This entry has been selected as a finalist in the
She Will Innovate: Technology Solutions Enriching the Lives of Girls competition.
This innovation also has a Project Page where you can read more about its latest progress.
Go to Project: Hollaback! .
The NYC government and Hollaback are teaming up to make NYC the first city the world to track street harassment of women and girls in real-time using mobile apps.
About Your Organization
United States, NY, New York City
Country where this project is creating social impact
Is your organization a
Non‐profit/NGO/citizen sector organization
How long has your organization been operating?
More than 5 years
Has the organization received awards or honors? Please tell us about them
In recognition of our early success, Hollaback was named a semifinalist in the Echoing Green competition and a finalist in Ashoka’s Green Mountain Coffee “Revelation to Action” competition. In addition, I won several awards, including being selected as a 2011 “21 leaders for the 21st century” winner by Women’s E-news, one of “40 under 40” by the New Leadership Council, an Ashoka “ChangemakHER” (along with Melinda Gates), and a finalist for “Young Nonprofit Leader of the Year” as part of the Classy Awards. I was named one of 12 “women to watch” in 2012 by the Daily News.
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Name Your Entry
Select the stage that best applies to your solution
Growth (your pilot is up and running, and starting to expand)
How long have you been in operation?
Operating for 1‐5 years
Which of the following best describes the barrier(s) your innovation addresses? Choose up to two
The Need: What problem are you trying to solve?
A recent CDC reports states street harassment is the most pervasive form of sexual violence in the United States for both men and women. A 2010 study showed that between 80-100% of women have experienced it at some point during their lives, and victims report needing to change jobs, change housing, or even move cities as a result of the trauma and associated anxiety. Despite the prevalence and impact of street harassment, city governments rarely offer meaningful reporting options, and there are few resources for victims available.
The Solution: What is your solution? Be specific!
The NYC government and Hollaback are teaming up to make NYC the first city the world to track street harassment in real-time using mobile apps. This project will allow New Yorkers who experience street harassment, or bystanders who try to help, to report the incident to the NYC government and receive information and resources. The goals of this project are:
a) To give victims an ability to report street harassment in real-time to the government, providing legitimacy for their experience;
b) To provide immediate resources and referrals to victims of street harassment, including an online community of support; and
c) To make New York City the first city in the world to track real-time data on street harassment, or sexual harassment in public space.
Once the partnership is developed, the long-term goal is to scale the project internationally through Hollaback’s network of 50 cities, 17 countries, and 11 different languages.
The Model: Walk us through a specific example of how your solution makes a difference; include your primary activities
Victims of street harassment and bystanders who try to help will report their experience of street harassment using words, pictures, and geo-location using nyc.ihollaback.org and our free iPhone and Droid apps. The reports will be used by NYC government officials and Hollaback to inform research and policy decisions. Users will receive information on local resources, as well as strategies for how they can respond to street harassment or intervene safely.
Our primary activities include:
Provide a direct resource to victims: The Hollaback platform and apps will provide users with a means to report their harassment and receive much-needed resources.
Shift public opinion: Our broad-based campaign is designed to reach the public at large by inspiring individuals to take action. We provide educational workshops to schools, universities, and community groups, and engage citizens through traditional and social media.
Engage elected officials: We will present collected and mapped data to elected officials and policymakers in areas experiencing high incidences of street harassment and will engage legislators to address street harassment in their districts.
The Marketplace: Who are your peers and competitors? Identify others also working to address the needs you are and what differentiates you from them. What challenges could these players pose to your success or growth?
To date, Hollaback is the only international organization dedicated exclusively to ending street harassment and assault. Hollaback’s innovation in crowd sourced mapping has seeded several similar projects including “Harassmap,” in Egypt, and StopStreetHarassment.org. Neither have smartphone apps. Other projects to address street harassment have been community-based. The best example is Girls for Gender Equity, who ran an anti-harassment poster campaign in Brooklyn, and developed a short film called “Hey Shorty” about the epidemic of street harassment. In our minds, additional people working in the field of street harassment will only help to elevate the issue in the public mind. We see them as peers, not as competitors.
This Entry is about (Issues)
What solution(s) does your initiative address to better the lives of girls and women by leveraging technology? (select all applicable)
What has been the impact of your solution to date?
