Donor Q&A

What is Hollaback!?
With headquarters in Brooklyn, New York, we are a global, people-powered movement to end harassment – in all its forms. We work together to understand the problem, ignite public conversations, and develop innovative strategies that ensure equal access to public spaces for everyone, so we can all be who we are, wherever we are. Founded in 2005, and now with 69 chapters all over the world, our mission is to build inclusive spaces by transforming the culture that perpetuates discrimination and violence.

How does Hollaback! disrupt harassment and build communities?

We leverage the very spaces where harassment happens – online, in the streets, at school, and in the workplace – to have each other’s backs and create communities. Our distinct initiatives provide opportunities for anti-harassment action throughout the world, including:

  • Global Site Leader Program, that trains young people for six months to launch their own Hollaback! chapters locally, and join our network of 550+ leaders for ongoing training and help;
  • HeartMob, an online platform that allows people to report and document online harassment, and to receive real-time support from members;
  • Bystander Intervention Trainings, that transforms friends, neighbors and strangers into instant advocates who can effectively prevent and respond to harassment;
  • and The People’s Supper, that gathers people from across the country to have dinner together, build community through better conversation, and heal rifts caused by racism, sexism, and political differences.

What do Hollaback! chapters do, and how does one become a Hollaback! leader?
When people sign up online, we provide them with free, intensive training through in-person workshops and webinars on strategic planning, community outreach, intersectionality, social media, volunteerism, and public speaking. At the end of their training, they learn how to launch and run a Hollaback! website so people in their locale can connect, using the site to report harassment, map it, and receive local support from advocates. The trained leaders become a part of our Site Leader Network. Regional mentor sites coordinate local actions and campaigns and set priorities. We are currently operating 69 sites in 31 countries, using 19 languages. Our global site leaders have gone on to lead local campaigns, create education initiatives, and run for office.

What is street harassment and should it be criminalized?
Street harassment is sexual, gender-based, and bias-motivated harassment that takes place in public spaces like the street, the supermarket, and the bus stop. It’s not about sexual gratification, it’s about power. It constantly reminds historically subordinated groups – women, people of color, LGBTQIA+ people – of their vulnerability to being assaulted in public spaces. We believe that we should not criminalize street harassment because criminal law and punishment are disproportionately applied to people of color, low-income individuals, and trans and gender-nonconforming people. It is our role as advocates to steer policymakers away from measures that would increase criminalization that predominantly affects these groups, and toward measures that engage communities in prevention.

What is online harassment?
Online harassment includes a wide range of targeted behaviors including: threats, continued hateful messages, doxxing, DDoS attacks, swatting, defamation, and more. Online harassment can target (or come from) a group or individual and often has the expressed purpose of having the individual or group leave the internet, take down their content, or dissuade them from publicly having a point of view. We believe in a free internet where individuals feel safe to connect and speak freely, regardless of their religion, identity, or political ideology.

Isn’t it true that people from particular races and cultures are more frequent harassers?
Harassment happens in all social cultures and demographics, and harassers occupy the full spectrum of class, race, and nationality. Initiatives combating gender-based violence continually struggle against the perpetuation of racist stereotypes, in particular, the presumption that men of color are more likely to be sexual predators. Because of the complexity of institutional and socially ingrained prejudices, Hollaback! is devoted to resisting the reinforcement of social hierarchies, whether done directly, subconsciously, or unintentionally.

Doesn’t freedom of speech protect harassers?
Free speech doesn’t mean anything if individuals do not feel safe and are not free from abuse and harassment. Although the line between hate speech and free speech is a difficult one to draw, Hollaback! focus is on shifting the culture that makes harassment okay, so that everyone feels comfortable on the street, on the internet, at school and in the workplace.

Why is it important to document harassment?
We live in a world where the first public reaction to most reports of violence against women and LGBTQIA+ folks is doubt. Documenting can help people see the world from your eyes. Speaking out and sharing your story is a revolutionary act.

What is your budget and how are you funded?
We have a $600,000 budget, and we have a diverse funding base of individuals, foundations, corporations, and government grants. We also have an earned revenue stream from training fees and corporate partnerships for the People’s Supper.

What is your organization structure?
We have a great team made of 3 full-time staff, 5 paid fellows, and 10 hardworking board members, and 8 advisory board members who are all committed to ending harassment in all its forms.

For more information about how to get involved or become a donor to Hollaback! please contact us at [email protected]