Hollaback! Boston, Noteworthy

HOLLA Worthy Link Round-Up

holla worthy link round-up // hollaback! boston

If your week was a whirlwind like ours, here’s a few worthwhile reads you may have missed:

–Crunk Feminist Collective: Blackgirls Matter

–PolicyMic: An Open Letter to The Sexists Who Think “Female Privilege” Is a Thing

–The Rainbow Times: Boston City Councilors Michelle Wu & Ayanna Pressley File Gender Identity Non-Discrimination Ordinance

–For Harriet: Summertime, Sundresses and Street Harassment

–Sociologists for Women in Society: Girls View Sexual Violence as Normal

–Ebony: Is ‘Strong Black Womanhood’ Killing Our Sisters?

–The Belle Jar: Bystander Effect, Or Why This Week Has Been Really Scary

And, in honor of a certain road race on Monday, don’t forget to share your stories of #runharassment with us, here or on twitter! How does your experience with street harassment change when, where and how you run in Boston?

Have a great weekend,


image credit: Hollaback! Boston

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Events, Local News

Raise Your Voice: A Day of Empowerment with Ayanna Pressley

We are so excited to be presenting along some incredible local organizations during the second annual Raise Your Voice Summit next Saturday, April 26!

raise your voice // hollaback! boston

Join us at Northeastern University’s Cabral Center for a free summit for youth, adults, survivors and allies to learn intervention and prevention strategies, celebrate survivors of sexual violence and work to make Boston safe for everyone.

Register in advance using this form if at all possible, or print and complete it to bring along on Saturday to save time during registration! The registration packet includes a permission slip for youth, and allows you to pre-register for your first-choice workshop.

Last year over 100 Boston residents turned out to celebrate survivors, learn intervention and prevention strategies, and work together to ensure that our city is safe for everyone and that no one has to remain silent about sexual violence. This year we’re offering more workshops and expanding focus to include issues specific to men, LGBTQ survivors, high school and middle school aged students, and service providers.

For more information, to invite friends and to see full workshop details, stop by Facebook or Eventbrite. Questions? Email raiseyourvoiceboston@gmail.com. We hope to see you there!

image credit: Raise Your Voice

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Bikes, I've Got Your Back, Shared Stories

HOLLA On the Go: Perception

On the Southwest Corridor behind BPD headquarters, biking inbound, a fellow cyclist passed me going the opposite direction and yelled, “Whoa, ass!”

This kind of crap is the reason more women don’t ride, and it hurts me, the cycling community and the city as a whole. Women on bikes are indicators of the perceived safety of a city and its roads, and we need to do better.

I've got your back!

HOLLA On the Go posts are those submitted through Hollaback!’s mobile apps – learn more here!

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Kate, Local News

One Year Later: Boston Strong

Today marks the one year anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings, two explosions meant to inflict terror on a population, to maim rather than kill, to break a city’s spirit and instill fear on our streets.

one year later: boston strong // hollaback! boston

There is no shortage of coverage today, no lack of reflection, of story sharing or of tributes to those lost and those affected; there is no dearth of support for runners, past and present, and no scarcity of tears. We’re all proud of our city, with all its strengths and flaws, and Hollaback! Boston doesn’t have much to add on this day.

There is one notable parallel that comes to mind, though: terrorism is carried out with the intent of making a population feel unsafe and vulnerable in public. It instills fear and aims to change the way we move through space, hopes to break apart our communities and raise our suspicions of others.

Street harassment has many of the same effects, on women, girls, LGBTQ folks, people of color and other under-served and marginalized populations: it limits movement, restricts access to opportunity and silences groups with stories to tell. It instills fear and changes the way we move through public space. It raises our suspicions of others.

Boston is a strong city, and our communities have rebuilt in meaningful ways since last April 15. Terror did not succeed here, not this time, but street harassment and gender-based violence in public spaces continue. Read the words of others and hug your loved ones today, reflect on the strengths of our city and how far we’ve come in the past year, but don’t turn a blind eye to the work yet to be done for Boston to reach its full potential.

Holla love and Boston strength to you and yours,


image credit: The Boston Globe

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I've Got Your Back, Shared Stories

“I began to feel physically uncomfortable by this man and I was not even the one his comments were directed towards.” | Emily’s Story

I was sitting next to two young women on the Red line going towards Ashmont around 6pm or so. At Harvard Square, a disheveled looking man got on and sat across from us. He sat in one of the sections that has three seats together and sat in between two seats, causing some discomfort for the young woman sitting in one of the three seats. I already felt like this man would be an issue just by how much space he felt entitled to take up on the train.

After a few minutes, he began winking at the girls to my left, blowing them kisses, and very blatantly staring them up and down. The two girls were very engrossed in their own conversation, so I was unsure if they were noticing his leering, so I kept quiet. If they weren’t noticing the issue, then I’d just leave it. I figured he’d stop since they were very clearly not responding to him or making an effort to let him know they noticed him.

Unfortunately, I was wrong. He continued with the staring until he began making loud comments about the girls, even trying to get other train riders to make comments with him. “You’re so much sexier than your friend,” he began, referring to the other girl she was speaking with. Then he started saying, “You know it, too. You know you’re sexy.” Then he began again with the staring, the winking, etc. I began to feel physically uncomfortable by this man and I was not even the one his comments were directed towards.

It was almost my stop and he continued with his crude comments. I finally interrupted him and said, “Stop making comments about them.” I said it loud and firm, but I have never been so nervous in my life. He quickly responded, “They fucking love it. They love the attention, they love it.” I got to shout something that I’ve been waiting to have a reason to shout for some time now: “Women are not here for you to ogle at and make comments about.” He continued to say that “they love it” and I let him know that it was disrespectful and that the behavior he was engaging in was considered harassment. He said, “No, no, I’ve never harassed anybody.” I handed him a creeper card before exiting the train and said, “You should read this, then.”