This project builds off of tremendous community support and a well-tested prototype. The first version of the iPhone and Droid apps were released in November 2010 to great fanfare, including articles in the New York Times and the Guardian, and coverage on most national new networks. Since the release, the apps have collected over 4,000 reports of street harassment from those who experience it (mapped in pink dots) as well as those who witness it and tried to help (mapped in green dots). In partnership with Cornell’s ILR school, we released a content analysis of 223 reports submitted in New York City. The analysis provide an in-depth look at how street harassment operates in New York City, and provides insight into how the apps can better accommodate the needs of New Yorkers. The partnership with the New York City Council garnered a second round of attention, and in May 2012 it was featured by the New York Daily News, Fox, ABC, and CBS’ “Good Morning.”
What is your projected impact over the next 1-3 years?
1: Launch the apps in New York City, receive over 1,000 reports of street harassment, and develop maps and reports for legislators as the foundation for a robust government investment in ending street harassment.
2: Launch the apps and platform in one additional city. Collect 2,500 reports in NYC and 1,000 reports in the additional city. Issue annual maps and reports in both cities, and work with local legislators to encourage deeper investment in ending street harassment.
3: Launch the apps and platforms in two additional cities. Collect 2,500 report in each of the first two cities, and 1,000 in each of the new cities, for a total of 7,000 reports. Issue annual maps and reports in both cities, and work with local legislators to encourage deeper investment in ending street harassment.
What barriers might hinder the success of your project? How do you plan to overcome them?
The project’s success would be hindered if:
a) We could not secure enough funding. We are seeking to overcome this barrier by diversifying our funding base and bringing in private donations to compliment our $20,000 government award.
b) The NYC public didn’t know about the reporting platform. We are overcoming this barrier by establishing a marketing partner that will allow us to post advertising in public transportation. We are also partnering with local schools and community groups who can educate their clients/students about the service. Finally, we are developing a robust media campaign that will leverage the current media attention on this platform.
Winning entries present a strong plan for how they will achieve and track growth. Identify your six-month milestone for growing your impact
The iPhone and Droid apps will relaunch in tandem with a large-scale media campaign.
Identify three major tasks you will have to complete to reach your six-month milestone
Finalize the process through which the New York City government will review the data collected and use it to make policy.
Develop a marketing plan: identification of a corporate partner and local schools and organizations who’ll promote the service
Finalize the wireframes for the apps, including the content and referring partners.
Now think bigger! Identify your 12-month impact milestone
Issue reports analyzing harassment in NYC that provide policy solutions/templates addressing street harassment internationally.
Identify three major tasks you will have to complete to reach your 12-month milestone
Collect over 1,000 reports of street harassment in New York City.
Work with a research partner to analyze data, develop reports.
Organize a press conference where legislators are invited to speak about actions theyre taking to address street harassment.
Founding Story: We want to hear about your "Aha!" moment. Share the story of where and when the founder(s) saw this solution's potential to change the world.
Hollaback started in 2005 as the project of seven youth (three men and four women). As the women told story after story of harassment, the men became increasingly concerned. Samuel Carter, who is now Hollaback’s board chair, said quite simply, “you live in a different city than we do.” Collectively, they resolved to change that. Around the same time, a woman named Thao Nygen bravely stood up to her harasser – an older, upper middle class raw-foods restaurant owner – who terrified her by masturbating across from her on the subway. She took his photo with her camera, and when the police ignored it, she posted it on flikr. The picture eventually made it to the front page of the New York Daily News, where it incited a city-wide conversation about street harassment. The youth were inspired by Thao’s story, and decided apply her model to all forms of harassment and to document these experiences online. It immediately took off, and has since been replicated in 50 cities internationally.
Tell us about your partnerships
Our partners include:
•Tech development: The Control Group including Colin O'Donnell, Partner, COO, and Toby Boudreaux, Partner, CTO;
•City relationships: New York City Government including Robert Richardson, Director of the Office of Strategic Technology Development for the NYC Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications, Danielle Castaldi-Micca, the Women's Community Liaison for the Office of Speaker Christine C. Quinn, and Annie Meredith Legislative and Budget Director for Councilmember Julissa Ferreras;
•Research: KC Wagner, Director of Workplace Initiative at Cornell U
Please elaborate on any needs or offers you have mentioned above and/or suggest categories of support that aren't specified within the list
I am happy to support the community by speaking to fellow entrepreuners about my experience bringing Hollaback to life!