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NYC Victim-Turned-Advocate Nicola Briggs Shares Her Story
Campaign Empowers Bystanders to Intervene
June 9, 2011 (New York, NY) – Today subway folk heroine Nicola Briggs partners with Hollaback! to launch “I’ve Got Your Back,” a campaign to empower bystanders in the fight against street harassment. For six years Hollaback! has worked to empower and provide a meaningful response to folks experiencing street harassment – incorporating mobile technology and building an international movement. “I’ve Got Your Back” takes this work to the next level by providing a real-time response to those who are harassed.
“When we see a parent with a baby struggling to enter a building, we open the door for them. When someone drops their hat, we pick it up and give it to them. So why when we see someone being harassed do we look the other way?” said Hollaback! Executive Director Emily May. “That’s where ‘I’ve Got Your Back’ comes in.”
In November 2010, NYC resident Nicola Briggs stood up to a sexual predator on the subway and ensured with the assistance of bystanders that he would be arrested. Her brave actions were caught on a cell phone video and Briggs quickly became a subway heroine with over 1 million views on YouTube. The incident led to Briggs’ to become a regular blogger on Hollaback!’s website and a core partner for the “I’ve Got Your Back” campaign.
“When I was accosted by that creep, I announced his wrongdoing to as many people as possible, and to tell him in no uncertain terms that he wouldn’t get away with it,” said Briggs. “I also insisted upon the conductor being notified, as well as transit police. But aside from those actions, which were essential for controlling the perpetrator, immobilizing him by making him the center of attention, the most important thing that I did was to call upon the help of the other passengers. I asked ‘Men, guard the doors!’ And frankly, if it weren’t for their assistance, the creep would probably have been able to high-tail it out of there.”
However, even if someone doesn’t call out for assistance, it is still important that bystanders recognize their role in a situation – and feel empowered to support someone they believe is being harassed. Even if it’s just to ask, “Are you ok?” The campaign is designed to show people how to intervene, and to celebrate it when they do.
The campaign will include an interactive map, updated apps for iPhone and Android, a film, and a groundswell of support from advocates, city councilmembers, and site leaders internationally. But before campaign can get started, Hollaback! needs the public’s support. They are launching a $25,000 campaign through Indiegogo, with tax-deductible donations to be matched by their board of directors.
How “I’ve got your back” will work:
“I’ve Got Your Back” will be launching with a free event in NYC:
June 9, 2011
6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
William Bennett Gallery
65 Green Street, Soho NY
Spirits & hors d’oeuvres will be served.
Made possible in part by a grant from Credit Suisse.
Hollaback! is an international movement dedicated to ending street harassment and assault using mobile technology. Street harassment is one of the most pervasive forms of violence against women, and one of the least legislated against. By collecting women and LGBTQ individuals’ accounts of harassment and pictures of their perpetrators in a safe and shareable way, Hollaback! is creating a crowd-sourced initiative to directly expose and confront street harassment, transform the discourse and promote the attitude that any gender-based violence is unacceptable.
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