Hollaback campaign and research into street harassment
Hollaback is an advocacy group based in New York City, focused on ending street harassment, through the development and support of local organizations and initiatives focused on the issue.
They are a finalist in the Ashoka Changemaker's "She Will Innovate" idea competition. If they are selected, they'll get $10,000 towards their research initiatives.
One of their studies, The Experience of Being Targets of Street Harassment in NYC: Preliminary Findings from a Qualitative Study of a Sample of 223 voices who Hollaback! (Beth A. Livingston, KC Wagner, Sarah T. Diaz, and Angela Liu) provides some important findings:
Targets feel violated by all types of street harassment. This indicates that it may be the violation of being harassed, rather than the specific behavior, that is one of the main drivers of a target’s emotional response.
Taking action generally has a positive influence on a target’s emotional response to the experience of street harassment. Targets who chose to take action, whether while experiencing street harassment or afterwards (i.e., taking a photo of the harasser, reporting the harassment to an official), appeared to experience less negative emotional impact than those who did not.
Bystander presence can have both a positive and negative influence on a target’s emotional response to being harassed, depending on the actions taken. In cases where a bystander took action by confronting the harasser, the harassment was more likely to cease. Importantly, bystander interventions that had a positive influence on the target of harassment could be as simple as a knowing look or empathetic statement that showed support.