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Combating street harassment in the digital age

Kaitlin Roberts
July 24, 2014

Being cat-called on the street isn't flattering. It's harassment, and it's happening every day across the globe. More than 80 percent of women and people in the LGBTQ community worldwide will be publicly harassed, groped, taunted, ogled, insulted, and humiliated at some point in their lives.

That's why the global non-profit organization Hollaback has, since 2005, given these victims of street harassment a supportive community. The organization has trained hundreds of volunteer site leaders in 79 cities and 26 countries, and, in 2010, launched a smartphone app that allows people to document and map street harassment incidents in real-time.

Recently, New Yorkers who use the Hollaback app got a major upgrade — they can now report street harassment to the New York City Council and the mayor's office as soon as it happens.

Using data from its app on where and how street harassment is happening in New York City, Hollaback, along with the city government, will work to create educational programs and policy changes that tackle the issue head on.

In this podcast, Hollaback's Executive Director Debjani Roy and New York City Council Director of Communications Megan Montalvo weigh in on the new app's benefits and potential challenges. Listen:

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