Question: Are you a bunch of crazed feminazis who hate men? Answer: Not at all! We at HollaBackCharleston believe in building communities where everyone feels comfortable, safe, and respected. Many people, particularly men, are unaware of the frequency and severity of disrespect and intimidation that numerous folks, especially women, experience in public spaces on a daily basis. HollaBackCharleston aims to expose and combat street harassment as well as provide an empowering forum in this struggle.
Question: OK, but what exactly is street harassment? Answer: Street harassment is a form of sexual harassment that takes place in public spaces. At its core is a power dynamic that constantly reminds historically subordinated groups (women and LGBTQ folks, for example) of their vulnerability to assault in public spaces. Further, it reinforces the ubiquitous sexual objectification of these groups in everyday life.At HollaBackCharleston, we believe that what specifically counts as street harassment is determined by those who experience it. While there is always the classic, "Hey baby, nice tits" there are many other forms that go unnoted. If you feel like you have been harassed, HOLLA BACK!
Question: So let's say a man sees a woman he thinks is attractive and tells her so. Are you saying that makes him a harasser? Answer: Some do not find comments such as “Hello, beautiful” or “Hey, gorgeous” offensive. Many do. Others may find them intimidating, intrusive, or just an annoying pain in the ass. Keep in mind that many women experience unsolicited comments, as well as violent verbal assault, from men in public spaces on a regular basis. Rather than deliberating the “gray areas” of street harassment, treat everyone you encounter with respect.
Question: Confronting street harassers can be dangerous. What about safety issues? Answer: While everyone is vulnerable to stranger rape and sexual assault, studies show that those who are aware of their surroundings, walk with confidence and, if harassed, respond assertively, are less vulnerable. Nevertheless, direct confrontations with street harassers may prove extremely dangerous, particularly alone or in unpopulated spaces. While it is each individual’s right to decide when, how, and if to Holla Back, do keep issues of safety in mind. Upon deciding to photograph a harasser, you may consider doing so substantially after the initial encounter and from a distance, ensuring the harasser is unaware of your actions.
Question: If you show off your boobage, shouldn’t you expect some compliments? Answer: Sure, expect them, but don’t accept them! Just because it happens doesn’t mean it’s okay. A compliment is not a compliment if it makes the recipient feel bad.