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Hollaback! will host HOLLA::Revolution, an international conference to establish a global strategy to disrupt the normalization of street harassment, in New York City this July. The conference will bring together 250 leaders, who have been trained by Hollaback! to fight street harassment in their local communities.
Hollaback! has trained young leaders—who come from 62 cities and 25 countries—to build skills in on-the-ground activism and digital storytelling to create powerful change. Collectively, they have performed more than 25 research projects, met with 150 legislators, collected 4,000 stories, trained more than 2,500 people, held 50 rallies and walks, spoken with more than 750 media outlets, and brought the issue of street harassment into the limelight in their communities and on-line. But the power of the Internet only extends so far.
HOLLA::Revolution will have two parts:
We aim to create the next generation of feminist leaders, to develop a global agenda to end street harassment and to build the community support necessary for the movement’s long-term success. From California to Mumbai and London to South Africa, and all the way here in Richmond, help us put an end, once and for all, to street harassment.
Excited yet?! Check out this page http://www.catapult.org/project/building-power-end-street-harassment-0 and watch our campaign video!
and then DONATE HERE https://npo1.networkforgood.org/Donate/Donate.aspx?npoSubscriptionId=1006067
Be sure to Dedicate it to Hollaback RVA!
April 9, 2013 at VCU in front of the commons we will be chalking with S.A.V.E.S of VCU at 7 pm for Anti Street Harassment week and April Sexual Assault Awareness month! Enjoy the beautiful weather and spread some awareness at the same time!
April 12, 2013 Transgender Memorial Tree Dedication Ceremony 12pm at the Cannon Memorial Chapel at University of Richmond.
While this is not our event we strongly support it! We were part of Richmond’s 2012 Transgender Day of Remembrance and will be there in support of this ceremony!
April 17, 2013 Take Back the Night at VCU! Hollaback RVA! will be tabling at this event. Come say hi to us and support this incredible event!
It’s that time again, S.AV.E.S ( Sexual Assault and Violence Education by Students) and M.A.V ( Men Against Violence ) are hosting the annual event : Take Back the Night on Wednesday, April 17th, 2013 from 6pm – 10pm in the VCU Student Commons – Commonwealth Ballrooms A&B.
April 27, 2013 The Vagina Monologues. We will be setting up a table for the resource fair! Fair starts at 6 pm, show at 7 pm at the Dogtown Dance Theatre
Written by Guest Blogger: Afton Bradley
Often when we think of street harassment, we think one person or a group of people committing this harassment against another individual or group. We don’t often think about policies and laws which create an environment where harassment is more likely to happen. In the past few weeks, Arizona has been striving for such a law. Last week, the House Appropriations Committee passed a new draft of a bill that was originally created to prevent transgender persons from using their desired restroom. Phoenix had recently passed a law to protect transgender persons from being kicked out of locker rooms and bathrooms. This state level bill was a direct effort to overturn that law.
After advocacy efforts from the local and national LGBTQ community forced the original bill to be revised, this new bill found success in the House. The original bill, Arizona Senate Bill SB 1045, would prevent anyone from using a bathroom that did not match the gender listed on their birth certificate. Doing so would result in a class one misdemeanor with penalties of up to six months in jail and a $2500 fine. Instead, this new bill allows business owners the ability to make their own rules for private bathrooms and locker rooms.
As I said, many of us know harassment on a one-on-one level. But it is policies like this that already create an unsafe space to begin with. For many, like me, restrooms can be a scary encounter. If a transgender individual is read as being somewhere they don’t belong, we can expect verbal harassment which may lead to something worse. By having a law that already says we are not allowed here, we are giving the green light for others including law enforcement to harass us for something as simple as having to use the restroom. It was through great advocacy that this bill was reduced from its original intensity. However, how can someone comfortably eat at a restaurant, or shop in a store, knowing the moment they walk in a restroom it only takes one person to call them out. And not only that, the person who did so is just following the law.
written by Chase F., Hollaback! Richmond Blogger
It is easy when we witness street harassment to simply keep walking or avert our eyes and stay quiet, pretending everything is ok or rationalizing why we couldn’t take the time to stop and help the victim. This process of rationalizing inaction or passing on the responsibility to act is referred to as the bystander effect. Researchers first turned their attention to the bystander effect following the murder of New York City resident Kitty Genovese in 1964; Genovese was stabbed and killed while at least 38 witnesses saw the murder happening, but made no attempts to intervene. (Darley) When questioned as to why they did not intervene, bystanders gave a range answers that included: physical harm, public embarrassment, involvement with the police, the assumption some one else had acted, and other, unknown dangers.
