PITTSBURGH (NewsRadio1020 KDKA) – Four local women have teamed up to end street harassment in the Pittsburgh area.
What is street harassment? The Hollaback movement defines it as a form of harassment that occurs in public spaces with the motive to intimidate.
Bill Rehkopf talked with Maggie Graham, one of the four local woman who are bringing Hollaback to Pittsburgh.
Hollaback Pittsburgh has a website where people can go and tell their story of street harassment that made them feel put down or threatened.
It is used to make the target feel scared, uncomfortable or ashamed.
It started in New York when men and women were realizing that they had very different commutes. Some men felt safe walking to work, while many women were always cautious walking through the city, so Hollaback was created to give people a place to go to vent or talk about their street harassment experiences.
She explains why she felt that she needed to get involved and bring Hollaback to Pittsburgh and get involved with the movement.
“We hear it from our friends all the time, ‘I can’t walk down the street with out hearing a comment about my legs about my dress. When I’m wearing a coat a man still tells me I’m beautiful,’ and it’s not something that makes us feel beautiful or feel respected,” Graham said.
Many will have differing opinions when they hear her story, but Graham says telling her own story made her realize how prevalent street harassment is.
She says one day, while she was running errands at work, she was dressed in boots and a coat when a man made a comment towards her.
“Harassment isn’t about how the harasser thinks my body looks, I don’t feel uncomfortable in my own clothes or my own body,” Graham said. “I’m not looking for street harassment to boost my self confidence or I’m not jealous when other people are street harassing someone else thinking they don’t find me attractive. Street harassment isn’t about what a person looks like, it’s about the harasser being dominate and exerting his or her power over the person they are harassing”.
she says she hopes that her experiences with street harassment and putting her story out there will make others feel comfortable coming forward and sharing their story using the Hollaback Pittsburgh website.
Since the movement began in 2005 it has expanded to active chapters in 24 countries and 71 cities in 14 different languages.
You can hear the interview with Maggie below: