April 15, 2013– Hollaback, an international organization dedicated to ending street harassment, launches in Athens, Ohio today. According to the CDC, “Non-contact unwanted sexual experiences, including street harassment, is the most common form of sexual violence experienced by both women and men in the US. On average, between 80%-99% of women report experiencing street harassment in their lives.” Hollaback is now in over 25, with leaders speaking more than 11 different languages.
Sarah Fick, Program Coordinator for the Sexual Assault Prevention Program at The Appalachian Peace and Justice Network says, “I’ve been living in the Athens area for over 10 years now, and the problem of street harassment only seems to be getting worse. The college drinking culture that exists here only seems to be getting stronger and fueling other problems. Hollaback Appalachian Ohio! will give us a platform to let everyone know that enough is enough, to send the message loud and clear that we’re not tolerating street harassment in our town anymore. Our team hopes to complete a safety audit of our community as well as a couple of the smaller outlying communities in the Appalachian Ohio Region. We plan to follow shortly thereafter with an intensive I Got Your Back campaign to get as many local folks as possible to speak out and act up to change the status quo and put an end to Street Harassment and Rape Culture in SE Ohio.”
Team Member, Gwen Storck says, “I joined Hollaback because I, like many college students, want an end to street harassment and the culture of rape and violence it supports. Often, the problem of street harassment seems too big, too pervasive, and the silence that surrounds it can be daunting. There are few solutions, and many students I know go their entire college life simply dropping their heads and hurrying past harassers. I was excited when I learned that Hollaback was working to end this mess, and knew I had to be a part.” Hollaback Appalachian Ohio! is run by a team of local community leaders who are deeply committed to working online and offline to end street harassment in their community.
Hollaback! Appalachian Ohio will run their local blog and organize their communities through advocacy, community partnerships, and direct action. The leaders of Hollaback Appalachian Ohio! are as diverse in their backgrounds as they are in their experiences of harassment. The Hollaback! movement reports that 41% of site leaders are lesbian, gay, bisexual, and queer, 33% identify as people of color, 76% are under the age of 30, and 90% are women.
“We only have 8 or 9 years before the babies in strollers today start experiencing street harassment too. Our children deserve better, we deserve better, and Hollaback Appalachian Ohio! is going to get us there. Share your story and join the movement today.” said Hollaback! Executive Director Emily May.
New locations include Athens, GA; Appalachian Ohio; Belfast, Northern Ireland; LA, California; and Toronto, Canada, among others.
About Hollaback! Hollaback (ihollaback.org) is a nonprofit and movement to end street harassment powered by a network of local activists around the world. We work together to better understand street harassment, to ignite public conversations, and to develop innovative strategies to ensure equal access to public spaces. You can post your stories of harassment or bystander intervention to the Appalachian Ohio blog at http://www.appalachianohio.ihollaback.org. Also, check our events page or like us on facebook to stay in the loop on upcoming events.