Launch of ‘I’ve got your back’

Bystanders: It’s time to step up and end street harassment

Hollaback!’s “I’ve Got Your Back” campaign teaches bystanders to safely intervene and celebrates when they do

March 22, 2012 (Ottawa, ON).  Hollaback!, the international organization to end street harassment, launches its new ‘I’ve Got Your Back’ campaign today.  The campaign will provide real-time relief to those who are harassed by carrying a simple message: if you see someone being harassed, ask them if they are “OK” and if there is anything you can do to help.

“Much like the myths that exist around street harassment, there are so many myths about bystander intervention. The reality is that there are so many different ways you can successfully intervene and make a difference. It’s not about being a ‘superhero’ but rather about being empathetic and supportive” said Hollaback! Ottawa director Julie Lalonde.

The bystander campaign was developed in collaboration with Green Dot (livethegreendot.org) an American-based bystander campaign supported by evidence based research.  Together, the two organizations have re-vamped Hollaback!’s website with bystander resources and are working to train Hollaback!’s 150 sites leaders in 44 cities and 16 countries on how to do bystander workshops in their communities. Successful bystander stories collected through ottawa.ihollaback.org and Hollaback!’s newly re-released iPhone and Droid apps will be documented and mapped.

“As someone who has experienced street harassment, and witnessed it happen to other women numerous times – I know the positive impact of having someone ‘have your back’ in situations that can otherwise seem so isolating and scary. Bystander Intervention helps create communities and forge positive alliances,” says Hollaback! Ottawa supporter Margot Challborn.

According to Jennifer Sayre, Director of Training and Development for Green Dot, “It can be really hard to have someone’s back, even when we really want to.  The good news is no matter what makes it hard, there is almost always something you can do that feels manageable to you. The ‘I’ve got your back’ campaign will help bystanders recognize street harassment, notice what keeps them from acting, and help them pick a solution that works for them.”

In addition to sharing their bystander stories, users will also have the option to anonymously click the new ‘I’ve Got Your Back’ button, located under each story. At the end of the day the person who submitted the story will get an email from Hollaback! telling them the number of people who ‘have their back.’

The campaign was funded in part by 268 donors through an on-line fundraising platform last June, and the technology upgrades were done by Hollaback!’s pro-bono team of developers which include Jill Dimond, Kevin Finity, and Josephine Hall. Jennifer Sayre from Green Dot says, “We are thrilled to be collaborating with the amazing folks at Hollaback and to do our part to make the streets safer for everyone.”

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