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Yesterday, we shared a link to a PolicyMic article regarding the launch of a US version of the global Everyday Sexism Project, a site aiming to provide an outlet for victims of sexism – mundane, daily incidents or outrageous – to anonymously share their experiences with the world.
At its core, the Everyday Sexism Project shares quite a bit with Hollaback!: an emphasis is placed on sharing day to day experiences, sparking discussions and confirming that the problem does exist outside victims’ imaginations. Says London-based founder Laura Bates, “You can’t tackle an invisible problem … we need to get more communities mobilized and to get women, through a sense of solidarity, to realize that they can be supported if they have the courage to speak up.”
Here, here! We wanted to know more, so we reached out to Laura with some questions, and she gave us the scoop:
You started the Everyday Sexism Project, and it’s gone international – tell us more. What else are you into? Well, we’ve received 25,000 entries from women all over the world, including recently a huge number of kick ass success stories from women who stood up to harassment or sexism as a result of reading the project and realising they didn’t have to put up with it. We’re also really into education and outreach, so doing a lot of work in schools and universities exploring and questioning these issues with young people before they become too normalised and ingrained.
Define your style: Feminism with humour
Your superpower is… Speaking with the voice of 25,000 women!
What are you excited about in 2013? The brilliant film being made about the Everyday Sexism Project by a BAFTA winning director as part of Chime for Change!
What inspires you? Every woman who finds her own individual way of standing up, whether it’s posting her story on our website, printing off her employer’s sexual harassment policy and distributing it to every desk in her workplace, or standing up for a friend. And I’m also incredibly inspired every time a woman posts her experience to our Twitter feed to see the amazing solidarity of the hundreds of women who contact her and offer their support.
Have you experienced/witnessed street harassment? What stood out most in your memory? Being grabbed hard from behind by a boy pushing his hand up between my legs. The feeling of being dirty and violated for days afterwards and the idea that he probably forgot about it before he turned the corner.
What’s your signature response to street harassment – your go-to Hollaback? You know what’s really sexy about men who shout at women in the street?… Nothing.
If you could leave the world one piece of advice, what would it be? Look after one another. It can be the hardest thing in the world in the moment of suffering harassment to speak up – victims can be frozen, ashamed, afraid. But so often, we hear that there were other people around who didn’t do anything, who looked out of the window of the bus or walked on by. If each one of those people stopped and stepped in when they saw street harassment happening then they might find there was someone there to watch their back next time too. I really believe we just need to keep people thinking about it, to create a cultural shift away from the normalisation that currently allows the problem to flourish.
The US site of the Everyday Sexism Project is up and running, and the Project is present in 15 other countries around the world – for more background, we highly recommend the PolicyMic piece. Submit your own story of sexism in daily life, and follow the Project on twitter; while you’re at it, share your street harassment experiences, too.
Laura, thank you so much for your time, insight, and all that you do!
image credit: Hollaback! Boston (Kate Ziegler)
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