Hollaback!, the international organization to end street harassment, launched its new ‘I’ve Got Your Back’ campaign, March 22. The campaign provides real-time relief to those who are harassed by carrying a simple message: if you see someone being harassed, ask them if they are “OK” and if there is anything you can do to help.
“People always assume that intervening in street harassment situations means strapping on some superhero spandex, swooping down, and beating everyone up. But that’s actually the worst thing you can do. The ‘I’ve Got Your Back’ campaign will show people how to intervene, and celebrate when they do,” said executive director and co-founder, Emily May.
The bystander campaign was developed in collaboration with Green Dot (livethegreendot.org) a national bystander campaign supported by evidence based research. Together, the two organizations have re-vamped Hollaback!’s website with bystander resources and are working to train Hollaback!’s 150 sites leaders in 44 cities and 16 countries how to do bystander workshops in their communities.
Successful bystander stories collected through ihollaback.org and Hollaback!’s newly re-released iPhone and Droid apps will be documented and mapped.
“In most of the stories submitted to our site, bystanders either failed or acted in a way that further traumatize the victim. And the same time, people are always asking us, ‘What can I do to help?’ The ‘I’ve Got Your Back’ campaign closes the gap by showing everyone they have a role to play in ending street harassment,” said co-founder and board chair, Samuel Carter.
According to Jennifer Sayre, director of training and development for Green Dot, "It can be really hard to have someone's back, even when we really want to. The good news is no matter what makes it hard, there is almost always something you can do that feels manageable to you. The ‘I've got your back’ campaign will help bystanders recognize street harassment, notice what keeps them from acting, and help them pick a solution that works for them.”
In addition to sharing their bystander stories, users will also have the option to anonymously click the new ‘I’ve Got Your Back’ button, located under each story. At the end of the day the person who submitted the story will get an email from Hollaback! telling them the number of people who ‘have their back.’
Baltimore site leader, Shawna Potter, said, "This campaign takes the impetus to end street harassment off of the person being harassed and empowers the entire Baltimore community to help keep our streets safe and free of harassment."
The campaign was funded in part by 268 donors through an on-line fundraising platform last June, and the technology upgrades were done by Hollaback!’s pro-bono team of developers which include Jill Dimond, Kevin Finity, and Josephine Hall. Jennifer Sayre from Green Dot says, "We are thrilled to be collaborating with the amazing folks at Hollaback and to do our part to make the streets safer for everyone."
Hollaback! is an international movement to end street harassment powered by local activists in 44 cities, 16 countries, and 9 different languages. We believe that everyone has a right to feel safe and confident without being objectified. Sexual harassment is a gateway crime that creates a cultural environment that makes gender-based violence OK.
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