Appalachian Ohio, Athens GA, Atlanta, Berkeley, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Columbia MO, Des Moines, Durham & Chapel Hill, Fredericksburgh VA, Houston, Los Angeles, Muncie IN, New York City, NYU, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Richmond VA, San Francisco, Tucson, Twin Cities
We are so proud to be on this list of new sites today! Some of you may have been following us for a while as we are one site that is in fact re-launching. The founding launch for Hollaback! Houston was in 2011 and after a brief pause, it is back! Also, don’t forget we are celebrating soon so check out our Facebook event page and join us on December 15th.
Here’s the latest from Hollaback! HQ below about what’s going on this sunny # GivingTuesday:
This # GivingTuesday we are celebrating the launch of 14 new Hollaback! sites: Austin,Bangalore, Chapel Hill, Guyana, Houston, Iran, Mumbai, Muncie, Pittsburgh, Korea,Niagara, Tucson, University of London, and Vancouver. Celebrate #GivingTuesday and show your support for our new site leaders and for the millions of people that will be street harassed today by making a gift to Hollaback.
Here are two great ways that you can support Hollaback! this season:
1) Give the gift that keeps on giving: become a monthly sustainer! With a recurring donation of as little as $10 a month, you can support long term projects, new innovations, and training for movement leaders globally. Become a recurring donor this #GivingTuesday and your gift will be matched by board member Raphi Rosenblatt.
Raphi writes, “I give because I want to live in a world where I never have to worry about being harassed for being gay. Until that day comes, I hollaback!.” Let us know why you Hollaback!. Any amount you donate today will be matched by Raphi, doubling your donation and your impact!
2) Support the movement and fill out your holiday gift list by picking up some HOLLAwear. Proceeds from HOLLAwear go directly to supporting Hollaback! and the movement to end street-harassment and they look great too! Check out The Vanity Project’s soft, stylish, and sweat-shop free Hollaback! V-neck shirts, (seen on our site leaders above). If you’re looking for some HOLLA jewelry, pick up our supporter 80/20 Jewelry’s HOLLA necklace and wear your dedication to end street harassment close to your heart. And, if someone on your list LOVES hot pink, check out supporter Gina Tron’s “Hot Pussy is No Way to Say Hello” T-shirt.
Thank you for your support. Every single action helps. Donate today!
- The Hollaback Team
A recent article in the Washington Post titled,
showcased more great ground work being done by Collective Action for Safe Spaces in the DC Metro area. A strong partner in education and support for individuals who experience street harassment, we truly aspire to foster this strong level of involvement and commitment in Houston.
Hollaback! Houston loves cyclists! Not only is our Director a daily cyclist commuter, but so are some of our volunteers and supporters! We know what it’s like to enjoy the freedom and exhilaration of self-propelled transport. We also feel stressed, scared and angry sometimes at the way cyclists tend to be treated as an “other”. An annoyance, an inconvenience or one of those lawless ne’er-do-wells. Even the success of Houston’s new Safe Passing Ordinance tends to be overshadowed by the perpetuation of an us vs. them mentality depending on the slant the story is given.
As the cycling community in Houston grows, there is potential for people who had not previously encountered harassment on a normal work commute to unfortunately begin collecting stories. So, on top of worrying about general safety, add to that dreading regular verbal harassment or intentional physical harm/intimidation and you can imagine why some people still haven’t warmed up to the idea of a regular bike/pedestrian commute. Some of us don’t have the choice or means to own a motor vehicle; whether for disability or economic reasons or we simply prefer it for simplicity’s sake. No matter what the reason, we can all agree that opting to go out into the world does not mean we deserve or are asking for harassment and violence.
Of the many user comments that seemed to be in denial about the current state of the streets (from the Washington Post article), this assumption in particular was one that seemed to be a reoccurring sentiment:
“A lot of women face harassment by strange men, including unwelcome comments on their bodies. It has nothing whatsoever to do with bicycling or pedestrians.”
“nothing whatsoever to do with bicycling or pedestrians“
We hope this myth will not be pervasive as we reach out to our Houston communities. Statistics directly from the article reference “A CASS study in May found that 90 percent of women and members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community had experienced some form of harassment while biking”.
