Hollaback! Boston, Noteworthy

HOLLA Faves: March’s Top Five

holla faves: march's top five // hollaback! boston

It’s okay to pick favorites—and this month, dear readers, you did. In case you missed them, here are the five most popular posts from March, neatly divided between two distinct topics:

  1. Time to Upgrade: Up-Skirts and Expectations of Privacy in Public
  2. No Laughing Matter
  3. Outlawing Upskirting is Just the Beginning
  4. Bystander Intervention Before The Fact
  5. Boston’s Bystanders Are Making Our Streets Safer

We can take a hint.

To learn more about ways you can be an active bystander, and help encourage other bystanders in your community, revisit Bystander Intervention 101, and stay tuned for more ways to support safer spaces in transit beyond upskirting.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and we’re looking forward to working with other local organizations to spark conversation and support change. What does the coming month have in store for you?


image credit: Hollaback! Boston

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Events, Hollaback! Boston

Meet Us On The Tweet: Tweet Chats to #EndSH

If you can’t meet us in person, perhaps joining us for one of Stop Street Harassment’s tweet chats this week would hold some appeal: check out the full schedule online!

We kicked off International Anti-Street Harassment Week yesterday with a casual HOLLA-offline meetup over coffee. Join us later this week for other events in Boston, or catch us at the tweet chats and elsewhere online. We hope to see you out there!


image credit: Stop Street Harassment

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Hollaback! Boston, Noteworthy

HOLLA Worthy Link Round-Up

holla worthy link round-up // hollaback! boston

Another week, another round-up: here’s a bit of recommended reading from the Hollaback! Boston team:

Will Women Ever Feel Completely Safe on Mass Transit?

The “Divergent” Rape Scene: Here’s Why It Matters

6 Ways Trans Women Are Helping Deliver Gender Equality

55 gentle ways to take care of yourself when you’re busy busy busy

Women play #gendercard in solidarity with Wendy Davis

Stunning Self-Portrait Series Responds To Street Harassment In Perfect Way

–Catch Britni on 103.3! Loren’s Badass Chicks: Hollaback! Boston

Britni and I will be speaking at the Women’s Liberation Conference at BU tomorrow, talking consciousness-raising and collective storytelling in the Hollaback! movement, and don’t forget to catch Brenda at HOLLA Offline on Sunday  to kick off International Anti-Street Harassment Week if you’re free!

Have a great weekend,


image credit: Hollaback! Boston

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Hollaback! Boston

We Want YOU: to Help Us Holla!

Hollaback! Boston is entirely volunteer-run: our core team members are all volunteers, and we couldn’t do what we do without the broader network of holla-volunteers that help us organize, promote and do work on the ground in Boston.

hollaback boston

Have you been wanting to get involved, but were unable to attend our volunteer training last fall? Want to help out, but can’t commit to a hands-on role? Maybe you’re just not sure what we actually need?

Take a peek! We’re updating our volunteer survey, adding a page for opportunities and streamlining our process for getting folks up to speed. Do you have a particular skill you’d like to practice, or a project you have in mind? Let us know – we’d love to partner with you!

Things We Would Love: An Incomplete List

Male Facilitators: We often receive requests for male workshop facilitators, especially to work with youth. If you’re interested, we’ll happily train you in our basic workshops, and help you facilitate when the time comes!

Statistical Wizards: Our State of the Streets self-report survey last fall was a great starting point, but it was hardly scientific. Are you a student, professor or statistical hobbyist interested in helping us improve? We’d love to talk!

Film Fanatics: We’ve had some incredible videos put together by volunteers, but we’re always open to doing more: video is a really compelling way to spread our mission and message. Are you a film student, or an amateur or professional looking to share your talents? Get in touch!

Portrait Photographers: We can always use help photographing events, though our volunteers have done an amazing job so far (thank you!); right now, though, we would really benefit from a few higher-caliber team headshots.

Translators: We would love to be more accessible, and we get requests to make materials available in Spanish most often. Are you fluent in another language? Care to partner on a PSA or bystander campaign?

