Over the past 10 years you’ve told us your stories, and we’ve listened. You showed us how “locker room talk” can escalate quickly. You showed us that men in suits really do grope women between their legs. And in our research with Cornell University you showed us that groping and fondling are the forms of street harassment most likely to lead to long-term feelings of depression and low self-esteem.

Here’s the thing: telling your story can help you understand, process, and feel validated in everything you’re going through. It shows other people that they aren’t alone, and it inspires them to speak up too. Right now, thanks in part to the women speaking up about their experiences with Donald, other people are coming forward about their experiences. If you feel like you’re able to join them in solidarity, we encourage you to share your story now.

By sharing these experiences, we work through our pain and toward a world where hatred, discrimination, and harassment are unacceptable. We can build a world where all of us are able to travel, work, and live freely in shared and public spaces without fearing each other. We can stand with each other, instead of against each other.

If you only remember one thing from this letter, remember this: you’re not alone. So tell us, how have you been handling the past week? What do you need? Leave a comment below to check in with us and share your thoughts. It’s so important right now that we’re in touch— connected — and standing strong together.

With love and solidarity,

The Hollaback! team

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