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The report of our survey results is finally here! Check out the results below and stay tuned for a recap after today’s City Council hearing! If you can be there, it starts at 10 am in room 491!
Edit: Below the survey results is the compilation of written versions of the testimony delivered today!
HollabackPHILLY released another CNN iReport, this one about our Cosplay =/= CONsent efforts at national comic cons. The below video was pre-screened on October 19 at GeekGirlCon 2013, and now it’s officially available in Site Leader Rochelle Keyhan’s iReport:
The above video is part of HollabackPHILLY’s effort to work with national comic conventions on improving the scope and efficacy of their anti harassment policies and procedures. Sexual harassment at comic conventions has been documented online for the better part of a decade, but most mainstream convention circuits still do not have formal and thorough anti-harassment policies. In the above video, you can see cosplayers’ visceral reactions to our question about how they would feel about conventions adopting formal harassment policies: some loosening the tension in their shoulders, even smiling, at the thought of a convention setting that was set up to be an inclusive and safe space for all fans.
Preliminary data from the 357 people (above) who have filled out the survey so far indicate that 334 of them have experienced street harassment in our City in the past year.
City Council is hosting a public hearing on the problem of street harassment in Philadelphia. HollabackPHILLY is presenting evidence about the scope of the problem in Philadelphia, the type of behavior, and how that behavior impacts the mobility of women and LGBTQ Philadelphians. The goal is to collaborate with City Council on a city-wide, gender-based safety audit to determine what does and does not make Philadelphians feel safe, and what the City can do to improve the conditions for women and LGBTQ folks on Phliadelphia’s sidewalks and streets.
HollabackPHILLY will be presenting data from our survey, user submissions of street harassment, and live testimony of peoples’ experiences with street harassment in Philadelphia. If you are interested in testifying, or being on the list of people present, please email us at philly.ihollaback.org. If you haven’t yet completed our survey, please do so! If you haven’t shared the survey with your friends and acquaintances, please ask them to take the few minutes to contribute to lasting change in the experience of walking our City’s streets.
Our end goal for this public policy work is to conduct a gender-based safety audit of Philadelphia, to determine what factors contribute to making women and LGBTQ folks feeling unsafe, and what could be done to make them feel safer. Safety Audits are considered a “best practice” by the United Nations for considering gender-based safety in public and urban spaces.
We have been advised by the Huairou Commission, a United Nations affiliated NGO, and HollabackPHILLY Director, Rochelle Keyhan, spoke at their parallel meeting to the United Nations 57th Annual Commission on the Status of Women this past March 2013. For more information on Safety Audits visit the UN Habitat page on safety audits. We will be using the Jagori Handbook for the safety audit.
Have you been street harassed, or witnessed it? If you have, share your story today and help break the silence surrounding gender-based violence. Help us re-write reality so we can change it!
We are gearing up to meet with local officials about planning a city wide safety audit to improve the condition and safety on our streets for women, LGB, and trans* Philadelphians! Gender-based safety audits are a United Nations best practice for assessing and responding to safety concerns in public spaces.
Please take three minutes to fill out this survey and help us make this audit happen!
While our launch party this past May seemed like a fun, festive occasion, with a great outpouring of local support for our comic and our CONsent project, some people were harassed by someone who was not only at the event, but who purchased a comic and showed support for the anti-harassment cause. Our entire comic-con anti harassment movement is geared towards shifting the culture of conventions and comic book stores to be inclusive of more than just straight male fans. Part of that inclusive culture means firm responses and zero-tolerance policies toward gender-based harassment.
Now that things have settled down from the release party, and we have brought the issue to the attention of Locust Moon who reiterated they have a zero-tolerance policy for harassment, we want to share the story with you all from beginning to end.
Anonymous’ Story: First off, I had a great time at your event last night. You all were so pleasant and your cause is one that has my full support. Oh, and the comic is awesome! It really exceeded my expectations.
Unfortunately, that’s not why I’m contacting you. I’m contacting you because a friend sent me this: http://philadelphia.craigslist.org/mis/3830982425.html which is clearly about me. [Anonymous requested the post be removed, which Craigslist actually honored. So we’ve attached a screenshot]
At first, I thought it was really funny, maybe a joke. But the more I think about the sad irony of attending an event to end harassment and winding up on Craigslist’s missed connections, the angrier I get. If it’s the guy I think it is, I literally spoke one sentence to him. He seemed harmless enough at the time. To think that in those brief seconds he made my heart go pitter patter is insulting to me and the serious relationship I am in. He clearly mistook my excitement of purchasing your comic for “something very real.” And the end? How creepy is that?
