We've come a long way since the '80s, when my mom kept a whistle in her purse and one by the telephone. Now, there are all sorts of ways to report and publicly shame sexual harassers. One of the better-known is Hollaback.
When Emily May started the project in 2005, she designed a blog where women could swap stories of public sexual harassment--she calls it "street harassment"--in part for the relief of telling their stories, and in part for the power behind putting the accused harassers' faces and/or behaviors online for anyone to see.
Welcome to the Movement, from Hollaback's new Executive Director from Emily May on Vimeo.
But the Hollaback blog, which started in New York, proved to be such a popular concept that it now boasts satellite blogs based out of eight cities worldwide.
As of June, it goes 2.0, launching not only a free app for the iPhone and other smartphones but a more streamlined Web site with a map of reported harassment hot spots. The message: sexual harassment (characterized as verbal, physical, and public masturbation) will not be tolerated. As executive director May recently told The American Prospect:
With street harassment, if you walk on, you feel victimized. If you yell at the guy, you put yourself in danger. And of course, if you tell the police, they don't care. So when it happens to you three, four times a day, it really starts to weigh on your life. It changes the way you live your life, the clothes you wear. More than anything, we all wanted a response to street harassment that felt good.
So while Hollaback's mission is in part to deter harassment, it's also about those being harassed reclaiming a certain amount of power. Which is why May tells me by phone that Hollaback will also welcome harassment reports filed by men: "If somebody else wants to report harassment, I think that's fine. It's a good way for men to get involved, because 95 percent of men on this earth do not harass and [also] deplore this behavior."… Read more