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Hollaback! Baltimore is working to build a network of supportive non-threatening environments within our city. Each venue, cafe, club, collective, and/or business below has signed the Hollaback! Baltimore Safer Space Pledge, aligning their space with this campaign, as well as declaring their commitment to ending harassment against women and LGBTQIA folks. If you experience gender-based harassment or violence while in these spaces (or anywhere with our official Safer Spaces Poster) the staff should take you seriously, deal with the harasser, and offer support resources if you need them. You can show these local businesses your appreciation by going to a show, having a drink, or buying a bagel.
…and we are in talks with many more!
By signing this pledge, we the undersigned do hereby agree to:
- Post the “Safer Space” poster provided by Hollaback! Baltimore in a prominent place for all employees/staff/volunteers and attendees/customers to see
- Take complaints of harassment, discrimination, and violence against customers or staff seriously
- Remove any offending parties from our space
- Ensure our staff, particularly those responsible for security, are aware of our policies
- Use the resources given to us by Hollaback! Baltimore to better understand the issues at hand as well as the best methods for dealing with them
- Inform victims of their right to share their story publicly and anonymously on Hollaback! (via the website or free phone app) by handing out informational postcards
WHAT’S THE PROBLEM?
Street Harassment is sexual harassment in public spaces from strangers. It’s a pervasive form of gender-based violence, affecting women and members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning, Intersex, and Asexual (LGBTQIA) communities. Approximately 90% of women worldwide have reported experiencing sexual harassment at some point in their lives. This reality severely limits women’s and LGBTQIA folks’ freedom of movement in their own communities, causes high levels of anxiety, and serves as a reminder that society still casts them as second-class citizens. The constant threat of (or escalation of) violence can often prevent those who are harassed from “standing up for themselves” in the moment – whether it’s on the dance floor, mosh pit, or in line at the coffee shop.
Everyone has the right to feel physically and mentally safe, supported, and respected. By signing the Hollaback! Baltimore Safer Space Pledge, you show your clients, customers, attendees, and your entire community, that hateful or discriminatory behavior, actions, or language will not be tolerated in your venue/place of business. The pledge states that everyone within the safer space has a responsibility to uphold its values.
THE BACK STORY
Back in March of 2013, our sister site in London shared some inspiring news with the HOLLA-community. They had just formed a partnership with Fabric, a local club that was tired of hearing second-hand that women were being harassed in their venue. There are many reasons why women and LGBTQIA folks might not report street harassment to security: fear of victim-blaming, not being taken seriously, possibly experiencing more harassment from typically male staff, and frustration at interrupting their good time to report it. By going the extra mile and partnering with Hollaback! London, and pledging to remove harassers from their venue, Fabric has shown their community that they prioritize the safety and comfort of their female patrons. Upon hearing this, we in Baltimore said, “Why not us?”
In our effort to create a safer Baltimore, we work directly with a venue to ensure their current employee guide and/or security policies are comprehensive and sensitive to the specific needs of those who experience gender-based violence. After signing our pledge, each venue is given a packet of resources to help them keep their space safer, including (but not limited to) simple do’s and don’ts, background on the issue, the official Hollaback! Employer’s Guide to Ending Street Harassment, and a poster to hang publicly, allowing all who enter to see that if it’s unwanted, it’s harassment.