The 7th to the 13th of April this year marked International Anti-Street Harassment Week. As it says on the official site for the week “Catcalls, sexist comments, public masturbation, groping, stalking, and assault: gender-based street harassment makes public places unfriendly and even scary for many girls, women, and LGBQT folks. It limits their access to public spaces.”
Much like the other branches, Hollaback! Dublin held a Chalk Walk on Saturday the 13th of April. The idea of which is to get people writing anti-street harassment slogans and phrases on the pavement in chalk around the busier parts of town. An ever present and ever unwanted, the rain made an appearance before the walk started, making it somewhat difficult to find dry, “chalkable” areas. Despite this, a healthy number braved the cold and the wet.
Hollaback! “is a 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.”
One of the initial sparks that eventually grew into the 62 city fire that is Hollaback, was when “a woman named Thao Nygen bravely stood up to her harasser – an older, upper middle class raw-foods restaurant owner – who terrified her by masturbating across from her on the subway. She took his photo with her camera, and when the police ignored it, she posted it on flikr. The picture eventually made it to the front page of the New York Daily News, where it incited a city-wide conversation about street harassment. The youth were inspired by Thao’s story, and decided apply her model to all forms of harassment and to document these experiences on a public blog.”
All in all, it’s a really worthy cause the men and women at Hollaback are fighting for, we should all feel safe to walk the streets undisturbed. I wish them the best of luck!