One aspect of research into the bystander effect that I found particularly intriguing was the idea that when you increase the number of bystanders in a situation, the less likely it is that someone will intervene. In such a situation, individuals diffuse responsibility to other bystanders, believing they do not need to help, because another person will. Researchers also found that “non-intervening subjects had not decided not to respond. Rather they were still in a state of indecision and conflict concerning whether to respond or not.” (Darley) While it is easy to label bystanders as apathetic or desensitized to violence, studies into the bystander effect tell us that these labels simplify the issue, but that they serve two purposes: it explains, at least nominally, the reason for the bystander effect, while simultaneously allowing others to deny that they would act similarly if they were also a bystander. Clearly, the issue is not that simple; if bystanders are in a state of indecision, then they are not apathetic. Instead, their indecision means there is an opportunity for them to intervene, but they are not sure how to help or if the victim needs help.
A feature of the bystander effect that helps create the necessary cognitive dissonance for an individual remain a bystander and not intervene, despite knowing that what is happening is wrong, is the halo effect. The halo effect “is a cognitive bias by which possession of one desirable trait is said to influence other traits about a person in positive ways.” (Buddie) For example, survey research demonstrated that when participants filled out surveys rating individuals on 27 desirable traits, including altruism, sincerity, and sophistication, participants rated attractive people higher than unattractive people on the same survey; they believed attractive people to be better people all around. This cognitive tendency explains why many bystanders do not try to prevent harassment, in incidents where the harasser possesses some positive characteristic, attractiveness being an easy example, the bystander may simply assume he is also a pleasant and nice person, dismissing the incident as no big deal. The reality, however, is that being attractive does not make an individual any less dangerous or catcalling any more welcome.
Even more interesting, though, is that when asked how female participants would respond to the same remarks, 20.3% of respondents reported they would be afraid of the unattractive man, while only 1.9% said they would be afraid of the attractive man. Furthermore, 27.1% of respondents said that they would enjoy the harassment if it were the attractive man making remarks, compared to 0.2% enjoying remarks made by the unattractive male. (Buddie) While this survey research showed how victims responded to different physical appearances, it is necessary to recognize these principles carry over to how bystanders interpret street harassment, both verbal and physical. Not only will the halo effect impact how bystanders view street harassment, but it may convince many that there is nothing wrong happening in the first place. For bystanders, it is important that we are able to set aside our own predispositions about a situation, and base our decision on whether or not to intervene on if the victim feels they are being harassed. Making simple statements such as, “are you okay?” or “is he bothering you?” are ways for bystanders to check in with the victim and find out if they need further help.
Research into the bystander effect suggests that different individuals will have different thresholds at which they perceive an act as harassment. While women will typically view an act as inappropriate or harassment at a lower threshold than men, research demonstrates that the differences still remain ambiguous. “While women conceive of a broader range of behaviors as constituting sexual harassment than men, these differences are relatively small… potentially harassing behaviours are not perceived as harassment by either men or women until they become more severe, even if they are frequent.” (McDonald, 16) With this in mind, it is apparent that by intervening in street harassment, we also spread awareness of the problem and show others what they can do to stop it. Future bystanders then understand how to support victims of street harassment because they can identify inappropriate behaviors and take the needed steps to stop them.
For starters, HollaBack! has already put together an amazing guide for you, as a bystander, on how you to get involved in stopping harassment while it is happening:
It is important to recognize that there are many different ways you can get involved and provide support for the victims of harassment in the moment. Whether you take a direct, confrontational approach or attempt to distract the harasser, it is imperative to remove ourselves from being mere bystanders. Here is a simple way I have gotten involved at work to prevent harassment.
