Finally Admitted to Being a Feminist

Rikera is a rising sophomore working with Hollaback who combats street harassment locally and globally.

I have always privately identified as a feminist, but shockingly I have never been asked about my stance on feminism and the women’s movement until participating in the Moxie Project. This summer I am working with a nonprofit organization called Hollaback. This nonprofit caught my attention because of its mission to put an end to street harassment (the sexually offensive chants women hear when walking down the street and inappropriate interactions with the opposite sex). As a young woman I have experienced street harassment numerous times and I am aware that almost every other woman has had a similar experience.

On my first day of interning with Hollaback, I openly admitted to being a feminist for the first time around a group of other women who were all sharing their stories and experiences with street harassment. During my first day I also asked Emily May, one of the founders of Hollaback, what inspired her to start this nonprofit organization. She then told me about a woman who once rode the subway and had to witness a man engage in an inappropriate sexual act while staring at her the entire time. The woman took a picture of this man and reported it to the police. The police only brushed off the incident which made it clear that street harassment is not considered a serious crime. This courageous woman posted the photo to an online Flickr account where many people had access to it. Once this picture had gone viral it made news headlines and was posted in the newspaper. This woman’s determination to draw attention to street harassment inspired the founders of Hollaback to create a nonprofit that would bring more attention to these incidents across the world in an effort to initiate the social change needed to put an end to street harassment.

This summer I will be creating a street harassment guide. This resource guide will include informative articles, books, and films on street harassment. I will create “How To” guides on marches, film screenings, mud stenciling, panels, legislative advocacy, research and surveys that will be useful to site leaders at other nonprofit organizations. I am excited about working on this project because not enough women and nonprofit site leaders are informed about the resources available to help bring attention to street harassment and decrease occurrences of harassment globally.

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