Last time we talked about Hollaback, the organization to fight street harassment, they were raising money to fund development of an mobile phone app to make reporting street harassment fast and easy. Well, it’s ready! Hollaback just released its street harassment reporting app for iPhone and Android, called “Hollaback.” Several news media outlets have picked up the story; you can read The New York Times story here:
Phone Apps Aim to Fight Harassment
Yes, that’s right, now when some creep starts muttering about your ass on the bus, you can whip out your phone, take a photo of him and get it published on a web site along with your story – and it only takes seconds. The photo is optional, of course. Instructions on how to download the app, text message your report, or report by web form are here.
Reporting street harassment this way is less about identifying and prosecuting individual men than raising awareness and giving women a feeling of power and the confidence to fight back. Before the Hollaback app was available, I started taking photos of my harassers in San Francisco (and noting the time and place and even interviewing them). I never even bothered sending them to Hollaback because simply taking the photos made me feel so powerful and in-control that I didn’t need to do more.
Comments of the “What about the poor mens?” variety that don’t add anything new to the discussion won’t be approved (problem-solving ideas welcome, of course!). Please feel free to share your street harassment story here but consider also submitting it to the Hollaback web site too.
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When I sold my car and started walking and using public transit, I discovered a whole new wonderful world of sexual harassment. In general, I can’t travel more than a mile without at least one incident of a guy pinching his nipples while shouting at me to “Take it off!” or the like. The worst part is that you feel absolutely powerless to do anything about it. Men who enjoy harassing women also enjoy any kind of attention whatsoever, and getting angry, yelling at them, or shaming them only makes them happier.
A couple of years ago, I kept a Google map of location, time, and description of each incident of sexual harassment, simply because so many people refused to believe me when I told them about the kind of harassment I got. Then I just got used to it – sort of, if you can call feeling fear, shame, and rage for a couple of hours “used to it.”
But now! Hollaback is raising money (via Kickstarter) for an iPhone app that will let you take a photo and post it to an online map and database. You can already post to the Stop Street Harassment Global map. Street harassment depends on anonymity – most of these guys only do it when there are not many people around, or so quietly that no one else can hear. The more men get their photos up on the Internet when they harass women, the less harassment there will be.
The way Kickstarter works is that they have to raise a certain amount of money before they get any of the money. The deadline for this fundraiser is May 28, 2010, and they currently have $5,705 out of a goal of $12,500.
I gave them $25. Yay! I can do something! If you’ve ever been harassed on the street, or know someone who has, or just think that women should be able to go out in public without fear, please donate. You can give as little as $5. I’d love to see someone donate $1000.