L’Oréal Paris & Hollaback! Stand Up Against Street Harassment

With the involvement of celebrities, the power of social media and the recent conviction of the former entertainment mogul Harvey Weinstein, the #TimesUp and #MeToo movements aren’t slowing down anytime soon. In fact, many women are feeling more empowered than ever to come forward with their stories of sexual harassment. This has motivated L’Oréal Paris Canada and Hollaback! to launch Stand Up. This is a training program aimed at ending sexual harassment toward woman. Emily May, who co-founded Hollaback!, describes the unique program: “We’re partnering with L’Oréal Paris to train people around the world — individuals of all orientations, origins and generations, with simple tools they need in their everyday lives to first recognize and then to intervene. We have the power to really transform this issue and together end harassment.”

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Delphine Viguier-Hovasse, L’Oréal Paris global brand president, says, “the purpose of the company has always been to empower women.” The executive explains that the project was idealized after the company carried out a worldwide survey on what stops women from attaining their ambitions, and “the number one answer was sexual harassment.” The cosmetics giant surveyed 15,500 women of all ages across the globe about their experiences with street harassment in April 2019. The study concluded 78 per cent of women had experienced sexual harassment in public spaces, but only 25 per cent said bystanders intervened. As for the participants who had witnessed harassment, a whopping 86 per cent claimed they did not know how to de-escalate the situation in the moment.

Sunday, March 8, 2020, is International Women’s Day and the day that L’Oréal Paris will commence the Stand Up program in five countries, with a roll-out in six additional countries at a later date. Through a devoted instructional website, standup.lorealparis.com, a global community of one million up-standers will be cultivated.

The up-standers will be trained in the 5Ds: Direct, Distract, Delegate, Document and Delay. The “Direct” method asks a bystander to deliberately call out the perpetrator for their actions, while “Distract” promotes people to take the harasser’s focus away from the victim by engaging with the victim themselves. “Delegate” is a much more brash approach, where a single person solicits others in the vicinity to execute a variety of tasks (for example, having one person call the police) to ensure the perpetrator is held accountable. “Documenting” is intended to make certain there is either photo or video footage from the situation and ensuring the victim has ownership of it. Checking in on the individual who has been harassed is “Delay,” and it is critical for their emotional well-being that they understand that the assault was not their fault.


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Myles Shane

Myles Shane