This is exactly what Hollaback stands against. He reduced me to “a killer set of tits,” made vastly exaggerated assumptions about me, and removed my choice in the matter. And to top it all off, I am now hesitant about returning to that amazing comic book store.
Locust Moon seems a very woman-friendly store. That’s why I was so upset about this guy practically saying he’d be waiting for me there. Locust Moon is by far the most welcoming comic store I’ve found since I moved to the area, and I definitely plan on visiting whenever I can. But, of course, I want to feel safe.
I assume he is only a regular customer, not an employee. I realize this is completely out of your control and appreciate your support as well. I mostly just want to feel comfortable when I visit Locust Moon, and him to understand his behavior is totally unacceptable. I’m not entirely sure how to even handle this. I certainly don’t want any contact with this creep. But I would really like to feel comfortable the next time I visit Locust Moon. Any suggestions?
We’ve had nothing but excellent, supportive interactions from Locust Moon, so we sent them this information, including the name and photograph of the offender, and asked for their opinion on what they were willing to do as a store that seems to pride itself on being inclusive and welcoming. We also sent Anonymous an email letting her know how we planned to respond.
Anonymous response reminded us why we do this – because you should never be made to feel that you are overreaction when harassment upsets you; because you deserve support and a community that has your back.
Anonymous: Thanks again for getting back to me. I hope I didn’t blow this out of proportion, like some friends accused me of. I’m just very tired of the onus being on the victim though, not the aggressor. And I hate when people use the Internet as a way to anonymously threaten others. That’s why I want to take a stand alongside groups like Hollaback.
And Locust Moon’s response reminded us that men are often allies, and we if we trust them enough to talk to them about these issues, we give them the opportunity to be equally horrified enough to stand alongside us as we speak out against harassment.
Chris from Locust Moon: We’re glad you brought this to our attention, and only wish we had gotten this information sooner. We definitely want Locust Moon to be a welcoming place for everyone, and take the safety of our patrons seriously. This guy has no idea how to deal with women, and I’m sorry this had to happen at our store, and that such a good night was sullied by such ignorant and childish behavior. Unfortunately (or fortunately), this guy DOES NOT come to the store often. While currently there is nothing we can do (none of our staff even recognize him), but he is no longer welcome at Locust Moon. This guy will NOT be allowed into the store if he tries to come by again. We will keep his photo on file and try to look out for him. This applies to more than just this one man: any person who harasses or makes threats against any of our patrons is not welcome here, and we do want to be made aware if any such behavior occurs again.
Please let Anonymous know that we’d love for her to come back and see the kind of place we are. We’d hate for some random creep to ruin her, or anyone’s, perception of Locust Moon.
While we were heartened by this response, and appreciated the re-affirmation that they strive to be a comic book shop that breaks the “boys only” mold, what was more important, we wanted to be sure Anonymous was comforted and supported. Happily, she was!
Anonymous: Comic book stores can be kind of intimidating to women, what with the whole “fake geek girl” thing many of us have to overcome. Dealing with some creepy guy who swears his love to me because we made eye contact is just one more hurtle I don’t want to jump. All I want is to enjoy some good literature. I’m very pleased with Locust Moon’s response. They clearly care about my happiness and safety.
So, if you are looking for a women/LGBT friendly comic book shop in Philadelphia, look no further than Locust Moon. And know, if any harassment is to occur, they will have your back!
In case you missed the big announcement, we released the Fall Schedule for our Comic Book Tour (see below)! Meet us at the cons, or let us know if we left off your local con so we can try to add it to the tour! While we prepare for Baltimore and NY Comic Cons, HollabackBoston is taking our comic book, “Hollaback: Red, Yellow, Blue” to Boston’s con as they talk to people about the “cosplay =/= consent” movement to raise awareness about cosplayer harassment.
To get the tour started we want to link you to some ballbusting feminist heroines. Check out Buzzfeed’s “23 Times Lady Superheroes Were 1000% Done. This shit, they’re over it.” A couple of our favorites are posted below, but reading them all definitely got us in the spirit to kick some ass, superhero style!
