BY ANDREA GUNRAJ, COMMUNICATIONS SPECIALIST, METRAC
In 2010 and 2011, we were delighted to partner with Hollaback! to release an online survey on responses to sexual harassment. It was one of a few similar surveys we put out to find out how people deal with harassment, where they go for help, and how they would help a friend.
We received a total of 238 responses and, absolutely spilling over with your inspiring and diverse stories, we developed Not Your Baby, a free iPhone app to provide users with ideas on how they could respond to sexual harassment “in the moment”.
Once installed, the app allows users to input where they are – work, school, home, social setting or on the street – and who’s harassing them – perhaps a boss, coworker or fellow student. Based on the ideas of those survey respondents who shared what they’ve done to deal with similar instances of harassment, a possible response is generated. Not Your Baby also allows users to submit their own stories and ideas and grows richer as people contribute to it.
METRAC, the community-based organization I work for in Toronto, Canada, was founded in 1984 to help prevent violence against diverse women and youth. From our Safety Audit process to legal information provision to our youth violence prevention workshops and game development, we’ve been aware of the impacts of sexual harassment, especially on women, girls, trans people and other groups at highest risk. We love exploring new ways to address violence against women and youth and supporting folks to find their own solutions. That’s why we admire Hollaback! so much – it’s all about grassroots action and the things we can do in our own lives to challenge sexual harassment on the street.
In 2011, the Ontario Human Rights Commission recognized gender-based harassment “used to get people to follow traditional sex stereotypes” as a form of sexual harassment in their updated policy on preventing sexual and gender-based harassment . They acknowledged that, in addition to the harassment many women and girls face based on their identities, those who don’t fit dominant stereotypes of what it means to be a “real man” or “real woman” are also targeted. The reality of gender-based harassment is reflected in the app and resources to help people deal with it are included.ir own solutions. That’s why we admire Hollaback! so much – it’s all about grassroots action and the things we can do in our own lives to challenge sexual harassment on the street.
Many thanks to Hollaback! for support in the survey process, as well as many of you who responded to the survey. Take a look at the app, submit your own ideas and stories, and let us know what you think!