I go to the gas station and as I’m waiting in line, I feel someone touching me from behind. I literally inched against the wall and forced myself to think it might have been an accident- until this guy slid his finger between my ass cheeks. I wheeled around and he asked me for a lighter. I’ve never cursed so much. His response? “Fuck you, man.” He walked away. I looked at the cashier, eyes wide, but he looked more bewildered than I did. I jumped into my car, locked the doors and sat there with my heart pounding.
I shouldn’t have to fear going to a gas station, shouldn’t have to feel so incredibly helpless and exposed, shouldn’t have to deal with being groped to buy a Coke.
Dude. Do you seriously not see anything wrong with pulling over to tell a girl who is so clearly at least half your age that she is beautiful? I might be good looking but the creep factor of pulling over is just too much. Do you think I’m going to get in your car? And no, in not telling you who I voted for. I bet I can guess who you voted for though…
I was walking through a crosswalk WITH a stop sign and a cab driver came speeding through and almost hit me. He then tried to lecture me for what seemed like an eternity. He scolded me for crossing a pedestrian walkway on a college campus, saying that he would think a young woman would be more careful so as not to get her “pretty legs” hit by a car. When I tried to move along and get to class, he followed me and continued yelling obscenities at me until I found a safe building to escape to. When I tried to file a complaint, the dispatcher, the dispatcher refused to file my complaint and called me a “lying whore” and hung up on me. Never in my life have I felt so violated and so helpless.
“Do you like pretty white boys?”
No. No one likes any boy who yells things to women out of car windows.
I say hi to you because you see me leave for work every day. Not because I want to have a conversation. I am wearing a dress because I want to. Not to be your morning eye candy. The worst part, is I can’t blow you off or tell you off for objectifying me. I see you every day. You know where I live. I don’t know what you’re capable of if you decided I’m a frigid bitch.
What is street harassment?
Street harassment is a form of sexual harassment that takes place in public spaces. At its core is a power dynamic that constantly reminds historically subordinated groups (women and LGBTQ folks, for example) of their vulnerability to assault in public spaces. Furthermore, it reinforces the ubiquitous sexual objectification of these groups in everyday life. At Hollaback!, we believe that what specifically counts as street harassment is determined by those who experience it. While there is always the classic, “Hey baby, nice tits!”, there are many other forms that go unnoticed. If you feel like you have been harassed, Hollaback!
How did the new app come about?
After launching our app in 2010, we noticed that over time more and more people were using it to share their experiences with harassment, but that most people were only using it to report some of their harassment and rarely their complete story. We also heard from users that they wanted to be able to explore their personal history of harassment in addition to being able to see it in the context of their community. We built this new app with that feedback in mind.
Development for the app started in Summer 2014. With the first draft of our new app in hand, we went through several rounds of feedback with our site leaders. We also had an opportunity to use human-centered design with a network of global students to improve upon the apps in Fall 2014. The designs were locked in by the end of 2014, and development started. The new app was funded thanks to our generous partners at Voqal and Catapult.
How is this app different from the old one?
Through this new app, it takes under 5 seconds to report and sharing a narrative of your story is optional (but encouraged). We’ve also added the ability for users to track their personal history of harassment. You’re able to see a comprehensive view of where you’ve been harassed and you have the option to share this information with your social networks via Facebook, Twitter, and email. By telling your story and sharing it with people in your community you can help raise awareness and encourage your community to have your back.
How do I use the app?
a) The first time you open the app you’ll need to create an account or login through Facebook. To create a new account, enter your email address and a password that contains 8 characters with at least one capital letter and 1 number or special symbol.
b) Using the drop down menus select your language and local Hollaback! site. If there are no Hollaback! sites near you, click “none in my area.”
c) You will receive an automated confirmation email once you’ve finished signing up.
2. Login to the app using the email and password you just set.
To access other’s stories, provide support, and share your story:
1. Every time you login you’ll be automatically directed to the “Home” page.
a) This will show a map based on your GPS location.
b) You can tap on the dots on the map to read other people’s stories and provide support.
c) You can also search for stories in a specific location by typing in an address or area in the search bar at the top of the screen.
d) When you click on and read someone’s story you can click “I’ve Got Your Back” to let the person know they’re not alone.
2. To submit your story click “Take Action” at the bottom of the page
3. On the first screen click either “I Experienced” or “I Witnessed”
4. Next select as many boxes as you’d like to categorize what happened. Your options include:
i. verbal abuse
ii. sexual gestures
iii. inappropriate touching
iv. being followed
v. indecent exposure
5. After selecting the categories, click “Next” at the bottom of the page.
6. At this point, you can choose to use your first name or remain anonymous. Once you choose, you’ll be directed to the next screen.