Keep an eye out for our teams at the following comic conventions on the East (and one on the West) Coast throughout Summer and Fall 2013! We’ll have comics, swag, and information on our next steps! Share your stories with us to get some swag, and your stories will help the movement to create formal and comprehensive responses to cosplayer harassment, so conventions are safe and welcoming places for everyone.
Boston Comic Con: Meet our sister-site leaders of HollabackBOSTON as they bring the street harassment and cosplay =/= consent movement to Boston! Saturday, August 3, 2013.
Baltimore Comic Con: The HollabackPHILLY team will be outside the convention hall with the leader of our sister-site HollabackBMore talking to cosplayers, with swag and cameras in tow! Sunday, September 8, 2013.
Mice Expo. Meet our sister-site leaders of HollabackBOSTON as they bring the street harassment and cosplay =/= consent movement to Boston! Saturday, September 28, 2013.
Locust Moon Festival: We’ll be tabling at this local festival, with all our gear, swag, and exclusive goodies for attendees! You won’t want to miss it . Saturday, October 5, 2013.
Tentative: New York Comic Con: The HollabackPHILLY team will be outside the convention hall with the leader of our sister-site HollabackBMore talking to cosplayers, with swag and cameras in tow! Saturday, October 12, 2013.
GeekGirlCon (Seattle, Washington): Rochelle is presenting a panel on comics for social good, culture jamming, and a more inclusive geek culture. She’ll have comics in tow, and simple ways for you to get involved in changing the tide of harassment at cons. Saturday, October 20, 2013.
Welcome to HOLLA::Revolution! HOLLA::Revolution is the first ever international speakers series on ending street harassment. On July 25th, 2013, in New York City, Hollaback! will bring together leading thinkers and activists to give talks and performances on feminism, tech, and street harassment. It’s going to be an historic event, and we want to bring it to you LIVE!
Featured speakers include Jamia Wilson, Samhita Mukhopadhyay, Jennifer Pozner, Jimmie Briggs, Sasheer Zamata, our HollabackPHILLY site leader Rochelle Keyhan, other Hollaback Site Leaders, and more!!!! Check out a full list of speakers here.
Not in New York? No problem. The live-stream of HOLLA::Revolution will run right here in real-time from 2pm-6pm EDT on July 25th. So save this blog post and tune in Thursday afternoon!
Hosted by: Jamia Wilson, Feminist Media Activist, Organizer, Storyteller
Genevieve Berrick, Hollaback! Los Angeles Site Leader
Jimmie Briggs, Co-founder and Executive Director of Man Up Campaign
Nicola Briggs, Anti-Street Harassment Activist
Jill Dimond, Hollaback! Lead Tech Developer /Sassafrass Tech Collective
Rochelle Keyhan, Hollaback! Philadelphia Site Leader
Julie S. Lalonde, Hollaback! Ottawa Site Leader
Nefertiti Martin, Community Organizer for Girls for Gender Equity (GGE)
Samhita Mukhopadhyay, Executive Editor at Feministing.com
Jennifer Pozner, Executive Director of Women In Media & News (WIMN)
Beth Livingston, Assistant Professor of Human Resources Studies at Cornell University
Tanisha Love Ramirez, Blogger
Rockafella, Poet /Co-founder of Hip-Hop dance theater company, Full Circle
Pamela Shifman, Director of Initiatives for Girls and Women at the NoVo Foundation
Anna Whaley, Hollaback! Brussels Site Leader
Sasheer Zamata, Comedian
Kana Zink , Music Therapist/Hollaback! Fredericksburg Site Leader
This July, Hollaback! is hosting a TedX event, HOLLA::Revolution, bringing various international activists together to speak out. Our very own site leader, Rochelle, will be giving a talk on the history of street harassment. The event will be held on Thursday, July 25th, at NYU. Ticket information is available below!
The weekend will then follow with a retreat that will bring together site leaders from various cities all over the world to collaborate with one another and support each other’s local activism on the global Hollaback! stage.
The HOLLA::Revolution will be a public and live-streamed event at New York University, taking place on Thursday, July 25th, from 2-6pm (cocktails to follow the event), where Hollaback! will provide the platform for leading feminist thinkers, activists, and performers, including our very own Hollaback! site leaders from around the world, to give inspiring and empowering multimedia talks, performances and readings on subjects including ending street harassment, the future of feminism, online organizing, and movement building.