For myself, and I’m sure most of us, the most frustrating part about street harassment is how pervasive and regular it is in our day to day lives. Every day I see men making unwanted advances towards women while they are at work. The harasser uses their position as a ‘customer,’ and takes advantage of the obligation of a female employee to provide customer service. The victims must smile through comments and propositions, for fear of being reported by their harasser for being ‘rude.’
To combat this in my store, I started by first speaking with my female coworkers to identify the sorts of inappropriate behaviors they deal with and why they are wrong; it was both frustrating and saddening that some of my younger employees thought there was nothing they could do when men made these advances towards them at work. Once I had heard their perspectives on the situation, and how the harassment made them feel (unsurprisingly, they all agreed that they hated being hit on while at work, and felt powerless to stop it), we agreed that we would no longer allow this behavior to occur. This meant empowering my own employees to confront customers when they make inappropriate remarks or being able to come to me when they felt uncomfortable, and knowing that I would support them by either asking the customer to stop or having them removed if need be.
While this seems rather simple and obvious, this basic support network had been absent both in our store, and in their other jobs as well. I found, more often than not, the issue is that many reports of harassment are dismissed. Whether the individual doesn’t understand that a behavior is inappropriate or they just don’t care, it makes it even harder for women to come forward when they feel harassed.
You can find your own ways of preventing street harassment and providing support for victims as well, but it is imperative that we recognize our positions as bystanders when harassment occurs and become involved in stopping it in whatever ways we can.
Buddie, Melissa. (2012) Student Perceptions of Peer Sexual Harassment: The “Where” and the “How” Matter More than the “Who.” Department of Sociology, University of Notre Dame. 2012.
Darley, J. M., & Latané, B. (1968). Bystander intervention in emergencies: Diffusion of responsibility. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 8, 377–383. Copyright © 1968 by the American Psychological Association. Reprinted with permission.
McDonald, Paula K. & Flood, Michael (2012) Encourage, support, act : bystander approaches to sexual harassment in the workplace. Australian Human Rights Commission, Sydney, NSW.
I have an odd issue that I have no idea what to do with. My wife and I went to a local restaurant last evening and while we were waiting for a table my wife was sexually harassed by several members of the kitchen/wait staff. The staff seemed to be almost completely male except for the woman taking names for tables at the front. My wife used the restroom which is located very close to the kitchen area and is kind of open. On the way going in and coming out of the bathroom several male staff members whistled at her, made obscene gestures and made lewd comments(primarily in Spanish). My wife is Mexican and speaks fluent Spanish and I speak some myself. I don’t know if they didn’t realize she would understand or what but the whistling and gestures they made are pretty clear in any language. I did not see this behavior as it happened but my wife indicated it was loud enough for other restaurant patrons to notice. I confronted one of the staff members she pointed out and asked him if he said the things she accused him of and surprisingly not only did he admit he did but told me he didn’t feel it was a big deal. He left and within a minute or so much of the staff was grinning at us and purposely making things very uncomfortable. We obviously decided we would not be dining there anymore but I felt it important to let management know. When I spoke to the manager his response was the most surprising of all. He explained to me that this happens regularly and while he was sorry we were offended it “was all in good fun”. I asked him if he thought it was acceptable for male members of his staff to treat female customers in such a way and he responded that it was “just the way it is”. He invited us to leave if we were unhappy with the way his staff behaved, which we did but are disgusted that such behavior would not only go on in the open at a public establishment but seemingly be encouraged by management. We have dined at this restaurant before and had no such problems and this is not a bar or club or anything like that but a sushi restaurant. Not that this is acceptable behavior in any setting.
Join Hollaback! Richmond to contribute to a zine on street harassment!
WHEN: Sunday, March 24 12-3PM
WHERE: Crenshaw House (919 W. Franklin St)
We will be making a zine in honor of Meet Us On the Street International Anti-Street Harassment Week, April 7-13 of 2013.
We will later distribute this zine to local businesses, tabling events, at art shows, and future events.
Please join us and create your own page how street harassment has affected you.
What’s the Problem?
Catcalls, sexist comments, public masturbation, groping, stalking, and assault: gender-based street harassment makes public places unfriendly and even scary for many girls, women, and LGBQT folks.
What is It?
Meet Us On the Street: International Anti-Street Harassment Week is an opportunity to collectively raise awareness that street harassment happens and that it’s not okay.
You can read more at