Anyone that has ridden a bike or walked any small stretch can tell the difference one feels in exposure to ALL environmental elements compared to being in a personal motor vehicle. Street harassment = harassment on the street/ public spaces…it’s that simple. That’s not to say that motorists don’t experience their fair share of road aggression directed at them, however data collected by Hollaback! has distinctly concluded that “There are street harassment “hotspots” in most cities often centered around high pedestrian traffic areas“.
We are currently collaborating to host our own version of a workshop for Houston bike/ped commuters in the new year! Stay tuned and feel free to send us feedback as well at email@example.com
I don’t even remember my destination that day, but what I will not forget are the events that occurred on my way there. Luckily, the conclusion includes success and some laughter. Most of my stories, you will discover, happen while on bike.
This incident took place this past October. I was approaching the intersection of Taft at Westheimer when I passed by some city workers a couple of blocks before. It was almost cartoonish the way I squeezed the brakes on my bike, brought myself to an abrupt halt and whipped my head around as I heard one of the workers whistle at me.
“Excuse me?” I said firmly. ”Who was whistling at me?!”. To my amazement, I had successfully stunned the group of about 5 individuals to dead silence and one in particular reacted instantly by shooting an arm up to point at the offender. To that I responded, with his back turned to me the entire time, “Don’t ever do that to anyone ever again. It’s disrespectful.”
Interestingly, the woman in the group seemed to be in denial of the situation and asked me, “who’s whistling?!”. ”Apparently, that guy right there” and I gestured in her direction, as he was standing directly beside her, still facing away from me. ”Who, ME?!” she shouted in bewilderment. I simply shook my head, sighed and repeated myself as specifically as I could…”Don’t ever whistle at someone like that ever again. It’s disrespectful.”
“I’m sorry” was the next thing I heard from a completely different person in the group. No laughter, no smirks. It was sincere. I think they all felt embarrassed. Still no response from the guilty back facing me. Feeling closure after that moment, I was off on my way.
I was just about to approach the light at Westheimer when I hear “Hey, girl!” coming from a van passing the opposite direction. I had simmered down but was ready to jump back up for round two at that instant! As I looked over, the van had made a complete stop next to me and it turned out that I recognized the face in the driver’s side! So, just as quickly as I had gotten worked up and ready to unleash some fury, I immediately burst into laughter at the relief of seeing the face of a friend. I let him know that I was glad to see him.
That was the very first time in my whole life that I had received an apology after being harassed. It wasn’t from the person that did it, but was significant nonetheless and probably more so to have come from the offender’s peer. I hope they all gave him a really hard time about that afterwards and that he takes my advice and sticks to work while he’s at work and keeps his comments to himself.
Mark your calendars, friends!! Our day to celebrate the relaunch of Hollaback! Houston has been set. We are so excited to really get down to business after all the hours we’ve put in with preparation of this website and planning for the event. It will be a well deserved moment for us to collect on some very much needed hugs and high fives from one and all!
The event, “Holla from the Rooftop” will be all-ages and run from 5 pm – 10 pm at Khon’s rooftop (2808 Milam St.) and include an introduction to the Hollaback! Houston organization, overview of new website resources and free mobile app, guest speakers, local artists, empowering activities, a fun photobooth, partner organizations and live music!
In case you can’t join us in person, you can listen online or download the mobile app, TuneIN at: http://locallivehouston.com/
***Graphic Artist Sarah Welch will be in attendance with some of her artwork. In particular be sure to chat with her about her illustrations in “Pedestrians” where she recounts some of her amusing to uncomfortable and completely relatable encounters on public transit in Chicago and Austin.
***Also meet local printer Mystic Multiples at Sarah’s table and find out about their services and see examples of their beautiful work. “We’re a full service letterpress and risography publishing service located in Houston, Texas. Begun in 2013, Mystic Multiples exists to produce challenging, new work in print for designers and artists.”
***Photo Booth will be provided by professional smile-maker and photographer, Sindy Lagunas of Photo Libre!!
***Super Duper Special Guest Partner organizations: More TBA
Meet more hard-working people in our community and learn how you can get involved in their mission as well
*Local Live Houston Radio
*Better Future Project / Ride for the Future
*Houston Clinic Defense Team
All of our bands will have 30 minute sets and we will have presentations in between!
If you are an artist, non-profit or writer with some words to say and you want to show your support and have a presence, email Hermie at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions and ideas.
