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Thursday, 11 August 2011

Local Women take action against street harassment

Fed up of street harassment Emma Romanowicz of Mytholmroyd and Louise Westbrooke are launching the Hollaback! West Yorkshire and are committed to working on-line and off-line to highlight the issue of and bring an end to street harassment in our community.

Hollaback! West Yorkshire, which covers the whole county including Leeds, Bradford, Wakefield and Huddersfield, is a movement dedicated to achieving their aims using technology. Street harassment is pervasive, prevalent and at times really disturbing. It can range from unwanted attention, sexualised comments, through to touching, following, or more serious offences. Until now there has been no single safe and effective way to respond to it.

Emma Romanowicz told the Hebden Bridge Web. "There is no specific research into the prevalence of street harassment in the UK, but USA statistics, our own experiences and that of friends suggests that between 90%-100% of girls and women experience it at some point, some on a daily basis”

They are very excited to announce the launch of our website. Louise told the HebWeb: "This will be a 21st century centre where victims of street harassment in West Yorkshire can post their stories and experiences in a safe environment, uploading them to the easy-to-use website so that they can be shared with others and collated on a map covering different areas within our community”

Emma and Louise believe that iPhones, smart phones and the internet have given people a new platform. "Each time you Hollaback! you are able to speak out and tell your story."

As well as the brand new website they have a dedicated Facebook page and supporters have been following the progress on Twitter @hollabackWY for the past few months in the build up to the launch.

Emma described how the site has received support from many agencies in West Yorkshire including SARSVL, White Ribbon, Huddersfield Women’s Centre and Leeds Domestic Violence Agency who responded to the launch of the website saying,  “Street harassment towards women is  a form of violence against women.  It has been largely minimised and ignored in the past so we particularly welcome an initiative which tackles the issue head on.” Michelle De Souza, Leeds City Council Domestic Violence Team Manager

 'It's refreshing to see how the 'explosion of mobile technology' is being used to raise awareness of and address gender-based violence. Streets should be a place where we all feel safe.'’  Pauline Ellis, Chair, LIAP Women and Violence Trust

Hollaback! West Yorkshire

Facebook page

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