‘Hollaback’ strikes back at harassment

Ever wonder what to do about a cat call? Ever see a woman harassed on the subway? A new smart phone app will allow Philadelphia area residents to track street harassment.

Hollaback is street lingo for “holler back,” or “shout back,” or, “we’re just not gonna take it anymore.” Hollaback is also the name of a New York City organization that just launched a campaign in Philadelphia called “I’ve got your back.” The group wants to empower harassment victims and onlookers to speak out when they see someone being bothered.

Rochelle Keyhan, a board member of Hollaback who now works in Philadelphia, began the effort here in April.

“We have a lot of reports where people are on the subway or on the street and something’s happening and it’s escalating to a physical interaction … there’s sometimes five to 10 people there looking the other way, not doing anything, when this man is making comments, doing stuff,” Keyhan said. “We’re encouraging people to stop looking the other way.”

Keyhan says the smart phone app allows people to snap pictures and post the photo online. The harassment incidents will then be mapped using GPS software.

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