CLICK HERE to go to the Facebook event page where, if you have a Facebook account, you shall promptly click “Join” and then feel giddy with anticipation for the celebration!
In the past week Hollaback! was featured by New York Observer, Stop Street Harassment, Impower You, Vitamin W, She Finds, Huffington Post, Jezebel, Yahoo, Daily Collegian, PR Daily, NewsFix, CTV Primetime, The Loop, AOL online, Total Beauty, Feminist Wednesday and The Prospect, who wrote a great piece on the normalization, embarrassment, confusion and reporting complications of public harassment.
Hollaback! started a petition requesting Burt’s Bees change its crudely written labeling. The change.org petition reached 2,000 signatures in only a few days and became a story noted across the blogosphere. We won! Burt’s Bees and Gud eventually offered a sincere apology for their offensive marketing and agreed to no longer put such offensive language on future products. Check out the storify here!
Here’s what the HOLLAs around the world have been up to:
Hollaback! Boston hosted their last Take Back The Bar event of the year and had a great turnout. They facilitated a workshop at the New England Women’s Center Conference about how story sharing contributes to the creation of safer spaces. They’re also hosting workshops at two colleges this week: Emerson College last night (Emerson also hosted a HB-themed photoshoot this weekend) and at Tufts University.
Hollaback! Appalachian Ohio delivered four lessons to the 8th graders at Vinton Middle School in McArthur Ohio. HB!AO was featured on Athens Community Television. Devin and Sarah were invited onto an interview show where they spoke on the Sexual Assault Prevention Program, Hollaback Appalachian Ohio!, the 4 D’s of self defense and Athens Rock Camp for Girls. It’s an hour long, and in two segments, the interview is available on YouTube, as well as being aired EVERY DAY for two weeks starting on Nov 30!
Hollaback Belfast was featured in The Tab and represented at the Outburst Arts Queer Arts Festival. On Sunday, Helen Mcbride of HB!B spoke on a panel discussion about activism following a showing of the movie Lesbiana. As a part of the festival, the team also published a zine!
Hollaback! Bosnia & Herzegovina also had an amazing win this week with the first case of street harassment properly reported to police and processed in a court room! A huge step for Sarajevo city!
Congratulations, everyone! Great Work!
HOLLA and out!
-The Hollaback! Team
(from ihollaback.org home page 11/23/13 )
I worked at a small boutique in the Montrose, and I was responsible for opening the shop in the mornings. Naturally that meant getting up at an early hour to ensure I was there on time. Due to the fact that I had no transportation at that moment, I rode the metro bus, which would occasionally drop me at my usual stop a bit earlier than usual. During one of these times it was particularly cold, and I had no choice but to find somewhere to try to keep warm. Most of the shop owners were nice enough to let me step inside for a few minutes because they knew me, if they were open at the time. I had stopped for a moment at the italian restaurant by Mandell and Westheimer to get out of the wind for a moment and to smoke a cigarette. It was about 7:45 in the morning. A man approached me and asked me if I needed a light. He was clearly homeless but I didn’t think anything of it. Houston has a pretty high transient population, and most of them are relatively harmless. My parents always stressed that we should be kind to those less fortunate than us, and that manners are required in all situations. I told him that was nice of him to offer. He lit my cigarette, and as I began to say “Thank you.”, he grabbed me by the waist and drew me against him. He then began saying the most obscene things to me as he rubbed his groin against me. I can’t even bring myself to repeat them. I was too terrified to move. I worried that if I showed how scared I was, or tried to struggle it would turn into something much worse. So I just stood quietly until a car happened to pull into the parking lot. He released me just as that happened and disappeared down the street. I suppose that to the person pulling up, that man might have been my father, giving me a hug or something. I walked quickly to an alley and threw up. I felt so violated and angry. And then I put my game face on, and went to work. I’ve never told anyone about this. I thought to myself that the chances of the man being caught were slim to none, (really, how do you find one specific homeless man in such a large population as the one in this city?) and I did not want to go through all the trouble of making a report when the worst that would come of it for him was a few days in jail before they let him right back out on the streets. I quit my job shortly thereafter, though I still frequent the area to go shopping or have lunch. And though I keep both eyes out for this man, I have never seen him since.
I am not the sensitive type. In fact, I pride myself on being thick-skinned. But this morning, I’ve had it.
