Part of ending street harassment is being an active bystander. As we approach Anti-Street Harassment
Week, Hollaback! Vancouver and Metro Vancouver Transit Police (Transit Police) challenge you to do
April 13 is the official launch of an exciting new partnership between Hollaback! Vancouver and Transit
Police which endeavours to raise awareness about harassment on transit and provides riders with
effective strategies to address something that doesn’t look right.
The first step in ending street harassment is acknowledging it is a real problem. Through submissions to
the Hollaback! website and using the Hollaback! app, we know that street harassment is a problem. We
want to help change the culture of silence around this issue and to challenge the idea that harassment is
a normal part of urban living. Both Hollaback! and Transit Police have been using smart phone
technology to help bring this serious issue to light.
The Hollaback! App easily and immediately shows users 3 things:
1) If you’ve been harassed, you’re not alone
2) Street harassment is used to exert control over others by making them feel scared or
uncomfortable. It is much more than individuals just acting inappropriately.
3) There are street harassment “hotspots” in most cities often centered around high pedestrian
Sharing stories in this way and showing solidarity to those who have experience harassment allows us to
slowly chip away at the culture of silence around this issue.
The Transit Police’s OnDuty App allows you to report non-emergency issues and track crime on transit
from your smart phone.
Not feeling safe on trains and busses, limits how people move around their city. It can negatively affect
performance at school or work. Street harassment is not acceptable. An act of resistance can be as
simple as making eye contact or texting a report to Transit Police 87-77-77. It is everyone’s problem, and
there IS something you can do.
Being an active bystander sets precedence and reinforces social barriers surrounding the inappropriate
nature of harassment. It is also the most direct way to express solidarity with a rider who is probably
feeling embarrassed and alone.
Hollaback! and Transit Police emphasize four key approaches: direct intervention, delegation, distraction
1. Direct intervention communicates clearly that the harassment is not acceptable.
2. Delegating the problem to Transit Police by using the non-emergency text line at 87-77-77 is
effective and discreet.
3. Creating a distraction, such as pretending to know the person, off-sets the perceived power
privilege that the aggressor is seeks to create.
4. Delay your time in the picture to ensure the person leaves the interaction feeling safe.
We will have more on how to recognize harassment and strategies for intervening on the blog over the
next two weeks.
Hollaback volunteers and Transit Police will be at Commercial Broadway SkyTrain Station Monday April
13th at 10 am to engage with the public and hand out flyers for the new campaign that calls on each one
of us to be active bystanders. Feel free to come by and chat, ask some questions and learn a few new
strategies to make transit safer.
facebook, instagram. Join the conversation using the hashtags #SeeSay and #ItsNotACompliment to
show your support. Download the Hollaback app and see what the picture of street harassment looks
like in Vancouver. Or download OnDuty, the Metro Vancouver Transit Police app which allows
bystanders to safely report non-emergency incidents of street harassment on public transportation
Read more about this exciting partnership and the event here!