Social network and app helps combat street harassment
Earlier this year, a Pittsburgh woman called Janese Talton-Jackson was murdered by a man when she did not agree to a date with him. In 2014, another woman called Mary Spears was shot after refusing to give her number to a man in Detroit.
While these are extreme examples of sexual harassment on the streets, the problem is a common one for women worldwide. In the US, a 2014 Stop Street Harassment study found that two-thirds of women have experienced it, with 23% having been touched, and 20% having been followed. 64% of women in the UK, 79% of women in India and 89% of women in Brazil say they’ve been harassed on the street.
Emily May knew something had to be done, but struggled to get institutional funding for a website to raise awareness of the issue. In 2010, after five years of running a blog that shared women’s harassment stories and raising over $13,500 on Kickstarter, she launched Hollaback! – a non-profit online platform to make women feel safer in public.
Hollaback! is a blog and free iPhone and Android app that allows users to document instances of street harassment and share them with others. Users can also add pins to a map that outlines harassment ‘hotspots’ to show others that they are not alone, and if necessary, to avoid those areas. Users can also volunteer to set up local chapters to allow members to meet and share stories.
Today there are 92 Hollaback! chapters in 32 countries and May has trained over 500 activists in 80 cities to bring the movement to local communities. The organisation’s leaders have also trained 2,500 middle and high school students in how to respond to and prevent street harassment. Join the movement at www.ihollaback.org
Image courtesy of Georgie Pauwels
Last updated: 22nd of August, 2016