Website fights street harassment

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - It's a nationwide trend that's now come to Richmond --- cracking down on street harassment.

We're talking about the cat calls and rude comments that could leave a person feeling uncomfortable or unsafe.

It's called Hollaback and it's a forum to call out your cat-caller.

The site tracks street harassment in the city --- a problem organizers say may be more pervasive than any of us realize.

"'Hey, how you doing? Hey baby, can I get your number?' I can't even come up with this stuff," said a victim of regular street harassment, Chastity Wales.

"I was just walking home from the gym and some guys were yelling at me and was like 'hey you,'" said Kelli Sill.

They're the stories women we spoke with say happen regularly in Richmond.

"It happens. You get used to it," said Sill.

But a new organization says---you shouldn't have to.

It's why Hollaback-RVA created a website to fight back against street harassment.

"Street harassment is definitely difficult because we are in like an ungoverned space like the street," said Jenny Walters.

"Maybe we can all get a sense that this problem is extremely pervasive and happens to everybody," said Victoria Meader.  "One of the biggest problems with street harassment is that it's largely invisible."

Not on their website. It tracks incidents of harassment throughout the city--- letting people report their experience and where it happened. It also offers resources such as assault hotlines and contacts for local police in case the harassment turns criminal.

"We've gotten a story about someone being flashed in the middle of the night," said Meader. "She was by herself and basically a man just exposed himself to her."

Hollaback hopes exposing the harassment, stops it.

"I think most of them know that what they're doing is extremely rude," says Meader. "It's degrading, it's demeaning, we want them to feel sort of uncomfortable doing it. Then maybe it'll stop."

The site counts on self-reporting to track the incidents.

However, it is free and open to anyone in the area.

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