New web site to expose Irish men guilty of sexual harassment, and sexual insults
New Dublin chapter follows lead set in New York
The Hollaback! girls are coming to Dublin – ready to expose men guilty of the sexual harassment of Irish women.
The Sunday Times reports on the opening of a Dublin chapter of the American organisation founded to combat sexual harassment in public places.
The paper says the new Irish based group will accept photos, videos and stories of Irish male harassers from next week.
The report says the new site plans to out men who subject women to unwelcome remarks, wolf whistles or sexual insults.
Hollaback actively encourages females to share their experiences of street harassment.
As well as a website, a smartphone app will be available by next summer.
The papers says that Hollaback! Dublin was formed by four women in their twenties who wanted to take a stand against the whistles, jokes, jeers and obscenities they experience on the streets and on public transport.
The Irish site is the latest from Hollaback! which already has branches in 50 cities in 17 countries.
Director Aimee Doyle told the paper: “The Dublin group will help Irish women, as well as the gay, lesbian and transgender community, document the unwanted attention, groping, lewd acts and sexual assaults they endure.
“I’ve not met any woman in Dublin who hasn’t experienced street harassment.
“It’s pervasive and sort of normalised. There are plenty of individual stories on Twitter and Facebook, but they are so scattered we felt they needed something to connect them.”
Doyle says her motivation for setting up the campaign was strengthened by two episodes this year.
She added: “At the start of the summer I was on a bus and a group of boys aged between 16 and 18 started making sexist remarks about me.
“No one on the bus spoke up, and I tried to ignore them. When I got off the bus it was dark and I was in an area I didn’t know.
“They followed and surrounded me. I told them what they were doing was not acceptable. I said, ‘What if someone did that to your sister or mother? How would you feel?’ They replied, ‘Oh, you’re obviously a lesbian.’
“I rang the gardai (police) but all they said was they would send a car to drive around the area. That experience shook me.”
Canadian student Vanessa Baker revealed how she contacted Hollaback! headquarters in New York about setting up a Dublin chapter after moving to Ireland to study at Trinity College.
Baker said: “I was surprised at how much of a problem street harassment was here. In Dublin, at three in the afternoon, you’ll get men harassing you.
“A lot of guys will start walking with me, trying to chat to me, pretending they know me. If they don’t get a warm response, they make you feel like it’s your fault.”
The new Dublin group wants to pressurise the Irish government to introduce legislation to make street harassment illegal.
Doyle also insists that the site will be strictly monitored.
She said: “We have set guidelines of what can be posted. There can’t be any racial signifiers that are not necessary, and certain faces can be blurred. The legal standpoint is something we will have to learn about as we go along.”
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