Not to go all “Samantha Brick” on everyone, but I’m a pretty young woman, and I often get told as much. But that doesn’t mean that I deserve to be harrassed.
Just minutes ago, I was leaving the Wal-Mart on Silber Road in Houston. The Target on Gessner was closed, and I was picking up some Easter Grass and Cadbury’s for the gift bags that I’m making for a family event in a few hours. (Yes, I’m finishing up last minute. Sorry, Mom.)
I’d never been to a Wal-Mart in Houston, so I’d even taken the liberty of googling “nicest Wal-Mart in Houston” before my trip, and finding out from Yelp! where best to do my shopping. So when a nicely dressed young man in a dark-colored Corvette was driving slowly behind me as I walked to my car, I noted it — but didn’t think twice.
It’s 9:45 in the morning on Easter Sunday, and I’m in the parking lot of a damn Wal-Mart. Like I said: didn’t think twice.
About ten seconds later, he’s driving right next to me. I can tell that he’s looking at me, but, seriously — I have gift bags to fill. I’m not wearing my Easter outfit yet. My hair isn’t fixed. I have my morning Diet Coke waiting for me in the car, from which I’m not far. I have a night job (in addition to my 9-to-5 writing gig) that keeps me up until 3 AM on weekend nights. It’s so early for me, I’d even shopped in my oversized sunglasses. I even considered for a moment that it might be someone I know.
And then he spoke. Ugh, I think.
I keep walking.
“Hey there, beautiful.”
I purposefully turn my head slightly diagonal in the other direction, hoping he’ll get the hint that I’d really just like to ignore him and go back to my thoughts of bunnies and brunch.
“What are you gettin’ into today?”
Easter candy, asshole. I think. I hold my tongue.
My instincts are twofold: I’m clearly nonplussed, and clearly annoyed. I do not suffer fools well.
“You wanna hang out with me?”
Finally, a question I’m willing to answer. I’m fairly close to my car, but (I really, really hate to admit) my heart rate has risen a bit. And my D-Bag Creep Radar is out, guns a-blazin’.
“No. I don’t,” I say. Pause.
“Fuck you, dude.” I pressed the “Lock” button on my car, so that I could follow the sound and get there expressly.
I stop dead in my tracks to punctuate the remark, and he keeps on driving.
When I got to my car, I drank some Diet Coke and griped via phone to a few friends about it. I’m aware that this is not the end of the world. And it’s not that I was particularly frightened (go back to the golf course and reading Maxim, I believe, was my precise assessment to my peeps). It’s that I wanted to be thinking about something else.
I don’t deserve to have to deal with this guy just because he thinks I’m hot (or vulnerable, or a bit of parking lot harassment fun, or whatever the hell he was thinking, if anything). It’s not my job to be the source of anyone’s testosterone-fueled entertainment just because I’m doing some late errands for an event on the morning of. I was simply buying Easter grass, for Christ’s sake. (…Literally.)
And I’m posting about this instead of curling my hair because I believe it’s that important.
I recently posted about the #IDidNotReport phenomenon that @LondonFeminist began, and I’ve been thinking a lot about what’s worth reporting, and what’s not.
I accepted the position as a co-director of Hollaback! Houston because I’m a feminist (a humanist, really), and because I care deeply about everyone feeling safe. I love having fun, and I’ve been known to get rowdy my own self — but I want everyone out there to feel free to have fun, to go where they want, and to feel as secure as possible doing so. Not to mention just being able to go about our business without feeling threatened or wasting our precious time and energy dealing with assholes that have woefully immature priorities.
We live in a great city, in a great state, in a magnificent country, in a beautiful world. We should be extremely proud of this, and I believe that we should also be mindful of maintaining, at the very least, some civility.
That being said, I often have to justify Hollaback! Houston to my family and friends, of all genders and lifestyles. Most of the time, people just roll their eyes.
Sometimes they ask, “Is it really that bad?”
Most of the people that know me know that I’m far more concerned with structural sexism and pay disparities. They know that I’m not a whiny woman who wears the label of feminist but makes ill-crafted arguments and assessments about the state of things. I care about feminism academically. I care about feminism politically. I care about social and economic policy, and I live a life that relishes in and fosters the sharing of women’s narratives. I don’t really give two shits if someone whistles at me.
Also, this is Texas. Teenage cowboys in trucks are probably always gonna holler.
