The international Hollaback! movement to end street harassment has been launched in Sheffield by three ex-University students.
Kate Blamire, Natasha Vavere and Anna Mayo, all graduates from the University, launched the Sheffield branch last Friday, whose aim is to reduce street harassment and increase dialogue between victims.
Hollaback! is a global network of activists hoping to end street harassment against girls, women and LGBTQ individuals, bringing attention to a subject they believe is often ignored and never legislated against.
Hollaback! utilise social media to create an open platform for individuals to break the silence against street harassment, with more than 3,000 people telling their stories to date on their iPhone and Android apps, as well on their website.
‘Breaking the silence’ is an integral part of the work Hollaback! do, as well as encouraging the public to ‘have each others’ backs and to support a victim if we see harassment on the street.
Kate Blamire, one of the founders of Hollaback! Sheffield said: “Every student should feel excited about coming to Sheffield and safe and happy when they live here.
“Street harassment can really affect the student experience and how welcome we feel in a city. Harassment is not considered acceptable at home or in the workplace, so why should it be acceptable on the street?”
The launch was the beginning of a season of activities for the activists, including an Anti-Street Harassment day on October 18 in the Students’ Union.
Women’s Officer Amy Masson said: “I hope that through the work of Hollaback! Sheffield, students and other residents of the city will come to see street harassment as a serious problem and as part of a wider culture of sexism and objectification of women – a culture that often serves to make our public spaces hostile and intimidating to women.”
The Anti-Street Harassment day will see students encouraged to discuss their experiences on film, as well as attending a workshop about how best to handle the harassment.