Monday, February 8, 2016

Tired of catcalls? Now you can publicly shame your sexual harasser

An app now allows women to report and photograph their sexual harassers throughout Philadelphia and nationwide.

Tired of catcalls? Now you can publicly shame your sexual harasser


“Well hello, Miss Mocha. Let me get a sip of your latte, girrrl.”

This guy was either psychic (I was, in fact, sipping a mocha latte), or just a creep harassing me on my Monday morning commute. I looked down at my paper cup, clearly labeled with its calorie-laden contents. Nope, just a creep. Then came the smooching noises.

Should I pour my drink on his head? Too violent. Should I hand him what remained of my drink? I had been battling a nasty, presumably contagious, cold for a week.  Feeling powerless, I just ignored him and kept walking. Turns out, I could’ve snapped a picture and publicly shamed him with the Hollaback! app:

With the Hollaback! app, free on iPhone and Android, users are able to quickly report a harasser, upload a photo (if you can safely snap one), map the incident, and learn more about how to better respond to street harassment (as a victim or a bystander). [Daily Beast]

The app encourages women to share their harassment experiences. From verbal assault to groping and everything in between, pink GPS-enabled incident reports are popping up across the city faster than new burger joints.

So maybe public shaming isn’t your thing. Not to worry, HollabackPHILLY has you covered with a new ad campaign coming to a SEPTA train near you:

Beginning April 1, 2014, thanks to a generous grant from the Valentine Foundation, HollabackPHILLY, a project of Feminist Public Works, launched an expansive transit ad campaign in the interior of subway cars, and includes bus shelters and subway station platform ads throughout the city. [Feminist Public Works]

Philadelphia is no stranger to sexual harassment publicity. Last year, photographer Hannah Price created a photo essay titled, “City of Brotherly Love,” chronicling her run-ins with local street harassers. Price, originally from Colorado, alleged that she had never dealt with catcalls until her move to Philly.

In reality, sexual harassment affects all area codes. Perform a Twitter search on #endsh and you’ll find hundreds of accounts from women all over the world.  Their stories aren’t about flattery or conceit; they’re about fighting back against powerlessness.

So latte guy, I have a proposal for you: Next Monday, I’ll buy you a mocha latte of your very own. As you’re accepting my gift, however, be sure to smile pretty for your Hollaback! pic.

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Jessica Ballard
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