Hollaback! Croatia, the local branch of the international movement for preventing street harassment of women and LGBTQ individuals, launched their campaign of “Safe Places”, with the aim of creating a network of non-threatening and supportive places in the city of Zagreb.

Street harassment or gender-based harassment in public places does not stop after walking into an enclosed space. This can cause a feeling of helplessness and people who experience this sort of harassment are silent about it, unless they have confidence that the staff of the said facilities will understand the problem and respond in an appropriate manner. Street harassment is a pervasive form of gender-based violence, which is most often experienced by women and LGBTQ persons. About 90% of women worldwide have experienced street harassment at some point in their lives. Such a reality severely restricts freedom of movement of women and LGBTQ people, causing high levels of anxiety and serves as a reminder that the society is still considering them as second-class citizens. The constant threat of violence can often prevent those who are being harassed to stand up for themselves.

By encouraging the owners of clubs and bars to make a priority of the safety of women and LGBT people, Hollaback! Croatia hopes to foster an environment in which harassment is tolerated neither on the street nor indoors.

In an effort to create a safer Zagreb Hollaback! Croatia is working directly with the bouncers, waiters and waitresses of the clubs. Once the clubs agree to participate in the campaign, members of the organization discuss and educate the employees on the specific needs of those who experience gender-based violence, on how to receive complaints without blaming the victim, and are then guided through role-play scenarios specific to each site to ensure readiness to cope with a multitude of different situations. Clubs are also provided with educational materials that serve as a useful tool for the staff in situations where complaints appear to help them to ensure a safer area. This package includes simple instructions of what to do and what not do when talking with a victim of harassment, a flyer with statistics about street harassment, official Hollaback! guide for employers for the prevention of street harassment, and a poster for the club to clearly state for everyone that such harassment is unwanted.

For more information or to participate in the campaign, Hollaback! Croatia can be contacted through: croatia@ihollaback.org

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