Grant Writers: We’ve had some luck securing small grants, but we’re by no means professionals. Do you have a knack for this type of writing, or a suggestion for a grant that would be a great fit for Hollaback! Boston?

Race Directors: An after-dark ladies-only run series is on our bucket list, but the logistics have been more than we can handle thus far. Do you have experience as a race director or organizing similar events? Please let us pick your brain!

Campus Evangelists: Next fall we hope to spread our work to more campuses in the Boston area, but we need contacts on the ground. Want to see holla work at your school? Let us know, and you may be just the introduction we need!

As always, you can email boston@ihollaback.org with any questions or suggestions. And a big, warm thank you to all our volunteers, for all that you do!


image credit: Hollaback! Boston

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Events, Hollaback! Boston, Local News

It’s Coming: International Anti-Street Harassment Week 2014

We’re prepping for a busy week in Boston next week in celebration of International Anti-Street Harassment Week, and we’ve got something for everyone! Meet us on the street to speak out about street harassment in your community, or to learn more.

international anti-street harassment week 2014 // hollaback! boston

Check out our lineup at the links below, and join us if you can!

March 30-April 5—Meet Us On The Street: International Anti-Street Harassment Week

March 30, 2pm—HOLLA Offline

April 1, 6:30pm—War Zone Film Screening

April 3, 8:30pm—MUTS Take Back The Bar: College Edition with Lesley University

April 5, 12pm—Meet Us On The Street: Chalk Walk

If you can’t meet us in person, perhaps joining us for one of Stop Street Harassment’s tweet chats next week would hold some appeal: check out the full schedule online!


image credit: Hollaback! Boston

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Hollaback! Boston, Noteworthy

HOLLA Worthy Link Round-Up

holla worthy link round-up // hollaback! boston

It’s been another busy week! In case you missed them, some recommended reads from the Hollaback! Boston team:

Did we miss anything awesome? Let us know in the comments!


image credit: Hollaback! Boston

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Hollaback! Boston, Kate, Local News, Noteworthy

Boston’s Bystanders Are Making Our Streets Safer

Boston has seen some incredible instances of bystander intervention lately, and it’s really important to highlight the impact that bystanders can have in creating safer public spaces in our communities. Perhaps even more than collective storytelling, bystanders can change the world!

On Monday night, a man stepped in to subdue a harasser who was escalating to physical violence toward two women on the T:

“Richard Botelho, 43, is accused of first verbally berating the women with insults, Transit Police said. The women moved to another section of the train, but Botelho’s alleged harassment continued. [...] A man intervened and subdued Botelho, holding him on a T platform until police arrived.

This is what people think of most often when they hear “bystander intervention” – it’s what we call direct intervention. If you feel you can step in without turning the situation toward violence, and especially if your privileges place you in a position to speak out safely against the harassment, direct intervention is an excellent option. We commend this man for intervening on the T!

That said, direct intervention is not for everyone, nor is it the only option. Also this week, a local T-rider demonstrated “delayed intervention” better than we ever have. In case you missed her scathing Craigslist Missed Connection, click through for a closer read:

boston's bystanders // hollaback! boston

Here, a bystander witnessed harassment, and stepped in after the fact both to support the victim by asking her what was wrong, AND to publicly share the story and highlight a specific incident and a broader problem that the community—locally and nationally—is now discussing actively. That’s awesome!

Curious about other ways, directly and indirectly, that YOU can be an active bystander in Boston? We’ve got a list for that – check it out! Have a bystander story of your own? Tell us about it! Solutions to street harassment lie within our communities, not in criminalization; active bystanders help make our streets safer for everyone. THANK YOU!


image credit: Craigslist

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Britni, Hollaback! Boston, I've Got Your Back, Shared Stories

Bystander Intervention Before The Fact

If there’s anything that running Hollaback! Boston has taught me over these last few years, it’s the importance of bystander intervention. We see bystander intervention as the solution to ending street harassment. Why is that? Because there are two things that allow street harassment to happen:

  1. A person who decides to harass someone else, and
  2. A community of bystanders who stand idly by and do nothing while the harassment occurs.