I was very worried that he would follow me off the train, so I ran towards the Orange line platform. The two girls he had been harassing caught up to me and introduced themselves, shook my hand, and told me how grateful they were for what I did. I told them that I was sorry that they had experienced that and they said, “Oh, that happens sometimes.” I gave her my last creeper card and said, “Keep this, you may be able to use it some time if it happens again.” They were both so grateful for what I did and even though I was still shaking with anxiety, I was so happy that I effectively acted as a bystander so that they knew that they should not have to deal with these things in any space and that there are people who are willing to put themselves at risk to make sure others know that, too.

I've got your back!

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Hollaback! Boston, Noteworthy

HOLLA Worthy Link Round-Up

Happy Weekend, HOLLAworld! We have lots of clickable reading for you this week. But first, don’t forget to check out our coverage in the Metro and BostInno about Global Guardian.

Read about the difference between flirting and harassment, in case you still weren’t clear, or check out this intellectual defense of sexual harassment (hint: there isn’t one). Check out these pieces about different intersections of identity and street harassment– one about weight and size and another about ability. Buzzfeed shows us what it would look like if girls hit on guys the way that guys “hit on” girls and Ivan E. Coyote gives us a glimpse into the very real and very scary harassment than many trans* people experience in public restrooms every day.

Celeste Corcoran for the Dear World photo project

Celeste Corcoran for the Dear World photo project

And, of course, we’re counting down to the 2014 Boston Marathon. You won’t want to miss this beautiful photo project called “Dear World,” which features survivors of last years’ Marathon bombings. And if you’ve ever been harassed while running, we’re asking you to submit your stories of run harassment for us to share on the blog during Marathon week.

And be sure to catch us presenting at the CLPP conference this weekend!


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Brandie’s Farewell

Directors’ Note: We are so grateful for Brandie’s enthusiasm and support as part of our team over the past 10 months, and we’re sad to see her go! Brandie’s social media, networking and impeccable event planning skills will be sorely missed on our team, but we look forward to seeing the work the takes on next. Thank you, Brandie – because of you, we are stronger! –Kate and Britni

After much thought and deliberation, I’ve decided to part ways with Hollaback! Boston. The inspiration to organize, constantly develop and share my voice, build community, and most of all create safer spaces on the streets of Boston and in public space, has come from some really amazing folks that I have met these past 10 months. Friendships I hope to nurture and continue to be a part of, for a long time to come.

Throughout my time with Hollaback! Boston, I’ve been able to build the confidence, will power, and gain knowledge necessary in knowing that I am a valuable part of our community, with the ability to stand up to street harassment and help give a voice/support those who are unsure if they can do the same. Am I finished participating in the activist community in my hometown of Boston? Absolutely not, currently I am working on a few projects that I’m hoping to get off the ground that address feminism, rape culture, WoC empowerment, and a few others. Hollaback! Boston gave me the tools that I needed to grow and feel powerful enough to know that my experiences matter, that no amount of injustice and oppression that exists in the world will silence me, I have a voice and my voice matters.

If you know me, I’m sure you’re aware of my love of listicles. I’d like to include my top 5 Hollaback! Boston events to celebrate the time I spent help changing Boston:

Top Five Events with Hollaback! Boston

5.) The Goddess Walk, you can read my recap here.

brandie's farewell // hollaback! boston

4.) Rhode Island Comic Con, you can read my recap here.

rhode island comic con // hollaback! boston

3.) Break Out! Against Mass Incarceration, you can read Jamie & my recap here.

March Against Mass Incarceration // Hollaback! Boston

2.) International Anti-Street Harassment Chalk Walk 2014, you can read the recap here.

1.) The time I was so angry, being street harassed in my new neighborhood, I held my own bilingual chalk walk! There isn’t a recap, because I wasn’t part of the Hollaback! Boston team yet, but I was a badass in the making- that’s for sure!

brandie's farewell // hollaback! boston

brandie's farewell // hollaback! boston

brandie's farewell // hollaback! boston

You can follow me on Twitter and Instagram @feministfists for updates on my new projects, or read my blog: feministfists.wordpress.com

That’s it for now!

Best of luck, love, and happiness to the Hollaback! Boston team!


image credits: Brandie Skorker

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Events, Local News, Noteworthy

Walk For Change

Hollaback! Boston is all about stopping street harassment and gender-based violence in the first place: we want to provide a platform for education and discussion, to engage the community in being active bystanders and shifting our culture.

walk for change // hollaback! boston

But we live in the real world. Sexual assault and gender-based violence are realities, and though we’re working hard to change the norm, there are real individuals experiencing real trauma who need real support, right now.

We do our best to offer what support we can to victims of street harassment, to let them know we have their backs, but when people are in need of more, the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center is a major resource. We’ve been honored to partner with them as members of the ELEVATE Boston coalition, and in the Global Guardian initiative. To borrow from HOLLA volunteer Delia, “other places may offer similar support services, but nowhere else offers it all for free, or is so good at anticipating all the needs and fears of every type of survivor in order to make them as comfortable as possible.”

This weekend, BARCC is hosting their annual Walk For Change fundraiser – and it’s not too late to sign up! Even if you can’t make it, HOLLA volunteers Liz and Delia and HOLLA alum Brandie are walking and would welcome your support. Check it out, spread the word and support the crucial work that BARCC does in the Boston area!


image credit: BARCC

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