21st July 2016 for immediate release
Hollaback! an international organisation dedicated to ending harassment, launches in Oxfordshire today.
According to research from Cornell University, over 85% of women experience harassment before the age of 17.
For many Oxfordshire residents, street harassment is an under-researched and unchallenged daily reality.
To respond to this pressing issue, Hollaback! Oxford provides an online platform for research, and a safe space to speak out against the everyday harassment that is disproportionately experienced by women, LGBTQ+ people, disabled people, and black and ethnic minorities.
The Hollaback! Oxford website allows people to submit their experiences of street harassment and tag where it happened on a map. This process allows victims to share their story within a non-judgemental environment and support others who’ve experienced similar things.
The website will also help to build up a picture of patterns of street harassment throughout Oxfordshire.
Hollaback! Oxford has been set up by Miranda Dobson, 25, Katherine Soroya, 25, and Alice Leigh, 24.
Miranda commented, “I’ve experienced street harassment since I was a young teenager, and still experience it on a regular basis.
Street harassment takes many forms, but some examples are catcalling, whistling, beeping a car horn or leering. We wouldn’t accept this sort of behaviour in schools, homes or the workplace, so why should we accept it on the street?
We’re setting up Hollaback! Oxford to end this problem in Oxfordshire, and offer those who experience street harassment a way to vent their feelings, share their stories and make a positive change.”
Katherine commented, “As a lifelong Oxfordshire resident, I was so tired of feeling powerless to do anything when I heard from friends facing harassment in our public spaces in Oxford, that’s why I got involved with establishing a branch of Hollaback here – we can finally take the power back from perpetrators and work to end harassment so that everyone may feel safe.”
Hollaback! Oxford will be running anti-street harassment campaigns in the region and looking for volunteers who are passionate about supporting this cause to get involved.
Alice commented, “So many of us accept harassment as a normal part of our lives and try to ignore the very real consequences. Working with Hollaback! will help to change this mindset in Oxford for good.”
Hollaback! Oxford will run their local blog and organize their communities through advocacy, community partnerships, and direct action.
Co-founder and Executive Director of Hollaback!, Emily May, explained that,“We only have 8 or 9 years before babies today start experiencing street harassment too. Our children deserve better, we deserve better, and Hollaback! Oxford is going to get us there. Share your story and join the movement today.”
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.