Each year, April is designated as Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and each year, the first week of April is designated as both Take Back the Night Week and International Anti-Street Harassment Week. This crazy scheduling puts those who care deeply about such issues into a tailspin, trying to show support to all the groups hosting events.
Last year, Hollaback! Appalachian Ohio was a new group. We didn't officially launch our blog until April 15, but during the first week of April, we painted the graffiti wall, attended every Take Back the Night Event, chalked the streets with anti-street harassment messages, and hosted a screening of the film "War Zone."
This year, we will be attending the Take Back the Night March and Rally on Thursday, April 3. Also keep your eyes on the graffiti wall and sidewalks, as our handiwork is likely to reappear. We encourage anyone who wants to chalk to do so. You can take photos of your work and post them on the International wechalkwalk Tumblr. Hollaback! Brussels administrates this Tumblr, but it is intended to serve the whole world.
Additionally, keep your radio tuned to WOUB for our extended episode on "Conversations with Studio B." Our episode will air in multiple segments over the course of International Anti-Street Harassment Week and will also be available via podcast.
Our main event this year will be the opening reception for our Anti-Street Harassment Art Show at Casa Nueva on Thursday, April 3 at 9 p.m. To go along with our theme, "Cats Against Catcalls," we requested art submissions in January about personal experiences of street harassment, visions of safer streets and cats. Light refreshments will be served around 10 p.m.
Performances to celebrate Hollaback! Appalachia Ohio's birthday and the kickoff of Take Back The Night Week will also begin at 10 p.m. We will be showing "On The Catwalk," our short documentary about street harassment in Athens. There also will be poetry performances by the F-Word Performers, and performances by Ragamuffin and Fury, a new all-girl punk band.
During this event, we will celebrate our accomplishments over the last year, which include having some of our art go viral on wechalkwalk, designing and piloting our Safer Spaces training, as well as getting our five-lesson curriculum for high-school health classrooms into Trimble High School.
Share your stories of street harassment and bystander intervention with us at appalachianohio.ihollaback.org, patronize our designated safer spaces, and let us know if you have a classroom or community group for whom you would like us to present a workshop.
For more information, or to enter your name into the art show or list of performers, please visit our blog. Thanks for reading, and I hope to see you at the show!
Editor's note: Sarah Fick is a lifelong resident of southeast Ohio and is a graduate of Ohio University College of Teacher Education. She is now the Program Coordinator for the Sexual Assault Prevention Program at the Appalachian Peace and Justice Network and a Site Leader for Hollaback! Appalachian Ohio.