So this is when I always say something like, “Yes. It’s that bad. Am I going to get mad if some construction worker whistles at me while I’m on my way to work? It’s not my favorite thing in the world, but no. And do I think that male attention is bad? Absolutely not. But are there people who get groped, or feel unsafe, or flat out verbally abused sometimes? Yes. And do I think that we should all have to pay the price for that? No.”
Recently, I’ve been adding in a schpiel about #IDidNotReport. Female, male, or otherwise — we should all have a chance to share our stories. And we should always speak out when something is wrong. Should we bitch and complain? No. That’s bad for the movement, and it’s not a particularly life-giving way to conduct ourselves. But should we let people know when something bothers us? Yes. Should we warn other people if we’ve been endangered on a hyperlocal level? Absolutely. Should we do everything we can to legitimize our voice, and show would-be harassers and those that are complacent that it’s not OK, and it’s not good enough for us, and it’s not decent behavior, and it’s not acceptable? Yes. Yes. One thousand times, yes.
I am not the fun police. I am not a man-hater. And I am definitely not a prude.
But I am a director of an anti-street harassment campaign in my city, and if I don’t speak up — who will?
Sorry ’bout it, Corvette. You hassled the wrong chickie this Easter.
Although it’s always bittersweet to hear stories of liberation and empowerment after harassment, the #IDidNotReport phenomenon is making proof positive waves on the web. In case you haven’t heard, the latest meme in the social media-fueled culture of the sexual assault narrative (the Hollaback, if you will) is to attach the hashtag #IDidNotReport to personal stories of harassment and assault. Oftentimes, those that report these heinous acts are immediately dismissed and not believed.
#IDidNotReport is changing that, tweet by tweet.
Originally started as a frustrated tweet by a UK woman that was the victim of harassment, it’s nearly two weeks later and the stories just keep rolling in. The hashtag has been translated into several, and has become a true worldwide phenomenon. The originator of the meme is LondonFeminist‘s Julian Norman, who explains: In a spontaneous moment, I tweeted, “#ididnotreport the commuter who stroked my bottom on the central line” – an event from only the previous day. It was just one example that popped into my mind; I could have used a number from the last month or so. I invited others to share, using the hashtag. And so it was born – of nothing more than frustration at the levels of disbelief and a sadly large supply of material.
Where it’s easy for commenters to dismiss one woman as a liar, it’s less easy to dismiss thousands of accounts, and thousands there were — 500 in the first 24 hours, climbing to over three thousand.
We here at Hollaback! Houston are thankful for the frustration of LondonFeminist. Through venting to a social media outlet, you’ve created a platform for people to share their stories because you refused to be quiet. That’s the first step in demanding change, and we stand in solidarity with you, from 4,860 miles (7,821 km) away. Yours is a victory for the movement.
We here at Hollaback! Houston want to remind you that, like #IDidNotReport, we’re so that you can share your story. And we’re locally focused for Houston residents specifically, and we’re proud to represent our city in the movement. Find more information about what’s available to you below:
- #IDidNotReport: The Tweet That Empowered. Julian Norman. 27 March 2012.
- #ididnotreport #webelieveyou. LondonFeminist.Com. Julian Norman. 13 March 2012.
- pasdejusticepasdepaix. A French site that rose to popularity at about the same time as the #IDidNotReport hashtag. 16 March 2012.
- Twitter “I did not report” gives victims a voice. Jessica Fairley. Fox 31 Online: Albany, Georgia. 29 March 2012.
- I Did Not Report…. AllisonLeotta.com. Allison Leotta. 19 March 2012. (This link has a good sampling of tweets from others.)
- IDidNotReport Twitter Aggregator. (@ididnotreport1 is a public Twitter account for the stories, quotes, and articles of or related the hashtag — for those that want to be heard, but anonymously.)
- the ‘i did not report’ hashtag: stories of unreported sexual assault. LipMag.Com. Kaylia Payne. 28 March 2012.
- Tumblr’s Tag of #IDidNotReport. Tumblr.Com Aggregator.
We Want You To REPORT!
- Share Your Story, right here — with us.
- Donate to Hollaback! Vote with your dollars. Speak up with your support!
- NeverWalkAlone.Com, featuring the bSafe app.
- Myths about Street Harrassment. Hollaback!