We believe that by creating communities of active bystanders, we can start to change the culture that tolerates and accepts street harassment as part of everyday life for women, LGBTQ folks, and people of color.

When we talk about bystander intervention, we often talk about the kind of intervention that happens when we see an incident of harassment happening. But there are other kinds of bystander intervention, too. One that I think is really important but often underutilized is the intervention that consists of having a conversation with our friends, family, or community members when we hear something problematic. This kind of intervention may actually be able to stop an incident of harassment from ever happening in the first place.

The other day, I overheard a conversation between two men and used the opportunity to step in and say something. The men were talking about what they should do that day and one says, “Let’s go sit in the Common, look at hot bitches, and get some numbers.”

So I decide to ask, “Is that really how that works?” Shocked, they looked at me in confusion. I continued, “I’m just curious if that tactic has ever worked for you. I’m asking because I know I’ve never given my number to some random guy in the park, and it actually makes me feel really unsafe when someone I don’t know approaches me in that way in public space.”

They looked at each other and neither said anything. So I said, “Anyway, just something to think about. Have a GREAT day! It’s a beautiful one to be hanging in the Common.” And I smiled and walked away.

Do I know if this conversation will actually stop them from hitting on women in the Common? No. But did I possibly give them something to think about? Yes. Now, it’s important to note that I felt safe to step in and say something to these guys. We were all at a salad bar in a public place and we’d already had a brief interaction that had broken the ice. If you decide you want to say something to someone, always assess your safety first! It’s important.

I think that these kinds of interventions are possible much more often than we realize. It’s possible to say something in a nice, non-combative way (or not, if that’s your jam!) and open a dialogue with people about their actions or beliefs about harassment and how to interact with people in public space.

See something? Say something! For more tips on bystander intervention, check out our guide. And if you have a badass bystander story to share, submit it to our site! We’re happy to share stories of bystander intervention along with the stories of harassment that tend to dominate our submissions.


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Hollaback! Boston, Noteworthy

HOLLA Worthy Link Round-Up

Some weeks, we really look forward to Friday; this week has been one of those.

holla worthy link round-up // hollaback! boston

If you’re wondering why we seem to be everywhere, take a peek at our upcoming events – we’re everywhere. Before you head off to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, remember that clothing (even “kiss me I’m Irish” shirts) never means someone is asking for it! Then, catch up on a few worthy reads from this week:

Have a great weekend!


image credit: Hollaback! Boston

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Hollaback! Boston, Local News

No Laughing Matter

This morning, DigBoston released its latest cover art: on the surface, timely and cheeky.

upskirting is not just for women // hollaback! boston

Then began the backlash.

As feedback poured in and the Hollaback! Boston team discussed, we were disappointed; making light of harassment and sexual violence, regardless of gender or what a person is wearing, isn’t okay.

It was just Monday that we wrote about legislative updates being just the beginning in changing the norms that condone upskirting and similar violations in public space. We were thrilled at the speed with which the legislature updated Massachusetts’ outdated peeping tom laws, and share the artist’s excitement that the illustrated behavior is now illegal—but especially now, less than a week after those changes, we can’t afford to make light of the very real experiences of victims of sexual harassment and violence in public.

There are so many ways that women and queer folks are violated in public every day beyond upskirts; there are so many ways in which men and trans* and non-conforming folks can experience the very same humiliating, degrading violation depicted cartoonishly, laughably, here; there is so much more work to be done.

Hollaback! Boston needs to respect the stories that are shared with us online, in workshops and at events. Collective storytelling is at the core of our mission, and we are continuously inspired by the courage of everyone who shares their experiences—their fears, their violations, their anger and their vulnerability—with us. These experiences are no joke, and unfortunately, this week’s cover makes light of and minimizes very real violations happening in Boston and around the world.

–The Hollaback! Boston Team

image credit: DigBoston

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