Through Duke Splash, an organization that allows Duke students to design and teach courses to Durham-area middle and high school students, we are reaching out and empowering the next generation of Hollaback! badasses. In Spring 2015, we taught a course called “Hollaback! Girls,” where we played games, shared stories, and broke down some “gender boxes” with fifteen female-identified youth.
Inspired by Jessica Williams’s segment on the Daily Show, students brainstormed ways to respond to harassment. We were absolutely astounded by the responses we had.
“I tell them that, if they’re going to harass me, they should have been more creative!”
“I would pretend I was taking a selfie but actually take a picture of them and show it to an authority.”
“I tell them, ‘I’m actually a boy!'”
“I got mad, told him to shut up, talked to his manager, and called a mall cop.” (Actual response by a 12 year-old girl)
While we were distressed that so many of our students had – at such young ages – already experienced street harassment, we were inspired by their moxie and their desire to holla back! Thanks for inspiring us, ladies.
In future semesters, we hope to expand this initiative, potentially offering a course on healthy masculinity in the context of gender-based violence for young men.
Safer Spaces Campaign
Inspired by the work being done by other Hollaback! sites, we hope to launch a Safer Spaces campaign in Duke and Durham. We plan to reach out to a variety of establishments on campus and in town, promoting bystander intervention training for employees and who agree to prioritize combatting harassment and violence.
Online Networking and Support
Online support is the bread and butter of Hollaback! The benefit of an organization like this, as opposed to a sole campus-based group, is the online network of badass supporters we are connected with. Hollaback! is now represented in 92 cities and 32 countries – that means thousands of people out there who’ve “got your back.” Street harassment can be so isolating, so often the most empowering thing organizers can do is bring people together.