7. On the following screen click where on the map you experienced or witnessed street harassment.
a) If your GPS is on, the app will pull up a map based on your location.
b) You can tap your location on the map, or
c) You can also set your location by clicking on “search for address” and manually typing in your location, or the location where you experienced or witnessed street harassment.
8. Click “Submit.”
9. After clicking “Submit” you can choose to tell more details about your story and/or attach a photo. If you are in NYC, you can choose to share your story with the NYC Council.
10. Click “Finish” to return to the home screen.
To view and share your personal maps:
1. On the “Profile” page you can view all of your experiences of harassment on one map.
2. By clicking on a shared story (dots) you can re-read it and see who has your back.
3. Click on “Share Map” to circulate your personal map of street harassment on social media so that your community can have your back.
4. To Logout scroll to the bottom of the “Profile” page and click “Log Out.”
Can I share my story anonymously?
Yes! First off, Hollaback! will never, in any circumstance, show your last name, email, or any contact information. You also have the option to remain completely anonymous by hiding your first name as well.
In order to share your story anonymously, you still need to be logged into the app. You can choose to login through Facebook or create an account. From there you can click through to submit your story, following the guidelines above. Once you have mapped your story and categorized it, you will be asked if you would like to use your first name or remain anonymous.
If you choose to remain anonymous, the story will appear on the public map and your personal map but it will not be associated with your name or user. If you choose to share your personal map with your network, only your public stories will be shared among your network.
What happens after I share my story?
Every story you submit will appear on your personal map and Hollaback!’s main map. If you share a photo or narrative with your experience, this gets sent to our system moderators who will check to make sure your story aligns with our posting policy. Until the moderators approve your story, only you can see it. Once it is published it appears on the public map and, if the story is not anonymous, it will appear when you share your personal map with your network.
Why should I share my story?
By telling your story you are transforming an experience that is lonely and isolating into one that is sharable. You change the power dynamic by flipping the lens off of you and onto the harasser. On top of that, you enter a worldwide community of people who’ve got your back. Your stories are inspiring legislators, journalists, academics, and the guy on the corner to take street harassment seriously and create solutions that make everyone feel safe.
What happens with the information collected in the app?
Every story that is approved through the moderation process will appear on the public map. You are able to control whether your story is shared anonymously or attached to your name. Though your story is public, we will never share your contact information with anyone.
If you live in NYC you can choose to send your street harassment information to City Council. If you choose to participate, your story will be sent to the Councilmember in the district in which you were harassed through a program called “Councilstat.” Councilstat is a NYC-specific government database that tracks all citizen issues are brought to the attention of the Council. It was launched to make Councilmembers more responsive to their communities. To ensure that these stories do not get lost in a government database, Hollaback! will issue annual reports that look at issues and trends across New York City. We’ll use these reports to advocate for policy recommendations related to education and prevention. These include, but are not limited to, safety audits, improved street lighting, educational workshops in middle and high schools, and public service announcements on subways and buses. Please note, your information and your story will not be shared with the police.
I haven’t experienced street harassment. Can I still use the app?
Yes! First of all, you can use the app to share stories of street harassment that you’ve witnessed. If you’re a bystander in a situation, it’s important to learn how to intervene AND to share your story. On top of that, you can use the app to read the stories of other people who have been harassed. Once you read someone’s story you can click the “I’ve Got Your Back” button and let them know they’re not alone.
What platforms is the app available on?
What if I don’t have a smartphone? Can I still tell my story?
Of course! You can still tell your story online through neworleans.ihollaback.org and other local chapters around the world.
The bus is pulling up and I’m about to get on and a man walks by saying, yelling good morning. I’m not paying attention to him because I don’t have to and because I have things on my mind. The other woman at the stop was on the phone. He kept screaming good morning at us until the other woman acknowledged him.
Why is it that men feel so entitled to a good morning? You’re not my parent, it’s not your job to police my manners. You have no idea why I didn’t respond.
Be polite and say good morning, but if you don’t get a response… Just keep walking.
I was walking to Rouses market and a man who passed by said “Hey beautiful, how you doing?” I ignored him and kept walking, and he said something like “You doing good?” as follow up. After years of anti-street harassment work I still don’t understand why some men think talking to women they don’t know in this way is a thing.