Julie Lalonde: Standing Up Against Street Harassement

As outlined in one of Her Campus uOttawa’s newest articles, street harassment is an unfortunate reality of living in a busy city such as Ottawa.  It happens to practically every young woman when walking or bussing home. And when it happens, it is not a pleasant experience. Luckily, there is one Ottawa woman who is taking a stand against street harassment and leading the way towards fighting this societal problem. Julie Lalonde is the founder of Hollaback! Ottawa and is paving the way towards a street harassment-free future.

Julie is a graduate of Carleton University, currently hosts a radio show on CHUO 2 (uOttawa’s radio station), and is striving to complete her MA in feminist gerontology. A few years back, Julie decided to bring the non-profit international organization, Hollaback!, to Ottawa. Hollaback! is located in 64 cities, 22 countries and operates in 11 languages, and it fights to end street harassment and sexual harassment that occurs in public space. The organization wishes to better understand street harassment in order to ignite conversation and develop strategies to end this problem. This is exactly what Julie is trying to accomplish with Hollaback! Ottawa.

While Hollaback! Ottawa has kept a low profile over its first years, the organization has recently raised its voice against OC Transpo and is currently fighting to increase awareness of street harassment on public transit. Working with OC Transpo, Hollaback! Ottawa has helped to develop several strategies and advertising campaigns in order to increase awareness and fight harassment on the transitway.

Not only is Hollaback! Ottawa working with OC Transpo, but Julie is also leading the organization in spreading its message across all of Ottawa. On September 20th, Hollaback! Ottawa will meet at the Bridgehead on Sparks and Metcalfe and will chalk the street and sidewalks with anti-harassment and female empowerment messages. Julie encourages anyone who wishes to participate to come. For more information, see their Facebook page. Hollaback! Ottawa also will be tabling at Ottawa’s annual citywide march called Take Back the Night on September 26th – a march with hundreds of Ottawa residents that aims to raise awareness against sexual assault and domestic violence. Julie also plans on speaking at Slut Walk – a similar event that raises awareness against rape and the current societal rape culture. Finally, Hollaback! Ottawa also provides workshops with young women throughout the year in order to engage women into conversation and get the ball rolling on ending street harassment.

Julie encourages anyone who wishes to get involved to come out to Hollaback! Ottawa’s event and to spread the message. You can also share your stories of street harassment on Hollaback! Ottawa’s website. The only way for this important message to be spread is by sharing and talking about our street harassment experiences. One day, there will be enough stories and enough voices to make a difference. While Julie Lalonde has started the movement, it is up to us to make a difference.

Photo Credits: