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Hollaback's AtréveteBA Fights Street Harassment in Buenos Aires

A screenshot of the AtréveteBA website.

A screenshot of the AtréveteBA website.

This story was written in Spanish by Paula Gonzalo and originally published on Periodismo Ciudadano, a website dedicated to citizen journalism. 

AtréveteBA is the Buenos Aires branch of the Hollaback movement, which was created to document and fight street harassment. Its Spanish-language site includes a digital map, blogs, and resources to bring visibility to the problem, giving a voice to more than 150 victims of street harassment in Argentina. Hollaback Buenos Aires is coordinated by Inti Tidball, founder and an activist in the foundation since October 2010.

Hollaback is a nonprofit organization with a presence in 79 cities in 26 countries and in eight different languages. It is an international movement made up of a network of activists whose mission is to end street harassment, encourage social debate, and develop innovative strategies to ensure equal access to public spaces.

The group has developed a mobile app that enables live tracking and reporting via text messages. User reports of street harassment incidents are compiled on a map. Hollaback also offers free training for those who want to create a site for their own city or neighborhood. To facilitate this, they offer “educational workshops to schools, universities, and community groups, and engage citizens through traditional and social media.” The objective is to build an international movement that breaks the silence surrounding street harassment, which Hollaback considers to be the gateway to sexual violence. The organization provides technical training to support the development of new branches.

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A poster made available by AtréveteBA reads, “A message to women: There's no reason why you have to put up with the comments made about your body in the street. It's okay to tell men to leave you alone. Ask them if they would like it if their sisters or daughters were treated like this. Ask them to have respect. If they touch you or follow you, report them!”

The organization's Buenos Aires website features a wealth of useful resources in Spanish on confronting street harassment, including data on the international fight against street harassment, myths about harassment, information on personal self-defense, statistics and definitions of harassment, support services for victims of violence, and a map that displays areas where harassment is most frequent and features the stories uploaded by site users.

Latin America is already home to Atrévete Bogotá Colombia, Atrévete México DF, Atrévete Puerto Rico, Atrévete Querétaro México, and Atrévete Santiago de Chile.

Verbal harassment has become an important frontier in the fight for gender equality and especially the fight against gender violence. Street harassment, which directly inhibits women's freedom to move safely in public spaces, is already a crime in Belgium, where a pioneering law has made sexist comments and sexual propositions punishable by a fine of 50 to 1,000 euros (about $70 to $1,350) or even up to one year in prison. Approval of this law was spurred by the documentary film “Femme de la rue” by Sofie Peeters, a young resident of Brussels, which shows the quantity of catcalls, vulgar comments, insults, and even insistent sexual propositions that she suffers in her city. 

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