Hollaback is a global movement dedicated to ending street harassment. Street harassment, known in India as ‘eve teasing’ is one of the most pervasive forms of gender-based violence and one of the least legislated against. Leering, whistling, being referred to as food (mirchi, began, tamatar) to groping, flashing and assault are a daily reality for women in India and across the world. Harassment can occur on the train, in parks, maidans, cinema houses, on the street, on university campuses, buying vegetables, anywhere. But such incidents are rarely reported, and are culturally accepted as ‘the price you pay’ for being a woman and living in a city. At Hollaback!, we don’t buy it.
Calling it ‘eve teasing’ trivializes the act; it isn’t teasing, it’s harassment. And sexual harassment on the street is a gateway crime that creates a cultural environment which makes gender-based violence OK. There exists a legal framework to reproach sexual harassment and abuse in the home and at work, but when it comes to the streets—all bets are off. This gap isn’t because street harassment hurts any less, it’s because there hasn’t been a solution. Until now. The explosion of technology in India via the mobile phone and the Internet has given us an unprecedented opportunity to end street harassment—and with it, the opportunity to take on one of the most pressing women’s rights issues today.
Hollaback!MUMBAI is primarily a space for women to share their stories and other creative expressions about their experiences being harassed. In doing so, we are creating a safe, crowd-sourced initiative to end street harassment. On a secondary level, we hope to re-educate the men who harass, encouraging them to show the respect and decency (that we know they are capable of) to all people they encounter. Later on, we hope to work on a policy-level, encouraging legislators to take concrete action to make the streets safer for women, such as creating proper street lighting systems and accessible, clean public toilets for women.
Hollaback! breaks the silence that has perpetuated sexual violence internationally, asserts that any and all gender-based violence is unacceptable, and creates a world where we have an option—and, more importantly—a response.
Hollaback!MUMBAI is allied with 1298 Women’s Helpline, The Blank Noise Project, Jagori, Akshara and JustFemme.
Disclaimer: Hollaback! is not responsible for the accuracy of individual postings. All views and positions expressed in posted submissions are those of individual contributors only.