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International move against harassment in NZ

Aug 10th, 2011 | By | Category: Front Page Layout, Latest News, News

Women who are being harassed on Wellington’s streets are hoping a new website and mobile application will mean they no longer have to spend their lives checking over their shoulders and feeling hunted.

Hollaback! Wellington, launched in New Zealand today, is part of an international movement to lobby against street harassment in a proactive way.

The website and mobile app allows users to record harassment and share stories in an effort to map “hotspots”, with three Wellington places marked on the map so far.

A woman, known as Josephine, shares her story on the website like this:

“There was this guy…who began to follow me around campus, and when he saw me in the street, follow [sic] me for blocks and blocks…His behaviour was pretty threatening and unnerving….He came and hunted me down in the library and sat down in the desk next to me just to stare at me. It made me feel so uncomfortable…I still see him occasionally on the street; he still stares at me and my heart goes into my mouth. I hate the fact that it’s made me look over my shoulder for him every day of my life.”

Hollaback! Wellington organisers say behaviour like this is a global reality for women and LGBTQ – Wikipedia says this collectively refers to those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer – individuals are fighting back.

Wellington Young Feminists’ Collective, which is supporting the Wellington launch, says street harassment is “one of the most pervasive forms of gender-based violence and one of the least legislated against”.

“Everyone has the right to feel safe, confident and sexy, without being objectified. We encourage women and LGBTQ folk, who experience street harassment daily in Wellington Aotearoa, to share their experiences.”

To celebrate today’s website launch there will be a party on Saturday, with entertainment by the Sisters of St Rupertsberg, soul singer Moana Ete, and electro folk act Porcelaintoy.

The launch party will be at Happy Bar, corner of Vivian and Tory Streets.

The door charge is $10 and proceeds will go towards funding the development of Hollaback! Wellington.

Information about the project and how to share your story can be found at http://wellington.ihollaback.org/

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