Confronting Gender Violence on Public Transit


New York’s subway system is a marvel: a vast network of tracks, trains, signals, and electricity that covers four boroughs and moves millions of people each day. We tend to focus on how effective the system is at moving people to where they need to go and the social and economic benefits this mobility brings.

But the subway system is also a giant mobile shared space, bringing riders all of the pleasant and unpleasant experiences associated with public spaces. One of the most common unpleasant experiences is sexual harassment: unwelcome advances and other physical or verbal contact of a sexual nature. Far too many people, particularly women, risk encountering it every time they use the subway.

Since 2005, Hollaback! continues to provide a unified online space for women and LGBTQ individuals to collect stories of harassment, with the goal of reclaiming public space. Stories from are a constant reminder of the risks individuals face on a daily basis on the subway.

Beyond drawing attention and raising awareness, we ultimately want to tackle this problem and end sexual harassment on public transportation. Particularly right now during the United Nation’s designated 16 days of action to end violence against women, from November 25 to December 10.

This Monday, December 5th the Manhattan Young Democrats and the Hunter College Women’s Rights Collation are partnering to facilitate a panel discussion with several key people to shed light on this topic and help bring forth some solutions. Panelists include:

  • Jerin Afria, Chair of National Organization for Women – Young Feminist Task Force,
  • Emily May, Co-founder and Executive Director of Hollaback!;
  • Susan Moesker, Coordinator of Community Violence Prevention at the Center for Anti-Violence Education;
  • Hilary Nemchik, Chair, Domestic Violence Task Force at the Office of the Manhattan Borough President; and
  • Chief Michael Osgood, Commanding Officer of the Special Victims Unit, NYPD;
  • Dr. Gail Garfield, Associate Professor of Sociology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY will moderate.

When: Monday, December 5, 2011, 7pm to 8:30pm

Where: Hunter West Building Lobby, Hunter College, Southwest corner of Lexington Ave. & 68th Street


For more information on the conference and the movement to end street harassment, visit Hollaback’s website at

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